Travel Destinations: Oxford, England Travel Guide

By now if you already read stuff about Oxford in England you may have come across the term they like to talk about always which is “dreaming spires.” Over all the architecture of the entire city is stunning, but if you will visit one of the most beautiful places in all England, then you are going to need to add more to your information and knowledge to the place.

Accommodations in Oxford England

Of course, accommodations will always start and ends with your budget, lifestyle and taste. If you are alone and not bringing in a lot of family members then there are a lot of hostels that can accommodate you. I tried out the Oxford Backpackers, one of the cleanliest and friendliest hostels in Oxford and it is situated near the train station and in the center of town.

Another of these accommodations is the Nanford Guest house located almost just a few blocks from the city center. They have great bedrooms and flourishing furniture’s in their rooms. If hotels and inns are not your taste, why not use many of the colleges and universities that offer lodging to travelers and tourist. Oxford is known for its best-educated centers and you will be seeing a lot of these college towns that offers bed space.

If you want a real hotel, I can suggest Randolph hotel, which is a nice addition to the fine hotels I ever went into.

Dining and drinking in Oxford

Oxford is known to be a traditionally English city but its fine dining offering is without a doubt one of the world’s best. If you want a hearty quick lunch, then the city-covered market in the center of the shopping district is the place to try out. Everything found in a picnic basket can be bought there. The city hosts traditional English cuisine like pub fares, French bakeries, cafes and other English based dining culture. However there are more exotic fine dining available too, these are the Chinese, Mongolian, Indian, Malaysian and Japanese foods.

Oxford’s nightlife

In Oxford, you can see a lot of the traditional pubs and sound thumping clubs like any other western civilization culture. Since a lot of students frequent these pubs, it is a sure-fire party and fun atmosphere. One of the unique pubs in Oxford is the Turf Tavern; it is one of the oldest operating pubs in the city proper. Bird and Baby is another famous pub and tavern known with rich history. This pub is favorite by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis; it is a good place for authors and bright minds to spend hours contemplating on their next book.

Where to find great art and entertainment in Oxford?

Last on the list is to appreciate arts in Oxford. Sunday mornings are greeted with coffee concert recitals in the Holywell Music room and any other places that host a large concert hall like the one found in the George Street. There are also a lot of castles in Oxford, which holds plays for Shakespearean plays and host tours in which you can try out.

Travel Destinations for the Filthy Rich

Playgrounds Catering to the Rise of the Über-rich

Now let’s assume for a moment that you, reading this article, were rich. Not Michael Jordan rich, rather man-who-signs-Michael-Jordan’s-paycheck rich. Where would you travel, given your bottomless wealth? It seems a rather strange question to ask, in an age when traveling has become increasingly affordable.

Yet, needless to say, part of the allure of traveling to a certain destination lies in the activities one may engage in once there. Almost anybody can visit Las Vegas. Not everybody can blow a million dollars playing Blackjack at the Bellagio.

So where would you need to go if you were itching to put a dent in that wealth of yours? Here’s 5 places that should get you started.

Dubai

Since the turn of the century, Dubai has forged for itself a reputation as the ultimate playground of the rich and famous. Dubbed the “shopping capital of the Middle East”, tourists from all over the world have been known to engage in some serious retail therapy at its 70 shopping malls, including Dubai Mall, which with 1200 shops spread over 84 hectares of retail space, is the world’s largest.

Located within the mall is the Gold Souk, which boasts a dazzling array of jewelery from more than 300 jewelers. Splurge yourself silly on the wide variety available, which also includes diamonds, platinum and silver. You might even want to try your hand at haggling with the sellers, just for kicks of course.

But if all you really want is a fancy place to rest and recharge, head to the One&Only Royal Mirage located on Jumeirah Beach and surrounded by 65 acres of beautiful gardens. For roughly US$7000 a night (rates depend on the time of year), you can have a garden villa suite all to yourself, allowing you the luxury of private, cushion-strewn terraces for dining and sunbathing.

The Ocean

Since 71% of the earth’s surface is water, it probably makes sense that a travel destination should not be constrained to the remaining 29% land mass. More and more people are turning to cruise vacations, given the marginally better value it provides when compared to a land vacation. With a cruise, all payments are made upfront, thereby allowing passengers to live like royalty without having to worry about exceeding their budgets.

Nevertheless, if you’re counting costs while on a cruise, chances are you shouldn’t be on that cruise in the first place. The ease, convenience and service provided on these multi-million dollar aquatic vessels do not come cheap, apparently.

Take The Alysia for instance. Owned by Liveras Yachts, this 280-feet luxury yacht will set you back 700 thousand Euros for a one-week charter. Staffed with a crew large enough to ensure a one-to-one guest to staff ratio, The Alysia also comes equipped with spa equipment , cinema and library, just in case you and your friends get bored of the Mediterranean.

Ilha Grande, Brazil

So you’re rich. Congratulations. But what good is all your money if you can’t bend over to touch your toes? Or you can’t walk a couple of blocks without panting? Everybody knows your bank account is bursting. Do you want them to see your shirt burst open too?

Forget those expensive, good-for-nothing gym memberships. What you really want is seven days on Ilha Grande. Located 100 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, this private island is noted for its scenic beauty: home to 106 beaches and 56 waterfalls. Kayak, snorkel, hike, meditate. Have someone massage your aching muscles. Eat healthily. Repeat. By the end of the week, the staff guarantee you will be reborn, a better, more fulfilled person. Albeit slightly poorer.

Tokyo, Japan

Recently ranked the world’s most expensive city, Tokyo’s bright lights have been attracting tourists, rich and not-so-rich, for decades. To burn the proverbial hole in your pocket, be sure to try the dishes at Aragawa, a steakhouse twice named by Forbes as the world’s most expensive restaurant. A dinner for two here can easily reach four figures, especially if you indulge in their specialty: Kobe beef.

The restaurant, located within the capital’s Shinbashi district, affiliates itself with a farm that both raises and slaughters the sake-fed cows, apparently treated well before their dreadful demise. A theory goes that happy cows produce better meat. And better meat sell at better prices. 800 dollars a pound to be exact.

Outer Space

Fancy being an astronaut for a day? For twenty million dollars you can. Space Adventures, a Virginia-based space tourism company provides opportunities to travel on board spacecraft to the moon’s orbit and back. Space tourists experience weightlessness, a breathtaking view of the Earth and a chance to undergo cosmonaut training.

For those who want a ‘cheaper’ space experience, sub-orbital flights like the ones provided by Virgin Galactic cost 100 times less (that’s 200,000 dollars). Such flights won’t bring you all the way to the moon though, peaking at an altitude of 100-160 kilometers.

How to Have a Safe and Fun Travel Experience

One of the main reasons for visiting other countries is to have a good time and relax the mind and body. It can also increase experiences and knowledge over other country’s history and cultural practices then relate them to ones’ own. These are aspects which enable one to be appreciative over their own cultures since they get a chance to compare them with the pros and cons of those of the visited country. The beauty and the historic places that are visited expand a person’s conscious and creative mind.

However, personal safety is one issue which must not be compromised. It is determined by the setting of the place being visited and the neighborhood. A traveler must put this issue as the top priority through proper planning and analysis of the place to be visited by assessment of all possible shortcomings that may exist and definitely make the holiday miserable.

For a safer vacation, one must plan ahead. The issue of money loss though pickpockets, robbers, conmen and women still remains the biggest concern all over the world especially at airports and other stations where most affected victims are the exited travelers. One main emphasis is that people on holiday visits should keep all important documents such as passport, tickets, credit cards and money with them at all times.

One needs to have identification on their entire luggage to avoid mix-up or confusion with other travelers. Before travel one need to practice packing as light as possible by avoiding unnecessary valuables and having mainly the serviceable and comfortable clothing.

Quality is very important in packing the luggage to avoid breakages or easy accessibility by robbers. Heavy luggage may bring about suspicions over the content and therefore attract thieves. A traveler must avoid looking like a tourist by first doing a feasibility study of the place to be visited so as to have an idea of how the locals look like in terms of appearance.

Blending with the style of the locals’ diminishes chances of attack since it reduces attraction. Expensive or flashy jewelry such as gold necklaces, expensive watches, rings and bangles automatically calls for attention therefore it is very important to make intelligent choices on clothing before travel.

The transportation issue remains a worry to majority of tourists. With some countries were proper tour companies are non-existent, and there is lack of information one could research on before travel, it is advisable to investigate the best and safest mode such as taxis with police officers or airport commissionaires at the information desk.

General important tips all over the world still remains that one should never share taxis with strangers and one ought to avoid public transportation especially late at night and when one is not familiar with their destination.

The entire luggage and variables during travel especially by local mode of a place that is visited should always be kept in touch and sight at all times. Most items have special holders to attach them to the owner and keep them secure at all times such as a neck bag for the camera.

The choice of the place of stay is also another factor to be considered. The hotel should be in a safe area, the visitor be supposed to familiarize with all the emergency exits of a place, use the hotel room safes for the personal variables, hotel doors must be locked at all times and keys left at the receptionists to avoid loss, lastly strangers or uninvited people should not be entrusted with anything; as a visitor one has just met them.

Lastly, cash should be the last mode of payment for any traveler, although this highly depends on the locality of the place that is visited credit card or traveler’s checks remain much safer rather than cash. Otherwise cash should be handled in small amounts for safety. Smuggling of money though the use of credit cards has become the norm.

Copies of the cards are made and accounts emptied within no time, thus it is very wise for one to monitor the handling of their cards at all times especially during swiping. One ought to frequently check their account online to note any unknown charges and alert their service company immediately they note any abnormal changes. Enjoyment during travel can only be achieved if all the safety measures are taken into consideration.

Green Travel Options in Europe

Eco vacations are becoming increasingly popular. While Americans are used to driving their cars just up the street while checking the clock to ensure punctuality, Europe offers a more peaceful, relaxed way of life. To reduce your carbon footprint for your next vacation, check out these destinations and environmentally-friendly activities.

1) Amsterdam, Netherlands: in a country where biking is the preferred method of transportation, how could this vibrant city not make the list? This city is currently nominated for the European Green Capital 2010 award for its commitment to sustainability. As a tourist, you can support this city ecologically in various ways.

+take a guided bike tour. Numerous sites, like the fishing village of Voldendam to classic windmills, are all within biking distance.

+view the canals via pedal boat. Near Ann Frank’s house in the heart of the city lies a pedal boat rental company where you can pedal at a relaxed pace past some of Amsterdam’s greatest sites.

+support the local farmer’s markets: organic produce from local farmers are exchanged every Saturday from 9-3pm at the Noordemarkt, 1015 MV Amsterdam (also within walking distance from the Ann Frank House).

+dine at the eco-restaurants: all throughout the city boasts cafes who use organic ingredients and incorporate fair-trade practices. For a comprehensive list of these restaurants, see this website. The website explains how these cafes come in a variety of settings and styles, from urban and trendy, to comfy and homey.

*To support one eco-friendly tourist company in the area, use Amsterdam City Tours, offering guided tours of the city through various ways from canal cruises to bus tours.

Stay in a Gite while in France: peppering the French countryside are numerous cottages providing a more bucolic experience. While the Eiffel Tower tour won’t make the list, Gites offer many other eco-friendly activities. Below is a list of gites, each with their own personality.

+Normandy Seine Maritime: beautiful gardens are on site, while close to the historic Seine. If escaping city life for a more natural, peaceful setting, visit here for your next vacation.

+Bas Rhin: if learning how to be an organic farmer has always been of interest, this place can teach you how to prune trees, maintain fruit trees, and even how to make apple vinegar.

+Pyrsenees Atlantiques: if a rustic fishing tour is preferred, this gite is right by the river with guides on the types of fish, best fishing grounds, and its home is stocked with the appropriate equipment on caring for your catch of the day. The home is also stocked with literature on fishing magazines, books, and other resources.

Eco Tourism in Italy:

+Take a taxi bike: if staying in the heart of Italy, consider taking a taxi bike instead of a cab. For around 30 euros, some will even offer private tours of the city for an hour. If split between another person, the cost isn’t too high… especially when supporting a more sustainable mode of transportation!

+Take a farm holiday: like French gites, numerous farms are located throughout the Italian countryside. “Agriturismo” is becoming more popular, translating to “agro-tourism.” Instead of partaking in city life, the tourist enjoys the farm life. One location, the Serafina farm, offers room and board for a mere 30 euros per night. Staying in such places supports local farms and businesses as opposed to large American chain hotels.

For a comprehensive list of such farms that have things like golf, fishing, tennis, horse-back riding, see here

+Take a horseback riding tour through Italy: not only do horses have virtually no carbon foot print, but such tours throughout the countryside enlist the help of natives for food and lodging. Equitours is one such company that offers an amazing horseback riding experience all over the world, Tuscany included.