Winter Wonderland: European Destinations

Christmas is all about snow, Santa Claus, red ribbons, bells, gingerbread, and decorated Christmas trees. And we mean spruces here. Although you may or may not agree, one of the best spots to celebrate the winter solstice is where there is the least light, the lowest temperature, and the most snow. If you are in the US, you may go up to Canada or Maine, Minnesota or Wyoming, but if you happen to travel around Europe in winter, there are some must-visits for tapping into the winter wonderland. So hold tight, because we are going on a sleigh ride all around Europe!

The French Alps

French are famous for their fashion mecca Paris, their patisserie and champagne. But did you know that the French Alps is one of the best spots to dive into winter activities?  Val d’Isère near Tignes may be just your next place to go if you have a soft spot for large ski resorts and prefer many ski tracks of different experience levels. From black to red, to large network of blue tracks, the remote valley captures what’ s beautiful about French Alps, namely the diversity and extensive choice for everyone, both snowboarders and skiers. If you are just starting out, yet want some glitz and sparkle, then Courchevel is the place to be. Multi-million properties and high-class are the specials for this luxurious ski resort, and why not? Winter is always fun, and more so if you have a dollar to spare.

Finland

If you seek to catch the glimpse of nature and truly white winter, then Finland is a shortcut to the absolute whiteness. They even have Santa Claus living just behind the polar circle! And if you go high enough to the very Northern areas of Finland, you will surely see all the colors of Northern Lights.

Being home to various winter sports and crazy activities, Finland will not leave you wondering what is the essence of winter vibes. And if you are crazy enough to go full in, you will see how people master wintertime. From saunas to winter swimming to ski jumping and nordic combined discipline, there is a wide range of activities you can do. And – did we mention raindeers? If you want to catch a vibe before going, a recommended movie is “Sami Blood” showing the harsh lives of reindeer-breeding Sámi peoples. The movie is set in neighboring Sweden in 1930s, and it may also be wise to visit Sweden if you are traveling from afar. Fun fact? Finland used to be ruled by Swedes for centuries and still has two national languages. If you go more to the west, you will definitely encounter Swedish more, and if you are a  Dane or Estonian, you may very well get by using your mother tongue – Danish and Swedish are very similar, just as Estonian and Finnish.

Norway

If going outside of the European Union is not a dealbreaker, then Norway should also be on your travel list. It is wild (and expensive), yet going to mountains and seeing the views of mountain lakes and fjords will definitely be worth it. You may also ski downhill or do cross-country skiing. If you are more up for a laid-back atmosphere, you may want to go for dogsledding. Just get ready for a cold breeze and adrenaline! Ice fishing and ice skating are also popular wintertime activities, and you may do them anywhere you wish. For ice fishing, you do not need to obtain a license either, but better go prepared and in a company, especially if you are a first-timer. How often do you get a chance to slide over ice clearly seeing every single water green right under you?

Iceland

Of course, Iceland. No wonder, huh? Not that much of an ice cube anymore, yet full of breathtaking landscapes and views. You can cross-country ski, get into the sauna or even do mountain climbing here. Or, alternatively, you can ‘cuddly’ up with a cup of hot chocolate in an igloo or far-away farmhouses to relax from the busy city streets and finally enjoy freedom from all the responsibilities. If you are a photographer, there is no limit of your wandering photo walks, as the landscape colors change with every hour of the day. From rosy to green to burning yellow, nature presents itself at its best here. Be prepared for extreme weather though, just like in any other Northern country.

If you want to go from fairy tale to reality without losing the adventure and beauty, then you must visit Northern Europe whilst it is winter. From truly laid-back wintertime activities, like shopping in Christmas markets and dog sledding, to sports such as skiing and snowboarding for more active travelers, winter shall not be a threat but an opportunity to see the countries in their real light. Nature is breathtaking, but so are people, welcoming at houses with glogg and egg liqueur, or hot tea after a cold, crisp winter day outdoors.

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The Best Christmas Gift: A million Dreamers around the world!!

There is nothing else a startup could wish for than to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. This Christmas holiday, CuddlyNest has crossed one million like-minded traveler benchmark on Facebook. What does it mean? Now, we open the world of travel to even more people with our budget-friendly booking model and our vision to offer the lowest booking rates for all travelers everywhere

CuddlyNest Facebook page saw its first follower just a little over a year ago. Back then, we were full of hope and ideas to revolutionize the travel ecosystem, but not yet discovered. Over this past year on social media, we have been very active to tell the world, spread the idea of how we wish to make travel easy for everyone anywhere. Be it a business stay in a world-class hotel or romantic weekend in a treehouse in the middle of the jungle, a private room in a hostel, a serviced apartment to call home for a while,  we offer the lowest booking fee in the market and probably the cheapest possible travel accommodation out there. Offering 24/7 customer service and over a million properties worldwide including some of the stunning hotel rooms, condos, apartments, hostels, resorts, villas or just about any accommodation, we aim the best for everyone.

 

Since the very first post, CuddlyNest community has grown into a global traveler network, full of wanderers, solo travelers, nomads, business travelers or families looking for a perfect stay. We are excited to see the strong and gradual change in travel, supported with our vision and empowered with our mission to make travel accessible to anyone, at any budget. We are now a strong community of a million CuddlyNesters traveling, hosting and working towards more fun and exciting life for everyone, anywhere they go. The Christmas wonder turned out to be true – and we are already looking towards the next year with many more awesome services coming to make travel easy and hassle-free.

We are thankful to each and every member of our inspiring travel community making this Christmas truly wonderful for all of us! We wish you all the joy and strength to reach your wildest travel dreams in 2019. And now, go off to celebrate with your loved ones!

 

 

 

CuddlyN Vacation Rentals All Around the Worls

Central Europe Holidays According to Your Personality

If you have ever traveled to a destination that feels like your true home, then you will understand what belonging feels like. You arrive at a different country, but as to your surprise, people are just your type, and you can relate easily. For a long-term or just less frequent traveler, it is important to decide on the right destination. As you want to get acquainted with local traditions, culture, foods, and music, it is not only much easier, but also so much more fun to go to a country that feels just like meant to be for you. Read on and discover which one of the Central European countries will make the perfect destination according to your personality type and temperament.

CROATIA

If you wake up full of energy every morning – or, just the opposite – the bad hangover because of clubbing and dancing all night, then you may be of a sanguine temperament. Living a party life, enjoying attention and performance feeling like your second skin, your best bet for holidays is sunny Croatia. This country sports kilometer long beaches, beautiful mountains, nightclubs, resorts, and top-notch hotels, villas, and restaurants. No matter if you choose to go to Dubrovnik, Split or the capital Zagreb, you are signing up for a crazy nightlife. Even most of the lesser-known destinations, such as the National Park with Plitvice Lakes, and the island of Pag, become the global party hotspot, as Hideout Festival takes place. Started in 2011 and been one of the most well known European electronic festivals ever since Hideout in Zrce is a must for every sanguine personality.

And in case you do not make it this July, the Croatian trip is still a must any other time of the year, as their wine, clubs and light spirit is present wherever you go.

HUNGARY

If you are more of a sensible person, valuing not so much the crazy electronic beats, drinks and clubbing all weekend long, but rather sleep in with a book and a cup of tea in your other hand, we have something for you. If you tend to be an observer, not the action taker and participant, you have our word – Hungary is just meant to be your next travel destination! Hungarians are known for their hot red peppers, hot and spicy goulash soup, and other wonders, but the population is just the opposite. You may have heard about great warriors in the past, but today in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, you will be faced with warm-hearted, yet not too welcoming and talkative locals. As a phlegmatic, you may even enjoy the freedom it gives you to just wander through the beautiful streets gazing at the architecture from medieval to neoclassical ages. If you enjoy relaxation, it is a must to go to Budapest thermal baths, such as Gellert Baths o Szecheny in Millenium Park. Just remember to not to stay away from the delicious and hearty Hungarian cuisine – the Hungarian spit cakes are totally worth indulging of! And if you enjoy having a glass of wine now and then, go on a trip to Tokaj, the famous wine region.

POLAND

Are you never feel calm and always on a run? You may very well be choleric. If strong will, impatience, quick temperament, and independence sound like your daily routine, and you can take decisions with ease, then you be destined to go to Poland. Polish people know how to be effective, assertive and independent. They even drink more practically! Vodka is preferred over wine, and the modern, functionalist architecture is present over the country. Unless you are staying in the very center of Warsaw, or in the medieval city of Krakow, or even the vintage wonderland resort Sopota, then you are most likely to see functionalist and modernist architecture. And about the culture itself, Polish people are definitely decisive enough to sell you anything, from their own Zubra beer to dead-cheap cosmetics or the freshest fruits and berries cultivated and just picked from the fields a couple of hours ago. And did say that they have all you need for a dead cheap shopping trip? The fashion industry is booming there, and the prices will not leave you empty-handed.

AUSTRIA

Ever feel like diving in old memories? If you possess a creative mind and often get thrown down by the soul-wrenching mood swings, ranging from depression in mornings to the happiest you could possibly be in midday to somewhere in the middle in the afternoon again, you are a melancholic. Cleanliness and orderliness, apart from genius mind and well accustomed to fields of art and history, is your brand, and people say you are born to be an artist? Wait no more – your destination is Austria. This central European country will give everything you need, from crafted Mozart chocolates to soothe your breaking heart to the most beautiful classical music pieces performed by one of the best music professionals in Europe and ultimately the world. If you go to Austria, definitely visit Schonbrunn Palace. The entry to the gorgeous gardens is free, and in the last week of June, the Midsummer Concert takes place when the best pieces of classical music are performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In case you are going to Vienna already in winter, make sure not to miss the visit to Vienna State Opera. The building alone is worth a visit, and, although the original was bombed and renovated, the frescoes in the foyer and the  “Zauberflöten” (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda by Schwind survived the ages of war and were re-opened to classical music lovers in 1945 with Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”. In case Rococo is your favorite architecture style, and you hold details of the value, a must-visit is the Admont Library, but the calming and relaxing Eisriesenwelt salt caves may impress you even more than the humans’ works and sightseeing tours in cities.

 

Whatever is your temperament, Central European countries have something to offer you. From sunny and crazy Croatia for sanguines to phlegmatics finding their fit of travel in Hungary to Polish practicality and assertiveness fitting well to choleric travelers and Austria just meant for melancholics, you will discover Central Europe to be just as interesting, if not even more than the beaten track Europe trip cities of the West.  Go ahead and book your trip!

The adventure never waited for anyone, so it is up to you to act.

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Pet-Friendly Holidays in Florida

There is a question arising every year when planning a trip with a family, what about your paw friends? If there is anything besides the cost of bringing your four-legged friend with you on a trip, it’s bureaucracy and restrictions. Most of us do not even want to imagine the 2-week-long quarantine when entering South East Asian countries like Indonesia or Thailand, so many choose to go on a domestic trip by car. And where else is it better to enjoy summer than in Florida? Read on to get to know about the best ways to go around with your pet around Florida.


Entering Florida with Pets

There are several requirements to enter Florida with pets. First, you need to take with you an official certificate of veterinary inspection, so-called health certificate. The certificate at the date of the arrival must be issued less than 30 days back. It means that for your Christmas and New year holidays, it is wise not to wait for too long and start preparing now, while everyone is not going on vacation yet and the lines are not too long. You can obtain the health certificate in any vet office within a few hours. Another document you need to enter Florida is the documentation of current rabies vaccine. According to state laws, the vaccine must be renewed every 3 months, although the rules vary state by state. If you need your dog to be vaccinated, do not waste any time and get it done as soon as possible. Regarding rabies tag, it is not necessary for your pet to wear it, although there are some counties in Florida that do require pets to wear a rabies tag.

Flying with Pets

If you are coming a long way to Florida or just prefer to not waste your time in the car, then there are some additional things you should check before going on a holiday. If you are flying in Florida, then please contact the airlines to make appropriate reservations for your pet. Some companies require a certificate of acclimation or health certificate, but it depends on the airline and type of flight. In both cases, these can be provided by the veterinarian. Some airlines only accept health certificates within 10 days of examination, make sure to check it before. 

Transport Your Pet with Shipping Company

If there is a sudden need to ship your pet to another country, there is no much choice other than using shipping service. To meet the requirements of import, you should get the application for import approved by the country of destination’ s  consulate, an international health certificate from Florida and accredited veterinarian, as well as international possible testing and vaccinations. Another requirement is an endorsement of papers by a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services veterinarian. But note that some countries, like UK, require very early applications, having them submitted 6 months ago, and on top of that, also require microchipping, rabies testing and special import application.

Beaches with Dogs

If you are traveling and sunbathing with your whole family, you don’t want to leave your dog locked at the rental. Florida is quite welcoming in that sense. Having both off-leash beaches and beaches your dog need to be leashed up, there is a lot to choose from. In Fort De Soto Park, for example, dog owners are allowed to swim together with their pets, and the beaches are adapted to enjoy picnics, play with your dogs, let your dog socialize with others and have fun. For an added bonus, it was named America’s #1 beach in 2008 and 2009, pushing all records. If you are in Venice, FL, then Brohard Paw Park may be a good choice. Situated in Sarasota, it is the only pet-friendly beach in the county. Other beaches you should definitely consider are Bonita Beach Dog Park and Panama City Park, both very dog-friendly.

Get Around in the Public Transport

Thanks to a bill requiring Amtrak to accept dogs and cats as passengers in the trains, now you can travel around Florida without any problem. Your pet will be welcomed and given a ticket to, and you can carry your best friend as carry-on baggage. However, any dog that is too large to be carried in a bag will not be allowed to ride. To get around by taxi in cities, you can use Uber. There is a special pet taxi service in Florida, in all major cities from Miami to Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, but check properly before booking Uber.

Eat Out with Your Dog or Cat

Although getting around and going swimming with your dogs is not hard anymore, you could also start doing other activities, such as tackling hunger not only in parks or outdoor establishments, but also a high-end restaurant, such as especially price-friendly Voodoo Dog in Tallahassee, or Mad Dogs and Englishmen in Tampa. The best bet, however, if the hunger strikes when you are out with your pet and have not checked the restaurant selection in advance, is to go for beer gardens that are usually outdoor pubs where you can catch some sun, have a sandwich or burger, and have your dog well-rested right beside you. You should mind, though, that restaurants are still more welcoming to small and medium-sized dogs, and so it may be a good idea to always take the leash with you, in case you go for a run with your large four-legged friend.

All in all, Florida is truly pet-friendly and you can find shops, vacation rentals, and restaurants catering not only for your family but also for your pets. Getting into Florida state should not be a problem if you manage your travels well ahead and try to obtain your pets’ health statements and travel cards on time. You should also check out the best places to eat out before going on a vacation with a pet, just you do not miss any of the awesomeness whilst on holiday.

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