How A Digital Diary Improves Long Distance Communication For Families Who Travel

How A Digital Diary Improves Long Distance Communication For Families Who Travel

The days are long but the years are short.

Gretchen Rubin

I didn’t understand that quote until I had a family. Some days I honestly have no idea where the time went but I know I was super busy. There are times I think I need to call my mother to tell her some little thing that happened  with the kids but then with the time difference, the call never happens. Thank goodness for texts and FaceTime which are a real boon for long distance communication – friends and families are more in touch than ever before even when they are continents apart.

The Neveo Family Diary

When I was contacted by Neveo for a new app for a family diary, I was intrigued because I am interested in improving family communication when our extended family is spread out all over the world .  They also make great gift ideas for long distance family members. The adults in my family don’t really buy presents for each other anymore but I know that photos are always welcome. I know my mother will be thrilled to receive a family newsletter ever month.

Copies of a printed family diary makes for great long distance family gifts

Copies of a printed family diary makes for great long distance family gifts

Sure, I started this blog trying to document our travels as a digital diary of sorts. There is a lot that happens though that never makes it onto the blog.  And, frankly, some of it is only of interest to family and friends who know us well.

Show your family the Importance of family relationships by creating a family newsletter

Show your family the Importance of family relationships by creating a family newsletter

There are lots of goofy moments and mundane events in our daily life that I know my mother would find amusing.  She’s family and being a part of the small moments in life is the glue that holds us together as a family. And, frankly she will appreciate the irony that I am raising as headstrong a child as I was. Even with long distance family relationships, you can’t deny a bit of schadenfreude especially when you know it is well deserved.

The Neveo app is super easy to use as a digital diary.  The easy of use of this family diary is a definite plus point because I have limited time to create a digital diary. When the twins were babies and had 2 hour afternoon naps and slept for another 12 hours at night, I had the time to create beautiful photo albums. Now, not so much.

How Does This Digital Diary Work?

Every month, you upload up to 50 photos onto the Neveo App from your phone. Then you can add a small caption.

Neveo takes the photos at the end of the month and creates a little family newsletter. You can send a physical printed copy of the family newsletter to yourself and to any other people you would like anywhere in the world. Neveo takes care of the mailing of the family newsletter, too.

So the only thing you have to do for this family diary is upload photos from your phone. I uploaded my photos while my daughter was in between bouts at a fencing competition.

Newsletters make useful gift ideas for long distance family members

Newsletters make useful gift ideas for long distance family members

A Shared Journal For The Family

Neveo works as a shared journal as well. You can get other people to upload photos onto your monthly family diary. I tried to get my kids to participate but in the end it was just easier to AirDrop their photos and upload it myself onto Neveo.  On the top of every photo, it mentions who uploaded the picture. Although our shared journal says it was only my photos, that’s strictly not true.

I love that we have a mixture of photos from everybody’s phone to truly make a shared journal family newsletter. Sometimes the same event is seen through different perspectives – for example we have both my proud mama photo of my daughter on the winning podium at a fencing competition and then her selfie showing off her medal.

A shared journal is great for improving family communication by showing different persectives o the same situation.

A shared journal is great for improving family communication by showing different persectives o the same situation.

All four of us in our family have smartphones and we use our cameras liberally. For example, some of the silliest photos of our dog are taken by my son. And, now everyone can see them thanks to our digital diary!

So many of our memories are in digital form, that its nice to have a physical family diary to flip through. Even my brother who chucked out all his physical books when he went onto Kindle, still prefers his photos in physical form! My mother definitely likes to browse photo albums.  With my Neveo album, my mother can see what happens in between our phone calls – my kids making pancakes, how dirty my dog looks after a roll in Hampstead Heath, etc.

This shared journal also capture our everyday life. As a child, my son was obsessed with a blue plastic tambourine. We called it his comfort tambourine because he would rattle it when he got stressed. I remember that detail but not some of the other quirky things that happened. My husband loves eating the same healthy salmon sandwich at Gails, a French bakery near us, while the rest of us indulge in cherry chocolate scones and almond croissants.  Will we remember that in a few years time? Now, that the photo is in an family newsletter we probably will!

A family diary highlights the Importance of family relationships and saves it for posterity.

A family diary highlights the Importance of family relationships and saves it for posterity.

Importance of Family Communication

My husband and I are both close to our families even though we don’t live anywhere near them. I would like to impart to my kids the importance of family communication. We love our apps for family communication and I can see Neveo becoming a monthly routine in our house.

Our monthly family newsletter will go a long way towards improving family communication with our extended family. When you don’t see people very often, you appreciate the times that you do see them more.

These family newsletters also make great gifts for long distance family members. My mother can look forward to receiving her monthly family diary updating her on what happened in our lives.

Neveo is one of the more useful apps for family communication because it can be printed as a family newsletter and sent to anyone anywhere in the world.

I think a digital diary that is as easy to use as Neveo is great for any family whether they are expats or on the road travelling long-term or even at home. Time just flies and it’s good to capture snippets of life as it happens in real time!

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Using a digital diary can improve long distance communication between family members especially when they can be printed out as a family newsletter

Using a digital diary can improve long distance communication between family members especially when they can be printed out as a family newsletter

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Amazing Luxury Trips Around The World on Whole World Tour Packages

Amazing Luxury Trips Around The World on Whole World Tour Packages

What would you do if you had a sudden windfall? I would totally take a luxury trip around the world on a whole world tour package. Let’s assume that my sybaritic delight will not be at the cost of someone near to me dying and instead of an inheritance,  I hit a big jackpot. It’s actually not that farfetched – my parents’ friends won a massive Lotto payout when I was a kid. These family friends got a 6 figure sum per year as an annuity for the rest of their lives. Of course, they were Indian and very practical and paid for their kids’ education. I say education is best done on a trip around the world as a private jet world tour. Did you know you could go around the world by private jet?  I have been dreaming of a  round the world travel package since I heard of the Four Seasons world tour a few years back.

Trip Around The World

An RTW travel experience has long been a cherished dream of mine. Unfortunately, my husband was too busy working to travel the world for a year when the children were young. Now the kids are too old to take out of school to travel around the world for a year. Plus, our experience of doing 3-4 week trips with them has convinced us that we may wind up killing each other if we were to embark on RTW travel for an extended period of time.

So do I put my tour around the world dream on hold? No, I merely expand it and just dream bigger. We can compress our trip around the world itinerary into a shorter time period with a private jet world tour. These world tour vacation packages are not cheap but then dreaming bigger never is.

If you don’t have the time to travel the world for a year, a trip around the world can be done in as little as a month.

If you don’t have the time to travel the world for a year, a trip around the world can be done in as little as a month.

Can you do luxury travel around the world with kids? The Fours Seasons private jet experience suggests that you take only children 12 years and above on the trip. No one wants their really expensive vacation spoiled by tantrums, frequent snack stops and general mayhem that goes along with travelling with young children. At least with older kids, the tantrums involve brooding silence that is not disruptive to others.

Added bonus! For this type of private jet world tour  – the around the world trips are all inclusive – you know exactly how much everything will cost. No one trying to haggle for extra fees at some dodgy airport. The only thing you need to pay extra is getting yourself to and from the point of origin and personal expenses.

Private Jet Vacations

These round the world holidays generally use converted Boeing 757’s. Instead of the usual 233 seats on a plane this size, these planes have 75-80 premium seats. In some cases, there are even less seats allowing for lie-flat seats such as on the Four Seasons private jet and the Abercrombie and Kent private jet.

With private jet vacations, you don’t have to deal with pesky things like immigration and baggage.  Customs officials can show up and process people on the plane. Your bags get whisked between destinations and magically appear in your hotel room.

A private jet world tour is the ultimate in luxury travel around the world

A private jet world tour is the ultimate in luxury travel around the world

Better yet, the whole process is seamless because it is taken care of by one company. You don’t need to keep telling staff at each new hotel that you start your morning with a decaf soy latte with an extra shot and cream.

All this and you still don’t get the private jet to yourself? Why bother?  These companies can organise special events for a group that would be (even more) prohibitively expensive for a couple of people. You really are saving money by spending money.

5 Top Whole World Tour Packages

In researching the best  round the world trips, these 5 whole world tour packages stood out for the places they stopped at and their sheer luxury. These are the best luxury private jet around the world trips that money can buy.

Four Seasons Private Jet

Four Seasons were the first to offer whole world tour packages set up as a private jet vacation in 2012. Although the Fours Seasons world tour was first set up with a third party provider, since 2015 the Four Seasons have made the whole process seamless by keeping it in-house.

With the Four Seasons private jet experience, you get your own experience concierge, personal chef, luggage concierge and doctor on board. No need to find a local pharmacy because you have a dodgy tummy. The Four Seasons private jet is a Boeing 757 customised with 52 flat bed seats.

The Four Seasons private jet tour includes a visit to Russia.

The Four Seasons private jet tour includes a visit to Russia.

The spring 2019 around the world travel package is already sold out (9 destinations including Japan, Maldives, Russia and London and running to $140,000 per person. In fact every 2019 Four Seasons private jet experience is sold out. Clearly, there are a lot of people with more money than time.

You can, however, still book the Spring 2020 trip which covers the same destinations but substitutes Paris for London.

There’s also a 2020 trip around the world itinerary that includes Hawaii, Bora Bora, Sydney in Australia, Bali in Indonesia, Chiang May in Thailand, the Taj Mahal, Dubai, Prague and London. Yours for $147,000 per person.

National Geographic Private Jet Tours

With National Geographic Private Jet Tours, you and 74 other uber-privileged people can spend 24 days on a trip around the world visiting 15 UNESCO world heritage sites.

What’s on this trip around the world itinerary? On this RTW Travel Route, you set off from Washington, D.C. and visit Peru, Easter Island in Chile, Samoa, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Cambodia, Chengdu in China, the Taj Mahal in India, Tanzania, Jordan and Morocco.

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with National Geographic private jet tours

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with National Geographic private jet tours

On the Northern route, you start from Seattle Washington and head to Kyoto in Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Boston USA.

And, what’s this world tour cost? Starting at $82,950 per person for the Southern route and $89,945 per person for the Northern Route. (I love the way they knock of $50-$55 so it looks cheaper. I can see that working at the 99 cents sales racks but not here.)

Smithsonian World Tour Vacation Packages

I am an unabashed lover of the Smithsonian museums, magazine, website etc. The Smithsonian world tour vacation package is a 24 day tour around the world.

The trip around the world itinerary is impressive. Starting in Orlando Florida, you travel to Marrakesh in Morocco, Petra in Jordan, the Serengeti in Tanzania, the Taj Mahal in India, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Easter Island and Machu Picchu in Peru.

A tour around the world usually involves a stop at Easter Island

A tour around the world usually involves a stop at Easter Island

The hotel choices are as great as you would expect such as, the amazing Amarvillas in Agra and La Mamounia in Marrakech.

And the price?  Starting at $85,950. Eye-watering but it does include everything except how you get yourself to and from Orlando.

Abercrombie and Kent Around the World

We have used Abercrombie and Kent several times, specifically on trips to China and to India, because both countries require some effort to visit. I’m sure we will use them again to visit Russia – the sheer bureaucracy of organising a Russian visit with an American passport is enough to convince me to throw money at the problem.

There is also an Abercrombie and Kent around the world by private jet tour option. Just like with the Four Seasons Private Jet experience, you get a dedicated staff that includes a private chef and an onboard doctor. And, my personal favourite? Mid-journey laundry service so you can pack light and save room for souvenirs!

The Abercrombie and Kent Around the World experience is called Cultural Treasures: Around the World By Private Jet. It’s a 23 day itinerary that starts in Seattle Washington. The trip around the world itinerary includes Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Sicily.

Your trip around the world itinerary can include Mongolia with an Abercrombie and Kent private jet tour

Your trip around the world itinerary can include Mongolia with an Abercrombie and Kent private jet tour

With Abercrombie and Kent around the world tours, I really like the Design Your Day options. you get to pick the activities you want to do. For example, in Japan you can choose between a guided zen meditation or a sake brewery tour. This choice is great for people like us who have been to Japan several times.

Abercrombie and Kent around the world by private jet are not cheap. This A&K trip around the world cost will run you $129,000. BUT, it’s already on a waitlist basis already for October 2019 so I’m assuming they are not hurting for customers.

Intrav Private Jet Travel

This luxury round the world trip is put together by Intrav Private Jet. It’s the only one of the whole world tour packages that is run by neither a hotel chain nor a traditional tour operator.

This around the world by private jet tour starts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From there the tour around the world takes you to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (where you stay at the iconic Copacabana Palace), Easter Island, Bora Bora, Sydney in Australia, Myanmar, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur in India, Istanbul in Turkey and Marrakech in Morocco.

A luxury round the world trip can include a visit to Bora Bora

A luxury round the world trip can include a visit to Bora Bora

This private jet world tour takes 25 days. Its one of the more expensive options among the world tour packages priced at $129,000 per person.

Region Specific World Tour Packages

Looking for more region specific world tour packages? After all the 25 days around the world is a bit rushed even if it is a luxury round the world trip.

National Geographic also do great private jet world tour packages that are more specialised – such as the 21 day Islands and Oceans of the World tour which focuses on the Pacific Ocean or 21 days just visiting Central and South America.

Luxury tour operator, &Beyond offer private jet vacations in Africa that cover 4 countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa) in 12 days. They operate with smaller Bombardier planes and have between 5-12 guests on each trip. It’s definitely not cheaper than a world tour cost though – this private jet tour of Africa costs $70,000.

Whole world tour packages often include a pitstop for an African safari.

Whole world tour packages often include a pitstop for an African safari.

Luxury hotel group, Aman, offer private jet vacations on an Airbus ACJ 318 that visit their resorts around the world. There’s a 12 night journey in China and a couple of semi whole world tour packages. The 22 day around the world travel package visits Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Bhutan, India, Greece, Montenegro and Italy. The shorter 17 day around the world travel package takes in Japan, Palawan in the Philippines, Bali, Sri Lanka, Dubai and Turkey.  Perhaps you can figure out why Aman why chose this specific random combination of places to have hotels especially since the Dubai stop involves a non-Aman hotel, The Burj Al-Arab.

The Aman world tour vacation packages don’t have publicly available costs. Presumably they go with the adage that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Cost To Travel The World By Private Jet

You didn’t think I was going to say that the cost to travel the world this way by private jet is good value, did you? Well, value is relative.

You’d pay a lot more if you booked a private jet yourself and did an around the world travel package by yourself. Skip the private jet and fly business class, it would still be more expensive to DIY luxury world tour travel. And, don’t forget the hassle of checking in and out of airports, and arranging for the transfer of your own luggage.

World tour travel is made easy when you go around the world by private jet

World tour travel is made easy when you go around the world by private jet

With these round the world holidays, you stay at some of the best hotels in the world and have expert guides at your disposal. Think of how much private guides, hotels, drivers, food etc can cost, and yes, these private jet vacations come across as good value.

As you would guess, your fellow guests will be people with money. Lots of well-heeled business owners and retirees. And, presumably American since so many of these whole world tour packages seem to originate in the USA.

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Amazing Luxury Trips Around The World on Whole World Tour Packages

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5 Great Ways To Explore Paris As An Art Lover (+ See An Old Favourite Differently!)

5 Great Ways To Explore Paris As An Art Lover (+ See An Old Favourite Differently!)

Paris is just as much an art enthusiast’s paradise as it is a lovers’ destination. From the traditional to the avant-garde, the City of Lights has many interesting things in store for the art lover. If your love for the arts has brought you to Paris, consider visiting these spots which range from taking in modern street art, viewing Old Masters in the museums, staying in a luxury Paris art hotel, taking an opportunity to eat in the dark and browsing an art and design bookstore.

Paris Art Hotel le Bellechasse

Your exposure to the arts can begin with your accommodation at a Paris art hotel. The Hotel le Bellechasse, a boutique hotel in boho cool St Germain des Pres, offers 7 different art themes across its rooms. The interiors of this Paris art hotel are a beautiful display of Bohemian styles and Parisian neo-classicism. The hotel was designed by renowned French fashion designer Christan Lacroix who is well known for his theatrical flair.

Hotel Bellechasse is one of several hotels in Paris that has been designed by Christian Lacroix.

Hotel Le Bellechasse is one of several hotels in Paris that has been designed by Christian Lacroix.
(Image credit: Hotel le Bellechasse’s Facebook)

Street Art at Paris Oberkampf

In Paris Oberkampf is the district known for its vibrant street art sort of like Shoreditch in London. There is art everywhere, from building walls to metal shutters to street furniture. Like its British counterpart, Oberkampf Paris nightlife is also very popular spot. After getting your cultural fix, you can stick around and party late into the night.

You can find street art in Paris in several neighbourhoods.

You can find street art in Paris in several neighbourhoods.

Perhaps the most popular street art spot in Oberkampf is the Le Mur, which is a wall dedicated to showcasing the works of internationally renowned artists. The art on this space is changed every two weeks (to date 270+ artists have had their turn on this space). Check out their website to find out when the next installation will occur.  Crowds gather to watch each installation happen.

Eat in the Dark at Dans Le Noir?

… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.

– E.A. Bucchianeri

If you’re in love with the concept of being fed the unknown, Dans Le Noir? will be an enjoyable experience. In this restaurant, you are forced to eat in the dark with no knowledge of what’s on your plate. No, not dimly lit like so many trendy restaurants but total pitch black darkness. The idea is to heighten your other senses in the absence of sight.

Experience a feast for the senses by dining in the dark.

Experience a feast for the senses by dining in the dark.

Reviewer Zach Brooke even jokes that it’s not a restaurant you ought to dress up for because of the many possible moments you could knock your glass over or spill food. In addition, he notes that the experience where you eat in the dark makes one realize how much the eyes play an important role in food, whether it’s cooking or eating.

Old Masters at the Musée du Louvre

The Louvre Museum is renowned for having one of the most extensive and impressive art collections in the world. There’s Michelangelo’s Dying Slave statue, Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People painting, and the Law Code of Hammurabi.

One of the most popular pieces that everyone wants to see in person is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. When my kids first saw the Mona Lisa they were surprised by how small the actual painting is – so outsize is its influence in modern culture appearing everywhere from high brow books to low brow memes.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous paintings in the world.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous paintings in the world.

The Mona Lisa arguably the artist’s most famous piece, though his other works are also noteworthy in their own right. Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings in general have a huge influence even outside the art industry, as they’re often subjects in other forms of media like films and video games. For instance, his works functioned as plot devices in the film The Da Vinci Code. Meanwhile, SlotSource’s Da Vinci Diamonds game heavily feature the artist’s portraits in its gameplay mechanics. Because of the prominence of such products, even non-artists are familiar with Da Vinci’s paintings.

Travel Tip! Expect the museum to be crowded especially around the most famous pieces, such as the Mona Lisa. Try visiting on Wednesday or Friday evening, as the museum stays open until 9:45 PM.

Prefer your art with less crowds? Sainte Chapelle houses a large collection of 13th century stained glass which has to be seen to be appreciated.

Art and Design Bookstore, Artazart

The unique offerings at Artazart makes it a must-visit art and design bookstore in Paris. You can find a curated collection of books and magazines on graphic design, photography, and other art-related topics. Aside from books, the store also sells polaroid cameras and prints.

Artazart is a well-regarded art and design bookstore in Paris.

Artazart is a well-regarded art and design bookstore in Paris.
(image credit: Artazart’s Facebook)

This art and design bookstore also holds monthly exhibitions in order to shine the spotlight on both popular and up and coming artists. After shopping for art and design books here, you can also stop by the Canal Saint-Martin, which is both a nice picnic area and a popular spot for street art.

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5 Great Ways To Explore Paris Through an Artist’s Eye

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Why A Golden Triangle of India Tour Should Be On Your Bucketlist

Why A Golden Triangle of India Tour Should Be On Your Bucketlist

Will amazing palaces, grand romantic gestures, and scrumptious food tick your boxes for a bucket list adventure. Then you should hurry over to visit the so-called Golden Triangle of India. Covering a super popular tourist itinerary in India, a Golden Triangle of India tour covers 3 cities (New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) and hundreds of years of history. In a short few days, you will get a highlights of India experience. If you are like most people, this short taster trip will leave you wanting to explore more of the country.  An Indian Golden Triangle tour though is intense. I would totally suggest a Golden Triangle and beach holiday combination to have a chance unwind and to reflect on all the amazing things that you have experienced before you go back to your own reality.

What is the Golden Triangle in India?

The Golden Triangle in India (sort of like the Golden Circle in Iceland) is a popular tourist route in India. Yes, The Golden Triangle India tour is not off the beaten path but for a quick overview of Northern India’s landscapes and heritage it can’t be beat. Sometimes the well-worn path really is the best one!

The Red Fort in New Delhi, a must-visit on any Golden Triangle tour

The Red Fort in New Delhi, a must-visit on any Golden Triangle tour

The Golden Triangle India encompasses three cities (Delhi Agra Jaipur) which includes the capitol city, the two UNESCO world heritage sites of Agra (the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort) and the proposed UNESCO world heritage site that is the city of Jaipur.

India Golden Triangle map

A quick look at a Golden Triangle Map India shows you where the Golden Triangle in India got its name. Yes, it’s a triangle! surprise. Here’ I’ve shown the Golden Triangle India with the suggested beach escape in Sri Lanka.

Create your own travel map

Golden Triangle of India tour

The usual route for a Golden Triangle trip is from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur.  Each part of the journey takes about 4-6 hours. The best way to sightsee the Golden triangle of India is by car. There is an express train that connects these cities but it does take longer.

Golden Triangle tour itinerary

The three main city of the Golden Triangle are Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

New Delhi, the capitol city, has much to see, such as, for example:

  • Humayun’s Tomb (a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1570};
  • the Red Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 17th century by the same emperor who built the Taj Mahal);
  • Qutb Minar (a UNESCO world heritage site built in the 13th century);
  • India Gate – A war memorial built in 1931
  • The Jama Masjid Mosque and the Chawri Bazaar in Old Delhi
  • The Raj Ghat – the Gandhi Memorial

Agra is located a distance of 210 kilometres (about a 3 hour drive) away. Everyone goes to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort, both UNESCO world heritage sites. The Taj Mahal is indeed gorgeous but it is super crowded – no one leaves the Taj Mahal without forming an impression whether or positive or negative.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the three prongs of the Golden Triangle in India

The Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the three prongs of the Golden Triangle in India

From Agra to Jaipur, the distance is about 240 kilometres (about a 5 hour drive). Jaipur has requested to have the historic city be protected on the UNESCO world heritage list (similar to Toulouse in France. Ouro Preto in Brazil and Philadelphia in the USA). It’s known as the pink city because of its many sandstone buildings.

Jaipur has many fascinating sightseeing places:  the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Observatory (Jantar Mantar), Amber Fort, the City Palace complex, Water Palace (Jai Mahal) and Wind Palace (Hawa Palace).

The distance from Jaipur back to Delhi is 250 kilometres (about a 5 hour drive).

Side Trips on a Golden Triangle Tour

Either on the way to Jaipur or on the way back to Delhi from Jaipur you should check out Fatehpur Sikri. The city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Emperor Akbar but was only occupied for 14 years. It had to be abandoned to the desert from which it sprung thanks to a chronic lack of water to keep the city going.

Another place for a detour is Ranthambore National Park (about a 3 hour drive from Jaipur) so that you can combine a India golden triangle tour & tiger safari . One of the largest national parks in India, it was once the hunting grounds of the Maharajah of Jaipur. Ranthambore is one of the best places to see wild tigers in India.

One great option is to combine a India Golden Triangle tour and tiger safari at Ranthambore National Park

One great option is to combine a India Golden Triangle tour and tiger safari at Ranthambore National Park

Udaipur is another interesting add-on in a tour of Rajasthan. Udaipur is famous its famous Lake Palace set in the middle of Lake Pichola.

If you have extra time after Delhi, you should try and combine a Golden Triangle Tour with Varanasi, one of the most holy cities in India. The distance from Delhi to Varanasi is about 250 kilometres (about a 6 hour drive). People bathe and worship on the city steps along the Ganges River which is one of the iconic images of India and of the Hindu faith.

Golden triangle 6 days

If you have the chance to spend 6 days on a Golden Triangle Itinerary, you will have approximately 1.5 days in each of Delhi and Jaipur. You really don’t need more than 1 day in Agra. This really is an ideal minimum amount of time to spend in each place,

Golden triangle tour 5 days

Because of the driving times between places, a 5 day golden triangle tour India would give you only 1 day in each city (Delhi Agra Jaipur).

Golden Triangle Tour 4 days

For a Golden Triangle Tour 4 days, I would suggest 1/2 a day in each of Delhi and Agra and a full day in Jaipur. This Golden Triangle trip cuts out some of your Delhi sightseeing. If you had to choose between spending the full day in Delhi or in Jaipur, I’d definitely pick Jaipur which is just more representative of India than Delhi which is a cosmopolitan capitol city a lot like many others.

Amber Fort in Jaipur, the third city in the Golden Triangle India

Amber Fort in Jaipur, the third city in the Golden Triangle India

Golden Triangle Tour 3 days

Sure you can do a Golden Triangle tour in 3 days but I would not recommend it. This type of Golden Triangle India tour will have you zipping along from place to place all day and evening with hardly have any time to appreciate the places you are visiting. You will be spending more time in the car than out of it but if you are short on time doing a Golden Triangle tour in 3 days is totally feasible. I understand that ‘needs must’ and vacation time is precious.

A Golden Triangle and beach holiday

We did a 7 day Golden Triangle Tour in India and we were exhausted. It was beautiful and amazing and all the superlatives you could think of – but also tiring.  We even had a luxury Golden Triangle tour with a private driver and staying at some of the best Oberoi hotels in India. We did, however, chose to visit all of  Fatehpur Sikr, Udaipur and Ranthambore National Park and a few days in Mumbai on our way to Kerala.

We did not combine a Golden Triangle and beach holiday because we thought our relaxing time would be spend on a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala. Ha! That was more sightseeing.  Spectacular but not relaxing.

Mirissa in South Sri Lanka is perfect for a beach holiday in Sri Lanka

Mirissa in South Sri Lanka is perfect for a beach holiday in Sri Lanka

If I were to do it again, I would recommend a beach holiday in Sri Lanka. The country of Sri Lanka has miles of sandy coast line dotted with a wide choice of great luxury hotels from the boutique to the eco-friendly.  The gorgeous colonial town of Galle is a gateway to some amazing beaches on the South Coast. Mirissa, also on the south coast of Sri Lanka, is known for its whale watching opportunities.

I hope you’ve found these ideas for a Golden Triangle tour in India helpful. My suggested Golden Triangle India itinerary is supposed to be adaptable for however long you choose to spend in the area. Sightseeing the Golden Triangle in India is heavy on the history, culture and urban aspects of the country, I would strongly recommend some downtime.

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Why A Golden Triangle of India Tour Should Be On Your Bucketlist

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Your Guide To The Best East Coast Ski Resorts in the USA

Your Guide To The Best East Coast Ski Resorts in the USA

The best skiing on the East Coast of the USA tends to be overshadowed by the premier ski facilities you find in the resorts of the West Coast. There is plenty of variety and great skiing to be had at East Coast ski resorts. The best ski resorts in Vermont, ski resorts in Maine or ski areas in New Hampshire are snow sure and offer great skiing. Moreover, many of the best places to ski on the East Coast are within a few hours drive of major metropolitan areas like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. After all the best ski resorts in Eastern US are the ones that you can actually access quickly and easily even for a weekend on the slopes.   

Best Resorts in Maine

So close to the Canadian border, you would expect ski resorts in Maine to have excellent facilities and to be snow-sure. And, your expectations will be met. So, what are the best resorts in Maine?

The resort of Sunday River in Southern Maine is known for its reliable skiing. With nearly 750 skiable acres, this ski resort in Maine has 8 peaks, 131 trails and 18 lifts geared for all abilities of skier and snowboarder. Sugarloaf ski resort in Maine is further north and has even more skiable terrain – a whopping 1150+ acres.

You get some of the best American ski resorts in the Northeast.

You get some of the best American ski resorts in the Northeast.

For beginner skiers and snowboarders, Saddleback is one of the best places to ski on the East Coast with extensive terrain away from more advanced skiers.  In addition, the ski and snowboard school is well-known for its low teacher-student ratio.

For weekend skiers, New Hermon Mountain is located outside of Bangor Maine. New Hermon has plenty of easy and intermediate runs set over 60 acres. More advanced skiers may not be challenged though. Also near Bangor is Shawnee Peak, the oldest ski resort in Maine, which is likewise one of the small but fun East Coast ski resorts.

Check out Tripadvisor’s opinion of the best resorts in Maine for skiing and snowboarding. 

Here to give you her personal experience of Sugarloaf, one of the best resorts in Maine, is fellow travel blogger, Patti Neves  at Tripping Unicorn.

Sugarloaf, Maine

Sugarloaf is a ski resort located on Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Providing some of the best skiing on the East Coast, It is the second biggest resort of Maine.

We stayed in a very friendly AirBnB, Mountain Village Farm B&B, where the owner raised ducks and prepared her own granola at home. We had also organic coffee and eggs from the farm’s own hens, blueberries pancakes and maybe the best oatmeal we ever had. There are plenty of nice cottages where you can stay in Kingfield – this area is just 18 Miles away from the Sugar Loaf resort. I highly recommend that place for a romantic get away and families.

The resort itself is really cool, there were amazing amounts of snow, and the quality of the snow was good. The resort has 34 green trails, 44 blue, 39 black diamond and 21 double diamond.
Is it good enough for beginners but also perfect to high level skiers. I would certainly bring kids there. The Sugarloaf season runs from mid-November through early May.

The night life was nearly no-existent in mid-March, so I do not recommend the place for party animals. It is, however, one of the best ski resorts on the East Coast for families with kids.

 – Patti Neves at Tripping Unicorn 

Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the ski resorts in Maine

Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the ski resorts in Maine (image credit: Patti Neves)

Best Ski Resorts in New York

Some of the best places to ski on the East Coast are in New York thanks to the state having both the Adirondack as well as the Catskill Mountains.

Fun fact!  New York state has 43 ski areas of which 10 are ski resorts.
The location for the downhill skiing events for the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, Whiteface Mountain is one of the best ski resorts on the East Coast. Whiteface has 86 trails and 280+ acres of terrain and as snow sure as East Coast ski resorts get. Gore Mountain is also located in the Adirondacks and one of the best ski resorts for families on the east coast.
Greek Peak is also in central New York and is well known for being one of the best family ski resorts on the East Coast. With 38 trails over 220 skiable acres, 6 lifts and 3 terrain parks, Greek Peak has a good spread of choices for skiers of every level. 

The best ski resorts near NYC are located in the Catskills. Spread across three mountains, Hunter Mountain is a resort a couple of hours north of New York City. Families will love the snowtubing park at Hunter Mountain which is the largest on the East Coast. Windham Mountain is another one of the best ski resorts near NYC with 54 trails set over 285 acres.

An hour from Buffalo and Niagara Falls and about three hours from Cleveland, Ellicotville has two of the best ski resorts in NY: Holiday Valley and North America’s largest private ski area HoliMont. During the week, non-members can ski at Holimont.

Check out Tripadvisor’s opinion of the best resorts in New York for skiing and snowboarding. 

Here to give you her personal experience of Ellicottville, one of the best resorts in New York with some of the best snowboarding on the East Coast, is fellow travel blogger, Corinne McDermott  at Have Baby Will Travel.

Holiday Valley, Ellicottville, NY

We are very busy most winters with a minor hockey schedule, but when your husband’s from out west you find a way to sneak in a little ski or snowboard time. Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, New York, really surprised us. Seeing as three out of four of us are absolute beginners, Holiday Valley was the perfect place to learn how to snowboard as a family and they even have a practice chair lift to try out before going on the real deal.
Holiday Valley offers group lessons for kids as young as four, but even three-year-olds can learn how to snowboard via private lessons in the Burton Riglet Park. The resort is very manageable size-wise for adult beginners who still need to parent, and there are a number of ski in/ski out chalets available for rent.
We stayed in town at the Wingate, about a five-minute drive from Holiday Valley. It was a great place to warm up and crash at the end of the day, with lots of family-friendly dining options within easy walking distance, even after snowboarding all day!
-Corinne McDermott at Have Baby Will Travel
Skiing at Holiday Village, one of the best ski resorts in NY

Snowboarding at Holiday Village, one of the best ski resorts in NY
(Image credit: Have Baby Will Travel)

Ski Resorts in New Hampshire

With 34 extensive ski areas, ski resorts in New Hampshire are geared towards both downhill skiing and/or cross country skiing. The White Mountains of New Hampshire provide some of the best ski resorts in New England. There are 20+ ski areas in New Hampshire. If you have a mixed ability group as well as those wholike both types of ski areas, New Hampshire is a good option for you.

Ski resorts in New Hampshire cater for cross country skiers as well as alpine skiers.

Ski resorts in New Hampshire cater for cross country skiers as well as downhill skiers.

With one of the largest ski areas in New Hampshire, Bretton Woods has 97 trails over 360+ acre area, 10 lifts and 3 terrain parks. With 100km of trails, Bretton Woods is one of the best ski resorts on East Coast for cross country skiing.

Located just two hours away, with two mountains over 370 acres, 61 trails and and six terrain parks, Loon Mountain is one of the best ski resorts near Boston. Loon Mountain also has miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. 

Mount Sunapee, another one of the best ski resorts near Boston, is located just 100 miles from the city and is the most southern of the ski resorts in New Hampshire. It is considered one of the best ski resorts in New England for both adults and children learning to ski.

Check out Tripadvisor’s opinion of the best resorts in New Hampshire for skiing and snowboarding. 

Here are two fellow travel bloggers give you their thoughts of what to expect when you ski New Hampshire – at two of the best ski resorts in New Hampshire, Bretton Woods and Loon Mountain.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Bretton Woods Ski Resort is located in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and is New Hampshire’s largest ski area with over 464 acres of skiing for all experience levels.  Bretton Woods is our favorite ski area in New Hampshire, with its award-winning grooming and beautiful trails.  The epic view of Mount Washington while skiing is amazing.

This very family friendly resort has something for the whole family with excellent day programs for the kids as well as activities for the non-skiers in the family.  Bretton Woods offers gorgeous Nordic skiing, indoor rock climbing, and many more activities.  If you just want to relax and enjoy the scenery, Bretton Woods has an great bar and restaurant.  Skiers also get to enjoy food on trail, with an excellent mountain top restaurant on candy store on trail for those with a sweet tooth.

For the perfect ski getaway experience, stay at the Omni Mount Washington Resort.  This historic resort is breath taking to see and is icon of New Hampshire.  The food, services and extras at the Omni are the best in New Hampshire.

– Cathy Merrifield at Roar Loud

Lincoln Woods Supsension Bridge at Loon Mountain ski New Hampshire

Lincoln Woods Supsension Bridge at Loon Mountain ski New Hampshire (image credit: Jame Italiane Decubellis)

Best Ski Resorts in Pennsylvania

The Pocono mountains provide the backdrop for the best ski resorts in Pennsylvania. Among the ski resorts in the Pocono mountains is Tanglewood ski area, Big Boulder ski area and Camelback Resort.

Blue Mountain ski resort is one of the best ski resorts for families on the east coast located a mere 90 miles from Philadelphia to approximately 110 miles from New York City. It’s got good facilities for beginners and intermediates but more advanced skiers may not find Blue Mountain challenging enough.

A more advanced ski resort for families is Whitetail Resort. We have skiied ourselves from Whitetail Resort when we were visiting the Washington D.C. area. My children absolutely loved the ski school. Set over 120 acres, Whitetail has 23 runs ranging from beginners to advanced and great for a weekend of skiing.

Camelback Mountain is often regarded as one of the best ski resorts in Pennsylvania, not only for itself but also because it is one of the best ski resorts near NYC. In addition to skiing, Camelback has some of the best snowboarding on the east coast as well as the largest snowtube park in the USA.

Check out Tripadvisor’s opinion of the best resorts in Pennsylvania for skiing and snowboarding. 

I am partial to Camelback Mountain as one of the best ski resorts in PA because my brother has a weekend house nearby. Here to give a unbiased view of Camelback Mountain is fellow travel blogger, Marianne Rogerson.

Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania

Camelback Mountain Resort in the Pocono Mountains is just a 2-hour drive from New York City. Although small, Camelback has a good choice of ski slopes with 37 trails ranging from green to double diamong and 10 chair lifts. There is a fun ski school for the kids, with magic carpet lifts on the nursery slopes. Thanks to more than 1200 snowmaking guns, you are guaranteed snow at Camelback.

For more fun in the snow, Camelback also boasts the biggest snow tubing park in the United States! It has 42 snowtubing lanes and is a lot of fun!

As it is so close to the city, Camelback can be visited as a day trip from New York City.  We chose to spend three nights at the Camelback Resort, which is super family friendly, with large suites available as 1, 2 and 3-bedroom options.

There’s loads of fun to be had here away from the ski slopes, with an onsite indoor water park with a wave pool and selection of water slides, a games arcade and an indoor ropes course. It has a choice of restaurants, including the ski-in, ski out Trails End, which is perfect for a hot chocolate (or something stronger) at the end of a hard day skiing.

 – Marianne Rogerson at Mum on the Move

Tubing at Camelback Mountain, one of the best ski resorts in PA

Tubing at Camelback Mountain, one of the best ski resorts in PA (image credit: Marianne Rogerson)

Best Ski Resorts Vermont

The best ski resorts in Vermont are among the best ski resorts East Coast thanks to its 20 alpine and 30 cross country ski resorts set on the state’s Green Mountains.

Among Vermont’s best ski resorts are such well-known names as Mount Snow, Stratton, Killington, Smuggler’s Notch, Stowe and Sugarbush.

Mount Snow is one of the best ski resorts near Boston. With approximately 590 acres, 20 lifts  and 86 runs suitable for all abilities. Stratton is one of the best ski resorts for families on the east coast. Set on almost 670 acres with 99 runs, 11 lifts and 4 terrain parks, unlike many other family resorts, there is a good spread for all abilities.

Check out Tripadvisor’s opinion of the best resorts in Vermont for skiing and snowboarding. 

Here are five fellow travel bloggers to give you their their opinion of the best Vermont ski resorts.

Killington Vermont

As someone who was born and raised in New Jersey by a family who loved to ski, I’ve been lucky to experience my fair share of the east coast mountains in its best and worst conditions. There is one that will always be my favorite for various reasons and that is Killington, Vermont. A ski town that is perfect for the advancing skier/snowboarder. The summit lies at 4,241’ with a 3050’ vertical drop and on a heavy winter season can provide up to 212 trails. You can easily spend the entire day on the mountain and not explore all its trails, opposed to some of the smaller resorts surrounding it.

There is a culture in Killington that is easy to fall in love with. The trek is well worth it, expect to see familiar faces each weekend from the surrounding states. Apres is not to be missed in the main lodge and is often carried out into town.

Surprisingly, music is well respected with live bands filling up the resort and local bars almost every night. When you drive down the main strip you have an abundance of mom an pop restaurants, lodging, and bars to take advantage of. They managed to make a popular resort town feel local and homie.

Our favorite place to stay is the Highline Lodge for homie cabin vibes and outstanding food.

– Cydny Voicechovski at Goal Traveler

Killington, one of the best ski resorts in Vermont

Killington, one of the best ski resorts in Vermont (image credit: Cydny Voicechovski)

Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Stratton ski resort in Vermont is known as the birthplace of snowboarding and is a well-designed, family friendly ski resort about 3.5 hours’ drive north of New York City.

There are some high-end lodgings available on the mountain, although rooms book up well in advance during the holiday season. An alternative is to stay in a nearby town such as Bennington which is under an hour’s drive to the resort with more friendly prices for accommodation and meal options.

The quality of snow at Stratton is excellent. Great consistent coverage and while there is no deep powder to speak of there are rarely any icy patches. The runs can all be accessed from the summit of Mount Stratton. Run range from double black diamond to green so it has terrain suitable to all levels including long wide runs allowing you to test your speed.

Families are well catered for with a fully licensed child care facility for toddlers and well-credentialed and long-established ski and snowboard school for older kids and adults.

For non-skiers, there is yoga, an indoor fitness centre with heated pool, or get a tour of the mountain aboard a snow mobile.

– Warren Dobe at Sling Adventures

One of Vermont best ski resorts Stratton Mountain in Vermont

One of Vermont best ski resorts Stratton Mountain (Image credit: Warren Dobe)

Stratton Mount Resort is located in Stratton, Vermont.  It is the largest mountain in Southern Vermont at 3875 feet.  Stratton Resort has a very European ski village look and feel with cute shops, cafes, and restaurants. 

We stayed at the Black Bear Lodge which is walking distance from the slopes with a free shuttle that arrives every few minutes.  We are very budget conscious and found it to be an excellent value for the money.

Our trip to Stratton came very late in the season and the weather was warm and rainy, yet the snow conditions were still good.  With an average snow fall of over 160 inches of snow, good conditions extend into to late Spring.

Stratton has a good balance of skiing over their 670 acres of skiable terrain, with trails for every level of experience and type of skier.  There are cruising trails as long as 3 miles, and over 160 acres of glades.  The mix of trails is 41% novice, 31% intermediate, 17% advanced, and 11% expert.

For the non-skiers in the group, there is tons to enjoy.  Stratton is very family friendly and offers lots of shopping and non-ski activities.  We recommend trying fat tire biking!

– Frank Parrot at Roar Loud

Stratton Ski Resort, one of the best ski resorts in the east

Stratton Ski Resort, one of the best ski resorts in the east (Image credit: Frank Parrott)

Stowe Vermont

Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont is the most impressive ski area we have ever visited.  I couldn’t help but say wow when we entered the resort.  The village has the largest amount of activities for the whole family, with shopping, dining, an outdoor ice skating center, indoor rock climbing, and an amazing day-care program for kids.  For the more adventurous, try zip lining or the tree top adventure tours.

We stayed at near-by at the picturesque Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa that has a free shuttle bus to the resort.  The whole area is cute and fun.  You can’t go wrong with any place in Stowe.

Stowe sits on Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield (4395 feet). With amazing enclosed gondolas, it is the best ride up a mountain in New England.  Getting down is even more fun.  Stowe gets over 300 inches of snow every year that contribute to deep snow depths, along with their extensive snow making.  Stowe has consistent reliable conditions on 40 miles of skiing for all levels of experience (Beginner 16%, Intermediate 55%, Expert 29%).

– Frank Parrott of Nothing But New England

One of the best Vermont ski resorts, Stowe Ski Resort in Vermont

One of the best Vermont ski resorts, Stowe Ski Resort in Vermont (image credit: Frank Parrott)

Jay Peak Vermont

With the largest natural snowfall in northeastern United States, Jay Peak in northern Vermont offers excellent conditions for beginners to expert skiers and snow boarders. With 79 trails, 9 lifts and the only Tram in Vermont, the skill hill uses advanced snowmaking techniques to supplement their already incredible amount of natural snow to offer amazing runs, including some amazing glades.

Over the past decade the ski hill has invested millions to turn the remote ski haven paradise into a world class resort. Open year-round, the resort offers something for everyone, including non-skiers, including cross country (Nordic) skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and skating at their NHL-sized ice rink ‘Ice Haus’.

At Clips & Reels you can catch a movie the kids will enjoy while having an après ski drink or check out the virtual reality games in the arcade. There is also a climbing wall for those looking for adventure in a safe environment. Note: It’s best to book climbing in advance because it books up fast.

The 85-degree Pump House water park includes a 50,000 square-foot glass-enclosed water park with water slides and a retractable roof. This tropical paradise is also great for après ski with the kids. If your feeling adventurous try ‘La Chute’. Standing upright you wait for a countdown before the floor falls from beneath your feet and you fall 45 miles an hour through a chute… hence the name. Or if you are a little less adventurous enjoy a float along the lazy river or enjoy a drink at the bar overlooking the water playground.

There is a wide variety of options for accommodations including ski-in ski-out condos and a full-service hotel with 173-rooms, conference center and three restaurants. Having stayed at both a slope side condo and the hotel which is close to the lifts, we found the resort shuttle a great way to get around. If you do stay at the hotel, take advantage of the free valet parking. With numerous restaurants, bars, grocery store and more, you will find everything you need onsite. An added bonus for Canadiens is that they accept Canadian currency

– Peige McEachran at A Piece of Pie

Jay Peak and the stunning White Mountains of Vermont, one of the best resorts in the Northeast

Jay Peak and the stunning White Mountains of Vermont, one of the best resorts in the Northeast

Best Ski Resorts in West Virginia

You wouldn’t think that one of the best ski resorts in the east would be as far south as West Ve=t Virginia. Among the best ski resorts in West Virginia are Canaan Valley Resort, Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline Four and Winterplace Ski Resort.

Canaan Valley Resort is located on the highest peak east of the Rocky mountains. Set over 75 acres, Canaan Valley is compact but has 47 trails accommodating all abilities and 1 terrain park. Snowshoe Mountain is a larger resort yet equally suited for all abilities. Snowshoe is set over 250+ acres with 60 runs, 14 lifts (including 4 high speed ones) and 5 terrain parks.

Check out Tripadvisor’s opinion of the best resorts in West Virginia for skiing and snowboarding. 

Here to give her opinion of Snowshoe Mountain Ski resort is fellow travel blogger, Tanya Prater.

Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort

Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort provides outdoor recreation year-round, but this property located on Cheat Mountain in the Alleghenies of West Virginia is best known for their winter offerings. Less than five hours from Washington D.C., this ski resort provides fun for the entire family, on and off the slopes.

Outdoors, you’ll find 250 acres that encompass 15 lifts and 60 trails with four terrain parks and a Coca Cola tubing park, guided snowmobile tours and Polaris RZR Tours for an off-road adventure.

When you need to warm up, you’ll find restaurants, shopping, a spa, teen center, 15,000 square foot playground for children that offers bounce houses, slides and an arcade, a heated Snowcat tours offered at Snowshoe Village which is located at the summit of the mountain rather than the base.

-Tanya Prater at Travel Inspired Living

Snowshoe mountain, one of the best ski resorts in West Virginia

Snowshoe mountain, one of the best ski resorts in West Virginia (image credit: Travel Loving Family)

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