A trip to London means you’ll be surrounded by history, royalty, people, and food. The amount of food in London might be a bit overwhelming, especially when you are first visiting. It is a good idea to try the traditional English meals, such as bangers and mash or fish and chips. While a pub meal of fish and chips is always a good way to go, we want you to enjoy the excellent seafood the city offers, as well. We have gathered a list of our favorite seafood restaurants in the city to help make your food planning easier.
Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill
An interesting blend of seafood and Irish fare, this is one of the top oyster bars in the city. The posh feeling here is one that will entice you to dress your finest for a night out on the town. The ground floor oyster bar is the featured item you can’t help but appreciate. The ice bowls overflow with native and rock oysters, along with clams and more. Pair your meal with Champagne to make it a really special experience.
If you want an area to begin your search for a hotel in London, the neighbourhood around Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is a good place to start.
If you aren’t looking to break the bank on one seafood meal, Geales is a great option for you. This fish restaurant is especially popular during the summer months when you can sit outside and watch the city pass by. Make sure you are hungry before you sit down since the starters are just as good as the main dishes, and you can’t miss either. The variety Geales offers is astounding, from lobster to salmon to eel, and even sirloin. You can even get some good old-fashioned fish and chips here, a house speciality.
We couldn’t resist putting one restaurant dedicated to fish and chips, and we have selected Golden Hind to represent this category. Open over 100 years, this is a no frills, bring a good appetite, and expect to waddle home type place. With this much history, you know that their food is some of the best around. We recommend their cod as the best choice for your fish and chips.
With all these restaurants located around London, it would be a good idea to get a better understanding of the layout. You would be smart to book a helicopter tour to give you a bird’s-eye view of all the city has to offer.
Those looking for a high-class experience where you’ll rub elbows with the rich and famous can’t miss having a meal at J. Sheekey. The fare is extremely fresh, and the preparation is kept simple to highlight the natural flavors of the fish. The desserts are just as celebrated as the main dishes, so make sure you save room. Think of the traditional seafood you love, and J. Sheekey will take it to a whole new level of decadence.
The number of travel accessories designed to make life easier on the road just keeps growing. From electronic luggage scales to portable Bluetooth speakers, there are so many things that can come in handy while traveling. Take a look at these 11 travel accessories that help you no matter where you go.
1. Neck Pillow
You can’t rest at five-star hotels in Miami every time you’re tired. A neck pillow can make sleeping in random places, like a train stop, much more comfortable.
2. Travel Packing Aid
A travel packing aid can help you neatly organize toiletries, travel documents and currency, ensuring important items are easily accessible and secure.
3. USB Utility Charge Tool
Even if you’re looking to be unplugged for your next trip, you’re still going to need to charge your smartphone, laptop, camera and so on. A USB utility charge tool means you only have to bring one product to charge all your devices.
4. Smart Luggage
Smart Luggage has arrived, and the features are amazing. Fingerprint locking mechanisms, built-in GPS systems, digital scale sensors, anti-theft systems, shape-changing abilities and more are available right now to make traveling safer and more convenient.
5. Shoe Bag
Why stink up the rest of your bag? Shoe bags are a great way to keep your luggage clean, and are a necessity for most vacations as you may need sandals for some activities and gym shoes or boots for others.
6. Self-Sealing Dry Bags
Clothing or other belongings occasionally get wet. That’s just part of traveling. A dry bag ensures that those wet items don’t soak the rest of your stuff.
7. Wine Bag
This can serve two purposes: one is to actually store wine and bottles of liquor; the other is to store glass items and other fragile things.
8. Waterproof Travel Backpack
Rolling around luggage can get annoying, especially if you’re on the move a lot and not just chilling in hotels in Paris or wherever else. Go with a sturdy, waterproof backpack that protects your belongings and is easy to carry.
9. Waterproof Phone Case
A phone is a necessity for most travelers, so using a waterproof phone case to protect it from water damage and accidental drops just makes sense.
It rains almost everywhere in the world at some time or another. Bring an umbrella.
11. First Aid Kit
Whether you’re backpacking your way through southeast Asia or sleeping in one of those luxurious hotels in Dubai, you never know when an accident could happen. So be prepared.
More travel accessories are being created all the time. Use the ones on this list, but also keep an eye out for new travel items to make your trip perfect.
This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 27, 2015
It’s safe to say bookstores and literary pursuits are not the first things that come to mind when thinking of the Volunteer State, so nicknamed due to the large number of Tennesseans volunteering as soldiers during the War of 1812. Instead, visitors flock to Tennessee every year for reasons musical (Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion and museum and Nashville’s many country music venues), nature-related (the Smoky Mountains) and an all-around good time (touring the Jack Daniels Distillery). While it may not seem the obvious choice for more reserved bookworms, the following stops show that for book-loving travelers there is a quieter, more literary side to the state that’s well-worth exploring!
The third-largest city in the state, and the homebase of the University of Tennessee’s legendary Vols, Knoxville boasts a locally-owned, independent gem of a store called Union Ave Books. Located in the heart of downtown, Union Ave Books offers a wide selection of fiction, non-fiction, young adult and children’s books. The store owners aim to please, going so far as to order books you might want that are not available in-store. The store also hosts a variety of local and nationally known authors for readings and book signings so be sure to check their event schedule before planning your visit. For those wishing to stay nearby and explore more of what Knoxville has to offer, the affordable and comfortable Crowne Plaza Hotel is just blocks from the store, and the bustling downtown area.
Nashville, a.k.a. Music City, almost had no independent bookstores left after the 2010 closing of independent store Davis-Kidd and the 2011 closing of a Borders located near Vanderbilt University. Thankfully for book lovers in the country music capital of the world, bestselling author Ann Patchett and veteran publisher Karen Hayes stepped in to save the day by opening Parnassus Books, an “independent book store for independent people.” Named for Mount Parnassus, the home of literature, learning, and music in Greek mythology, the store aims to provide a “refuge for Nashvillians of all ages,” with Patchett and Hayes declaring Music City to be the “Athens of the South.” With a well-stocked collection of literature, non-fiction, children, and art books as well as author events and book clubs, Parnassus Books is a must-visit for any book lover. Visitors to the area looking for affordable lodgings can check out the Holiday Inn Nashville or the Hutton Hotel, both just a 10 minute drive from the store.
If driving away from Nashville and towards Memphis, be sure to stop by Madison’s Book Attic, a beloved local establishment specializing in used and out of print paperbacks, hardbacks, and audio books. Operating since 1987, Book Attic’s staff pride themselves on having the knowledge and experience to track down any book that its customers might desire. Anyone looking to settle down nearby for the night should consider the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, located in Goodlettsville, and just a 5 minute drive from Book Attic.
A trip to Tennessee is incomplete without visiting Memphis, one of the early homes of blues and rock and roll. A trip to Memphis is likewise incomplete without a stop by Burke’s Book Store, founded in 1875. Its current owners boast that the store today encompasses “the best of the old, the latest of the new, and hard to find collectibles.” Its kind and knowledgeable staff includes an expert devoted solely to locating out-of-print works. For out-of-towners looking to stay in the heart of the action downtown, a booking at the hip, boutique Madison Hotel (just a 15 minute drive from Burke’s) is a must.
This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 1, 2015
In advance of his three-day trip to Alaska, where he will advocate for more urgent action on climate change, President Obama officially changed the name of the tallest mountain in North America. Known to Alaskan natives for centuries as Denali (a native word meaning “the high one”), the 20,237’ peak was renamed after assassinated President William McKinley in 1917. Obama may get to experience Alaska in the company of renowned survivalist Bear Grylls (who is not, in fact, a bear), but there’s plenty of adventure to be had without him.
Approaching The Last Frontier
When the destination is America’s last great frontier, getting there is ideally half the fun. The most populated place in Alaska is Anchorage, a 6-hour drive from even further-isolated Fairbanks, and a 21-hour drive from the state capitol, Juneau. Air travel is the cheapest and most efficient way to get to Anchorage. Home to roughly 300,000 people, Anchorage is a fabulous hub for outdoor excursions. Lodging exists for every budget, from backpackers looking for an affordable bed and a shower, to couples seeking a cozy B&B, or posh patrons in pursuit of pillows and pampering. Fairbanks, roughly 120 miles north of Denali National Park, also has a great variety of lodging options available, including a number of B&Bs and more luxurious spots.
More adventurous types can charter an air-taxi to Talkeetna, roughly halfway between Anchorage and Denali National Park. Travelers interested in a more leisurely wilderness journey have many train and cruise-ship options available. Juneau, the state’s capital, may be 10 times less-populated than Anchorage, but it’s the 2nd-largest city by area in the US, and its location in the islands of the Alaskan panhandle makes it a popular destination for cruise ships.
Venture Into The Last Frontier
While known for its native culture, most visitors flock to the state for one thing: pristine, unimpeded wilderness.
- Denali National Park
Only the most intrepid and experienced mountain climbers tackle the namesake summit at the heart of this National Park, but more casual visitors can experience the grandeur of the park from the (mostly unpaved) road system, either by bike, car, bus, or (bravely) on foot.
- Wildlife Tours
Native wildlife is a huge draw to the Last Frontier, including moose, caribou, eagles, salmon, beluga whales, and bears (polar, brown, and black (not Grylls)). Native plants and flowers flourish here as well.
- The Midnight Sun
Nearly a third of Alaska lies above the Arctic circle, so during summer months, daylight hours extend nearly round the clock. A winter visit will be much less crowded, cheaper (and much colder), and opportunities to see the Northern Lights abound. Visit in March, and witness the start of the Iditarod, the 1,000-mile dogsled race unlike anything else in the United States.
The raw beauty and awe-inspiring spread of Alaska is unparalleled below the 49th Parallel. It has drawn in recluses, dreamers, adventurers, and sitting Presidents. Names could never do it justice, but it’s easier than ever to make a visit!
This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 4, 2015
Traveling on a plane can come with a slew of seat-based comfort challenges, whether you’re assigned to a seat that doesn’t recline or located just adjacent to the bathroom. If you want to get the best seat without having to pay extra cash, there are a few simple tips to follow. While you might not feel like you’re lounging in a featherbed in one of the many luxury hotels in Milan, you will optimize your chances of having a travel experience that’s comfortable, pleasant and relaxed.
1. Don’t Pre-Select Seats
Many flyers are tempted to pre-choose seats when they book their plane flights on Hipmunk. However, it’s best to actually let the airline assign you seats when you check in; particularly for full flights. Airlines cannot require you to pay for premium seats if they are the only spots available. If you wait until everyone else on the plane has chosen a seat, there’s a good chance that one of the premium seats will be assigned to you at no cost.
2. Volunteer to Sit in an Emergency Exit
Flight attendants need to fill emergency exit rows with capable passengers who can assist in an emergency. If you feel physically fit, you can volunteer to move to an exit row if flight attendants are looking to fill the seats (or swap someone out who is not qualified). Sitting in an exit row affords you a lot of extra leg room. It’s also often is an emptier row, as airlines usually pre-charge an extra fee to sit there.
3. Fly During the Middle of the Week
Statistics show that the smallest number of travelers fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To ensure you have the most room on the plane–and the biggest selection of great seats–fly during the work week.
4. Take Seats Freed by Upgrades
Once you board a plane, some may opt to pay extra for first class or business class seats. Ask if you can take the seats they left empty. Many of these seats will have been occupied by frequent flyers or business travelers, which means that you might earn yourself a premium seat with extra legroom, greater recline or other great features.
No matter whether you’re crossing a few state lines or the Pacific Ocean, having a comfortable seat can ensure you have a restful and pleasant flight. By following a few simple tips, you can find yourself the best seat possible without forking over any extra dough.
This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on September 2, 2015
Playa Mujeres is one of the top places to spend an adventure vacation in Mexico, and you should take advantage of this fact during your next trip to the region. Adrenaline junkies can have fun on the water, history buffs can explore the ancient ruins surround the area, and families can jungle trek in the local area. It doesn’t matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll find something to get your blood pumping in Playa Mujeres. We have compiled a list of our top favorite adventures to make your trip planning a little easier.
Action-Packed Water Sports
It doesn’t matter what type of water sport you are looking for, you’ll be able to find it in Playa Mujeres. There are a plethora of different companies available to cater to your every wish. High speed boats can spin you around to do water skiing or wakeboarding. It’s a quick jump over to Garrafon Natural Reef Park to enjoy some world-class snorkeling and kayaking. Just make sure you’re ready for all the fun you’re going to have playing in the water near Playa Mujeres.
If you want more of a relaxing adventure, consider booked a tour on a Catamaran to show you around the waters off of Playa Mujeres. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and bathing suit so you can play in the water without turning into a lobster.
Explore Ancient Ruins
It is a relatively short transportation distance to Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan cities of old, and the perfect place to practice your Indian Jones skills. This large archaeological site is a history buff’s dream as you will be pulled back thousands of years when you walk along the same paths people of old did. Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in the country and over 1 million people a year can’t be wrong. No adventure to Playa Mujeres is complete without a visit here.
Jungle Trekking Around Playa Mujeres
Those who love getting close to nature will appreciate the surrounding flora of Playa Mujeres. There are a variety of adventures you can find to explore in a group, such as zip lining or guided treks. Take a look around you when walking through the canopy, you’ll see a variety of exotic flowers, trees, and maybe a few jungle creatures. Smart travelers will take their cameras to forever remember their time in this part of Mexico.
Many of the best hotels in Playa Mujeres are located near the jungle and can help you organize your trekking adventures. If you haven’t booked your hotel yet, start you search close to the jungle.
If you’re in Playa Mujeres, you have to take a bit of time to relax at the beach. If you want more activity, you can do some early morning yoga or beach running to allow you a day to relax without the guilt. There are many spas right on the water if you want to up the ante and get a beachside massage.