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How America Changed The World

american dream

When I first went to the States I was blown away by how familiar everything seemed and even though it was my first time I felt right at home straight from the off. I spoke to some friends about it and they said that they felt the same way too and we all came to the conclusion that, in a way, we had been to America before without even crossing the ocean.

Without us realising it, American influences have taken over our lives and from music and art to movies and literature, it’s really no surprise that you get a sense of déjà vu when you hit LAX or JFK international airports.

Business in the States tends to revolve around creating a feeling of happiness through wealth and this capitalist approach is what drives most of the marketing and embodies the philosophy of the American Dream aka: anyone can achieve anything no matter whom they are or where they’ve come from.

To explore the influences that America has imparted on the rest of the world, it’s necessary to look at it from a marketing perspective. The simple model of customer service, desirable products and the illusion of happiness through material wealth has been pitched as a lifestyle and big brands have transferred this approach when setting up shop on different continents.

Nowhere is safe from the American money making machine but it’s not just the mad bad ad men and women that are influencing our perceptions on the American way of life there are plenty of other factors too. Below are five areas where America has influenced the world and if you watched a movie last night, are going for a coffee at lunch or simply listening to the back collection of Michael Jackson then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Films

From the golden age of Hollywood in the late twenties to modern box office blockbusters, America has been portrayed in many different guises on the big screen. It’s no surprise that we’ve become influenced by what we see and from the language to the instantly recognisable images, we’ve been living in America without even realising it. Even on the small screen we’re watching the States with box sets, mini-series and late-night chat shows infiltrating our front rooms on a daily basis.

Music

Yes, the Beatles and the Who piled over back in the sixties but American sounds have been hitting our shores since day one. Elvis, the Beach Boys, Madonna and Whitney have become so much a part of our culture that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish them from our own recording artists. From the lyrics and smooth sounds of Motown to the House music of New York City, it’s no surprise that America has taken over what we listen to and who we’ve become.

Architecture

It would have been thought slightly bizarre to suggest that parts of Asia would one day resemble the architectural designs of New York City but from Singapore and Hong Kong to Malaysia and India, skyscrapers and shimmering office blocks stretch for as high as the eye can see. It was somewhat inevitable that this would happen but these sorts of design influences have created mini-American cities all over the world which come complete with: coffee shops, movie theatres and 7/11s.

Language

I’ve noticed that on the back of some DVD boxes the little English flag that displays the language now says American which is no surprise as many language schools across the globe even teach American English as standard. From spelling and pronunciation to using different words entirely, American phraseology and grammar has stealthily invaded our psyche and our vocabulary and as each generation passes we further lose our grip on the real English language.

Food

Fast food, massive portions and sugar-sweet, pretty much some up how Americans like to take their grub and like it or not this style is reverberating around the world. However, so is obesity and other food related illnesses and it’s no coincidence that Asia’s love of all things American is affecting the weight and the health of their children. There’s pretty much a fast-food joint on every English high street and so it’s no surprise that we take it for granted as naturally as if it were our own.

My grand American adventures have taken me all over the country and from Baltimore to LA with Chicago in between, I felt like I’d just walked into either a movie scene or a chapter from a Steinbeck novel. Is it a good thing that America is slowly influencing the world and making us all the same? I don’t know but one thing is for sure: there’s no going back as this meatball has started to roll.

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Biog: Chris has lived in Europe and Asia and has noticed the impact of American culture all over the globe.

From Bowmore To Bangalore: Travel For The Whisky Lover

From Bowmore To Bangalore Glenmorangie_Distillery

GlenmorangieNaturally one will always think of Scotland when the word Whisky crops up. And so they should. The very word Whisky is Gaelic for ‘Water of Life’, and Scotland has been leading the market for a very long time.

Whisky drinkers from all over the world have enjoyed the very best Scotland has to offer; from the Auchentoshan distillery in West Dunbartonshire or the Glenkinchie distillery in East Lothian in the Lowlands to the giddy heights of the Dalwhinnie distillery in the wilds of the Highlands. But as Whisky’s bucolic charm finds an increasingly younger and more metropolitan clientele (thankfully moving away from the misconceived notion of drunks and old men), and as it continues its exodus from pubs and taverns to trendy wine bars and bistros, there is an increasing demand for something different. Scotland, to some, just isn’t enough anymore.

Scottish Heritage

Scotland’s connection with Whisky is indelible; for its concentration of linked distilleries and for the unfaltering quality of its product, it should never be displaced as the leading producer of Whisky. Furthermore it provides a great excuse for the more itinerant holiday maker to travel the length and breadth to observe the various distilleries.

Further Afield 

Away from Scotland the majority of other countries producing Whiskey form an almost esoteric market, but two of the most popular current producers could really pique the interest of the more continental traveller. You could try Japan, which produces a range of excellent Whiskies – including the fantastic Yoichi. What makes Yoichi unique among Japanese Whisky producers is that it is based in the mountain regions on the island of Hokkaido – an area that mirrors Scotland’s climate of mild summers and icy winters. The people behind Yoichi really take this seriously, and the result is something not too far removed from the Scottish drams we know and love. If you yearn for a more exotic location then you could travel to Bangalore in India to see the award winning Amrut distillery in action. Recently given top marks by Jim Murray – the hard-to-please leading authority on Whiskey – Amrut is now in high demand.

These are just some of the options. Your Whiskey travels could take you to Germany, South Africa, Thailand or even to Wales and the Penderyn distillery. Or if you fancy staying in the home counties you could head to Roudham in Norfolk to see what’s going on at the St. George’s distillery. But for many there really is no place like Scotland; the spiritual home of Whisky. So, find a nice hotel, purchase a map, and get planning your Whisky travels.      

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Adam works alongside http://www.altnaharra.com/ located in the Highlands. He holds a degree in Journalism and has written extensively on a wide range of subjects including British cinema history and ethics in photojournalism. In his spare time he enjoys travelling the length and breadth of the UK and tasting and reviewing Whiskies from around the world.

How To Prepare For Travel Emergencies

You never know what’s going to happen during your vacation so you must always be prepared. Here are some ways to get you ready in case there is an emergency.

What to bring

Contact numbers

Be sure to bring your “in case of emergency” contact details. You should also know the emergency numbers of the country you are going to. Always carry these in your wallet, pocket or purse. You can try 911 as some countries automatically forward your call to the local equivalent. Jot down your country’s embassy’s number. Also, have the number of your ATM and credit card provider in case they get stolen. Leave copies of these numbers in your hotel room as well in case your wallet gets stolen.

Inform someone at home

Be sure to inform someone (a friend or relative) of your plans. Leave an itinerary, your flight details and the address of the place you are staying at abroad. They should also have copies of your ID’s, insurance policies and other important documents. Tell them how you can be contacted and if you are going to contact them on a regular schedule, say, after lunch every day. Give them instructions on when to call for help if they don’t hear from you. For example, they should call the hotel if they don’t hear from you for 2 days.

Health Card

Bring your insurance card with you. Inquire about your international coverage before you leave. In most instances, you would need to pay for special travel insurance. A health card can be a great advantage if you don’t have cash on hand and you need to be taken to a hospital. The health card will show that you have the ability to pay for their services.

Money

Money is very important but carry it wisely. Leave some in your hotel safe. Don’t bring all your money all at once and never flash them out in the streets. Spread out your money in your wallet, pockets, purses and other bags. Bring an ATM or debit card, credit cards and traveller’s checks (if any) and don’t put all of them in the same place.

Know the language

In places where English is not a common language, be sure to know how to say “I need help”, “police” and “doctor” in the native tongue. These will come in handy during emergencies. If you can’t pronounce them, ask someone in the hotel to write them down for you in a card.

A vacation is supposed to make you rest and relax but still be on the lookout for possible dangers. Common sense and good preparation are usually all you need to be safe. Know where and how to call for help when needed.

My name is Henry W. I’m a huge travel addict and I like blogging about my experiences. I am also partners with specialists in Kenya safari holidays 2013.

Wonders Of The County Meath

Despite the current economic turmoil, Ireland still has a lot going for it. In recent years, the agricultural exports played an important role in the economy of the country. However times have changed and Ireland is changing as well. The country has evolved into more of what is known as a knowledge economy – meaning, that there is a greater emphasis on technology, trade and modern services. The economic upheaval of 2008 has hit Ireland hard and it was the first EU member to declare that it has officially entered into a recession.

Evidence of the country’s rich history can be seen by the number of ancient relics dating back to the Dark Ages period of pre-Christian and Christian, and in no county in Ireland has more evidence of this than the County Meath. Why would this be considered important in modern times? The fact is that these relics are important so that understanding our past is vital to our future.

Throughout all forms of media and entertainment stories of knights, heroes, villains and noble courts abound. What’s in this period of human history that captures our imagination and inspires us? This alone would fill a completely different article, but it’s worth pondering. There is something that captures our hearts and reminds us of a simpler time that immediate action delivered immediate results. Meath County has dozens of spectacular ruins and historical sites to instantly transport you to past times, when warrior kings fought tyrants (often warrior kings or warlords themselves) for land, power or religion.

The Hill of Tara is an ancient and sacred site, which was in the performance of rituals to crown the kings of Ireland. This beautiful hill is located near the River Boyne and setting foot on its ancient slopes takes one on a journey of the imagination. Modern archaeologists are far from revealing all the facts of what the Hill was actually used for.

Around the Hill are monuments, a ring fort (where ancient Roman artefacts were discovered, burial mounds and tombs). Trim features its famous Norman castle (largest of its kind in the country) and the impressive ruins of an ancient monastery. Kells, also located in Meath and famous for its round tower and monastic history. These proud and ancient historical sites are sewn into the fabric of our imagination; this and many other reasons make Ireland and the county Meath a popular holiday destination.

Nathan Johnston:  Exploring Ireland with my family was truly mind blowing. The Tayto Park hotels were definitely one of the highlights.

Why Proper Planning Can Make Your Travels Easier

Travelling can be a very stressful time, whether you’re trying to catch a bus or you’re waiting to board a plane. It’s also a necessary part of life, as we have jobs to get to, people to see and places to visit. With the introduction of the digital era, there are times when we feel much closer to other people around the world but the logistics of getting to them in person and seeing the places they come from are not always so easy. It can often involve a lot of travelling and that isn’t always a straightforward journey.

Proper planning will help ease the stress of your travels regardless if it’s a daily trip or a one-time adventure and there are simple ways to make sure you enjoy as much of your journey as possible. No matter what it is you are taking with you, having the right storage is an important consideration. How much you need to take with you and knowing if you are bringing more or less back with you will have an impact on your luggage requirements. There are many different options to choose from, such as Bric’s Cases and you will find something to suit your needs and match the requirements of your trip and style.

Being Able to Take Your Time

Even if you’re journey is a short one, it can be very stressful if you are running late or there are factors outside of your control that impact on you. This is one of the biggest drawbacks to public transport but can affect drivers as well. Accidents or road works can slow you down and cause disruptions that will make you late, which isn’t good for anyone travelling to work as it will put you in a foul mood for the rest of the day and those around you Therefore, ensure that you give yourself plenty of time when you set off so that you don’t miss your transport and any resulting connections.

Another method is to keep on top of any incidents or problems in your area or along the route you are travelling. This can be found on radio stations and also online. A lot of people will send updates to these resources and can give you an idea of any problems in your way, allowing you to take appropriate action beforehand. Consider the amount of luggage you are taking on each journey. The more bags and cases you take, the slower you are going to be going between each connection. Try to condense what you take and pack as effectively as possible.

Securing Your Belongings

No one enjoys losing or having something stolen from them and it is important to take as many precautions as possible to prevent this from happening. The more baggage you take with you, the more vulnerable you are as you may not be able to protect it all at once should something happen. This is especially true if you are travelling alone and to a faraway place or travelling for a long period of time. Making sure that your luggage has the option for added padlock security, like on Bric’s Cases will help put your mind at ease further and means anyone trying to take things from you will have to take the whole item, which is much harder to do.

To supplement this, making sure you have the proper insurance on your valuables and luggage will mean that, in the event that something unfortunate does happen, you are covered and can recover some of that loss. Anything electronic that has value should always be backed up first, so you only lose the device and not the information. While you may not be able to stop everything going wrong, you can use these methods to help prevent as much stress as possible and recover quickly in unfortunate situations.

Frankie Hughes is a writer who suggests that if you spend a lot of your time on the move, then you should research Bric’s Cases as they are sturdy and can handle the rigours of extensive travelling whilst keeping your belongings safe.  

A Peek Behind The Curtain Of The Hotel Industry

cheap_hotel

The hotel industry is one of those businesses that many people take for granted. They arrive at the hotel on their designated reservation, check in and enjoy the services it has to offer. Things like room service and the general maintenance of the hotel are all taken care of behind the scenes, when you’re away for the day or out having your meal.

The people are quick so they buzz in and out easily. So invisible are most of these staff, so good at their job, that they are often neglected when considering the hotel, simply tucked behind the curtain where they’re unseen.

Respect Your Housekeeper

The housekeeper, for example, is one of the hardest workers in the hotel. They go through each and every room in the building every day providing clean sheets, making the beds and leaving dry towels. But they often have to deal with a lot worse than that. They’re responsible for cleaning the rooms after the people leave, from top to bottom, and people can leave behind some strange stuff. It’s not uncommon for them to have to deal with soiled sheets, undergarments, leftover refuse, moldy or spoiled clothing and much, much worse.

There are some very unfortunate stories about housekeeping having to deal with dead bodies left in the rooms, and that can be quite a traumatic sight to walk into, all for a relatively low paying job. They’re work horses who do far too much for their pay grade and barely get the recognition they deserve.

Maintenance Workers go Unnoticed

Of course on the same token there’s the other support staff in the hotel, such as the general maintenance. They’re the people who have to fix anything that’s broken and make sure things keep working. If something in your room isn’t working, they’re the ones that are called.

But on top of this they are responsible for all of the systems in the hotel, from the light bulbs in each and every lamp, the television services, making sure the pool pumps are all working and more. If you cause a clog in the toilet, for example, these are the poor individuals who have to handle whatever mess you had to leave behind, and all for very little recognition or acknowledgement.

Be Kind to the Receptionist

There are those who get recognition quite often, and it’s not always a good thing. The receptionist at the front of the hotel is a human being, but quite often people can end up treating them worse than dirt. They’re the face of the hotel, the ones people will talk to if anything is happening and the ones who are blamed should anything go wrong.

Many people think they can just call down to reception and get whatever they want handled, and receptions are responsible for making this service seamless. However they can also be very busy with plenty of customers lined up, or some more complicated requests being handled. Imagine how frustrating it can be trying to handle an angry customer while people continue to call you up to arrange wake-up calls.

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  •  License: Image author owned 

Eric Rogers is a travel writer who does a lot of writing about Europe, Asia, and Australia. He loves to stay at Banff Hotels LTD while traveling, but appreciates any good place where the sights are gorgeous and the people friendly.

Getting Ready To Get Away – Prepping Your Car For A Road Trip

Road Trip

If you need to get away, whether for a day, a weekend, or a week, a road trip could be your perfect ticket out. Road trips are fun, relatively inexpensive ways to go on a holiday with your significant other, your friends, or your family, and they are especially great for those who are afraid of flying on planes.

But before you pack up your vehicle and get ready to hit the road, there are certain things you need to do to really prepare your car for the long ride. These precautions will ensure your safety throughout your journey and will also allow your car to handle the trip without running into any mechanical problems along the way, which can put a serious dent in your getaway experience.

Check Your Car Before Your Road Trip

Basic maintenance is really what you need to do on your car before you leave for your road trip, whether you plan on traveling just a few hundred or a few thousand kilometres.

Tires: Full tires means you will get better gas mileage during your trip, but it does not stop there. Maintaining the proper tire pressure means you will avoid a blowout or a flat tire during your holiday. You also want to make sure your tires are not bald. In other words, is there enough tread on your tires to really grip the road in all conditions? This is especially important if you are planning a winter getaway to a ski resort where your car will traverse ice and snow. Check the spare tire as well to make sure it is in good condition.

Car Fluids: Make sure you have sufficient levels of all fluids, and change the oil if it looks dirty or if your car is up for an oil change. Some fluids that you should make sure you check before heading out include the coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid. If you do not how to check these yourself, take the car to a professional who can make sure the levels are right and the oil is fresh.

Make Repairs Before You Leave: If your car needs any kind of repair, large or small, do it before you leave rather than risking something happening while out on the road. Make the investment into your car so that you will have the peace of mind while away from home. Even if your car just needs basic maintenance, now is the time to do it. This includes checking your brakes, belts, hoses, etc.

Bring Repair Manuals: In the event that your car does break down, you will want to know how to assess the situation and potentially fix the problem yourself if it is minor enough that you do not have to call a towing company and ruin your holiday. Therefore, it is important that you bring along your car’s repair manual. Place it into your glove compartment where it will be safe and easy to get to.

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Laura loves planning getaways, and road trips are her favourite. Because young drivers prefer road trips as well, she wanted to look up the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers when she found uSwitch.com, where drivers can compare insurance companies and their rates.

What Happens To Your Lost Luggage?

lost luggage

Every Year millions of pieces of luggage are transported by airlines across the world. Most items are successfully reunited with their owners on arrival at their destinations but inevitably some pieces are lost in the system and despite great efforts to trace the rightful owners they end up languishing in storage. The airlines are in the business of transport, not storage and second hand goods, so what happens to the bags that remain unclaimed?

Auctions

Any luggage which remains unclaimed in the UK usually ends up at auction houses where the bags and their contents go under the hammer and are snapped up by enterprising individuals looking for a bargain. Lost luggage from Heathrow, the country’s largest Airport, is auctioned every Tuesday at Greasby’s in Tooting, South London. Prospective buyers can view the lots the previous afternoon. Before being entered into sale the bags are opened by the auctioneers and any obviously valuable pieces are removed and sold separately. Any personal documents or hazardous goods are also taken out and so the remainder are simply bags of clothes and small items. The luggage is sold closed and so buyers have no sight of the contents before purchasing and are relying on good fortune to snaffle a bargain. The auctioneers are also given to mixing the contents of the bags so even taking the logical step of bidding on a piece of premium luggage may result in finding you have purchased a case load of uninteresting dirty washing rather than a haul of designer clothes.

Profits

Despite the obvious pitfalls there is no shortage of buyers for the goods who then generally sell on their purchases on ebay, market stalls and in shops specialising in second hand items. Many individuals attend the auctions every week and have done for years, accepting the ups and downs of the business. The pieces of luggage usually sell for between £20 and £50 and the cases and bags themselves often realise a good price even if the contents are of no value. Purchasers often report selling the goods for 5 to 6 times what they paid for them and sometimes make lucky finds like cash in garment pockets and good quality items that have been overlooked by the auctioneers.

America

In America a well-known and hugely success business was founded on selling lost luggage. In 1970 Doyle Owens rented a van and filled it with luggage purchased from an airline. When he started selling the items he realised what a good business he had stumbled upon and started a full time operation. Over the years deals were done with airlines and transportation companies and now the Unclaimed Baggage Centre occupies 40,000 square feet of retail space and attracts 800,000 visitors each year. The outlet is now a bit of a national institution and ironically has become the biggest tourist attraction in the state of Alabama!

A New Home

It turns out that luggage is not so much lost as misplaced and then goes on to find a new home. The practice of selling off the material for profit has enraged some but the fact is Airlines make no money out of the procedure and indeed spend a lot of time and money trying to reunite bags with their owners and paying compensation when they fail. The bags that are left unclaimed have to go somewhere and at least selling them on will ensure that wastage is minimised and at least someone benefits from the situation.

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Sally S is a frequent traveller and has in the past experienced the aftermath of lost luggage. Sally writes on a large range of subjects including travel, music and technology. You can find out more about Sally Stacey via her Google+ profile.

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Satanic Mills and Summer Wine – The Story of Holmfirth, Yorkshire

holmfirth_dam

Holmfirth is a picturesque small town in the Holme Valley nestled between the scenic wonders of the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales 6 miles south of Huddersfield. The town is best known as the home of the popular TV programme Last of the Summer Wine and every year thousands of fans flock to the area to see the filming locations from the series. Summer Wine is not the only reason to visit Holmfirth as it is a destination with plenty of attractions and an interesting History.

Early Days

Holmfirth was originally established in the 13th century around a corn mill and was largely an agricultural community until the arrival in 1784 of woollen clothier John Fallas. He quickly acquired property in the area for woollen mills and housing for the workers. Until this time the community was mainly built up on the slopes as the river was prone to flooding, but the mills needed to be next to the water and so the industrial revolution saw the town expand down to the valley floor. Unfortunately there have been several major floods in the area over the years. The worst flood happened in February 1852, when the embankment of the Bilberry Reservoir collapsed resulting in 81 fatalities. The most recent serious flooding was in 1944.

Wool

Over the succeeding 200 years a large proportion of the population worked in the woollen industry in the production of yarns and textiles. Even today the area produces some of the finest yarns in the world from the moorland sheep with companies such as Jaeger Handknits and Rowan Yarns being based in the town.

Art & Tourism

The area’s economy is significantly boosted by Tourism. Holmfirth is popular with hikers and wildlife enthusiasts who visit year round to enjoy the stunning scenery of the surrounding countryside. In addition the area is traversed by the Trans Penine Cycleway making it an ideal destination for cyclists. Last of the Summer Wine fans boost the visitor numbers and can enjoy the Summer Wine Location Tour and exhibition or make a pilgrimage to Nora Batty’s Steps and Sid’s Café in the town. There are also the delights of the Wrinkled Stocking Tea Room! Holmfirth was a star of the screen long before Summer Wine. It was home to Bamforth & Co, who were pioneers of film making before moving into the production of cheeky postcards for which they are now more famous. Holmfirth also has a thriving artistic community and is home to several celebrated painters including Ashley Jackson and Trevor Stubley. With its rich cultural history Holmfirth hosts three annual festivals. The Film Festival and Festival of Folk are held each May, and the Arts Festival takes place over two weeks every June all attracting additional visitors to the town.

Music

For music enthusiasts a visit to The Picturedrome is a must. This fine venue host regular gigs in the marvellous setting of an old cinema.

Year Round

Holmfirth is truly a beautiful destination for all seasons, a jewel in the Yorkshire crown. With amazing countryside, pretty town centre, cultural history and TV connections it is a favourite with young and old alike.

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Guest article by blogger S. Stacey.  Stacey is very familiar with Northern England and often writes about the great things to see and do in the area.  Being a big fan of Yorkshire Rowan yarn inspired Stacey to write this piece.  She shops for Rowan yarn online at www.packlanewool.co.uk.

Top 4 Things to Consider When Visiting London

Visiting London

Capital Gains

As London is such a huge city, anyone visiting the capital of the United Kingdom would be crazy not to plan what they are going to do beforehand. Naturally, as with any holiday or visit to an unfamiliar place, you will have likely already made decisions around how you are getting there and where you will be staying, if necessary. Therefore, we aren’t going to recommend the best airline or hotel for when you get there, but look at the considerations you should make for within London itself.

What should you think about beforehand, and why is it worth doing so?

Getting Around

Amazingly, people do still make the trip to London without knowing how they are going to get around when they are there. The biggest part of this is being prepared, and pre-paid travelcards or an Oyster card can go a long way to ensuring that you are ready to tackle London however you wish.

You generally still need cash for taxis though, which is worth bearing in mind.

Your Purpose

Why are you headed to London? Asking yourself that question will enable you to plan the rest of your activities when you are in the city. If you aren’t sure as to why you are visiting London then you will probably find yourself doing a little bit of some things, but not truly experiencing anything great that the city has to offer.

Where to Go

This leads directly on from your purpose, but now you’re looking at where you might specifically visit. Chances are that you will have a long list of things to do and see. Be honest with yourself, are you realistically going to fit everything in. Do you just simply want to “see” everything, or do you want to visit places and get a real feel for what they’re all about?

If anything, prioritising what you want to see will at least help to create your “to do” list for the next time you visit.

Eating Out

As humans are creatures of habit, whenever we visit a new place we tend to stick to trusted brand names whenever we want a drink or something to eat. Why travel somewhere new and then head to McDonald’s though?

While you can pick up a travel guide or just ask around the local area for the best places to eat, try looking up London forums online or restaurant review websites. Like most cities, the hidden gems of London are often down the backstreets and alleyways where you least expect to find them.

As a tourist destination, London is a city like no other, and to truly enjoy the experience you should plan as much of your trip as possible before heading there.

This article was written by Fare Exchange. Fare Exchange is a lead generation company focusing on the taxi industry, putting customers in touch with Canary Wharf taxis so they can travel around London with ease.