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Visit the crystal clear lake in Oregon

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Hidden inside Willamette National Forest in Oregon, is a crystal clear lake that has its own secrets for everyone to explore and discover.

Clear Lake was formed around 3,000 years ago as a result of the lava flows from Sand Mountain, creating a natural dam at the south end of the lake that slowly filled with water over the years. The lake is primarily fed by snow from the nearby Mount Washington but is filtered through the underground springs that flow all year round.

Part of the surroundings of the lake, which were part forests, are now submerged into the water overtime. With the lakes cold temperatures, it has preserved majority of the trees, revealing what seems like a magical underwater world. Some of the trees submerged extend as far as 120 feet into the lake.

Due to the volcanic activity that has occurred in the past, the ground’s of the lake is also covered in volcanic silt. Which is so thick, it looks very closely like white sand. The lake also hides a collection of shipwrecks of wooden boats, some of which dates back to the 1920’s. These shipwrecks and the volcanic silt is what attracts many for an otherworldly diving experience.

While the lake is perfect for diving expeditions, it does present itself as a challenge. The temperatures of Clear Lake get as cold as 37 degree Fahrenheit (2.8 degree Celsius). For those who aren’t up for the chilly temperature, the lake also provides rowboat rentals and kayaks. The lake is so clear you can just row over the sights and not worry about murky.

Apart from diving and rowing boats in Clear Lake, there are also trails open for you to hike at. Clear Loop Trail and Mackenzie River National Recreational Trail are both nearby the area, the trails would lead you through areas that had lava flows and volcanic glass. From May to June, the forests is filled with wildflowers and throughout October, Vine maples and a wave of other colours blanket the forest.

Changes to Australia’s Working Holiday Visa

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The Australian government has implemented some changes to relax the visa rules for backpackers. There will now be more opportunities for everyone to explore the land down under via a working holiday to Australia.

Previously, backpackers can only stay with their agricultural employer for a maximum of six months. With the new rules put in place, backpackers are now allowed to stay with their agricultural employer for up to a year. Plus, if you’re keen to take on extra agricultural work, you’ll also have the opportunity to stay in Australia for three years.

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The government also plans to remove the annual cap on workers on increase the age limit from 30 to 35 people from several countries, a few of which including Canada and Ireland. In the past, backpackers may have faced limitations in accepting agricultural work in Northern Australia. However, they will now enjoy greater flexibility to work in different regions.

As for Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme, changes have been made to allow people from nine Pacific Island countries to come and work on farms in Oz. Eligible workers will now be allowed to stay nine months, as compared to the previous six months, and employers will also have to cover less costs.

The new changes have been put in place as part of the Australian government’s effort to help fill agricultural jobs as farmers continue to struggle to meet the labour demands of growing season. Due to the nature of farm work being physically demanding, there can be difficulty attracting Australian workers to apply for such jobs.

How to Apply?

At the moment, passports from 19 different countries are eligible to apply for a working holiday visa for Oz, and applications are eligible for travellers who are 30 or under. For the case of Ireland and Canada, the age cap is at 35. For more information, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Get Yourselves a Free Stay at These B&Bs by Trading Your Skills

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Image credit: Barter Week

You can now exchange some goods and services in return for free stays in bed & breakfasts worldwide. Barter Week is happening from 19 to 25 November, where travellers can stay in B&Bs without any payment if you happen to be skilled in manual, teaching or creative tasks. Plus, you can also stay for free if you arrive with something from your home for your bed and breakfast hosts.

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Image credit: Barter Week

Approximately 450 B&Bs in over 60 countries on every continent have signed up for the scheme at the moment. Taking place during the third week of November, Barter Week is the international spin-off of Italy’s “Settimana del Baratto,” the annual event that is promoted by www.bed-and-breakfast.it, which will be celebrating its tenth edition this year.

You will be able to browse through a site which contains the listings of the participating B&Bs around the world. Each entry contains a host wish-list that gives you an idea of what is being requested in exchange for the free stay. Once you select your B&B of choice and determine that you’re able to meet any of the requests posted, you can simply contact the hosts and begin bargaining.

In the event that there is no wish list available, you’re able to offer a barter of your own, perhaps language lessons or a collector’s item. If you’re a B&B owner who want to participate in Barter Week, you can simply add your name to the site, with a presentation complete with photos and descriptions of the barter that will be put on offer.

Check out your barter opportunities right here.

You Can Now Fly on the World’s First Craft Beer Airline

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Image credit: BrewDog

Do you remember the world’s first beer hotel? BrewDog, the makers of the world’s first beer hotel is now launching the “world’s first craft beer airline.”

BrewDog is now launching beer themed flights to its property, The DogHouse hotel,  come February 2019.

The flight will be trialed before being extended to later periods should there be enough demand. It will be taking off on February 21, transporting passenger between London and The DogHouse’s location in Columbus.

Passengers will be able to enjoy the round-trip flight onboard a Boeing 767. The flight will be filled with perks for beery lovers ranging from tastings of limited-edition brews prepared by BrewDog’s team to combat the change in taste and smell that can occur in higher altitudes onboard aircraft, as well as food and beer pairings.

On top of that, passengers can indulge in onboard cocktails and amenity kits that come with eye masks and blankets before landing in Columbus to enjoy a four-night stay in a downtown Columbus hotel. Guests can also opt to stay at BrewDog’s The Doghouse — complete with in-room taps, shower mini fridges stocked with beers as well as beer-infused spa treatments.

As part of their itinerary, guests will be able to tour BrewDog’s brewery, hotel and beer museum before going on tours of local breweries, bars and restaurant tours in Columbus and Cincinnati.

This round-trip flight will be taking place from 21st February to 25th February and is only open to BrewDog Equity Punks, which requires a minimum investment of $50 in return for a share in the company.

You can expect the flight to be approximately US$1,605 per person, inclusive of all flights, excursion and accommodation costs. In addition, there will be five lucky winners who can score a free seat on the flight by taking part in BrewDog’s social media competitio

Go on a Polar Adventure on a Luxury Cruise

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Gone are the days where luxury vacations are limited to just laying on a sun kissed beach, idling the hours away. If you want to go for a cooler option, you can add a polar cruise to your list.

Starting its voyage in 2020, a new ship from the polar adventure cruise company, Quark Expeditions, will be bringing visitors to nearer to the icy nature while still serving unparalleled comfort on board.

Quark has been a pioneer in polar cruising as early as the 90s, taking on routes such as Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands, the Drake Passage, and everywhere else in both the polar circles. The polar adventure company has blended comfort with excitement but with the new vessel, the company presents a new concept.

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The cruise ship would be somewhat a floating five-star hotel that would be taking visitors to some of the world’s most immaculate and otherworldly icy waters. The 200-passenger ship will be more powerful and expedition-ready than any of their ship in the fleet, having the capabilities of reaching farther into more remote areas.

The ship is said to have luxury amenities such as a fitness room that overlooks the waters and sky, a high-end restaurant and wine-bar that will have window views from every seat and cabins are to have large windows and/or balconies for the water views.

Quark has designed a vessel specifically for the polar environment and is currently being built in Croatia by experienced manufacturer, Brodosplit, while getting input from Quarks very own polar experts and Norwegian naval architect, LMG Marin.

The yet to be named vessel will also be able to travel longer without refuelling or restocking food and water. The ship will be able to travel for 40 days, up from the previous limit of 30 days. Not only does this increase passenger safety, but it also gives more opportunity to bring guests deeper into the polar environment.

Booking Quark Expeditions new cruise will begin early 2019, with discounts and/or free transfer packages on selected cruises.

Overcome Your Fear of Sharks by Swimming With Them

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According to Australian researchers, it has been found that people who partake in cage-diving with sharks tend to be more likely to support their conservation. 36 people were killed in shark encounters in Australian waters between the years of 1997 and 2017, and it is not surprising that the fear of sharks has been keeping many people out of the waters and has at the same time stood in the way of the conservation of sharks.

Findings have shown that adventurous travellers who embarked in cage diving and had the opportunity to look at a shark straight in the eye have experienced an emotional engagement with the sharks. This increases their understanding, awareness and concern for the species.

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Titled “Turning wildlife experiences into conservation action: Can white shark cage-dive tourism influence conservation behaviour” looked at the attitudes and environmental behaviour of a total of 136 tourists after their cage-diving experience. These tourists were interviewed after cage-diving with white sharks at the Neptune Islands Group Marine Park located in South Australia.

Shark ecotourism experiences are potentially able to enhance participants’ knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards sharks and at the same time support their conservation. Once the travellers have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these predators, they gain a lot of respect for them. The main thing that changed their ideas about sharks was the emotional connection developed through the engagement with them.

In Australia, shark tourism plays a huge role in the Australian economy and is worth more than AUD$25 million. Advocates mentioned that tourism ventures can increase public awareness of the threats to shark populations around the world and gain more support for the conservation of sharks.

As sharks play important ecological roles in marine ecosystems, it is vital that human perception is improved so that it increases conservation awareness and behaviour in the long run so as to protect this great species.

You Can Now Book a Flight Based on a Screenshot

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Have you ever come across an Instagram post of a beautiful place from somewhere in the world but have no idea where? May it be sourcing inspiration for your next trip or just wanting to hop on a plane to experience the same beauty for yourself. Fret not, EasyJet is making it possible for you to travel to the places you see on Instagram.

You can now go to that stunning beach you saw on your favourite celebrity’s Instagram or the city you saw on a travel photographer’s feed via Look&Book. With the social app becoming a vital tool for the digital traveller, the airline’s new app will allow Instagram users to spot a destination online and be able to book a flight there.

Before, finding a destination post on Instagram and trying to make up where it is, how to get there and finding the best rates would make up a lengthy process.

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Image credit: Look&Book

For Look&Book, users can take a screenshot of the destination post that caught their eye on Instagram and upload it to the app. By using geolocation tagging, EasyJet will match the picture to a destination, with suggested travel dates and even a few price points that available.

Despite the process being seamless and enticing, you will not be able to book a flight simply anywhere in the world. EasyJet only services airports in Northern Africa, Iceland and Europe.

When you do make it to you Instagram worthy destination, make sure you have that perfect caption to inspire someone else’s trip.

Send Gin Along With Your Holiday Cards

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It’s our favourite time of the year once again with the festive season round the corner and what better way is there to celebrate than with alcohol? If you’re in search of the perfect holiday gift, Scottish small-batch gin distiller Daffy’s Gin is here to help. They have recently launched a Christmas card that comes with a special gift — gin.

Place an order for Daffy’s brand new gin cards to send it to your loved ones and they’ll opening up the Christmas cards to find a miniature bottle of Daffy’s gin sitted nicely within the card.

With the 50ml bottles placed into a letterbox, you have the option to insert a handwritten greeting or message onto the card along with the gin.

If you’re wondering how the card looks like, it includes the brand’s logo right in front, paired with a cheerful message inside that exclaims “Merry Christmas and a Daffy New Year!”

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Image credit: Daffy’s Gin

The cards cost approximately US$10 each when purchased individually. Alternatively, you can get a set of six cards at US$60.

Although UK orders can be placed online, international orders will have to be made by contacting the company via phone or email and delivery begins 22nd October 2018.

Made from pure wheat grain spirit from Northern France, Daffy’s gin is distilled in an ancient single batch copper pot still. It is then subsequently blended with eight different botanicals — lemon peel (imported from Italy), cassia bark (imported from Indonesia), orris root (imported from Morocco), orange peels (imported from Spain), mint (imported from Lebanon), juniper and coriander seeds (imported from the Balkan states), and lastly angelica root (imported from Belgium).

Combining these flavours, you will taste toffee, citrus, spice caramel and mint in your gin.

Let Google Assistant Handle Your Car Rides

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All thanks to Google Assistant, everyone can now have their very own personal assistant. Google Assistant, which is available for both iPhone and Android, as well as the Google Home, now has the capabilities of hailing you a car.

Just by saying “Hey Google, book me a taxi to the airport,” Google Assistant will display a list of available ride services. The list is complete with estimated prices and wait times. Next, all you have to do is to select your preferred ride service and the app will proceed to open to confirm the ride.

This feature will be useful for individuals who are running late and are short on time to compare between service providers for the most cost efficient ride. With the help of Google Assistant, users will be able to see all wait times and prices on the same page rather than switching back and forth between apps.

Apart from hailing rides for you, Google Assistant has been extremely helpful in terms of letting you plan your vacation hands-free. From learning a foreign language to finding you flight options and providing information about the weather, you can rely on Google Assistant. Plus, in the earlier half of 2018, Google introduced a feature that has allowed Assistant to book restaurant reservations and salon appointments.

Sustainable Travel Through Eco-Friendly Airlines

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With sustainable travel getting more attention, travellers who are devoted to protecting the environment while still getting to another country or state, choosing which airlines you take can make a huge difference.

20 major airlines flying between the U.S. and Europe has been ranked according to their carbon footprint. Coming in first, Norwegian Air Shuttle is the most environmentally friendly airline. The airline uses a combination of its seat numbers and uses of newer aircrafts that has lower fuel burn. Other airlines that ranks high with above-average fuel efficiency is WOW Air, SWISS, Turkish Airlines, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, and Thomas Cook.

Right at the bottom of the fuel efficiency list is British Airways. As a matter of fact, the airline’s fuel efficiency worsened by 4%, lower compared to a previous ranking in 2014.

Delta Airlines performed best, among the U.S. Airline, with an industry- average fuel efficiency. Both American and United Airlines ranked below average, with United coming in third from last with only 1% more fuel efficiency that Lufthansa. Though, United is making plans to make changes that would improve its overall environmental footprint.

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An interesting fact, crowded planes are much better for the planet. More people get to one place to another with the same amount of fuel. So by flying in a fully booked flight or a long-haul low-cost airline, could actually be more environmentally friendly, even if it’s more uncomfortable.

The environmental impact of aviation is actually a hot issue. With airlines contribution about 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and boeing expects as many as 43,000 planes will be needed to fly all 7.8 billion people by 2036.

Many airlines are now making plans to be more fuel efficient, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the new Boeing 777X, Airbus A350, and the new Airbus A220.

Biofuels are also taking off, having Boeing play and important role in their advancements. Though there are challenges that come in to play as well, including getting enough to supply airports and also reducing the price of biofuels so that they can be used by more airlines in a regular basis.

Back in 2016, Oslo Airport became the first airport to have stock and supply for biofuel in large quantities to support airline operations. The blend of biofuels in Oslo is a combination of used cooking oil and Camelina, a Spanish plant.