When you do travel, it would be important to keep abreast of the latest news. On the same vein, if you’ve ever wanted to travel, now is the year to do it. A lot of countries have slackened their visa requirements and extended the days of allowable stay. Despite the seemingly troubled times, travel in the USA has actually increased. Domestic travel in the US has increased 2.1% from last year. This means more revenue for the different states. In 2016, when a person goes on a domestic trip, they spend an average of $2,200. So this means a lot of revenue for the states and places that they do visit. The international tourism scene is growing exponentially as well. Tourism is still a vastly growing market and travelers are a big part of this. So in a nutshell, travel and travelers make the world a vastly more economically habitable place.
Why Should You Travel?
Travelling, as a concept, isn’t anything truly new. Even before travelling for leisure was a thing, travelling for various reasons existed. Now that travelling is now mostly for leisure, it opens up a whole new opportunity for everyone. Even if you probably thought that you, personally, don’t like travel, it is something that most people aspire to be able to do. It is in this year alone that more and more people have gone to travel within their own countries. Travelling is an enriching and enjoyable experience. Travelling allows people to meet new individuals, see new places, and experience new things. There isn’t quite like anything like travelling. The simple fact of going beyond your own comfort zone and seeing new sights is quite liberating. Travelling is a great way to open up your own world and grow more as a person and as a citizen of this planet. Learning about new cultures and ways of life is a great way to get to know your own mind even better.
Travelling Made Easy
Should you book that bigger room? Is it worth waiting for a seat sale? Which country should you prioritize over another? What is the best time to visit a certain state? What is there to do once you get there? These and many more questions always pass through the mind of a traveler. When you’re not sure about anything, it’s important to understand that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s quite the opposite actually. We’ll be discussing more tips, tricks, and hacks to make sure that you get the most out of your adventures. When you travel, or even when you’re still planning the trip, it’s important to be practical. With all the “best tips” out there, it’s crucial that you follow the right ones. Stay tuned as we share our thoughts based on our own personal experiences and hacks given by people in travel-relevant professions. Make sure that you get the most out of your trip by applying the best tried and tested hacks in the world today!
You’ve probably heard of Couchsurfing—an alternate option for accommodation—and you could be wondering how it’s like. Wonder no more! Our writers did the leg work for you! Today we discuss the pros and cons of Couchsurfing!
What is Couchsurfing?
Couchsurfing is a service that allows travelers to stay in the homes of registered and verified homeowners for a fraction of the cost. Their ‘push’ is that travelers get to really live the way the locals do. Sounds tempting but is it really all that it’s cracked up to be?
Couchsurfing is a service that has members all over the world. Regardless of the city or that country that you’re in, there are registered members. This provides a lot of options of where to stay. When travelling, budget is always an issue. The appeal of Couchsurfing is that you pay even less than you would at a hotel, an inn, or even Airbnb.
It’s a good way to exchange culture
One of the biggest draws of backpackers is the fact that couchsurfing does more than giving you a place to stay. Your hosts are also people who are fans of travelling and usually make it a point to show you around or tell you about some secrets that only the locals know about.
Unlike the usually stuffy hosts in Airbnb, Couchsurfing is mostly a community of people who look at travelers as more than just a bank draft with legs.
An active community
It’s not just the hosts that are forthcoming. The Couchsurfing community of travelers is pretty awesome as well. In the website, there are boards wherein the travelers can talk to other travelers and organize a meet-up for a hangout at a local pub or at a museum. It is truly about finding other people who share your love for travelling.
There really is no saying what sort of place you get to stay at. Airbnb has a relative assurance that you’ll get your own room or even the whole house. With Couchsurfing, it will depend on the host as to what you may end up getting. It could be a literal couch or a bed, or even a room.
Subjective house rules
Much like Airbnb, Couchsurfing hosts have their own set of rules. While there are those that let you come and go as you please, there are others who do not. It will all largely depend on the host that you get or choose. So if you’ve rather not have to adhere to other people’s strict rules on your holiday, then you’d best find another service.
No matter what method of accommodation you choose, there is still a relative risk of harm. When you stay with strangers, you need to be smart and listen to your gut. If there is anything that you feel uncomfortable about, it would be best to bow out of your couchsurfing experience.
It’s a great experience if you find a good host! Just read up on safety tips that are applicable to both Couchsurfing and Airbnb. When you do find a good host, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay!
While going travelling is a truly exciting event, the only part of it that can bring the blues is packing. With baggage limitations, just how many can you bring? Today, pick up a few tips and pack like a pro!
Roll. Don’t Fold!
You’ve probably heard this one but it’s a tried and true tip that all of us still use today. We all mostly blame movies for giving the idea that clothes need to be neatly packed away. One of our writers had a rude awakening on a trip to Cambodia. He tried to do the fold packing technique and ended up with only 2 changes of clothes for an 8 day trip! We don’t know about you guys but that’s a complete nightmare for us!
So instead of folding your things, roll them up. You can even roll certain items of clothing together (like shirts and your underwear). It’s a great way to plan an outfit and save up on space as well!
Got wheels? Put heaviest items near the wheels
One of the best things to have ever been invented is the concept of the stroller luggage. However, if you’ve ever packed your things all willy-nilly before, you’d have noticed that some may have slipped on downwards toward the wheels. Chances are that these are the heavier parts of your luggage.
So in order to avoid any unwanted movement in your luggage, pack all the heaviest things like shoes near the bottom of the luggage (near the wheels when the luggage is up). That way you can spare yourself from any unnecessary jostling in your luggage.
Invest in a good luggage weighing scale
This is a true lifesaver when you’re planning on buying a lot of things abroad. Or even if you’re just trying to make sure your luggage passes the allowable weight. There are a lot of small scale digital ones available in the market today. It may seem like an unnecessary expense but it will save you from having to dump any of your precious clothing in the airport just to meet the luggage limit.
Make cable ties your friend
A cable tie is an inexpensive way to keep your things together. This is particularly handy when it comes to your electronic cables. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to dig through your luggage to find your charging or laptop cables.
Keeping them in a bunch via zip ties and putting them in a container (like an old sunglasses case) is a great way to secure them.
Zip Lock bags were invented for a reason
One of our writers, an active international flight attendant, makes use of zip lock bags for two things. She uses one bag for her toiletries and another one for the gadgets. Zip lock backs are waterproof and airtight so nothing goes in and out without by your leave.
Packing needn’t be a nightmare any longer. By using the tips aforementioned above, you save yourself time, money, and a lot of space. This is space that you can dedicate toward other things like the things you buy from your trip!
Today, we discuss the city so nice that they had to name it twice! We’re talking about the fabulous New York City! Join us as we tackle where to stay, what do to, and what to see in the city that never sleeps!
What is New York City?
This fixture in our cinematic history is in the United States. It is the apex of American culture. It is where commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, and so many others were built and grew into the institutions it is today.
Why visit this place?
It’s a full celebration of everything that humanity has accomplished. You want to taste different cultures? New York has a plethora of “little” boroughs—communities of immigrants that brought their cultures with them. This means a variety of food, check out the catering in New York and what they offer, wares, textiles, and so many others. To give you a better idea of why New York is somewhere you’d want to be, let’s break down the reasons why!
Food from all over the world
We’re not kidding about this one. If you’ve got a hankering for Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean, Kosher, etc you’ll never find yourself wanting in New York. With a lot of food places that cater to patrons 24/7, you’ll always have options. If going out at 2:30 in the morning isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you can order in. As Blair Waldorf once said, “We can survive on take-out for months and never have to order the same thing twice.”
The food in the heart of the city differs from the food in the boroughs and other parts of the city. So you can let your taste buds run wild with the options.
New York is the place for both high-end and lowbrow fashion finds. Labels like to call New York as their home. Why wouldn’t they? The sheer number of guests and wealthy locals keep the specialized industry alive and well. Not to mention that if you time your trip just right and you get suitable invites, you can even see New York Fashion Week!
Skyscrapers are the usual sight in New York. Most buildings allow tourists to go to the top floor or their viewing deck to enjoy the sights of the New York skyline. New York City also has several bridges that are worth seeing. The Brooklyn footbridge makes for a good walk and you can simultaneously get a good view of the city from afar.
Crash course in American culture
If you’ve ever wanted to watch Americans at their best (and worst), the Big Apple is where you go. Get your fill of crazy cabs, funny locals, snooty upper East and West people, and many of the curious tourists just like yourself.
A trip to New York is never something that anyone regrets even if the trip has some mishaps. The mere act of being in the Times Square is a feat in itself. If you’ve ever been there and got some tips to share, send us a message and we’d love to incorporate your thoughts for future discussions.
Airbnb has given a lot of people a great chance to stay in places that aren’t usually available. However, there are some understandable concerns about guest safety. That’s what we’ll be discussing today. For those unfamiliar with the platform, Airbnb enables travelers to book homes or condos in various locations all over the world and at a lower cost compared to hotels. As such, travelers from all over the world get to stay in private homes and are under the care of their hosts.
However, there have been a significant number of Airbnb horror stories that have circulated around the net. Like the teenager that was assaulted by his Airbnb host. It is understandable for travelers to be wary of their safety. So today, we’ll be discussing ways on how you can further safeguard yourself while renting out an Airbnb.
Share your location with friends and family
Whenever you’re going somewhere, the last thing you’d want to do is keep it to yourself. Have your safety network of trusted friends and family members know the address of the Airbnb that you’re staying at. Give them a screenshot of the information like the host’s name, photo, address, and contact number.
This extra layer of security is always important to have suitable peace of mind.
Never fail to research your host
The internet is a great resource of information so it’s best to use it. When you book an Airbnb, it would be wise to put your search engine to work. Find reviews or look your host up using social media. If there is anything negative about them, decide carefully if you wish to push through with your booking. Pay special attention to any consistent nasty reviews. That should be an early red flag.
It would always be in your best interest as a guest to document everything. Use your phone to photograph any incidents or anything that is misrepresented. That way, you can ask Airbnb for a refund and if you’re lucky, you can get that host delisted off the Airbnb website. Persist in using due diligence when it comes to protecting yourself.
Never neglect the fine print
Most Airbnb listings have a very clear set of rules placed by the host. Usually you’ll see the type of guests they prefer or the number of guests they allow. However, if certain rules make you feel unsafe, listen to your gut instinct. There are a lot of listings available through the app and the website after all, so take your time choosing one that you’re comfortable with.
Your safety must always be your number 1 concern when travelling. It shouldn’t be your belongings or even your money. Your physical well-being is what you should prioritize. By following the tips above, you can be assured of an enjoyable and safe stay with your Airbnb host.
Do you have your own safety checklist when it comes to Airbnb bookings? Share your thoughts with us in the comments or through a private message!
Do you always end up paying more for flights and hotels quite often? Read on as we discuss some very wise financial travel tips to keep you from paying more than you should ever again. We’re not restricting this discussion to simply flights and hotel bookings. We’re going to be discussing other things that will help you save massive dough before and during your travel.
Make going incognito a norm
As much as we hate to break it to you, it is a fact of life that websites do take note of where you’ve been. This means that if the airline website you’re on detects the cookies from previous visits or other airline websites, the prices will go up.
Going on the incognito browser (Ctrl+Shift+N on Chrome) will ensure that no cookies are being saved. This means that you’ll always get the best deals and really low prices.
Notify your bank prior to travel
A common mistake that a lot of people make is that they do not notify their banks about their travel plans. Then, when they try to use their credit cards or try to withdraw, they suddenly find themselves blocked off. This is because your card carries your country code and will send alarm bells to the ATM or payment processor. This is actually truly helpful in protecting you from fraud.
When you notify your bank prior to your travel, be sure to state the specific duration of your stay. So if you suddenly get any sudden charges past your travel date, your bank will know right away that there is something fishy going on.
Never leave your toiletry buying at the last minute
The usual habit of the non-savvy traveler is simply buying some essentials like toothpaste and the like in the airport convenience store. You may have noticed this if you’re a frequent flyer, but if you aren’t one, you should know that airport prices are stupidly excessive. What will normally cost you $2 at the grocery will end up costing you $10.
Do yourself and your wallet a big fat favor and do all your necessary buying beforehand.
Double check to see that your mobile data is OFF
One of our writers had a grandmother that had racked up $400 in mobile data expenses for an overseas trip. This is a very sad truth; most travelers do not realize that mobile date is something that they can switch off. A good thing to remember is that WiFi is pretty much everywhere so there’s no real need to be connected using your own personal mobile data.
Be sure to check if your mobile data is on and immediately switch it off. The charges for overseas usage are completely staggering and it would be wise not to be caught unaware.
Leave your comfort zone in your own home. Travelling should be all about trying something new. Be aware of any cultural norms like the preferred dress code. If the country you’re visiting highly values modesty, it is important to dress appropriately. Not only do you get to plan your look but you also safeguard yourself.
You’ve probably heard about Chiang Mai but what do you really know about it? Today, we look into the four impressive reasons why this lovely Thailand city within your lifetime.
What is Chiang Mai?
For starters, this is the largest city in Northern Thailand. In local vernacular it means “New City”. It enjoys a steady stream of travelers all throughout the year and for some very good reasons.
Chiang Mai is very affordable
Of all the tourist hotspots in Thailand, this city never wants for travelers. As such, they’ve never seen the need to raise prices when it comes to accommodations and attractions. Of course, there are high-end spots in Chiang Mai. But, if you are on a budget, there are a lot of affordable restaurants in the area that are thriving off the backpacker movement.
Not only do you get to enjoy a different culture on a budget, but you also get to taste actual local fare for a quarter of the price. Not only do you get to save up a lot in terms of food and accommodation cots. But Chiang Mai also has a thriving public market. The vendors here sell their specialized wares at local prices as there are locals who do live in the area and buy their wares from there.
Chiang Mai has very friendly locals
As it is a fact of their lives that their city gets a steady stream of tourists, the locals have adjusted to this fact. However, it is to be noted that the fact they always have tourists is not the only reason why the locals are kind and accommodating. From a cultural standpoint, this city was a primarily Buddhist city. Peace loving and respectful, their religious teachings constantly governs the locals.
There is a lot to do in Chiang Mai
If you’re gunning for a food trip, this city has a lot of places for you to eat. It is in this place that you get to taste some of the native dishes that are sure to make your mouth water like the Banana Blossom Salad. Pad Thai is also something that you can catch here. The variations of the local dish here is enough that you can live here for a year and never have to eat the same variation twice.
If you’re looking for a more cultural immersion, Chiang Mai has the walled city waiting for you. In there, you get treated to majestic and ancient architecture. You can visit Wat Pharathat Doi Suthep and the other temples within the old city walls.
The city of Chiang Mai also has a nightly bazaar that you can visit. Their marketplace is a shopper’s dream come true. They have stalls that sell food, clothing, materials, and so many others that are locally sourced products. So not only are you enriching yourself but you’re also helping the locals earn a sustainable living.
No matter what type of traveler you are, Chiang Mai has something for you. This is why going to this lovely ancient city is a definite must in your lifetime.
With travel becoming more and more accessible to more people, more options where to stay are opening up. One of these popular options is called a Hostel. We’ll be taking a closer look at Hostels in today’s discussion.
What are Hostels?
Hostels are low cost accommodations that have seen a surge in popularity in the recent decade. Instead of a room—like what you’d expect from costly hotels—a hostel usually has a bunk or a bed. Normally, this bed is in a room with several other beds. That means that travelers who stay in hostels need to share their room with strangers.
WOAH! What about privacy?
Your bunks often have a privacy curtain to give you some semblance of privacy. Other than that, you’re going to have to adjust. So if you’re not really keen on being in a place wherein privacy isn’t assured, you may want to go with a regular hotel or inn. However, take our word for it when we say that you’ll be missing out on a great travel opportunity.
Let us elaborate!
Hostels see different kinds of people
One of the best things about travelling is meeting new people. When you stay in a hostel, you get roomies from different parts of the world. You’d be surprised at how friendly or forthcoming these people can be.
Granted that some of them can be kind of full of themselves but that’s a risk you take when you go out into the world. However, when you do meet lovely people, it’s a wonderful experience that you cannot replicate.
Hostels are more affordable
We’ve mentioned that Hostels are less expensive than hotels and inns. This is usually the case in major cities all over the world. This is because instead of losing an entire room to a single customer, hotels can make use of more beds and earn more income.
If you were to get a hotel room, you’d best be prepared to pay a minimum of $150. At a hostel, you’d be paying at around $25 a night. When you have less to spend on your accommodation, you have more to spend on other experiences on your trip.
Hostels are fairly well equipped
We say “fairly” because it will ultimately depend on the Hostel that you choose. Yes, there are bad hostels out there. This reality is very much exactly the same way that there are bad hotels or inns. However, if you manage to find a good hostel, you’ll be in for quite a treat! Free WiFi, a secure locker, late check-out, and free breakfast are often part of the deal. You simply need to do your research and you’ll be able to find out that meets your needs.
There are a lot of hostels all over the world. Each one of them is unique. So instead of shutting yourself away in a boring hotel room, open yourself up to new experiences and give a hostel a try. You never know who you may come across.
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