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15 Useful Travel Websites for People Who Love Travelling

15 Useful Travel Websites for People Who Love Travelling

If you love to travel often then there are some websites you need to check out so you can make the most of your money, your time, your journey, or just ward off some nasty jet lag. And the best thing about this article is there won’t be any bothersome pop-ups for subscription magazines (because of course you are out traveling not at home). And there won’t be any sites that are advertised everywhere already (because of course you’ve already used or avoided them). So enjoy this little trip around the internet where I hope you not only find travel websites you haven’t come across before, but also sites that you will find awesomely useful!

So onward with the road less traveled!

1.  TripExpert

TripExpert

    Most everyone is aware of TripAdvisor, a site that allows everyone to leave reviews about places, but it is great to be able to cross-reference the average person’s short sometimes snarky review with an expert’s review. That is what TripExpert allows you to do. You type in your destination or accommodations and it will give you what the experts are putting in print from A to Zagat!

    2.  Oyster

    OYSTER

      Sometimes we get faked out by wonderful photos that stretch rooms out of proportion or minimize crowded beaches. Oyster is “The Hotel Tell-All” and has a page dedicated to comparing hotel’s photos to Oyster’s own, so you can decide if a place is a myth or a legend. Oyster’s reviews also go beyond the good, the bad, and the ugly about even the best of places. We appreciate their honesty because honestly no one wants to spend their money on a bad vacation.

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      3.  Yelp!

      YELP

        Still making up your mind whether to stay here or there or to eat this or that in the destination of your choosing?  Then maybe Yelp will help! I put in the same location (NYC), in each site to see what the reviews would say, and Yelp had very specific commenters that left pictures, ratings, and more. You can even scroll through the pictures associated with your search. Reviewers are assessed too, so you can see if this is a one-time reviewer with a bone to pick or if it is someone that has checked in a few times and knows well what they are reviewing. To some extent, you might be able to tell if this person’s evaluation would be comparable to yours. Maybe they are a member of your trip tribe.

        4.  Trip Tribe

        TRIP TRIBE

          As soon as I thought it, I knew someone must have that domain name for a travel site! Trip Tribe lets you put in your personality, suggests vacations and places to stay, and puts you in touch with others like you in age, relationship status, and interests. It isn’t exactly a dating site, but if you crave a journey, you can follow people that crave the same things. It is kind of inspired.

          5.  Rom2Rio

          ROME2RIO

            I came to Rom2Rio via a few different travel blogs that raved about it, so I tried it out, and I’m intrigued and inspired! You can compare with tools (like very easy on the eye visuals and sidebars with drop-down menus) how you want to travel, the cost of travel, and it will even give you very specific information such as the bus line or airline you can use. I went ahead and selected where I was departing from and where I wanted to arrive and was able to click easily through all the way to the airline’s website to purchase exactly what I was inquiring about.

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            6.  Skiplagged

            SKIPLAGGED

              This site is bananas! Did you know a ticket from one city to another can be half as much if you just take a different flight pattern with a different layover destination?! Say you want to go to Miami. You can go directly for $200. Or you can endure an hour layover and pay $160. Or you can pay $86 if you do an hour and a half layover in another city. If you can endure more time in your layover, or can put up with a layover in a different state, you can save half.

              7.  Sleeping In Airports

              SLEEPING IN AIRPORTS

                It can happen unintentionally, but it can also be preferable under some circumstances. So if you need to sleep in an airport, versus getting a costly hotel room, it can come in handy to know what kind of accommodations there are. Sleeping In Airports has reviews, assessments, and recommendations for the weary and wary traveler.

                8.  Responsible Travel

                Responsible Travel

                  I love the saying, “Take only photos. Leave only footprints.” And I love the idea of unique and rare vacations. That is what this company is all about. You will get recommendations that promise more than a few days off. You are shopping small and personal. You can decide what type of vacation you want to go on such as a couples honeymoon or a family getaway. You can decide if you are going cycling or shopping. There will be several places to choose from with pricing, pictures, descriptions, reviews, and suggested itineraries. Additionally, there will be a breakdown of how responsible the accommodations are, sometimes including the materials used in construction. If you are interested in ecotourism, this site is designed for your conscience.

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                  9.  Peek

                  peek

                    I almost couldn’t stop looking at this site. You get to look at other people’s “Perfect Day” and you can plan your own. There are suggestions by high profile residents of cities, like fashion designers, and there are offers and deals for tours. It is fun to see how others have spent a day in George Town or see where a sports car rental will take you in…. Vermont? Well, there is something for everyone!

                    10. The Man in Seat Sixty-One

                    The Man in Seat Sixty-One

                      If you are wild about trains and world travel, this is your website of choice. If you haven’t thought about it, maybe you should start considering it and use this as a way to find some of the best experiences. Train travel in different countries can be a memorable experience. Doing your research will make it a good one!  Get routes, get pictures, and get an expert perspective from The Man in Seat Sixty-One.

                      11.  Black Tomato

                      Black Tomato

                        I say tomato, and you say Black Tomato! And I say what?  Black Tomato is a site that allows you to discover luxury vacation packages that are very dreamy.  Do you want to do a multi-destination honeymoon?  They have an itinerary for you.  Do you want to experience a cuisine inspired vacation?  They have an itinerary for you. Is this something to put on your bucket list?  Login and save it under “bucket list.” They are ready for all sorts of dreamers.

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                        12. Hipmunk

                        Hipmunk

                          Did you ever want to know before a flight if your legs would get cramped or if your layovers would be torture? This site has an “Agony Scale” for flights to let you know just that. And if you are booking a hotel, there is a heat map that will tell you using color bars where the nightlife is compared to your accommodations and sometimes if that nightlife is fun or not fun for you. Because sometimes, we don’t want a bedroom window too close to the rowdiest bar in town. We’d rather take a cab ride.

                          13.  AirHelp

                          AirHelp

                            If you lost your luggage, been delayed, or otherwise abused by the airlines, you might want to check out AirHelp. This website helps you know what your rights are and what compensation you are entitled to. Whatever your travel plans are, doing your research before and after something happens sounds like sound advice to me. It is worth investigating.

                            14.  Skift

                            Skift

                              Staying informed about what is going on in the travel industry could be good for you. If some bad news is brewing, this site would help you learn about it before you booked a non-refundable trip. Also, if an airline or another company you are about to do business with is in distress, you might consider making other plans. Even the latest in technology to make travel better is featured, so maybe you get to download an app to make the best of your travels.

                              15.  Home Exchange

                              HomeExchange

                                What if you live somewhere great and you want to see somewhere else that is great? Then Home Exchange could give you a fun and affordable way to find accommodations. I heard about people renting out their balconies for festivals, like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but if you have someplace awesome, you can trade spaces for a time. Lucky you!

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                                Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                                Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                                How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                                Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                                The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                                Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                                Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                                When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                                Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                                Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                                The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                                Shocked? Well, I was too.

                                The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                                When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                                On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                                Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                                Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                                Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                                Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                                Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                                It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                                Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                                As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                                In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                                A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                                Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                                To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                                Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                                What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                                That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                                More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                                Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                                Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                                For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                                Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                                Foods That Increase Metabolism

                                Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                                Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                                Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                                • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                                  When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                                • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                                • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                                • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                                Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                                To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                                1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                                2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                                3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                                Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                                Sugars and Carbs

                                Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                                Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                                Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                                Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                                • Dried fruit
                                • Commercial and packaged corn
                                • High fructose corn syrup
                                • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                                • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                                • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                                Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                                • Bread and flour-based products
                                • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                                • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                                • Potatoes and potato starch products
                                • Oatmeals and other grains
                                Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                                • All berries except strawberries
                                • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                                • Sweet potatoes
                                • White rice
                                • All green vegetables

                                Fats

                                Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                                Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                                • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                                • Lard
                                • Gmo oils
                                • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                                Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                                • Nuts
                                • Meat fat
                                • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                                • Seeds
                                Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                                • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                                • Avocado
                                • Coconut oil
                                • Butter (organic)
                                • Egg yolks (free-range)
                                • Bone marrow

                                The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                                Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                                Proteins

                                Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                                Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                                Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                                Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                                For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                                Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                                • Cheap whey proteins
                                • Soy proteins
                                • GMO meat
                                • GMO eggs
                                • Packaged meat
                                Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                                • Canned tuna
                                • Canned fish
                                • Canned meat
                                • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                                • Farmed fish
                                Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                                • Free-range meat
                                • Free-range eggs
                                • Wild meat and fish
                                • Whey protein isolate
                                • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                                Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                                Other Foods and Supplements

                                Cold water

                                Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                                This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                                MCT Oils or Powders

                                Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                                You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                                Caffeine

                                Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                                Green Tea

                                Green tea

                                is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                                Bottom Line

                                In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                                For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                                Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                                And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                                Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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