Tag: travel tips (page 1 of 2)

Travel Hack: How to Plan Your Trip Like a Travel Pro

By: Natalie Austin

This year, you’re probably planning an ultimate, life-altering, Instagram-worthy trip to somewhere out-of-the-ordinary. You may spend the next few months dreaming about soaking up the sun on a beach in Thailand. But while your journey may have been planned down to what drinks you’ll have with each meal, you may be making some huge mistakes even before booking your flight. Since booking travel is now done almost exclusively online, there are countless ways to get scammed or not get offered some of the best deals. Even if you’re not worried about spending a few extra hundred bucks, that cash could be put towards a shopping spree or trip extras. Here are sure-fire ways to guarantee your trip is a hit, even before you go through airport security.

Learn to Book like an Expert 

Online Banking

Courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

With so many booking engines, it’s easy to get caught in a tornado of bad information. While we may think we’re getting the best deals available, online consumers are often aced out of not just the best deals, but correct prices of flights and hotels. The biggest mistake people often make is starting a search with booking engines like Expedia, Priceline and Hotels.com. These booking engines often work with larger hotel companies and can only offer their discounted prices. Also, it’s much harder to find charming, cleaner mom-and-pop hotels as big booking engines don’t seek out business with these types of accommodations. For better hotel prices, use sites like Hotels Combined, who show you smaller, more charming stays at your desired destination.

momondo

Courtesy of https://novoed.com/venture17/reports/172619

Booking flights at the right time and place is crucial to find the best deals. According to travel expert Reid Bramblett of ReidsGuides.com, “The secret to landing the least expensive plane tickets every time is to know where the deals are, search wisely, and never pay retail if you can avoid it.” To ensure that you get the best deals, never book flights more than four months in advance. Search for flights 8 to 12 weeks before you plan to go. Also, when you’re searching, compare flights leaving a few days before and after your outbound date to make sure you’re getting the lowest fare. For the best rates, use an aggregator like Momondo.com. Aggregators don’t work for the airlines, like Expedia or Priceline; they work for you, the consumer. That way you’re getting a comprehensive survey of airline prices, not just prices from popular commercial airlines.
While saving money may be at the forefront of your mind, it is important to remember when not to skimp on travel features. Many individuals get caught booking hotel rooms with seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices. Especially for American tourists heading to European destinations, travelers often don’t pay attention to hotel details that can put a huge damper on their vacation. When booking a hotel, it is often best to spend a little extra money in order to stay close to the city center. Don’t be tempted by rock-bottom tourist-class hotels out on the edge of town. Anything 30 minutes or more by public transportation from the historic center is a mistake,” says Bramblett. Especially in destinations where the city center is the focal point of the trip, it will save you transportation costs and headaches if you book slightly pricier rooms closer to tall the action.

How to Pick Your Destination: Affordability and Adventure

Picking a destination is hard. People want adventure, but not one that’s going to break the bank. If you want to have an unforgettable experience, there are destinations to choose that are both out of the ordinary and still allow you to get the most for your money. It is important to be mindful of both the experience you’re seeking and your budget so you don’t have to spend any time stressing about money once you’re there.  

BC @

Courtesy of http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/tag/okanagan-valley/

For example, Canada is a travel hot spot this year for both its charm and affordability. Several destinations within its borders have been named the best places to visit for 2016. According to Travel & Leisure, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is a must-see spot for 2016 for both its gorgeous landscape and epicurean indulgences. While the area’s stark beauty and hot, dry summers have always drawn outdoorsy types, there’s now an increasingly sophisticated scene revolving around food and local wine.”  The New York Times also mentioned Squamish and Quebec City on their list of 52 Places to Go in the coming year. Both places are off the beaten path and offer unique experiences that are quintessentially Canadian. An added bonus to your Northern adventure? One U.S. dollar will get you $1.40 Canadian dollars.

okinawa

Courtesy of https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/de/okinawa-japan-cruises

In Japan, one U.S. dollar will get you  ‎¥117, allowing you to fully indulge yourself in some of the most unique locations. If you’re looking for a tropical getaway, discover Okinawa Prefecture, a must-see destination for 2016 according to Conde Nast Traveler. The prefecture is at Japan’s southernmost point and comprised of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands with a climate that rivals the Caribbean. “Okinawa and its islands aren’t just a scattered, reggae-sweetened necklace of islands closer to Taiwan than to Tokyo, but one that actively seeks to turn Japanese congestion, industry, and formality on their heads.” Of course you can never go wrong with the mainland either. With Japan’s bid for the 2020 olympics, new developments and advancements are underway as cities are already ramping up in preparation. With its world renowned technology and century-old structures, Japan provides captivating sites that are both ancient and the modern, cultivating a travel experience like no other.  

Do Your Cultural Research

© Joel Barbitta D-Max Photography joel@dmaxphotography.com.au

© Joel Barbitta
D-Max Photography
joel@dmaxphotography.com.au

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably heard varying testimonies of different locations and cultures when talking to different people. A common belief is that the “French are unbearable,” and “Puerto Ricans are like long-lost friends.” The reality is that this was probably the attitude of the traveler that impacted the value of their experience. While many people research the best places to shop and eat, people often forget to learn about the culture of their vacation destination. Appreciating a culture before you’ve even visited can set you up for more interesting discoveries and authentic connections with locals. If you, “show a modicum of respect to people and their culture, and you’ll be blown away by what you get back,” according to Huffington Post Travel Writer Clayton B. Cornell. If you’re an American and you walk into a French patisserie using the words “Hello, how much does this cost?” you’re probably going to get a far different reaction than if you walk into a Puerto Rican cafe and say “Hola, cuanto cuesta?”.

Before you arrive at your destination, make sure to learn the most common phrases needed while abroad. Even though you may not be able to hold a legitimate conversation, locals will recognize your attempt at trying to connect and will appreciate your efforts to learn their culture. This shows you’re not just a tourist, but you actually care about their customs. Also, make sure to learn common courtesies of shopping, dining or drinking. This will ensure you and your travel companions won’t be lumped into the typical  “tourist” category. Ultimately, you will enjoy yourself far more if you have learned and understand indigenous culture.

 

 

 

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Ron from Frog Traveler.

TOW - Frog Traveler (1)

Current city: Barcelona, Spain.

Age: 34

Total countries visited: 49 so far.

What makes you interesting: My frog Gusi is always traveling with me. I like taking jumping pictures. I know all the flags and countries of the world. I have a keychain collection from all the cities I visit (more than 300). I bought wallpaper for my room (see picture below). I love languages, I can speak five fluently plus three more conversational. I love sunsets and deserts. I have worked in many different places as a trainer, teacher, agent, receptionist, manager, sales, waiter and driver because I prefer to have many experiences than being a nine-to-five robot. The same concept for everything but work. I have no religion because I like people and I believe in people. Meeting people from around the world and sharing different experiences with them is very exciting for me.

TOW - Frog Traveler (2)

What brands do you love: I am not into brands especially when  you find people who cannot have clothes. No watches, no wallet, or fancy stuff anymore. My trip to Brazil showed me that we don’t need much to live and be happy.

What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Probably food. I like to eat in restaurants or cook by myself. Please no street food, thank you. I do sometimes run out of the budget for thermal baths, massage and spas. I like pleasure more than goods.

How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I was living a wealthy life few years ago, having my own company with my partner. After certain time I was spending much money on things that I didn’t really need and I was starting to be greedy as was my partner. I wasn’t happy with that lifestyle and decided to quit my company and backpack through South East Asia. In Vietnam, and  other countries in Myanmar, I met very interesting people who showed me where to find happiness; it was the best experience ever. After that, I can confirm I am absolutely happy, feeling lucky and having a wonderful life.

It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: I love this question! My wishing list of top places to visit before 2050 is Machu Pichu (Peru), Uyuni (Bolivia), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Easter Island (Chile), Namibia, Egypt, China, Iceland, Mexico, Belize, New Zealand, Maldives, South Korea and Philippines.

What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: Near 9 months. That was my trip in South East Asia. 

What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Here is all I carry when I travel,

TOW - Frog Traveler (3)

My frog Gusi, my 8 year old camera, toiletries and clothes. I use to carry a maximum of 8 kilos. If I stay long, I buy new clothes and gift the ‘old’ clothes to people who really need them.

Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: On my first ´big’ travel experience I went to Kiev, Ukraine. A Ukrainian friend I met in Barcelona invited me to visit for 15 days. I was on my second year of a Sports Science Degree, I was 21 years old.

Next travel destination: South Korea

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Kirstie Jefferies from Venga, Vale, Vamos.

kristie

Current city: Sydney, Australia.

Age: 26.

What makes you interesting: I’ve lived in three countries (my native U.S., Spain, and Australia) and traveled to many more. I speak Spanish and a bit of Italian. I also studied French and Mandarin but I’d love to learn more!

Total countries visited: About 45 depending on political definitions.

Describe yourself in three words: Curious, ambitious and eager.

Who is the most interesting person you met while traveling: How do I narrow it down to just one person? I’ve made fantastic groups of friends in all of the overseas cities I’ve lived and it’s those friends that really made the experiences what they were. Even if I’ve lost touch with some of them, they’re the core reason my time abroad has been so memorable.

What is the best thing you bought during your travels: My trajes de flamenco (flamenco dresses) I bought for Seville’s Spring Festival, Feria. I felt like a local in the traditional outfits and they now make a fantastic souvenir.

Do you have any recommendations to battle jet lag: If you arrive in the morning, no matter how tired you are, make yourself stay awake until that night. By staying active so you keep jet lag off your mind. You’ll be almost as good as new the next morning.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from traveling: Just go for it! A lot of people are scared to live abroad or travel, and getting out of your comfort zone can be intimidating. Once you decide to take that leap, you’ll wonder why you were ever worried in the first place.

Next travel destination: If all goes according to plan, I’ll be going to Cuba later this year. I’m thrilled beyond belief.

Travel 101: 10 Tips For Not Getting Sick While Traveling

aeroplane-HD

By: Lauren Durden

Traveling often involves long flights, public transportation and crowded events which can lead to elevated exposure to germs. As cold and flu season creeps into the United States, and the weather starts to cool, travelers’ immune systems are especially vulnerable. If you are planning holiday travel in the coming months or want to ensure you stay healthy throughout your next vacation, here are tips to stay well on your next trip.

Before you embark on your getaway, here are a few tips you should follow to boost your immunity to travel germs.

germs

Photo courtesy of airportparkingreservations.com

Get Vaccinated Before You Go

Whenever traveling to foreign destinations, always check the CDC or State Department’s information on recommended vaccinations. Schedule an appointment with your health professional to ensure that you are fully vaccinated well ahead of your travel, so all vaccines are administered in time to take effect.

Take a Vitamin C Booster Before You Travel

Taking vitamin C booster tablets have been shown to aid the body in its ability to fight off airborne illnesses. Passengers confined to small, dry areas on trains, buses or planes can easily boost their immune systems by taking a few tablets before and during their travel.

While traveling, especially on long flights, travelers can employ these tips to keep the germs at bay.

water

Photo courtesy of foxnews.com

Stay Hydrated When Flying

One of the most important ways to stave off illness is to keep your body hydrated, especially during long flights which can be particularly dehydrating to the body. Staying hydrated will not only help minimize the chance of headache and fatigue, but will also help strengthen your immune system. Avoid drinking sweet, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages throughout your flight to ensure your body achieves maximum hydration.

Bring a Nasal Mist & Sanitizing Wipes On Board

Airplanes are notorious for the amount of microorganisms covering the tray tables, arm rests, seats and entertainment screens. Bringing antibacterial wipes on board and wiping down  your space before settling in, will ensure fewer germs in your area.

Your nose and throat are the first in line to be bombarded with germs when traveling – especially while in flight. Recycled airplane air can dry out the nasal passages, which are essential in aiding the body in flushing out germs. Keeping a small spray bottle of nasal mist in your carry on will help keep your nasal passages moist and ready to flush out any airborne germs so they don’t  make their way into your system.

Once you have arrived at your destination, there are a few more habits  to help you stay healthy.

hand sanitizer

Photo courtesy of usatoday.com

Drinking Filtered Water

When travelers fall ill due to drinking water overseas it’s not because of contaminants within the water. Rather, the upset stomachs are usually due to local bacteria present in the water travelers are drinking. Even if you are traveling to a developed destination with seemingly updated water facilities, it’s still best to only drink filtered, bottled water. This goes for brushing your teeth as well. Keep a few bottles by the bathroom sink for easier access.

If you don’t want to spend money by constantly purchasing bottled water throughout your trip, consider purchasing a water bottle with a built-in filter feature. This way, you can ensure for yourself that all water going into your body has been properly filtered for all bacteria before imbibing.

Carry Hand Sanitizer

Many times when traveling it’s  difficult or impossible to wash your hands as often as needed to keep away illness-inducing germs – particularly when traveling to remote locale. Carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best thing when you aren’t able to find a proper sink.

Lastly, keeping your regular, everyday habits while on the road will help to keep your body in balance.

Photo courtesy of healthcomu.com

Photo courtesy of healthcomu.com

Get Enough Sleep

Late nights exploring the bars, nightclubs and neighborhoods of your destination might be a fun part of your vacation, but making certain that your body is well rested and ready for the days of travel ahead will also ensure that your body has time to repair itself each night – and keep your immune system in tip top shape. A few late nights here and there won’t hurt, but don’t make a habit of staying out until the wee hours of the morning for your entire trip.

Forget Your Medications or Vitamins

If you regularly take medications or vitamins,  it’s obvious that your body still needs these aids while on vacation. Portion out the needed amount of medication or vitamins, and divide into pill boxes or plastic bags so you don’t have to carry the entire quantity with you during your travel.

Eat Properly

Changing your diet too drastically while traveling can lead to an upset stomach and possible illness. While partaking in the local food flavors is an essential aspect of any trip for many travelers, ensuring that you are getting the needed amount of vitamins and minerals from your daily intake of food will help keep your body fueled and ready to take on the next leg of your trip. Enjoy that churro and chocolate, but don’t forget to bolster your dinner with a few extra greens to make up for the indulgence.

SEPTEMBER: TWIPPER OF THE MONTH

Twipper of the Month – September 2015: Drew Goldberg from The Hungry Partier.

drew 5

While many individuals map out their career path following college graduation, Drew Goldberg mapped out a different kind of path, the one less taken.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Drew decided to forgo a life spent inside a cubicle and opted to teach English in South Korea for 18 months, documenting every minute of his Asian adventure. Since then, Goldberg has acquired over 100k followers on social media and over 60k monthly views on his blog, The Hungry Partier,  and for good reason. Drew exudes a thirst for action and exploration, motivating his readers to make adventure happen for themselves. Drew offers over 18 global nightlife guides , a behind-the-scenes-look through Snapchat, and a collection of crazy stories from his eccentric travels. One of his travel traditions is to do a handstand in every country he visits, capturing each attempt on his Instagram.  Drew also makes a habit of trying every McDonald’s  he can  find,  intrigued to discover how the dining experience differs from country to country.  After traveling to over 70 countries and growing followers on social media,  Drew has been able to collaborate with companies like  U.S. News Travel ChannelExpedia and the Huffington Post .  His candid blogging style offers an honest connection with his readers.  Drew’s youthful and daring spirit inspires us to go out and see the bizarre and experience the unexpected.

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