Casablanca and Marrakech

rabat

Morocco

The Kingdom of The West, Morocco sits along side the Western Sahara in North Africa which means it is made up of vast deserts and rugged mountains. Morocco also has quite a lavish history made up of the native Berber community and the remnants of the colonies of Spain and France. The Berbers were the first people to settle in the area and were of Muslim decent whom then converted to Islam. They were successful people creating a country which spanned north Africa and southern Europe leaving behind an interesting mix of architecture where ever they went.

 

Casablanca and Marrakech

Rabat is the countries capital city but Casablanca is far larger, the largest city in Africa and is known as being the economic hub of the country. Casablanca is an important city not just for Morocco but for Africa as it holds other titles such as Africa’s largest economy, Port and even Mall. Its possibly not what a lot of people expect to find in Africa yet Casablanca is becoming quite a popular destination. Many tour companies such as Shoestring offer tours of Morocco with Casablanca being the main start or end city of the tour, usually the location where people will book a several additional nights to explore. Tours such as the ones offered on Shoestring are also a great way to hop between cities and see more of the country. Their South Morocco tour begins at the already popular Marrakech where tourists flock to every year  thanks not only to cheap flights but to atmospheric markets filled with handmade goods, moorish architecture and the foodie heaven reputation.

Accommodation

There are many options available in Morocco, especially in cities which are popular with tourists like Casablanca and Marrakech. Thanks to the great conversion rates from the Australian Dollar, many accommodations may already seem quite a bargain. For backpackers and solo travelers, Hostels are an obvious choice and are plentiful in the cities but bare in mind that many of the tours in Morocco are aimed at solo travelers and include shared accommodation in some rather high quality, characteristic places.

If you want to really immerse yourself into the culture and pamper yourself at a surprising reasonable price Pestana Hotels have a property in casablanca. It has a clean, modern, fresh look with a subtle Moroccan feel throughout its design. As we we always recommend, make sure you check offers available before booking any hotel and their own site is where the best deals will be. Pestana offer deals for a variety of reasons such as early bookings, romantic breaks and getting more nights at reduced prices. If your looking for a hotel somewhere in between the price range and standard of Hotel Pestana and Hostels, have a quick search on Blue Sea Hotels. Although it may initially seem like yet another travel agent, note that Morocco is one of only four countries which this company specialises in. this means better deals for the consumer (Yes thats you!).

 

Update 20.5.4

BlogCheapTravel have discovered a secret offer from Pestana hotels:

Enjoy our exclusive offer with discounts up to 38% for stays from May 9th to October 31st 2014 (subject to the availability of the offer). Hurry up, only for bookings made until May 31st 2014.

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For more discount codes visit out Facebook site and locate the ´Discount codes´ tab.

Surviving Long Haul Flights

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Surviving Long Haul Flights

You are finally in the air and your holiday has begun! Well not for some people. It is not always easy surviving long haul flights and can be a frustrating time for a few travelers. The inability to get comfortable, get some sleep and maxed out with boredom but this is the only way to get to the adventure of your life. So here are a few tips to try and make that journey a little easier:

  • Bring your own headphones and adapter. Some airlines, particularly the long haul ones, have seat back media systems. Headphones are often provided but are of a poor quality and struggle to block out any noise around you. Watching some TV or a movie is a great way to escape to your own world on the flight and good headphones make a big difference. Be warned though, some airlines use a two pin connection for headphones. Adapters are available but it is highly recommended to buy one before boarding. They only cost a few dollars from the airport so your likely to find a bargain online.
  • Everyone has different sleeping habits. Maybe your the type of person who can fall asleep standing up but for those who aren´t, you may find a wrap around neck pillow useful, a cover for your eyes and/or ear plugs. Try to remember though that if your on a long haul flight, you should expect a large time difference. It is recommended that you try to match your sleeping pattern closely with the time zone of your destination to avoid making jet lag worse.
  • Bring a packed lunch. Shorter flights, especially with budget airlines, don’t provide meals and snacks cost extra. You can avoid paying for a pricey food fix by packing some of your own food. Airport security are usually happy to allow food through but remember not to bring any liquids and most foods might not be allow through customs at the other end (you may be fined for trying!), so make sure you consume or leave behind any food before landing.
  • Toothbrush and wet wipes. They don’t take up much room and don’t weigh much but they can make you feel a lot more refreshed when you arrive. This will especially help if you don´t know where your going when you arrive.
  • Walk around the plane. It´s never good to be sat down for long periods of time but on planes you are. Even if there is a queue for the toilet, stand up and wait, pace a little.

 

Buenos Aires

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Sitting next to Brazil, Buenos Aires is on most peoples mind as a short break from the 2014 Soccer World Cup this summer and the future summer Olympics in Rio. It is only a short 2 hours flight on a reasonably priced route which has regular services. Buenos Aires is the second largest metropolitan area in south america but although most tourist won´t venture out into the suburbs, this does mean there is a lot on offer in this lively city. Argentina was voted third for best quality of life in Latin America. For us this means we can still experience that Latin vibe and enjoy all the best elements of traveling; culture, adventure, security and the optional perks. That´s right, perks. Buenos Aires is a modern metropolitan city with shiny skyscrapers rising up around well preserved and respected historical buildings and monuments. This is also a common start/ end point for many tours and a popular destination for backpackers because of the many international connections and amenities available.

 

Attractions

Buenos Aires and Argentina is well know for Salsa dancing and great food, sometimes mixed together in some amazing dinner shows. It has also recently become well known for the numerous amount of boutique shops opening up developing a great reputation for fashion lovers internationally. Here are a couple of unusual things to do as recommended by previous visitors:

Palermo

Taking the number one place on US Travel News and owning a top 10 spot on TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet, this district is a secret yet much love place for travelers because of its amazing transport connections and authentic restaurants and small boutique shops. If describing Palermo, think of it as a clash of Argentine/ South American culture and architecture and London´s Camden Market. It is a vibrant, arty and trendy area nestled in a community where graffiti is art and historic buildings have a modern twist. A day walking around here may not be enough. It is often recommended as the place to book your accommodation.

Recoleta

This is possibly one of the most peculiar recommendations to a traveler yet it has won a TripAdvisor choice award in 2013: Recoleta Cemetery. The district itself (Recoleta) is a beautiful place to visit but the cemetery attracts a lot of interest because of being such an unusual place to find extraordinary architecture. There are many mausoleums and statues to commemorate Argentinas great and famous including politicians and artists. Be sure to book one of the tours (English available) to point out some of the more notable features in this maze.

 

Accommodation

City break accommodation often depends of what sort of experience you´re looking for, budget and number of people. Almost always Hostels provide the cheapest accommodation but as mentioned in a previous article, apartments can provide that local living experience, are great for larger groups and people who may be staying for longer than average. If considering apartments, be sure to check here for discounts. The more common (and popular) option is a city centre hotel. We have come across a Argentine brand which has a selection of hotels in Buenos Aires and its suburbs including a couple of properties in the Palermo area. They have all the usual amenities and are maintained to a great standard. Fen hotels have two brands; Esplendor and Dazzler. They currently have promotions for a range of occasions from weekends, romantic breaks and long stays offering up to %15 off. If Buenos Aires is not going to be your first or your final destination, you may also be interested to know that they have several more hotels within other South American countries. So if your not visiting for a particular event you can backpack in style jumping between some more of the great Argentine cities, venturing out to some great destinations and attractions. Pestana Hotels also have a property within Buenos Aires which provides a clean, fresh modern looking hotel with a few added luxuries such as a pool and free WIFI. Pestana currently claims to be having a secret sale at the moment with up to 38% off. You can find the voucher code for this on our Facebook account under the Discount Codes tab.

 

WIN with Blog Cheap Travel

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We’re very generous here at Blog Cheap Travel when we want to be, despite our miserly name, and we like nothing more than to reward our most vocal supporters. So, for this instance we’ve put parsimony to the side, ready to splash A$100 on the person who can successfully share this competition the most.  Taking part in our competition is free, all you have to do is add your email address to our mailing list, like our pages on Facebook and Twitter, and then share the competition with your friends.   The last part is crucial, as the more of your contacts you share with, and the more that take part, the more points you gain (10 per share). The person who wins the money will have shared the most successfully with their friends, who have then entered and shared themselves. So you need to get your friends sharing too. Neat, eh?   The competition is now OPEN, and the winner will be announced on 12/5/2014, so GET SHARING. It’s a pretty easy way to make A$100 and WIN with Blog Cheap Travel.

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Have a look at what you can do with your winnings all around our lovely blog; flights, destinations, festivals and more, all sorts of stuff. If you’re a bit more of a scrimper or saver and just want to pocket the money and sit behind your computer, try and be inspired by these. Or you can still check out our advice – it’s more theory based, you know?

Holiday Lettings

Venice blog Cheap Travel

Only Apartments are now offering a flat 7% OFF apartments for all destinations when you book holiday lettings through them. Enter the code PCZ4FAQA8GY4 on checkout. You can see previous discounts and offers here

 

If that hasn’t sufficiently piqued your holiday interest, have a look at these for inspiration:

Beautiful apartment for five in Berlin from USD 54/AUD 58 per night.

Bright, centric apartment in Amsterdam from USD 86/ AUD 93 per night

- Visit sunny Spain Costa Del Sol, from USD 41/AUD 44 per night

City Break in the Gaudi Capital Barcelona from USD 46/AUD 50 per night

Travel back in Time in Venice from USD 73/AUD 79 per night

Cosy centric apartment in Rome from USD 47/AUD 51 per night. For our recent feature on Rome, see here.

Spacious Sunny Apartments in Paris from USD 50/AUD 54 per night

 

If you’re heading away for a few days or fancy settling down in a place of your own rather than a hotel for a few days whilst you’re abroadonly-apartments has an extensive collection of accommodation in 106 countries spanning Europe, The Americas, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and South Africa,  with 20,000 registered. The company has been growing rapidly over the last few years specialising in short and medium stay rentals and can boast some enviable features, some that will particularly resonate with a discerning traveller. Living in an apartment whilst you’re away can be a great alternative to hotels, you have your own space and rooms, a sense of community as you’re living amongst locals rather than in a purpose built complex, and you can save money by cooking for yourself from time to time – you can even entertain. The system they use offers instant booking, rather than having to wait for a response from the accommodation owner over different time zones or language barriers, as soon as you book it is processed and secured. The website is well conceived and easy to use, with clearly detailed properties.

 

India

Taj Mahal Agra Sunrise

If you’re here for the accommodation deals, they’re at the bottom. Scroll down, there’s loads of ‘em.

 

India isn’t a country it’s a continent. The world’s largest secular democracy and home to a seventh of the world’s population, India maintains an abundance of cultural history, spirituality, extremes of wealth, vibrant hospitality and chaotic travel. Perhaps less well known is that it is fast becoming one of the most materialistic and tech-oriented countries in the world. To the traveller it holds an irresistible allure; it’s still cheap, unique in its feel and culture, and not developed to the extent that everything feels well trodden, there’s ample scope for discovery and spontaneity. Continue reading…

Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome

Rome

Myth says that this historical city was founded after Romulus had an argument and killed his brother Remus. The descendants of gods who were abandoned and raised by a she-wolf, once they found out their true identities, they seized power and argued over where the capital city should be. Romulus killed his brother during this fight and founded a city, naming it after himself, Rome. Today you’ll find fewer wolves around Rome and more tourists.

 

Tourist Hotspot

Colosseum

Around 30 million tourists flock to Rome each year to admire its lavish history and bask in the warm summer sun at one of the many cafes and restaurants. Rome airport is easily accessible via cheap flights from Europe, is a world heritage site and constantly appears in top cities to visit. Visitors to Rome are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions, and number one is the Colosseum. The Colosseum attracts around 20 million visitors and is known worldwide not only representing Rome but also carrying the reputation of the country. It is a well deserved Wonder of the World which has at times struggled for survival, blighted by vandals and earthquakes. Its dusty stone walls and modern buttress supports for the remaining outer wall are now protected by a ticket office, souvenir shop and rather unfriendly looking fences fit for a military base. However, the Colosseum still survives and is much respected by both locals and visitors. Continue reading…

Best holiday destinations, Easytobook

Montreal accommodation discount

Easytobook is currently offering 10% OFF accommodation anywhere in the world. Given that its network of hotels extends to 120,000 worldwide, you’re certain to find a bargain in some of the best holiday destinations. From Istanbul to Mexico City, Hanoi to Montreal, it caters to a range of budgets across the globe and you can get money off accommodation anywhere in the world. Reviews on the website are powered by TripAdvisor, so you get a rating out of five and mostly useful reviews to inform your decision.

Continue reading…

The Best Time to Visit Thailand

visit bangkok or kuala lumpar

 Compass Hospitality are offering discounts on many of their hotels throughout Southeast Asia including Kuala LumpurBangkok and Phuket, providing the perfect base for your trip, so it’s not just the best time to visit Thailand.

 

Use Bangkok as the window to Thailand, enjoy the bustle of the capital, the street food – an amalgam of the cuisine of the surrounding countries with significant Chinese influence, explore the numerous Buddhist temples (wats) or get yourself a tailored suit for a bargain price. Whether you’ll find an opportunity to wear it once you’re home might be another matter. Equally, you can use it as the starting point for a beach break, head towards crystal clear waters and fine white sand sheltered by tropical forests. Singapore Airlines, Air Asia and Thailand Air as well as most others fly in and out of Bangkok airport.

Continue reading…

TripAdvisor Best Destination Winner 2014

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TripAdvisor has published the winners of its Traveller’s Choice Awards 2014 and the winner of the Top Destination is (drum roll…) Istanbul! 

 

This beautiful city has taken a lot of people by surprise by beating cities such as New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Rome to the top spot. Although it is not the capital city, it is Turkey’s largest. Full of culture and steeped in history it was previously know as Byzantium then Constantinople, and the combination of these eras and civilizations has left an immense amount of history, earning it the title as a UNESCO world heritage site. Cheap flights from Europe make Istanbul an easily accessible destination – Turkish Airlines fly from Istanbul airport around the world – and attracts millions of visitors each year. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the Blue Mosque, is arguably one of the most famous mosques in the world and is one of the highlights of Istanbul for most visitors; built to honor god after some unfavorable wars, it boasts six Minarets, more than any other mosque built previously in the city. The Grand Bazaar is awe-inspiring in its scale and enticing in its charm and vibrancy.  There is even more to Istanbul than its huge amount of history. It was the European Capital of Culture in 2010, is well know for its shopping which attracts many of the high end designers and is also a poplar city for its vibrant night life! Continue reading…