Aldershot Travel Burlington's Blog

Buenos Aires ranks high on travel bucket lists: an exciting, European-influenced city in a remote country, renowned for a passionate history and punching above its weight in contributions to global culture.

Argentina has given the world the breathtaking music and dance of tango, the legendary Eva Peron (immortalized in the timeless musical Evita!), some of the New World's best wines from its vineyards, finest beef from its ranches, not to mention its famed polo players, soccer stars, and rabid soccer fans.

With a European familiarity, but its own uniquely Argentine and Latin sensibility, Buenos Aires is a world capital where you want to make sure you don't miss a beat. So my colleagues and I decided to try Monograms.

It's a hybrid way to travel that cherry picks the best parts of doing it on your own, and combines them with the benefits of groups. Monograms promised all the pleasures of Buenos Aires, with someone else doing the hard work – and a Local Host to provide tips and insights and recommendations. Sounds like the dream way to travel, doesn't it?

Here are 6 Reasons to Take a Monograms Tour of Buenos Aires:

The Local Host

The Local Host is the hero of any Monograms story. Our guide Analia is a local who loves her city and is passionate about sharing it with guests. Even when she wasn't with us, she was available by phone. It's like visiting a friend in another city: they take you to and from the airport, help you with logistics, provide you with essential insider tips like the coolest restaurants and local tipping practices, take you to some places and recommend other places for you to explore on your own in your free time.

The Airport:

Independent travelers are used to that moment in Arrivals. You're tired after that long flight, you haul your bags off the belt, go through Immigration… then you're in Arrivals and you have to rally again to figure out the lay of the land as you longingly file past the signs being held up to greet other new arrivals that promise a warm welcome and assistance.

That VIP treatment is yours on a Monograms tour. Our guide Analia was waiting for us, her Monograms sign a welcome beacon in a busy airport. It's not like a large group tour either. No waiting for 30 other people to join us; our group of 3 was whisked off to a waiting mini van.

Luggage and Tipping:

Lugging luggage is the least fun part of any trip. Our bags were taken from us, loaded into the van, and at our hotel, unloaded, and handed to bellmen to take care of from there. A seamless hand-off with no fuss for us. We breezed into our hotel, all without lifting a finger. Or opening a wallet and fumbling with local currency. Tipping had already been taken care of.

Hotel:

Monograms tours include hotels, but you still get to customize your Buenos Aires experience. You can choose among different hotels at different price points and different neighborhoods to suit your own budget and interests in the city. Breakfast is included, so you can start your day off right and without having to figure that out.

In Buenos Aires, the breakfast buffet was so much more than a generic, 'international' meal. It was hard to resist delicious local dulce de leche (how do you make fresh pastries even better? Adding the local caramel sauce) and some of Argentina's famous meat in the form of thinly sliced cold cuts and sausages.

Our guide Analia escorted us in; the hotel staff knew her, and while our bags were being taken from the van to the lobby to our rooms, she smoothly arranged a late check out for us to accommodate our travel schedule. Our hotel was in a busy neighborhood, steps from local shops and cafes and on our first evening, we found the best restaurant around the corner, full of locals and only local dishes and wines – fantastic!

The Private Tour

What a wonderful way to get the lay of the land. And a private tour of the city with your guide is part of every Monograms tour.

Essential Buenos Aires includes the world's widest avenue (which Analia explained to us as we drove in from the airport), the famously and fabulously European architecture, the colorful and eccentric La Boca neighborhood, and even the cemetery in the Recoleta neighborhood, where Eva Peron's final resting place still draws fans and floral tributes. When we were chatting with Analia and she learned of my foodie side, she offered to change the private tour to include the wonderful local market. Although there are 'must see's' in every new city, we were so thrilled our Local Host and the tour was responsive and customizable to our own interests.

The Customization

Some of the customization, like changing up the private city tour to swing by the market, is spontaneous, but other ways to make the Monograms tour your own are baked in so you can put your own mark on your holiday.

Your choice of a selection of vetted hotels, your choice of additional, curated experiences that range from a hands-on culinary experience where you learn to make the famous beef empanadas, a tango show, or even exploring outside the city – a cruise on the Tigre river, or a visit to a real Argentine ranch where you can see 'gauchos' in action.

Plus, of course, plenty of non-programmed free time so we could do exactly what we wanted. I'd heard about the woman who makes the world's most famous tango shoes, so one free afternoon, we went on our own to the atelier of Comme il Faut for an extravaganza of extravagant, limited edition tango/party shoes. Wow!



Our Verdict:

Even in our short stay, we discovered the best of Buenos aires with Monograms. We loved having a 'back up team' even while we did our own thing, taking the inconveniences of travel off our hands, and providing us the that local contact during our tour and transfers in person, but available by phone throughout our stay who gave us that private, insiders' experience of the 'Paris of Latin America'.

By Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip.TV

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Intrepid Doubles Family-Themed Itineraries

Intrepid Travel is doubling its family-themed tours for 2017 with 48 itineraries tailored to families in two new styles of travel, Comfort and Active Family.

The decision to launch more than 20 tours comes as a result of the increasing demand for multi-generational travel. Intrepid Travel has also experienced significant demand for its teen trips, designed for ages 12 and up, inspiring the launch of teen trekking itineraries in Peru and Nepal, among other destinations.

“Intrepid Travel’s kid-friendly tours shake up the typical family vacation, offering a sense of adventure suited for all generations,” says Leigh Barnes, North America director for Intrepid Travel. “By significantly increasing our Family tours for 2017, we hope to be the go-to operator for family adventure travel.”

Ideal for meeting like-minded families, Intrepid Travel’s family-only adventures offer action-packed experiences steering off the beaten track, away from ball pits and buffets. Transforming travel into a form of education, the tours encourage families to use the world as their textbook by immersing into the destination and culture. With an average group size of 12, travelers can hop aboard local transportation, eat at family-run restaurants and kick back in home-stay accommodations. Family-friendly tours with 2017 departures offer one-of-a-kind experiences including:

  • Act like Mowgli in search for Shere Khan and other Bengal tigers for a true “Jungle Book” experience on the Comfort Northern India Family Holiday.
  • Visit Chiang Mai’s Elephant Nature Park, recognized by World Animal Protection for its protection of elephant welfare, on the Thailand Family Holiday.
  • Punt along the waterways of the Okavango Delta’s vibrant ecosystem by traditional canoe, greeting grunting hippos on the Namibia & Botswana Family Adventure.
  • Take on life as a local Gozitan shepherd for the day, tending to animals, cutting corn, making ‘gbejniet’ cheese and preparing lunch with the host family during the Malta and Gozo Family Holiday.

Start your Trip!

A version of this article previously appeared in TravelPress.com

10 interesting facts about the Taj Mahal Taj Mahal is a symbol of a sad but inspiring royal romance story. It starts off with the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, known as Mumtaz Mahal, during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum, in 1631, at a time when the Mughal Empire is at its greatest. As a way to mourn his wife, the emperor orders the construction of a mausoleum in 1832. The mausoleum would later be the symbol of Mughal Empire architectural exploits. Check out the following interesting facts about the mausoleum. read more
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Discover a Bronze Buddha on a 360 Lantau Island Explorer Tour Do you want to explore an island rich in early human artifacts? Then check out the 360 Lantau Island Explorer Tour in Hong Kong. On the tour to Lantau Island visitors will explore the celebrated Po Lin Monastery, the Avenue of Stars, and the Tai O Fishing Village. read more
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The Majestic Taj Mahal

 

 

Found in Agra, India, Taj Mahal is a world-renowned white domed marble burial chamber that was built by an emperor to commemorate his wife, who died while giving birth to their 14th child. 
 
With the evident popularity of this Muslim art to locals and foreigners alike, you could use a few tips to keep in mind when visiting Taj Mahal.
 
1. Tickets
 
Indian citizens pay only 20 Indian Rupee (INR) when entering Taj Mahal given that they present a government identification card, and while discounts are given to residents of neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, foreigners of other nations are required to pay INR 750.
 
2. Opening Hours
 
You can go to Taj Mahal as early 6 AM or as late as 7 PM. Special evening viewing (8:30 PM – 12:30 AM) are allowed two days prior and every after full moon provided that it is not a Friday and that evening visits do not fall in the Ramadan month. 
 
3. Things that are NOT Allowed Inside
 
Video cameras, knives, matches and lighters are not allowed inside the mausoleum. Security checks are done outside to make sure that you are not bringing any harmful objects inside.
 
Shoes can be worn as long as you cover it with foot muffs. Lastly, using of mobile phones is not permitted. 
 
So if you want to encounter a hassle-free experience in your Taj Mahal tour, you should bear in mind the abovementioned tips.
 

With these pieces of advice in mind, you could already start planning your trip to Taj Mahal today!

Photo Credit

Argentina is renowed for its excellent and diverse selection of wine - Malbec, Mendoza - there are many rich varieties. The terrain seems to complement the European grade varietals with interesting notes not present when produced in other climates. 

That's why you should definitely do some wine tasting when you visit. You can always try new bottles out during dinner, but we recommend taking a tasting tour towards the beginning to guide your palette throughout  your trip. 

One such tour is the Wine Tour Urbano - from their website:

"It is a different way of tasting wines. If you're looking for the best Argentina has to offer, you can miss it. Wineries in shops, you walking around with a glass, poured in each spot."

Sounds incredible! Check out their Spring schedule here. 

 

And when you're ready to take your next trip, be sure to travel with Aldershot!

For a unique and authentic culinary experience consider Thailand's original Bangkok Food Tours. Explore the city's tastiest neighborhoods, try different delicious Thai cuisine and learn about Thai culture and local history. Fun for all ages!

There are several unique tours to choose from, like a Chinatown Night Foodie Walk and a Bangkok Bites & Bike Tour.

Just one of many activities we recommend during your next trip.

For more information, contact us here!