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What symbolizes a magical Christmas more than freshly fallen snow, twinkling festive lights, Christmas market stalls, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts? Not much, we reckon!

In this second post in our festive series, Tep has put together a list of the most Christmassy places to visit around the northern hemisphere that could give you your dose of magic.

From real snow and reindeer rides to hot mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and dazzling Christmas markets, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s our list of the top 5 places to visit:

5. Nuremberg, Germany

German Christmas markets are known worldwide for their famous mulled wines, gingerbreads, glittering decorations and picturesque wooden chalets. Perhaps the most charming aspect of a German market is that it brings the holiday spirit to town with its aromas, sights and sounds. Yet, none of the imitations you can find across the globe come close to the original treats you will try at the original Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg.

The annual Christmas market, which dates as far back as 1628, descends yearly upon the center of Nuremberg and brings with it a wonderful festive atmosphere that is very contagious, joyful and family friendly.

Some of our favorite picks from the Christkindlesmarkt that just can’t be replicated include; the iconic stagecoach tour, a steaming hot mug of glühwein (mulled wine in German), the famous prune men, delicious Nuremberg lebkuchen (sweet gingerbread) and of course bratwurst. If you are looking for the real deal there is no better German Christmas market than this one!

For a short break in Nuremberg we recommend staying at Hotel Victoria that is perfectly placed to enjoy all the market has to offer!

4. Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City has been consistently named one of the world’s top destinations to visit during Christmas and for good reason. A metamorphosis takes place in the Old city during the holiday season as it transforms “into a Christmas village straight out of a story by Charles Dickens” (CNN, 2015).

There is an undeniable old world charm to this small Canadian town that lures tourists from all over the world to enjoy its Christmas markets, concerts and decorations. Visit the German Christmas Market for your mulled wine, gingerbread and bratwurst fix without having to step outside North America.

For a more quintessential French market head over to the Old Port Market or try the Gourmet Food Tour to get the best of both worlds. If you’re planning to stay inside the Old City, we can’t recommend the historic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac enough. It’s a tourist attraction in itself (and is one of the most photographed hotels in the world) so even if you don’t get the chance to stay in one of its impressive rooms make sure you take a snap before you leave.

3. Vienna, Austria

The musical capital of Europe completely transforms during the run up to Christmas and is a great place to get your festive groove on. As you walk through the many markets the city has to offer, you will be greeted by the inviting aromas of Christmas punch, roasted chestnuts and the sound of trumpets playing advent songs.

If you want all your senses tickled by Christmas fever you should definitely start with the Vienna Magic of Advent Market (a.k.a. Wien Christkindlesmarkt) at Rathausplatz. The square in front of the city’s impressive Town Hall is transformed into a glittering fairy-tale world with Christmas stalls, glittering lights, pony rides and its very own ‘Christkindl Express’ train. Ice skating at Vienna City Hall is also one not to miss out on, with the gigantic 8,000 square meter ‘Ice World’ rink featuring as one of the most beautiful ice rinks in the world this year.

For classical music lovers Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Advent Concert at St Stephansdom are the best way to get submersed in the authentic sound of Christmas. If you want to stay true to the opulent classical Viennese style, check in to Palais Coburg Residence Hotel that is within walking distance from all of the main attractions.

2. Lapland, Finland

The official home of Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle was sure to be on our top list of Christmassy places to visit. With guaranteed snow, stunning scenery, views of the Northern Lights and plenty of outdoor activities, Lapland will definitely bring out your inner child-like awe – even if you don’t bring the kids.

If you do want to take the little ones to visit Father Christmas we suggest booking the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. The highlights include elf workshops, sleigh rides, a Christmas carousel, Mrs. Claus’ famous kitchen and of course getting to meet the elusive Santa himself.

If you want to stay clear of Santa mania, why not take a day tour of Lapland’s picturesque scenery by going on a husky or reindeer excursion through the magical woodlands?

At night, the skyline over Lapland is transformed by one of the most spectacular natural light shows on earth, the northern lights. We recommend viewing the lights from the comfort of your own glass igloo or ‘kota’ at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort.

For the more adventurous and thick-skinned individuals, the Snow Village with ice bar and rooms is a once in a lifetime experience. Every year a new village is built out of 350,000 kilos of ice which will completely melt away come spring – enjoy its beauty whilst you can as it really is never the same twice.

Unlike the other Christmassy destinations we’ve focused on, Lapland has its own unique culinary delights that you won’t find anywhere else. Reindeer, bear, wild fowl and willow grouse are amongst some of the Lappish specialties – just be warned that Santa does not approve of eating Rudolf’s relatives for dinner!

1. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is known as the capital of Christmas for good reason, it’s home to some exceptional decoration displays, caroling choirs, stalls, festive delicacies and one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe. In the heart of the Alsace region, you will find the wonders of Strasbourg’s famed Christkindelsmärik, one of the oldest Christmas markets in France.

A dazzling Christmas tree sits in the center of the market, at Place Kléber, and marks the perfect starting point to begin your journey through the 300 stalls on offer. The must tries at the market include, hot mulled wine served in boot shaped mugs, bredeles, kugelhopf, Alsatian Christmas beer and foie gras.

For the best Christmas gingerbread you may ever taste head over to Mireille Oster’s Pain d’Epices in La Petite France (their recipe has been passed down through 3 generations and is the reason people flock there year round). The ice skating rink located on Place du Château is the perfect way to have some fun away from the market’s bustling stalls and take in the city’s gorgeous architecture.

We highly recommend the Hotel Cour du Corbeau for a charming and historic stay within walking distance to all the Christmas attractions. Be sure to book ahead of time, as Strasbourg is extremely popular during the festive season!

We hope our list left you feeling warm and Christmassy all over. If you are yearning for a magical trip abroad and plan on staying connected on your travels make sure you read up on the costs of using your mobile phone abroad.

Tep offers unbeatable value for unlimited portable wifi in over 72 countries for just $9.95 a day and that includes up to 5 separate devices.

For more information on how to avoid getting ripped off for using your mobile phone check out our post on how to avoid data roaming charges here.

Tep wishes you Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

If working from anywhere in the world, at a time of your choosing, sounds like your idea of heaven you are not alone. With millennials being hailed as an ‘asset-light’ generation increasingly looking to fill their virtual possession portfolio with life experiences rather than accumulating material wealth, the term digital nomad has never had more relevance.

Savvy citizens are moving away from traditional forms of employment where they are limited to an office space and ‘Groundhog Day’ desk between 9am and 5pm five days a week. The working population are both seeing and seeking the opportunities out there and engaging in a more free-spirited approach to work, where earning potential seeks to become a life experience embedded in your personal life rather than a separate entity that you have to endure in order to survive.

A CHANGING REALITY

Increased connectivity around the world has disrupted the traditional linear model of how the world works – people are thinking outside the box and making decisions to suit themselves rather than follow a generational dogma of the predictable path to success. Success is no longer simply about having a four-bedroomed house, 2.4 kids, a dog and a fabulous car. It is about living a life of freedom crammed full of extraordinary experiences with extraordinary people and digital nomads are those who are embracing this enlightened reality and possibility for a life less ordinary.

Digital hot spots, portable tablets and laptops, a plethora of marketing options through social media, and an increased desire for freedom, have all conspired to make this market grow exponentially. Millennials are embracing an opportunity denied to their grandparents of a work-life balance like no other. The digital nomad lifestyle encompasses flexibility, variety and crucially adaptability. It’s moving away from the job-for-life mentality and working to an assumption that people are now more self-reliant than ever and if anything, they are loving it rather than fearing it. In fact, from being seen as something exotic and obtainable to only the fortunate few, the digital nomad lifestyle is integrating into the mainstream with this year seeing the first Digital Nomad conference taking place in Berlin.

SO WHAT’S THE MAIN REASON TO BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD?

It’s a low-maintenance, low-cost entry to business that appeals on so many levels – it’s lightweight and portable and eliminates many of the stresses associated with a more traditional lifestyle such as rent or mortgage, furniture and household goods, endless bills, mounting car costs ad infinitum.

The joy of the digital nomad lifestyle is that it creates flexibility meaning you can work abroad if you so choose, or simply hang out in your local café with your favourite work buddies. It’s all about the life that you want to create and your reasons for it, including the vision you have of that world. With technology literally at our fingertips, we can communicate around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone with access to a computer, tablet or cell phone could be a potential customer or client of the digital nomad. And we here at Tep  – being passionate arbiters of travel and connection – embrace this reality wholeheartedly and want to keep you in touch when you need to be and most importantly when you choose to be.

It’s not even particularly difficult to start out working life as a digital nomad. As long as you have access to a laptop/tablet/cell phone and a WiFi signal, you are almost good to go. You can choose to start by buying an existing online business (albeit if you have a little capital to invest); going freelance – for example being a writer, take a course in online digital marketing, becoming an online trainer or mentor in your area of expertise, sell on eBay or train to become an expert in social media posting, promoting your lifestyle and actually making money out of it – you might not even need training for this if you are a millennial who was born without a silver spoon but instead a tablet on tap – you may have mastered the minutiae of social media etiquette and be able to create your own social media brand with very little expenditure required. The truth is there are numerous ways to get started if workplace autonomy is what you require.

We live on a planet containing approximately 7.4 billion people and counting and around 40 per cent have regular access to the internet. The fabric of the internet is woven securely into our daily lives and we purchase and research on an increasingly frequent basis. We want answers – it’s out there at the click of a mouse or touch of a phone screen. And so the creative digital nomad taps into this massive market and seeks out his or her niche in this teeming sea. Technology has made this market super easy to access and the only thing possibly standing in your way is a dodgy internet connection! And that’s where Tep has got it covered. With a handheld device that creates your very own wifi hotspot, it has to be the digital nomad’s ideal travelling companion.

EMBRACING THE LIFESTYLE

To embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, the essential component (after your laptop/tablet) is an uninterrupted wifi connection, which is what makes Tep Wireless a match made in heaven for the digital nomad. Teps’ pocket WiFi is a wireless modem that connects any wifi device to 3G internet. The beauty lies in the fact it requires no installation, cables or software and you can, if necessary, connect up to five devices at any one time. And, critically, you can enjoy up to eight hours of uninterrupted work time before recharging – giving you the length of an average office day to do your thing but most brilliantly at the time of your choosing – so if burning the midnight oil is your thing in far-flung places, digital nomad-ing with Tep is no problem. To find out more about how Tep could be part of your digital nomad lifestyle click here.

Tep offers you the safest, securest and most cost effective way of accessing the internet when you’re away. For one fixed daily cost of just $9.50, you can enjoy truly unlimited data for up to 5 devices on the go (the device is pocket sized and works in over 80 countries worldwide). With Tep you’ll never have to worry about returning to a shock bill or being stranded without access to the web – so you can leave the drama to the writers!

Blogging is replacing good old-fashioned print media as one of the most accessible ways to tell incredibly engaging stories about everything from fashion and culture, to politics and travel. Travel blogging in particular, is a rapidly expanding industry that shows no signs of slowing down. Now, it’s an all too familiar story; an individual becomes disenchanted with their work grind and decides there is more to life than the 9-5. The birth of the modern travel blogger begins once they’ve quit their day job and packed up all their worldly belongings, ready to start their own digital, nomadic journey.

With more and more people being infected with the travel bug, blogs are becoming even more relevant by giving potential wanderlusters an unbiased and highly personalized view of their dream destination. And because blogs are easier to keep up to date (when compared with the average Lonely Planet guide) the information inside them is likely to be more handy for researching specific locations – like this totally rad blog that gives you real-time footage of the best surf locations across the world. Plus, who wouldn’t want to travel the globe taking envy-stirring Instagram photos, capturing awesome, candid experiences and becoming a permanent nomad, all whilst earning money?

But be warned, starting a career as a blogger is not going to guarantee you an income. Your best chance at a good steady cash flow is authentic, insightful and professional writing that features exciting destinations (epic pictures will help too!). The most highly paid bloggers would have found a niche that works for them, like solo travel guides tailored to women or the best hiking destinations for thrill seekers, and built a highly engaged and targeted audience around it. Once they have the traffic flowing through to their blog, they can watch the money start rolling in. The most common ways to make money from a blog are by selling advertising space on their site or featuring particular products that bigger brands will pay extremely well for.

Becoming a Travel Blogger – The Basics

If you think you may be ready to take the plunge into the diverse world of blogging, there are a few things you will need to figure out first.

Cash is king (at least until you’re a pro)

Whilst quitting your job immediately and booking a one-way ticket to Tahiti may seem like a grand idea now, just remember your trip won’t be free. You’ll need to have enough cash to keep you going for at least a few months (think food, accommodation, flights, excursions and clothing), not to mention extensive travel and health insurance and emergency funds for anything unexpected (like a ticket home). You’ll also need to invest in some travel/tech essentials to fuel your new passion. We recommend bringing along a good mobile phone, camera/video recorder and a laptop on all your journeys. For our pick of the best travel-friendly gadgets to invest in check out this piece or this post for some great tips to making your travel time as comfortable as possible.

Blog your audience away

You’ll need to think very carefully about who you’re writing for, what niche you’d like to target and what type of audience you’d ideally like to attract. Think about what you’d enjoy most whilst travelling, whether that’s food, extreme sports or just awe-inspiring locations – take a look at these top luxury travel blogs if you need some ideas. Try and give your blog a memorable name and one that’s available as a domain and across all the major social media sites (like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and Periscope). Writing really authentic and engaging posts will help boost your visibility online, so make sure you plan your posts ahead. If you’re not sure where to begin, these tips from the blogging pros will help. Do lots of research ahead of time and make sure you take plenty of photos and videos whilst you’re traveling – this will give you great ammo for your social media accounts (which are an essential means for getting your blog noticed).

Get your blog out there!

It’s no good having amazing posts on the wonders of the world you’ve stumbled upon unless people are actually reading it. Seasoned blogger, Melissa Giroux (aka @abrokenbackpack) has shared her top tips for increasing the exposure and traffic to your blog here. Apart from content, one of the most important things you’ll need to promote your blog is a reliable and fast internet connection, to make sure you can update your posts on the go. Thankfully Tep has a travel-sized companion that’s perfect for bloggers, it’s a portable pocket sized wifi device that gives you access to unlimited internet for a fixed fee of $9.95 per day. This means you’ll never have to worry about crazy data roaming charges or dodgy internet connections in the middle of the jungle, as Tep works in over 80 countries worldwide! Don’t just take our word for it, read why this awesome travel blogging family love’s using Tep on their travels here.

Finally Tep’s affiliate program is one way for bloggers to generate income from their website and we already have a few on board such us Travel with Bender, Gypsynester, TravelingMom and Traveling Well for Less.

We hope this post gives you some insight into the exciting world of travel bloggers. Whilst blogging may not suit everyone, it can be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience if you do have a flair for creative writing and want to get paid for a permanent holiday!