Preparing for Travel

When it comes to travel, we all want to see the world, to some extent or another. However, travel also necessitates some planning, first of all, and getting out of your comfort zone, and that can present a problem to many. It’s not as scary as it seems, however, so don’t fret. With a little effort, you can be exploring the world in no time. Here are some tips to get you started.

First and foremost, the planning phase is of supreme importance to the vacation, itself. The first thing you’re going to want to do is book everything as early as possible. This means hotel rooms, flights, rental cars, you name it. Find the best deals you can online and book as early as humanly possible. That way, you don’t have to stress the details as the vacation draws near. Likewise, pack as early as you can, too, but be aware that much of what you’ll be packing will be in use UNTIL you leave, so you don’t have much time in advance to work with. Make sure and double check you have all of the essentials. This includes your passport and ID, along with other necessities like clothes and toiletries.

Next up is preparing to travel on a psychological level. This means, first of all, gaining some confidence. After all, travel means being a fish out of water. So, bolster your confidence by traveling shorter distances, as first. If you live in the U.S., for example, just start by traveling out of state. Work your way up to the creme de la creme of international travel gradually. That, and be sure to treat yourself to some Shari’s Berries to reward yourself for the work. In no time, you’ll be ready to all that the world has to offer without worry.

Be Ready for Jungle Safari

Jungle safaris offer great opportunities for you to see wild animals in their natural habitats. It is really nothing like going to the zoo where the animals do not have freedom and are not set in their natural habitats. There are so many jungle safari destinations across the world, but Africa remains to be top of the list as one of the best continents you can choose to have an amazing jungle safari experience. The safaris involve exploring forests that have teeming wildlife and you definitely will enjoy the rich natural diversity in the destination that you choose.

Whether you are organizing the safaris for your family or you plan to go with a group of friends, it helps to take precautions so you can have the most rewarding experience in the destination that you choose. Below are some helpful tips that will ensure that you get the best jungle safari ever.

1. Pack all essential carefully before leaving for your safari. A binoculars and camera are some of the items you really cannot forget when packing so you can have clear sights of the animals even when they are a distance away from where you are.

2. When choosing clothes to pack, fleece jacket, waterproof pants, t-shirts and convertible cargo pants should be considered. It is also important to make sure that you choose colors that easily blend with the jungle like khaki, olive green and brown so you do not end up scaring or attracting the animals with bright colors.

3. Consider wearing protecting clothes so you do not suffer any plant allergies. Layering up is a great way of keeping your skin protected. Sunscreen lotions, wide brimmed hat, dark glasses, antiseptic creams and medicines are other protective essentials that you should consider packing when going for s jungle safari.

4. Make safari reservations early and confirm a few days before you head to the destination. It is also important to think about accommodation on location and the services that you can enjoy during the safari Laundry services can be very convenient because they free up time you can use to enjoy the rest of the destination.

5. Once you get to the jungle safari location, ensure that you follow all instructions given by the tour guides or the naturalist that will be guiding you through the tour. Using your mobile phone, smoking, drinking and speaking loudly are some of the things that are prohibited during the safari. Feeding the animals or bird, littering are also some of the other things that are not allowed. Follow the instructions and you will enjoy the jungle safari even more.

6. Ask as many questions as necessary and take notes if you feel a need to do so. You cannot forget to take good quality photos for your safari. Nothing is as good as going back to the amazing jungle safari using photos. They might not mean much during the safari but you will find the valuable and priceless months after the trip.

How To Booking The Cheapest Travel Tickets

When travelling, the more you can save, the better it always is because then you can channel the money to other important affairs of the trip or not related to the trip. Saving on airfare is one of the best ways of saving some money when getting to your preferred destination. You can easily find cheap travel tickets and book your cheap flights to get to your destination. The possibilities of getting your travel tickets online has made planning so much easier for travelling.

One of the best ways you can book the cheapest travel fares is by using comparison sites. The flight comparison sites have a host of airlines flying to your preferred destination and you can use the listing to book the cheapest tickets you can find. Most of the tickets are offered by new airlines flying that route or they could be discounted deals by major airlines. But as much as cheap travel tickets are money saving, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you go ahead and book them.

Does the cheap rates interfere with travel quality that I get? The last thing you want is to purchase cheap tickets only to find yourself stuck in an airline and flight that has nothing pleasant to offer. Poor services on board can make your flight unpleasant and there is therefore always a need to check that you are still going to get a good experience flying using the cheap tickets that you find.

Will they affect my travel schedule? This is a very important question because most cheap tickets are for flights that depart very early or very late in the day. Some take longer routes, meaning it will take you a little longer to get to your destination even as you enjoy cheaper rates. If you have no issues with timing and length of the flight, then you can go ahead and book the tickets that have the elements in them. But if time is of the essence to your travel plans, then it is always advisable that you make sure the cheap ticket offers will not in any way interfere with your schedule before you go ahead and book them.

What is covered by the cheap tickets? Some travel packages cater for everything including the meals that you enjoy on board and sometimes even airport transfers if you are using a good airline. Not all cheap tickets might cover the usual elements of travel and you therefore want to start by confirming what exactly the tickets cover for you. You could get a cheap deal only to find that you have to buy even water on board; nothing might be offered free. It helps to find out what the cheap ticket is all about so you can make any extra personal efforts to make your flight comfortable or look for a more convenient cheap deal.

Cheap tickets deals are much sought after but it helps to ensure that you still are going to enjoy an excellent flying experience even when paying less for it.

Maximize Your Travel Budget

Thinking of going on an expensive getaway this year? At first glance it may seem too costly but there’s a good chance it may not be as unfeasible as you had initially thought. Listed below are some tips and tricks I have picked up throughout my travels to hopefully help you save up that little extra bit of money you need for your future trip.

1. Leave one night early, cut out one night of rental costs

When traveling on a budget one very easy way to cut down on extra expenses is to leave the night before you were originally planning to depart for home. Doing this will effectively cut out one night’s worth of hotel costs and if you set up a red-eye flight you can still get a whole day worth of activities in before you have to head home. Booking flights during the traveling off-season can also net you some serious savings if you wait for the right opportunities too.

2. Cut back on unnecessary meals

Another tip I recommend is that, if possible, you should agree to cut back or cut out one meal per day. If you can’t do that then come prepared to make yourself a meal instead. Subtracting or substituting a nice lunch every day over a one week trip will add up to be a rather substantial amount of money saved.

3. Investigate alternatives to regular hotels

If you are really looking to travel on a dime lay out a budgeting plan in advance. What I mean by that is before you arrive make an effort to do some research on minimizing costs. Instead of a hotel maybe consider a hostel or a couch surfing website. You typically get a better cultural experience going through a housing alternative anyways.

4. Drink alcohol at home not at a bar

For those who plan on drinking a lot of alcohol and don’t mind doing it at home instead of at a bar you won’t regret that decision as your average drink at a bar can typically run you anywhere from $5 to $15 or even $20 whereas you can get a lot more for your money simply buying it from a store instead.

5. Scrutinize hotels and try to find the best overall deal

With hotels and tourist venues always looking to remain filled be on the lookout for coupons and other deals when it comes to anything from flights to hotels to sightseeing. One trip may appear cheaper than another but with the right deals the more expensive option may actually cost less once you factor in the savings too. Going with that train of thought it never hurts to scrutinize hotels in order to find the best deal for you. If you are the kind of person who is fine with a 1 star hotel then don’t bother compromising with a 3 or 4 star where you will end up having to pay more for things that don’t really matter to you.

6. Find connecting flights

If possible try to find cheap connecting flights in the country or countries you are visiting instead of using the train. Under certain circumstances it will not only save you time but it can also save you money depending on where you are looking to go.

7. Consider renting a car if it turns out to be cheaper

Try substituting a car rental instead of taking lots of taxi rides. For obvious reasons it will definitely be cheaper. Also when vacationing try to maximize your efficiency by visiting places in the same area at the same time. Additionally, budget out your rental car for only as long as you absolutely need it because otherwise it can burn a hole in your pocket pretty quick. One thing I recommend is segmenting off a part of the trip to only seeing things that are necessary with a car and then returning the vehicle after you are finished.

8. Travel with others

Always travel with companions. Not only is it safer but it is cheaper too. Being able to split the costs with someone else will make your budget drastically more manageable. Cramming a few extra people into a hotel room may not necessarily be fun but it is most certainly one of the best ways to cut down on costs.

9. Don’t load up on luggage

Be extra efficient when packing luggage. Having to carry around excess luggage bags is not only a nuisance but it is also costly depending on which airline you are flying. For shorter trips try cramming everything you can into one carry on. It takes some skill and practice but once you get the hang of things it will make airports transitions much less stressful too.

Apps for the Adventurous Traveller

When it comes to travelling, the world truly is our oyster. But technology really can open it up even further. Research has shown that using a smartphone and the apps available to the adventurous traveller can make planning, booking and exploring the world more informative, exciting and in many ways, a lot easier.

Apps have been created for a wide range of purposes, and this shortlist helps us to find just a few that may make travelling a better experience for you.

Hotels, hostels, guest houses and more

Whatever your budget, you’ll be wanting to find somewhere to stay. Rather than taking a gamble, many would agree that having access to a review site is a wise way of finding accommodation that has been previously rated well by other travellers. Two such apps include Orbitz and TripAdvisor, which offers lots of photos that have been uploaded by people, rather than those stock photos we often find on the advertiser’s website. This gives us a true representation of the hotel and the app makes it quick and easy to search different accommodations seamlessly.

Camping more your thing?

When it comes to camping, a decent campsite is about more than just good toilets. You’ll want to be close to local anemities, as well as knowing the campsite is safe, of course. iCampsite is one app to help you locate a campsite from over 9000 acorss the UK and Europe. You can filter results to suit your exact preferences and locate campsites using GPS coordinates.

Too much to read?

When you’re on the go, booking tickets for accommodation and travel can be a minefield. So much to book, so many bits of paperwork, and too many terms and conditions to read! This can lead any traveller to a disorganised state. So, to make it easier for you, download an app to help. TripIt and TripCase are two such apps, which automatically collate the most essential travel information from your confirmation emails, so that you are presented with an easy to understand, chronological itinerary.

Last minute changes

Any traveller who wants to truly feel free will want to be able to make quick, last minute plans or changes so that they can take advantage of whatever it is they have found interest in. Befriended a group of like-minded people and want to spend an extra night with them? Realised there is a festival on and don’t want to miss it? You don’t always have to turn away from these opportunities; after all, that’s what travelling is all about. So, download a few apps on your smartphone that can help you to live the trip you want. HotelTonight and Roomer allow you to find inexpensive accommodation alternatives quickly. Gogobot is another app you won’t want to live without. It can help you find places to eat and sleep based on where you’re staying and your personal preferences.

Ever think the USA has a lack of roundabouts?

In the UK, roundabouts are the norm. Travelled too far in the car? That’s OK, simply turn around at the next roundabout. But, if you’re travelling in the USA, you’ll find a distinct lack of roundabouts and if you travel too far, it could be that you’re waiting 30 minutes until the next exit. Ah – cue the next app. iExit tells you the various services that are at different highway exits, so you can decide to turn off when you like. Roadtrippers is another suitable app for car travel. This app finds all the highly rated USA roadside attractions that are near your route.

How I hate not having signal

Well, any traveller is likely to go out of range of any 3G signal or wifi every now and again. This deems your smartphone useless, so get an app that works well offline. Maps.Me is a great example, as it keeps your maps offline. It’s also very accurate, even if you find yourself off the beaten path. Don’t waste your storage space downloading too many maps for offline use, though. It really can take up a lot of space on your phone – valuable storage space you’ll want to use on videos and photos of your travels!

Things to Prepare Before Taking a Long Trip

1. Make sure your household bills are up to date

This may sound obvious or even pedantic but you really need to think about something like this. Last year I went on a tour that was 3 weeks. It covered the last 2 weeks of one month and the first week of the next month. Once of my household bills from the first month hadn’t arrived before I left and was delivered whilst I was away. This meant I had no way of paying it for that month. When I got back I was greeted by final demands as this particular authority was known to be ruthless with non-payers.

2. Check your travel and medical Insurance

It is important when going on a long trip you have the correct travel and medical insurance. The last thing you want is to be stuck in another country and something happens you need to produce a credit card to save your life. This also relates to Number 5, if you haven’t told your bank you are going away and you don’t have proper cover you could be in serious trouble. Always travel with adequate travel and medical insurance. A lot of credit companies now offer travel insurance as standard.

3. Share your itinerary with someone

This is important if you are traveling alone. Your loved ones and friends need to know where you are, maybe not all the time, but at least where they can reach you. If something happens back home, you may need to return for an emergency, or there may be some important news they need to tell you. At least if they know your travel plans rather than exact details you will be easier to track down in an emergency situation.

4. Check the Visa and Passport requirements for your destinations or possible destinations

Don’t get to the airport and find they won’t even let you on the plane! This is the reality of what could happen if you don’t have the correct documents. Visa requirements are especially important to avoid unnecessary complications and delays at your destination. Make sure your passport is valid for at least the next 6 months, otherwise a lot of airlines won’t let you travel.

5. Tell your bank where you are going

Even if you are taking travelers checks or cash you should have a back up. The bank needs to know where you may be using your ATM or credit card. Due to cyber fraud nowadays a lot of banks will not allow you to use your cards abroad unless you tell them beforehand. It’s very easily done for most banks through their website. If you don’t tell them, you may end up having your ATM card swallowed by an overseas machine!

6. Organise your ID

What IDs will you need when you travel? Obviously your passport but what about the credit card you booked your flight with? some airlines insist on seeing it before travel. Other IDs could include a driving license if you plan on renting a car or motorbike while traveling. Don’t forget to print all your ticket information and hotel booking vouchers if you have pre-booked them.

7. Set up your phone

If you are planning on taking your phone abroad, beware of costly roaming charges. The best thing is to organize with your phone company beforehand, or better still, get a throwaway SIM card whilst you are there. Most countries have a SIM plan you can get at the larger international airports.

8. Learn a few phrases

Especially important if you are planning to travel a little off the beaten track. Not everywhere is fluent in English, even some larger cities in Asia and Africa you will find little English spoken. Learn a few choice phrases that will come in handy whilst you are there, it will save you a lot of time, money and hassle.

9. Have a Plan B

Expect the unexpected on your trip. If you planned to travel to a beach then suddenly find it closed, make sure you don’t arrive at midnight and you have nowhere to stay for the night. Give yourself some room for maneuver. I once got delayed on a flight and found myself in the middle of nowhere at 2am in the morning, the car rental I’d pre-booked had closed so I had no alternative but to find a hotel which wasn’t easy!. If you plan and prepare, try to think of what might happen, just in case.

10. Secure your home

Of course you are going to lock your doors and take the necessary precautions but what about the little things that could cause problems when you get back. Turn off the water and electricity is a good step if you are going away for a long period. Coming back to burst water pipes is not fun at all. I usually disconnect my car battery if I go on a trip longer than a few weeks, the last thing I need is a flat battery when I return.

Tips For Save Money On Your Honeymoon Package

honeymoon-bedAfter you marry the love of your life and spend every dollar that you have in your budget on a wedding, you are worried that you are not going to get a honeymoon that you will enjoy. This trip is supposed to be one that you remember for a lifetime and you want to make sure that you remember it for all the right reasons. By following a few tips, you will get the honeymoon package you have been dreaming of.

When you are paying for everything you need for your wedding ceremony and reception, consider getting a credit card that awards you points for your purchases. These points can often be turned into things like airplane tickets or hotel stays. As long as you are not letting your balance on the charge card roll over and build up interest costs, you are going to save a bundle with this bonus.

In lieu of traditional wedding gifts, consider setting up a honeymoon package registry. You have to think about what is more important to you, pots and pans, or a great trip. There are plenty of websites online that will allow you to direct your wedding guest’s generous gift to you by paying for part of your trip instead of that toaster you probably do not need.

Find out when the off season starts and ends. There are times at most destinations where the weather is not ideal and so there is less demand for tourists to visit. These times are when there are better deals on honeymoon packages. Book your trip right at the edge of one of these parts of the year and you are likely to still get decent weather for a fraction of the cost and without all the crowds.

Think about the value of your dollar and consider where it is going to be worth the most. There are some countries where the conversion rate will give you more for your money while at other destinations you lose money when you exchange your currency.

Take advantage of the honeymoon package that all-inclusive resorts offer. Many places will allow you to have all you can eat and drink, a hotel room, and even some activities all for one price. This will give you a better idea of what you need to budget for because there will not be a lot of additional costs that you have to consider.

Try to fly out on an off-day. When you can only book your flight on a Friday or Saturday, you are going to pay the highest price and be stuck on a jam-packed plane. If you can, fly out on a Monday or Tuesday to get the best deal. If you want to avoid all the business travelers, book your flight on a Sunday instead.

Plan the least expensive way to get around when you get to your destination. Cab rides and car services are convenient, but they can cost you a bundle. Check around in the area to see if they have a mass transit service that can offer you the rides that you need. Better yet, you can map to do things that are within walking distance from your hotel. Just be sure to check that the area is safe for tourists.

You can also cut the price on honeymoon packages if you are open to having a room with no view. The rooms that do not offer a majestic scene that most tourists are looking for can often be reserved for a reduced price compared to the rest of the hotel.

Finally, do not be afraid to mention that you are a newlywed couple. Many travel hot spots offer discounts and specials for just married visitors.

You Must Know This When Applying For A Visa

The process of applying for the visa necessary for you to travel or migrate to another country is challenging. For an ordinary person, this may be series of complicated steps. Good thing there are experts who are very much willing to help you simplify the process. Immigration consultants will also help you achieve a successful visa issuance.

Visa Interview Tips

Be Prepared – Experts highly emphasized that you must know some significant information regarding your country of destination. Oftentimes, the more you know about where you are going and why you must go there, the better you will do. There are some officers who begin their interview in a casual way, asking you to search your country of destination in a map. Some officers might have specific questions regarding the program you intend to take up if you are applying for a student visa.

Always speak for yourself – You must not bring your parents or any of your family members during the interview. Bear in mind that you will be interviewed not your parents or relatives. So be very prepared to speak on your own behalf.

Be concise – Be reminded that oftentimes, officers are under a considerable amount of time to perform quick and effective interviews. Lots of decisions are often made on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the conversation. In other words, what you say first along with the initial impression you create are very crucial to your success. Thus, you need to keep all your answers short and to the point.

Have a clear supplement document – The content as well as the context of your supporting document must be clear at first glance. If you are lucky, you may have about 2-3 minutes of interview time. So make the most of it by being at your very best.

Always have a positive attitude – You must not engage in an argument with the officer who is conducting the interview. In case you received a denied visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you must bring so you can successfully overcome the refusal. It would also be a nice idea for you to ask the reason why you were denied and put it in writing. If you are denied for your first interview, book for a second on as soon as you possibly can. Also, gather new information in order to address deficiencies in your application or perhaps interview responses. Bring new and compelling information to your next interview to justify the reconsideration of your case.

List of Character Traits for Adventure Travelling

One aspect of traveling that will always remain a constant is that the road you choose will always challenge you. That’s just part of the journey my friend. And if you aren’t tough, it will eat you up. I’m not talking about being physically tough. All the exercise in the world doesn’t combat mental challenges you may face while traveling. I am talking about character toughness. The ability of being able to turn negatives into positives. The ability of being able to move forward through the tough times you’ll face in order to reach your final destination. The ability to welcome adverse conditions along the way and grow from them. This list of character traits will help you reach your goals when the gear you packed just isn’t enough.

Accept Criticism

Life is full of critics. There’s never a shortage of people saying you can’t do that and here’s why. For one reason or another, someone will always find a reason to project their insecurities, negativity, and fears onto you and your life. Being able to accept that criticism in a positive way will help you grow as a person and plan for situations you may not have otherwise seen on your own.

Be Humble

Humble people don’t think they are owed things, which leads to a less prejudiced view of the world. This also encourages tolerance to others and a less defensive view about your own beliefs. Having a character trait like this will definitely help you absorb as much as possible of the world around you while on the road. And after all, that’s what traveling is all about.

Be Patient

“Patience is a virtue” is an old cliche that’s be around for a long time and for good reason. The older I get the more I’m coming to understand the value of patience. Things don’t go according to plan. Life itself seems to always be in the way. Stuff just happens. It’s amazing how a little patience can have a calming effect on a stressful situation. Try not to swim against the tide but rather have patience and wait for the tide to turn.

Trust Yourself

Self doubt can have one of the most crippling effects on any adventure. It leads to paranoia, insecurity and gets in the way of making clear and decisive decisions. Being able to trust yourself will give you the confidence needed to commit to your plans and push through difficult situations that will inevitably arise. Without having trust in yourself you may become deterred from reaching your destination. Or even worse heading off on your travels in the first place.

Expect Less

This may seem counter counterintuitive because “I want to travel the world!” seems like a lot to expect from life. But in reality expecting less can lead to gaining more. The world around you doesn’t care what you expect from it. It moves along with or without you. If you’re always focused on getting out what you expect from life, you can miss all the valuable opportunities and experiences that are given freely everyday. Just try to sit back and enjoy the ride, take in what life gives you and you won’t be disappointed.

Guide to Checking Travel Bags

Let’s admit this; a lot of us think checking baggage is the ultimate travel solution. It’s not as straightforward as it looks. Anyone who has faced the misery of having reached their destination without their luggage knows exactly what a terrible experience this can possibly be.

On many days, it is simply sheer bad luck. However, on others it can be traced back to some mistakes on your part once you check-in your luggage. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are checking travel bags.

1. AIRLINE POLICIES

This is often taken for granted by many travelers. If one airline is generous with it, the other should be following their footprints. This is seldom the case. All airlines may have very different rules when it comes to checked baggage. There is mostly only one thing common among each of them; airlines are not very generous when it comes to luggage that you check-in.

To avoid putting yourself in any awkward situation, you must read the fine print about the airline policies towards the luggage. This should be done when you book your ticket with the airline. Little can be done once you arrive at the airport, oblivious of what the airline is going to charge you of.

2. PROTECT YOUR LUGGAGE

Under very rare cases are airlines going to accept the blame for lost luggage or misplaced items. You’re most likely to take responsibility of the mishap at the end. For this reason, it is very important to protect your luggage under all conditions.

There are several ways of getting this done. Firstly, you must avoid packing any valuables in your bags. Anything that you’d be sorry to lose should be kept near you in a carry-on. This is where it is likely to be the safest. Valuable items just as jewelry and cash must never be put in your luggage.

Even if there are no such items in your baggage, everything you have packed is important to you because you’d need it more often. For this reason, you must purchase a travel lock that is approved by TSA. Apart from being safer, these are also helpful when your luggage is being examined at the airport. Locks that can’t be opened through the standard ways are often broken and might damage your personal belongings.

3. MAKE YOUR LUGGAGE STAND OUT

While you’re waiting at the baggage carousel, anxiously waiting to get done, you often end up picking up bags that aren’t yours. Not your fault when most of them look just the same. The majority of travelers tend to pick black and blue luggage bags that look almost identical. This is one of the top reasons for your luggage getting misplaced.

Before your next trip, get more creative and make your luggage more personalized. If you have to purchase new ones, opt for a unique color. If you’re good with the existing ones, add a ribbon or anything else that makes your baggage look more personal.