Saturday, 25 October 2014

Rock Your Layover: Cusco

Peru , Cusco
Looking out at the rooftops of beautiful Cusco, Peru
(photo: creative commons ianz on Flickr)
Have a layover coming up in Cusco? Wondering what you could do with your time? Here's a little inspiration.

We've gathered the following resources - tips, stories and layover ideas - to help you get the most out of your time here.

In a nutshell:
Peru , Cusco You may find yourself in Cusco (Cuzco) for a few days acclimatizing to the elevation on your way to Machu Picchu, but Cusco is more than a stopping off point - it is a destination in its own right. Located at the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting near 2 million visitors a year.
Free:Free Walking Tour Peru: Cusco
7 things to do for free: Cusco, Peru
Unique:Sacred Valley Community Small Group Tour from Cusco
Runner up: Cusco: Inti Raymi Festival Of The Sun Day Tour (1x/year)
Picks:Archeological Park of Sacsayhuaman Half-Day Tour
Explore the City of Cusco: Guided Walking Tour
Horseback Riding Tour from Cusco
Shop:Cusco Ancient Inca Sites & Markets with a Local
Shopping at the Markets of Cusco
Shopping Secrets of Cusco
See:You'll need a Boleto turistico to see the ruins and sights around Cusco (buy one at the Oficina Ejecutiva del Comité, or OFEC).
Hop:"Combis" are cheap and crowded small buses with names like Batman or Zorro. If you want to get off, yell "Baja!"
Do:Cusco Layover Ideas & Stuff to Do in Cusco
Top 4 leisure activities in Cusco
Top 10 things to do in Cusco (that they won't tell you about in the guidebooks)
Eat:Wandering and eating in Cusco
Chocolate Workshop: from Bean to Bar
Cusco: 3-Hour Peruvian Cooking Class
Cusco Eats
Top 10 Things to Eat in Cusco - National Geographic
Tips:How to survive Cuzco on a budget
What you should know before a trip to Cusco
Watch:YouTube: Cusco, Peru Tour (great tips on getting photos with locals by @denniscallan)
YouTube: A Tourist's Guide to Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru
Look:Cusco on Pinterest
Read:Cusco on
Books to read before you go to Peru
To/from the airport:Cusco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) transportation guide
Good to know:Coca Tea - Casa Cartagena hotel - Cusco To avoid altitude sickness, take time to acclimatize. Take it slow the first day, and stay away from the bars the first night. Drink coca tea, a traditional native remedy for altitude sickness. If you expect to get drug tested upon your return home, skip the coca; drink plenty of water and look into Diamox/Acetazolamide (available at a pharmacy).
Don't even think about drugs in Peru; it is a felony that you "consider to maybe accept" an offer to buy.
Cusco is relatively safe, but use don't wander alone away from the Plaza de Armas late at night.
Tourist info:Cusco Tourist Information
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Related resources:

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Layover ideas for the world's worst airports (2014)

* * Click HERE for 2016 * *


Read below for 2014:

Today, Sleeping in Airports announced the results of their 2014 Worst Airports in the World.

Here, we do our best to weigh in on some options to help you survive a layover at these dismal airports. Be warned, the options can be limited... please feel free to add suggestions in the comments below!

Tip: keep in mind that you may need a transit visa to leave some of the airports listed - or tips assume that you've done your homework on that front.

View of Islamabad from Daman-e-Koh

1. Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Pakistan (ISB)

Survey lowlights:
• Uncontrolled crowds
• Pervasive corruption
• Taxi touts

Layover ideas:
• Lok Virsa Museum features 25+ large galleries
Golra Railway Museum has locomotives and rolling stock
• Daman-e-Koh offers hiking, food, music and great city views

Layover resources:
Islamabad Airport Sleeping Guide
Islamabad Airport transportation guide
• Arriving in Islamabad - a taxi tour story

2. Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia (JED)

Survey lowlights:
• Rude immigration officers and long queues
• Limited services
• Limited, uncomfortable metal seating, not sleeper-friendly

Layover ideas:
• Souq al-Alawi is located in al-Balad (the old town)
• Naseef House museum has great evening views from the top floor
• Atallah Happy Land Park has rides, skating, bowling, theatres, dining, shopping

Layover resources:
Jeddah Airport Sleeping Guide
Jeddah Airport transportation guide
How to Obtain a Saudi Arabian Transit Visa
• Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - I Am Bound Here

3. Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM)

Survey lowlights:
• Disgusting washrooms (bring your own soap)
• No air-conditioning
• Not sleeper friendly

Layover ideas:
Cultural Walking Tour with Nepalese Cooking Lesson
Kathmandu Evening Tour by Rickshaw
• Do anything that will allow you to pee elsewhere!

Layover resources:
Kathmandu Airport Sleeping Guide
Kathmandu Airport transportation guide
Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Kathmandu
A Night in Kathmandu - National Geographic
Kathmandu Layover

4. Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippines (MNL)

Survey lowlights:
• Overcrowding
• Lengthy queues (fly airlines that use Terminal 3, vs Terminal 1)
• Not enough seating

Layover ideas:
Overnight Layover Tour with Hotel and Transfers
Manila Old and New Sightseeing Tour
4 Hour Makati City & Museum Tour

Layover resources:
Manila Aquino Airport Sleeping Guide
Manila Aquino Airport transportation guide
Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Manila
17 Hour Layover: Overnight in Manila Airport
How to have a great stopover in Manila

5. Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan (TAS)

Survey lowlights:
• Horrific queuing
• Suspect immigration processes
• Sleeping discouraged

Layover ideas:
• Chorsu (Eski Juva) is the oldest bazaar in Central Asia
• Tellya Sheikh Mosque is home to the world's oldest Koran
• Tashkent TV Tower offers great views of the city
Tashkent things to do

Layover resources:
Tashkent Airport Sleeping Guide
Tashkent Airport transportation guide
Tashkent Airport Sleeping Guide
Tourist Visa to Uzbekistan

6. Paris Beauvais-Tille International Airport, France (BVA)

Survey lowlights:
• Poor transportation options to distant airport
• Cramped, rundown, treats people like cargo
• Closes at night (no sleeping!)

Layover ideas:
• Visit Beauvais Cathedral to see the Gothic architecture
Beauvais things to do
• Head into Paris and take an Eiffel Tower, Louvre or Hop On, Hop Off Bus tour
• Take @AirportSleeper's advice and fly into CDG or ORY instead!

Layover resources:
Paris Beauvais Airport Sleeping Guide
Paris Beauvais Airport transportation guide
Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Paris
Beauvais-Paris - more than just a stopover, it's a destination

7. Frankfurt Hahn International Airport, Germany (HHN)

Survey lowlights:
• The 2 hour bus ride to distant airport
• Bleak and bare-boned
• Uncomfortable metallic seats, floor sleeping

Layover ideas:
• Use the advanced bag drop-off and storage lockers to get out of the airport
Go golfing or go-karting nearby
10 Things to do near Frankfurt-Hahn
• Take a Hop On, Hop Off Bus, cruise or guided city tour in Frankfurt

Layover resources:
Frankfurt Hahn Airport Sleeping Guide
Frankfurt Hahn Airport transportation guide
Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Frankfurt


8. Milan Bergamo Orio al Serio International Airport, Italy (BGY)

Survey lowlights:
• Crowded with sleepers, constantly woken up by cleaners
• Lack of WiFi and electrical outlets
• Short-tempered security staff

Layover ideas:
• Take the funicular up to Città Alta, the medieval old town
• Explore the Città Bassa (lower town)
Bergamo Main Sights

Layover resources:
Milan Bergamo Airport Sleeping Guide
Milan Bergamo Airport transportation guide
• Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Milan

9. Berlin Tegel International Airport, Germany (TXL)

Survey lowlights:
• Limited seating, little personal space
• Crowded restaurants
• Especially crummy since it's not even a low-cost carrier airport

Layover ideas:
Private Berlin City Layover Tour with Airport Transport
Third Reich Sites Half-Day Walking Tour
Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour
• Take @AirportSleeper's advice and fly into SXF instead

Layover resources:
Berlin Tegel Airport Sleeping Guide
Berlin Tegel Airport transportation guide
Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in Berlin
Berlin Layover from Tegel Airport


10. New York City LaGuardia International Airport, USA (LGA)

Survey lowlights:
• Security lines, unhelpful staff, services shut down (even when crowded)
• Counterintuitive layout (like the bar on the wrong side of security!)
• Lousy seating, not conducive to sleeping

Layover ideas:
Visit the historic LaGuardia Marine Air Terminal
• Plan ahead to see a show
• See the Manhattan skyline from the Empire State Building
New York Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour

Layover resources:
New York LaGuardia Airport Sleeping Guide
New York LaGuardia Airport transportation guide
Layover Ideas & Stuff to do in New York 

For more, check out the juicy sublists of 2014 Worst Airports for Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central & South America, Europe, Middle East, North America and South America.

Too bad there weren't enough votes to produce a Worst Airports in the South Pacific list (there is a Best Airports in the South Pacific list). If you travel this region, be sure to add your 2 cents in the 2015 Best and Worst Airports Survey.

Related resources:

Monday, 6 October 2014

Get Cooking on Your Layover: Europe

Get up close and personal with a country's culture by taking a cooking class abroad!
(Tau Consulting, Flickr, creative commons)

Love food? Wish you could cook those amazing dishes that you eat overseas? Why not take a cooking class during your trip?

While some choose to 'attend' a famous cooking school for an extended period, there are plenty of other short classes you can take for just a few hours, or a day.

In Cooking Classes Abroad: Travel for Taste, @Frommer's contributor Charis Atlas Heelan provides inspiration for expanding your culinary repertoire - along with a mouthwatering slideshow.

"A cooking class abroad brings more pleasure and knowledge than merely sampling traditional cuisine in a restaurant overseas," suggests Bethany Smith for @bootsnall in The Best Travel Souvenir: Cooking Classes Abroad. A veteran of cooking classes around the world, Bethany also suggests you be ready for impromptu lessons (hint: if you like a dish, ask questions of the cook!).

So, let's get cooking! In this, our first in a series, we look at cooking classes in Europe:

Chocolate-making demonstration in Bruges, Belgium
(Jennifer Morrow, Flickr, creative commons)

Brussels: Chocolate Workshop and Tastings

Dubrovnik: Traditional Dalmatian Cooking Class

Czech Republic
Prague: Traditional Czech Cooking Class 

Making vanilla and caramel macaroons!
(Danielle Fenske, Flickr, creative commons)
Avignon: Provençal Cooking Class and Market Tour
Cannes: Hands-On Cooking Classes & Shopping at the Market
Cannes: Authentic French & Mediterranean Finger Foods Class
Nice: Food Market Tour and Cooking Class
Nice: Patisserie Cooking Class
Nice: Provençal Cooking Class
Paris: Free Cooking Lessons in Paris
Paris: Cooking Class - French Christmas Menu
Paris: Cooking Class - Desserts and Pastries
Paris: Cooking Class - Gluten Free and Organic Desserts
Paris: Learn How To Make French Macaroons
Paris: Small Group French Cooking Class
Related resources - Paris
Paris Cooking Classes, Schools, and Wine Tastings - David Lebovitz
Le Cuisine Paris - Cooking Classes Review
The Other Side of Paris - suggestions for celiacs and vegetarians

Express appreciation for your meal in Greece, and you just might get tips from the chef
(Ana Raquel S. Hernandes, Flickr, creative commons)

Athens: Greek Cooking Class in an Athens Tavern
Athens: 3-Hour Cooking Lesson & Dinner
Athens: Cooking Class and Food Tour
Athens: Private 5-Hour Gourmet Greek Cooking Course
Athens: Private Walking Tour & Cooking Classes
Chania: Crete Cooking Class
Heraklion: Private Tour - Greek Cooking Class in Crete
Katakolon: Private Greek Cooking Class (shore excursion)

Tel Aviv: Full-Day Food Tour and Home Cooking Lesson

Pizza in Naples
While you may not have the oven at home, it's still great to learn how to make pizza in Naples, the birthplace of pizza!
Florence: Tuscan Cooking Class and Dinner
Florence: Small Group Italian Cooking Class
Florence: Chianti Semi-Private Cooking Class at a Tuscan Villa
Florence: Cooking Class - Learn How to Make Gelato and Pizza
Florence: Cooking Class - Learn How to Make Tiramisu
Florence: Cooking Course and Local Market Visit
Florence: Handmade Italian Pasta Cooking Course
Lucca: Half-Day Private Cooking Class
Lucignano: Half-Day Private Cooking Class
Milan: Italian Cooking Class
Naples: Learn How to Make Authentic Neapolitan Pizza
Naples: Gelato Class and Tasting in Capri (from Naples)
Padua: Veneto Cuisine - 5-Hour Private Cooking Activity
Padua: Private Cooking Class with Fish and Seafood
Palermo: Half-Day Sicilian Cooking Class
Palermo: Evening Cooking Class with Nonna Lina
Palermo: Sicily 7-Hour Cooking Class and Winery Tour
Piedmont: Private Cooking Class Including Lunch and Wine
Rome: Walking Tour and Cooking Class
Rome: Cooking Class and Dinner with Nonna
Rome: Kid's Pizza Cooking Class
Rome: Artisan Gelato Class
Rome: Half-Day Cooking Class and Walking Tour
Rome: Small Group Cooking Lesson in the Roman Countryside
Taormina: Sicilian Cooking Class
Taormina: Sicilian Cooking Class and Market Tour
Taormina: Half-Day Sicilian Cooking Class & Market Tour
Taormina: Half-Day Pizza Making Class
Siena: Tuscan Cooking Class
Sorrento: Cooking Class at the 'Love is All You Need' Villa
Verona: Italian Cooking Class
Related resources - Italy
Go to Cooking School in Italy - Budget Travel
Cooking Classes in Italy - Karen Brown
Cooking Schools in Italy - Why Go Italy
Cooking Schools, Courses, and Classes in Italy -

Krakow: Polish Home Cooking Class

Lisbon: 4-Hour Cooking Class

Enjoy eating paella? Why not learn how it's made while you are in Spain?
(Tau Consulting, Flickr, creative commons)
Barcelona: Small Group Cooking Class
Barcelona: Private Tour - Cooking Class in Chef's Local Residence
Barcelona: Private Cooking Class and Market Tour
Barcelona: Food Tour and Cooking Class - Catalan Cuisine
Cordoba: Andalucian Cooking Class with Wine Pairing
Granada: Cooking Class - How to Make Paella
Madrid: Cooking Class - Learn How to Make Paella
San Sebastian: Gastronomic Society Cooking Class: Pintxos and Basque-Cuisine
Seville: 3-Hour Andalucían Cooking Class
Seville: Tapas Cooking Course

Stockholm: Swedish Cooking Class

Cappadocia - Private Food and Culture Tour - Ayvali Village Turkish Cooking Class and Wine Caves
Istanbul: Half-Day Turkish Cooking Tour
Istanbul: Authentic Anatolian Cuisine Tour for Groups
Istanbul: Regional Cuisine Tour for Groups

Kiev: 6-Hour Ukrainian Cooking Class

Related resources - cooking classes abroad
Updated periodically with new links.
Have a resource to add? Please leave a comment.