Tag Archives: Travel

Can You Take Your Dog On a Plane?

travel with pets
Source: Travel Weekly Asia

Put simply, it is possible to take a dog on a flight, even an international one to Europe. However, not all flight operators provide a service that includes pets, so you need to make sure you have booked properly and completed all of the necessary paperwork to make sure your pet can continue your onward journey with you when you touch down. Then there is your accommodation to consider once you have left the airport. Before you leave, you should therefore look out for hotels that offer pet-friendly places to stay. While you are relaxing in the hotel’s wellness centre or flopped on your bed to play online casino games your pet should be able to enjoy pet day care facilities. That’s the best way of enjoying an overseas trip with your pooch! That said, what are the important factors to consider when you first plan your dog-friendly break?

Choose a Suitable Airline

dogs on planes
Source: Tripsavvy.com

Firstly, although it is possible to find an airline which will allow your dog to travel with you, by far the majority of commercial air operators don’t offer this sort of service. Therefore, if you don’t want to go to the expense of chartering your own private jet, you will need to choose your airline carefully. Although some smaller, independent airlines are friendly towards dog-owning passengers, there are only around eight internationally known carriers which will allow dogs on board in the cabin. Often, there will be a maximum weight that is allowed on board which will include the crate or carrier you are using to house your pet. This can impact on dog owners who possess larger breeds, of course.

In addition, some airlines, such as Air France, no longer allow crates and you must use a purpose-made bag-like carrier instead. Some only provide room for pet in the hold while others run fleets which include some aircraft that are not suited to pets so you have to check which services will allow you to transport your dog and which won’t. Although you should be able to exercise your dog before boarding, this is something that is often outside the control of the airline, so you should check with your departure airport. In addition, it may be necessary to break up a long-haul flight into two or more shorter hops so that your dog is not subjected to too long a journey.

Make Sure You Have a Pet Passport

dog on a plane
Source: weheartit.com

If you are travelling to Europe, then a pet passport is a must. If you turn up at a European airport ready to enjoy your holiday with your dog and you don’t have one, then you can expect your pet to be quarantined. International pet passports are nothing new and cover many different types of animal. In the case of dogs, they are there to help prevent the spread of conditions such as rabies. A European Union-issued pet passport will be needed if you intend travelling to any of the countries in that bloc. They will need supporting documentation from your vet to show all the necessary vaccinations have been administered before one will be issued to you.

Once you are set with your documentation and have chosen the right flights, it is time to take to the skies and enjoy a dream holiday with your best friend!

Top 10 Oldest Casinos In The World

Dices
Source: Pixabay

Those who believe casinos to be a modern phenomenon may be surprised to know casinos have been in existence for the best part of 400 years! Even some establishments on the fabled Vegas strip, still comparative newcomers to the gaming scene, have been around for more than 50 years. Here is a list of the top ten oldest casinos in the world.

1. Casino de Venecia, Italy: 1638

The Casino de Venecia, built by the Italian architect Mauro Codussi, started life as a theatre (the Theatre Saint Moses). This had one wing dedicated to gambling, which apparently went on during the intervals at play performances. In fact, this casino was one of the main reasons casino gambling became so popular in the Venetian state capital. By 1744, Venice was home to more than 120 gambling houses.

2. Casino de Spa, Belgium: 1763

The Belgian town of Spa is the original destination for anyone seeking health-giving waters. But since the 18th century, this town has also been famous for its casinos. The innovative concept of providing a gaming hall to entertain well-heeled visitors was then copied across the world. Two city mayors, Xhrouet Lambert and Gérard de Leau, arranged the construction of the first Casino de Spa (1763). Their intention was to create luxurious amenities for the local gentry.

3. Kurhaus of Baden-Baden, Germany: 1834

The core of the Kurhaus spa was designed in 1824 by Friedrich Weinbrenner. He was the one responsible for the neo-classical interiors, the Corinthian columns and the paired-griffins frieze in the grand entrance. Even though the Kurhaus included a casino from the outset, it was not until the mid-1830s (when gambling was banned in France) that the building became internationally famous. Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Gambler’ was inspired by the author’s visit, and Marlene Dietrich rated the Kurhaus “the most beautiful casino in the world.”

4. Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco: 1856

The Monte Carlo Casino is a famous gambling and entertainment complex situated in the city-state of Monaco. Princess Caroline, the wife of Prince Florestan 1 and an astute, business-minded woman, is credited with the initial idea – the casino revenues were apparently intended to rescue the House of Grimaldi from the threat of bankruptcy. The business is now run by a publicly owned company, but majority shares are held by both the Monaco government and the country’s royal family.

5. Golden Gate Casino, Las Vegas, USA: 1906

Now a part of the Fremont Street Experience, the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino can be found at One Fremont Street, Las Vegas, and is the area’s oldest (and smallest) hotel. Built on land purchased by John F. Miller (an early Las Vegas businessman), in 1905, the site was first a ‘tented’ structure (the Miller Hotel). It became a permanent site (the Hotel Nevada) in 1906, but it was not until 1955 that the building first acquired the Golden Gate name.

Caesars Palace Las Vegas
Source: Flickr

6. Casinò di Campione, Ticino, Switzerland: 1917

Founded in 1917, the Casinò di Campione was the largest employer in the municipality of Campione d’Italia, an Italian exclave within the Swiss Canton of Ticino. Owned by the Italian government, and operated by the municipality, the casino’s original purpose was to gather intelligence from foreign diplomats during the First World War. But with hundreds of roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker tables sitting dark and silent, gathering dust, the old casino is now under threat of permanent closure, and the local residents are worried this could also signal the demise of this tiny Italian outpost.

7. Flamingo Casino, Las Vegas, USA: 1946

The Flamingo Las Vegas is a hotel and casino, which opened in 1946 as the very first hotel on the famous Strip. This vast complex incorporates a 72,300-square-foot casino as well as a 3,626-room hotel. Adopting an architectural design, which owes much to the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne movements, the hotel includes features such as a garden courtyard to act as a habitat area for flamingos.

8. Tropicana, Las Vegas, USA: 1957

A large hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, the Tropicana Las Vegas has 1,467 rooms and a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor as well as 72,000 sq ft of corporate convention and exhibit space. Situated on the busy Las Vegas Boulevard intersection, no pedestrians are allowed to attempt crossings at street level. However, the Tropicana is linked to its neighbouring north-side casinos by an overhead pedestrian bridge.

9. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, USA: 1966

One of the most famous landmarks in Las Vegas, Caesars Palace is a luxury hotel and casino enterprise. Set up by Jay Sarno in 1966, Caesars Palace offers opulent facilities, many of which are inspired by lifestyle artefacts from the age of the Roman Empire. Its modern casino facilities include table games, a 4,500-square-foot, 24-hour poker room, plus a vast range of slot machines and video poker systems. Caesars Palace also houses a large selection of restaurants as well as entertainment and sports facilities.

10. Circus Circus, Las Vegas, USA :1968

Entertaining tourists on the famous Las Vegas Strip for over 50 years, Circus Circus started life as a casino. Then in 1972 it also became a hotel, and is now a vast 123,928-sq-ft hotel and casino complex. Often used as a movie location (the 1971 Bond film “Diamonds are Forever” was shot here), Circus Circus offers circus entertainments, a carnival type atmosphere, and of course plenty of casino games.

Ten unknown travel destinations

Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park      Source: Wikipedia

Everyone knows the world is still a big place. So even though it seems like we’re forever growing more connected, there are still plenty of opportunities to get off the grid. Here are 10 hidden destinations which should give even seasoned travellers some food for thought.

1) North Dakota: An unknown destination within the United States

North Dakota is a hidden gem within the US: Wide open spaces, plenty of things to do, but very few people. You can find Old West towns and Norwegian pioneer settlements. Other places to visit include the Roosevelt National Park, the Northern Badlands, and the famous Lewis and Clark Trail with its different forts and museums strung out all along the Missouri River. Also, don’t forget to savour Bismarck’s surprisingly sophisticated food and bar scene.

2) China’s Portuguese colony of Macau

Known as the ‘Vegas of China’, Macau is indeed an epicentre of gambling and glitz, and luxury entertainment here is outstanding. But if you prefer to play online casino games at home rather than on holiday, the city will provide you with plenty of things to do. Macau was a Portuguese colony for three centuries, resulting in a unique culture today. From Cantonese-Portuguese cuisine to Christian and Buddhist monuments standing next to each other, Macau is proof that contrasting cultures can come together to make something special.

3) Snorkelling in the Tuamotu Islands

Around an hour’s flight north of Papeete, the Tuamotu Islands of French Polynesia are unspoilt, uncrowded, and unpolluted. You can snorkel in the lagoons of coral atolls ringed with white sands and coconut palms alongside rainbow-coloured tropical fish or larger creatures such as sharks, manta rays and dolphins. Or else try drift snorkelling through the lagoon passages at the turn of the tide.

4) Family trip to the Galapagos Islands

Hardly a hidden destination in the truest sense, but not somewhere that’s obviously family-oriented. However, kids love the place, especially the island boat tours. This amenity gives access to countless animals who seem to have absolutely no fear of humans. There are also lots of watersports you can literally dive into: snorkel expeditions, sea kayaking, paddleboarding, mountain biking and more.

5) The Pyrenees: An enchanting mountain landscape

Everything you love about the Alps is here in the Pyrenees which straddle southern France and northern Spain. The only difference is there are no crowds! And yet there’s so much on offer: regional cuisine, beautiful national parks (Gavarnie, Ordesa, and Aiguestortes), tiny picturesque towns, the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona, and duty-free shopping in the tiny principality of Andorra.

Pyrenees Landscape
Source: Maxpixel.net

6) The romance of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s serene southern coast, especially the idyllic stretches either side of the old city of Galle, has everything you need for an exotic, romantic getaway: Unspoilt landscapes, uncrowded beaches, wildlife sanctuaries where wild elephants and leopards roam free, chic boutique hotels, ancient temples and exquisite food around every corner.

7) A beach holiday in Mauritius

It’s a long flight from Europe or North America, but Mauritius is worth that 24-hour trip just to experience its palm-fringed beaches. You’ll find luxury hotels and a deliciously diverse cuisine with Indian, Chinese, African and French influences which reflect the island’s multicultural heritage. There are volcanic mountains and a quirky history to explore amidst a welcoming island population.

8) Tokyo as a culinary destination

Asian street food may have limited appeal in some destinations, but in ultra-clean Japan, it becomes a delicious, worry-free experience. The early-morning eateries of Tsukiji Fish Market where you can breakfast on freshly-landed sashimi and premium sake are justifiably popular, as is dining right under the train tracks in Yakitori Alley near the Ginza district.

9) Adventures in the Wrangell-Kluane Wilderness, Alaska and the Yukon

Big skies are everywhere in the world’s largest, single protected area (50 million square miles). Here you can find North America’s largest concentration of high mountains and glaciers. And besides its teeming wildlife, this vast park provides all kinds of adventure experiences: wild hiking, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting along its mighty rivers, and kayaking on the many saltwater fjords. And that’s even before you try an adrenaline-pumping flight aboard an Alaskan bush plane!

10) The wildlife of the Pantanal Wetlands

Most people imagine the Amazon is the best place to see South American wildlife, but the vegetation is often just too dense and too much habitat destruction has occurred. However, on the vast grasslands of the Pantanal wetlands in southern Brazil, animals are much easier to spot and photograph. What is more, it’s just about the best place in the world to watch jaguars in the wild.

Scientific Secrets for Avoiding Jet Lag

Beating jet lag
Source: Hotelzon.com

Jet lag is no joke, as those who spend a great deal of time travelling abroad will know. Sitting with your eyes wide open and body flushed with energy at 2am is nothing short of a nightmare, and can quickly ruin your entire day. Or, in worst-case scenarios, it can even ruin entire holidays, making the whole effort nothing but a waste of time.

For starters, don’t feel bleak. Jet lag is a major problem for everyone, with some touring celebrities citing it as one of the biggest, most unacknowledged problems they face. Imagine spending most of your life on tour jetting across multiple time zones in a month, and still being expected to perform at your peak in every location? It’s nothing to be taken lightly, and many celebrities report having lost all concept of day and night, to such an extent that it leaves them feeling deeply disoriented.

But take heart, those who spend an above average amount of time travelling abroad, it turns out that there are scientific ways in which to combat jet lag, and implementing them is surprisingly simple.

Why Does Jet Lag Occur?

First, understanding why jet lag occurs is important. A professor at the Centre for Sleep Science in Stanford University, Jamie Zeitzer, explains that it’s more than simply being out of a recognised time zone.  The brain has a built in system that literally serves no other purpose than insuring our body follows set routines. So it’s not just a case of sleeping and eating when the time feels right, but your brain telling you that the time is right. These routines are regulated.

When you start asking your brain to eat and sleep at times that it recognises as wrong, very simply, it refuses, lest you land up out of whack with established reality.

The Key Is Light

But it turns out that the secret to overcoming jet lag, or even avoiding it entirely, is light. Sunlight, to be more specific. It turns out that those brain cells we were talking about operate based around the types of sunlight you are being exposed to, which makes a great deal of sense.

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Professor Zeitzer explains that the most important light to expose yourself to in order to help your body adjust accordingly depends on where you’re travelling. If going east then you want to expose yourself to as much morning light as possible, and avoid exposing yourself to evening light, upon landing at your destination. Naturally, the opposite is true of travelling west. This simple trick can be so effective that it is possible to avoid feeling any jet lag at all. It sounds like a bit of a pain, true, but is far better than the alternative.

Plan In Advance

Another very sneaky trick is to adjust your body prior to actually taking the trip. Again, it is a bit of a hassle, but can go a long way in helping you not land up with bags under eyes in an important business meeting. Naturally, this is only very useful for those who take extended trips to foreign destinations.

Zeitzer says that the trick is to adjust your sleep patterns by two hours a few days prior to taking the trip. This is simply a matter of going to bed earlier and waking up sooner, which translates into a big difference when shifting to a new time zone entirely.

Drink Water, Skip Booze

A last tip, and one that is more of a cherry on the cake than anything else, is to avoid getting dehydrated, as it can make jet lag considerably worse than it otherwise has to be. So to this end, drinking alcohol on the flight is a gigantic no-no. Yes, it probably seems like a good way to pass the time, but will go a long way to making your time adjustment much harder than it has to be.

Instead, stick to water, which will have the exact opposite effect. Combine it with the above tips, and you’ll find that jet lag is more manageable by large margin.