The Most Romantic Off the Beaten Track Destinations

Words by Aislinn Corbet

It’s easy to make any place romantic when you’re with the one you love.

But these places take it up a notch when it comes to romance.

Whether you’re dating or celebrating an anniversary, these are some of the most romantic off the beaten track destinations to travel to if you want to escape with your special Valentine.

You’re just getting to know each other

Who says you can’t go on a holiday together if you’ve just started dating? There is no better way to get to know someone than trying new things together.

Get to know each other while trying saganaki and getting merry on tsipouro on a 16th-century bougainvillea lined cobbled street in Nafplio, the “most romantic city in Greece”. Or while dancing to Ecuadorian folk music on the beach in Montañita, a lively beach town in Ecuador.

These are two towns where you can’t help falling in love.

You’re in love and want to do something special

You’re at that special place in your relationship where it’s not new but you really enjoy being in each other’s company and want to spend time together in a special place.

Nothing beats renting a car and going on a road trip through the French countryside. You can stay in quaint old stone towns like Saint Paul de Vence and spend the evenings lost in each other’s company in an ambient jazzy little bistro in Eguisheim.

France is known for being one of the most romantic countries in the world for a reason.

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Merci à @explore_regionsud #saintpauldevence

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You’re engaged

This is time to get lost in each other.

The safari camps and lodges of Botswana are legendary for their romantic atmosphere and privacy. With nothing but the wild Okavango Delta all around you and dreamy nights of champagne sundowners and candlelit dinners under the stars, it doesn’t get more romantic than this.

Our personal favourite area is Moremi Game Reserve.

It’s your first Valentine’s together as a married couple

There’s no reason why you can’t still make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day just because you’re married. The first year as a married couple is a time to establish your own little traditions.

Make “travel somewhere new” your new Valentine’s Day tradition.

The colourful winding streets and Baroque architecture make San Miguel de Allende in Mexico seem like a city designed for love and romance. But if you prefer the atmosphere of the Mediterranean, Alaçatı in Turkey is a picturesque stone seaside town that is quite possibly the most romantic town in the world.

You’re old lovers wanting to reconnect

It’s easy to get preoccupied with life and forget to spend time together as a couple.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to disconnect from reality and reconnect with each other by going on a Valentine’s getaway.

Weymouth in Dorset, England is a seaside town that is known for its colourful houses, beaches, and dramatic Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO Heritage-listed stretch of coastline where many of the craggy cliffs date back to the Jurassic Era.  A getaway in Weymouth is all about picnics, lazy drives, and getting merry on nightcaps at the local pub until you’re flirting like teenagers.

It’s a milestone anniversary year

It’s one of the big ones!

Celebrate your milestone year with an extra special romantic getaway to one of the most romantic places in the world – Europe.

Treat yourselves to the old-world charm of Fussen in Germany, a 700-year-old Bavarian town known for its castles. Or head to Sighișoara in Romania, a picturesque Medieval town with a fascinating history, gorgeous architecture, and all the obscure charm you would expect from a historic town in Eastern Europe that is said to be the birthplace of Count Dracula.

“It’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with”

Valentine’s Day is about taking a moment to appreciate your significant other and celebrate the love the two of you share. 

Although you don’t need to go somewhere exotic to do that, nothing says “I love you” quite like a getaway to one of the most romantic off the beaten track destinations in the world.

11 Festivals Around the World worth Travelling for in 2020

Words by Aislinn Corbet

Festivals are not what they used to be.

Back in the day it was all about the music; today it is about the experience. Organisers are pulling out all the stops to offer the ultimate festival experience and festival lovers are paying attention.

From the wild jungles of Borneo to the dusty desert of Nevada  – festivals are springing up all around the world in some of the most spectacular locations with features that border on absurd.

These are some of the best (and unusual) festivals around the world that are worth the jet lag.

New Orleans, United States: Mardi Gras

There ain’t no party like Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday) is a time for wild indulgence before the fasting rituals of Lent begin. In New Orleans that entails parades of elaborate floats, street parties that go on into the night, and an atmosphere you won’t be able to resist getting pulled into.

The French Quarter is the indisputable heart of the festivities, but celebrations happen in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, and Lake Charles too. It begins in January and culminates on 25 February.

When: 4 January to 25 February 2020

Where: Throughout the city

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Rio Carnival

Rio Carnival is known as O maior show da Terra  – “The biggest show on Earth”. But nothing can prepare you for just how big it is.

The entire city becomes a wild, heaving party. It is football fever but with extravagant floats, dancers, and costumes instead.

The greatest samba schools in the country come together to battle it out for a grand prize in samba parades at the Sambadrome. The streets become parties called “blocos”. And when night falls, grand balls and lavish parties take over the nightclubs and bars.

When: The Friday before Ash Wednesday (21 February to 29 February 2020)

Where: Throughout the city

France & Belgium: Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is that festival people talk about for months afterwards. But for good reason – it is one of the best electronic dance music (EDM) festivals in the world.

Tickets often sell out within minutes of going on sale.

Camping villages with food stalls, shops, BBQ zones, and chill out areas are set up around elaborate stages alight with pyrotechnics and live performances by the crème de la crème of DJs.

Tomorrowland happens in different cities across the world, but the satellite event is in Belgium. There is also a winter Tomorrowland.

When: France  – 14 March to 21 March 2020 | Belgium  – 17 to 19 & 24 to 26 July 2020

Where: Alpe d’Huez, France | Boom, Belgium

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Live Today, Love Tomorrow, Unite Forever

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Copenhagen, Denmark: Distortion Festival

What started as an unknown underground event is now one of the largest annual gatherings in Europe. Distortion is a massive street party that takes over several neighbourhoods in Copenhagen for 5 days in June. But the atmosphere is unlike anything you have ever experienced before.

Young and old come together for a week of electronic, reggae, and dub music in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For 5 glorious days, the whole city unites to have a good time.

When: 3 June to 7 June

Where: Nørrebro, Vesterbro, and Refshaleøen

Somerset, England: Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival is one of the most well-known and well loved music festivals in the world.

It is a 5 day long festival that was influenced by hippie morals of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Over the years it has mushroomed into an enormous music and performing arts festival with stages and art installations set up across vast stretches of the English countryside.

The festival hosts everything from comedy, theatre, circus, and cabaret performances to legendary bands and musicians. The full line up for Glastonbury 2020 has not been released yet.

When: 24 June to 28 June 2020

Where: Pilton, Somerset, South West England

Ostrava, Czech Republic: Colours of Ostrava

Colours of Ostrava, or simply Colours, is a family friendly festival that has hosted some of the biggest names in music. 2020 will see Twenty One Pilots, The Lumineers, Youssou N’Dou, Tones and I, and Sigrid grace its stages – of which there will be 21.

Colours is known for being a melting pot of music genres and its incredible venues. This year it will be held at Dolní Vítkovice, an ironworks heritage site that dates back to 1828.

When: 15 July to 18 July 2020

Where: Vítkovice (Witkowitz)

Sarawak, Malaysia: Rainforest World Music Festival

This music festival

Rainforest World Music Festival is a 3 day music festival that happens amongst the tropical rainforests of Borneo. It has gained a reputation for its hypnotic sounds and performances.

The festival is all about discovering new music and bringing the different sounds of the world together for a few days of musical exploration and appreciation. It will introduce you to music as you’ve never heard it before.

When: 10 July to 12 July 2020

Where: Sarawak Cultural Village, Sarawak, Borneo

Various Locations: Lollapalooza

The idea of Lollapalooza was conceived by Perry Farrell in 1991 as a farewell tour for his band, Jane’s Addiction.

It was such a hit it has become a recurring event in Chicago and expanded to various other countries around the world – Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, France, and Germany.

Lollapalooza spans 4 days of rock, metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music (among others) from legendary bands and incredible known, and unknown, musicians.

When: Various dates

Where: See upcoming dates for Lollapalooza 2020 (https://global.lollapalooza.com/ )

Winchester, England: Boomtown Fair

Boomtown Fair is one of the most immersive festivals in the world.

It is part carnival part fantasy world made up of themed districts, each with its own performers, experiences, extravagant stages, and musicians from just about every genre.

Festival goers are even encouraged to visit the costume shops and dress up and partake.

The organisers are also committed to doing good with the profits – a portion is donated to the various charities and initiatives in Winchester (where it’s held).

So far, the line-up for Boomtown Fair 2020 includes Flogging Molly, Caravan Palace, Candi Staton, and Kano.

When: 12 August to 16 August 2020

Where: Matterley Estate, near Winchester, Hampshire

Nevada, United States: Burning Man

What started as a bonfire ritual on a summer solstice night in 1986 has since grown into an entire community for bohemians, free spirits, and artists to experiment with art and enjoy pure freedom.

The festival and community are influenced by 10 principles: radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy, and leave no trace.

Mutant vehicles, burning structures, and radical displays of self-expression are trademarks of this dreamy festival in the desert.

When: 30 August to 7 September 2020

Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada

Kraków, Poland: Unsound Festival

If you’re into experimental music and performing art – this is for you.

It is produced by a non-profit organization and deals with “evolving and mutating forms of music, as well as related visual arts”. The festival is known for its radical sounds and performances that explore and bend genres and rules.

Unsound Festival happens in various cities around the world, but the medieval town of Kraków is the birthplace of this one of a kind music and performance art festival.

When: 4 October to 11 October 2020

Where: Various venues

Hot Spot Alert: Ho Chi Minh City

Words by Dawn Bradnick @DawnJorgensen

Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, is a buzzing metropolis in southeast Vietnam with a population of just under 9 million. The capital of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1975, Saigon played a pivotal role in the Vietnam War when it served as the headquarters of U.S. military operations. Today a place where motorcycles rule the roads and timeless incense-infused temples sit alongside chic designer malls and sleek 21st-century skyscrapers, HCMC is a dizzying adrenaline-fuelled assault on the senses and instantly commands your undivided attention.

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Best Winter Experiences Around the World

Words by Aislinn Corbet

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is a magical time of year. It is a time of Christmas markets, snowy towns, good food in cosy restaurants, and the festive cheer of the holiday season. And when it comes to winter holidays, no places do it better than places where it snows.

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Best Things to do in Nairobi, Kenya’s Gateway City

Words by Dawn Bradnick @DawnJorgensen

Nairobi as Kenya’s capital city is a hub of heaving cars and buses, khaki clad elated tourists and ultra-cool fashionista locals proudly embracing the infectious energy of the country’s largest gateway city.

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Trip Ideas for 7 Life Milestones

Words by Aislinn Corbet

Life is all about moments and milestones. Falling in love. New friendships starting. Old ones ending. The annual family getaway. Getting the job of your dreams. Or your best friend’s wedding weekend.

Some moments will be fleeting and some you will never forget, but either way, these are moments and milestones worth celebrating  – ideally in a beautiful place with the ones you love.

These are the places that will make the big life milestones extra special…

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Livingstone, Zambia. Beyond the Smoke that Thunders.

Words and images by Dawn Bradnick @DawnJorgensen

With a mix of British architecture, museums, markets and traditional village life existing effortlessly alongside budget hostels and five-star hotels, Livingstone is at the heart of Zambian tourism. Founded in 1905 and named after the renowned Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone, the city owes its existence primarily to Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya – the Smoke that Thunders, as it is aptly known.

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Holiday Package or Self-Made Holiday?

What kind of Traveller are you?

When planning a vacation there are two main options: holiday packages or self-made holidays.

Although holiday packages have a reputation for being the cheaper option and often are, they can also put limitations on your holiday in terms of travel dates and accommodation options.

Self-made holidays give you all the freedom in the world and can be the cheaper option if you don’t mind hostels, good street food, and living on the cheap (Of course there is a also a more luxurious version of self-made holidays available).

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Discover the magic of Marrakesh

Words and images by Dawn Bradnick @DawnJorgensen

Located in western Morocco, the former Imperial city is a major economic hub and home to mosques, palaces and expansive gardens. Dating back to the Berber Empire, with thriving souks selling traditional textiles, handcrafted pottery and intricate jewellery. Surrounded by a vast palm grove, Marrakech is fondly known as the ‘red city’ because of its buildings and ramparts constructed using red earth from the surrounding desert.

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7 Cheap Travel Destinations

…the Best Countries for South Africans to Visit Right Now!

Whether it’s visa issues or the cost of flights, travelling as a South African can be complicated and expensive and is not always an easy undertaking for the average South African. But if you choose the right place, you get it all – the adventure, the food, the experiences – without spending outrageous amounts of money.

These are 7 of our favourite holiday destinations right now that really are cheap to travel to.

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