A guide to solo glamping

By Eric Wright

Traveling alone can seem like a daunting prospect for many people; however, it can leave you with one of the most liberating and rewarding feelings you've ever had. Being totally self-reliant allows you to truly discover how capable, strong, and independent you are and opens you up a world full of new places to explore and new friends to make.

That being said, there are some essential things to remember while planning the solo trip of a lifetime. We've compiled a guide to solo glamping to make sure you feel empowered and ready to explore. It's time to stop wondering about the planet we live on and get out and wander!

Before you go and good to know

While traveling alone really is an eye-opening experience that everyone should try at least once, there is a lot of information to bear in mind for you to be able to make the most of your time away and stay safe while doing so. Here are some of the key things to think about before your solo glamping getaway.

  • Know your destination. When you arrive, you need to know the precise location of your glamping retreat, so a general overview of the surrounding area and geography are a must. There's no need to waste any precious vacation time getting lost when time can be better spent elsewhere!
  • Stay in touch. When traveling alone, it's important to keep in contact with loved ones or friends. Not only will they be pleased to hear about your adventures, but they are also a lifeline should you have any issues while away.
  • Take charge! Traveling alone means there's nobody to turn to when you need to read a map, ask for directions, or make the day's itinerary. It's up to you to be proactive, smile, and ask for help or advice when the need arises.
  • Set a budget, and try to stick to it. Saving up for a solo glamping trip can take time, so while you're planning the trip, make a budget for each day based on the activities you want to do.
  • Save your pennies before you leave. Post-holiday blues are bad enough without worrying about how to pay back the money you spent on your trip. You'll thank yourself later for guaranteeing you have a healthy account balance before you set off.

What to pack

Where you're heading on your glamping adventure will largely determine what essential items you should bring. Whether you're exploring vast deserts or remote mountainsides, here are some ideas for key things to bring along:

  • An up-to-date map of the area. Although mobile devices are of great help while navigating, you never know when the battery might die, so take a paper map along, too.
  • A compass. Without a compass, that paper map is going to be difficult to use, especially when hiking deep in the forest. Pack a handy compass—and make sure you learn how to use it before heading out!
  • A cell phone with a long-lasting cell battery. A phone with great battery longevity can be a life-saver for whenever you have a signal.
  • Extra food and water. It's not uncommon for people to stray a little from the main path while exploring, so staying hydrated and extra snacks are essential when hiking.
  • A fire striker or waterproof matches. Fire-making materials can be a godsend up in the mountains, but just like that handy-dandy compass, it's critical to learn how to use these items before your trip starts.
  • Other handy things to remember include a flashlight, sunscreen, a Swiss Army knife, a blanket, and, of course, an enthralling book!

How to stay safe

When you're traveling without a friend or partner by your side, it's normal to worry about feeling potentially more vulnerable to accidents or situations out in the wilderness, as well as about pesky thieves and scam artists when closer to a town or city. Ease your mind by taking note of the following tips!

Be sure to check the weather before you head out on a hike, and prepare yourself with the correct apparel, including a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a waterproof jacket for those wet days. When you hike alone, make sure you stay connected by leaving your itinerary with friends, family, or even the local forest service. Other simple, yet potentially life-saving, bits of advice include always having a first aid kit on you, following park rules, and being flexible to head back on a hike when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

For your own personal safety when in a town or city, make sure you stick to well-lit public areas, especially at night; don't flash any expensive jewelry, including watches; and be careful when handling cash, whether taking it out of your wallet or getting money from an ATM.

Getting around

Whether you're changing continents on your solo getaway or heading to your native country's most famous natural attraction, there are some tips for traveling alone that you'll want to bear in mind.

  • Get walking! There's no better way to understand the way of life of a destination than by wandering its trails, streets, and winding lanes. Make sure you stop off at local cafés and restaurants to get to know the residents and have a well-earned cold one!
  • Do your research. When flying in, be sure to look up the taxi prices from the airport before you arrive to avoid any greedy drivers.
  • Use local transport. Using the local means of travel can be a great way to get a feel for a place. When traveling to non-English speaking countries, make note of the bus, train, or tram times before you arrive. Believe us, your wallet will thank you!
  • Take a tour. Taking a tour is an easy way to get to know the area and will provide the perfect opportunity to get to know fellow travelers.
  • Stick to the trails! When out on an epic hike, don't overextend yourself and get lost in rough terrain. Stick to the paths set out in the hiking maps; after all, they're tried and tested!

Where to go

Below, you'll find some of the most eye-opening and exhilarating solo glamping experiences around the globe. From gazing at the distant stars and galaxies while sitting on a remote dune in the Sahara Desert to exploring vast underwater worlds, we have your unique solo trip covered.

Rejuvenate at a yoga retreat

Tapping into your inner self is a journey best made alone and a solo glamping escape to a calm and quiet yoga retreat is sure to leave you feeling rested and rejuvenated. With several bespoke hideaways to choose from, a health and mindfulness getaway is the perfect opportunity to focus on yourself and cleanse both body and soul.

Whether it's life coaching, a detox, or a wellness program you're looking for, glamping getaways, like these secluded yurts in California and cozy tree houses in Tennessee, will have you ready to say goodbye to the stresses of city life and namast-hey to peace and tranquility!

Stargaze in the Sahara Desert

Sometimes it takes getting lost to really find ourselves, and there aren't many more remote areas in the world than the soft dunes of the Sahara. Spanning almost 10 million square miles, this alien-like landscape can really put life into perspective.

A scenic seven-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of the winding streets of Marrakesh, nightfall in the immense desert at one of these fabulous tents is as revitalizing as it is thought-provoking. Tour companies like Tour Radar offer a wide range of trips for solo travelers, including camel treks, day tours to the ancient city of Ait Benhaddou (as seen in Indiana Jones), and even sandboarding lessons!

Explore the beauty and culture of northern Spain

Spain offers a divine mix of rich culture and tradition as well as breathtaking scenery, making it a fantastic spot to enjoy both peaceful solitude and fascinating history while traveling alone.

The northern region of Galicia, in particular, is home to incredible hot springs, rugged coastlines, and winding bike paths up in the rolling hills and mountains. The soft sands of Rodas Beach in the remote Cíes Islands also has a reputation as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world—making it a hard destination to beat for glampers looking to really get away from it all.

One of the best things about a solo trip is being to indulge yourself fully, so after a day spent soaking up the local charm, what could be better than your own personal oasis up in the trees, complete with a private hot tub?

Embrace your inner cowboy in Nevada

Make your solo glamping getaway to the Wild West, and plan a stay at a dude ranch in The Silver State. At an hour's drive from Las Vegas, you'll feel far from the beaten path, and days spent horseback riding, taking part in old-school cattle drives, and watching some world-class rodeo are sure to get your pulse racing.

The Mojave Desert is a wonder in and of itself, and wannabe cowboys will love the epic backdrop of real-life Americana. After sipping a cold one at the world-famous Pioneer Salon, glampers can return to their own tiny house in the desert for a night of uninterrupted stargazing.

Go on a safari in Africa

The lower Zambezi region of Zambia is renowned all over the world as one of the best places for big game viewing. Those adventurous enough to make the solo trip will be rewarded with breathtaking mornings watching the majestic Big Five roaming the vast plains of Africa—a great way to take some much needed time for some real inner reflexion.

Solo travelers can join a guided safari walk or even opt to view these magical creatures from the water with a fabulous canoe safari from Victoria Falls River Safari. After an action-packed day close to Mother Earth, a night of quiet contemplation from your private luxurious bathtub at this exotic safari escape cannot be beat.

Hike the epic Lost Lake Trail in Alaska

Generally regarded as one of the most stunning hiking routes in all of US, the 13.8-mile Lost Lake Trail offers incredibly diverse scenery of rolling meadows, mirror-like lakes, and soaring snow-covered mountaintops, and All Trails offer plenty of detailed maps and advice for visitors. Relatively easy to traverse on foot, this is the ideal daytime experience for solo hikers.

As the glittering Northern Lights make their appearance come nightfall, you'll be able to enjoy them from your cozy glamping accommodation, like one of these luxury canvas tents—an absolute must on your next Alaskan adventure!

Try adventure travel in Croatia

Perched on the Adriatic coast, the Velebit range is a UNESCO-protected World Biosphere Reserve and runs 145 kilometers through northern Croatia. In recent years, the steep cliffs and deep canyons have seen an influx of travelers looking for an extreme sports fan's paradise.

Companies like Adventure Driven Vacations offer some life-changing trips between February and November, which guarantee an adrenaline-pumping time! Their hair-raising tours and packages include bachelor skydiving, big wall climbing, and aerobatic flight experiences. Returning to a tranquil tipi engulfed by magical mountains is then the ideal respite after a day up in the clouds.

Road trip on the Great Ocean Road in Australia

Just a 90-minute drive from the center of Melbourne, the 249-mile stretch of road from Torquay to Nelson offers some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the southern hemisphere. Unmissable highlights along the way include the 12 Apostles, towering limestone stacks that rise majestically from the ocean; the gorgeous Bay of Islands, with its diverse ecosystem; and the quaint fishing village of Port Fairy, which is ideal for an afternoon bite.

With this enchanting gypsy wagon along the coastline, we've got your accommodation covered. Just make sure you have a playlist ready for your Australian road trip of a lifetime!

Scuba-dive in Belize

If endless ocean and relaxing beaches are your idea of a great solo trip, you've found the perfect option with a snorkeling vacation on one of Belize's beautiful islands. As the only English-speaking country in Central America, the region is easy to navigate alone; has an authentic Caribbean feel; and is full of ancient Mayan ruins, like those found at the Orange Walk District in the northwest.

Visitors looking to discover the fascinating underwater world of pristine reefs and coral, as well as get up close to the local clientele of spotted eagle rays and large southern stingrays can head off on a tour from SeaHorse Dive Shop. Once evening rolls around, there's nowhere better to sit back, ponder the day's adventures, and sip a cold beer than this elevated cabin right on the water.


Dying to delve into another travel guide? Check out what other countries, regions, and events we've covered for you already!

Travel Guide: Maine

By Fred Jéquier

Maine, New England, is the most northeastern state in America, known for its rocky coastline, role in maritime history, and stunning areas of natural beauty, like the granite and spruce islands of Acadia National Park. Baxter State Park, one of 42 state parks in Maine, is a prime example of why "The Pine Tree State" is the perfect place to visit in any season—featuring the endpoint of the Appalachian Trail, Mount Katahdin, herds of moose, and a coastline dotted with candy-striped lighthouses, like the one at West Quoddy Head.

Getting there

Traveling to this part of New England, you'll have 18 different airports to choose, but there are five Maine airports in the state that are well connected to areas of interest. For those traveling from overseas, there are two international airports. Portland International Jetport is on the outskirts of the southern, coastal city of Portland—getting you to the coast in no time. Bangor International Airport is more centrally located, but it's still only 40 minutes by car, approximately, from the coast. It's also just 90 minutes from Baxter State Park!

The three remaining major airports are regional, with Bar Harbor Airport giving you easy access to Mount Desert Island, while Knox County Regional Airport is perched on the coast about an hour from Augusta, the state capital—where you'll also find the third regional airport, Augusta Airport. Be sure to double check the state if you plan on flying to Augusta; you don't want to end up in Georgia when you've been planning to get in some whale watching for your spring vacation!

Things to know before you go

When and where?

Maine is perfect for a visit all year round. Depending on what tickles your fancy, however, will help you determine the best time of year to go and where to base yourself for your getaway.

1. Summer fun

This is the only time of year with date-specific times to visit. The summer season kicks off on the 4th of July. This is when seasonal businesses are open and ready for the influx of visitors, which typically ends for the year on Labor Day.

Summer is the perfect time to head to one of Maine's astoundingly beautiful beaches. It's hard to believe, but Maine has more coastline than California—3,478 miles compared to California's 3,427—but its rugged, rocky, and pine covered coast only has 70 miles worth of sandy beaches, all of which are undeniably beautiful.

2. Fall foliage

When fall comes, New England is one of the best places to go and see the stunning autumnal colors, and Maine, is no exception. In fact, whether you head inland to Baxter State Park or stick to the shoreline around Rockford, you are guaranteed a beautiful stay during the fall.

The peak time to see the red, auburn, and golden leaves decorate the trees falls into a relatively small window. Typically, you have from the last week of September through the first couple of weeks in October, so be sure to make all of your travel arrangements sooner rather than later.

Photo taken by Vincent Mistretta Photography.

3. Winter wonderland

When the winds of winter come to Maine, they bring a mountain of snow, so now is the time to head inland and find a spot to ski and snowboard. With the ski season starting in mid-November and great ski resorts, such as Sunday River, Mt. Abram Ski Resort, Sugarloaf, and more, you'll have your pick of places to enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. In fact, Maine boasts a long ski season, some years not ending until May!

Photo from Visit Maine.

4. Whale watching

Around mid-April each year, Maine plays host to some seasonal residents. This is the preferred time of year for pods of whales and dolphins to visit the state, as the abundance of local waters are rich in sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish—meaning you can head out on a whale-watching tour. Overlapping with the summer-fun crowd, both whales and dolphins tend to stay in residence until mid-October, when they start their migration south to warmer waters for the winter.

Photo from Dockside Guest Quarters & Restaurant.

Culture

1. Eating and drinking in Maine

Eating in Maine is a veritable treat. With the ocean playing such a big part in the state's tourism, it's hardly surprising that seafood is on most menus, especially fresh lobster. Maine is also famous for its blueberry pies, though, which have become so synonymous with Maine cuisine that, in 2011, the State Legislature designated blueberry pie as the official state dessert.

Maine also has its fair share of beverages to boast. In addition to a plethora of tasty New England IPAs that are brewed in the local breweries, other local specialties include a variety of apple ciders and Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy, which is sure to give you a lift!

2. Festivals

Maine isn't just a destination for foliage followers, ski enthusiasts, or people wild about wildlife! When you're planning your trip, you should consider timing it to fit in one of the festivals held here. Whether you want to celebrate food and drink—and let's be honest, who could blame you?—, music and movies, or even the great outdoors, Maine has got you covered.

Maine Lobster Festival

Sadly, we've all missed this one for 2019, but as fate would have it, it'll be ready and raring to go again in 2020. Held in the coastal city of Rockland during the first weekend of August each year, this is the perfect opportunity for visitors to indulge in fresh lobster over a long weekend. After all, you can't go to Maine and not try one of its most famous exports!

Maine International Film Festival

Held over a 10-day period, the Maine International Film Festival will be returning to big screens from July 10-19, 2020. Boasting the best in American independent and international cinema, the festival also features work from up-and-coming filmmakers. If you're a real film buff, you'll love the chance to get involved in informal Q&As, as well as meet-and-greets with the directors, actors, and composers involved in making the movies.

Photo from Maine Insights.

Maine Lakes Winter Carnival

This annual winter carnival, which takes place each year in February in the idyllic Highland Lakes, is the perfect opportunity for you to enjoy a whole range of winter-based activities. Dog sledding, horse-drawn wagon rides, snow sculpting, and an ice fishing competition are all big parts of the festival, and there are also kid-friendly activities and events, as well. If you're feeling particularly brave, or you fancy yourself as the next Wim Hof, you can get involved in the charity polar dip, too!

Photo from Portland Press Herald.

Learn more about glamping in Maine in this interview with one of our hosts in White Mountain National Park, and continue your New England adventure with tips and advice in our blog about a fall-foliage road trip.

Your guide to Greece in the summertime

By Eric Wright

As far back as 480 B.C, the rivaling city-states of Ancient Greece faced fierce power struggles from within, as well as the threat of slavery and death by distant tyrants with armies so massive they shook the ground. Throughout the passing centuries, the war-torn region experienced periods of conquest by the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, who left footprints that would echo throughout eternity. From these complex political movements and often brutal confrontations, the influx of new technologies, engineering techniques, and precious materials allowed Greece to prosper into the multi-faceted culture we see today.

On March 25, 1821, Greece declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire and was officially recognized as a country in its own right, ushering in an age of freedom. Nowadays, the spellbinding history surrounding the aptly named cradle of Western civilization sees over 30 million visitors flock to its lands each year to soak up the rich historical legacy, as well as enjoy world-class beaches and a continental climate.

We've compiled the ultimate summertime guide to Greece, the legendary home of the gods of Greek mythology.

Before you go and good to know

Getting there and around

The busiest airport in Greece is in the capital of Athens. This international hub receives direct flights from most European cities; however, the airports in Santorini and Crete also run several flights throughout Europe.

As a country with thousands of hidden islands, the ideal way to travel to them once in Greece is by ferry, while taking in the epic coastlines along the way. One of the best sites to book ferries is Ferryhopper, which offers daily trips to the major ports scattered across the peninsula. Although tickets don't generally sell out, it is a good idea to book at least a few weeks in advance to give yourself some peace of mind while vacationing.

In terms of traversing the islands, there are several options. Renting a car from Athens and taking it on the ferry can be a handy way to avoid wasting time once the ferry arrives; however, all of the islands have affordable rental companies that offer scooters, buggies, ATVs, and bikes at a reasonable price, too.

Culture

Widely considered to be the birthplace of democracy and Western civilization, Greece's evolution has transformed the country into one that enjoys a captivating mix of both history and myth. With a tale that traverses the Bronze age and the classical, Roman, and Ottoman periods, the secluded islands and vast mainland of Greece offer a compelling insight into human history.

Start your own Herculean adventure by visiting the birthplace of civilization at the Acropolis in Athens and the throne of Zeus at Mount Olympus on the mainland, all before journeying across the horizon to the Minoan palaces of Knossos on the island of Crete.

Events

Photo courtesy of Why Athens.

A great way to discover the roots of the time of legend is by attending one of the diverse and vivacious events around the country every year. The Athens Epidaurus Festival takes place from June to August and showcases ancient drama, plays, ballets, operas, art exhibitions, and classical music concerts around several theaters in Athens.

Other popular summer festivals include Megaro Gyzi Festival in Santorini every August, with its traditional music and eclectic art exhibitions; Naxos Festival in the Cyclades, showcasing theater performances and art workshops between July and August; and Sani Festival in Halkidiki, which offers dance performances and painting exhibitions from July to September.

Food and drink

The Greek's intense pride in their history means that many of the dishes found in the charming restaurants nowadays very closely resemble those eaten decades, even centuries, ago. One such ancient dish is the absolutely delicious, sun-dried octopus. Found in most fish taverns across the remote islands, the octopus is first hung out in the sun for up to 24 hours before being charcoal grilled, seasoned with fresh lemon, and washed down with a generous glass of some local ouzo. Truly a meal fit for Zeus himself!

Other tastebud-tingling dishes not to be missed in the land of the setting sun include creamy feta cheese salads; fried fish and calamari fresh from the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea; gyros filled with spit-roasted meat and Tzatziki sauce; the iconic, oven-baked Moussaka; and, of course, olives with lashings of that famous olive oil that has been perfected by the Greeks over thousands of years.

Places to visit

1. Athens

As the capital of Greece and one of the world's oldest cities, with a recorded history dating back over 3,000 years, Athens is an ideal way to start your Greek adventure. There are few sites as iconic as the 2,500-year-old Acropolis, which rests majestically on a rocky outcrop right in the heart of the city. Some of the monuments found at this fabled site are generally considered the greatest architectural achievements of Ancient Greece, such as the towering Parthenon. The city flourishes with history around every corner; however, those looking to delve deeper into how advanced the ancient Greeks were shouldn't miss the chance to visit The National Archaeological Museum—widely regarded as one of the best in the world.

In terms of soaking up the local culture, the Monastiraki Flea Market offers a veritable feast for the senses. It's one of the liveliest squares in the city, where locals come from far and wide to sell their wares. The crisscrossed streets of the neighborhood itself are also a great spot to take a much-needed break by sipping on a cocktail at one of the rooftop bars while gazing upon the monumental views of the magnificent Parthenon. After a busy day exploring, there's no better end to the day than watching the sunset over the Acropolis from Mount Lycabettus.

2. Mykonos

The whitewashed oasis of Mykonos is just a scenic, two-hour ferry ride from Athens, with tickets generally costing between 20 and 40 euros. Located in the center of the Cyclades, the picturesque paradise offers a fantastic mix of glamorous nightlife and old-world simplicity. The winding streets of the capital, Hora, or Mykonos Town, create a wonderful, labyrinth-like setting, with colorful wooden doors, charming local houses, and tiny Greek churches at every turn, while Little Venice boasts jaw-dropping vistas come sunset.

Other must-see corners of this island gem include the iconic Mykonos windmills, standing high on a hill near Mykonos Town; the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, with its four, unique chapels, each built at a different point in history; and the mythical birthplace of Apollo, Delos island, which showcases the ancient ruins of temples, villas, and theaters. If dancing until the sun comes up is what you're looking for, Cavo Paradiso is the place to be. The international DJ lineup at this beach club offers an unforgettable night of clubbing, meeting fellow partygoers, and watching an indescribable sunrise across the vast Aegean Sea.

3. Milos

As one of the lesser known islands, compared to tourist hubs, such as Santorini, the enchanting island of Milos truly is a hidden gem not to be missed during a Greek adventure. Generally cheaper and less crowded than its more popular counterparts, the undisturbed coves and caves of Milos make a welcome respite away from the crowds.

The beaches of Sarakiniko and Kleftiko will leave you breathless with the sheer beauty of their white cliffs and rich geology. Kleftiko, an old pirate hideaway, is only reachable by boat, meaning that taking a trip around the island from one of the many tour companies is an absolute must. At Sarakiniko, you'll find a moonscape, alien-like environment, where you can explore the hidden coves, bathe in the calm, shallow inlet, and even try some exhilarating cliff jumping.

There are so many remote beaches on the island that you'll need at least a few days and a rental car to truly get the most out of Milos, including Firiplaka Beach, Paliochori Beach, Firopotamos Beach, the ancient village of Klima, and the fishing village of Mantrakia, which has some of the best seafood found anywhere in Greece at the superb Medusa Restaurant.

4. Santorini

The quintessential image of the Greek islands for many is the blue domed churches of Santorini. This rugged, volcanic island affords some spectacular sunsets, and the whitewashed towns that dot the jagged slopes are sure to captivate visitors.

That world-renowned image of the dreamy, blue domes can be found in the quaint village of Oia, located on the northern point of the island. Although this may be one of the most picture-perfect spots on the planet, it's important to take note that the town gets incredibly busy in the afternoon—often with hour-long queues just to get that perfect snap. Try getting the early bus to arrive by around 9 a.m. so you can take in all the beauty away from the impending mobs.

Another unique spot in Santorini is Red Beach, found on the south side of the island, which is a curious red sand cove that is towered by dramatic, Mars-like cliffs. There are other black and gray sand beaches nearby that are worth a visit, including Perivolos, Perissa, and Kamari, while the towns of Akrotiri, Caldera, and Fira offer a generous combination of old-world charm and Instagram-worthy photo ops.

5. Crete

The ferry route from Santorini to Crete runs several times a day and takes just a few hours—making the historical center of Europe's earliest advanced civilization an essential stop while island-hopping. As the biggest island in Greece, it's advisable to prolong a stay at the birthplace of Zeus to take in all the godly sights on offer. Regularly spoken of as Europe's oldest city, the Palace of Knossos is an ancient architecture lover's dream, while the Sacred Monastery of Arkadi and the Koules Fortress both offer a glimpse into the more recent history of Crete.

Heavenly beaches are also scattered across the island, one of the most beautiful and notable being Balos Lagoon. Wedged between the capes of Gramvousa and Tigani, the shallow turquoise waters are simply divine. Another essential day trip while in Crete is Elafonisi Beach, made famous by the movie, "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." In this dreamlike nature reserve, the angelic pink sand and clear turquoise water offer a genuine celestial slice of paradise.

Local culture brims on the island, too, with Chania's Venetian Harbour, Lake Voulismeni, and Rethymnon Old Town containing a gorgeous blend of sweet cobblestoned streets, intriguing Renaissance architecture, and a plethora of lively bars and delectable local restaurants that serve fresh local produce.


For more exciting travel guides, jam-packed with helpful information for your upcoming trips, check out our Travel Guide series on the blog!

A glampers' guide to the Glastonbury Music Festival

By Fred Jéquier

Somerset, England, is famous for its rolling hills, sleepy towns and villages, and some great cider. But every June, thousands of people make their way to the quiet county for a wholly different reason. Since 1970, Glastonbury Music Festival has been a mecca for music and contemporary art fans across the world. With rock acts, such as T-Rex and Rage Against the Machine, Britpop favorites like Blur and Oasis, hip hop represented by the likes of Jay-Z, Divas in the form of Beyoncé, and country legends like Johnny Cash all gracing the world-renowned Pyramid Stage, the race is on to reserve a place at this iconic annual event the moment tickets are released.

Photo from Festicket.

The 2019 festival is no exception to previous years, with a plethora of new and established artists getting ready to play in front of thousands of fans, hoping to make their way into the annals of Glastonbury folklore like so many before them. Bands, such as The Killers, The Cure, Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson, and Wu-Tang Clan are just some of the many artists that fans can look forward to seeing this year.

To make your festival going experience as fun and hassle-free as possible, we've created the ultimate glampers' guide for the Glastonbury Music Festival.

Location, location, location

Despite being named after the historic town of Glastonbury, the festival itself is not actually in the town. The festival is held on Michael Eavis' family-owned Worthy Farm, which lies on the edge of the idyllic village of Pilton. You might be thinking that the last thing a small village in the West Country would want is over 100,000 people descending upon them for the biggest party of the summer. However, the villagers are allotted a certain amount of free tickets each year, which I'm sure we all can agree is both right and proper!

Photo from Geograph.

How to get there

With at least 135,000 people expected to make their way to Worthy Farm this summer, it is hardly surprising that getting there will prove to be an event in and of itself. The A303, the road connecting the West Country to the rest of Southern England, gets busy around Glastonbury and Pilton in the days leading up to the festival, so your best bet is to take the train to Castle Cary, the nearest station to both Pilton and the festival site. In fact, Castle Cary has become so synonymous with the festival that the station received an official dedication as "Castle Cary, Station of the Glastonbury Festival" in April of this year.

Photo from Somerset Live.

National Rail Enquiries has regular updates on departures and arrivals at all of the U.K.'s train stations, and for ease, there is a free app for your phone. Once you arrive at the station, there are shuttle buses to take festivalgoers to the site, which is about six miles from Castle Cary.

Food and drink

We're sure if you've ever been to a festival, you've had your fair share of overpriced, yet underwhelming, food. The last thing you want when you're in need of energy is bland and boring food, and thankfully, the stalls at Glastonbury this year promise to be anything but. Here are a few examples of food stalls that are sure to get your taste buds zinging before you head to the main stage and your ears start ringing.

1. Paellaria

Founded by four friends over 10 years ago, Paellaria cooks up various types of paella with some delicious, bold flavors, bright colors, and pretty generous portions. This is sure to fill you up before you head out on your next festival adventure.

2. Anna Mae's

Based in London, the Anna Mae's stall serves up mac 'n' cheese, the perfect comfort food after a day on your feet. Expect a load of cheese and a range of tasty sauces.

3. Biff's Jack Shack

Biff's Jack Shack is the perfect place to indulge in some junk food with a twist. With an entirely vegan menu, everyone can enjoy their stunning burgers and range of vegan fried chicken dishes. Biff's Jack Shack is gaining popularity as they hone their craft, so don't be surprised to see them at several other festivals this year, too.

4. "Food For A Fiver"

There's no getting away from the fact that at festivals, we often pay a premium for food and drink. The organizers at Glastonbury have teamed up with various vendors to provide affordable food for festivalgoers on a budget. Participating stalls all carry the "Food For A Fiver" sticker, and you can look forward to drink deals, meal deals, and even smoothies, milkshakes, coffees, and cakes.

Photo from NME.

What to bring

There are certain items that we always need to pack when getting ready for a festival. Beyond the obvious items, such as a tent and a roll mat, thanks to British summers being somewhat unpredictable, there are obviously a few essentials that you'll need to remember so you're ready for all eventualities.

Photo from GlastoFestFeed.

1. Wellies

All it takes is a couple of hours of rain, and the whole site can end up covered in wet mud. Wellies are a real must to keep your feet dry and your mood bright through any rainy weather. There's nothing worse than going for a three-day camping trip and having to endure soggy socks and damp trainers.

Photo from The Independent.

2. Portable phone charger

It happens to all of us. It's the final night of the festival, and half of the group want to see The Killers, but the rest of the group want to head to the other side of the site to watch The Chemical Brothers. Once the sets are done, you need to find the rest of the group so you can enjoy the rest of the festival together, but after a whole day, your phone will inevitably be running low. Thankfully, there are numerous portable phone chargers of varying sizes and prices to choose from, so you can rest assured that you'll be able to find the rest of your group when the time comes.

3. Reusable water bottle

After the festival has come to an end, and everyone has made their way home to hot showers and comfy beds, the work for the organizers is not yet over. The end of the festival means the start of the clean-up, and over the years, there has been an enormous amount of rubbish to be disposed of. After 1.3 million bottles of water were bought at the festival in 2017, the organizers decided to ban plastic water bottles, so you will need to bring your own. There are free water stations throughout the site, so you can fill them up while going from stage to stage.


If you enjoy festivals but want to avoid muddy campsites, check out some of our great festival glamping sites!

Travel Guide: California's wine regions

By Eric Wright

Over 200 years ago, Franciscan missionaries, led by Spanish priest Saint Junípero Serra, started the first Roman Catholic mission to California—Mission San Diego de Alcalá—and the future of The Golden State was altered forever. Along with planting palm trees to provide palm fronds for Palm Sunday, wine was needed for communion, leading to the first sustained vineyard. Serra went on to found a further eight California missions earning himself the nickname "Father of California Wine."

Although wine production continued to steadily grow in the region, marketing became a problem for Southern California winemakers during the mid-1900s until a blind tasting competition was held in Paris in 1976. The panel of French wine experts selected three of the Californian Chardonnays in the top four, shocking the wine community and effectively opening up the U.S wine market to the world.

Nowadays, California is the fourth largest wine producer in the world, with thousands of vineyards shipping up to 250 million cases throughout the globe annually. The winding country roads and elegant wineries attract visitors from all over the world—providing a getaway full of good food, quaint towns, and of course, fine wines!

Before you go and good to know

Getting there and around

Whether you're heading up north to check out the vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Mendocino Anderson Valley or making your way south in search of Paso Robles and Santa Barbara, San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK), and Sacramento (SMF) airports all offer a great central starting point to explore California's wine regions.

Most visitors to the area rent a car at the airport upon arrival, and with the charming country lanes and great year-round weather, cruising around with the windows down and a favorite tune on the stereo is sure to be a highlight in this idyllic region.

Culture

Events

Apart from world-renowned wines, California's wine country is full of rich history, imaginative artistry, and unforgettable aerial exploits. Napa Valley's centuries-old settlements offer a fascinating afternoon while the plazas in town showcase curious Napa ARTwalk exhibitions. During June, the Country Summer Music Festival boasts some of the countries best musicians, while the Beerfest fundraiser in Santa Rosa provides a mouthwatering respite for the lager lovers in the group.

For a truly magical experience, rising up through the clouds over the stunningly beautiful meadows and valleys in a hot air balloon will make for the perfect end to the vacation.

Food and drink

With literally thousands of options for wine tasting in the region, it's important to keep those stomachs full and content while roadtripping through the scenic meadows. The customary cheese board may leave you feeling a bit peckish, so a visit to a high-end Michelin star restaurant or a traditional farm-to-table experience may be on the cards.

Some highlights in the area include Kenzo Napa, a sushi restaurant in Napa that is led by three-Michelin-starred chef Hiroyuki Kanda; Guiso Latin Fusion in Healdsburg with its Caribbean and Salvadorian mix; St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa with its multi-course small dishes and wine pairings; and Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens in Fulton that offers locally-sourced farm-to-table meals.

Places to visit

1. Anderson Valley in Mendocino

With over 90 wineries, an incredible variety of grapes, and sustainable eco-friendly and organic practices, the progressive winemakers and tasting rooms of Mendocino County offer a less crowded and more wallet-friendly alternative to the more well-known Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Just a two-hour drive north of San Fransisco on Highway 101 through Sonoma County and forested hillsides will lead you to Anderson Valley, famous for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Alsace varieties of Pinot Gris and Riesling.

One of the premier spots to savor refined Pinot Noirs is Goldeneye Winery in Philo, which offers seated wine tastings from just $15, as well as more personalized experiences, such as elevated tasting sessions, bubbles and caviar, and a guided wine tour of the estate.

The friendly, small-town atmosphere in the area means that visitors can often expect to find themselves chatting with the founder of the winery while enjoying a wine tasting for as little as $5! One such family-owned winery is Foursight Wines in Booneville, which the Charles family has owned since 1943. Other stops include Balo Vineyards with its relaxed atmosphere; Drew Family Cellars tasting rooms; and the father-and-son-run Baxter Winery that boasts a reputable Pinot Noir.

2. Napa Valley

Generally regarded as one of the premier winemaking regions in the world, Napa Valley's fertile soil and pleasant year-round weather allow for top-quality wine grapes to thrive here. Commercial wine production in the area dates all the way back to the 1800s, although it wasn't until the results of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 that the area's fine wines received global recognition.

Today, some 5 million people visit the over 400 wineries every year, allowing vacationers to sip some award-winning wines while soaking in the stunning vineyard views and vibrant sunshine. Whether its fruity Merlots, full-bodied Cabernets, or superior Chardonnays you're looking for, the tasting rooms at Darioush Winery, Chateau Montelena, V.Sattui Winery, Luna Vineyards, and Andretti Winery offer an eclectic mix of celebrity-run wineries, modern estates, and grand châteaus—all while serving some of the best wines found anywhere in the world.

With the valley floor spanning just five miles across and 30 miles at its longest point, Napa Valley is actually one of the smallest winemaking regions, in addition to being one of the most famous, making it the ideal day trip. When touring the gorgeous estates and vineyards, be sure to try a glass of the renowned king of Napa, the prized Cabernet Sauvignon!

3. Sonoma Valley

Less than an hour's drive from Napa, Sonoma Valley is home to over 80 wineries and picture-perfect vineyards that sprawl over 10,000 acres of land. Heralded as the birthplace of California's commercial wine industry in the 1850s, visitors to this fabulous spot can experience a wine-tasting afternoon at Gundlach Bundschu, the state's oldest continuously family-run winery that was founded back in 1858.

The Carneros wine region in the south abounds with top-notch Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while Syrah and regional white varietals, such as Roussanne and Marsanne, are also becoming popular in the quaint tasting rooms. Traveling on past the Boyes Hot Springs puts you in the mountainous terrain of Glen Ellen, where old-vine Zinfandel has been grown since the 1850s.

A visit to Sonoma wouldn't be complete without a trip to Buena Vista Winery, the oldest commercial winery in California founded in 1857. Other top stops in the area include Ravenswood Winery with its superb Zinfandel; Benziger Winery with its stunning setting in an impressive volcanic bowl; and the picturesque, 16,000-square-foot Ledson Winery inspired by French Normandy.

Those looking for some small town charm shouldn't miss the chance to wander the adorable streets of Healdsburg, with its eclectic shops, buzzing art galleries, and top-notch restaurants and bars. Set between three of the premier wine-growing regions in the area—the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley—Healdsburg makes for the perfect Sonoma Valley pit stop.

4. Santa Cruz Mountains

Encompassing approximately 480,000 acres and 1,300 acres of wine grapes, the majestic ridges and coastal mountains of Santa Cruz create the ideal microclimate for world-class wine production. An iconic drive from San Fransisco along an epic 50-mile stretch of towering peaks and endless ocean will lead you to this special terrain that is home to over 70 wineries.

Santa Cruz itself is a charming coastal town, surrounded by soaring redwoods and full of stylish boutiques and eateries. The city even enjoys 300 days of sunshine each year! Winding country roads make their way up from the coast to the mountainous wine region, where Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir tastings can be enjoyed at former mill, Storrs Winery, or Pelican Ranch, which has some of the best Burgundy and Rhone-style varietals in the area.

These quiet hillsides are dotted with small vineyards just waiting to be explored like Ridge Vineyards, generally regarded as one of the best in the area; the MJA Vineyards Tasting Room, with its racy selection of wines, such as "Still Horny," "French Kiss," and "Sweet Thang"; and Storrs Winery & Vineyards, which offers Pinot Noir varietals, including Dijon and Pommard, as well as French varietals like Burgundy.

With so many tasting rooms and vineyards to discover in this unique region, it's advisable to allow a few days to truly soak up the mellow atmosphere of the mountainous wine country, as well as the boho-chic vibe and stunning coastline of the city of Santa Cruz.

5. Paso Robles

Home to more than 200 wineries, the enchanting area of Paso Robles is easily accessible from both Los Angeles and San Francisco via the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. The area abounds with wines made from grapes originally grown in Rhône, France, including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Picpoul Blanc, Marsanne, and Roussanne, with Cabernet Sauvignon increasingly gaining in popularity. The optimal grape-growing conditions found here are thanks to the best day-to-night temperature swing in California, which brings with it a long growing season, unique microclimates, and a variety of soil types.

Wine aficionados are spoiled for choice with the selection of tasting rooms to explore, and the expansive river valley floodplains and boundless slopes offer brilliant driving conditions. One of the top winemakers to visit is Justin Winery, with its 25 vintages, including Isosceles—owner Justin Baldwin's interpretation of a big Bordeaux,, which was named in the top 10 wines on the planet in 2000 by Wine Spectator.

Other unmissable stops include the gorgeous Bianchi Winery, California's Zinfandel Champion in 2014; the romantic Villa San Juliette, owned by American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe; Halter Ranch, with its sustainably farmed Rhône and Bordeaux wines; and Eberle Winery and its incredible wine cave!

The town of Paso Robles town itself has a laid-back atmosphere, with a strong wild west soul. After some quality wine tasting during the day, visitors can head over to the Vina Robles Amphitheater for some live music; dine at some farm-to-table restaurants, such as Thomas Hill Organics; or crack open a cold one at BarrelHouse Brewing Co. while listening to local bands.

6. Santa Barbara

The unique geography and mild climate of Santa Barbara's wine country make the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys two of the most beautiful wine producing regions in the world. The perfect location of "America's Riviera" means that visitors can enjoy the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, all while having world-class surfing and stunning coastlines at just 30 minutes away.

The rolling hills of Santa Barbara wine country can be found nestled between two epic mountain ranges, rising up to 3,400 feet, and the most popular wines made here include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc. Within the Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyard spans over 900 acres and is renowned for its top class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while the 77,000 acres of the Santa Ynez Valley are known for their Bordeaux blends, Rhône blends, and Zinfandels, as well as a crisp Sauvignon Blanc at Brander Vineyard, which offers tastings seven days a week.

Some other highlights in the area include Presqu'ile Winery, located in the north, with its beautiful tasting rooms and sweeping view; Municipal Winemakers, which offers a casual, beach vibe; Brander Vineyard and its ongoing quest for the perfect Sauvignon blanc; and Rusack Vineyards, a boutique vinyeard with seemingly endless fields of gorgeous vines amid the natural beauty of Ballard Canyon.


Debating where to stay in California's Wine Country? Let us help you out—click here!

Travel Guide: The Netherlands

By Eleanor Stanesby

Located in northwestern Europe, the Netherlands is best known for its interconnected canals, fields of tulips, and iconic windmills. This flat and low-elevation country borders Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea, and everything you'll stumble upon is bound to be picturesque...the famous cities, the quaint towns, and even the beaches! Approximately 15 million tourists visit the Netherlands each year, yearning to be immersed in its modern culture and relaxed way of life.

We've created this travel guide to give you some top tips on how to have the best trip possible in this famed European country!

Good to know before you go

Getting there and getting around

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the main international airport in the Netherlands and the third largest in Europe. If you're planning on traveling to the Netherlands from outside of Europe, this airport puts you just 6 kilometers away from the busy capital of Amsterdam. Conveniently accessed by train, Dutch Railways has a service that goes directly to Amsterdam Central Station, allowing you to access all that the city has to offer in just 15 minutes.

City Travel

Photo from SmarterTravel.

The public transportation here is second to none—ranked fourth in the world!—and is the best way to travel with ease, both inside the cities and across the country. Alternatively, you can rent a bike and experience the Netherlands' cycling culture.

Biking around the city is truly the best mode of travel, not only for viewing the city, but also to skirt around quickly. You are sure to see thousands of them on your trip, but be sure to keep an eye out when crossing the roads, as it's likely a bike will becoming your way instead of a car! A bike can be rented for anywhere from 10€ to 40€ per day, depending on how long you're renting for and from which shop.

Cross-country travel

Photo from EuRail.

Traveling across the country is made easy, thanks to Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the national railway, which connects almost every town in the nation and boasts over 400 stations. To cover long distances, the high-speed trains are recommended, as they allow you to get to a different city or town very quickly. The prices are dependent upon how far you're traveling—the further you go, the more expensive! Be sure to snag a window seat to enjoy the serene views of the Dutch countryside.

The most effective way to travel on trains is to buy a 7.50€ OV-chipkaart that you can use for all trains in the Netherlands. The card acts as the ticket and can be topped up at the machines that are conveniently located at every station. As you start your journey, swipe in at the barriers and swipe out when you arrive at your destination; this calculates your route and deducts the correct amount from your card.

Useful phrases

Culture


Food and drink

One of the best experiences of visiting a new country is tasting all the different foods and drinks it has to offer. The Netherlands has a very traditional way of cooking and serving food, and every dish you try is guaranteed to be hearty and wholesome, with ingredients grown by skillful farmers or freshly caught on the coast. Stamppot is the traditional dish usually eaten on a cold winter's day: a mix of mashed potatoes, kale, carrots, sauerkraut, and rookworst sausage.

Religion

The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in the world, with just over half of the population not identifying as being of any religion. The most predominant religion, however, is Roman Catholicism, dating back to the 16th century.

Events

The tulip festival Amsterdam. Photo from TulipsinHolland.

The Tulip festival in Amsterdam sees the streets being filled with vibrant colors every which way you glance. The tulip is the symbol of the Netherlands dating back to the 17th century and the Ottoman empire, withstanding economic impact for the country, both historically and in present day.

Amsterdam celebrates this through the thousands of tulips throughout the city, diverse in both color and variation. The motto of the annual Tulip Festival is "A tulip for every citizen," and there are 85 locations around the city that boast over 500,000 flowers total. The unique sea of colors create natural beauty in the middle of a built-up city and is not a sight to be missed.

Places to visit

Most people visiting the Netherlands head straight for Amsterdam. While it's definitely a city you'll want to check off your bucket list, make sure to hit up other cities to experience even more of the Dutch culture, architecture, and artistic jewels.

The Hague

Head to The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands, for a number of sites rich in history and politics. If your heading there in summer, even better, as you'll get to relax on the serene beaches lining the coast of the North Sea.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is far from a traditional Dutch city. After being destroyed in WWII, it was rebuilt with a totally unique architecture. You can check out the unconventional cubed houses and the city's art scene, both on the street and in the museums. This is sure to be different from anything else you will visit on your travels in the Netherlands!

Outside the city

If big cities aren't your forte, make sure to check out the incredible natural sites scattered throughout the Netherlands, ensuring a more tranquil sightseeing experience.

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Photo from Planetware.

Become acquainted with nature in the largest continuous nature reserve the country has to offer. The landscape is so diverse that you can choose to either hike or cycle, all while looking out for the abundant wildlife the park holds.

The Windmills of Kinderdijk

Photo from Holland.com.

Located in the wetlands of Dordrecht—the oldest city in Holland—these windmills were built in 1740 to help control flooding. Now declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the long-standing windmills are one of the most photographed places in the whole country.

The Garden of Europe

Nicked name "The Garden of Europe," Keukenhof is the world's largest flower garden. The garden holds more than 7 million flowers all diverse in color, lining streams and waterfalls. A peaceful meander of this vibrant landscape sounds heavenly for a little bit of relaxation.

Safety while abroad

Luckily, the Netherlands is one of the safest countries in Europe. You can never be too careful, though, and adequately preparing before visiting a new country makes travel plans a lot smoother.

Visas

The worry of traveling to different countries can be the long-winded visa processes and documentation. The Netherlands, however, is a Schengen country, which means traveling there is made straightforward for most.

Due to the Netherlands forming part of this agreement, the country is completely visa-free. This means American, Australian, and Canadian citizens can visit without obtaining a visa, as long as their stay does not exceed 90 days. EU citizens also have the freedom of travel without the hassle of any visa processes.

What you'll need:

  • Valid Passport
  • Documentation with purpose of stay and proof of sufficient financial means

Any citizens traveling from one of the other 25 Schengen countries are granted free movement, with no internal borders in the whole of this area!

These are our top tips, but don't forget to consult your home country's government websites for updates on travel and more information:

Health and Safety

  • The European emergency number is 112 and will connect anyone to the police, fire department, or to an ambulance.
  • There is safe and drinkable tap water throughout the country.
  • No vaccines are required in order to travel to the Netherlands.

Where to stay

Vacation in this modern cabin just outside the city of Amsterdam.

Be truly immersed in nature with a stay at this pod rental in Veluwezoom National Park.

Keep exploring on Glamping Hub to find some unique accommodations for your stay in the Netherlands! Don't forget to check out our other travel guides for more top tips for other destinations, too.

Travel Guide: Rio de Janeiro

By Mikaela Amundson

Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant gem on the eastern coast of Brazil, drawing 2.8 million international tourists each year. With 80 kilometers of beaches, countless natural wonders, and a strong sense of culture, Rio is a dream getaway. This large metro area, with 12 million residents, is located in the southeastern part of Brazil, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, on Guanabara Bay. Surrounded by mountains, ocean, forests, and more, a visit to Rio is a nature-lover's paradise, while still allowing you to turn to the city for music, dancing, food, and festivals for an amazing cultural time.

With so much to do and see, we've created a travel guide so you can experience it all. Read on and see what's waiting for you in Rio!

A view of Rio de Janeiro and it's most iconic landmark: the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado.

Good to know before you go

Getting there and around

Galeão International Airport, otherwise known as Rio de Janeiro–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, has international connections with 19 other countries, as well as domestic flights within Brazil. Located conveniently on the island of Galeão right in the bay, this airport is accessible and super convenient.

Within the city, buses are the main form of public transportation, along with Rio's three subway lines and 60 Bike Rio bicycle sharing stations. Public transportation in Rio is extremely affordable, with bus rides costing only $3.80 reals (BRL), or $1 USD. Rio also boasts the Santa Teresa Tram, the oldest operating electric tram in all of South America, which is a popular tourist activity.

Useful Phrases

Culture

Food and drink

What better way to see a city than to eat your way through it? Try some of the street food that Brazil is known for, like pão de queijo (cheese bread), picanha, cassava chips, and feijoada—Brazil’s national dish. Açaí, the mega-popular, millennial smoothie ingredient, originates from the Amazon and is available all over Rio, especially by the beach. Have a pastel for breakfast from the local market, commonly filled with meat, cheese, and other tasty treats. Sardines are the most popular fish in Rio and are best served grilled with lime.

Events

When you think of Rio, you immediately think of its most famous event—Carnaval. This six-day party, which culminates the day before Lent begins, is known for it's outrageous costumes, parade floats, and all-night celebrations. Rio is said to have the largest carnival celebration in the world and draws insanely large crowds.

The largest parade is held at the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, a huge amphitheater that seats 90,000 people, all craning to see the outlandish parade floats and scores of dancers and musicians. Local neighborhood groups, which are called "samba schools," put together displays and parade down through the Sambadrome with music, dancing, and celebrations for huge cheering crowds. Outside the "samba parades," there are rowdy street fairs near Ipanema, lavish balls at Copacabana, and other parties just about everywhere you turn.

Other than Carnaval, New Year's Eve is a huge celebration at Copacabana Beach. Dressed all in white, people crowd the beaches for shows, music, dancing, and an enormous fireworks display. It also wouldn't be complete without the traditional spraying of champagne at midnight!

Religion

The majority of the population of Rio is Christian, with the larger part of that identifying as catholic, which stems from the country's Spanish and Portuguese roots. Catholicism traveled to these colonies in the early 16th century, when the city of Rio de Janeiro was established.

Places to visit

Ipanema

Voted the best city beach in the world by CNN in 2012, Ipanema is famed for more than just the woman in Frank Sinatra's legendary song. This beach has surfing, perfect sand, walking trails, and amazing sunset views—all within walking distance of the city.

Copacabana

Another location enshrined in song with local bossa nova flair, Copacabana is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Rio. It's famous, crescent-shaped beach and lovely boardwalk lined with mosaics are loved by locals and visitors alike.

Christ the Redeemer on Mount Corcovado

At almost 100 feet tall and perched atop the most visible mountain the Rio, this iconic statue has become a symbol both for the city and Brazil as a country. Accessible only by train, visiting Christ the Redeemer, named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World," is a must-see.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Another remarkable natural feature within the city, Sugarloaf Mountain offers unbeatable views of the bay, the city, and the ocean. Named after piles of sugar cane exported out of the country in the 16th century, this peak is accessible by cable car and known as the best view in all of Rio.

Tijuca National Park

The world's first urban forest and an UNESCO Environmental Reserve, Tijuaca is the perfect place to visit for nature lovers. Offering super accessible hiking, view points, waterfalls, and wildlife, this park is an easy drive from the city and shouldn't be missed.

Outside the city

Large sprawling parks abound outside of Rio, like Juarez Frotté Municipal Park, offering waterfalls, rainforest views, and hiking—a total nature immersion for adventurous travelers.

Stay in this rainforest suite to be close to hiking trails, waterfalls, and amazing nature views.

Remote beaches are also a must-do in this area of Brazil, and Paraty-Mirim Beach is one of our favorites. With gorgeous sand, tropical fjords, and amazing lookouts, this area is a perfect spot for a getaway.

Immerse yourself in the rainforest from this amazing hut near the beach—complete with an outdoor bathtub.

Safety and essentials

Health

  • The CDC recommends typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever vaccinations for those traveling to Brazil, especially if planning to head into the forest or other natural areas.
  • Mosquitoes are common and can carry harmful diseases. When traveling out in forested areas, wear long pants and sleeves and bring along a strong insect repellent.

Visas

Brazil's visa requirements are reciprocal, so if your country requires Brazilian citizens to obtain one for your home country, then you need one to visit Brazil. U.S., Canadian, and Australian citizens need to obtain visas in advance for tourism purposes, but U.K., New Zealand, French, and German citizens do not.

Safety

  • Important emergency numbers are 190 for Police, 193 for Fire and Ambulance, and 021 for Tourist Police.
  • Tap water may be safe to drink in larger cities but is generally known to taste awful. In remote areas, the water quality is questionable. We recommend that you stick to bottled or boiled water only.
  • Be cautious of petty crime and theft. Walk with purpose and in groups, don't carry large amounts of cash, and always stay alert.

Remember to always consult your home country's travel agencies and websites for more information, too:

Rio awaits!

Armed with this guide, you're now ready to get on out there and explore Rio and the surrounding area. Whether you choose to celebrate Carnaval or go hiking in the Amazon, you're bound to have an amazing time—enjoy!




Keep exploring on Glamping Hub to find your perfect Brazilian getaway! Be sure to check out a few of our other guides here and here for even more options.

Travel Guide: Banff National Park

By Amber Woolley

Banff National Park is home to sensational mountains, vast, white glaciers, stunning alpine meadows, and an abundance of wildlife. Located in Alberta in the Rocky Mountains, this is Canada's first-ever National Park, and it's quite amazing. From a quaint peaceful town with plenty of restaurants and boutiques to an array of outdoor activities, Banff is one place that is never short on adventure. Since this breathtaking place has so much to offer, we don't want you to miss out on any opportunities, so we've created a travel guide to make your trip even more spectacular.

Good to know before you go

Getting there and around

If you are flying in, Calgary, in Alberta, is the main city and the easiest way to get to Banff National Park. Calgary International Airport (YYC) is 88 miles from the charming town of Banff, which will take you approximately 1.5 hours to reach by car. You can also get to Banff and Lake Louise by the readily-available local bus services for around $71 per person.

If you want to travel to Banff by direct train and fancy traveling in style, it is recommended you take the Rocky Mountaineer—where you can uncover this hidden world of unparalleled beauty and experience incredible views of the Canadian Rockies.

The best way to get around Banff National Park is to drive your own car or rent one from a car rental service. It is also important you pick up a park pass, which can be purchased upon entry to the park or in advance online.

For those wanting a truly relaxing getaway where they can focus solely on the incredible scenery, public transport runs throughout the park, making travel from one beautiful spot to the next completely stress-free. Roam is a regular hybrid bus service and you can find out more information here.

Useful Facts

Popular spots you don't want to miss

Every destination in Banff National Park is beautiful and it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Upper Hot Springs

Banff Upper Hot Springs
Photo sourced from Banff and Lake Louise.

First, we'll begin with the discovery that led to the development of Banff National Park: the hot springs. These were discovered in 1883 by three railway workers looking for healing and wellness. The Upper Hot Springs are one of nine naturally occurring hot springs at Banff. You will experience a striking and scenic backdrop while unwinding in steamy, hot mineral water—sure to be a highlight of your vacation!

Bow Falls

Another popular destination that can't be missed is Bow Falls, which is within walking distance from Banff. The stunning waterfall is shallow, but wide, and is caused by the change of course in the Bow River. Enjoy the view, take a picnic, or hike along the trail by the side of the falls.

Banff Gondola

Fancy a thrill? The Banff Gondola is a must! Experience a 360-degree, bird's eye view of six scenic mountain ranges from 7,486 feet above sea level! This scenic cableway ride will provide beautiful mountain vistas in every direction and will take you up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain.

Trip savvy: Activities on a budget

Visiting Banff doesn't have to be a costly trip; being in the heart of Canada's most renowned park is sufficient enough! Banff National Park is not short of low-cost and free activities that you should definitely take advantage of.

Wildlife viewing

When you step into Banff National Park, the chances are very high that you'll catch a glimpse of a grizzly bear, a mountain goat, or one of the many amazing bird species in the area. Wildlife viewing is also a perfect and exciting activity that can be done with the whole family and is completely free.

Sometimes, it really does help to know the right spot and the right time to be there. Here are some tips to optimize your chances:

1. Choose a quiet area. You have a higher chance of spotting wildlife if there are fewer tourists. A good recommendation is Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A), which is a less-traveled road. Typically, this is where you will find wolves, black bears, deer, and sheep.

2. Search at the right time. Yes, you probably guessed, this means early mornings. Animals are more likely to be feeding at lower levels. If you are not an early riser, the next optimal time is just before dusk.

3. Be respectful and keep your distance. Getting too close to animals can threaten their survival. Seeing them in their natural environment and giving them space is an important wildlife viewing tip.

Self-guided walking tours

Historic Ski Village of Banff
Photo sourced from SKI Magazine.

Do you want to discover more about Banff? A self-guided walking tour is a fun and interesting way to learn about the town's history. Download this easy PDF, which will provide you with five tours that have been optimized for mobile viewing.

Hiking

With a 1,000 miles of trails, hiking in Banff National Park is full of adventure, has some of the world's most spectacular views, and is completely free of charge. The park is perfect for those wanting an easy stroll, as well as those who desire a more ambitious hike. Plain of Six Glaciers is a rewarding hike that should definitely make it onto your bucket list. This hike has one of the most accessible trails and offers extraordinary views of the mountains surrounding Lake Louise.

Banff National Park is also dog-friendly for those traveling with their pet. The only stipulations are that your dog must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. There are, however, some trails where dogs are not allowed so be sure to check this out beforehand.

Hot tip: Check the latest trail conditions with Parks Canada before you begin your adventure.

Upcoming Events

Events in Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
Photo sourced from Banff and Lake Louise.

There are many exciting events all year round at Banff National Park, so be sure to check the calendar before you book your vacation. The following are some examples of the types of events offered:

  • Alpenglow Festival at the Banff Gondola: March 1, 2019
  • Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: April 26, 2019
  • Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival - October 26-November 3, 2019

Safety

Before you depart to one of the worlds most beautiful and wild places, it is important you are all clued up on some important safety tips.

Natural Hazards

Natural hazards can be a big part of the National Park experience, but their impact can be reduced if you are well informed and prepared. If you want to read more on how to keep safe in the outdoors, visit AdventureSmart!

Driving

If driving, you must be prepared for a variety of weather conditions, even at all times of the year. At higher elevations, it may even snow during the summer. This is why it's extremely important to drive with caution at all times. A top tip is to equip your car with the essentials in case of an emergency, such as a shovel, a flashlight, a blanket, food, and water.

Mountain safety tips

  • Never hike alone.
  • Plan your trip beforehand and take a map.
  • Pack a flashlight.
  • Take extra clothes.
  • Bring a first aid kit.
  • Ensure your cell phone is fully charged.

Animal Safety

Wildlife behavior is unpredictable, and animals can get stressed when their space is invaded by humans, especially when they are trying to protect their offspring. It is important to view and photograph the animals from a sensible distance. In general, it is recommended to stay back 100 meters from bears (unless you are inside a vehicle); 30 meters from all other large species; and 200 meters from coyote, fox, or wolf dens.

Health

  • Be sure to take out comprehensive health insurance before your trip.
  • Canada has no essential vaccinations; however, as always, there are some that are recommended by the World Health Organization, such as hepatitis A and B, rabies, meningitis, and MMR.
  • Even though Canada is an industrialized country, bug bites can still spread diseases. Try to avoid bug bites, especially when you will be spending a lot of time outside and in wooded areas. It is recommended to take an insect repellent along.

Where to Stay

If you're visiting Banff National Park, it is already clear you love the outdoors and adventure. This cozy lodge is situated right in the heart of Banff National Park and has breathtaking views of Bow Lake. The lodge is located in the ideal spot to access the famous Canadian Glaciers, waterfalls, and Rocky Mountains, as well as being only a 30-minute drive from the town of Banff.

If you are looking for an authentic ski chalet, this log cabin is the perfect spot for you. With a central location that gives you access to an array of activities, guests are never far from adventure, all while knowing they have a cozy sanctuary to relax in at the end of the day.


Want to keep exploring our glamping accommodations in Canada? Check out our complete collection here!

Travel Guide: Pro Tips for Traveling In and Around Mexico

By Alexandra McGowan

Mexico is an extraordinary country with a rugged and mysterious landscape ready to enchant. Uncovering the mysterious of Mexico's ancient history, while discovering the exciting cuisine and the stunning architecture, is only part of what will make this vacation something a little different. Sprinkle on top sprawling jungles, soaring peaks, and luscious beaches, and it's sure to become unforgettable.

This is a photo of El Castillo

Good to know before you go

This is an infographic of Mexican travel essentials
This is an infographic about Mexican slang

Getting there and around

With 30 Mexican airports with direct flights from the U.S., it couldn't be easier to start your next vacation in this Central American paradise. Fear not if you're coming from further afield, Cancun is particularly easy to reach if you're heading in from Europe.

Taking a car across the border is also an option and gives you the flexibility that perhaps a flight wouldn't. With 40 official crossing points along the border, there's no excuse not to pack your surfboard and hit the waves on the Mexican coast.

Just a word of warning, it's an idea to pack some spare parts with you. In the case of a break down along the way it's good to be prepared. Also, be sure to take a look at the safety information along your planned route in advance, just in case you need to adapt your plans.

All cars must have a Temporary Vehicle Import Permit, which must be canceled before you drive back across the border. This little extra bit of paperwork is sure to be worth your while when you hit the open road with no boundaries on your adventure.

This is a picture of a road trip.

If you prefer, head across the border with one of two bus companies, Greyhound or Omnibus Mexicanos. Not only do they have great links across the border, but will also give you a fantastic opportunity to take in the scenery as you head south. Traveling with like-minded travelers might also be the perfect way to enrich your travel plans with some new tips and pointers.

Fancy arriving into Mexico a little differently? We'd suggest zooming across the water in the Belize Water Taxi. This out-of-the-box travel option will make sure you enjoy new experiences from the get-go.

Mexico isn't known for its cycling tours, and if you plan to tour the country on two wheels you might be in for a bumpy ride. However, cycling in cities is becoming more popular with some of the bigger cities, such as Mexico City and Guadalajara, introducing a few cycle lanes. This could be a wonderfully relaxing way to explore the city while also keeping active. If you're looking to travel a little further, you can head out on the high seas and take a boat between Baja California and the Mexican mainland.

This is a picture of a boat

Mexico has frequent buses and a good road network though there can be occasional safety risks. To avoid risks, try to use toll highways whenever you can. Traveling first class will also reduce risks. It's best to keep valuables with you, but putting baggage in the hold should be safe; make sure to get a receipt for your baggage, though. It's fine to buy bus tickets on the day of at the bus stations. If it's a particularly busy route, buying from a bus ticket agency in the center of town would be advisable.

Hitting the open road with your own set of wheels will be sure to give you a freedom like no other and is the ideal way to lead your own adventure. With 6,000 kilometers of toll highways, the road conditions are fair. There are frequent gas stations, but it's good practice to fill up when you can in rural areas.

It's best to avoid driving at night due to visibility issues. Also note that if you plan to travel the roads of Mexico City, your gallivanting will be brought to a halt on Sundays. Cars are banned from the city's road one day a week.

Luckily, if you ever need a helping hand Mexico boasts "Green Angels," which are mechanics that patrol the highways to help out tourists in motoring difficulty. Taxicolectivos and microbuses are also great ways to hit the open road in a less cumbersome vehicle.

If you prefer to let the train take the strain, why not enjoy the famous Ferrocarril Chihuahua Pacífico Route, starting from the Sierra Madre Occidental to Los Mochis and Chihuahua? The Copper Canyon Railway will impress. Be sure to experience this exhilarating railway journey and pass over its 37 bridges and through its 86 tunnels!

This is a picture of a train

Useful Facts

This is an infographic of facts about Mexico

Culture

Food and Drink

This vast and complex country has a vibrant culture that you are sure to enjoy, no matter where you choose to go. The complexity and variation is echoed in the colorful cuisine and striking history, commemorated and remembered in many events throughout the year.

This photo is of Mexican tacos

The most important staple in Mexican cuisine is corn and has been since the crop was developed there over 7,000 years ago. Travelers need not worry, though; this seemingly simple staple can produce so much more than the typical, albeit delicious, taco. Try fried tortillas in the form of tostadas, piled high with beans, cheese, meat, and/or seafood.

Wake up to a beautiful coastal view and try the spicy shrimp and octopus cocktails. Or how about enjoying a quick tasty snack of elote, corn on the cob with a variety of herbs and spices? Then spend a lazy afternoon with huevos rancheros as comfort food or try some churros for a sweet treat? Heading into the evening kick back and relax while enjoying Kahlúa, a famous Mexican liquor made with coffee and rum.

History and Heritage

Mexico's history is as varied as its cuisine. The country boasts awe-inspiring ancient ruins from the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzáto to the Aztec sights of the Pyramids of Teotihuacán. For the budding archaeologists or the aspiring historians, these sights will undoubtedly be the highlight of the trip.

If your visit is lucky enough to coincide with the Winter Solstice, you could get to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichén Itza in all its glory. This marvel of ancient architecture was built in such a way that at this specific point on the calendar, the shadow of a serpent appears to run down the side of El Castillo.

This is a photo of Mayan ruins

Events

Mexico has numerous vibrant events adding to its rich culture. The Day of the Dead, which ends on November 2, is one such festival, and it is believed that on midnight on October 31, the spirits are released from Heaven to visit their families. This festival is celebrated across Mexico and commemorates family ancestors.

Family altars are prepared with ofrendas, or offerings, and are decorated with flowers, candles, ceramic skulls, and pictures of loved ones. Pan de muerto is made specifically for these altars. Festivities continue into the night, as some relatives choose to spend the night in the cemetery. This ancient tradition reaches far back into Mexican civilization, all the way to the Aztecs, 3,000 years ago.

September 16 is celebrated across Mexico to commemorate Mexican Independence. On this day in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued a rallying cry against colonial rule in Mexico. He is known in some cases as the "father of Mexican independence" for encouraging resistance to Spanish rule. Mexico’s throwing off of colonial rule is now celebrated each year on the very date of this rallying cry. Celebrations include parades, bull fights, fairs, dancing, fireworks, and rodeos.

This is a photo of Mexico City

Safety and Essentials

Documentation and Customs Regulations

Let us clue you up before you set off. Our low-down on the ins and outs of documentation is sure to save you a headache at the departure gate. Be aware that documentation and visa checks are carried out before boarding the plane and make sure you have them ready to be checked.

  • Note that duty-free allowances restrict imports to two cameras, two cell phones, and one laptop per person.
  • U.S. and Canadian travelers do not need to apply for tourist visas.
  • All tourists must have a Mexican-government tourist permit, or Forma migratoria multiple, and the maximum stay is 180 days.
  • Travelers must pay a departure tax, Tarifa de Uso de Aeropuerto (TUA). This is normally included in the cost of your flight. If not, this must be paid in cash at airport check-in.
  • If you intend to drive, you must have your home country's driving license with you.
  • Mexican liability insurance is needed when driving. No other policy will be recognized.
  • A temporary vehicle permit will also be required, which is valid for six months. This should be canceled upon leaving Mexico.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizens can apply online for these permits to have them mailed in advance.
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is needed if arriving from a country at risk.

Health

  • Bring insect repellent and anti-malarial medication.
  • The following vaccines are recommended when traveling to Mexico: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tetanus, and Tuberculosis if visiting rural areas.
  • Water purification tablets are essential for rural areas.
  • Bring medical prescriptions if bringing in drugs from outside of Mexico;
  • Bring altitude sickness medication.

Dangers

  • Follow travel information and guidelines to avoid areas of carjacking and robbery.
  • Altitude sickness.
  • Snake or scorpion bites.
  • The sun is powerful in Mexico. It is important to stay hydrated and cool.
  • Zika, Malaria, and Dengue Fever are present in Mexico and precautions should be taken.
  • Don’t drink tap water.

For comprehensive travel advice, please refer to the U.S. Department of State website.

Places to Visit

Ruins of Tulum

This is a picture of the Ruins of Tulum

The Ruins of Tulum are set on 39-foot cliffs on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and are an example of particularly well-conserved Mayan ruins. The city of Tulum was built by the Mayan civilization and was most prosperous during the 13th and 15th centuries. While there, tourists can also visit the Sian Ka’an Reserve, where you can even catch a glimpse of some nesting sea turtles hunkering down on the beaches.

This is a photo of an Air-Conditioned Beach Cabana in Tulum, Mexico

Why not stay in a relaxing beach cabana in Tulum, Mexico?

Islas Marietas National Park

This is a photo of a humpback whale

Travel across the waters from the mainland to Islas Marietas National Park. You'll be crossing into a world of natural beauty and tranquility, so be sure to grab your snorkels and your scuba mask to head down into the crystal clear waters of the Marieta Islands. They are just off the coast of Nayarit and boast stunning marine life, you'll be mesmerized by its sparkling waters and hidden beach. If you're heading there between December and March, you could even catch a glimpse of some humpback whales!

This is a photo of a Premium Tropical Villa Rental with Private Pool near Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
Relax and Unwind in this tropical villa near Puerta Vallarta, Mexico!

Espíritu Santo

This is a picture of a Mexican beach

This UNESCO World Heritage site is made up off 244 Sea of Cortez Islands. This stunning spot is a paradise of ocean wildlife. These uninhabited islands are also a Biosphere Reserve and a popular ecotourism destination. It's home to, among other creatures, such as dolphins, sea lions, and hummingbirds.

Sea kayaking is a popular way to tour the island to take in the stunning scenery, reefs, and wildlife, all while keeping a respectful distance from the wildlife inhabiting these islands. This would be a nature enthusiasts paradise—and the perfect spot to capture some fantastic outdoor photographs.

A picture of Luxury Camping Experience on a Picturesque Beach of Isla del Espiritu Santo, Mexico
Discover a luxury camping experience on on a picturesque beach of Isla del Espiritu Santo, Mexico!


What are you waiting for...? Grab your sunglasses, and start glamping in the enchanting country of Mexico!

Australia Travel Guide: Pro Tips for Traveling the Land of Oz

By Xavier Vale Buisson

Author's note: This was co-authored by Alexandra McGowan.

The great southern continent is a place of wonder just waiting to be explored. Its vibrant cities, marine wonderland, and rugged landscape are all only a part of what gives Australia its magic. To find out what gives Australia its aura of adventure, you’ll have to head there yourself. Luckily, you have our travel guide to point you in the right direction, and we’ll give you a sprinkling of some glamping inspiration, too.

Good to know before you go

Getting there and around

As if you need any more excuses to embark on your next adventure, it’s great to know that this is a lot more straightforward than you may have first thought. Traveling to the southern hemisphere may feel like an odyssey to the other side of the world, but Australia has many international airports, making this far-off wonder very accessible. The international airports are in a number of Australia’s major hubs: Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Once you’ve touched down Down Under, traveling around Australia presents you with various options. Australia’s wide reaching and reliable road system gives you the perfect opportunity for a road trip. Car hire is reasonable, so buckle up and head out on the open road; but remember, in Australia the cars drive on the left side of the road! Just be sure you have a driving license issued in English or an International Driving Permit.

If you fancy a road trip but driving doesn’t appeal to you, why not try the Australian bus system? Greyhound Australia has a national network of comfortable buses and offers a short "hop on-hop off" bus pass for 30 days. You could even join a backpacker bus to take in all the sites along the way. Groovy Grape Tours offers small group tours ranging between one day to one week.

The sheer size of Australia, however, can make land travel time consuming. Head up into the skies to cut your travel time with the many domestic airfares on offer. Jetstar, Qantas, Tigerair, and Virgin Australia are all well-known domestic airlines. It’s also good to know that if you’ve arrived in Australia with Qantas or American Airlines, you can apply for a "Walkabout Air Pass." This offers benefits for customers when booking domestic flights.

Alternatively, you could even head onto the high seas and enjoy a short distance regional ferry ride to Kangaroo Island, Rottnest Island, and Bruny Island. Long-distance boat trips can also be enjoyed on the Spirit of Tasmania when departing from Melbourne to Devonport.

Useful facts

Culture

Food and Drink

The vast majority of Australia's hot spots are based around its incredible coast line. This creates the opportunity for travelers to indulge in some of the world’s best seafood. Whether you're looking for a three-hat ('hats' being Australia's answer to Michelin stars) experience or simply some "fish 'n' chips" by the beach, Australia has got you covered. For those that are a fan of lobster, look out for the Moreton Bay Bug or marron, which are unique shellfish native to Australia. If there is any seaafood that describes the local cuisine and atmosphere the best, that is the simple prawn or tiger prawn. Australians love this simple crustacean that can be cooked in a variety of different ways to tantalise the taste buds.

Seafood aside, Australia has many other popular culinary traditions. You can’t get more local than sizzling some steaks on the "barbie" and having a beer with your family and friends. Kangaroo meat is becoming an even more popular choice among locals and is perfect for a barbecue. For snacking in between meals, you should try a bit of toast with the infamous Vegemite spread. Very similar to British Marmite, guests will either love or hate this acquired taste!

Despite popular belief, Fosters beer is not actually readily available in Australia. Popular local beers include VB, commonly known as Victoria Bitter, XXX, and Carlton Draught. The coffee culture has grown intensively over the past few years, too. Melbourne, which is the sport capital of Australia, can also be dubbed as one of the coffee capitals of the world. So for that morning burst of energy, or that simple relaxing brew, Australia has got you covered.

Sporting Events in Australia

Melbourne is home to numerous sporting events throughout the calendar year. One of the first events to arise is one of the four major tennis competitions held between January 15-28. Watch the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battle it out on court to enter the history books. Next on the calendar in late January is the festival of sails held in Geelong. This festival is a week of festive fun with fireworks and free sailing entertainment for all.

For the motorsport fanatics, Melbourne always plays host to the opening race on the Formula 1 calendar. This includes four days of action-packed drama. Albert Park hosts this event, which is right in the centre of Melbourne. Finally, the events keep on flowing for motorsports fans, as MotoGP comes to town in late October and offers even more exhilarating drama.

The State of Origin series is one of Australia’s biggest sporting events. It’s all about one very bitter rivalry between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons. Rugby League is already huge within Australia, but this event tops it all. Players are selected to represent their state, and it is a huge honor for these players to battle it out in front of a sold-out crowd. Make sure to try and catch one of these events either live in the stadium or in a bar around Australia—it is an experience not to be missed!

Australia Day

This important moment in Australia’s calendar is a national holiday to commemorate its settlement in 1788 by the British. Be sure to celebrate in style with the locals on January 26, and check out one of the many events, shows, and ceremonies that run throughout the day. The biggest events take place in Sydney Harbour, which the British fleet sailed into in 1788. There will be fireworks, performance acts, and a buzz in the air on a day that cannot be missed.

Alongside Australia day there is another festival hosted called the Yabun Festival. It celebrates the survival of the aboriginal culture during one of the most frightful days in their history. These side by side festivals highlight the great diversity of cultures and beliefs in this sprawling country.

Safety Essentials

Documentation and Customs Regulations

Let us clue you up before you set off. Our low down on the ins-and-outs of documentation is sure to save you a headache at the departure gate. Be aware that documentation and visa checks are carried out before boarding the plane, and make sure you have them ready to be checked.
  • Proof of a yellow-fever vaccination if arriving in Australia within six days of staying overnight in an affected country is required.
  • A "travel history card" and an "incoming passenger card" must be filled out on arrival.
  • Tourists require an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority).
  • All food, plant material, and animal products must be declared on arrival. Be aware that due to strict biodiversity protections, most food, animal products, and plant or wood products are not permitted to enter the country, at the risk of severe fines or even jail time!
  • Prescription medicines must be left in original packaging and accompanied by a doctor’s letter noting the dosage. No more than a three-months supply can be brought into Australia.

Health

  • Tap water is safe to drink. Treat any water that is not tap water.
  • Do not underestimate the strength of the Australian sun. Be aware of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Apply plenty of sunscreen, stay hydrated, and seek shade.
  • Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing, and bug spray to protect against insect-borne diseases.

Dangers

  • Be aware that many areas are far from each other. Always carry a means of communication and First Aid supplies when taking a trip outside of the city.
  • Take care on rural roads, especially at night time, due to roaming wildlife.
  • Check the regulations regarding Interstate Quarantine of fruit and vegetables, if traveling between states.
  • Take note of warnings from local authorities about possible natural disasters including bush fires, floods, and cyclones.
  • Be aware when swimming in Northern Australia. Check with locals to find out if crocodiles frequent the waters.

Places to visit

Great Ocean Road

Rated by many as a true bucket list item the Great Ocean Road is not to be missed. Located just west of Melbourne, explore one of the greatest coastal drives the world has to offer. Stretching for 243 kilometers you can sightsee, sunbathe, and surf your way down the coast. The biggest attraction along this road is the 12 apostles that have been formed by thousands of years of constant wave erosion. As the coast line gets pushed back, several of these apostles continue to stand tall and strong embedded in the ocean floor.

Elsewhere along the Great Ocean Road, you can partake in numerous outdoor activities, including mountain biking and bush walks. For the animal lovers out there, take a detour off the road and visit one of the many koala sanctuaries and share some incredible moments with these charming creatures.

Why not completely immerse yourself in nature by staying in a Romantic Canvas Bell Tents for Two in Natural Bush Setting near Melbourne?

Great Barrier Reef

Arguably the southern hemisphere's most famous natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef provides color, life, and adventure for those who seek to dive in its magical waters. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef, and it is made up of over 3,000 different coral systems. The magnitude of this reef cannot be overlooked, quite literally, as it can be spotted from outer space.

The best way to visit the reef is by partaking in one of the numerous activities on offer including snorkeling, scuba diving, and for those that are not a fan of swimming, glass-bottomed boat sailing. The Great Barrier Reef is located on the North Eastern coastline of Australia and is easily accessed from Cairns, in the state of Queensland.

Start your next adventure by staying in the Gorgeous Glass Cabin Rentals in Bushlands of Queensland on Sunshine Coast

Blue Mountains

Just west of the thriving bay city of Sydney are the glorious Blue Mountains. This National Park is a heritage site spanning over 1 million hectares. The best way of exploring the parks is via the walking trails. You should look out for the famous Three Sisters, a uniquely shaped rock formation that marks the skyline. Once at the top, take your time to walk around, relax, and watch the sun cross this stunning bush greenery at one of the many viewing platforms provided.

For those that are not afraid of heights and are up for the challenge, check out the Giant Stairway, which is a trail spanning from Echo Point to Scenic World. This 4.7 kilometer trek can take around three hours in one direction, so food and water provisions are a must while taking on this walk. .

Treat yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation by staying in a Romantic Airstream Rental with Outdoor Shower near New South Wales Coast

Uluru

Right in the center of Australia, within the heart of the desert outback, exists an enormous sandstone rock named Uluru, a sacred site to many of the aboriginal people of the area. If it is total seclusion that you're looking for, glamping around this area would be perfect, as Uluru is located 450 kilometers from the nearest big town of Alice Springs. Uluru stands at 348 meters high; however, this is a very minute part of the rock. The rest of it is a whopping 2,500 meters underground.

The best way to appreciate this beautiful red natural wonder is by taking a 10-kilometer trek around the base of the rock. This incredible experience will take you three hours and 30 minutes and will be sure to leave you with lasting memories of Australia’s incredible landscape.

Head out to the great outdoors and stay in this incredible safari tent on the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory of Australia

Ready for your Aussie adventure? Take a peek at our stunning Australian accommodations here!