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Social Improve Travel Blog

Social Improve is a travel blog with a twist. Read about personal experiences all over the world with advice on how I work to improve myself in the digital and offline world. The aim is to become socially productive and happy anywhere in the world! Find out more.


Getting the most out of your trip to Cyprus

Anyone who has embraced the digital revolution and visits Cyprus will be delighted to discover that the island uses online booking, banking and any other perquisites of the modern world.

In fact, some smart research will help you discover the best that this Mediterranean paradise has to offer.

Cyprus, Aphrodite’s birthplace

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Consider spending Christmas and New Year’s in Istanbul

Christmas time can be an overwhelming and chaotic month that brings stress, overeating, and overbuying. Traveling to a far away country can get you away from all that. It can bring you much joy and peace just from getting away from it all.

It’s also the perfect time to get extra vacation time from work, enabling you to take a much needed break before the upcoming year.

Traveling During Christmas

Traveling at Christmas time is not for everyone, though. Airports are packed, and flights are overbooked. There are also delays in both public and private transportation. But, traveling can and will give you a much needed break and relaxation that you need, you just need to pick the perfect place to go earlier and then be on your merry way.

A beautiful country to visit at Christmas is Turkey; Istanbul to be exact. Istanbul at the holidays is a wonderful place to travel. The people of Turkey don’t really celebrate Christmas, thus a low-key Christmas and holiday will be in order.

Christmas in Istanbul

However, in more recent years Christmas and holiday looking decorations have become a norm. These decorations are for New Years to be exact, not Christmas. Yet, they are still very festive with trees, lights, and sometimes even Santa Claus. Istanbul’s New Year’s celebration is quite large, so purchasing your plane tickets and booking your hotel early is ideal.

Celebrations start late in November and continue through the first week of January, by the way.

Even though Istanbul does put up some holiday decorations and lights it won’t be an in your face, santa claus laden, reindeer abundance Christmas. I promise don’t worry if you’re trying to get away from all the Christmas hubbub, decorations and carols or trying to have a more mellow, calmer Christmas, Istanbul has much to offer for everyone!

Everything is open during Christmas

Because the Turkish people don’t really celebrate Christmas museums, banks, and tourist sites are still open to the public. Nothing shuts down December 25th because it is not a direct holiday for the people that live there. While many places in Europe will shut down for the holidays, specially Christmas, Istanbul and almost everything in it remains open.

All the things you want to see and do in Istanbul will still be available for your enjoyment, even on the 25th December and 1st January of every year.

If you do celebrate Christmas and you would like to attend Christmas mass there are a few churches you can go to for this. The most well known and largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul is the St. Anthony of Padua Church. Mass is in English, Italian and some Turkish. These are open to the public, and you can spend any religious or non-religious tourist time in those places without the crowds easily on different days.

Another thing to remember is the weather. Istanbul can get cold during the winter months, which includes rain, sleet, and snow. Be prepared for all types of weather and thus bring layers to stay warm. The colder weather shouldn’t stop you from being able to see all the things you want to see while visiting Istanbul.

Istanbul is a great choice for you upcoming Christmas holiday. Add it to your list of places to try out during the New Year.

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All inclusive holidays – why we love them

For many of us holidays are one of the most treasured fixtures in our annual calendar, with the restorative properties of a two-week stint in a sun second to none. But while the excitement of preparing for a holiday can be almost as good as the event itself, going DIY, and arranging meals, activities and more using our own initiative, can put a dampener on things.

After all when it comes to a choice of relaxing in the days leading up to our break or furious bouts of internet surfing to finalise holiday details, most would choose the former.

It’s exactly this reason why all-inclusive holidays continue to be popular with holidaymakers who want organise a trip to foreign shores, with all the added extras nicely rolled into one package. Here are just some the reasons why we continue to opt for all-inclusive holidays time and time again.

Food for thought

All inclusive holidays normally include all meals and drinks meaning that you won’t have to venture outside the confines of the resort to fuel up or quench your thirst unless you really want to. Holidaymakers normally have a wide choice of cuisines to choose from meaning that you can satisfy your food craving and return to relaxing by the hotel pool in one fell swoop.

And if you get hungry between meal times, the best part is all-inclusive deals will allow you to reach for a cup of tea or coffee and an accompanying snack without an extra charge!

Cost clear

Holiday costs can soon add up as you head out to explore the best of the local area and sample local delicacies and more. As all your food and drink costs, including alcoholic drinks, are included in your all-inclusive package it will be that much easier to stick within your holiday budget and keep your spending in check.

However, if you do want to head off on an impromptu boat ride or visit to the local museum, then you should have room to accommodate these activities into your budget thanks to the food and drink savings.

Stay entertained

After time spent sunning yourself on the beach and visiting your umpteenth local landmark, you will probably be in search of alternative activities that will continue to keep you entertained on holiday. While activities such as watersports or a visit to a live music venue would normally eat a hole in your holiday budget, with an all-inclusive holiday you can enjoy a range of activities for free.

For active types why not spend a day on the water taking part in activities such as kayaking or windsurfing? If you want to spend the day or evening in a slightly more relaxed manner why not watch a movie or take part in a cookery demonstration?

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iPod Touch: The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

From detachable gaming consoles for smartphones to lost gadget detectors and wearable fitness activity trackers, retailers are filling their shelves with shiny new tech for you to wrap up and place under the tree this December.

If you’re shopping for a tech-loving guy or gal, but feel a bit overwhelmed by all the options, the iPod Touch might be what you’re looking for. Here’s why:

Simple

Much of the beauty of the iPod Touch is in its simplicity. Its touch-screen display is as user-friendly as it gets. Operating on iOS 6, the fifth generation models also come with wi-fi capability. Unlike other portable music players, the iPod touch allows you to download songs directly from within the gadget – rather than by syncing it to another device. When compared to the standard iPod, this is a major advantage.

Multifunctional

Whilst the iPod Touch is first and foremost a music player, it also serves as a camera, a video-conferencing device and a gaming console. New to the fifth generation models is the  5-megapixel iSight camera, complete with LED flash and tap to focus technology. Also, the front-facing HD video camera allows users to talk with friends and family over a crystal-clear picture. The fifth generation models also come with the personal ‘knowledge navigator’ Siri.

Affordable

Whilst £249 isn’t anything to scoff at, the iPod Touch is relatively more affordable than comparable products. With much of the same functionality as the iPhone – just without the actual phone capabilities – the iPod Touch a cool £300 cheaper. Also, the iSight camera is just as impressive as several more expensive point-and-shoots on the market. If you were thinking of buying someone a digital camera this Christmas, it’s worth considering the multifunctional iPod Touch instead.

For kids who don’t need a service plan, media streamers who want something more portable than a tablet and music lovers looking to upgrade their old iPod, the iPod Touch won’t disappoint.

Image by Titanas, used under Creative Comms license

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The ingredients of a successful marketing campaign?

There’s more to turning marketing campaign ideas into a fully-fledged strategy than you might think. While you want your brand and product to be at the forefront of any advertising, you need to be sure that the campaign itself presents the right message. You don’t want your company name associated with something that people might find offensive or distasteful. You want your brand to be thought of with fondness and respect.

Credibility and Status

Using Guinness World Records is a fantastic way to transform ordinary marketing campaign ideas into something that will reach a huge audience and offer significant return on your investment (and in some cases, that can be a negligible amount and a massive return). Some of the biggest brand names in the word have used GWR as a platform from which to launch new products and new ideas, whilst maintaining their credibility and brand status.

One of the most successful and prestigious marketing campaign ideas surrounded the 2012 Olympics. Cadbury was the Official Treat Provider for the Games and wanted to celebrate their association with this global event.

The Olympic Spirit

The concept behind the campaign was to maximize the effect of this sponsorship with online and in-the-flesh games that anyone could take part in. As well as aiming to “bring the Olympic spirit to the nation” and inspire people to rediscover the benefits and enjoyment of sport, the driving force behind the campaign was to promote the idea of community spirit. In order to promote that concept, Cadbury realized that the best way was to pit community teams against each other in fun races and events.

However, aware that not everyone is necessarily capable of completing some of the more physical trials, Cadbury researched some of the more obscure and accessible records – as well as opting to set some of its own. Instead of opting for hurdles or sprinting, communities were divided into two teams: Spots or Stripes. These teams were then entered into events such as attempting to break the record for The World’s Fastest Tea Maker or The World’s Fastest Doodler. However, there were also more physical events, such as sack races and Frisbee challenges.

How far did word spread?

With Guinness World Record officials in attendance, the events garnered regional press coverage, as well as exposure through national press and media. Overall, Cadbury organized 35 events, with around 180,000 people participating. With national, regional and international coverage through TV, print, social media and outdoor channels, the events were communicated to over 100 million people, resulting in a campaign worth around £2million to the Olympic sponsors.

The ingredients for this campaign were simple, yet effective; they created events that tapped into the core of what the Olympics were about. In addition, by using world records as a springboard, they created events that virtually anyone could take part in and that promoted a sense of community and team spirit. With these events taking place regionally, as well as nationally, even small communities were able to get in on the action.

On top of that, the events brought together people who might not ordinarily mix, such as people from different ethnic backgrounds, disabled and able-bodied people and people from different age groups – all competing together to create a global marketing campaign, and all thanks to a bit of creative imagination and Guinness World Records!

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