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Ever dreamt of staying in a lodge to observe wildlife in its natural habitat? Or, of spending a holiday in an idyllic country house to reconnect with nature? With research from Booking.com uncovering that over a third of global travellers (37%)* planning to book a stay in an alternative accommodation in 2019, you are not the only one.

Holidays are an opportunity to break up your normal routine, to try something new and, sometimes, even let it change your outlook. So, it is no surprise that over a fifth of UK travellers (21%)* plan to stay at least once in a unique accommodation like a castle or treehouse in 2019. Here, Booking.com has provided some UK break inspiration to allow travellers to explore new secret British corners, but new accommodation styles and trends!

Glengorm Castle, Scottish Highlands UK, Guest Review 9.6/ 10

This magical castle stay offers a unique and remote location in the Scottish Highlands. Travellers can relax in the comfortable rooms, overlooking either the sea or garden, or head down to the Castle’s lounge and warm up by the stone age fireplace. Each day guests can fill up on a full-Scottish breakfast before enjoying activities in and around Tobermory, such as fishing and swimming.

Prices start at £165 for a double room with a superb breakfast included.

Carrowmena Glamping Site, Limavady UK, Guest Review 8.7/10

Carrowmena is an ideal destination for exploring local beauty areas such as Causeway Coast, Sperrin & Binevenagh Mountain Range, Lough Foyle. Not to mention, travellers will find miles of beautiful beaches sprinkled on the coast. This glamping site if perfect for families as it offers a range of activities including water sports, campfires, archery, kids station etc.

Prices start at £68 for a Glamping Pod with breakfast included.

The Sunbourn, London UK, Guest Review 8.7/10

Accommodation options that are permanently moored offer visitors a unique place to stay while taking in their chosen destination. The floating superyacht, The Sunbourn, is found in Royal Victoria Dock and offers a uniquely luxurious base from which to explore London.

Prices start at £91 for a basic room.

The Slaughters Manor House, Cotswolds UK, Guest Review 9.0/10

Situated in the pretty Cotswolds village of Lower Slaughter, this 17th-century manor house is impeccably decorated from top to bottom. Country houses are becoming more popular as they give guests the opportunity to unwind in the comfort of another’s home. What’s more, travellers can take their pick of exploring the natural farmlands of the Cotswolds or simply getting cosy by the fire with a glass of wine and some put grub.

Prices start at £194 for a classic double room with breakfast included.

The Old Government House Spa, Channel Islands UK, Guest Review 9.4

Government House is one of the most renowned properties in the Channel Islands, famed for its fantastic location, excellent spa facilities and delicious cuisine. However, what makes this property even better is its efforts to be an eco-friendly option. Immersed in a gorgeous green landscape, this property really makes you feel like you are waking up to the fresh island air.

Prices start at £184.50 for a classic double room with a superb breakfast included.

*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place between October 16th and November 12th, 2018.

With Sri Lanka topping #TeamCoco’s destinations to visit in 2019, we’re out to uncover some of the best places to stay, going beyond your average hotel chains to discover the unique private homes and luxury villas that dot the surf-swept south coast. It’s here, along a stretch of sand and beneath a grove of swaying palms, that you’ll find a set of stairs. Descending into a concrete facade, you’ll emerge not into the bunker you might have imagined but in a jungle oasis of luxury living – arguably Sri Lanka’s chicest beach villa, Walatta House…

Set into the hillside, this eco-chic design retreat uses locally sourced materials to blend seamlessly into the tropical landscape. A low slung roof is just visible among the greenery, while an oversized rectangular infinity pool mirrors the palms above. Entering the property, open plan living and dining areas and huge windows bring the outside in, engulfing guests in their stunning natural surrounds. With 180 degree views out over the gardens and to the beach beyond from the open-sided dining and living areas, you can relax atop the headland, listening to the waves crash below. Touches of teak add warmth to the ultra-modern interiors, with details like hanging light fixtures and boho soft furnishing adding a more rustic, livable vibe to the house.

With 3 bedrooms, Walatta House is the ideal retreat for friends or family looking for a peaceful escape, and to immerse themselves Sri Lanka’s spectacular scenery without compromising on luxury or design. From the swimming pool, the only sound you’ll hear apart from the waves is the chorus of birdsong and occasional frog, while peacocks roam around the garden and monkeys play in the trees above you.

All of the bedrooms at Walatta House are air-conditioned and en-suite, with two queens and one twin – each with the loveliest linens and romantic mosquito nets draped over them for the soundest nights sleep. Echoing the indoor-outdoor vibe, all have al fresco bathrooms, and garden views from their courtyards. The master is our favourite, with French sliding floor to ceiling windows and a terrace overlooking the pool.

While you might feel sequestered away from the world in your palm-fringed pool, the property boasts a great location too, with gardens leading down to a private gate for direct access to a postcard-perfect sweep of white sand, fringed with towering palms. Within walking distance, you’ll also find a beach bar, complete with insta-worthy rope swing – just the spot for a sundowner.

Yet, with a team of truly dedicated staff to look after you during your stay (including Wally the friendly dog) – you might find little reason to leave the property. Madhura the truly excellent chef whips up unbelievable meals, from Sri Lankan classics (egg hoppers and curries are our favourites) to more continental fare. If you do decide to venture out, the staff are happy to recommend local activities, as well as organise a tuk-tuk to whizz you wherever you need to go. Even in a country renowned for their excellent hospitality, the ever-smiling staff at Walatta stand out. Better yet, with rates starting from $75 USD per person per night, the level of luxury you are able to get for your money is seriously impressive. The only downside in #Teamcoco’s book? Working out when exactly we can plot our return.

Walatta House is available to book through Eden Villas in Sri Lanka (www.evinsl.com) and starts from $450 USD per night based on 6 people.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if (like us), you’re often left wondering what on Earth to treat your mum to, you might just be in luck.

We’re scoured the internet for the best gifts for your travelling-loving mum. Whether she’s often jetting off on holiday or is currently planning her one-off trip of a lifetime (or even if you’d like to treat her to a trip yourself) these gifts will be perfect. From passport holders to travel planners and maps to mark her favourite destinations, there’s sure to be something amongst this lot that she’ll love.

Take a peak, get shopping and thank us later.

READ MORE: Recipes and Tips for Mother’s Day Entertaining

1: You’re Jetting Off Scratch Card ~ How cute is this scratch card?! If you’re surprising your mum with a trip away this Mother’s Day, this is the perfect way to reveal where you’re going. Watch her beaming face as she scratches away the globe’s gold covering!

2: World Map Colour In Mug ~ If your mum loves her morning brew almost as much as she loves going on holiday, she’ll adore this ceramic mug which allows you to colour in everywhere you’ve visited together! What a great idea.

3: Personalied Square Travel Jewellery Box ~ This gorgeous personalisable jewellery box is perfect for your mum to pack her most treasured possessions on her next holiday. And can we talk about that shade of pink?!

4: Personalised Scratch Map of the World ~ A scratch map is a must-have for any travel lover. Your mum will love to display this proudly on her office wall.

5: The Wanderlust Gift Set ~ This beautifully curated box of treats is a total delight. It includes beauty products, a passport cover, a satin eye-mask and more. Total gift perfection!

6: Personalised Travel Notebook ~ The perfect gift for the lady who loves to be organised. Whether she uses this to plan her upcoming holiday or simply make a bucketlist, it is sure to be loved.

7: Customised Travel Tag Artwork ~ How chic is this framed travel gift?! Customise the tags with places you and your mum have been together. She’ll love it!

8: Take Me to the Beach Please Bag ~ The must-have accessory of the summer, this beach bag will fit her towel, sunnies, book and so much more inside. So stylish!

9: Palm Print Passport Holder ~ Last but by no means least is this gorgeous and on-trend palm print passport holder. We absolutely love it, and it can be personalised with your mum’s initials! Snap one up before it’s too late.

Burgeoning from the desert sands at astronomical pace and perfectly located for those travelling between the east and the west, Qatar’s capital city has paved a name for itself as a vibrant stopover destination for those looking to experience a glimpse of the Middle East, before continuing their journeys. Small and compact but with all the glamour and culture of a larger metropolises, 24 hours careening through the city will leave most satisfied enough to check Doha off their bucket list. But for those who yearn to really get under the skin of a city, allow time to explore Doha as a holiday destination in its own right.

The Architecture

It won’t take you long to notice the glitzy sheen that veils the city’s West Bay area, where luxury hotels mingle with a towering skyline that could give NYC a run for its money. Along the Corniche, the Museum of Islamic Art is the crème-de-le-crème of Islamic architecture designed by IM Pei (best known for his glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris); a city centrepiece which hosts a world renowned collection of artefacts from the Islamic world.

In the outskirts of Doha, Education City is home to a complex of international university campuses, research facilities and community developments which capture the essence of Qatar’s mission to elevate itself as a centre for education and scientific research on a global scale. Designed almost like a model village, the architectural masterpiece of the Qatar National Library is reason to visit this area alone. Sports stadiums are springing up as Qatar prepares to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 and as the first metro system completes, there’ll be more to see and easier ways to explore the city.

The Culture

Despite its growing international significance and a flourishing luxury tourism market, Qatar is staunchly committed to maintaining and nurturing its cultural roots. A strong sense of identity is visible in all corners of the city and its rich heritage is in no danger of being left behind. Built on the site of an old Bedouin marketplace, Souq Waqif sits at the heart of Doha’s cultural quarter, peppered with Arabic perfumeries, pearl jewellers and spice markets swimming with saffron. The Flacon Souq perhaps embodies the essence of Qatari heritage more than any other – the sheer scale of the market is to glimpse the importance of falcons within society and to own one is a symbol of true status and wealth beyond any fast car or flash watch. Wander through the arcades and you’ll see rows of falcons of all shapes and sizes perched on posts; those with black leather helmets which cover their eyes are in the process of being trained ready for sale. Next door, the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital is worth a peek inside, where Qatari’s sit in waiting rooms while tending to their birds.

The People

Home to over 2 million expats, Qatari hospitality has never been stronger. Locals are friendly and keen to chat and there’s no better place to mingle than Majlis al Dama, a coffee shop located in Souq Waqif. Popular among locals for its dama (checkers) tournaments, the traditional coffee house is perfect place to watch Qatari men gather for their daily games, with a chance to try your own hand at it.

The Hotels

While plenty of luxury hotels are opening in West Bay, the warren of Souq Waquif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli offer an equally luxurious but more local experience. Each of the nine hotels are uniquely located in traditional buildings peppered around the Souq, offering unrivalled access to the cultural heart of the city. With interiors resembling an Arabic home rather than a hotel room, care and attention has been wielded to ensure a stay here is as Arabic as possible; from the hospitality of the staff to the decorative features. Guests are free to roam between all eight properties; from the Moroccan Hamman at Al Jasra to Al Jomrok’s mesmerising stained-glass breakfast room, La Piazza. City tours can also be organised from the hotels, providing an authentic experience which dives into the local history and customs.

The coffee

Arabic coffee, or Qatari Kahwa is a completely unique brew that embodies Qatar’s traditions and customs. Arabica beans are simmered with spices such as cardamom and saffron which bring out a floral aroma and full-bodied favour unlike any cup of joe from Starbucks. Traditionally accompanied by dates in an almost ceremonial manner, you’ll find Arabic coffee stations in almost every hotel lobby in Qatar, served from a pot known as the ‘dallah’ in tiny china cups. Like marmite, it’s a love or hate taste but local custom considers it rude to refuse, so drink up! If you love the stuff, head into the Souq where you can buy your own blend to take home.

The dramatic landscape of Snowdonia is unmistakable. Imposing mountains dominate the winding roads where rushing creaks and crags host a steady flow of climbers and hikers who scale along the jagged edges. Wild and wet, the tumbling rain – an almost constant companion in these parts, shapes and contours the mountains as it has done for millennia. Weaves of dark cloud frame the landscape with an almost ethereal beauty, breathing life into the walls of ancient slate and instilling an all-consuming sense of insignificance amongst the vast labyrinth of towering peaks and sprawling valleys.

Welsh Mining Heritage

Our journey began amongst the slate mountains which have gained huge significance in the old mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, where piles of quarry waste tower over the slate capital of Wales that once “roofed the world”. Serving a stark reminder of the industrial prosperity the slate mining industry brought to north Wales in the dawn of the industrial revolution, its status now faded and forgotten amidst abandoned buildings and silent streets lined with grey miner’s cottages. Its position within the heart of the national park makes Blaenau a perfect location for hikers wishing to spend their days exploring the surrounding landscape, but there is no sign that the town has prospered from the influx of tourism in the region.

A vacant and empty feeling shrouds the town, made more so by the rain and mist which seems relentless, even in the height of August. A beer in the tiny local pub spikes interest with locals whose thick Welsh accents and misshapen English suggests communication in the country’s mother-tongue is almost absolute. As it turns out, Blaenau is a jewel in the rough for gaining insider knowledge of Snowdon’s rough terrain. Of the several routes to the summit, local advice was to steer clear of the overpopulated paths and opt for one less trampled on.

Mount Snowdon

With a steady gradient, Llanberis Pass is the most straightforward route up Snowdon and therefore the most popular with tourists. For more seasoned hikers or those hoping to enjoy the scenery away from the crowds, there are seven other routes to choose from. Rhyd Ddu, or the Bedgellert path as it’s also known, is one of the least used routes to the summit and leads from the village of Rhyd Ddu – west of Snowdon.

The walk itself is of mid-level difficulty; the path inclines steadily before sprawling upwards towards steep terrain peppered with shaggy mountain sheep. In the morning light the mist is low, shielding walkers from the vastness of the climb itself and veiling the surrounding peaks in an eerie haze. Closer to the summit, exposed edges and vertical drops give way to a dramatic ridge walk strewn with boulders and narrow ledges which leave hikers open to the elements. On a day of low visibility the ridge walk to the peak seems endless, but clear skies reveal the mountain pools of Llyn Nadroedd, Llyn Coch and Llyn Glas in the valley below and the views alone are worth the climb.

Surrounding villages and beyond

A short drive from the foothills of Snowdon’s Rhyd Ddu path is the village of Bedgellert. According to local legend dating back the 13th century, the town was named after the hound of Llewelyn, prince of North Wales. Home to numerous traditional inns and the best Welsh ice cream around, make a pit-stop here for a well-earned pint. Situated along the riverbank against an impressive mountain backdrop, Hebog Cafe & Bistr offers the perfect al fresco dining spot for Welsh Rarebit and Conwy Mussels.

The picturesque village of Betwys-y-coed lies in the heart of the Conwy valley, where the River Conwy meets the Rivers Llugwy and Lledr in a rush of rapids against the conifers and Welsh oaks of Gwydyr Forest. A meander along the old miner’s tracks to the Fairy Glen provides a refreshing change from the ragged mountains which dominate the landscape. Back on the riverbank and past the tumbling Pont-Y-Pair Falls, a succession of old stone cottages and shopfronts provide a glimpse of a village life far more heartwarming than the harshness of Blaenau. The Ty Gwyn Hotel maintains all its 17th century charm; it’s low beamed ceilings and log fires make for a perfect place to hunker down after a day of rambling.

For anyone yearning to retreat from city life, north-west Wales offers a remote and untamed sanctuary shielded from noise and lpollution, where the stress embedded within modern life ebbs away to form a strong sense of place. Amidst the peaks of Snowdon, Cader Idris and Glyder Fawr, spend a while in the villages which form the heartland of Wales; from the picturesque to the impoverished, the towns and its people tell the story of the country’s prosperous industrial past and the impact of its eventual decline on the surrounding landscape.

In case you are searching for a dazzling Italian stay, with the essence of culture, history, architecture, and cuisine, Florence is your perfect vacation destination. Known to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region and of the province of Florence. By stepping into the city, you will be transported to an era of grandeur and majestic brilliance, where the cathedrals and sculptures created by stalwarts like Giotto, Botticelli and Michelangelo still stand tall today.

There is a wide range of things to do in Florence according to your interests, preferences, and budget. The following are some of the Florence tours, sites and experiences you simply shouldn’t skip.

Free Walking Tours

If you visit Florence for the first time the best introduction would be free walking tours guided by locals who are truly proud of their town and unique artistic heritage. Guides work on tip bases and during 2 hours of the tour they reveal the splendid and sometimes mysterious history of Renaissance’s cradle. You can choose from two themed tours or combine them both – Renaissance Tour departs at 11:00, Medici Tour at 14:00, meeting point is in front of Santa Maria Novella church.

Galleria Degli Uffizi and Galleria Dell Academia

If you are interested in art, these museums will leave you spellbound because of their collection of Renaissance art, medieval paintings, sculptures and tapestries created by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Perugino, among many others. Michelangelo’s famous David is also present in Academia, along with many musical instruments collected by the illustrious Medici family.

Piazza Della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

Florence holds innumerable options for sightseeing. The Piazza Della Signoria is the famous square of Florence located in the heart of the Historic Center. It holds open-air exhibits and breathtaking works created by the great masters. The Palazzo Vecchio is a splendid landmark which is the town hall of Florence and contains some of the most beautifully decorated rooms.

Food Tours

Among the most essential things to do in Florence Italy is to try Tuscan food, which is the basis of Florentine cuisine. These food tours take you on a walking tour, where you get to taste their coffee, learn about the coffee roasting process, savor traditional truffles and pastries, visit open-air cafes, go to the San Lorenzo Central Market for sampling balsamic kinds of vinegar, crostinis etc and then stop by the gelato shops to get the famous Italian ice cream.

Dining

There are many restaurants you can choose from for having dinner and lunch. Soft bread with a crispy crust, white beans simmered with herbs such as sage and a dash of extra virgin olive oil, grilled or roasted meats like Beef Steak Florentine, wine braised deer, boar and rabbit and filling soups are what make up a typical Tuscan meal.

Soggiorno Battistero is a charming Hotel in the heart of Florence, directly across from the Baptistery and Duomo. The hotel has simple, comfortable and large rooms at a price that even your accountant would approve of. You will get breakfast daily with the price of your room and the staff is very helpful and can assist you with restaurant reservations and advice on things to see. Hotels just next door are three times the price and don’t offer the view or service that Soggiorno Battistero does. Florence is one of the greatest cities in the world and you will fall in love and long to come back again and again!

Wine tasting

No Italian vacation can be complete without tasting its wine. Florence has extensive wine tasting tours where you will move through the beautiful Tuscan countryside to reach the wineries and cellars in the Chianti Classico region. A guide will give you a tour of the vineyards and orchards of olive trees and cypresses, where you can sample the wines, olive oil and various types of cheese.

Shopping

Florence is one of the top fashion capitals and you will find different souvenirs, paintings, antiques, clothes, shoes, accessories, and leather products in the various town squares, in Mercato Nuovo or Mercato Centrale.

Florence receives millions of visitors every year and it is not surprising that the Historic Center of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The city’s rich artistic heritage, magnificent buildings, and options for various activities make it one of the most popular tourist spots in the world.

With palm-fringed beaches, captivating local culture, super-chilled surf scene and serenely spiritual heritage, Sri Lanka is top of #TeamCoco’s destinations to visit in 2019. Given the country’s seriously seductive charms, it’s little wonder it was crowned Lonely Planet’s number one destination to visit this year.

While that accolade may mean tourist numbers continue to increase, over the last ten years Sri Lanka’s burgeoning tourism industry has opened up a country previously ravaged by Civil War. Railway renovations have recently allowed access to some areas of the north for the first time, while expressways built to the south has made the region more easily reachable. Alongside this has come investment in hotels, with a spate of stylish openings, like the Wild Coast Tented Lodge.

To meet this demand, the number of private houses and luxury villas opening their doors has also increased. Today, the selection of villas to be found, particularly on the South Coast are not only some of the most luxurious but also the best value to be found in Asia. Take Eden Villas – their selection of luxury properties come with a staff to rival that of any five-star hotel, usually including a chef, security and house manager. Many offer direct access to more secluded stretches of sand and even semi-private beaches, and range from more traditional beach houses with upmarket interiors to spectacular feats of architecture.

If you needed any further excuse, here are five of our favourite luxury villas to rent if you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, or visit Eden Villas in Sri Lanka (www.evinsl.com) to pick your own.

1. Walatta House

One of our favourite beach villas in Sri Lanka, Walatta mixes modernism and traditional wooden touches to create a blissful beach house vibe. With a private gate directly onto the shoreline, 180-degree views of the ocean, and a staff of five (plus Wally the dog) to look after you during your stay, this is the ultimate Sri Lankan beach house.

2. Red Cliffs

A three bedroom, Geoffrey Bawa designed cliff-top villa, this architectural masterpiece offers guests sweeping views out over Weligama Bay from the corner infinity pool. Spread over two levels, indoor-outdoor living maximises the clifftop location, while steps lead you down to a stretch of private beach.

3. Wetakeiya House

With tiered gardens leading down to the ocean, with a large pool set beneath the palms this beautifully finished three bedroom property is perfectly located, with two beaches either side just a short walk away – one perfect for surfing, the other the place to unwind over a sundowner and a passionfruit mojito.

4. Boundary House

Set among the paddy fields, this restorative, 4 bedroomed house offers tropical views from the collonaded veranda, a large t-shaped pool and yoga shala, with panoramic views out over the terraced green fields.

5. Kumara Villa

A mix of modern and distinctive traditional charm, Kumara lies inland, yet close to the surf breaks of Weligama and beaches of Mirissa. The villas elevated setting allows guests to take in palm-fringed views from its open plan pavillions. Each of the three king rooms have their own walled garden and private terraces, for indoor and outdoor bathing.

Check out our guide to Sri Lanka’s South Coast for more.

One of the hard parts of traveling is the home you leave behind. While you’re traveling, not only do you need to pay for your expenses to get around and see things, but you’re paying for everything back home. Rent doesn’t go away just because you’re not living there anymore. This makes traveling hard, and is one of the primary reasons most of us don’t do it that often.

A great way to fun your travels, or at least afford to pay your bills back home, is by renting out your apartment while you’re gone. If you don’t mind someone else living in your home for a few weeks or months while you live somewhere else, it’s a great way to pay the expenses without having to worry about losing your home. To that end, here are 5 tips to help you create a great guest room or entire apartment and start making travel a little easier.

Use Multiple Services

It’s easier than ever to rent out your apartment these days. There are plenty of sites that allow you to list your apartment or home, where others can browse for a place that suits their needs. Listing your place on one of these sites does most of the work for you – you just have to wait for someone to contact you.

However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one site. By placing your apartment on multiple sites, you give yourself a better chance at finding someone to live there. As long as you don’t book two different guests from different websites at the same time, you should have no trouble managing multiple accounts. It’s just a matter of staying organized and keeping your correspondences in order. Thinking of using an agent to advertise your property? Rentround lets landlords compare agent fees & services for free.

Provide Great Photos and Details

The best way to get people to stay in your apartment is by providing them plenty of information. As they’re browsing through possibilities, they want to know what they’re getting before they make a trip over to check out a place. A listing that has several well-lit photos will do a lot better than a listing that has only one photo.

Go into as much detail as you can about the place, listing all of the benefits. Is there a place to do laundry? Free internet? Are you close to a subway station or a local supermarket? Think about all of the reasons you like living there, then put them in each listing. Then take photos of the entire space, including the bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and anywhere. The more details you provide, the more interest you’re like to get.

Set Reasonable Rates

Even if you create a great listing, you’ll have a hard time getting renters if you set the renting rate too high. A great thing you can do is search for other places to rent within your area, and price yourself close to those. Ideally, you’ll find someone who can take over all the bills while you’re away, but this may not always happen. You may need to charge less, considering the person renting will only be there for a few weeks or months. Get as much as you can, but if you find that you’re not getting any bites, consider lowering your rates.

Perform Background Checks

When renting, you don’t want just anyone living in your space. You should take the time to learn about your renter, and even conduct an interview if you can. Do they smoke? Do they have references they can give you? How is their rating on the listing site you’re using? The more you can learn about the person, the better decision you’ll want to make. It’s great to have someone paying your bills, but if you come back home to your apartment and everything is a mess – or worse, stolen – you’ll regret not checking them out.

Ensure a Happy Renter

Finally, if you plan on traveling often, you’ll likely need more than one renter over time. The best way to get future renters is by ensuring a good experience for each person who rents your space. After they leave, they’ll be able to give you a rating on the listing site, and future renters will use this when deciding if they want to rent from you.

There are plenty of ways to provide a good experience for your renters. For starters, always be available to answer any questions they may have. Another thing you can do is give your home a good cleaning before new guests arrive by using a service like https://amazoncleaning.net/. You can also do smaller things, like stocking up the fridge with some essentials so they don’t have to shop right away, or creating an instruction book on how to work the TV/computer.

Make Use of Your Space

Don’t let your empty apartment be a drag on your traveling ambitions. If you can find someone to rent out your space while you’re gone, traveling becomes a lot more affordable. Hopefully the above tips help you to do this, and before long you’ll be on the road with your apartment well taken care of.

What better place to have your first forest bathing experience than sunny Mauritius?

I wasn’t even sure what it meant until I headed into the depths of Heritage Le Telfair’s Domaine in Bel Ombre in the south of the island.

A reiki master drove our group from the Golf & Spa resort into the depths of the lush green forest to help us achieve calm and serenity among the wilderness.

You may not think deer and monkeys running through the hills makes for the most ideal way to chill out but you’d be surprised.

Here’s what I learned from the outing.

You haven’t truly relaxed until you learn how to be quiet

I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy numerous vacations in my life, both domestic and abroad, and while I’ve often returned feeling rejuvenated and motivated, it’s easy to confuse that with utter relaxation. I only learned the true meaning after parking up and traipsing through the trees to perch by a stream.

Our guide encouraged us to be comfortable without unnecessary constant chatter and listen to the sounds around us. Whether birds chirping, leaves blowing in the gentle breeze or even one’s own thoughts, it’s rare get the chance to drown out the din.

Within 15 minutes I was already feeling the benefits.

2. Nature is the best medicine

While I wouldn’t usually swap the sandy shores of Mauritius (or anywhere for that matter) for the lush forest, I’m glad I did. All the greenery is a treat for the eyes and when the only distraction is a waterfall, you know your mind is being freed from day-to-day anxieties that come with the hustle and bustle of life.
Unlike on a beach which is more likely to be very populated in a tourist location, an escape to the forest is a sight for sore eyes.

3. Look at your palms, not palm trees

While getting our shoes dirty hiking, our guide – also a reiki master – attempted to teach us how to feel a person’s ora. It involved holding our palm near the person whose ora you’re reading and scanning the body from top to toe, looking our for any interruptions along the way. For example if the palm felt warm while moving down near the heart or stomach, it correlated to a certain issues or emotions.

While our group of amateurs had trouble getting the hang of it, I’m sure with a bit more practice at channelling our inner reiki master, we’d be great. Even while sitting down to take in the fresh air our reiki master recommended we turn our palms up to the air.

4. Waterfalls are like a massage from nature

Our guide led us to a serene spot where we removed our shoes to dip our toes in the running water. Forget a hydrotherapy pool, leaving our feet under the running H2O was all we need to unwind and rest our tired tootsies. The sweetest surprise of our forest bathing experience was tucked away in a place that isn’t very visible to someone spontaneously strolling through the Heritage Le Telfair Domaine and literally put the ‘bathing’ element in my first go at ‘forest bathing’.

5. It’s ideal whatever the weather

If you’re thinking of booking a trip somewhere to truly let go of life’s stresses, opt for forest spot or a resort like Heritage Le Telfair which offers excursions. It’s a great way to unwind without relying on bikini weather; it’s just as pleasant to go for a long walk when the temperatures are cooler or even in light drizzle. After a couple of hours walking in the forest I was glad I’d discovered the Japanese practice that was dreamed up in 1982 to combat stress in busy cities. I’m sure you will too.

Forest bathing costs £32 per person at Heritage Le Telfair. Get more information at www.heritageresorts.mu.

How AC Hotels are using design elements, and their signature AC Lounge, to make your hotel stay more productive and more enjoyable…

AC Hotels are a Spanish born branch of the Marriot chain started in 1998 by beloved Spanish entrepreneur Antonio Catalan. Since then AC Hotels have grown from a household Spanish brand (with an impressive 75% brand awareness among Spanish people) and expanded to a worldwide portfolio of 144 hotels in locations such the United Kingdom, USA and South Africa.

AC’s focus is on design and using design elements to increase comfort, productivity and enjoyment for their guests. They sit in the ‘business travel’ category, and although they also cater to leisure travellers, a lot of what they do surrounds providing a no-friction stay by removing the unnecessary and focusing on what is important. AC Hotels don’t have a spa as most business travellers do not have time for this service, instead they offer practical rooms and communal spaces focusing on work and making the little downtime business travellers do have as enjoyable as possible.

John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands Europe at Marriot International said: “The brand believes that purposeful design improves our guests’ lives and provides them an opportunity to slow down and uncover the beauty in the essentials.”

The pinnacle of this approach is the AC Lounge: a multi-functional space catering to guests’ needs 24/7. By day, a communal creative hub for co-working and by night, a social space for drinking handcrafted cocktails, chatting and eating tapas. Carefully thought out design aids the day-to-night transition, such as clever use of sound and lighting. The AC Lounge is a space that aids productivity with bright open spaces, clean and clever design (think well-placed power points for on-the-go charging) and little touches to add personality, making each AC a little bit different.

“The AC Lounge at Casa Decor is a communal space of creativity and collaboration. The space features a lifestyle approach where its design, ambient sound and lighting create a social atmosphere where both guests and the general public can relax and enjoy,” said Licence.

Recently, the principles of the signature AC Lounge were taken out of the hotel and showcased among the work of Europe’s top interior designers at Casa Decor.

“Undoubtedly, there is no better setting for AC Hotels to bring its perspective on design than at one of the most important décor exhibitions in Europe,” added Licence.

Casa Decor is a distinguished design exhibition in Madrid, which hosts over 50 outstanding interior designers, each creating a space to display their work. AC was honoured to create the most important space of all: the social space, where the 40,000 plus guests to Casa Decor, could relax with drinks (try the signature AC gin and tonic) and enjoy each other’s company.

READ MORE: Three Hot Interior Design Trends Seen At Casa Decor

Back in the hotel the rooms are purposeful, modern and, again, designed with functionality in mind. They have a clean and expensive feel with open, elevated elements. The elimination of carpets and boxed-in furniture lift the room leaving only open spaces and clean spacious floors. The rooms are frill-free, saying goodbye to objects that get in the way – no bitty ornaments, no fancy throw cushions leaving just the essentials for a comfortable stay.

“AC Hotels believes that if we have time to make it, we have time to make it beautiful,” sums up Licence.