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Genoa (Genova) is a port city and the capital of northwest Italy's Liguria region. Genoa is the sixth-largest city in Italy by population
CURRENCY: Italy's currency is the euro
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:
We recommend traveling to Genoa in September when temperatures are warm and the weather is still dry but the hotels are much more affordable.
THINGS TO KNOW:
Genoa is probably best known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, although it has plenty of other things to shout about. One such accolade is its cuisine, which includes both pesto and focaccia – two of Italian cookery's most popular (and tasty!) exports.
Tipping at hotels in Italy is not required but it will be appreciated. You can tip the porter, usually no more than 5 Euros. You can leave the concierge 1 or 2 Euros if he provides good service. You can leave the housekeeper between 0.75 and 1.50 Euros per day.
Voltage: In Italy, the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Italy if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240 V
If there’s one cute Italian word everyone seems to know, it’s ciao. You hear it in the movies and assume it’s the ultimate greeting or parting word that will make you seem like a native Italiano. However, it’s not as commonly used as a friendly “hi” or “bye” is in English. Ciao is generally reserved for close friends, family, and little children, and you’ll sound like a goof if you blurt that out all the time. Italians are rather formal in their greetings. When entering or leaving a shop or restaurant, for example, a buon giorno or buona sera will seem more appropriate and respectable. Think of ciao as more like a “hey” or “yo” and use it sparingly.
Rome is full of public drinking fountains. Every few blocks, you’ll stumble upon a fontanelle spigot (sometimes quite elaborate and sculptural) where you can wet your whistle or fill your water bottle. This is the civilization that engineered mighty aqueducts, and their water is safe, clean and fresh – albeit a little high in calcium and chlorine. By all means, drink it and brush your teeth without fear of Ceasar’s revenge. However, tap water is rarely served in restaurants. Most locals and visitors buy inexpensive bottles of water when dining out, either acqua naturale (still) or acqua frizzante (sparkling), depending on if you want bubbles or not. While the tap water is perfectly potable, it's just not the norm at restaurants and one of those things not to do when in Rome. You can insist on a glass of tap water if you really want it but your waiter may be a little put off by the request.
The official rule is there’s no photography in the Sistine Chapel, no matter how much you want to Instagram Michelangelo’s masterpiece ceiling. Yep, you see tourists trying to break this rule all the time, but it’s usually met with a chorus of “No photo! No video!” from the vigilant security guards. There’s a rule against flash photography in many museums around the world, including the Vatican Museums, mainly due to concerns of incessant flashes affecting the priceless artwork. That’s not the case in the Sistine Chapel. Expensive restoration work was done in the 1980s and, to help fund the endeavor, exclusive rights to photograph this artistic wonder were sold to the Nippon Television Network of Japan. This deal has since expired, but the official rule remains in place. After all, lovely photo books are available at the gift shop. Consider this one of the things not to do when in Rome, although many tourists manage to sneak a snap now and then.
All roads may lead to Rome, but unless you grew up there or have a death wish, don’t plan on renting a car to drive around the Eternal City. It’s chaotic madness out on those Roman streets. Locals drive fast and furious here. Lanes seem to be suggestions, traffic lights optional and parking, fuhgeddaboudit. Furthermore, most of the ancient center of town is a ZTL forbidden drive zone where non-residents are not permitted. This is enforced by cameras and hefty fines. The area around the Colosseum, Villa Borghese, the River and Termini is off-limits, so just take public transit or a taxi (at your own peril!). Better yet, walk your way around this remarkable city.
Speaking of cheese… remember, this isn’t the Olive Garden. While many American “Italiano” restaurants offer a sprinkling of tasteless cheesy snow atop sorts of entrees, real Parmesan (preferably official Parmigiano-Reggiano produced in Parma) is a hard, slightly sharp, nutty, complex artisanal craft Formaggio not meant to be used as an afterthought condiment. If you ask for some Parmesan for your seafood pasta or risotto, your waiter might be aghast. It’s akin to ordering a cappuccino past twelve. It’s just not done. A good rule of thumb is to wait for the waiter to ask you if you’d like some cheese on your meal. If he offers, it’s appropriate. If he doesn’t, it’s not. By all means, ask if you really want it (it’s your money and mouth, after all), but they’ll be snickering about you back in the kitchen.
Edinburgh is the “Hilly” capital of Scotland. It is the second most populated city in Scotland.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT:
The summer months of June through to August are the warmest of the year. July and August, in particular, get extensive daylight hours the further north you go. From late October, the crowds begin to disperse and early to mid-November can be a wonderful time to see Scotland's glorious autumn foliage.
September is often the sunniest month. The cheapest time to travel to Scotland is offseason: November 1 to December 12 and December 26 to March 14. In the past few years, airlines have been offering irresistible fares during these periods. And weekday flights are cheaper than weekend fares, often by 10% or more.
The currency of Edinburgh. Scotland's official currency is the pound sterling, known as the pound (£, GBP) like in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Most hotels, restaurants, and shops in Scotland accept major credit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB. However, you should be aware that small B&Bs frequently do not take credit cards. The British currency is pound sterling (£) and is made up of 100 pence (p).
The official currency in Scotland is, however, the same as in the whole of the U.K.: the British pound sterling, consisting of 100 pence. U.S. dollars are not accepted in Scotland apart from some tourist attractions, which will exchange them at extremely unfavorable rates.
Tipping in hotels in Scotland. As a general rule, tips aren't usually expected in Scotland at a hotel. However, if the service is above standard, giving a small tip to workers would be considered polite.
Some restaurants include a service charge of 10-15% in the bill, in which case no further tip is needed. If a service charge is not included in the bill, then it is normal to add a 10-15% tip if the service has been good.
The best way to reach the Scottish Highlands is to fly into either Glasgow (GLA) or Edinburgh (EDI) international airports and then rent a car or take the train or bus to get into the Highlands. Renting a car is the best way to get around the Scottish Highlands.
MUST VISIT ATTRACTION:
- National Museum of Scotland
- Camera Obscura
- Edinburgh Castle
- The Writers Museum
- Scottish Natural Gallery
- Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
- The Museum of Childhood
- The Scotch Whisky Experience
- The Royal Botanic Garden
- Edinburgh Gin
- The Stand Comedy Club
THINGS TO KNOW:
Edinburgh has been deemed the safest city in the UK. Traveling to Scotland is generally safe however; practicing safety when on the road is always advisable for anyone who likes to travel. ... You must always exercise caution, especially when traveling to big cities such as Edinburgh as petty crimes and tourist traps exist.
The city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. ... The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the world's largest annual international arts festival.
There is a law where alcohol is not allowed on the beach. Some people do bring alcoholic beverages and even disguise it. Unless there is excessive drinking and/or disruptive behavior people may get away with it. But please beware it is against the law and could result in fines or worse if caught.
Scotland's national dish is haggis, a savory meat pudding, and it's traditionally accompanied by mashed potatoes, turnips (known as 'neeps') and a whiskey sauce.
Mains tap water throughout the UK is safe to drink and produced to a much higher safety standard than bottled water. Some parts of Scotland have water from mountain reservoirs with a distinctive peaty color. This does not affect safety.
In Scotland, the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You cannot use your electric appliances in Scotland without a voltage converter, because the standard voltage in Scotland (230 V) is higher than in the United States of America (120 V). Scotland adapter plug allows you to plug your foreign appliances and electronics into Scotland wall outlets. Adapter plugs allow electrical connections up to 240 volts. An adapter plug does NOT change the current or voltage (this requires a converter) unless your appliance is dual voltage.
KAIKOURA is a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population. Literally, the name Kaikoura means “to eat crayfish”. It is said that the full name is Te Ahi-kai-koura-a-Tamatea-pokai-whenua meaning “the fire which Tamatea-pokai-whenua made to cook crayfish”.
BEST TRAVEL TIMES:
The weather in New Zealand is often best during the months of October – March, so if you prefer the warmer kind of days then whale watching during the NZ summer is a good bet.
January is mid-summer in New Zealand. It is also right in the midst of the school holidays and peak tourist season
February may be the last month of summer, but it is also typically when temperatures are at their warmest
March is when the country begins easing its way into autumn. Days are still summery by nature, with temperatures gradually cooling while the foliage begins to change its hues.
April is the time to relish some crisp, sunny days, bright blue skies, and chilly nights.
May is the time to start putting on those cozy layers: temperatures in May can easily drop to 6°C in the South Island, and 9°C in the North.
June the first month of winter.
July is winter well and truly settled
August continues to carry out the wintry theme. There’s plenty of time to catch some snow, cherish the alpine backdrops, and just marvel at New Zealand’s all-around sublime landscapes.
Spring comes in full bloom in the month of September.
October is a month of mild temperatures and cultural highlights.
November- Mid-spring brings plenty of pleasant days.
December is the start of summer, meaning that the holiday season is celebrated in scorching colors: think barbecues, fish, and chips by the beach, or a typical potluck dinner with Pavlova for dessert.
CURRENCY: New Zealand's currency is the NZ dollar
THINGS TO KNOW:
If a non-New Zealander has even heard of Kaikoura, chances are it's because they've heard of Kaikoura's fabulous whale-watching. The most well-known whale-watching operation in the area is Whale Watch Kaikoura, which has a 95 percent success rate for spotting whales on their tours.
But whales aren't the only marine life you'll find here. Lying just offshore, the deep Kaikoura Canyon and its currents draw all sorts of sea life to the area – you'll find whales, dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, albatross, and more year-round in Kaikoura.
Since it's right on the ocean, you can get some amazing seafood in Kaikoura. Crayfish (basically lobster) is the specialty here.
ABSOLUTELY THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY THUS FAR...Do you agree?
Innsbruck, the capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, is a city in the Alps that's long been a destination for winter sports. Innsbruck is also known for its Imperial and modern architecture
The official language spoken in Innsbruck is German. However, as English is the second language in the educational system, it is understood and spoken fluently by Austrian citizens.
Austria is a member of the Economic and Currency Union and the common currency is the Euro.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:
The best time to visit Austria is during the shoulder months, in spring, between April – May, and in fall, between September – October. The weather is excellent for outdoor activities, and the crowd is sparser. The high tourist season between June – August sees excellent weather and sunny days.
It is recommended traveling to Innsbruck during the mid-winter when hotels are cheaper due to fewer tourists. Temperatures are in the mid-20s, just a bit cooler than the average 30°F you could get during high season. The most popular time to visit Innsbruck is during the late winter and it also comes with higher hotel rates. You should also try avoiding the Weihnachten week (December 22nd to January 7th), accommodations get particularly expensive during these dates. If you decide to visit Innsbruck between November and April be prepared to encounter some snow.
The coldest month in Austria is usually January. The winter snow cover lasts from late December through March in the valleys, from November through May at about 5,905 ft or 1,800 m, and becomes in many years permanent above about 8,202 ft or 2,500 m. Temperatures begin to rise again in February.
Spring months are March, April, and May, although differences exist from country to country.
Temperatures begin to rise in June and stay warm through mid-September. In the summer months, the hottest of which is July and August, average highs are around 75°F (24°C) and lows are 58°F (14.5°C). Summertime also brings the rainiest weather in Austria; June, July, and August bear the most precipitation.
THINGS TO KNOW:
Innsbruck is a colorful, picturesque city nestled in the Austrian Alps. Its biggest draw is its location. Innsbruck sits in a valley and is surrounded by enormous, snow-capped mountains. This is a city with endless views…ride cable cars to the mountain peaks, visit a ski jump or climb the Town Tower for unbeatable views. With its close proximity to Italy and Germany, Innsbruck makes a great stop on a road trip or railway trip through Europe.
Most of the main sites in Innsbruck are within walking distance from the Old Town or connected by the tram. There are a series of cable cars that can whisk you to the top of the Nordkette Mountains for 360° views over the area.
For Austria there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Austria operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:
Alaska Summer Visitor Season. Most tours operate mid-May to mid-September, with the exception of those into Denali (mid-June to end of August). Peak season is mid-June to mid-August. Before and after, some hotels and day tours offer "shoulder season" discounts of 10-25%.
The coldest month is January when the average temperature overnight is 9.3°F. In July, the warmest month, the average day time temperature rises to 65.3°F.
Alaska uses American dollars for currency. Traveler's checks issued by most major banks are widely accepted in Alaska.
THINGS TO KNOW:
The Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conference Center is a great place to stay for viewing the northern lights. For the best chance of seeing the aurora borealis, come visit during the prime viewing season between September and March. Many of the people trekking north to Alaska in winter come to witness the aurora borealis.
Even though residents of Barrow, the northernmost town in Alaska, won't see the sun for 67 days come winter, they enjoy the midnight sun all summer - over 80 days of uninterrupted daylight.
The Tongass national forest covers much of this and is a temperate rainforest. The warm waters of the pacific ocean keep the climate warmer and wetter than most of Alaska in the winter. Most of the towns around Ketchikan have the warmest winters.
U.S. citizens flying between another state and Alaska do not need a passport. However, those driving through Canada or traveling on a ferry or cruise ship with stops in Canada are required to carry one. All non-U.S. citizens will need a passport and possibly other documents to enter.
The Fairbanks area is home to just over 100,000 hearty souls, making this region the second-largest population center in Alaska. The city features a university, an Army base, and an Air Force Base and is known for dog mushing, northern lights and its extremes of light, dark, warmth and cold.
It is illegal to do business with an intoxicated person, women cannot drink an alcoholic beverage while standing within 5 ft of a bar, nor are residents or visitors allowed to ski while drunk.
The Arctic Circle is 198 road miles from Fairbanks on the Dalton Highway. If you reach the Arctic Circle, make certain you come by the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center and get your Arctic Circle Certificate!
Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland
CURRENCY: Euros and Cents
In Northern Ireland, the currency is the British pound sterling, divided into 100 pence. The two currencies are separate and not interchangeable. You cannot use US dollars or other foreign currencies in Ireland. Sometimes areas near the border of NI & ROI will accept cross currency.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:
The best time to visit Ireland is in April, May, and June, as well as in September and October. Even though there are never any promises when it comes to Irish weather, spring and autumn tend to be relatively mild and have fewer crowds (and lower prices) than during the peak of summer. Flights outside the tourist season months of June to August tend to be cheaper. From mid-October, the number of international flights to/from Ireland drops significantly, as the airlines' winter schedule begins, so while prices are cheaper, travel options are fewer. The summer schedule begins in mid-March.
In summer (May to July), the averages for the highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F. The warmest months, July and August, get about 18 hours of daylight and it gets dark only after 11 pm. Hence the well-worn phrase in Ireland; "sure there's a grand stretch in the evenings.
WEATHER: Some cities get monsoon season. Most get a light sprinkle of rain every now and again. And others skip rain completely and get snow instead. In Dublin, you can have all of the above in a single weekend. The weather here can change dramatically in a matter of hours, and sometimes even minutes! Dress in layers, stash a waterproof jacket in your backpack and bring a tough pair of shoes that can handle it all.
Generally, tap water in Ireland is safe to drink, and the tap water in Dublin is grand. ... According to local EPA reports, tap water in Dublin is safe.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Millions of tourists visit Ireland every year with very few crime complaints or issues. If you are planning a trip to Ireland, in the grand scheme of the world, you have selected a relatively safe place. No country is completely crime or worry-free, however, Ireland does not have a super high-risk rate for crime.
Explore out of the city. This might seem like a strange tip to start with, but compared to some of its neighboring capital cities like London or Berlin, Dublin is small. All of the major sights are within walking distance — after two days or so, you’ll have some time on your hands. Less than an hour away from the city center are the Wicklow Mountains, fishing villages like Howth, and historic mansions like Powerscourt House, all of which are unmissable. Get out there and explore!
Not much partying all night. Despite Ireland’s reputation of being a country that’s fond of a drink (or three), Dublin is not a city that never sleeps. On weeknights, pubs close their doors at 11:30 PM. On weekends, it’s 2:30 AM. It’s against the law for supermarkets and off-licenses (liquor stores) to sell alcohol after 10 PM, too. If you really want to keep the party going try some of the city’s big nightclubs — Coppers or Diceys are always popular spots and stay open until at least 3:30 AM.
Many of the city center’s streets are narrow and are usually lined with double-decker buses, taxis, trams, and cyclists. Public transport can be a challenge, too — buses take exact change only and timetables are sometimes mere guidelines. Avoid it all by walking, or pedal your way around with the Dublin Bikes bike sharing scheme.
Tipping In Dublin. ... The best way to describe the tipping culture in Dublin is that it is never expected but always a welcome surprise. There is a minimum legal wage in Ireland of approximately €9 per hour or 10 US dollars.
Electricity: The electrical supply in Ireland is 230v/50Hz. Plugs and sockets operate using three prongs and plug adapters are widely available. Check that your appliance supports dual voltage and frequency.
Vaccinations: Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for Ireland. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Ireland: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza