Airline Ticket Deals To Avoid

You may have been curious about ads or websites that promise no strings attached airline tickets to a great place like Orlando or Hawaii. Some of these might even include hotel rooms!

Sounds too good to be true right? Well, unfortunately, it is. These scams are usually set up by time-share companies and what they don’t tell you is that you will be required
to attend their seminars every day. You can live with a short seminar right? Think again.

These -seminars- last at minimum 4 hours each day you are there. If you don’t attend them, you may not be able to get your free airline ticket home or even have your hotel room
canceled.

Sure it’s sneaky but legally these companies are doing what they say. They provide free airline tickets with the promise of vacation and in a way they do comply.

If you think you can listen to 4 hours of sales pitches every day and still try to have a good time later, go for it. If you know it’s a bad idea, stay away.

Many airline deals center around bad times of year. In the fall, you can see ads for very cheap Caribbean airline tickets.

Hmm..What is it that happens in the Caribbean every fall? Oh yeah! Hurricanes! The chances of a hurricane coming to the exact place you are visiting is pretty slim but if it does happen, you are stuck there for the duration of the storm.

Be very careful when drooling over these cheap airline tickets in the fall. The same applies for Japan and nearby islands in the spring.

Let the Trek on Inca Trail change your life, according to CNN

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Peru’s Inca Trail was recently named as one of CNN’s 49 Journeys that will Change Your Life.

The Inca Trail – which came in third on the list – was joined by other stunning adventures like a 10-week trip from Cape Town to Cairo or an elevator trip from the ground floor to the 89th of Taiwan’s Taipei Tower.

Built more than 500 years ago, the Inca Trail was part of the most extensive and advanced road system in Pre-Columbian South America. The Inca road system linked together some 25, 000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of roadways.

Traversing the Andes Mountain range, the Inca Trail offers travelers several different routes, each one passing through some of Peru’s unique ecosystems, ranging from cloud forests to alpine tundra.

Inca ruins along the way act as teasers for the final destination: the world-renowned ruins of Machu Picchu. Some of the routes take travelers as high as 4,200 meters above sea level – offering breathtaking views. Depending on the chosen route and stops made along the way, the trek can take anywhere from 2-5 days.

Other South American destinations named on CNN’s list included: a road trip from Turbo, Colombia to Buenos Aires, Argentina and a train ride from Esquel to Ingeniero Jacobacci, Patagonia, Argentina.

Peru is indeed the perfect destination for your honeymoon

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Picture this: you’re relaxing in a natural health spa, enjoying a luxurious couple massage with your significant other, discussing the ancient temple you just visited with a personal guide, and anticipating tomorrow’s luxury train ride to the ancient citadel of MACHU PICCHU. For couples looking to combine elite luxury with light adventure and cultural exploration, Peru makes the perfect honeymoon pick.

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With a remarkable increase in luxury accommodations, a booming and acclaimed culinary scene, and the ability to visit ancient ruins, traditional villages, and imposing jungles with modern services and private guides accustomed to high-end service, Peru is an exotic, pampering, and value-oriented honeymoon destination. But what really completes Peru as a wonderful honeymoon selection is the romance. From watching the sun set into the ocean from the exquisite cliff-side parks in Lima (one of which is named Park of Love!); to the mystic mountains surrounding Machu Picchu, to the scenic serenity in the Scared Valley, Peru is for lovers.

As a diverse country, there are many places in Peru to consider for your honeymoon. Because most international flights arrive in Lima, couples should spend a couple nights in this modern city. Lima is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, and travelers can enjoy gourmet multi-course dinner and drinks for a third of the price (or less) of what it would cost in North America or Europe. Some recommended Lima restaurants include Rafael, Astrid y Gaston, and La Mar.

The trio of Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu should be the central hub of any Peru-based honeymoon package. Luxurious properties in Cuzco provide a pampering experience in renovated colonial structures that contain the charm of the past but with the comforts of a non-intrusive modern touch (such as heated floors), while the Sacred Valley allows for a few romantic nights of seclusion, and Machu Picchu offers a stunning show of man-made and natural beauty.

Those with more time should consider a visit to the Amazon. Just a 45 minute flight from Cuzco is the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, a launching point for trips to remote Amazon lodges. There are several rustic luxury lodges in the area. However, those looking for pure comfort should head north to the town of Iquitos and the Amazon River. Here exclusive riverboats takes travelers deep into the rainforest, yet all with the comfort of an exquisite private room with panoramic windows and a chef on board to serve delicious Amazon meals.

And to top it all off, Peru has several luxury travel companies with in-country offices available to help you plan your dream vacation. An agency that specializes in Peru and luxury trips can be the perfect way to make your romantic international honeymoon become a reality.

Check out the most luxurious retreats in Sacred Valley, Peru

With the demand for luxury travel booming, and the development of several luxury hotel resorts over the last few years, the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s is becoming an increasingly popular destination for foreign tourists visiting Peru. Ideally located for visiting nearby Inca archaeological sites of Pisac, Moray and Ollantaytambo, and just 2 hours from Peru’s premier attraction – the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is also an intelligent choice to spend a few nights.

As the price of land in the City of Cusco continues to sharply rise (Sotheby’s is opening an office there at the moment), luxury hotel investors are choosing to constructing away from the city, opting for the more tranquil setting and lower land costs of the Sacred Valley. What this means is that there is now a selection of exclusive hotels that are less restricted in size, offering attractive gardens, all at more affordable prices. And, to boot, the Sacred Valley is located several hundred feet lower than Cusco, making the whole process of acclimatizing to the Andes that little easier.

Tambo del Inka Resort & Spa, Urubamba

Set on the banks of the fast flowing Urubamba River, the Tambo del Inka is one of Starwood’s leading luxury hotels in Peru. The dramatic lobby features a 2 story stone open fireplace which contrasts against the warm and inviting earthy tones of the hotel’s décor. The 128 room hotel not only offers everything you would expect from a hotel  of this calibre, but is also the only hotel in the Sacred Valley to have an onsite train station for catching trains direct to Machu Picchu. The 5,500 square foot spa includes 12 treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy circuit, plunge pools and more. A popular treatment at the spa is the hydrating wrap and massage using maracuya (passion fruit) and honey.

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The Aranwa Hotel & Wellness Centre, Huayllabamba

The astonishingly beautiful Aranwa Hotel is one of the Sacred Valley’s hidden gems. Located in 3 acres of stunning gardens which include a private adobe chapel and lake, the Aranwa Hotel is a haven of tranquillity for visitors to the Sacred Valley. Built on the site of an old corn plantation, the hotel still features the original 16th century hacienda, which has been fully restored to its former glory. The hotel’s 115 rooms and suites are some of the largest of all the hotels in the Sacred Valley. The Presidential Suite offers the ultimate in luxury with 2 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a bar, a cinema, a private swimming pool and even a grand piano.

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Casa Andina Private Collection, Yanahuara

From the ever successful Peruvian Casa Andina chain, the Casa Andina Private Collection at Yanahuara offers luxury at affordable rates. Located just 10 minutes from the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo and in close proximity to the train station to Machu Picchu, the Casa Andina Private Collection is ideal for leisure travellers visiting Peru. The hotel offers 85 rooms and 7 Andean cottages all with panoramic views of the Sacred Valley. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a fully equipped spa, pristine gardens and even an onsite planetarium.

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Sol y Luna Hotel, Urubamba

As one of the original luxury hotels in the Sacred Valley, the Sol y Luna Hotel has had to constantly redefine itself to maintain its position as a leading luxury hotel in the area. Luxury at the hotel is defined by exquisite experiences and small details rather than outright extravagance. With colourful gardens that have matured for over 14 years, the hotel is a peaceful habitat to some 35 registered species of bird. The Wayra Ranch (part of the hotel) offers exclusive horse-back rides in the Sacred Valley using their own Peruvian Paso breeds. The hotel even features a secret wine cellar for cosy private dinners. Wine paring, with menus of up to 10 courses can be specially tailored to guests needs.

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Rio Sagrado Hotel, Urubamba

As one of four Orient Express owned hotels in the Cusco region, the Rio Sagrado Hotel is pushing the boundaries of luxury and service in the Sacred Valley. Set on the banks of the Urumbamba River, the hotel has panoramic views of unspoilt Andean mountain scenery. The large gardens, with open and impeccable lawns dominate the hotel grounds. Guests can even take a tour of the gardens, led by their head-gardener – a specialist in indigenous botany. The hotel offers a choice of luxurious rooms and suites, plus two large villas. The villas offer unparalleled space and include a private deck, a lounge, a study and accommodations for up to 6 people.ouru_1366x650_exterior06

Travel with you pet like a pro

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No matter, whether it is winter or summer season there is no need to leave your pet at home. Let us explain you how to take your pupil on vacation:

In the car:

  • Just like humans, feed them about three or four hours before the drive. Motion sickness isn’t just a human problem!
  • If you’re crossing state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination records just to ensure you have a copy on hand.

On the plane:

  • Different airlines have different rules when it comes to allowing pets in the cabin, so be sure to call ahead of time to find out.
  • Try to buy a carrier that takes up the least amount of space — and definitely don’t forget a luggage tag listing all of your information as well as any paperwork required.
  • There is one standout program when it comes to bringing pets on flights: JetBlue’s JetPaws offers members 300 points each time they board with their pets with a few additional conditions.

At the hotel:

  • Look for accommodations with pet perks, like Kimpton Hotel locations that accept all pets for zero charge, offer pet toys, beds, water bowls and even Doggy Happy Hours at a few select locations.
  • Some hotels give your pet the chance to stretch his or her legs with dog-walking routes or even on-campus dog runs like the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

8 Apps you cannot miss while travelling abroad

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Travelers used to carry along guidebooks about each place they were visiting when exploring the world, but now you can find all the information you need in the palm of your hand. There’s an app for virtually everything these days and many of them are designed to make traveling easier. Here are eight of our favorite apps for traveling abroad.

1. Viber
Viber is a must-have for communication abroad. The app allows you to text and call anywhere in the world for free when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. It works best when used to communicate with other Viber users, but it also contains a ViberOut feature that lets you call contacts in your phone even if they don’t want to download the app.

2. Tile
Tile is the ultimate app for those of us with a habit of misplacing things. Stick one of the eight Tiles on virtually any item you want, from keys and wallets to laptops, and the app can track it no matter where it goes. Tile uses Bluetooth technology to create a link between your Tiles and your phone so you have help finding the items you’ve misplaced. Your valuables are also vulnerable to theft when you travel, so Tile and other apps like it might be able to help you retrieve your possessions if they’re stolen.

3. SayHi Translate
Communicating with locals in a new environment can be tricky if you’re not a polyglot. SayHi Translate makes the transition from country to country easier by helping you translate your own words. Simply speak into your iPhone or iPad and the app will translate your words into the desired language and speak it back to you.

4. Amount
Currency conversion can be a tricky thing, but that’s not the only area in which numbers can be confusing in a new country. The Amount app is a unit and currency converter and not only helps you navigate monetary exchanges, but also categories like speed limits, fuel consumption, cooking measurements and even clothing sizes in case you want to buy a new outfit overseas. The interface is simple to understand and contains over 700 different units in over 30 categories.

5. Entrain
If you find yourself hopping airplanes a lot you probably know how hard it can be to adjust to a new time zone. When jet lag sets in on your trip you can find yourself wanting a nap in the middle of the day. Entrain helps combat this by delivering mathematically proven lighting schedules that’ll help you adjust to new time zones in a jiffy. The app records your lighting history and makes recommendations for you to adjust light levels around you throughout the day to help keep you moving.

6. Foodspotting
Photographs on a restaurant’s menu can often be misleading, so why not trust people who’ve eaten there instead? Foodspotting is an app where people can post pictures and reviews of dishes they’ve devoured at local eateries and it currently features over four million dishes. Use it to seek out the best meals in any foreign locale and find the dishes you want while also getting an actual representation of the food served on your phone.

7. Like a Local
Avoid the tourist traps and let Like a Local tell you where the real hotspots in town are located. As you can probably guess, the app lets real locals post reviews and insights about their favorite places in town for you to see. They’re picky about the locals they use, so you won’t be getting reviews from someone who’s only lived there a week.

8. SpeedSpot
Travelers who can’t stand the idea of not getting online during their travels should seriously consider downloading SpeedSpot. The app allows you to search for and test the Wi-Fi capabilities of local hotels, cafes and restaurants. No matter where you go you’ll never have to do without Internet access again.

No matter where your travels take you this summer, these apps should help you get the most out of your experience. Go ahead and give them a try and let us know your favorite travel apps in the comment section below!

How about quit your job and go travelling?

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If you want to grow and make the most of your twenties, do it somewhere overseas. You have your entire life ahead of you to work — and with the way the economy looks now, you’ll be working until you die. Why plow through your best years, hoping to spend your last years doing all the stuff you could have done better in your youth?

I say quit your job and travel the world. Discover yourself on the road. Become a better you. Here are all the reasons why you should quit your job and travel instead.

You don’t have money, but you don’t need it

Working at Wal-Mart or waiting tables isn’t going to pay your $100,000 student debt. If you’re unemployed or underemployed, traveling is a better option. You have nothing to lose. There are plenty of overseas jobs out there, and the Internet has made them easy to find. Teaching jobs or seasonal work abroad can be found very easily on websites like Helpx.net and Workaway.info.

Wait out the economic storm and come back with skills and experience for your career when there’s more opportunity.

Your skills aren’t going anywhere

Got an amazing job? Second in your class? Probably going to invent the next Facebook? Awesome. You’re a highly skilled, in-demand person. With natural talent like that you’ll be in demand in a year or two, too. Quit, travel, and get a job when you come back. After all, how many unemployed rocket scientists are there? Not many.

You’ll learn to talk with anyone

On the road, you have to talk to people. You either get good at making friends or you end up alone. Traveling the world will improve your ability to engage in small talk, turn strangers into friends, and be extroverted. The ability to form an instant rapport with someone you’ve never met will help you in both your professional and personal life.

It will put your day-to-day in perspective

You’ve hiked Mt. Everest. Gone on safari in Africa. Wined and dined a beautiful girl in Argentina. Backpacked around Australia and navigated unknown cities with ease. In short, you’ve become the most interesting man in the world. Crossing a few chores off your office to-do list looks a helluva lot less daunting when you’ve already knocked plenty of events off your bucket list.

10 reasons why you actually should travel alone

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Though it may sound like something you’d find inside a fortune cookie, sometimes the best travel companion you can have is yourself. Solo travel is easier than you might think, totally liberating, and completely rewarding in a way few other experiences in life can match.

In recent years, interest in traveling alone has skyrocketed, and those in the travel industry all over the world have come up with ways to cater to this growing segment. If you’ve ever wanted to travel alone but been too afraid, if it’s something you did once and vowed never to do again, if you absolutely hate the idea of going somewhere without someone you know, now’s the time to reconsider. Think of it this way: You have a limited amount of time and money to spend on travel, so why not customize it to your individual preferences so that you can maximize your satisfaction? If that’s not enough to convince you, here are ten reasons why you should consider solo travel.

It makes trip planning way easier
We all have bucket lists of places we want to travel to in our lifetime, but all too often we hold ourselves back from experiences because we have no one to share them with. Everyone has different schedules, budgets, and traveling interests, so waiting around for the right time or the right person to join you for a train trip to Niagara Falls, gourmet dining in Lyon, or backpacking around Southeast Asia is a waste. When you travel alone, only your needs matter, and you can plan something at the last minute if you desire.

So go ahead and take a day trip to a nearby town or a month-long jaunt across Europe–this is your life to live and you deserve to have the travel experiences you want. I’m not suggesting you go on every vacation alone, but it would be a shame to skip local and far-flung destinations just because you don’t feel like going by yourself.

You will get to enjoy “me time”
In our ever-connected world filled with digital distractions, it can be a challenge to take the time that’s necessary to recharge one’s battery. Fortunately, solo travel offers the time and space that’s necessary for valuable alone time. Even if you’re not the type of person who goes off the grid when traveling, being alone on the road will give you the opportunity to reflect on life and enjoy your own company. Some people have an innate aversion to doing things individually, but giving yourself alone time, especially for an extended period, is a gift that you will eventually learn to relish.

What’s more, you’ll learn a lot about yourself in a way that’s simply impossible when you’re in the midst of your normal daily routine. I often surprise myself by the new interests I develop when I’m traveling or the way I interact with strangers differently than I would when I’m home. I’m also able to look at my life with some distance and think about my future goals with a fresh set of eyes. Often when I’m on the road alone, I’ll have vivid dreams about issues that are affecting me, and these can lead to meaningful solutions. Everyone should have the opportunity to check in with himself or herself from time to time, and solo travel offers the perfect conditions for introspection.

You are the master of your itinerary
If you’ve ever planned a vacation with another person or a group of people, you know that picking the dates alone can be a hassle, and that’s just the beginning. Where will you stay? What will you eat? Who’s planning the itinerary? Is everyone onboard with this plan? What if you can’t do everything that you want to do? Simply put, planning a trip with anyone else is an exercise in compromise and negotiation.

Instead, why not make the most of your time and money by planning the getaway of your dreams without any interference? Whether you want to spend three days on a beach doing absolutely nothing or visit ten museums in one weekend, there’s no one to stand in your way when you’re traveling alone. You can sleep as little or as much as you want, eat what your heart desires, and indulge yourself with whatever makes you happy. Traveling is supposed to be relaxing, and it’s never more so than when you are your own trip planner. You don’t even have to plan if you don’t want to–be spontaneous if that’s your thing. The whole point is getting what you want out of a vacation.

You will make new friends (if you want)
Without a doubt, one of the biggest deterrents from solo travel is the fear of feeling lonely. The truth, however, is that you’ll never feel this way if you make the right choices. For meals, find restaurants where you can dine at the bar and interact with the bartender or skip restaurants altogether and stick to street food or groceries. Want to meet some locals? Research lively cafes or bars that appeal to your tastes; if you’re in a foreign country, try to find spots that are popular with expats. Sign up for cooking classes or museum tours to meet people with similar interests.

If you are overseas, speaking the local tongue will be a great help in interacting with strangers. But keep in mind that English is as close to a universal language as we’ve got, so you’re already in good shape. Also bear in mind that being a solo traveler automatically makes you an interesting person with a story to tell anyone you meet, so capitalize on that. Of course, if you’re not looking to build your social network, being a solo traveler allows you to be as antisocial as you want to be. It’s all about knowing what works for you.

Your experiences will be more meaningful
Obviously there are many benefits to traveling with friends or loved ones, but other people can often serve as distractions from the destination you’re visiting. Whether you make a new international friend or discover your favorite new museum, the experiences you have when traveling alone tend to feel more profound, and those memories tend to last longer.

When you travel with someone else, the trip is more about your shared experiences, which can be a great thing in some cases, but not always. If a vacation is about having a great time with someone you know, by all means go forth, but if you’re really looking to connect with a place and its people, consider going there alone.

It will boost your confidence
I still feel a bit nervous when I’m kicking off a solo trip, but in the end, nothing makes me feel more confident or capable than conquering the world on my own. Successfully ordering a meal in botched German, picking up the latest British slang, chatting up locals at a farmers’ market in Vermont, making new friends in Hong Kong, navigating the idiosyncrasies of train systems all over the world–these are some of the rewards I’ve gained from my solo adventures. It’s nice to have someone to rely on, but it’s particularly satisfying when that someone is you.

The more you travel alone, the more likely you are to feel the same way, like you can tackle any challenge with aplomb. No English menu at a Bangkok restaurant? Not a problem. Transit strike in France? No sweat. Stuck overnight at O’Hare? You can deal with that. Of course, the more confident you feel when traveling alone, the more confident you’ll feel at home. Whenever one of life’s little challenges emerge, you can simply remind yourself of all that you’ve handled on your own all over the world–it’ll put your problems in perspective.

It willmake you a better traveler
Traveling alone makes you a better observer of people and places around you, which in turn has the power to make you more compassionate and a better person overall. Being an outsider, however slight or extreme, automatically changes the way you interact with others, and these changes are positive when it comes to travel. In addition to making you kinder and more patient, solo travel increases your curiosity about your surroundings, and chances are you’ll learn a lot about others simply by paying more attention than you would if you were with a travel companion.

Being alone also affords you the time to properly document and reflect on your travels. If you want to spend an afternoon photographing your favorite neighborhood in Montréal, you can do that. If you want to spend thirty minutes every night writing about what you ate that day, you’ll have time for that. In the future, these travel mementos will be just as valuable as the trips.

You can stay within your budget

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Money is always a pressure point when it comes to travel, and everyone has different spending habits and attitudes. So it’s much easier to figure out your budget for a trip and plan accordingly. Even if you have shared finances with a spouse or travel with someone in the same tax bracket, the two of you may have completely different ideas of how much to spend on a hotel, for example.

And you yourself may spend differently from one trip to another. For instance, if you want to embark on a Michelin-starred gastronomic adventure in Tokyo, you may be willing to settle for less posh accommodations than you would choose if you were, say, spending a long weekend on the beach in Tulum. It’s simply much easier to create your own budget and stick to it rather than overspending because you travel with someone with expensive taste.

You will feel more satisfied in the end

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I’m willing to bet that everyone who has ever traveled with at least one other person has experienced some level of disappointment on vacation. Perhaps you got into a fight in Beijing because you couldn’t find a certain restaurant, it was late, you were both hungry, and you had already been traveling for a week and a half and that’s a lot of time to spend with anyone. Or maybe you were a little annoyed to discover, in Berlin, that your boyfriend’s study of German did not actually make him useful at communicating in the language. No matter how big or small, problems can and do arise when people travel together.

When you travel alone, the stakes are lower because you only have to worry about keeping yourself happy. Are you going to feel bitter because you slept in one morning? Highly unlikely. Will you hold a grudge because you spent too much time at a museum? Nope. Will you feel like you’re wasting time if you just want to sit in a café for a few hours? Not a chance. When you make yourself the sole arbiter of what to do on vacation, you remove the risk of disappointment and you keep things drama-free, which is a good way to keep your trip feeling both relaxing and satisfying.

You will find an answer to an important question
If you’ve never traveled alone because your first thought is, “What would I even do with myself?” I implore you to plan a solo trip immediately. In addition to everything I’ve mentioned above, you will daydream, you will read, you will have exciting adventures, you will encounter funny things to tell your friends about, you will sleep well, you will eat new things, you will discover new neighborhoods, you will want to learn new languages, you will think about your next trip, you will talk to strangers, you will take risks, you will buy new clothes, you will learn about history and culture, you will go to concerts, you will stroll through parks, you will explore cities by bike, you will think about moving, and so much more. In fact, there’s so much you can do when you travel alone that you’ll wonder how you ever managed to travel with someone else in the past.

It’s totally fine to spend all your money on travel!

 

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It turns out that it’s not whoever has the most stuff wins; it’s whomever has had the most experiences wins, and ends up being happier.

Say what? Aren’t we supposed to save all our money so we can keep up with having the newest of phones, TVs, and cars?

It turns out that while we used to think material things were the way to happiness, according to science, what will bring you the most lasting happiness are experiences — travel, outdoor activities, new skills, and visiting exhibitions.

We think because our brand new TV will last longer than a cruise to Bermuda, that the happiness we felt at purchasing the TV lasts longer, too. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

“One of our enemies of happiness is adaption,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who’s been researching the correlation between money and happiness for decades. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed, but only for a little while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

Because our new TV is right there, it makes it easier for us to adapt to it. But slowly, it starts to fade into the background as an electronic wallflower of our lives. Trips we took, and experiences we’ve had, start to become part of our identities.

Think about it: Which had a greater impact on you — that video game you got as a kid, or the family vacation you took to Greece? You know, the trip with stories that can still make you and your siblings laugh when reminiscing.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said Gilovich in the study “A Wonderful Life: Experiential Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness,” published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

“You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are a part of you. We’re the sum total of our experiences.”

Humans are highly social creatures, and meaningful social relationships contribute hugely in our happiness levels.

Gilovich continues, “One reason that experiential purchases tend to provide more enduring satisfaction is that they more readily, more broadly, and more deeply connect us to others.”

Our experiences make us who we are, connect us with other people, and bring us great amounts of happiness.

So, what’s stopping you? Take that money you’ve been putting towards a new couch and get on a flight for Thailand, sign up for a cooking class, or visit the next exhibition at a local museum. You’ll be much happier.

7 Peruvian dishes you definietly need to try

Similar to other cultures, Peruvian dishes are a rich combination of several influences, including Spanish  and Chinese cuisine combined with traditional ingredients originating from Peru. Many tourists who visit the nation have the opportunity to try new versions of some old favorites and  may just be surprised by their discoveries. Traditionally,  Peruvian dishes include rice or potatoes (after all, Peru grows 4000 types of potatoes ) combined with different types of proteins like lamb, chicken, fish or pork. Depending on the region, dishes may include locally grown peppers, including the yellow aji or red rocoto variety. Here’s our list of Peru’s 7 must try:

Ceviche

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Ceviche is a simple dish typically made from fresh raw local  fish or any form of seafood which are marinated with the use of citrus juices like lime or lemon. You can opt to add chili peppers and seasonings like onion and salt. The dish is not cooked with heat rather with the citrus marinade. It’s served with avocado, sweet potatoes, lettuce or corn. You can try this dish at any region of the country however they are quite popular in the northern coast of Peru.

Papas a la huanciana

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Dont be mis-led by its name, the origins of this popular dish lie in a region called Chosica in Lima and not Huancayo. The dish is named after a Huancaina (a person who hails from Huancayo) who first made this dish available to the people. (Thank you!!) It’s a simple dish made of potatoes boiled, sliced and served on a lettuce leaf. It is then topped with a hearty serving of spicy cheese.

Pollo a la Brasa

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Pollo a la Brasa is a classic Peruvian rotisserie-style chicken that’s quite flavorful. It is one of the most eaten dish in Peru finds  its origins in the capital city, here in  Lima. Pollo a la brasa has been declared by Peru’s National Institute of Culture “a culinary specialty” and is used by Peru’s census agency, the INEI to  calculate the country’s monthly inflation.   Here is Peru, there’s even a  “Day of Pollo a la Brasa” which is the third Sunday in July.   It’s that important.  Pollo a la brasa is  chicken that’s been marinated with many Peruvian ingredients (plus a little  soy sauce), then roasted in a special brick lined rotisserie that is fired up with mesquite charcoal. Simple and oh, so delicious.

Anticuchos

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Anticuchos is food very popular in the streets of Peru. In essence, it’s marinated grilled beef hearts served on a stick.

Lomo Saltado

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LomoSaltado can be found in every region throughout the country. It is a platter with sautéed onions, tomatoes and beef served with either french fries or rice, or sometimes both. LomoSaltado a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian flavors, which  in Peru is referred to as “Chifa” cuisine. What makes the meal so special is the wine used for sauté which provides a rich unique flavor.

Cuy Chactado

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Cuy is another traditional dish recommend to try while in Peru. Cuy was believed that this cuisine originated from the Antiplano region. This dish is a guinea pig which tastes like chicken or rabbit. It’s usually offered barbecued or baked and served with hot sauce. It’s traditionally served on special occasions here in Peru,  so let’s party!!!
Causa

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And for my absolute favorite (besides ceviche of course):  Causa is one of the most popular dishes all along Peru’s coast, including Lima. Besides being delicious, the traditional causa is fairly economic and easy to prepare. It includes potatoes with local spices, (remember all the potatoes here in Peru?), tuna from the ample Pacific Coast, and Peru’s plentiful supply of avocados. There are many variations both in the purée and in the fillings.

Mysteries of Nazca Lines

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In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s when commercial air travel was becoming more and more frequent, the world was being treated to another view of itself.  Ariel views of the world continue to captivate us ‘earth-walkers’ today but at that time, it all must have seemed so foreign.  Pilots flying over Peru’s desert region began reporting strange images and markings carved into the rough, wind swept crust.  This region however was quite remote and information traveled slow from this part of the world.

Eventually, scholars of all kinds descended upon the puzzling Nazca Lines to try and figure out what they meant and why they were made, while some tried to figure out how they were made.  Simply walking on the desert floor, one certainly lacks the vantage point that you get from the air or at least, a hill, which adds another element of mystery.  An example here is the Peru portion of the Pan-American Highway was built straight through the middle of a couple of them, and they didn’t even know they were there.  Did the ancient Nazca people have the ability to fly?

These scholars do agree on dating the creation of the Nazca Lines to between the fifth and seventh centuries AD.  Some of the lines are straight, like ‘ruler’ straight, and they go on for hundreds of metres and all seem to point to something, but what?  There are a few conflicting theories and one is that, as this area consists today of dry river beds, they were pointing to water sources, another is something celestial, another even describes them as a landing strip for alien aircraft.  Whatever theory you believe, it is a head-scratcher as how anyone could do something so precise with such primitive tools in such a harsh climate.

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Straight lines you say?  Big deal, so what?  Well it gets better and even more mysterious.  What would you say if you were looking down at this desert, one of the driest on the planet, and see a geoglyph of a giant spider, perfectly preserved, carved into the surface.  Hey? What then?  How about a monkey, a pelican, or a condor over a 130 meters tall?  Or a whale?

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Answer me this, how did someone in say, the fifth century, know what a whale looked like?  And even if he did know (I am assuming he, maybe a she, or an it, who knows?), how and why would he carry that image in his head back to the desert and carve it, from memory, free hand, into the rocky surface to the tune of say 40 meters wide, and what? keep running up to the nearest hill top to check his work?  The alien theory is starting to become the most believable theory isn’t it?

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There are so many baffling images here from flowers and trees, to fish and forest animals but perhaps the freakiest of all is the ‘Owl Man.’  So called because the image looks like a man but with an owl’s head.  It’s possible that the artist intended to draw a human, or, maybe the artist was an alien drawing a self portrait, and the image is quite accurate? Hmmmm, perhaps it’s the other way around, perhaps the humans were communicating to the aliens, drawing pictures of of the different lifeforms we have here on earth.  Makes sense, right?

From the town of Nazca, you can either book a land tour of the the Nazca Lines, or an ariel tour and either one will see you likely gravitate towards one of the many theories, or maybe make your own.  If you are inclined to remain on the ground, you won’t see as many, as the geoglyphs are found in a area of almost 500 square kilometres, but you’ll see some of the main ones.  For tourists, they have built some staircases with a viewing platform on top in some of the more strategic places, and you will be with a knowledgable guide and group.  If you are up for an adventure, you can book a 30-45 minute flyover.  Your pilot will take a very small group of about 4 or 5 people, and circle around for great photo opportunities.  Be warned, this is not a smooth flight and the turns are sharp but if you think you can stomach it, it’s well worth it.