Dec 31

10 Reasons Hiking and Camping Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution!

Every New Year, we hear people say a million different resolutions that will change their lives for the better. Some of the classic, cliché resolutions are to get in shape, save more money, travel more, or even find love. I believe if you commit to getting off the couch, and into the outdoors, you can fulfill all of your resolutions and more! Think about the clean mountain air, the picturesque views, and the mountain man/woman skills you can learn by spending more nights under the stars! Here are 10 reasons Hiking and Camping Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution.

1. No Need for a Gym Membership

With everyone wasting their hard-earned money on a gym membership, that they will stop using in two months, make the change that will last. While wearing a 20 lb pack on an uphill hike, you can burn just as many calories as you would at the gym, if you put in the effort. Also by joining nature’s gym, you get to avoid all the selfie taking mirror meat heads and Kardashian wannabes. And the best part is that your membership is free, and way more rewarding.

2. Get Better Sleep

Sleeping under the stars with the sounds of the wild, will relax and reset your soul. Leave behind the stress from your 9-5 job and your loud, cramped city apartment, for a night out in the wild. I guarantee after one night’s sleep under the stars, you will wake up refreshed, with a renewed sense of life. Some of my best, full night’s of sleep have been on the ground, in a sleeping bag.

3. Eat Healthier

It’s hard to eat fast food when you are on a 3-day backpacking trip. If you resist the urge, you won’t even crave it anymore. With a little ingenuity, you can catch fresh fish, gather greens and nuts, all while on trail. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard to eat unhealthy on a camping trip, unless you pack a lot of whiskey and s’mores like myself.

4. New Challenges

Every year, I hear people talk about all the bucket list items they want to check off their lists. This is the year to make a list of challenges, and conquer them. You can hike a 12,000 foot peak, hike a famous trail, or just sleep for one night in a tent under the stars. Whatever your skill level, make sure you challenge yourself to conquer new adventures this year. Make some reasonable hiking goals you know you can accomplish this year, then push yourself a little further on each new adventure!

5. Save Money

Buying camping and hiking gear can be expensive at first, but once you have everything you need, you will save a boat load of money. It’s impossible to spend money when you are out enjoying the trail, on a multi-day excursion. Find used gear at garage sales, or borrow gear from friends to keep your investment low. You can also try carpooling with friends on your next adventure to save money on gas. A night out drinking beers around a campfire, is about 100 dollars less than a Saturday night at the bar.

6. Spend More Time with Family and Friends

Once a year at Christmas, I see the majority of my family and friends. Every year I hear how much my family and friends want to hangout or visit me more often. I say, just go for it! Plan a trip and get them out on the trail! You can even show them the new skills you’ve learned. Can’t get the kids around the dinner table for family dinner or get them to put their phones down for two seconds? The solution is to get outdoors around a campfire with no cell service! They might hate you at first, but they will love you after roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate.

7. Travel More

Every New Year, people talk about traveling to lavish locations like California, New York, Europe, etc. How about you take advantage of all the hikes and campsites in your own backyard first. Get off the couch and get outdoors more! Maybe this is the year to go to Europe, but if not, visit famous hikes like the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Appalachian Trail.

8. Detox! Quit Smoking and Drinking (or maybe just drink less)

If you enjoy smoking or drinking, and it doesn’t hinder your everyday life, then by all means do what makes you happy. But if you’re ready to quit, then this is the year hiking and camping will end that bad habit. If you leave those smokes in the car, and you hike in for a couple miles to set up camp, you will just have to do without them. Hiking and Camping can be so relaxing that it can take away the need for nicotine or alcohol. Breath that fresh mountain air and drink that clean mountain water.

9. Learn A New Skill

Whether you are an expert mountaineer or new to camping all together, you can never stop learning. Find a skill you find to be difficult or a skill you aren’t as proficient with, and find a way to get better. If you are just starting off, then the world is your oyster! Pick a hiking or camping adventure and get out there. It’s amazing how you will feel summiting your first mountain, making your first fire or just camping for the first time.

10. Find Love!

This is the year to find that significant other! Hiking trails and campfires are perfect places to meet new people with the same interests. People who like to get outdoors are usually more positive, upbeat, and in shape. And if you don’t find your one true love, at least you will fall in love with the outdoors! Win.Win.

Good Luck with your New Year’s Resolution, and I hope you have fun Hiking and Camping this year.


For more tips about hiking, camping, your next adventure, gear reviews, or just inspiration to get outdoors, follow my blog at or on Instagram @adventure_upstream

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Dec 31

Onward! 4 ways explorers can enjoy China’s ancient capital

The Sacred Path leading to the Ming Tombs at Purple Mountain in Nanjing, China

(BPT) – If you enjoy exploring new and unique cultures when you travel, you’re far from alone. In a 2016 Trip Advisor study, 47 percent of travelers worldwide chose foreign destinations to visit in hopes of being exposed to other cultures and people.

Learning the history of ancient cultures can be the most fascinating part of such trips, especially for visitors who measure the age of their own nation in hundreds, not thousands. That’s partly why the 1,800-year-old city of Nanjing, China is such an attractive destination for curious tourists from across the world.

The city of 8 million offers access to a wide range of awe-inspiring ancient sites along with multiple opportunities to experience the people, places and culture that make up the Jiangsu province present day. Visitors also enjoy the ease of transportation: An international airport and two train stations connect Nanjing to China’s major cities including Shanghai and Beijing, 90 minutes and 3.5 hours by bullet train, respectively.

Those wishing to immerse themselves in Nanjing’s ancient beauty and culture can enjoy the following attractions:

Historic sites: Among the most historically and architecturally significant are two mausoleums enshrining former Chinese leaders: the Ming Dynasty-era Xiaoling Tomb and Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, honoring the founder of modern China. Also compelling is the Presidential Palace, built in Neoclassical style in 1864 and transformed into the China Modern History Museum in 1980. Visitors are often inspired by the 600-year-old City Wall of Nanjing, built by 200,000 laborers over a 21-year period to ward off invaders. The structure encloses 55 square kilometers and is among the largest walls ever constructed in Chinese history.

City Wall in Nanjing, China

Cultural landmarks: A must-see for many tourists is the Confucius Temple Scenic Area. Tour the temple, visit former homes of historic figures then board the Qinhuai river sightseeing cruise while you learn about Nanjing’s history and take in performances along the river’s banks. Visit the opulent subterranean Buddhist palace and two different temples at the 197-acre Niushoushan Cultural Park, an ode to Buddhist beliefs built on a sacred site just outside the city. Don’t miss the Grand Bao’en Temple, a reproduction of a Ming Dynasty pagoda considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval Age.

Natural attractions: A popular choice is Xuanwu Lake Park, which features five islands interconnected by arched bridges and miles of enjoyable walkways. Within the park are temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens, teahouses, restaurants, entertainment venues, a small zoo and other attractions. Elsewhere, choose to walk Qixia Mountain, known for its beautiful foliage in the autumn months, crystal clear springs and multiple scenic spots, or relax at Tangshan Hot Springs, open to both day trippers and local resort guests.

Festivals: Mingle with thousands of locals and tourists alike while celebrating the city’s culturally rich traditions. Nanjing will kick off 2017 with New Year’s Eve Bell Ringing Ceremonies throughout the city. Other festivities include the Qinhuai International Lantern Festival (early January), the International Plum Blossom Festival (mid-February through March); the Rain Flower Stone Festival (September) and the Gaochun County Hairy Crab Festival (September through November). While sampling vendors’ offerings at such events, be sure to partake of Nanjing’s culinary specialty – duck, deliciously served up in myriad soups, appetizers, main courses, pastries, snacks and dim sum. The city’s claim to fame: The tender, fragrant and often crispy salted duck first popularized during the Qing Dynasty.

Ready to start planning your Nanjing adventure? Visit for more information.

Aug 06

The Ultimate Guide to Zhangjiajie

Imperial Pen Peak of Zhangjiajie

Imperial Pen Peak of Zhangjiajie

Most people visit the likes of Beijing, Shanghai, the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors when they go on a holiday to China, but not many people know as much about Zhangjiajie and its stunning beauty.

Zhangjiajie, for those that don’t know much about it, is an area in the northwest of the Hunan province in China and is renowned for being an area of outstanding beauty and for having breath-taking scenery.

Here is a guide about Zhangjiajie and what you should see and what you can expect to see during a visit to the area.

Why is Zhangjiajie so special?

Zhangjiajie is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also given “World Geological Park” status in 2004.

This is for good reason as Zhangjiajie is not only China’s first-ever national forest park, but is also home to over 3,000 striking limestone pillars. The park also boasts beautiful gorges, streams, waterfalls, natural bridges and caves.

The forest park is also a popular destination for travellers who love wildlife as the site is home to a number of endangered animals and plants.

What are the main attractions in Zhangjiajie?

Wulingyuan Scenic Area is just north of Zhangjiajie and is a hugely popular destination with holidaymakers the world over. Wulingyuan is where some of the most iconic mountains, valleys, caves and forests are and this area has been dubbed as “fairyland” by many of its visitors.

Tianzi Mountain Reserve is a part of the Wulingyuan region and is another area that just has to be explored. Tianzi Mountain offers stunning views of surrounding peaks and the forests down below to those brave enough to walk up it.

Golden Whip Stream in Zhangjiajie is beautiful and the 4.7-mile long stream is renowned for its pristine waters. The stream is surrounded by spectacular steep cliffs and pretty green mountains, which often leave visitors in awe of its natural beauty.

Zhangjiajie’s history

If the natural beauty does not impress you then the history of the area certainly will as the region can be traced back to the Neolithic Age.

Zhangjiajie is also home to three main ethnic minorities; the Tujia, Bai and Miao. In total there are an estimated 29 minority groups that live in the region and travellers often get to experience the different cultures of these groups – from their different clothes to their different foods.


Despite the region being very mountainous it is surprisingly easy to travel to and around the area. Zhangjiajie has had many new roads built and a recently-built superhighway. There is the ever expanding Zhangjiajie Lotus Airport and the improved train routes, which means travelling to the area is a lot easier than it used to be.


This article was written by Thom Sanders on behalf of Wendy Wu Tours, who offer a range of affordable China holidays, that include trips to see the beautiful Zhangjiajie region, Beijing and Shanghai.

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Aug 06

What to Do During a Day Off From the Theme Parks in Orlando

Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Orlando is renowned for its incredible theme parks, such as Universal Orlando, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld Orlando and Epcot, but if you are having a day off from the theme parks then there are plenty of other activities that you can do instead.

Here we take you through some of the activities that you and your family could easily do on a day off from all the theme parks.


If you are really keen to see other parts of Florida then an excursion is something that should seriously be considered.

The Kennedy Space Center is easy to travel to and from within a day and is perfect for a great family day out. You and your family can hire a car or catch the bus quite easily from Orlando to The Space Center.

The Everglades and Miami are two more places that can be easily visited within a day or two, while Florida offers some of the best marine adventure tours in the US.

If you would prefer more relaxing trips then there are a whole host of fishing trips or shopping trips on offer in Orlando.


Orlando also has a burgeoning reputation for its shows as the city is home to some world-renowned performances.

The likes of the Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba is regarded as one of Orlando’s best shows and visitors can expect to see a dazzling evening full of spectacular entertainment and breathtaking performances from gymnasts et al. Tickets for the Cirque Du Soleil cost from as little as £49 as well.

Another must-see show in Orlando comes courtesy of the Blue Man Group. The Blue Man Group entertains crowds with live music, comedy routines and a load of multimedia theatrics in a multi-sensory circus. The show has been described by people that have watched it as “hysterically funny” and “wildly inventive”.


If you are theme-parked out then you can always laze about on the number of beaches that are quite close to Orlando.

Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach and the Canaveral National Seashore are all beaches that are around an hour away and all offer white sands and sea for people to relax on.

Another way to relax on a day off could be to take a walk around the city, which, unlike New York and other major cities, is reasonably relaxing.

Great dining experiences

If you want a great dining experience then Orlando certainly will not disappoint you as it boasts a whole host of amazing restaurants and cafes.

After a long day at the theme parks, or a day off from them, all you and your family want is a relaxing and delicious meal and you will certainly have a number of options to choose from.

The very best restaurants include Planet Hollywood, which offers eaters classic American food whilst being surrounded by memorabilia from the most iconic Hollywood movies.

Another great restaurant for the evening is the Hard Rock café. This café offers the best American cuisine and a great rock ‘n’ roll theme. It truly is an experience that just has to be had by all holidaymakers.


This article was written by Thom Sanders on behalf of Orlando Ticket Deals who offer a number of Florida park tickets for great prices. Some of their most popular tickets include Universal studios tickets and Disney World tickets.

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Aug 05

Top Sights to See in the Netherlands



The Netherlands is a popular holiday destination as it boasts a number of attractions and offers visitors a number of things to do.

If you are heading on any river cruises or another type of holiday in the Netherlands in 2014 or 2015 then you will want to know what the top sights are – here we have chosen our top sights to see.

The canals & waterways of Amsterdam

Amsterdam canal at sunset.

Amsterdam canal at sunset.

Amsterdam is a must-see place for all visitors to the Netherlands as it is the capital of the country and is a stunning city too.

One of this beautiful city’s most iconic landmarks is its canals and waterways. The Dutch capital has over 1,500 bridges crossing more than 100 kilometres of canals and waterways, which offer some of the world’s best river cruising experiences.

An Amsterdam canal cruise really is a must-do activity and during your trip to this mega-city you will see countless numbers of people cruising down large and small canals.

Bulbfields & Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof park in Netherlands

Keukenhof park in Netherlands

The bulbfields outside of Amsterdam during spring are awash with colour as tulips sprout out from the ground and turn the farmers’ fields around the city into seas of red, pink, purple, orange and yellow. A river cruise is the best and most relaxing way to see the fields during spring and it will take visitors just an hour to travel to these spectacular fields.

Alternatively, visitors can head to the Keukenhof Gardens to see an estimated seven million perfectly planted plants. Keukenhof is the world’s biggest flower park and offers lucky visitors a number of gardens to explore that are home to tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises and more.

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam.

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam.

The tulips are only available to see during part of the year, but the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is an attraction that is available throughout the year.

It is the best art museum in the whole of the Netherlands and has a jaw-dropping collection of over 200 masterpieces. The museum shows off the city’s and the country’s rich history, which is probably why millions of people visit the attraction every year. Highlights include The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt’s Night Watch.




This is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has 19 windmills beside canals that cut through the surrounding landscape.

July and August are the months where all of the windmills are in full operation and offer sightseers an unforgettable experience, but some of the windmills are in operation throughout the year.

The region is also renowned for its abundance of wildlife as a number of wild birds call Kinderdijk home.


This article was written by Thom Sanders for The River Cruise Line, who offer fantastic deals on some of Europe’s finest trips, including a great Amsterdam canal cruise.

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Rijksmuseum: Nattee Chalermtiragool /

Aug 04

Top Gardens of China

The Lion Grove Garden

The Lion Grove Garden

China has been known for its ability to create beautiful spaces for thousands of years, which is nothing new, but the ability to go on a tour of China that embraces such great sights is something that is taking the China tourism market by storm.

The Chinese Garden is a landscape garden style that spans the past 3,000 years, and today there are a number of tours that specifically look at iconic China gardens and offer visitors the chance to see some of the country’s most beautiful horticultural sights. This article looks to introduce you to the best examples of this art form to see whilst in China itself.

Summer Palace

Imperial Summer Palace in Beijing, China

Imperial Summer Palace in Beijing, China

The Summer Palace in Beijing is an impressive place to visit in itself, but the Palace’s gardens are something truly special. As a UNESCO World Heritage site it is protected and visited by many who come to China for its beautiful location and the stunning buildings positioned on Longevity Hill. The Palace covers 2.9 square kilometres consisting of the gardens, palaces and lakes, making for a unique and varied place to visit.

Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City

Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City

Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City

The emperor’s Imperial Garden is relatively small when bearing in mind the rest of the Forbidden City, but it contains many elaborate landscaping features that make it well worth a visit. While it is not known by many, the garden is a great example of history as well as superb garden design.

Xian Botanical Gardens

This beautiful garden dates back to 1959 and is a great example of scientific research as a public service. With over 3,000 different kinds of plants covering 20 hectares it is a great way to see a huge variety of plant life during a tour of China.

Guilin Botanical Garden

Another garden home to thousands of different species of plant life, the Guilin Botanical Garden is one of ten of the earliest gardens to be created in China. Established in 1958, it covers 67 hectares and is a particular point of interest along the Guilin-Yangshuo tourist route.

Suzhou’s UNESCO World Heritage gardens

Chinese garden in Suzhou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Chinese garden in Suzhou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The classical gardens of Suzhou date from the 11th-19th century and are an incredible example of Chinese horticulture. Offering a great example of Chinese landscaping where natural elements are recreated in miniature, it is enough to satisfy any appetite for the Chinese Garden.

Shanghai’s Chenshan Botanical Garden

Situated on the suburb of Songjiang, Chenshan Botanical Garden covers a wide open space that is home to numerous species of plant and wild life. This particular garden is well worth a visit for its multiple gardens showcasing different themes, from the Australian and Asian plants to the rose garden and children’s garden.


This article was written by Thom Sanders on behalf of Wendy Wu Tours, who offer a great range of China tours that offer the chance to see some incredible sights, including the Yangtze River and the Forbidden Palace while enjoying some fantastic horticultural sights.

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Aug 04

Must-Try Foods in Shanghai

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

When you visit a different country you want to try food that is traditional and different to see whether you like the local delicacies. If you are heading on a tour to Shanghai then you are in luck as the city is renowned for its quirky cuisine.

Here we take you through some of Shanghai’s best dishes that you just have to try during your visit to the Pearl of the Orient.




Shanghai has a bigger population than any other city in the world and therefore it is unsurprising that the city boasts a number of different types of food.

One of the city’s most popular dishes is Xiaolongbao, a famous soup dumpling meal that is served across the entire city.

The meal is arguably the most popular food in the whole of Shanghai, but be warned first-time eaters! You have to remember to puncture the dumplings as they are full of steam and if eaten whole can burn your mouth.

Xiaolongbao is served on the street and in virtually all restaurants across the city, so it won’t be difficult to find during your escorted Shanghai tour.

Di Shui Dong Ribs

Tender, succulent and sweet are just some of the words that can describe Di Shui Dong Ribs. If you like eating ribs when at home in the UK then you most definitely want to taste these ribs that are dipped in soy sauce.

The dish isn’t small like you would get anywhere else in the world, Di Shui Dong Ribs offer diners large chunks of meat that are purely delicious.

Hanging roasted duck

Roast Ducks

Roast Ducks

Hanging roasted duck is found in virtually any food market in Shanghai and can go with virtually any dish.

Locals generally buy a hanging roasted duck to go in soups or to accompany noodles and rice, but the duck can go with all types of food.

Sweet and sour mandarin fish

Originally from Suzhou – a city close to Shanghai – this sweet and sour mandarin fish dish has become hugely popular with people living in Shanghai.

For this reason it is now available in almost all upper class Shanghai restaurants. If you visit a restaurant in Shanghai and like fish dishes then you should ask about sweet and sour mandarin fish – it is really tasty.

What adds to the dish is the fact that it is accompanied with shrimp, tomato sauce, bamboo and pine nuts.

These are just a few of the amazing dishes that are available in Shanghai, and there are loads more dishes that have not made this list but are certainly worth a try when visiting the city. So just ask a local or your tour guide about the local delicacies.


This article was written by Thom Sanders, on behalf of Wendy Wu Tours, who offer a range of amazing China holidays, and a wide range of Shanghai tours and tours to Beijing.

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Top photo: astudio /

Aug 04

Five Things You Must Experience in South Korea

Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea

Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea

South Korea is one of the lesser visited countries in East Asia, yet boasts some of the most fascinating history and culture in the continent, as well as breath-taking scenery. Not forgetting the delightful Korean people, who are sure to befriend those that are travelling. Providing a wonderful contrast of old and new, South Korea has plenty to explore, and below is a list of five things that must not be missed while visiting the country.

Visit the ancient capital of Gyeongju

Cheomseongdae Observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea

Cheomseongdae Observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea

As the capital of the longest surviving kingdom in the history of Korea, a trip to uncover the history of South Korea wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the ancient capital of Gyeongju. Here, you’ll find what is often referred to as a ‘living museum’, with many parts of the city designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Discover Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Said to be the grandest of all the five palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty, the beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace is aptly named ‘Greatly Blessed by Heaven’. Over time, the palace which was originally built in 1395 has been repeatedly restored, due to damage caused by fires and war. However, on a visit today roughly 40% of the original palace buildings are still visible, and are a wonderful way to discover the history and culture of South Korea.

Ride a bullet train

In contrast to the ancient buildings mentioned above, riding one of the high speed bullet trains provides a great insight into the modern day life of South Korea. Board one of the trains in the capital city of Seoul, the starting point of the Gyeongbu Line and head towards the metropolitan city of Busan. Taking just two hours to reach Busan, the train will reach speeds of up to 177 mph.

Explore Mount Gaya National Park

Designated as a National Park in 1972 due to its awe-inspiring scenery, Mount Gaya National Park is also home to famous temples, Korea’s highest peak, and a standing Buddha carved into a rock face. This remote part of South Korea has been largely unscathed by the Korean wars, and its untouched beauty is largely appreciated by those that come and visit. You’ll find valley upon valley, including the Hongryudong valley, which has red water due to the reflection of the crimson foliage.

Relax on Haeundae beach

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea

Regarded as the best beach in South Korea, Haeundae beach is popular with tourists, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors during the summer months. Overlooked by high rise buildings, the beach is surprisingly clean, and hosts a variety of exciting events throughout the year. The beach is well known for its thousands of parasols which cover the beach during busy periods, and has picturesque white sand which is composed of shells that have naturally eroded.


This article was written by Thom Sanders on behalf of Wendy Wu Tours, who offer a wide range of China tours from the UK alongside tours which explore South Korea.

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Aug 04

Ski Holidays: Catered Vs Self-Catered Ski Chalets?

Davos, Switzerland

Davos, Switzerland

While it might be a little late to head off to the slopes before the end of this year’s ski season, there should be nothing stopping you from organizing next year’s escapades. If you have found the destination, the next all-important decision is the accommodation. With this in mind, here’s a quick guide to the main differences between catered and self-catered chalets.

The Food

Food and drink is hugely important for your skiing holidays, not only because you’re on holiday and should be enjoying yourself, but because you are spending long amounts of time on your feet. As the word catered would suggest, those who opt for a catered chalet will come in from the cold and be met with a fantastic feast of prepared food each and every night. In the case of most catered chalets you are offered breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner as standard, meaning there’s no chance of you going hungry.

With self-catered chalets you have the choice of cooking for yourself, which is feasible if there’s a good supermarket nearby, or heading out to one of the resort’s restaurants. This can be a good opportunity to get out and see some local favourites.

The Service

The level of service offered in a catered chalet is fantastic, and in most cases all meals will be prepared by a chalet host who lives in another section of the chalet. With the majority English speaking, you can easily inform them of foods you don’t particularly like or even have them be aware of any food allergies you or a member of your party may suffer from. You can enjoy a menu that is carefully crafted by them and these are paired with some great wines, which could well be the perfect way to unwind after a day on the slopes.

Some ski companies offer a great service on their self-catered chalets, which can include having beds made up on arrival, pre-ordered lift passes delivered to your door and a final clean. There will also be a ski company representative on hand to help if you have any queries, so whilst the service will naturally not be as attentive compared to opting for catered, you will still have all that you need.

The Flexibility

While a self-catered chalet will offer a completely flexible holiday experience and allow you to have meals at whatever time you feel, it doesn’t mean that a catered chalet has rigid eating times to adhere to. As already mentioned, your host can usually be found in the chalet, so if you do feel like coming home a little later one evening, just let them know in advance and there should be no problems.

Catered chalets also don’t offer a strict service of lunch, and while a packed lunch can often be arranged, it’s a great opportunity to spend the best part of the day exploring the piste exactly as you see fit.

The Price

Self-catered chalets are a great chance to obtain the cheapest ski holiday possible, but if you would rather dine out at breakfast, lunch and dinner instead of eating in then the price soon ramps up. On the other hand, a catered chalet gives one set price, and with the majority of meals included in this, it often works out a cheaper method if you are holidaying in a large party.


This article was written by Thom Sanders on behalf of Mountain Heaven, who provides ski chalets in La Plagne, catered ski accommodation in Courchevel and other ski resorts across Europe.

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Aug 04

Space-Saving Tips When Packing Holiday Luggage

BeachMaking sure all personal belongings are accounted for when heading on holiday is important. Intelligent packing solutions can help you fit more into the suitcase, whatever the size.

Whether you are heading to the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean or the slopes of Val d’Isere, packing for any trip can bring on pre-holiday stress. Even if you have private household staff to help with this process, it is good to know the easiest and most efficient ways to pack lighter and tidier. Here are a few space-saving tips when packing for your holiday.

Heaviest items at the bottom

For those who like to take a larger-than-normal collection of shoes or make-up products on their holidays, packing these towards the bottom of the suitcase will prevent the luggage tumbling over when stationary. It will also allow for more of the softer items to be included in the middle and top of the bag.

Rolling vs. Folding

Two different styles of packing that both have their advantages and disadvantages. Rolling clothes is a great way to prevent lines and creases in easily wrinkled clothing, however it could be argued that it takes up more space in the suitcase due to the resulting bulky shape. On the other hand, folding items of clothing and lying them flat on top of each other is a great way to save space if you are travelling with a backpack, as layering folded items decreases the potential volume of material.

Vacuum compression bags

Popular with those with large families or those travelling for a longer period of time, vacuum compression bags are a great investment. Whether you choose to roll or fold clothing, either way more space will be created in the suitcase. To use the bags, simply put the clothing in, seal the bag and then squeeze the air out. This trick will leave you with more space to pack bulkier items such as shoes and sun creams.

Essential items in hand-luggage

Obvious but surprisingly easy to forget, making sure you keep essential items such as phone/tablet chargers, books, reading glasses and medications in your hand luggage is important. Writing a list of the items on your holiday checklist to consider for hand luggage is a good place to start, as access to these once in the hold of an aeroplane won’t be possible. A good tip for preventing cables from tangling in the bag is to put them in a spare glasses case, this way they will be easy to reach and you won’t have to spend time untying knots!


This article was written by Thom Sanders on behalf of Beauchamp Partners – a domestic staff agency that specialises in helping homes find the right household staff

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