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The 9 Best New Year’s Eve Parties on the Planet

By: Natalie Austin, TWIP

New Year’s Eve is arguably one of the most anticipated nights of the year and New York isn’t the only city that knows how to do it right. Cities around the globe offer experiences unique to their location and can provide for some of the year’s most unforgettable moments. Here are the top New Year’s celebrations around the globe.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor

Photo Courtesy of imgcluster.com

Situated on a gorgeous harbor, Sydney offers a New Year’s Eve for those who are looking to spend it nautically. As one of the first capital cities to ring in the New Year, Sydney does this holiday the best. Complete with waterfront restaurants for lavish dinners, lighted boat parades, and yacht parties, to view a most spectacular fireworks show.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovakia

Photo Courtesy of travelandleisure.com

If you’re looking for an unpretentious and quaint affair, Bratislava, Slovakia is the perfect party destination for New Year’s. The soiree hosts around 10,000 people each year with open air dance parties, a fireworks show over the Danube River, and local bands and dance groups to entertain. Old Town is divided into a “concert zone” and a “party zone” so goers can choose their desired atmosphere, or get a taste of both.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio

Photo Courtesy of aboutbrasil.com

Bringing the Carnival flavor with traditional costumes and dance performances, New Year’s Eve comes in as a close second in Brazil’s most vibrant city. Each year the Copacabana Beach is lined with music installations and drum spectaculars, with patrons decked out in white, symbolizing luck in the coming year. At the end of the evening, it is traditional for locals to cleanse themselves in the ocean and cast flowers into the water with the belief that if they don’t return, your wishes for the new year will be granted.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin

Photo Courtesy of porumavidasemrotina.com

With the reputation as one best nightlife cities in Europe, it is no wonder why Berlin makes this list. Countless clubs throughout the city host parties lasting through the night, some lasting for over 12 hours. Over one million people flock to Berlin to fill “party mile” through the city, lined with food and drink tents, music stages and of course a breathtaking fireworks show.

Hong Kong, China  

Hong Kong

Photo Courtesy of hongkongnewyearseve.com

China is famous for some of the most unique and bizarre New Year’s traditions, which is why it is a perfect place to welcome the new year. With extravagant parties along the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon or bars in the Lan Kwai Fong district, Hong Kong knows just how to throw a NYE blowout. You can even watch a replica Times Square Ball Drop in the city center. Just like other New Year’s traditions, the firework show is a must-see and can be watched by boat in the Victoria Harbor.

Valparaiso, Chile

Chile

Photo Courtesy ofajansalperen.com

One of the most extravagant New Year’s celebrations on the planet is no other than the cultural capital of Chile, Valparaiso. This three-day festival hosts a world renowned fireworks show, with fireworks launched from 17 different points along the coast.  Parties are hosted along the beach to take in the show and most of them go until the sun comes up.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland

Photo Courtesy of www.traveller.com.au

Another smaller scale NYE can be celebrated in the exotic Reykjavik, a large community party thrown by locals. Beginning at 6pm, bonfires are held throughout the city to symbolize the burning away of the year’s troubles. Gatherings a complete with heaving drinking, folk songs and people dressed as elves and trolls. The party goes through 5am, when locals line up for hotdogs and then head to the hot springs to warm up from an evening outside.  Despite being a frigid location, Reykjavik is the perfect destination to really party like a local this holiday.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland

Photo Courtesy of planeteu.com

Edinburgh is hands down one of New Year Eve’s best destination as it is home to a remarkable three-day festival. The event kicks off with a torchlight procession, followed by city-wide festivities like outdoor concerts and a traditional Celtic party. While fireworks show is a standard NYE tradition, this display takes place with the magnificent Edinburgh Castle as its backdrop. On New Year’s day, Holyrood Park hosts a competitive dog sledding race and the River Forth hosts an ice-cold water plunge.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna

Photo Courtesy of event-carnival.com

Vienna is home to both sophisticated events and smaller scale parties, providing a little something for everything on NYE. Those who love the finer things can attend one of its many balls where guests are dressed to the nines. For those who prefer a more local experience, head to the city center, Silvesterpfad for traditional hot mulled wine and toffee apples. Visitors can also opt for a dinner party cruise along the Danube River.

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Elise Goodhoofd

Current city: Toronto, Canada

Age: 33

Total countries visited: 19

What makes you interesting: I am constantly pushing my creativity to the limits – I’ve been told I bleed rainbows. I’m obsessed with color – but I am a chalk artist. I live for new experiences and want to see as much of the world as possible in my lifetime.

What brands do you love: Apple, Nike, Kit & Ace, Tim Horton’s and Sharpie.

Describe the last time you tried something new: I braved taking the tube in London, without GPS on my phone. It was surprisingly easy – I just followed the same coloured signs.

What is your most favorite travel memory: I don’t have a favourite memory – every new place gave me something unique. But, most recently – I stood up for my friend, as she married her man in St. Peter’s Basilica (The Vatican) in Rome Italy – such an unreal experience. Also, last year, sailing for 8 days from Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia with new friends on a 60 foot sailboat.

Describe yourself in three words: Crazy. Colourful. Ambitious.

Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: In 2005, my older sister was studying in Belfast for a few months. My mom and I visited her and road-tripped around Northern Ireland. We ended up at a random sheep auction, saw Giant’s Causeway and toured a few castles. I love traveling with my family.

What people say when they travel with you: “Is the GoPro necessary at all times, Elise?” (They find it annoying – until they see my trip videos!) “Wait up, e!” (I have long legs and there is a lot to see!) “Where do you get all of your energy?” (I’ll sleep when I’m dead! Too much to see.)

If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Canada – I’m friendly, clean, smart, one of the best and there is always something new you’ll learn about me.

Next travel destination: New York & Brazil for Carnival next year!

Twipper of the Month – October 2017

Twipper of the Month – October 2017: Gareth Leonard from Tourist 2 Townie!

Like many travelers featured on TWIP, Gareth realized he wasn’t living the authentic life he always dreamed about. After graduation, he became the Director of Marketing for a startup and helped the business grow into a multimillion dollar company. In October 2009, after many long hours and living someone else’s dream, Gareth found himself at a crossroads between a career in business or pursuing something he truly loved to do. Since his study abroad in London during his junior year of college, Gareth realized he wanted to travel differently by moving away from guided tour groups and get to know foreign communities on a more authentic and intimate level. He decided to drop everything and booked a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he learned Spanish and bartended at a local brewery. From there Gareth created a five-year plan and a list of goals for each country he visits along the way. From learning, how to salsa dance in Colombia to living with monkeys in Ecuador, Gareth is on a mission to get out of his comfort zone and be more than just a tourist. Why? Gareth wants to be that local who has their own seat at the bar and has unlimited knowledgeable about where he lives. Through his videos and blog posts, he not only educates his followers but travels deeper and truly understands a place through the people and their culture. It’s because of this passion that we named Gareth as our Twipper of the Month for October!

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK


Twippers of the Week: Torben and Angie from The Global Wanderlust!

Current city: Barcelona, Spain

Age: 33 & 39

Total countries visited: Who keeps count?

What makes you interesting: Our differences. Angie is from the Dominican Republic and I’m from Denmark. Two different cultures, two different upbringings but we are the perfect example of opposites attract.

What brands do you love: I’m sure Angie has a long list of high-end designer and clothing brands she loves but I’m more a simple kind of guy. My favorite brands would be any good food brand!

Most magical place on earth: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic will always be a special and magical place for us. It’s a gorgeous part of the island, not so crowded with all-inclusive resorts and tourists. It feels like home and it was actually where we got married!

What motivates you to travel: To live new experiences, meet new people, see the world and all its wonder. It might be a cliché but we feel the most alive when traveling!

Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: Definitely our beach wedding in the Dominican Republic. I got married with a set of brand new shoes that weren’t even from the same pair and didn’t notice until after the wedding was over. Brilliant right!

Describe the last time you tried something new: I tried a new restaurant yesterday, that was pretty good!

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: We both were very positively shocked in Japan. It’s such an impressive culture. It was educated, traditional but modern and different from the western culture. It’s quite the experience; had I not been there, I would put it on top of my bucket list!

Best travel advice: Don’t be a tourist!

Next travel destination: Seychelles, Africa

Fly SkyHi With CEO Rama Poola

Everyone likes the idea of going on a spontaneous adventure but when flight and costs get in the way, the once great idea turns into just a dream. Seeing all of your “must-see bucket list destinations” just got a lot easier. Rama Poola, CEO of SkyHi is ready to turn your dream  into a reality by making it easy for you to claim seats on flights all over the world for one low monthly price. As a traveler himself, he knows that some of your best adventures are the ones that are done on a whim and he’s ready to help you make the best memories of your life!

Tell us about SkyHi.

SkyHi gives travelers a seamless, on demand way to claim empty seats on commercial airlines for a low monthly subscription fee. Members can see flights leaving within the week, flying to destinations up to 1500 miles from their current location. Flights are one-way and a user can only hold one ticket at a time. SkyHi is creating a new way of thinking about travel by providing freedom and spontaneity for everyone. Our clientele is young professionals with job flexibility and some disposable income. Freelancers, creatives, gap year students, and even early stage startups can benefit from a service like ours. The first time I booked through  SkyHi, the process took 30 seconds from not knowing where I wanted to go, to having a ticket in my email. This is a huge win, since making travel plans usually takes me hours before I book a flight on traditional OTAs (online tour operators).

What experience did you encounter that helped you create SkyHi?

I came up with the idea for SkyHi on a trip back from Berlin. I was at the Tegel airport and met a few backpackers who didn’t have a ticket to anywhere specific, yet. They were waiting for a flight that went under 50 euro, going to any of the cities they had on their travel list. They ended up going to Lisbon, Portugal. I got on my plane back to New York and was frustrated to see that it was fairly empty. The inefficiency bothered me and I thought to myself, if the price was low enough, would those backpackers have flown to New York on a whim? I drew up the business model and software architecture on a few napkins, pitched it to my now co-founder the next day, and quit my job the day after that.

How does SkyHi differ from other flight booking apps?

I have yet to come across a flight booking app that has a good user experience. The apps are cluttered, confusing, and not intuitive for a traveler like me. Myself, as well as pretty much every traveler I talk to, constantly change settings/filters to try to get a ticket that is exactly the right price. It takes too much time and is frustrating. SkyHi is dead simple. See places you can travel to in the upcoming week, pick a flight and claim your seat. Every flight costs the same amount of money. All you are thinking of is where and when you want to fly. Flights are one-way only and last minute, so it really is on demand flight travel.

SkyHi went through rebranding at one point. What were the struggles you encountered during rebranding and how has this helped the brand?  

We had to rebrand in the beginning of the year, and at the time it was the last thing we wanted to do. We were heads down building the app, talking to potential partners, along with a whole slew of unknown questions we were trying to answer. The main struggle we had was how do we look at the brand with a fresh set of eyes. We had been operating under our previous name and had become emotionally attached to it. Once we could let go of that, look at the audience we had created, and start to do branding exercises to determine our brand direction, the rebranding effort became really enjoyable.

If you could start over creating SkyHi, what you would you do differently?

Great question. This question is  a bit hard for me to answer. I’m one of those believers in the universe guiding me along my path. I’ve learned things about the travel industry well into developing SkyHi that could have been useful and saved us time and money. However, if I knew all those things up front, I may have never started SkyHi. I may have become overwhelmed by the hurdles. I’m grateful that we’ve hit hurdles one at a time along the way, allowing us to be thoughtful in how we make forward progress without being overwhelmed. I’d say the one thing that would have helped in hindsight is building deeper relationships with travel industry experts earlier.

What do you find to be most challenging about running a company, specifically in the travel space?

I think the biggest challenge is that the industry is very resistant to change. I see so many inefficiencies, but it’s hard to even begin to improve them. Outdated technology and an unwillingness to shift from old ways of doing things makes the industry stagnant and difficult to innovate in. We’ve run into walls regarding regulations, integration with old technology, and have had conversations that ended with, “we know it’s not ideal, but we’ve been doing it for so long.” As someone who has consistently built innovative products, this was both challenging to my personal psyche as well as challenging to navigate as an innovative startup.

How has working in the music industry at SFX Entertainment and Beatport prepare you for life as a CEO?

At my time and SFX/Beatport, I was thrown into handling situations that felt way out of my depth, but just kept trying my best and really grew a lot from the experience. I got to help integrate two very different technology groups into one cohesive team. I got to help craft a reduction in force strategy that was fair. I got to think of large scale problems in the music industry and think of solutions. I got to be a part of hiring practically every new member of the technology team. Overall, what I really learned was how to properly grow a team of talented people while holding and sharing the overall vision. So, in short, it was the exact preparation I needed to become a CEO.

During your time at Arc90 you led the startup Readability. What hurdles were you able to foresee and avoid due to this experience?

Readability was one of the more difficult products I led. Mainly because I was still so green to having so much responsibility. Readability was a small team with a small budget and a short timeframe to launch. The team was talented and all had strong personalities. At times, I felt that I didn’t have enough to offer and was often indecisive when it came to important decisions. What I learned from that experience was how NOT to be an effective leader. In the products I led after Readability, I was more cognizant of how to effectively motivate team members, how to hire properly, and how to be decisive. I carry all that experience now as the CEO of SkyHi. We have been able to build a team that works well together and have been able to take a product to launch in a notoriously difficult industry in roughly 18 months.

Do you have any mentors or people who have deeply influenced you to become the entrepreneur you are today?

Many of my mentors are family members I’m first generation Indian-American. My parents and immediate family immigrated here with nothing and have all had incredibly successful careers. I’d say the most influential person I have in my life is my older brother. He paved the way for me as a kid, supported my crazy endeavors, believed in me, and instilled me with a positive outlook on life. He’s also been incredibly adventurous with his life direction. He’s currently living in Berlin with his wife and baby daughter while attending wine school in London. Just three years ago he knew very little about wine and now is writing for one of the most prestigious wine publications and being flown to vineyards around Europe. He constantly reminds me that I’m capable and deserving of doing what makes me happy.

If you were going to book a flight using SkyHi today, where would you go and why?

The first place I want to go to is Montreal. The food, architecture, art, and culture really appeals to me. I’m also a bit of a Francophile, so anything that’s French influenced draws me in. As close as it is to NYC, I haven’t been to Montreal since I was a child.

What are some of the main goals you most want to accomplish in your professional career?

Around the same time, I was starting SkyHi, I was exploring the possibility of starting a company to help the tech community in Kenya. Over the past few years, I have been following the tech community there and have really been drawn to how they are solving hyper local problems. I was hoping to start a consulting company to help early stage startups with mentorship, software architecture help, and any other services they would need to get their ideas launched. I traveled out there in January 2016, but ultimately decided that it was not the right time to pursue. At some point in my career, I want to share my expertise to help product creators solve community needs.

What would someone be surprised to know about you?

I LOVE to dance! My close friends know this, but most people don’t. When I was a lead at Beatport, I decided to take DJ lessons to better understand our user base. I learned then, that I loved DJing and dancing. I now DJ around New York City and go dancing several times a week. The dance floor is one of the few places where I can be truly present.

What key piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to create their first app?

If your gut tells you that you have a good idea, listen to it and start building. You’re never going to have all the answers to determine if it is the right idea or exactly the right time. There were so many things we learned along the way that if we had known up front may have prevented us from ever starting SkyHi. We hit so many walls, but we were resilient and found ways through them. For me, it’s been the growth along the way that has been the most rewarding.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

You’re obviously interested in travel since you’re part of the TWIP community. I’d say, for me, the experiences I’ve had on the countless travels in my life have fundamentally shaped me to be a better human being. I have learned so much from other cultures and people. I’ve seen things that are awe inspiring. I’ve been on spontaneous adventures that have become some of my favorite moments in life. Travel has made me more compassionate, more patient, more adventurous, more understanding, more confident and happier. When I think back on my life so far, it’s all those experiences that fill me with joy. So, keep getting your passport stamped and exploring. You’ll be better for it.

More facts about Rama:
De-Stress Technique: Dancing, running and meditation
Latest Gadget: Native Instruments Traktor F1
Favorite App: Instagram forever
Favorite Travel Brand: Airbnb
Next Vacation Destination: Thailand

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