My first backpacking trip in Europe was a solo adventure. I was a little worried at first, but I soon found that traveling alone was one of the best things I’d ever done. While it did have some downsides, I still wholeheartedly endorse solo traveling to anyone (males and females). This guide will cover the positives and the negatives of traveling Europe alone and give you some practical advice on how to make the most of your travels.
Note: Looking for female-specific advice — check out our Guide To Solo Travel For Women in Europe.
Positive Aspects Of Solo Travel
Complete Control: When you travel alone you can do whatever you want. You can eat whenever, see whatever, and go wherever you want. You can’t fully appreciate this freedom until you travel with other people.
Food Freedom: From my experience, choosing where to eat can cause more stress than just about anything else– especially when you’re traveling with a group of people. When you travel alone you can choose exactly where to eat. Also, many restaurants in Europe won’t split up the bill so paying become a huge hassle in large groups.
Choose Your Itinerary: You can do the things you want to do. You don’t need to answer to anyone else. In a group everyone has their own ideas of what to see and this can cause a lot of conflict.
No Arguments: You’re bound to get into arguments or even fights with your travel partners. Travel can be stressful and you usually take out your frustration on your travel partners. I find that I get a lot less stressed when I am alone.
Total Focus: There is no one to “distract” you. You’re totally focused on whatever it is you’re experiencing.
Reinvent Yourself: You can be whoever you want to be when you travel alone. This is your chance to let loose.
Meet New People: I meet a lot more people when I travel alone. Groups tend, usually unknowingly, to put up a “wall” between themselves and other travelers, so this makes groups not as approachable. You also have an instant connection with other solo travelers — yes, there are plenty of other solo travelers.
Self-Growth: You have no one but yourself to rely on when you’re a solo traveler. You quickly learn to be self reliant and I think that makes you a stronger person.
Disadvantages Of Solo Backpacking
Eating Alone: Many people feel really uncomfortable eating alone — especially in restaurants. It isn’t bad for breakfast and lunch, but dinners do get a little lonely. It really isn’t that bad and it isn’t too hard to find other people to eat with.
Unwanted Isolation: Staying in hostels is great because there are almost always tons of other people around to hang out with. But there will be times where you’ll find yourself alone.
I remember my very first night of solo traveling. I was in Dublin and the hostel was overrun by a large group of Spanish students. There must have been about 40 of them. I didn’t meet any English speakers that first night so it was pretty lonely. I was also a new traveler so I was pretty timid. Luckily, occasions like this were pretty rare.
No “Buddy System”: It can be nice to have a buddy to share your memories with and to help keep each other safe. Although I wouldn’t worry too much about safety because I never felt unsafe in Europe. A little common sense is all you need.
How To Successfully Travel Alone
Stay In Hostels: This is the most important thing for any solo traveler. Hostels are full of like-minded adventurers and most of them are extremely willing to meet new people.
Don’t Break The Unspoken Hostel Rules: Read the savvy guide about hostel etiquette.
Be Friendly and Outgoing: Smile and be the first person to introduce themselves. If someone new arrives at the hostel greet them. An introverted solo traveler can have a rough time meeting new people. I didn’t do a very good job being outgoing my first few nights and I had a hard time meeting people. But after the third night I forced myself to be a little more outgoing and it opened up so many doors.
Beer: Buy some cheep beer and offer it to people. You’ll meet TONS of people this way. People will often do the same for you.
Cook Meals In The Hostel: You’ll meet so many people if you hang out in the kitchen around dinner time.
Hostel Planned Activities: Many hostels plan outings like free walking tours or pub crawls.
Safety First: Use your common sense. It probably isn’t the best idea to walk around large cities at night by yourself. Actually, I’ve done this many times and never felt unsafe . Just be sure to stay alert. If something doesn’t feel right then you shouldn’t do it. Always walk with confidence and act like you’ve done this a million times.
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New Year’s Eve is never complete without a dazzling display of fireworks, fantastic food, and music to usher partygoers into the New Year.
If you love to eat, you can welcome 2016 at Discovery Primea Makati’s “Glitter & Gold” 4-course set menu with champagne to toast, Diamond Hotel’s delicious Corniche Buffet, or Vask’s NYE Special. Should you want free flowing Dom Perignon, Spiral Buffet at Sofitel Plaza Manila offers guests a special package dinner so you can toast all you can!
If you’re more into the club scene, you can catch the Bass Jackers at Chaos, City of Dreams Manila or take a dip at The Palace Pool Club’s New Year’s Eve Ball. If that’s not your style, then you could revel in the color of the year at Pangaea’s New Year’s Eve White Party, Sofitel’s Venice-Themed New Year’s Extravaganza: Canaval Venetzia, or Discovery Ortigas’ “Live to Tell”, a New Year’s Eve party featuring Madonna’s best hits!
You can catch some awesome local acts at Eastwood’s New Year Countdown featuring stars like Rico Blanco, Christian Bautista, and some of Manila’s best DJ’s.
Here’s a handy guide to some of the best places to go for this New Year’s Eve…
1) The Palace
The Palace will be hosting some of the most anticipated New Years Eve parties in all four of its venues including Valkyrie Nightclub, The Palace Pool Club, Revel, and Naya.
After the countdown, clubbers can witness an explosive fireworks display at 2AM while they’re joined by world-class acts like Dutch DJ Alvaro and local DJ’s like Ace Ramos, Mars Miranda, Martin Pulgar, Marc Naval, Kat DJ, Nix Damn P, and many more.
Expect a New Year’s dinner package at Naya by Chef Mikko Reyes and a special Cocktail by Erwan Heussaff. The three-course menu starts at Php1,500+
THE PALACE POOL CLUB
9th Ave cor 36th Street, Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila
Mobile: +63 917 689-8888
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 5 pm onwards, Sunday: 3 pm onwards
2) Eastwood, Quezon City
Partake in Eastwood’s New Year Countdown, starting 6PM, with local acts including Rico Blanco, Christian Bautista, Marlisa Punzalan, Kyla, Techy Romantics, Imago, and international singing sensation, Dawin.
The party will be hosted by radio jock, Joyce Pring, and news anchor Andrei Felix. By midnight, partygoers can expect a brilliant show of fireworks and Eastwood’s famous “Dazzling Star Drop” (Eastwood’s version of New York City’s Time Square countdown), which will be followed by an amazing release of 10,000 wish balloons!
Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Concierge
Telephone: +632 709-9888, 709-0888
Mobile: +63 917-8380111
3) Pangaea, City of Dreams Manila
Pangaea at City of Dreams Manila brings you the New Year’s Eve White Party, starting 10PM, on Thursday, December 31st together with Johnnie Walker and Ciroc Vodka. You can dance the night away with music by international musical act, DJ Erok. Note: Don’t forget to wear white!
City of Dreams, Manila
Email: PangaeaTableReservations@cod-manila.com / MichelleMendoza@cod-manila.com
Mobile: +63 917 381-3398
4) Chaos, City of Dreams Manila
Pangaea’s sister club, Chaos, will be hosting a heart-pumping New Year’s Eve party with none other than the Bass Jackers. In partnership with Moet & Chandon & Hennessy, Chaos brings you a countdown party like no other on Thursday, December 31st!
City of Dreams, Manila
Email: ChaosTableReservations@cod-manila.com / MichelleMendoza@cod-manila.com
Mobile: +63917 562 8229
5) Sofitel Plaza Manila, Harbor Garden Deck & Spiral Buffet
(courtesy of http://www.wheremilan.com/)
Sofitel celebrates the 31st with “The New Year’s Extravaganza: Carnival de Venezia”, an extravagant Italian-themed celebration famous for its partygoers’ elaborate costumes, masks, and lively dances! Be part of the midnight countdown while the night sky transforms into beautiful display of light and color at Harbor Garden Deck.
The carnival will feature a variety of barbecued specialties with an Italian flair accompanied by musical acts including the 10-piece chamber orchestra, Manila String Machine, and the 7-piece full band, Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas.
Carnival de Venezia starts at Php4,712+ per person that is inclusive of a buffet, Italian food, free-flowing beer, iced tea, and of course sparkling wine to toast!
Per head: P 4,712+
Welcome 2016 with a feast as Spiral enhances its culinary offerings with this season’s specialties of turkey, holiday roast, seafood platters and prime rib!
New Year’s Eve Dinner Set (7pm-11pm):
Php5,550+ per person with a glass of a featured 2006 vintage champagne
Prestige Package is available for New Year’s Eve Dinner (7pm-11pm):
Php30,000+ featuring free-flowing Dom Perignon and a half bottle of Grand Cru White or Red
New Year’s Day Brunch (12pm-3pm):
Php3,721+ per person with free-flowing champagne
SOFITEL LUXURY HOTELS Philippine Plaza Manila
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard Pasay City 1300 Metro Manila, Philippines
Facebook: SPIRAL MANILA
Telephone: +632 832-6988 or 551-555 Loc. 6988
6) 71 Gramercy, Makati
Celebrate new year above them all! Watch the fireworks BELOW you all over the city. Dine exquisitely with a specially prepared 5 course meal for P3,888+ by Chef Carlo Miguel! For those that want a more sophisticated celebration far from the bedlam come on over to @71Gramercy.
Book your tables now before its too late! Tickets are also limited. For more information, call +639178477535 or +639178094093.
Kalayaan Ave., Cor. Salamanca St., Century City, 1210 Makati, Philippines
Mobile Numbers: (+63 917) 847-7535, (+63 917) 809-4093
Facebook: 71 Gramercy
7) Discovery Primea, Makati
Discover 2016 at Discovery Primea Makati with its New Year’s dinner featuring pre-dinner cocktails, a 4-course set menu, and champagne to toast!
What’s on the Menu:
Confit Black cherry compote, brioche, port-sherry Gastrique
Prawn ravioli, dill cream
Grilled U.S. prime Rib eye
French Chanterelle Mushrooms and Asparagus
Potatoes “Boulanger”, Creamy Onion “Soubise”, Truffle Sauce “Bordelaise”
Chocolate Marquise Toasted pistachios, roasted strawberries
Lemon custard, puff pastry
Vanilla Panna cotta
Coffee cream sauce, chocolate beans
6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1226, Philippines
Telephone: +632 955-8888
Facebook: Discovery Primea Makati
Witness a spectacle of lights at the Vask Anna Deck as the sky fills with a thousand colors. Enjoy your view of the fireworks around the metro while the guest DJ’s serves up an eclectic palette of beats to send you off into 2016!
Consumable rate starts at:
Php10,000 for Anna Deck Couches (good for 10 persons) and Php5,000 (good for 5 persons).
C-Couches are set at Php8,000 (good for 8-10 persons).
A more intimate New Year’s Eve dinner awaits you at Vask Tapas Room. Indulge in their featured set menu served from 6PM to 10PMwith a complimentary glass of Cava!
What’s on the Menu:
Fresh Oyster (Lychee Espuma, Uni)
Chorizo “Joselito” Bomb
Foie Terrine (Foie Gras Mi-Cuit, Vask Raspberry Jam, Brioche Crackers)
Tiradito (Yellow Fin Tuna, Kinilaw, Pickled Arosep)
Lobster (Porcini Quinoa, Cashew Nuts, Mushroom, Emulsion)
Sour Ribs (Wagyu, Soymansi, Onions, Garlic Casein, Tilanum)
Mango Sphere (Mango Mousse Sphere, White Chocolate Chestnut Ice Cream)
Torrija (Biroche, Milk, Anise Ice Cream)
VASK MODERN TAPAS & GASTRONOMIC CUISINE
5th Floor, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue Corner, 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
(Beside CVC Law Building. Near The Goose Station and St. Michael the Archangel Church in BGC)
Telephone: +632 217-6563
Mobile: +63 920 974-4742 or +63 917 806-5292
Facebook: VASK Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine
9) The Manila Hotel
Eat to your heart’s delight with Manila Hotel’s “Broadway New Year’s Countdown” Cross-over Dinner Buffet! All Prestige Premium cardholders get a 50% off for a minimum of 2 to maximum of 10 diners.
For reservations, please call 527-0011 local 1262 to 1263.
Participating branches include:
THE MANILA HOTEL
One Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 527-0011
Facebook: Manila Hotel
10) Discovery Suites, Ortigas
Ring in 2016 with a vibrant fireworks display at Discovery Suites gleaming in the equally stunning Ortigas skyline. A pulsating dance floor awaits at Columbus, where Human Race will perform Madonna’s best hits at “Live to Tell”.
Dinner starts at 7PM, 22 Prime (Show: 10pm, Columbus Function Room, 42nd floor)
25 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone:+63 2 719 8888
Here are the room rates for NYE:
Junior Serendipity Suite:
1 Bedroom Serendipity Suite:
Breakfast buffet for two (2) in a Junior Suite and One Bedroom Suite
High Speed Internet Access for unlimited devices and PressReader
Use of swimming pool and Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club
Terms & Conditions:
Prior reservation is required.
Rates are inclusive of applicable government taxes and service charge.
Offer may not be used in conjunction with other promotions and discounts.
Valid on 31 December 2015
11) Diamond Hotel Philippines
Shine bright like a Diamond at Diamond Hotel’s NYE party with buffet from 6PM to 11PM! While you dine, you can also party with Retrospect, Xarchy Band and DJ Marx Monterola starting at 8:30pm.
Get a chance to win roundtrip airline tickets for two (2) to Bohol!
Deadline for submission:
December 31 at 11pm
January 4, 2016 at 12nn at Corniche, Diamond Hotel Philippines.
Roxas Boulevard, Corner Dr. J Quintos Street, Manila
Telephone: (632) 528-3000
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. We usually spend New Year’s Eve quietly outside Manila with the family. Happy New Year!
When it comes to bathroom design and remodeling, bath faucets are considered one of the bling or the focal point of the bathroom. They are available in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes. Even the ones that are less expensive still offer many possibilities for those looking for a bathroom upgrade. Once you add in other features such as water conservation, bathroom faucets provide homeowners many conveniences.
However, before you purchase bathroom faucets, there are several factors that you will need to consider. For example, you will need to determine whether you will install the faucets on an existing sink or if you will purchase a new sink. You will also need to consider the features you want as well as your budget for the faucets. You may even want to factor the size of your bathroom and the most popular types of faucets in your area.
The Different Types Of Bathroom Faucets
If you are buying faucets for an existing sink or for a new sink, it is important that the faucets correctly match the opening in the sink.
A single hole faucet is a combination of the spout and the handles. It can be installed into a single opening in the sink. These types of faucets are ideal for smaller bathrooms such as half baths and powder rooms. It is a simple style that reflects modern style and sensibilities.
Wall mounted faucets have gained in popularity with those who are looking for free standing sinks. These sinks require faucets that have spouts that are able to extend past the bowl.
Manufacturers have started to add more products to the market. This provides homeowners the opportunity to have more finish options for their faucets. Clear coat sealers provide even less expensive faucets lifetime warranties on their finishes.
Unfortunately, all of these options can leave homeowners frustrated. The cornucopia of options includes:
• Polished chrome
• Brushed chrome
• Polished nickel
• Stainless steel
• Polished brass
• Decorative ceramic
• Brushed nickel
Gold is also a faucet finish option for homeowners. It is not only an investment option; it also makes a beautiful decorative addition to your bathroom.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with all of the options for faucet finishes, there are some tips that you can follow. Do not worry about the metal that is used for the faucets as much as you focus on the look of the faucets.
Also make sure that the finish you select coordinates well with the other fixtures that are in your bathroom.
Choosing the best bathroom faucets for your bathroom décor is essential to create the look that you want. Bathroom faucets can help elevate your new or remodeled bathroom.
An unexpected attack of allergies or asthma can hamper your traveling plans altogether. Most of the time, a new environment can trigger your allergy or asthma symptoms and keep you out of action. In most cases, when you travel, you need to prearrange for an accommodation, most properties, hotels and resorts employ for themselves janitorial services, if you have an allergy, make sure that cleaning company they employ uses materials that are not sensitive to you. In doing so, you will ensure you will be all the way comfortable and your vacation to be worthwhile. This is why it is essential that you take appropriate precautions to control your allergies and asthma before making any travel plans or hitting the road. Here are some important factors to consider when taking allergy precautions while you are traveling.
There are so many factors that can aggravate your allergy or asthma condition while your are traveling. Pollen is one such problem. Many people are allergic to pollen. Pollen can be a definite problem to many people in certain parts of the country during certain time periods of the year. Cold air is another issue when it comes to traveling. Cold and dry weather can definitely trigger asthma symptoms in travelers. Higher altitudes usually have cold and dry weather with less oxygen in it. This is why people who are suffering from asthma find it difficult to breathe at higher elevations. People traveling to warm, hot and humid destinations may also find that their asthma condition enhanced. Air pollution is another issue where certain allergies can surface. If you are traveling to a city with a higher air pollution ratio, your allergic condition may re-surface under such circumstances.
People traveling in airplanes may find that airplanes have dry air which may trigger their allergic or asthmatic condition. People suffering from allergic problems may require more oxygen to breathe when the flight reaches higher altitudes. You need to speak to the airline concerned when reserving your ticket for the trip. People who are battling allergies or asthma may benefit from their allergy shots a.k.a. immunotherapy. This treatment method will decrease your sensitivity to common allergens like pollen and mold pores. Allergy shots would give the particular person an increased amount of allergens in order to build the required resistance in the person. This is the best method to stop allergy symptoms before they start. This therapy will take some time to become fully effective. Hence, you need to speak to your healthcare provider and make arrangements to have the shot well before the planned tour. Seeing your doctor before the trip is important to clear out any issues with regard to your allergies.
The aforementioned article provides allergy precautions to consider when you are traveling.
A kitchen that is well arranged is one that must give you space to move around without wasting time and allowing you to perform all the various activities that cooking involves.
You can always add a kitchen island to separate your kitchen from any dining area visually, but if you have a small kitchen, this may not be possible. It is better if you look instead at how you perform various tasks in the kitchen and a kitchen makeover so that your arrangements are more suited to your style of working. Proper arrangement automatically saves unnecessary movement and can give you a feeling that your kitchen has more space.
Start this exercise by reviewing all that you have in your kitchen and whether they are in the correct position. Assign places for all the various tasks you do in the kitchen, whether it is preparing the food, cooking it, putting food away, storing items, or cleaning. You may also set aside separate areas for baking and its allied activities. Now, you must organize your kitchen so that you cut down on all movement while you perform all these tasks at their assigned places. You should be able to conveniently put away your dishes and your cutlery after you have washed them, without having to move too much. Similarly, all cooking implements need to be close to your stove, as that is where you will use them. Knives and chopping boards need to be next to or near the place where you do the food preparation, as must be the mixer. The trick is to have everything that you need for any activity, within arm’s reach.
You will find some things in your kitchen which you use only occasionally. Keep them on higher shelves or storage areas that you do not use very often. If you feel you need any item at two different work areas, buy a second piece, if it does not mean too much of cost. Arrange all the items in your storage, by size, color, and utility. Your kitchen will look neater and once you get used to the arrangement you may find that you rarely spend time hunting for anything. Make sure that all the containers you have can be easy to handle, open and close.
Once your kitchen is well organized you will automatically feel you have a lot of space. Make sure that you always continue with whatever arrangements you make. Organizing the items in your refrigerator, storage cabinets and shelves will also allow you to immediately spot the work that needs to be done, even if it requires replenishing your groceries.
A property can greatly increase in value if not only the home built but also all the open area on it is given adequate attention. It is not a must that all the land around your home is level, that if you need excavating your land then hire professionals to do that, well drained and thoroughly usable. At times, you may have to do some work on it to get it to a configuration that suits the home. The change must do your landscape a lot of good and yet fit in well with the general lie of the land.
You need to make an assessment of your land. Judge the way it slopes, the runoff on it collected from adjoining properties, existing trees, the presence of stones and boulders, levels and how it appears from your home. You will then have to decide on how you want it to look, which still fits in with the natural surroundings. You are then required to assess the excavation requirements that can help you to beautify your property.
It can always help if you take the help of an engineer friend to have a contour map made of your land before you attempt any excavation. You can also contact professionals to do this if your property covers a lot of areas. Take advantage of natural rock formations and trees and try and retain them in any final plan that you have for beautifying your property.
Decide on levels for each area, making sure that this does not disrupt the natural drainage. In case you want to raise artificially or lower certain levels through excavation, make sure that you also provide for the building of drains and other water courses to prevent your land getting flooded. It is always easy to hire an excavator machine to get any required excavation done speedily. Most of these equipment suppliers charge by the hour, and you will do well to see that the equipment is never allowed to remain idle.
In many cases, land may have an excess of the earth that needs carrying away, this can add to haulage and transport costs, which can be quite substantial. The best way to avoid this is to design a plan where any excavated earth is used up within your property area. Excavators can easily be used for this transfer, or, additional dumpers or trucks used to facilitate this. This means that you have just adjusted the levels of earthwork on your property to suit your landscaping designs, and also kept excavation costs under control.