Tag : winter

The Best Places for Winter Sun

Let’s face it, with the sun setting by 5pm, wet and windy mornings and a boss who doesn’t understand why you’re so fed up – escaping the winter weather sounds eminently better! Let’s imagine instead a situation where you’re deliberating over which sunglasses to wear, or which flavoured cocktail you fancy next.

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Caribbean winter

Winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, so check out these 5 destinations that will allow you to recharge your batteries whilst basking in the glow of a sun long forgotten about back home.

 

1)   The Caribbean

The Caribbean has long been a refuge for those escaping the rigours of a European winter. With direct flights to a number of Caribbean islands now a possibility (St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados to name just 3) suddenly a week long trip is a viable option. How about some extra luxury in the form island jumping via a cruise ship? You may be surprised, but you can still get a great deal here for cruises to cover all budgets.

 

2)   Cambodia

With the world and his wife heading to the various clichéd winter destinations, Cambodia can be a wonderful alternative. With a beautiful tropical climate, one of the Wonders of the World to see in Angkor Wat, and beaches to rival anything on offer elsewhere in Asia, Cambodia will soon be on the map for holiday makers around the globe, so beat the crowds and plan your next trip there.

 

3)   Cuba

A burgeoning winter tourist destination and with winter temperatures pushing 25 degrees Celsius it’s easy to see why.  Cuba presents both high end accommodation mixed with beautiful local culture. You can wake up with a dip in your infinity pool then spend the afternoon sipping rum and smoking cigars on the side of a pastel coloured street full of iconic, vintage cars. A night on the town complete with rhythmic salsa classes could be the perfect end to a wonderful day.

 

4)   Egypt

Certainly no newcomer to the tourist market however winter marks low season in Egypt, when you can grab some bargain basement flights and even better value hotels. The weather will still be 20+ degrees so you’re trips around the Pyramids, Karnak and Luxor will be spent in a beautiful north African glow as opposed to the searing heat the summer brings.

 

Egyptian winter

Egyptian winter

5)   Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a great choice for anyone who simply needs to say goodbye to the winter climate and hello to mid twenties paradise on a budget. Naturally Tenerife is the hotspot but with beautifully untouched islands in the form of El Hierro and La Gomera waiting for you too, it’s not too difficult to get off the beaten track either.

 

5 stunning destinations awaiting you as you clear those winter blues, now where did you pack your passport? Happy travels!

Categories: Blog, Inspiration

Perpetual Ski Bum 2

The Perpetual Ski Bum: Working At Ski Resorts Abroad

Even the most seasoned backpacker likes to take a break once in a while. Finding seasonal work abroad is one of the best ways to finance your travels, get to know a place, and make friends while staying on the road long-term. This is especially true during winter months in countries where temperatures drop and snow falls in great quantities, because ski resorts offer some of the best benefits for short term work.

Perpetual Ski Bum 3

If you have any background in the hospitality sector, be it in hotel, restaurant, guide, or other work, it’s generally easy to find a job. Musicians and other entertainers may also find a place at larger resorts if they are lucky. And even if you lack experience, “lifties” (those that watch over the chairlifts and assist skiers and snowboarders as they come on and off of them) receive on-the-job-training in safety and procedures, meaning that any physically able adult can take the position. Considering how popular winter sports have become, there are resorts all around the world that have high demand for seasonal staff. Check online job posting boards or inquire directly to see what is available.

Perpetual Ski Bum 1

In addition to a modest paycheck, you can expect a variety of benefits. A work visa and resident permit for the duration of your stay should be offered (and you should be cautious if it isn’t—make sure to do some research before taking a deal that seem the least bit shady). Many resorts offer lodging and possibly even board to their employees in order to keep them close and on time, rather than forcing them to commute between an apartment in the city and their job on the slopes. Ski passes are massively discounted or in some cases even free. Gear rental is also offered at a premium, and winter accessories like high quality branded Dinaric jackets are offered to employees.

Perpetual Ski Bum 2

On the job and after hours, expect friendly coworkers that are a mix of locals and foreigners in a similar situation as yourself. Resort employees are notorious for enjoying the après ski scene and engaging in lively nightlife activities (hint: prepare your liver). If you are receiving room and/or board, you won’t have much else to spend your money on, so it’s reasonable to anticipate some savings after the season ends. Take that money and get back on the road once springtime, and the travel bug, hit you again!

 

Categories: Money, Natural Wonders, Sport

colorado motorcycle rides

Scenic Riding this Winter Season

There is nothing like taking the time to hit the open road and travel. As you go you stop by roadside dives for a meal, explore interesting attractions, and discover small towns with unique local flare all which make road trips one of life’s ultimate adventures.  If you really want to feel free then hop on a motorcycle and take some exciting winter trips embracing the season and the environment you’re traveling in.

colorado motorcycle rides

Colorado is a beautiful state to travel in during all seasons, but a winter bike riding trip through the Northern Rockies is something you will never forget. Winter Park is a great place to experience, especially if you love to ski or are looking for some scenic routes to take on your bike. The Beartooth Highway in Wyoming can be exciting as well and it is highly recommended that you stop for a steak at the Bear Creek Saloon and perhaps even stay the night at Irma hotel in Cody.

Ohio isn’t always revered as a beautiful state but it does have gorgeous countryside including their Amish country, which can be nice in the winter time. If you head on down to Pickering you will find wonderful museums, along with music, restaurants and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum which any enthusiast will enjoy.

If you are taking a motorcycle trip in the cold weather make sure you are prepared with the right riding gear. One of the basic pieces of gear you need is traditional long underwear garments to go under your clothing and provide a close, warm layer of heat to your body. The next is a little more high tech but it can be a life saver if you are riding in extreme temperatures and that is an electric coat or outerwear.

This will plug into your bike while you are riding and provide a really comfortable and safe way to ride in extreme weather. Thick warm socks, as well as some really good weatherproof gloves that have insulation will be best for protection and warmth for your hands and feet.

Having the right bike to ride on winter trips is important as well. You may not want to use a high end Harley or something that might get damaged by the salty roads and rough weather conditions. But whatever you use make sure that it has a good weight to it and handles well so it will not be too unstable on wet and icy roads. Some simple inexpensive bikes that can be great for winter excursions are the Kawasaki GPZ500, a Yamaha XJ600 Diversion, and even a Honda CB500. Yes, these bikes are a bit simpler and dated, but you can fix them up and keep them in great shape by getting some basic parts and accessories from places like ADV Designs.

Make sure no matter where you go you are prepared for any situation including breakdowns and blowouts. It won’t hurt to have an emergency kit for injuries, or extra clothes to layer on in case yours gets damp or too cold. But if you are properly prepared taking a winter motorcycle trip can be an adventure like no other!

Categories: Blog, Packing

off roading in the snow

Adventure in the Winter

If you are the outdoorsy type who enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, swimming and other active sports, the onset of winter may slow down your activity plans. But although the spring, summer and fall are some of the best seasons for outdoor activity, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of the winter months. Don’t let freezing temperatures and snow keep you inside. Here is a list of popular winter activities that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

off roading in the snow

1. Skiing and Snowboarding. Hit the slopes and stay active this winter season. Perfect for singles, couples and families, skiing and snowboarding is the perfect way to experience amazing mountaintop views, plus get in a little exercise. Many ski resorts open around late fall after the first snow, and depending on weather conditions, you can ski up into the beginning of spring.

Skiing and snowboarding requires at least 30 centimeters of snowfall, with higher elevations requiring additional snow. Engaging in these activities when snow is powdery or fresh contributes to greater control. And since freshly fallen snow is softer, there’s less pain if you fall down.

2. Rock climbing. Some people wouldn’t dream of rock climbing in the winter. However, winter rock climbing is a popular and safe activity, as long as you’re prepared. Given the fact that rock climbing is physically exhausting when temperatures are mild, extra care is needed during the winter. Outdoor temperatures plummet in higher elevations.

With this said, dress in windproof pants, insulated clothes and warm gear (winter climbing gloves, hooded jacket, goggles and warm socks). While weather conditions don’t have to be perfect, you shouldn’t climb in inclement weather (a rain storm or high winds) or at night.  For supplies and equipment to get the most out of your adventure, contact your local Rugged Ridge dealer.

3. Off-roading in the snow. Take adventure to a new level and drive your 4 x 4 on snowy paths through the mountains or woods. Driving on unpaved roads and natural terrain is one way to explore infrequently traveled areas. To get the most out of this experience, check weather conditions before hitting the road. Choose areas with wet, heavy snow since it’s easier to drive on these surfaces. Lower the air pressure on your tires before heading out, and travel light to stop your car from sinking into the snow.

4. Ice skating. Plenty of facilities offer indoor ice-skating during the winter months. But to gain a true winter experience, look for outdoor ice skating. Some cities set up public outdoor rinks or allow skating on local ponds. For a pond to be safe for ice skating, the ice needs to be at least 6 inches thick across the entire surface.

With so many options during the winter months, there’s no reason to stay indoors. Life is too short to be lived inside four walls.

Categories: Blog, Packing, Travel Tips

icemagic

Ice Magic—Sculpture Festival in Paris

From November 25th 2012 through January 15th 2013, the Ice Magic Sculpture Festival is in full swing. Held annually, Concord Square in Champs-Élysées becomes transformed into a Christmas Village, with the Ice Magic Festival as its main attraction, now tell me that’s not enough to get you searching for city breaks in Paris. Adults and children will be mystified and transported into a cool, crystal world. If in Paris over the winter holidays, make sure to add this to your itinerary.

icemagic

These artists craft astoundingly intricate creations from ice. They are built with the use of large chunks of clear ice and snow flakes. Colorful lights are cast onto the sculptures, further bringing them to life yet paradoxically, freezing them in time. In the past, artists spanning from Canada, Finland, Lithuania, Austria, and France have sculpted 450 tons of ice in situ (on location) to recreate everything from exotic animals, historical figures, famous monuments, and well-known cultural icons. Gladiators, the Khazneh Petra, Angkor Wat, the Statue of Liberty, Mona Lisa, and the Great Wall of China are just a few examples of the wonders to be seen. Some of these sculptures are up to four meters high!

 

Make sure you bundle up before attending—in order to preserve the creations, they are displayed in a thermally insulated, frosty environment of -6°C (21°F). While braving the cold temperatures, more appreciation is gained for these artists who work in these chilling conditions while producing these spectacles.

 

At the end of the world famous event, esteemed panelists give out an award for the best artist in show as well as viewer’s favorite. But the fun doesn’t end with admiring the sculptures. Several events are held; from free magic shows and an individual speed carving competition. For children, the Little Chippers Festival teaches the technique and science of ice carving—helping to inspire and produce the next generation of ice sculptors.

Categories: Blog, Travel Tips