10 Interesting Things to do in Florence Italy

There are so many things to do in Florence Italy that you need a few days in the city. Florence, considered to be a city that is rich in history, culture, and architecture. It is the Capital City of Tuscany, Italy, and its foremost attraction are their unsurpassed collection of Art work housed in museums and galleries.

The sights that will be significant will be centuries old cathedrals, art galleries, the Architectural designs of the buildings and the leather market that also sells almost everything, including food.

The best advice when you go to Florence is to stop and stay a while. A few things you should do in Florence are book tickets to galleries in advance. Take a tour of Florence with Walks of Italy is my preferred company, (You can read my full Walks of Italy review here) and fall in love with the art displays and the city.

things to do in florence

Here are 10 things to do in Florence Italy that may help your way and make you enjoy your stay even for a brief time.


Make time for a Gelato everyday– Florence has the most delicious gelato in the whole of Italy and is actually famous for it. The best way to know a place is through their food and eating a gelato, whether a scoop or two or three as long as you make it a ritual during your stay in Florence. There are a lot of flavors to choose from and eating a different flavor every day will be a good start.

Visit Il Duomo Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore -This is a huge edifice that represents true Gothic Renaissance architecture. You have to pay it to get in, but the view from the dome of the Duomo will be worth it. You will see Florence at your feet and at the same time get a glimpse of Giotto’s Campanile or Bell Tower. It is one of the best things to do in Florence Italy.

Take a stroll in Ponte Vecchio -This is a bridge that has been built during the medieval times that have survived the centuries. The Arno River passes under it, and the bridge has shops that sell gold and silver jewellery of very fine craftsmanship.

Climb the Campanile –This Bell Tower is designed by Giotto, one of Florence’s and Italy’s foremost painters. The tower could allow you a wonderful view of Florence and Duomo, seen from a different perspective.

Chill out at the Plaza Della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio- This is the heart of Florence and an open sculpture gallery as well. A copy of the famous Michelangelo by David is displayed, and the Palazzo has public and private rooms that are luxuriously decorated and open for public view. Cafes and restaurants dot the plaza and a good place to chill out. This is the most popular things to do in Florence Italy.

Share a table at Trattoria Mario –This is a famous trattoria, not only with tourists but with locals as well. It is advised to get a seat you must be in by lunch. No dining done by your lonesome like dining here means that you have to share your table.

Uffizi Gallery – Florence’s most popular gallery that houses all the best art of the Renaissance era. The queue is long, and if you are on a limited visit, it would be best to have advance bookings. This gallery is a must visit place in the stunning works of the master Renaissance painters.

Buy leather goods at Scuola del Cuoio – Italian leather is famous for its high-quality designs that are hand tooled. In Scuola del Cuoio, fantastic leather products from belts, purses and bags are available. It may be a bit pricey, but the quality of the leather and craftsmanship is worth it.

Visit Il Porcellino in Mercato Nuevo – Il Porcellino is a statue of a boar that stands in Mercato Nuevo. It is believed that if you rub his snout it will bring good luck and bring you back to Florence as well. Il Porcellino’s shiny bright snout can attest to the fact that all who visit Florence believe in the legend.

Enjoy free music from the Piazzas – Italians are passionate about their life, art. Loves, food, and music. Fine weather can bring all these amateur and gifted musicians to the piazzas to play their music. It’s free so enjoy.

These are just a few awesome things to do in Florence Italy. Backpacking Italy is a fantastic experience and one favorite countries to visit when backpacking Europe.

How to Prepare for Long-term International Travel

How to Prepare for Long-term International Travel

Whether you are studying abroad or simply need to get away, traveling can be an eye-opening experience. You can learn about new people and immerse yourself in the experience of discovering a new culture. As incredible as an opportunity like this is, it isn’t as easy as packing a bag and taking along your toothbrush and vacation savings.

Where You’ll Go

Whatever the reason you are traveling and staying abroad, there is a lot to think about beforehand. Understand where you’re going, study the local culture and language. Never go into a new place without knowledge about what is offensive, what is acceptable, and which side of the road to drive on. There is no list to follow when it comes to choosing a travel destination – this can boil down to pure desire or intrigue.

Where You’ll Stay

Protect your assets at home. If you are only going to be gone a few months, it may not be worth it to pick up your life and move it elsewhere. Speak to your landlord about subletting your home or apartment. Make these arrangements at least six months prior to your departure. Find a secure place to secure your belongings, and your automobile if applicable.

Make sure that your lodgings overseas, if any, are set up and ready to receive you. As well, you can use services such as Uni Baggage to get your clothing and belongings safely to your destination.

Money Matters

In today’s world, most financial institutions offer online banking. You are able to transfer funds, pay bills online, link your credit cards, and other services while traveling abroad – check with your bank and explain the situation. Often, it is handy to keep a few blank, signed checks with trusted relatives if you have any financial issues back home.

Healthcare Options

Make sure that you are up-to-date on your immunizations before you head overseas. Especially if there may be an issue with a disease in your destination that isn’t an issue at home – you’ll want to protect yourself. As well, speak to your doctor about filling or having a stock of the medication that you need for your trip.

Let your doctors know how long you’ll be away because, oftentimes, most U.S. health insurance plans will not cover you if you are traveling for more than a few months. You may look into an extended insurance plan with a high policy maximum, medical evaluations, and emergency reunion services.

Keep in Touch

Before you go, make sure that your mail is directed to your family or a trusted friend. They do not need to pick it up every day as it can be forwarded to their address in your absence. You do not want your bills or personal information getting into the wrong hands.

This may seem to be one of the simplest things to do in a modern age of technology. Internet access is common, and communication methods such as Skype, email and Facebook and social media reach worldwide. However, while Skype may allow phone calls with paid subscriptions, but you may find that phone cards suit your needs as well. Especially in the case that your entire family is in another country, communication is one way to cut through the loneliness that accompanies any move.

There is a lot to consider when you travel abroad. From keeping yourself healthy to make sure that you can still withdraw money from your bank account, the decision to stay abroad long-term is not one to be made lightly.

Is the TEFL Certification Right For You?

Is the TEFL Certification Right For You?

English is growing to be one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It’s used internationally for everything from travel to business. Native speakers enthusiastic about sharing their language skills are in demand across the world. If you’re an energetic English speaker with a passion for helping others, you might be drawn to the idea of teaching English abroad.

While there are many opportunities to teach the language abroad both with or without any extra certification, having a high-quality English teaching certificate from a reputable institution introduces you to new opportunities both at home and abroad. Are you wondering if the TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification is right for your? Read on to explore how the TEFL certification will help you achieve your goals.

Via @MaximoAbroad on Instagram

Why should you get TEFL certified?

A few decades ago, it was completely common to travel the world and intermittently teach English along the way. Getting these teaching positions was easy, and there weren’t many strict requirements at many institutions other than being a native speaker. Because of English becoming more of a global language, schools and institutions around the world began holding English speakers to higher standards.

Now, a TEFL certification is one of the most common qualifications required of English teachers abroad. Not only is TEFL certification a way to understand your own language to a higher degree, but it also prepares you for the classroom. Most people looking to teach English abroad don’t have experience in helping students in the classroom, and they might not even know how to begin dealing with things like lesson plans and classroom management. The TEFL certification prepares you to be a strong teacher and gives you the confidence you need to keep your classroom under control no matter the level or age of students.

One of the main reasons to get a TEFL certification, other than the valuable teaching experience it offers, is to be more employable. Having a TEFL certification gives you the freedom to be more selective about where you’ll teach English, and those with TEFL certifications qualify for higher paying jobs. Teaching a foreign language isn’t as easy as being a native speaker! You need the right training and experience to really be a successful teacher. That’s why the TEFL is so important!

How do you get TEFL certified?

Employers need to know that you take teaching seriously. You need to have at least 120 hours of teaching time through the TEFL, and that means you need to dedicate time to your certification. There are TEFL certification courses offered by institutions around the world, and they’re not only a great way to learn, but they’re also a way to see if teaching really is for you.

It’s important to choose the best TEFL course for you. Not all of these courses are equal, and that means knowing that you’re getting the best value for your money. While some courses are offered online, these usually don’t offer the same level of hands-on experience. Other courses like those by Maximo Nivel offer TEFL courses in different countries throughout the world. These internationally-based courses give you experience in teaching English to foreign students from around the world so you are prepared to lead your own classroom!  

Ultimately, you need to do your research to choose the best program for you. Do you want to earn your certificate at home or abroad? How many weeks do you want to spend completing your course? Finally, how experienced is your program, and do they offer help with things like job placement after the course? Finding the right program can lead to more opportunities after certification!

Via @MaximoTravel on Instagram

Will the TEFL certification help you reach your goals?

It’s up to you to decide if you should get TEFL certified. Having this certificate opens doors to more opportunities, higher pay, and more experience. That being said, if you aren’t serious about teaching English abroad, it might not be for you. However, if you are serious about helping students around the world and really excelling in the classroom, you need a TEFL certificate.

TEFL certifications translate to real-world experience that will help you even after you return home. Perhaps you’ll discover a passion for teaching, or you’ll wish to use your newfound cultural awareness to continue to help others. TEFL prepares you to be a global citizen and to gain confidence both inside and outside the classroom.

Transform your life with a TEFL certification!

Those who have a TEFL certification like to rave about how much it helped them not only when they started teaching, but also after they returned home. There are many TEFL certification institutions that really prepare you to succeed as an educator and as a citizen of the world. The days of any native English speaker with a college degree teaching English abroad with no relevant qualifications are gone! Do you want to teach English abroad? Then the TEFL certification is right for you!

You’ve Not Toured India Until You’ve Checked Out These Places

You’ve Not Toured India Until You’ve Checked Out These Places

Agness and Cez, fellow travel bloggers of Etramping, will share with you today the most exciting places in India you need to visit. The number of times you have been to India doesn’t matter if you have not checked out these historic and beautiful places in the country. For those of you looking to visit India for the first time, the Etramping duo can assure you that following this guide will make your Indian experience both unforgettable and glamorous.

The Taj Mahal in Agra

You must have heard some people describe this beautiful edifice as a symbol of love. Well, they will be right. How else would you describe such breathtaking structure constructed to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal? She was the favourite wife of the great emperor, Shah Jahan.

This monument is hard to miss in India, a mausoleum of ivory-white marble standing at 240 feet above the ground. It has been a source of admiration eliciting emotional responses from many who have visited the place. You should take in the awe-inspiring style and appreciate the historic value of this 365 years old beauty.

On your trip through India, be sure to get to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It is located in Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India. When you get there, you will find, in addition to this wonder of the world, some other iconic structures. For example, the Agra Fort, Jama Mosque, and the Akbar’s tomb are equally fascinating places in Agra that will make your visit worth every penny.


The 18th Century Observatory and ‘Pink City’

In the capital city of Rajasthan state, Jaipur, your mind will be blown away by the aura of royalty there. This region used to be ruled by a royal family. The title ‘pink city’ is because of the peculiar terracotta ‘pink’ colour of the buildings that are in Jaipur.

The City Palace complex must be your top priority. How magnificent! It includes the Chandra Mahal (which now houses a museum) and Mubarak Mahal palaces. The vast array of carefully designed gardens and courtyards will leave you impressed. In the same city, you will find the Hawa Mahal which is a walking distance from the City Palace. The Amer Fort is also within the city.

The Himalayan Resort Town – Manali

Allow us to quickly point your attention to another place you must see on your Indian trip, Manali. Sitting on an elevation of 2,050m, this Himalayan resort town is your perfect spot for a honeymoon. There are too many places to see in Manali for your tour to ever get bored. From the Maa sharvari and Manu temples to the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art, this culture-rich town will make your Indian vacation one to remember. In the Parvati Valley, about 28 miles from Kullu, you can enjoy a therapeutic hot water bath in Manikaran. The four-storey Hidimba Devi Temple is also a good place to explore in Manali.

If you love adventure, try the Solang Valley. There is a plethora of exciting activities you can engage in. Parachuting, paragliding, skating, and zorbing are some of the adventurous exercises you can do in this valley. The Rohtang Pass is equally very nice for adventure lovers.

Wildlife Sanctuary and Khajjiar

What about the wildlife sanctuary less than two miles from Manali. Do you want to appreciate the beauty of nature? This is the place to be. There is a robust assortment of wildlife and green vegetation on an area of land spanning over 7000 acres.

It would be unfair for us to skip Khajjiar. Some call it ‘paradise on earth’. The naturally fresh air and landscape is breath-taking. It is a perfect spot for combining your appreciation for nature’s freshness with your love for adventure.

Do you love rafting? The River Beas is the place to go to enjoy white water rafting.

How to Prepare for your India Trip

So, you are excited about going to India. Let’s share some tips that you may find useful on your voyage. Generally, if you are a first-time visitor, you may want to consider going to the southern regions of India before setting out for the big spots in the north. Start small. This will help you ease into the country.

Step 1: Choose an Area of Interest

India is all-encompassing. It is rich in history and culture. It can be described as the religious centre of the world. You can also enjoy the beauties of nature there. Therefore, it is important that you decide what your priority is on this visit. This will help you decide the places to go to in India. You must know that a single tour cannot be enough if you want to enjoy all that India has to offer. Therefore, it helps to pick an area of interest and enjoy it to the full.

Step 2: Check the Weather Condition of the Region

By land area, India is the seventh largest country in the world. In terms of population, it is sitting in the second position behind China. Consequently, there are large variations in the weather condition within the country. So, it pays to check the average weather condition of the region you plan to visit before setting out.

Alternatively, you can decide to travel between November and March. These periods enjoy cooler temperatures globally and that will make your travelling experience more enjoyable.

Step 3: Prepare your budget

Interestingly, it is highly affordable to travel to India. On a budget of $25 per day, you can comfortably tour India. For a country rich in monuments and landscapes, this is as cheap as it gets for an enriching experience and memorable trip.

Step 4: Get Your Indian Visa

If you’re planning a trip to India and you’re not from neighboring Nepal or Bhutan, then you need a visa, specifically an e-visa if you want to do it burden-free. Applying for an Indian e-visa is as easy as it gets. You can have it processed from the comfort of your home. The application takes five minutes and it is delivered within 24 hours. Have your Indian Visa organised here!

Step 5: Take care of your well-being

Get vaccinated before your trip. It is important that you discuss your travel plans with your health care provider so that you can get all the necessary vaccinations you need. The tour will be enjoyable only if you stay healthy. Some vaccines need to be taken at least two months before travelling. Do not delay. Have a malaria kit with you on your trip too and be mindful of mosquitoes.

What are you waiting for?!

India is a beautiful place to visit. You cannot get bored while there. There are too many sights to behold. A friend, who clearly loves India, once said, ‘if you’ve lived in India, you already have seen one-third of the world.’ Do you agree?

Tracing the Highlights of Mexico’s Coastline 

Tracing the Highlights of Mexico’s Coastline 

Road-tripping along the coast is perhaps the most idyllic way to see the most beautiful sites. It’s the only way you can see all those undiscovered beaches that the tourist coach won’t stop at, that you spy from the airplane as you soar over but can’t touchdown in without a private jet.

Assuming you start at the south of Mexico with a car rental it’s easy to work your way up along the highways, but you’re likely to divert off the planned route as you spot those viewing points and jewels along the road that you just can’t miss taking a picture of! And diverting off to enjoy something that wasn’t on the itinerary is half the fun of a road trip.

If you love sunbathing, the Caribbean is where you can find those Instagram-perfect beaches and turquoise waters all along the nearly 6,000 miles of coastline. Take a trip that traces most of the coast, starting from Chetumal where Mayan culture can still be felt throughout this secluded region. The area’s isolation and the combativeness of the Mayan inhabitants meant that Spanish invaders never managed to establish permanent residency. So, up until 1898, only Mayans occupied the city and their impact, culture and architecture are still very much a part of Chetumal.

After starting with the cultural stop at the extreme of Mexican land, the route along the coast takes you to the largest protected area, the Sian Ka’an Biosfera reserve, which translates to “gateway to the heavens”. The name should be enough to tempt anyone to visit but otherwise, the quiet, undisturbed natural surroundings might convince you to take a dip in its lagoons or rivers. The reserve is home to semi-evergreen forests, palms, marshes, mangroves and dunes, and the only residents are the 300 species of birds and more than 1,000 plants.

Before hitting the famous tourism sites to see Tulum’s ruins, it’s worth stopping for a night or a breakfast at somewhere close like Maison Tulum, where there are picturesque gardens and a restaurant. Gathering energy before exploring the archaeological part of Tulum is important, as the site covers 664 hectares and you’ll want to walk around every corner of the buildings dating back to the year 564.

Should you want to spend a few days feeling less like a tourist, make a stop at Playa del Carmen where the hotel zone is expansive, albeit probably more full of foreigners than Mexicans. Alternatively, you can discover Finest Resorts Playa Mujeres and Cancun along the way, stay in luxury accommodation and enjoy Mexico’s famous attention to detail when it comes to caring for visitors.

The whole of Quintana Roo is a food-lover’s paradise, so this road trip is perfect for a bit of sea, sun, and snacks. But if you want to extend it, and can rent a car across states, then continuing round to the state of Yucatan, famous for its cuisine in and out of the country, is a great way to keep the trip going as long as possible. This is also a state where you can see plenty more archaeological and natural wonders.

The Big Apple from the Water

7 things to see from the water while sightseeing in New York City

The Hudson River and East River form the two sides of Manhattan’s peninsula.  To the south, the Upper Bay separates New Jersey from New York and offers tourists looking for something different a chance to see Manhattan, Jersey City, Brooklyn and other boroughs from the water.

Historically, New York has been a major seagoing city for all the United States history and is still an active and important port for commercial, recreational and military ships and boats. Many of New York’s most iconic landmarks are located on or adjacent to the water. The views of Manhattan’s skyline from the water, whether you are on a ferry, a commercial touring boat or a private vessel, are breathtaking.

Touring the waterfront

Although walking or bus tours of New York and its waterfront attractions are popular, seeing the city from a boat gives you a new perspective on many of its attractions. The most popular New York landmark, Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty, can only be accessed by water, but it is not the only one.

Governor’s Island, located between Manhattan and Brooklyn, is accessible from May through September, via public ferry. The 170-acre island was used as an army base during the early part of the 20th century and, later, as a Coast Guard base. A small part of the island is administered as a national monument while the remainder of the island is host to historical buildings, public parks and plays host to cultural and recreational events.

Ellis Island was the initial debarkation point for over 12 million immigrants into the United States. Between 1892 and 1954, Ellis Island was the busiest immigrant inspection station in the nation. For thousands of families interested in genealogy, Ellis Island has become a key step in tracing their familial lines. Ellis Island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and can be accessed through the same ferry that services Liberty Island.

Other islands in Manhattan include Roosevelt Island, Randalls/Wards Islands, Roosevelt Island and others. Although most of them have little tourism, they all have interesting histories and deserve a visit.

Waterfront parks and attractions

The number of waterfront parks in NYC is staggering. In Manhattan alone, the Battery Park, Hudson River Park, Swindler Cove and the South Sea Seaport will keep you busy for days.  

Waterfront parks give you relaxing views and are lovely places to walk and explore while taking a break from the concrete and glass that makes up the majority of Manhattan’s vistas. Feeling the grass under your feet and seeing the rivers, unobstructed with buildings, can calm your soul and keep the cabin fever at bay if you live there, but for tourists, they act as a reminder that Manhattan started in the same way that most cities did.

Getting around

By far, the most popular waterborne tours are the ones that include a cruise to the Statue of Liberty. Since most of the waterside attractions in New York City are contained in a relatively small area, many of these cruises will allow you to see these attractions at one time. Granted, going ashore can be problematic at many of the smaller ones, but it can give you an overview of what you can see if you want to explore further.

No trip to New York is complete without visiting the Statue of Liberty and by taking a cruise of the harbor, you can see much more of the city than you could by being stuck on shore.

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