World Travel to New Zealand Interrupted by a Natural Disaster

On Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 11:02 G.M.T. a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake disrupted travel to the nation of New Zealand. It struck some 59 miles north of the town of Christchurch. The quake created infrastructure damage on the Southern Island of New Zealand and also caused a series of tsunamis. Authorities quickly issued a warning urging people in coastal areas to seek high ground.

 

The island nation of New Zealand lies in the South Pacific to the west of Australia. Tidal waves over 16 feet in height are expected to arrive in the area between Malborough and Christchurch on the northeast edge of the Southern Island. Authorities have not yet calculated a death toll from these natural disasters, but the events today could prove catastrophic given the magnitude of the earthquake and the late hour of its arrival.

 

A smaller 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2011 caused thousands of injuries and resulted in 185 fatalities. The nation’s Civil Defense Department urged everyone on the eastern coast of New Zealand to remain on high ground and away from beaches and coastal areas. Concern exists that a series of large waves will strike during the next day. Preliminary photographs from New Zealand displayed cracked asphalt roadways, toppled grocery store shelves and people huddling together outside on city benches in the night. Tsunamis potentially causes more extensive damage than earthquakes and many of the cities in Eastern New Zealand lie along the coast. Residents should evacuate inland or seek elevated ground immediately.

 

Belfast Seeing Highest Rates of Tourism in Past 15 Years

With it’s gorgeous lochs and rolling green hills, Scotland has always held a reputation for being a popular travel destination. However, the small capital of Scotland hadn’t always maintained that same reputation until more recently.

 

With more and more cruise liners porting nearby, local residents of Belfast are starting to see a much larger influx of foreign tourists. The small town of only about 300,000 inhabitants aren’t used to such a large amount of visitors as they were a fairly rare sight in the past few decades.

 

Locals have noticed a few changes in Belfast since the tourism scene was revamped to order to encourage and accommodate the increase in visitors. One of these major changes has been in the food scene. There has been a new focus and emphasis on quality cuisine that has enough variety and luxury for enticing foreign tourists. In fact, Belfast has recently seen the opening of two restaurants, OX and Deanes Restaurant, that are both Michelin-starred.

 

The city of Belfast is colloquially called the city of seven quarters for its each unique divisions. For those tourists looking for the most active scene, the Cathedral Corner features several bars, clubs and tasteful restaurants. The Titanic Quarter, as it is appropriately named, saw the construction of the infamous cruise liner bearing the same name. While ship manufacturing has decreased in the recent years, this area is still a beautiful reminder of the city’s rich history.

 

While the United Kingdom has earned a reputation for being fairly expensive for travel, visitors will be happy to know that Belfast is very affordable in contrast. With rents being almost a third lower than fellow Scottish cities and over half lower than those in London, this affordability may add another boost to Belfast’s growing tourist scene.

 

 

New Study Reveals 230 Best Cities For Expats

After the election of Donald Trump, many frustrated Americans have given some serious thought to emigrating. Indeed, so many people checked out Canada’s immigration website that it crashed on November 8th.

 

If you are at all considering ditching the USA, you might want to consider this new list of the top expat cities in the world. This study, which looked at over 400 cities around the world, was compiled into a list of 230 by the consultancy firm Mercer. If you’re on the fence about making the leap to another country, you might want to check out one of these places on your next vacation.

 

Most of the cities Mercer ranks highly for expats are in Western Europe. The number one city on this list is Vienna. This is the seventh year in a row the Austrian capital has clinched the top spot on Mercer’s list.

 

Some other cities Mercer put in the top 10 include German cities Munich, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt, as well as the Swiss cities of Geneva and Zürich.

 

Besides Western Europe, Mercer also highly recommends New Zealand’s Auckland, Canada’s Vancouver, and Australia’s Sydney. All of these cities scored phenomenally when it comes to health, education, safety, public services, and access to consumer goods.

 

Although researchers note that there are legitimate fears of terrorism as well as greater economic malaise in Europe, Mercer believes that most Western European cities continue to offer the greatest quality of life on earth.

 

The best city in the USA, San Francisco, only came in 28th place. Asia’s greatest city, Singapore, came in 26th place; the Middle East’s best city, Dubai, came in 75th; and Africa’s best city, Cape Town, came in 92nd.

 

The absolute worst destinations were Port-au-Prince, Hati; Sana’a, Yemen; Central African Republic’s Bangui; and, in 230th place, Baghdad, Iraq.

 

 

A Few Travel Ideas For The First-Time Traveler To China

China has always been a secretive nation. For much of human history, Westerners could only dream of taking a trip to see the wonders of the Middle Kingdom before they died. Now, thanks to globalization, we are living in an era where that dream can easily become a reality for anyone.

 

One problem with traveling to China is that it is just so vast. One trip can never encompass the entirety of this huge nation. In order to help out the first-time traveler, this article will detail three vacation destinations for vacationers with very different priorities. The first trip will be for the history buff, the second for the city lover, and the third for the nature enthusiast.

 

History lovers should plan on visiting Beijing and Xi’an. Since Beijing is the national capital, you will be right in the administrative heart of the country. You can tour the Forbidden City, stroll on the Great Wall, walk around Tianamen Square, and visit the Emperor’s Summer Palace. One of the top-rated hotels in Beijing by travel experts is called The Orchid, which is located in the historic Hutong district.

 

When you are done in Beijing, Xi’an is only a four-hour train ride away. Xi’an is full of ancient Chinese history. Of course, everyone has to see the Teracotta Warriors here, but you can also check out the Xi’an City Wall and the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi.

 

For a taste of modern China, you should head for Shanghai. Shanghai is far more cosmopolitan than any other city in China, so just know you won’t get an authentic “Chinese” feel here. Some top attractions include the French Concession, the Bund, and the brand new Shanghai Disneyland park. One high-class hotel travel agents recommend in Shanghai is called the Waterhouse, which is located right by Huangpu River.

 

If you are in the mood for natural Chinese scenery, you might want to look into Yangshuo County, Guilin. This southern area of China is hailed for it stunning mountains and landscapes. The finest hotel in the region is called the Yangshou Resort. Although it will cost you a pretty penny, the views you get at this resort are undeniably some of the most spectacular in the world.

 

 

These Are the Cheapest Cities in Europe Right Now

Have you always wanted to travel to Europe but was never able to do so? What stopped you? For many men and women, traveling is a great idea in theory, but it’s simply too costly to actually do in real life.

 

If you would like to travel to Europe, there are a few things that you can do to make the entire experience less expensive. One of the best ideas is to focus your travels on cities that are not too expensive. For example, it would be wonderful to visit London and Paris, but these are two of the most expensive cities in Europe. They are also two of the most expensive cities in the world.

 

Instead, try one of these low cost European cities.

 

  1. Krakow, Poland

 

Getting around in any new city can be expensive, and Poland is a great example of a country where taxis are just as cheap if not cheaper than public transportation. There are amazing things to see there as well, including castles and cathedrals.

 

  1. Debrecen, Hungary

 

You can get an amazing cocktail in Debrecen, Hungary for just $3.16. Can you imagine getting that in New York City? This is a widely popular locale with amazing shops, restaurants, museums and other sites.

 

  1. Rhodes, Greece

 

Right now, Greece is cheaper than ever to visit. Granted, you might run into some issues with the amounts of refugees that have been landing there, but in general, you’ll have a great time. And Greeks are eager to invite tourists.

 

What Can Visiting France Teach You About Life?

You don’t have to go to France to live for five years to learn something about their culture. You also don’t have to go their for five years to learn some important ways to improve your own life. If you ever get the chance to visit this country, try gleaning a thing or two from their lifestyle. They have many things that they can teach Americans.

 

  1. Go more slowly.

 

The thing that many people say about Americans is that we move too quickly. We don’t take time to enjoy life. French people do this. Not only do they work less than Americans overall, but they spend more time at home and with their families. They like to take long walks, and most of all, they enjoy spending time together during meals. One of the things that you will notice right away if you visit France is that eating is a luxury, and their lunches and dinners will often last for hours.

 

  1. Choose timeless pieces when it comes to fashion.

 

French fashion is timeless in and of itself. But it is this way because they choose basic pieces that can last a long time. If you follow French fashion, you will notice that it’s often plain and subdued.

 

  1. Don’t be ashamed of telling it like it is.

 

Finally, you may already know that the French don’t mind being blunt and curt. They are courteous when it’s called for, and they make a show of things, but they’re also honest, and that’s always good

 

The World Is More Dangerous, So Travel To A Lesser Known Place

The Global Peace Index has officially said that the world is a more dangerous place to travel in than before 2008. Recent data shows that many tourists are especially turning away from traveling to Europe following many terrorist attacks there.

 

For example, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that flight bookings between Asia and Europe had the worst year for any travel sector in 2016. More Asians decided to travel either to Australia, North America, or other Asian countries. This trend is only expected to contract further in the ensuing months.

 

One European nation hit particularly hard is France. After the numerous terrorist attacks, the flooding in the capital city, and the highly publicized reports of Kim Kardashian’s robbery, the tourism industry in France is experiencing its worst year ever. Bookings for trips to France via Air France have been dropping 8 percent annually. France has lost many tourists from Japan, China, and even the USA.

 

Other countries people are apparently erasing from their bucket lists include Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, and Belgium.

 

It is a fact that terrorism around the world has increased. However, travel experts remind us that it is still more likely to die from a car crash, lighting strike, or obesity than to be caught in a terrorist attack.

 

Tourist experts say that our reactions to terrorism are natural and very human, but not rational. It will be a long time before people feel comfortable visiting these nations that have been so much in the news recently. Yet, people in the travel industry say that tourism is rising each year, and just because the world is more dangerous shouldn’t deter people from taking part in the joys of travel.

 

One thing travel experts suggest to their clients is taking a trip to a part of the world not in the media spotlight. A few suggestions for cautious travelers include Mongolia, Faroe Islands, Tahiti, Chile, Easter Island, and Australia.

 

 

Portugal Is Becoming The Hottest Vacation Destination In The World

The influential magazine Travel + Leisure just announced that Portugal is its “Destination of the Year” for 2016.

 

Although it almost fell into bankruptcy during the height of the EU crisis, Portugal has become one of the most popular travel destinations in recent years. In some ways, the economic malaise may have helped attract tourists to Portugal, since the discounted rates of traveling to Portuguese resort towns garnered great attention from tourists.

 

Recent data in the newspaper Portugal News shows that foreign tourism into Portugal has grown 10 percent in 2015 alone. Analysts believe this number will only rise in 2016.

 

Interestingly, Americans are visiting Portugal at higher rates than ever before. New research shows travelers from the USA to Portugal grew 22 percent in 2016. The increase in flight bookings for Portugal, up an astonishing 119 percent in North America alone, has greatly helped Portugal’s airlines called TAP. There are now eight cities in the USA that fly direct to Portugal.

 

So why is Portugal such a desirable location for so many tourists? One reason is that Portugal has temperate weather all year round. Although the summer months are more popular, there really isn’t a “bad” time to visit this nation.

 

Another great reason to visit Portugal is that it’s less expensive and less crowded than other European nations. Portugal’s famous capital Lisbon has only 3.5 million average foreign tourists. Compare that with the 20 million foreign tourists visiting London, the 18 million tourists visiting Paris, or even the 7 million tourists visiting Rome.

 

Whether you are into culture, cuisine, nature, or adventure, you are sure to find something in Portugal to suit your fancy. There is a reason why Portugal is growing on the travel scene nowadays, but you should check it out before this relatively well-kept destination secret becomes the next tourist trap.

 

 

What Are The Best Train Rides In The World? Here Are A Few Suggestions

Some people love to spend their vacation on a train taking in some of the world’s finest natural scenery. If you are one of the many train lovers out there, then you are in luck. Travel agents are revealing some of the best train rides in the world, and below we will detail a few of their top picks.

 

Of course, Switzerland is an obvious choice for first place. Although it’s not a surprising choice, if you’ve never taken a ride on one of Switzerland’s three express lines, then you don’t know what your missing. If you only have time or money for one Swiss journey, travel experts recommend taking the Jungfraubahn. This train ride will take you up 3,000 meters up to the Jungfraujoch, which is still the highest railway station in all of Europe. There’s simply no better way to take in the beauty of the Alps than on this historic train ride.

 

If you live in America, travel enthusiasts suggest taking a trip on the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco. This 52-hour train ride will take you across various key attractions in the Western states, including California’s High Sierra and the canyons of Colorado. Forget taking the overrated road-trip across the nation, you can allow some of America’s natural wonders unfold right before your eyes on this wonderful trip.

 

For any Canadians out there, you should know that the Rocky Mountaineer is not the travel expert’s favored way to take in the Canadian Rockies. Instead, most travel lovers recommend taking The Canadian from Jasper to Vancouver. This comfortable train offers guests some of the best views of both the mountains and the local wildlife.

 

Just a few other train rides travel experts recommend include the ride from Bangkok to River Kwai in Thailand, the trip between Kristinehamm and Gällivare in Sweden, and a great tour of the Welsh countryside from Dovey Junction to Pwllheli.

 

 

Carnival Will Offer Cruises Going Through The Panama Canal

The Panama canal had recently upgraded their lock system so that more ships can efficiently pass through. Carnival Cruise Line will now take it’s new ship Splendor through the canal to show it’s new capabilities. The ship was too large to pass through with the old lock system si this will open things up for future opportunities. The Panama Canal was created to open up a safe passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Previous voyages had to be done through the dangerous seas between South America and Antarctica.

The ship is capable of holding over 3,000 passengers. The voyage will begin in Miami and end in Long Beach, California. The entire voyage will last 13 days and mostly take place in the Caribbean. It will stop at the ports in Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The Splendor has been in service since 2007 for various routes. The ship includes services such as on board restaurants, theater plays, nightclubs, spas, water slides, on board casino and more. Many of the routes go through the Caribbean and Latin America and typically lasts 4 to 8 days.

Other cruise lines to offer routes through the Panama Canal include Princess Cruise lines, Disney Cruise lines and Norwegian Cruise line. The Caribbean Princess was previously too large for the old canal but now it is capable of going through. The massive 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss has plans on going through the new Canal in 2018.