Category: Travel Tips

Travel Tips

Not Just A Fad, Travel Is A Tool For Life Enrichment

A lot of people think of travel as an occasional hobby or a tool to get away from the stresses of daily life. For some of us, however, it’s a passion, and for good reason. If you’ve been thinking of travelling more as of late, you might be concerned that it’s a waste of time or money that can be better spent on enriching your life and improving yourself as a person. However, there are plenty of ways travel can do that, which we’re going to look at now.

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Becoming stronger, more adaptable
Travel is a hassle, that much can be true. If you do it alone, you’re going to get very little help. However, while this also offers a little more freedom to enjoy your trip however you see fit, the fact is that solo travel, or travel in general, helps you become a lot more decisive, confident, and adaptable to different conditions. You learn to live with and respect new cultures, find ways around language barriers, and become emotionally resilient as you deal with a lot more time alone where you’re entirely responsible for yourself.

Living with no regrets
When we come to the later stages of our life, we very rarely regret that we didn’t do enough work or that we didn’t live an ordinary life. We think about the missed opportunities, the bucket lists we didn’t get started on, and the experiences we wished we could have had. To many, travel has been on their mind for a long time, but so many expect that they will free up the time later when they have more money and a more established lifestyle. In all honesty, the sooner your travel, the more experiences are open to you and the fewer regrets you will live with.

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Getting in touch with your spirit
It might be cliché, but travel can most definitely be a spiritual experience if you look for it. Good food, gorgeous landscapes, and fun cultures are all part of it. But so are destinations like mountaintopclinic.com that allow you to explore a different side of your spirituality and approach new ways of thinking about life. Travel helps you get in touch with yourself, not just the places you visit.

Changing the story
Travel can also help you change yourself by giving you a new perspective on topics you might have thought that you already had figured out. As huffingtonpost.com points out, a lot of people have misconceptions about travel in general. You might also have misconceptions about certain peoples, cultures, or places. The best way to blow them out of the water and get a more informed picture is to actually get up and go there. Get rid of your assumptions and prejudices and replace with a better understanding of the world.

Travel isn’t the answer to everything, but it can truly be a transformative experience if you let it in your life. Is it time you start seeing more of the world and what it can offer you?

 

 

 

Travel Tips

This is the Secret to Traveling More Often

Being able to travel regularly is a privilege that not everybody has. It would be great if we could all jet off around the world whenever we wanted to but, unfortunately, you’ve got to pay for it. When you add up the costs of flights, accommodation, and spending money, you end up needing a lot of money. Spending money and the cost of accommodation can both be reduced fairly easily if you’re willing to stay somewhere a little more basic and just enjoy the free attractions that the country has to offer. Getting cheap flights is a little trickier, but it isn’t impossible. Flights are usually your biggest expense, especially if you’re going further afield, so cutting the costs of them is key to being able to travel more often. If you’re still struggling to afford your next adventure, try out some of these methods for slashing the price of flights.

Minimize Luggage

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When you’re looking for flights online, the airlines are pretty sneaky. The price will come up and you’ll think you’ve found a great deal. It’s way cheaper than you thought it’d be until you actually go to book it that is. That’s when all of the extra charges start popping up and you realize that the real price is nothing like the one that enticed you in the first place. Extra luggage charges are a favorite of airlines and they can be pretty steep. Usually, you get free hand luggage but that’s not enough to take everything you need for one trip. Any suitcases that you take are going to be extra money on top of the ticket price. If you can limit it to one suitcase you’ll save so much money. People often end up taking more bags so they can separate toiletries from their clothes and other bits in case of spillages but you can easily solve that problem and get it all in one bag if you use packing cubes. They’re small bags that you can use to create a lot of subsections in your larger case so you can get everything in there together without worrying about it. You also need to be ruthless when it comes to choosing what to take. Only pack what you’ll actually need to use when you’re out there and think about what you can buy when you get there.

Layovers

Direct flights are almost always more expensive, and usually by quite a lot. People are often put off layovers because it’s going to take far longer but it’s worth the sacrifice for reduced fare. It also gives you the opportunity to fit another city into your trip which you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to visit. It’s only a brief stop but it’s still another place to add to the list.

Go in Winter

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It’s no secret that flights are more expensive during the summer, especially when kids are off school. Most people prefer to go when the weather is better of course, but if you can’t afford it, why not consider going in winter? The prices will be slashed and you get a different experience in a country during winter that most people don’t get.
You’ll have to make a few sacrifices to get cheaper flights but if you want to travel more regularly, it’s worth it.

Travel Tips

Traveling Light and Far with Nothing but a Backpack

Backpacking has become one of the most popular forms of travel for those looking to explore the world. If you have a case of wanderlust, then nothing will sate you like a backpacking adventure. You’ll experience the world up-close, you’ll meet new people, indulge in unique cultures and sample delicious food that you won’t find in a restaurant. However, one of the major concerns for backpackers is, well, packing.

You see, backpacking is supposed to be light so you can move around easily. You won’t see backpackers with a suitcase and several bags dangling off their shoulders—it’s just not practical. At most, a backpacker will have one main backpack and perhaps a small shoulder or side bag, but that’s it. Everything they’ll need for several days is going to have to fit in the main bag, and it’s important to pack the right things if you’re going on a backpacking trip that will last several days, weeks or even months.
To help you pack lightly so you can go further, here are a couple of handy tips.

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What’s your food and drink situation?
Food is going to be heavy. If you plan to carry several bottles of water, a stove and raw ingredients to cook a meal, then expect to add a lot of weight to your backpack. The remedy? Don’t pack too much food. Learn to live off lighter snacks that don’t take much space or weight, such as protein bars. In terms of water, carry a bottle but nothing more, and take the chance to fill up the bottle whenever you can. Be careful, because some water sources aren’t palatable. Take a look at a water purification guide so you can learn how to source clean drinking water instead of carrying several litres with you.

Focus on sturdy, not fashionable
A mistake that some people make when picking gear for backpacking is they’ll go for fashionable items. It’s understandable that you want to look the part when you approach people, but if you’re backpacking you can’t compromise function for form. Take a look at inexpensive tactical gear for the best backpacks and survival gear that is made to last. Don’t walk into a designer store or your average high street clothing store. You need items that are built to be sturdy and used in survival situations.

Learn the layout
Backpacking should be explorative and fascinating, but it shouldn’t be dangerous. Whether you’re planning on taking public transport or exploring the city on foot, make sure you include a map in your backpack. Yes, a physical map, not a GPS device or your phone. The problem with phones is that they run out of battery fast, and battery banks that hold a lot of power are heavy and bulky. A physical map should weigh hardly anything and it can easily fit in your pocket. Together with a small compass, you can get around easily with a hardcopy map.
If you’re planning to go backpacking, do yourself a favour and skip all the unnecessary items. Focus on lightweight and learn to live off the land, not your technology.

 

Should You Travel Out of State by Bus?

Travel Tips United States of America

Should You Travel Out of State by Bus?

When most people think of travel, planes, cars, trains, and even cruises come to mind. Bus travel is almost never considered as a way of long distance travel, at least in the United States. Is it time to consider booking a bus for your next trip or should you stick to whatever you normally do? I can’t give you a direct answer for this, but I can tell you all about my own experience!

A few months ago, I decided to take a Greyhound bus from Florida to New York. This was because I had already spent quite a bit of money to fly from New York to Germany, as well as fly back home. I’d never taken a bus out of state before, but as someone who loves saving money (who doesn’t?), it was time to give it a try! Here are some bus travel pros and cons I learned from my journey:

traveling by bus is really cheap!

The only reason I considered taking the bus from Kissimmee to New York City in the first place was because I assumed it would be affordable and I was completely right! It was actually cheaper than I expected. I’m not sure about other bus lines, but Greyhound actually gives you a discount code for your first ride if you create an Road Rewards account with them (this is NOT a sponsored post by the way, just a useful fact). In total, I only paid $59.20 for a one way trip. This means that if I had chosen to do this round trip, I would have only paid $118.40. Considering the fact that a round trip to New York by plane would normally cost me hundreds of dollars, this was amazing. 

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The bus has wi-fi and charging outlets

As a blogger (and just a 20 year old in general), having wi-fi and a way to keep my devices from dying on the road is a great perk. As I was booking my bus trip, seeing that I would have access to these things actually brought me some relief. I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping myself entertained on this incredibly long trip (I’ll get to the length of it soon).

…but the wi-fi sucks & the outlets might not work

Sadly, the Wi-Fi was worse than just using my phone’s data, so I just ended up not really using it. It worked because I was able to use it on my laptop to finish a quiz for one of my classes at the last minute (oops), but it was very annoyingly slow. You can forget watching Netflix on the bus because loading videos was pretty much impossible, at least for my ride. To make things worse, the outlets on the entire side of one of the buses I was on didn’t work at all. I had to transfer buses a couple of times and the first one was fine, but this was only about an hour trip. On the second bus I couldn’t charge my devices at all and neither could anyone else on my side. This was apparently due to some outage problem on the bus, so it’s probably not a common issue. However, I’d advise taking a portable charger.

the ride felt extremely long

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this bus ride felt like forever. I’ve taken planes to other continents and these didn’t feel half as bad as this bus ride up the east coast. Driving to New York from Central Florida (where Kissimmee is) takes about 16 hours. Taking the bus ended up taking about 30 hours. This is because there are constant stops along the way, many of them requiring you to get out of the bus and wait for hours to board again. From Kissimmee to New York City specifically, the stops included Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Fayetteville, Richmond, and Newark. If you’re feeling adventurous I suppose you could try and check out what’s nearby during the longer stops, but the bus driver made it very clear that they leave right on time and wouldn’t wait for you, so it’s not a risk I was willing to take.

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the food at the stations is decent

Unless you bring your own food, you’re going to have to buy something at one of the stations to eat. Honestly, I was a little worried that the food would be gross, but it’s not. I remember having fries with cheese and bacon bits at one station, chicken tenders at another, and buying some juice. The quality of the food is comparable to what you’d get at a fast food restaurant, which to me isn’t bad. The prices for food are affordable, too. Basically, your meals won’t be anything to brag about, but you definitely won’t starve.

comfort is extremely limited

You’re going to want to bring a neck pillow and blanket if you plan to take a bus trip because the seats are nothing special. I would compare them to your standard airplane seats; nothing awful, but nothing extremely comfortable. The awful thing is actually that when you finally manage to fall asleep, you’re randomly woken up to get off of the bus and wait at a station. Trust me, being woken up at 3 am to sit on a freezing cold bench in a tiny station is definitely not a fun time. When I think back on this bus trip, I vividly remember being cold and tired beyond belief.

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Conclusion: you get what you pay for

Like most things in life, you really get what you pay for when traveling by bus to another state. The price is extremely affordable compared to other methods of transportation, but it will usually take much longer to get to your destination. By the time you arrive, you’ll probably be exhausted. The bright side is that you can use the money you ended up saving on transportation for activities or accommodation. For me personally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to take the bus to travel again because it was a long and uncomfortable experience. That doesn’t mean I would never do it again, but I would only do it if I desperately wanted to go somewhere and really couldn’t afford any other way of getting there. While it’s an annoying experience, it’s not so bad that I would miss a trip somewhere just to avoid it.

I do recommend this mode of transportation if you’re missing out on traveling simply because plane tickets are too expensive for you, but I wouldn’t do this just for the fun of it, because there really isn’t much (if any) fun to it.

Have you ever taken a bus to another state? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

Tips for Traveling with Pets

Travel Tips

Tips for Traveling with Pets

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a huge animal lover, so it’s no surprise that one of the first things that comes to mind when I’m planning a trip is what will happen to my pets. Luckily, a simple solution for me is to just get someone to take care of them while I’m gone, but what if I wanted to take them with me?

Should I even bring my pet on a trip in the first place?

  Before making any further plans to bring your pet along for your next adventure, consider if it’s worth it to begin with. Some animals (especially old or sickly ones) are easily stressed out, especially when faced with an unexpected change of environment and the journey to get there. Like people, stress in animals can take a negative toll on their health. If your pet is easily stressed, it’s probably best to spare them the trip altogether and leave them in the care of somebody you trust. You should always consider the happiness and safety of your pet before making decisions involving them.

How should I prepare before traveling with my pet?

  If you think that traveling won’t be a big problem for your pet, your next step should be finding out what requirements must be met for pet travel. If you’re traveling by airplane, make sure you go to the airline’s website or call them for their requirements. Prices for bringing your pet vary depending on the airline, pet species, and pet size, but you should expect to pay at least 100 dollars to bring them. Most airlines will also want you to have a health certificate signed by your veterinarian and may require them to have certain shots (animals that are not old enough for shots are usually not allowed to travel). A trip to the vet before traveling is a must for your companion. In addition to getting all the documents and shots that you need, it’s also a good idea to ask if your pet is healthy enough to travel (they will most likely give them a check up regardless, but it doesn’t hurt to ask). Another big thing to consider is getting a pet microchip. This chip is implanted underneath your pet’s skin and will contain valuable information about them, such as your contact information, that can be easily accessed by bringing them to any veterinarian’s office or animal hospital. You never know what could happen to your pet while traveling, so it will give you peace of mind to know that you can easily be reached if your pet is lost.

   If your pet is traveling by car, you should still bring them to the vet for a check up and microchip if they do not already have one. You should also pay extra attention to your pet packing list (I’ll go into this more later in the article). One important thing to have is a comfortable carrier so that your pet will be safe and secure in the car (be sure to restrain the carrier using a seat belt), as well as plastic bags and paper towels for cleaning up after them.

  No matter how you’re traveling, always double check that you have pet friendly accommodation! Some hotels do not allow any animals at all, or may only allow cats or certain dog breeds. Make sure you call your hotel before you book it and ask if your specific type of pet is allowed.

What should I pack for my pet?

Here is what should be on your packing list when traveling with your pet:

  • Food and water dishes
  • Pet food
  • Bottled water
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Bedding
  • Medication (if needed)
  • Animal first aid kit
  • Litter box and litter (for cats) or pee pads (if you use this with your dog)
  • Grooming supplies
  • Stain remover/deodorizer
  • Paper towels
  • Pet’s favorite toy or blanket

How can I keep my pet comfortable while traveling?

  As soon as you decide to take your pet on vacation with you, get them used to being in a carrier and a car. The more they experience being in a carrier and a moving vehicle, the faster they can adjust to it. This will prevent them from being overly uncomfortable on your way to your destination. Be sure that the carrier has enough room for your pet to be able to turn around comfortably and lay down. On the day of the trip, make sure your pet has eaten, but not immediately before you take off, as this can cause them to have an upset stomach. It is recommended that you feed them about four hours before your flight (or car ride). When it comes to water, staying hydrated is very important, so continue to make sure your pet has access to water up until it is time to take off. It also helps to give them small treats (not too many, though) before the flight and during, if possible. This can help ease their nerves a bit. One thing you should never do is sedate your pet before your flight (unless your veterinarian deems it necessary). Being sedated can affect an animal’s respiratory and cardiovascular functions. These effects can be enhanced by the pressure from high altitude travel. There have been many cases of animals dying from over sedation for travel, so this is definitely something that should not be taken into your own hands. Like I said earlier, if your pet does not seem fit to travel then simply do not travel with them, or if you must take them then be sure to get a veterinarian’s opinion on sedation first if you think it may be needed.

Did this article make you feel more prepared to travel the world with your furry friend? Let me know in the comments!

What To Do If You Get Lost In New York City (Without A Phone!)

New York Travel Tips United States of America

What To Do If You Get Lost In New York City (Without A Phone!)

We all get lost sometimes, it happens to the best of us (at least that’s what I tell myself). This is especially true if you’re going to be spending time in the enormous city that never sleeps, New York City. Getting lost always seems to happen at the worst time, too. Trust me, I lived in New York for about a year and during my last month there, it happened. I was on my way back from the Bronx, well after the sun had set, heading to my dorm in Queens. My charger was broken and the final percentage of my phone battery that I had desperately clung to drained away. It was okay though, I knew the way home like the back of my hand. Or so I thought. After waiting for what seemed to be forever (the later it gets, the slower the buses run in the city), my bus finally came. This was a bus I had taken several times before, so I got on, found a seat, sat back and relaxed. That was until I noticed the bus pull in to an unfamiliar location and stop. The location was full of other buses and everyone remaining on the bus got off. I didn’t know why or how (I still haven’t quite figured it out), but I took the bus to the final parking stop. Thanks to common sense, I managed to make it home from an unfamiliar area in NYC, late at night, with a dead phone. Here’s how I did it and how you can make it home if you ever got lost without a working phone:

  • STAY CALM! I can’t stress this enough. It’s easier said than done, but when you go into panic mode your mind is all over the place and thinking practically is the last possible thing you can do. If you realize that you’re lost, don’t start thinking about all of the awful things that could happen to you. Just don’t even allow the thought to cross your mind, push it away immediately and stay focused on your goal: getting back. Once I was back home, I realized I could have very easily been mugged, murdered, or any combination of horrible things, but at the moment I was so set on getting home that I didn’t let these thoughts occur to me.
  • FOLLOW A CROWD! Okay, so for me there wasn’t a large crowd anywhere at the stop since Queens isn’t the busiest area of New York, but there were a few groups of people walking in the same direction. The thing about New York is that there is bound to be some amount of people outside, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a common direction people are headed in. Of course, they might not necessarily be going where you want to go, but the whole idea is that if many people who don’t know each other are headed in the same direction, they are headed to public area, which makes it easier to get help. Just be sure to keep a safe distance when following them because you never know what kind of intentions people have. (Side Note: If you can’t find any kind of crowd, walk down a well lit street where you can see stores or some sign of a public area ahead)
  • DON’T LOOK LOST! This is extremely important for being lost anywhere. If you look lost, you look vulnerable and are an easy target for someone with bad intentions. If you look like you know exactly where you’re headed and are in a rush to get there, you’re more likely to be left alone. How exactly do you do this? Once you’ve found your crowd or general direction, walk directly towards where you want to go with your head up confidently, eyes straight ahead, and a quick pace. You’ll look very focused and very not lost.
  • ASK FOR DIRECTIONS! Be very careful with this step. You’ll want to ask someone who appears trustworthy (this doesn’t mean they are  trustworthy, but follow your instincts). Try to ask a woman if possible, not that women can’t do anything bad to you, but they are statistically less likely to. Stand a decent amount of distance away from the person that you’re asking in case you need to make a quick get away from them. What I did was once the groups I was following for awhile started to lead to a busier street with stores and more people walking, I asked two teenage girls where the train station was. Of course, this was an easy question to answer because it wasn’t far away, but if you’re in New York someone will know of one somewhere and can point you in the general direction.
  • BE OBSERVANT! The reason that I thought to ask where the train station was in the first place is because I remembered being near the area I wandered into at one point to take the train in a certain direction. This was only once a long time ago, so I wasn’t sure where it was exactly, but since I was observing the places around me I was able to piece together that I was somewhere near the station. Even if no matter where you walk you have absolutely no clue where you are, being observant will save you. You could be lucky enough to notice subway signs or a taxi service place. Even if you don’t see these, keep in mind that if you’re seeing a lot of stores and places to eat or things to do, you’re bound to be at least somewhat near a method of transportation. How else would people get to these things if many New Yorkers don’t have cars? While parts of New York can be extremely dangerous, it’s also not the worst place to get lost in because as long as you keep walking, you’re going to end up in a place with things to do.
  • GO INTO AN ENCLOSED PUBLIC AREA! For me, this was the train station that the girls pointed me towards. This is the perfect place to go when you’re lost, because even if you’re not sure what train to take, you can ask someone working in the station and they can help you. You should always be carrying money or a Metrocard on you wherever you go, but if you so happen to have none, a worker might give you a break and let you ride for free or at the very least let you use a phone so you can get into contact with someone who can help you out. If this enclosed public area is not a place to get transportation, go for it anyway if you can’t find any. Every business has a phone, so no matter what store, library, restaurant, or whatever you walk into, you’ll at least have a way to get in touch with help.
  • GET TO YOUR DESTINATION ASAP! Once you’ve found your public place and got your ride straightened out, go directly to where you need to go. As soon as I was in that train station, I swiped my Metrocard (that I very luckily had) and got on the train that I knew would take me back to the bus stop I was at to begin with. This time, when the bus got there, I asked the bus driver if the bus was going to my destination so that I wouldn’t have to end up going through the same thing all over again. It was, so I took it to where I needed to go and stayed alert the entire ride back to make sure I got to the right stop, let out a huge sigh of relief when I did, and went back to the dorm that I had never been so happy to see in my life. No matter how confident you are that you finally know your way back, don’t make any stops along the way or stop paying attention to the things around you. The faster you’re back where you need to be, the less likely it is that something will happen to you, so get back as soon as you know that you can.

That’s it! Every situation is different, but generally following these steps will get you where you need to be safely if you’re ever lost in NYC without a phone. Hopefully this never actually happens to you because it’s a scary experience, but now you’ll be prepared if it ever does (lesson learned though: always make sure your phone is charged or that you at least have a working charger). Have you ever been lost somewhere? What did you do or do you have any other advice? Let me know in the comments!