Beach Resort vs Traditional Town: Where to Stay in Turkey?

Looking at a guide book of Turkey you might be tricked into believing that your only option for accommodation is in an upmarket resort or seaside town however Turkey is also has More »

How to Ensure Your Group Fishing Trip Goes Smoothly 

I have been organizing an annual fishing trip for my buddies and I for around 6 years now and each year is better than the one before it. This year we are More »

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To tour or not to tour, that is the question

We personally think tours are awesome, whether they are full tours that include hotels and the airfare, or day tours where you just spend a day seeing some sights, we love them all. We even love the hop on and hop off tours, though we really don’t consider them tours as much as informative transport. Both traveling with a tour group, and on your own, are great options for the traveler to see the world. We will discuss a few of what we think are pros and cons of both.

Pros to taking a tour

It’s easy and you don’t know much or to think much about what you are doing. Once you select the tour, you put yourself in their hands and away you go. There are some great tour companies such as TourOpp discount tours and they love what they do. You will learn a lot from a good tour guide. A tours is more relaxed and peaceful, you can take your time and are on nobody’s agenda. A tour is generally cheaper for doing the same things, as you travel in a group and can share some expenses such as the bus, as well as get bulk discounts. You will make new friends that can carry over into the rest of your life.

Cons to taking a tour

You are on a schedule, so you can’t always take the time you want, to see things. Things can be a bit rushed. They might not go everywhere you want them to go. You might be bored at a location, but stuck there until they are ready to leave.

Pros to traveling alone

You can take your time, and see everything you want. You can leave when you feel you have had enough. You can grab opportunities as they come up without having to wait for anyone. You have much more freedom.

Cons to traveling alone

It can be a bit more expensive such as if you have to take taxis and don’t know the local transportation. You can also get what we like to call a “tourist discount”, which can more than double the price of things. It can be much more confusing on your own, especially in a foreign language country. It might not be as safe, as you will not recognize the same danger as you might back home. You might miss a lot of great experiences as you just will not know about them. You might also not hear about the nuances of a location or the culture.

What we have found to be the most rewarding is both. We generally take a tour for an area, learn all the interesting things, the history, the culture, see what there is to see, then we can come back on our own and take more time. Once we know what there it there, it makes it so much easier to enjoy things you have seen before. Maybe eat at that cafe that you saw, or go shopping a little longer, or spend time in that museum, there are so many things. If you take the tour first, you never feel you have missed anything. There are many sites that have great tips and information on travel. So we suggest do your research an get yourselves in the hands of an experienced tour guide. Sit back and relax and literally watch the world go by.

Beach Resort vs Traditional Town: Where to Stay in Turkey?

Looking at a guide book of Turkey you might be tricked into believing that your only option for accommodation is in an upmarket resort or seaside town however Turkey is also has many small villages and traditional towns which lie inland from the Aegean and Mediterranean sea and offer a slightly more cultural experience. If you plan to visit some of Turkey’s many ancient ruins then one of your first choices may be between staying in Kusadasi, on the Aegean Sea, or in the mountain town of Selcuk, just 18 km inland.

Reasons to Stay in Kusadasi:

For Excellent Location…

Turkey 1

Kusadasi lies on the southwestern shores of Turkey’s Aegean sea, within an hours drive of Izmir’s international airport and just a stone’s throw from the Greek Island of Samos. This seaside resort has regular bus connections to sites and towns of interest along the coast including Bodrum, Fethiye, Pamukkale and Izmir and daily ferries to Samos. If you’re interested making daytrips then Kusadasi has an abundance of sites in the area, you might want to hop on a Jeep Safari to the Dilek National Park or take a bus to the shopping outlets at Soke. Agencies offer guided Ephesus tours or excursions to Didyma and Pamukkale on a daily basis so there’s no need to have your own transport if you choose stay in Kusadasi.

For the Beaches…

Kusadasi is one of the few coastal resorts to have a beach right in the centre of town, so if you choose to make this spend your vacation in this harbour you can be sure that it will only be a short stroll to white sand and transparent water. Aside from ‘Ladies Beach’ – don’t be fooled by the name because it is open to both men and women – on the outskirts of town are 4 privately owned beach clubs. If being served cocktails as you lounge on a shaded sunbed is you style you can head to any one of these. Alternatively take a national park bus to Guzelcamli and relax on the town’s more quiet and scenic beaches.

For the Nightlight…

Kusadasi is one of the top spots in Turkey for dining and nightlife, second only to the country’s party capital, Bodrum which lies further south on the Aegean coast. Start your evening with a glass of wine in an elegant rooftop restaurant as you watch the sunset over the sea. When you’re ready for dinner take advantage of the excellent Aegean cuisine, which will undoubtedly include fresh fish and sea foods. Then head to the Old Town to enjoy live music and quirky bars in the maze of streets before heading to the modern ‘Bar Street’ where you can party through the warm summer night until sunrise.

Reasons to Stay in Selcuk:

For a Little Ancient History…

Visit Turkey

Unlike its seaside neighbors Selcuk had retained much of its Ottoman architecture and examples of its Roman/Byzantine heritage. Just wondering about the town’s old streets you’re sure to notice the remaining pillars of an aqueduct which once supplied the town with clean water. Or you might notice the Byzantine fortress which sits upon a hill overlooking the town. Selcuk is also just 3 km from the 2nd largest city of the ancient world and UNESCO world heritage site of Ephesus. Walking through colossal theatre, well preserved library and marble pillar lined entrance way, far away from modern buildings and technologies, is sure to give you a feel for life over 2,000 years ago.

For Old Trains and Famous Caves…

While most of Selcuk’s visitors have come to for Ephesus Tours and other sites such as the Temple of Artemis, House of the Virgin Mary, St. Johns Basilica and Isa Beya Mosque, the town is also the host of some uniquely interesting sites. Even in the centre of the Old Town there is some exploring to do as one of the country’s first steam locomotives sits between the streets, waiting patiently as tourists and locals aboard for photos. Travelling further afield there is the Camlik Outdoor Museum and the mysterious Cave of the Seven Sleepers, where 7 young Christians hid from persecution and allegedly awoke from a deep slumber 180 years later.

For Family Guesthouses and Homemade Cuisine…

Much of the accommodation offered in Selcuk is in family run guesthouses, built into traditional Ottoman homes, each of which has its own story to tell and it’s own host to tell it. You will probably find yourself dining on a delicious Turkish buffet breakfast of olives, cheeses, fruits, pastries and homemade jams and benefiting from the local knowledge of your host. Far from the modern chain hotels that you would find in coastal resort towns, Selcuk accommodation give visitors the opportunity to experience real Turkish hospitality, taste homemade Turkish dishes and maybe even learn a few words of the local language.

So Where to Base Yourself?

Whether you choose to base your holiday in stylish beach resort or a tranquil mountain town you’re sure to find plenty to do, Selcuk and Kusadasi are actually close enough together that you can easily travel between the two. Stay in Selcuk and take a Ephesus to Samos day tour to visit the beach and Greek Island or check into a hotel in Kusadasi and take a day trip inland to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the village as well as the lively atmosphere and parties of a Turkish beach town.

How to Ensure Your Group Fishing Trip Goes Smoothly 

I have been organizing an annual fishing trip for my buddies and I for around 6 years now and each year is better than the one before it. This year we are looking at some Miami yacht charters listings to see if we can’t up the ante a little from previous years, a feat that will definitely be difficult.

Deepsea

As much as I love these fishing trips, organizing them does take quite a lot of work and in the first few years I made many mistakes. After such experience in organizing these things, I wanted to share with you a few tips on how to ensure that you organize a trip that everyone enjoys and nobody forgets.

Keep it Democratic

If you simply choose the destination and then tell everyone where they are going, you will run into all kinds of complaints from your friends. This is something that I did for the first two years and I frankly got sick of the moaning. In order to avoid this then, the best option is to put together 3 different options in 3 different destinations and then take it to the vote amongst your friends. Once you ahem reached a conclusive decision there can no longer be any moaning and groaning and it will save you a great deal of earache.

Deal With Simplicity

As the organizer of the trip, your only responsibilities are to book the accommodation, the flights or transport, the fishing trip itself and absolutely nothing else. Once you start organizing equipment rental and the like, you are treading into dangerous waters that can leave you open. In order to avoid problems, the best thing to do is stick to these things only and leave the worries about baggage and equipment to the people going on the trip. Just because you are organizing it does not mean that you need to be on hand for every minor problem that goes wrong. Keep it simple, focus on the big events and leave the details to those who are going on the trip.

Put Your Money Down

Three years ago I lost $700 because two people backed out of our US trip at the last minute and I was too foolish to get them to put their money up front. Trust is an interesting thing amongst friends, especially when it comes to money and I would strongly advise you not to pay for anything until you have received some money first. Anyone could back out for any number of reasons and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you have their money first, there is no reason that you or anyone else should have to pay for someone else’s problems. It may be tempting to put it all on you credit card, but for security sake, I would urge you to think again about this idea.

You will learn more from experience like I have but the best advice is to keep things simple and don’t get overly involved.

Working Around The World, What Could You Do

For many people who want to travel the world, they feel as though they are stuck at home because of their job. Thankfully we live in a world where we are more connected than we have ever been and that gives us the chance to take that job and find it somewhere else on the planet. Taking the skills that you have to another country can greatly help you to realize your dreams of traveling the world, and it will also help those that you have decided to work with. Even if you don’t have a job but you need to find one abroad in order to travel, here are some ideas for you.

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Nursing

Nursing is a highly desirable profession around the world and if you have the skills, you can find travel nursing jobs with absolute ease. The reason for the appeal of nurses that were trained in the United States is twofold, firstly because there is a great lack of nurses in many countries around the world, and secondly because the US is considered a privileged place to train as a medical professional and there are many who want to learn from these skills.

Bar Work

If you are just looking to travel around the world, hopping from country to country, you should look at something temporary such as bar work. There are bars all over the world, staff turnover is usually pretty high and you do not need too many skills to get a job there.

Volunteering

If you want to do some good in the world whilst you travel through, why not look into the possibility of volunteering with a charity. Regardless of what your passion is, there are charities all over the world that you could help from conservation projects to feeding the hungry, animal rights work and regeneration projects. The key is to work out what it is you want to do and then identify if it falls in line with where in the world you wish to go.

Teaching

Teaching english is something that many young people find to be the best way of living their travel dreams and doing something good at the same time. Because of the ways in which education works in some countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, you can teach with only a basic qualification and you won’t need to study very long at all. Not only will you be able to travel the world but you can help to educate a great many young students.

Vineyards

The vineyards of Europe and South America in particular have become very popular in recent years for gap year students and travelers. Vineyards are very much seasonal and this plays perfectly into the hands of anyone who is looking to travel but does not want to be stuck down to a job for the rest of their life. If you are interested in this then be sure to check online for when the vineyards are in their working seasons.