Istanbul On a Shoestring

January 24, 2014 · 1 comment

This is a guest post provided by Lauren.

The ancient city of Istanbul is one of the largest in the world. Packed with museums, galleries, cosmopolitan bars and trendy clubs, the tourist hotspot attracts a varied audience of sightseers, backpackers and travellers. As with all European cities, things can be expensive so it pays to travel as smartly as possible. Read the rest! \(^u^)/ →

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The first day’s target of our honeymoon was a residential house. Harue’s cousin had warmly invited us to stay but it would be in the evening, so we had the afternoon to enjoy LA in. Would we visit Hollywood? Watts Towers? Beverley Hills? Venice Beach or Santa Monica? Disney Land or Universal Studios? Not quite. Read the rest! \(^u^)/ →

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This is a guest post from Laura Wright.

With the average family holiday to Europe costing about £2,000, it’s certainly not cheap to get away over the summer. Many of us are looking for ways to shave off a few pounds form the overall cost – something which can be easily completed provided you know where and when to look for the best deals.

There are a number of key areas where you can save a few pennies if you are willing to look around and get the best price. There are also some ‘go to’ operators and suppliers that always offer the best deals.


Before you go anywhere, try and think about destinations that will work out cheaper than others. A family holiday in the notoriously expensive Switzerland is naturally going to cost more than one in Spain. In fact, holiday costs have been falling in Spain in recent years due to an increase in competition and this means it’s more affordable than ever.

That means there are some really great deals to be had in Spain this summer. The price of accommodation, food, drinks and excursion are at an all time low which is great news for British holidaymakers heading to the Iberian Peninsula this summer.

Beach time

Beach time


Search out the best operators and accommodation and you can get some truly stunning deals. Villas4You provide affordable accommodation across lots of beautiful destinations throughout Spain. From the northern charm of Catalonia to the sun-kissed mountains and golden coast of Andalusia, Spain has always been a hugely popular tourist destination for us Brits – and it’s easy to see why.

With some truly exceptional and affordable villa holidays across main land Spain, this is a destination that should be top of your list if you’re looking to save some cash.

Relaxing time

Relaxing time


As well as accommodation and costs, you should also shop around for great travel and insurance deals. Flights and ferry crossing can vary in price so put the time in and you really can find a good deal. Shop around and get a quote before committing to any one deal. It’s always worth it. Remember that lots of little savings add up to a big one and the same goes for currency exchanges and car hire.

We love our holidays and most of the time really need them to recharge the batteries. They shouldn’t have to cost a fortune though and they won’t – provided you know where to look.


Totoro Bush

June 4, 2013 · 0 comments

My neighbor totoro bush sculpture


This is a guest post from Ashlie Bales.

Remember going to college and being warned about the freshman 15 aka the 15 pounds you seem to immediately gain as soon as you show up. The freshman 15 is nothing to the traveler’s 20. Often I wave goodbye to a friend and two weeks and many calories later I arrive back with some excess luggage tied to my body. Luckily there some awesome techniques for staying skinny while still having a blast.

Can you imagine being a beer lover and ordering water when you attend Oktoberfest? How about sitting down to a four hour, seven course meal in Italy and just having a small salad? No one wants to go on their dream vacation and miss out on the things the city is famous for just to avoid gaining a few pounds. On the other hand, you do want to fit into your jeans on day 7 of that dream vacation. The good news is that there are ways to have crazy amounts of fun and not gain a pound. Well maybe one, but not 15!

Most people view vacations or travel as time to let loose and not worry about weight loss or eating healthy. And that’s totally fine, everyone needs breaks from time to time. But what if you travel often? Or maybe you have an important event right after vacation and can’t afford to gain a ton of weight? There are a couple different ways you can maintain or even lose weight when traveling and most importantly still have a good time.

Consider Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in both the fitness community from Sweat Equity Fitness and among weight loss experts. There are varying methods for this but the one I like the best is structured around an 8 hour eating window followed by a 16 hour fasting period. In my opinion the best way to structure this is to have your eating window from noon to 8 p.m., then fast from 8 p.m. until noon the next day which is when your next eating window begins. Following this strategy is very helpful for keeping your calorie count at a reasonable level. Some people have three small meals during their eating window, others have one large meal. It’s up to you.

This method does involve skipping breakfast which in my opinion is vastly overrated. But, if you can’t survive without breakfast, just make your eating window from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. This means you will have to hold out all afternoon and night before eating, but some people love this method.

Hotel Room Workouts

Everyone has grand plans of hitting the gym a couple times while on vacation. It rarely happens. There is too much fun to be had. So here is a simple 15-20 minute routine that can be done anywhere and will remind your body that you still care about it.

10 squats (all the way down)
10 clap pushups (or as many as you can do)
10 lunges (5 each leg)
10 single leg squats (link on how to do them)
30 second plank

hotel room

Is jumping on the bed part of the work out?

Go through this workout 5 times resting only after doing all 5 exercises. Try and decrease your rest periods as you progress. For example, day 1 rest 90 seconds between sets, day 2 60 seconds and so on.

Run Forest Run

My running strategies have changed dramatically over the years. When I was younger I would pound the pavement (or treadmill) hour after hour. That’s not happening anymore. I’m all about efficiency now, especially while on vacation. If you are dedicated enough to run, consider sprinting. 6-10 100 yard sprints will do wonders for your metabolism. And just in case you didn’t know, sprinting 100 yards is really tough, you will have a new appreciation for football players needing oxygen after a 100 yard sprint when you are done with these. The best place to do this is a track. Simply sprint the 100 yard straightaway, do a recovery walk on the curve, and then sprint the next straightaway. I have made many athletes whine and cry doing this workout, so don’t expect to be great right away. The most important thing is that these are sprints aka running as fast as you can. Not jogging, not “running”, sprinting.

temple stairs

Maybe not the best stairs to run…

*Bonus workout – Instead of sprinting on a track find the biggest hill you can and sprint to the top. Challenge your boyfriend/girlfriend to a race and make it fun. Walk down and then sprint up again! Other options include stadium stairs or at the risk of looking like a crazy person, run in the stairwell of your hotel.

Walk everywhere

If your destination is in walking distance, do it. (I’m assuming you aren’t vacationing in war zones, if so, don’t walk.) Walking can have major benefits to weight loss, especially when it’s over an hour long. So a half hour there and a half hour back will be great for you. Remember, sitting takes years of your life, so walk anywhere and everywhere.

The most important thing to do while traveling is to enjoy it! Eat something you have never eaten, climb a mountain, go out on the town rather than sitting in your hotel room. Chances are you won’t be back so enjoy the new environment!