It’s perfectly fine to want to explore new places on your own, as it can be exciting in many ways. No changes in your plans (unless you make them yourself). No visiting places you’d rather avoid, because your friend is mad to get there (torture museum anyone?). Smaller budget, more freedom, etc. But what to do if you get bored during your solo escapades?
While travelling, especially to remote locations, it’s ok to be concerned about personal safety. So, how do you meet new people on a solo trip and don’t get into trouble? Simple: find fellow travellers and share some of your exploring!
Online platforms and websites. See if you can use them to connect with a local guide, to show you the city or even give you a skill class. These activities can be paid, but they’re also an opportunity to meet travellers with the same interests. Don’t forget to double-check the providers, though. Read the descriptions, check pictures, ratings and reviews, or contact the provider in case of questions or concerns.
Social travel apps. These can connect you directly with other travellers. A few examples of the features: finding travellers locally; matching routes for upcoming trips; joining groups of like-minded explorers. Exercise the same amount of caution as with any social media acquaintances. Meet in public places or suggest a video chat first.
Hostels. It’s an easy and cheap way to find company. Hostels are a great place to socialise with fellow-travellers: amenities may be basic, like a common kitchen, but there may be city tours or even pub crawls led by the staff, to help you mingle with the others. If you’re concerned about staying safe, book a hostel closer to the city centre and check reviews posted by solo travellers. Female travellers going solo can opt for women-only hostels.
Travelling Alone: How to Find Company
Those who’ve never stayed in hostels might get a wrong idea about this type of accommodation. Still, hostels are the best option for travelling cheap if you want to see the world. Hostels aren’t about youngsters on dope or smelly peeps with backpacks. According to travellers’ reports, they are on the way to become amazing places where you can meet a lot of nice people and make friends.
Today’s hostels are different. They’re not that different from hotels, except that you pay much less and may need to share a bathroom or a room. These days, you’ll find a lounge and a kitchen almost in every hostel. The price of a dorm (shared room) usually depends on the number of beds (less beds = bigger price). The difference is minimal, so if you want a quiet environment, consider getting a smaller or a private room. It’s still cheaper than staying at a hotel. “En-suite” rooms have an attached bathroom, but there will be other people in the room. If you’re a woman-traveller, almost all hostels have female-only dorms these days.
How to book a good hostel? There are plenty of websites with reviews and booking options. Looking at pictures is going to help you a lot: if everyone is drinking, this is probably a party hostel, for example. When sharing a room with others, mind yourself and your belongings. No-one would welcome a thick layer of toothpaste on a mirror in a shared bathroom, as well as waking up to the deafening sound of your phone at 5 am. A good piece of advice is to introduce yourself to fellow-roommates as you arrive. Smile, shake hands and be nice. It’s also your no. 1 strategy for making friends, which can happen easily, as you have at least two things in common: a passion for travelling and a knack for spending money wisely.
In short, if you’re willing to overlook the inconveniences, such as sleeping next to unfamiliar people, hostels will allow you to travel cheaper – and longer.
Hostel Basics: How to Travel Better and Cheaper
It’s easy to forget about the conveniences you take for granted while at home. Cooking meals in your own kitchen, having access to money, medicine and information – you leave all this behind when travelling. However, satisfying basic needs in any city isn’t a big deal. Start with these three points – and you’ve prepared yourself for possible surprises.
1. Money. Find an A.T.M. near your hotel and use your bank card to replenish cash supplies. See if you can find one without a fee, it’s better for your wallet. If you’re abroad, think of how to get local currency, either before you leave or on the spot via currency exchange. Beware of the rates, though: they can be high, so it’s better to go with the first scenario (get it before arriving in the country).
2. Medicine. There are legal restrictions as to what you can (and cannot) bring with you to a specific country. If allowed, it’s always better to take medicine with you. But situations can vary, and finding a local pharmacy may prove a good idea over time. One can catch a cold, or scratch a finger, or sprain something, after all. Mind that if you’re in the US, most pharmacies (drugstores) mask as convenience stores with food and drink available. Imagine buying aspirin and party supplies at the same place! Just remember that medicines can be different abroad, so it may be harder to replace the ones you have in case they get lost.
3. Information. You may be travelling and working remotely, or just reluctant to ask around how to get here and there. Either way, finding a Wi-Fi hot spot will be a lifesaver for those who need access to information on a trip. Hotels should have available Wi-Fi, but it’s sometimes unreliable or too expensive. Look up free hot spots nearby; cafes and restaurants may have it, and you’ll gain access to the information you need.
What to Find First When You’re New to a City
Eating out during travels can leave you with many good memories. However, the logistics of doing it can be upsetting, and more so if you’re travelling with family or in a company. From reading 1000s of restaurant reviews to dig out the truth, to arguing with everyone about preferences and cuisines, there can be lots of issues to ultimately spoil the fun. Follow our tips to keep your (and everyone’s) holiday mood and enjoy the best meals on the trip.
Plan things out. Roaming the streets of a new city, then leaping into the first food joint can be fine. But if you’re not alone, would your companions want to follow your whims when you suddenly feel a fit of hunger? Or would they want to rely on your intuition when you claim that this fancy façade will definitely mean better cuisine? It’s wiser to discuss where (and when) you’d like to go in advance.
Be moderate. Don’t obsess over finding five-star restaurants because they’re cool and your friends back home will die of jealousy. Eating in posh places may come off as snobbish, and if you aren’t a clairvoyant, you can’t be sure none of your subscribers visited that outskirt seafood joint. It’s your holiday, and enjoying it the way you want, without too much fretting, is the right way.
Eat what you buy. Don’t buy food for photographic purposes only. This might upset people next to you if they can’t afford the same expensive meal you’re ordering just to take pictures. You may not find the chef’s choice appropriate, but it’s a different thing.
When in doubt, ask. If you avoid certain type of food or ingredients, ask what your dish contains. Otherwise, you may find this out by accident, and an embarrassing scene may ensue. Fun fact: at a lot of places in Japan, fish products are used in everything… which is not for vegetarians, of course. If you have a food allergy or intolerance, double-check and let the personnel know.
Finding Best Meals on a Trip
You know how whimsical your tween or teen can be when choosing something. And if it goes against their individuality and tastes, beware! But in recent years, tour operators and hotels have adjusted to this picky crowd’s needs. Below we explain what hotels, tour companies and cruise lines have to offer to these age groups.
Hotels. Check if your hotel of choice offers experiences aimed at tweens and teens. These may be camps with adventurous and educational activities, or special programs for young explorers (baking, crafting, nature walks, scouting, etc.). There are even exclusive spa options for kids! Tours to exotic places, such as Costa Rica or Peru, are becoming more popular with families. You can enjoy whatever plans you’ve made for your vacation, knowing they are busy with something good and useful (and not on a rough hike through the local jungle).
Tour companies. As teens are pretty active in planning vacation trips, why not have shared experience? These days, tour companies offer family trips with multisport activities, dancing, cooking… not mentioning the routine excursions and sightseeing, of course. It’s good to make your kid put away their smartphone and enjoy the real beauty of the world. Even better: if your tween or teen has a passion like music or movies, there are ways to personalize travel experience and connect the kid with the culture of the country you’re planning to visit.
Cruise lines. A number of them offer tween/teen clubs with outdoor films, dance parties and much more. Check Disney cruises; they have a line for tweens and teens, with youth clubs and fun activities. While tweens are keen on exploring the world around them, teens are more eager to mix with one another. The cruises aimed at these age groups provide both with ample opportunities. Just check the prices plus what’s included in them in advance.
Great Vacation Ideas for Tweens and Teens
Scientifically proved: meditation is a great way to reduce stress. It can be practiced without being a guru, and it relieves tension and anxiety. Travelling can be stressful too: think of all the plane delays, wrong hotel rooms and dozens of other situations that had you on edge. When you meditate, your mental health improves. You get to know your body and mind better, gain a new perspective and reach inner harmony. All this can be free of charge if you choose online video guides and articles over attending yoga classes or hiring a personal trainer.
So, are you suffering because your luggage got lost, or did you miss your plane because of a traffic jam? Rather than giving in to stress, embrace the situation and try to relax by using these simple techniques.
Focus on your breathing. It’s a good way to prepare for a stressful situation (such as flying, if you’re afraid to do it) or relieve the existing tension. Just a few deep breaths can help smooth your nerves.
Minimize distractions. Travelling is about new destinations and experiences; not about that last argument with a friend you keep replaying in your head. Don’t abuse your smartphone’s photo function by making zillions of pictures too. A reasonable amount is enough for your social media followers. Just ask yourself if what you’re doing at the moment is productive. Taking countless selfies… most probably, not.
Try meditating regularly. It’s good to start practicing meditative techniques before going on a trip. This way, you won’t be wasting time during the trip itself. Meditating on a daily basis will also enhance the positive effects. Don’t worry if you can’t fit your usual 10 minutes of meditating into the schedule during vacation time. Meditation is for reducing stress, not building it up, after all.
Travelling and Meditating: Reduce Your Stress
Can you be doing a full-time job while travelling the world? It may sound like a fantasy, but with the right equipment, planning and support, it’s possible.
If we look at the numbers, slightly less than 5 million Americans are working remotely via smartphone or laptop, while doing extended travelling. How to be like them? We won’t lie: the logistics can be very complex, but not impossible, for sure.
Here are some tips on how to get prepared for your new working style…
Talk to your boss. It’s like discussing a pay raise, but slightly different. Use facts to prove that you can work more productively from home. If this doesn’t work, negotiate at least one day a week. Then, later, get back to the topic of working remotely full-time if you’re successful. Get everything ready: Wi-Fi access, a portable charger and (if needed) headphones with a microphone. Think of meeting and communication apps in advance and inform colleagues when you can be reached.
Sort everything out. Check your passport and get a visa, if it’s necessary for the country you’re visiting. In case you’re bringing pets with you, get familiar with the rules of the country you’re visiting (vaccination, health certificate, etc.).
Physical address. You’ll need one for bills, mail, employer records and so on. It’s possible to rent a physical mailing address through various services. You can use online access for bills and bank accounts and be paid digitally or through direct deposit.
Choose a destination. Timeframe and budget are important factors, but there are apps to help you with the planning. You’ll need to rent a long-term apartment; use online tools and websites for this purpose. Don’t forget to check if your potential lodging has access to internet and Wi-Fi. Consider new expenses as well: public transport, food, restaurant visits…
Get insured. Health insurance is always a good idea. Check your policy: it may cover some of the health issues abroad.
How to Travel While Working
If you support environment protection, travelling can be potentially stressful. It’s true that global tourism is one of the sources of carbon emissions due to transportation means involved. These days, people use airplanes, trains and ships more often because global tourism is becoming cheaper. Hence the negative impact on the global environment. But it’s not that hard to still be a ‘green traveller’. How to help the planet without limiting your travels? Follow these steps to minimize the harmful impact of your journeys.
Take a train. Airplanes, cars, vehicles are responsible for producing greenhouse gases, which is harmful for environment. That’s why you should take a train (if possible). Avoid flying or using a car to minimize the negative impact. Shorter flights are actually more polluting: whenever a plane takes off or lands, emissions are significant. This is why you should consider choosing another means of transportation for a short trip. You can also decide on fewer longer vacations to reduce the number of your flights.
Find a sustainable accommodation. Check if a hotel or a tour operator has a recognized certificate regarding sustainability. Even if a hotel of your choice doesn’t have one, make inquiries to see if it’s still sustainable or not. Ask your provider if they have a responsible tourism policy. If not, consider finding someone else.
Be a responsible tourist. Try to leave no trace and not create excessive solid waste in places you’re visiting. Carry a reusable bag of your own, for example. You can also support local businesses: buy foods grown locally and spend some money on handicrafts. If the place you’re visiting is facing an issue such as an environmental or economic crisis, think of the ways to help. However, charity doesn’t always work as intended, so be sure to check with the authorities, or the hotel, or the tour operator how you can get involved.
How to Travel and Be Green
How to have fun and not worry about the logistics of group travels? We’re all humans, with our whims and weaknesses: some can’t stand hostels, others arrive late no matter what, etc. There may be differences in the food or certain activities we choose (not everyone is mad about diving or safaris, for example). We’ve prepared a few tips on how to travel in a group – and stay sane in the process.
Understand the group. Will the group mates find a common language with each other? Age gap, cultural differences and other factors can come into play. Comfort zones can be affected, and planning activities together can turn into a real pain in the back. Also, people tend to disagree sometimes, and your group might not be an exception. Always try to find a compromise: for instance, hotels and resorts with good facilities will appeal to families, while bigger groups of friends may opt for hostels.
Use shared apps. It’s important to know the availability of each member of the group. Some apps will allow you to create a poll of travel dates to choose from. Use spreadsheets if you need to list destination options, housing and more. There are apps that help collect details for hotels, flights, car rentals, etc., into one master itinerary. Or, you can set up a private group on social media websites to share messages.
Organise finances. Tracking expenses can be done easily with certain apps. They help you track and balance the expenses in multiple currencies. Forget about awkwardness and stress when it comes to money matters. These effective tools will guide you through the chores and leave everyone happy with the financial management.
Group Travelling Tips
For those seeking an enjoyable (and affordable) way to travel abroad, bus tours are a great opportunity. But, regrettably, in certain countries road safety isn’t up to the bar. Whether you’re driving yourself or someone does it for you, here are some tips for a safe journey.
Plan in advance. Check the official travel advice for safety tips. For certain countries, there is ample advice on how to stay safe while travelling by roads. A few instances for Morocco: poor weather can decrease road safety; driving at night can be dangerous because of poor lighting; pedestrians can be crossing motorways; overloaded lorries can pose a danger. If you can’t find such tips on governmental websites, try reviews from reliable travellers. These reviews can have more detailed info as well as real-life situations and troubleshooting tips.
Learn about safety standards. They may not be the same as in the UK. For instance, certain countries will have passengers boarding the bus in the middle of heavy traffic. A good tip is to watch the locals to see how they avoid getting into accidents. Also, don’t trade “authentic” experience for safety: trips on packed buses (or train roofs) are risky.
Avoid travelling at night. Overnight buses can save you some money in terms of hotel fees. What they can’t do is guarantee your safety. In many countries, drivers can turn off the headlights, believing it’ll save the batteries of their vehicles. Mountain areas can be especially dangerous, with their winding, narrow roads.
Personal safety first. If you feel the driver is doing their job badly or recklessly, speak up. If nothing improves, leave the bus a.s.a.p. and forget the money you’ve lost on the fare. It’s not worth your life or your health. Always check the bus before boarding it, and if something feels suspicious, don’t do it.
Bus Trips Abroad: Tips for Safety
Is it possible to take amazing pictures without buying a super-expensive camera? It’s hard to compete with the sheer quality of images taken by superior photo equipment. However, if you aim for artistic quality, here’s good news: skilled photographers can deliver a masterpiece with just about any camera! All it takes is a bit of practice, and you’ll surprise your friends and followers with breathtaking and inspiring pictures.
A few tips for beginners…
Learn lining up your shots. It’s safe to put the subject in the centre, but since you don’t need any film for modern digital devices, try taking many shots at various angles. Imagine taking a picture of someone on the seashore. Wouldn’t it be better to shoot from a distance to get a panoramic view? Also, when you photograph a pet, do it on their height level, not yours. Wouldn’t work with children, though; they’ll look really huge, and you’ll spoil a potentially amazing shot.
Experiment more. Just like in writing or any form of art, your style is what raises you above the average. Don’t be afraid of making lots of crappy shots in the process. It takes time and effort to produce an award-winning photograph. If you do want a pricy camera, buy it in advance to understand the settings. It’s no good using a complex tool like this in automatic mode. Search for suggestions and reviews online to decide what camera will be the best for you. We suggest a small-sized quality camera with multiple functions and adjustments to learn the art of photography.
Use free editing tools. Even if the weather was a bit of a let-down, you can still save your precious photos by using apps or software. Tweak colours, crop, blur, sharpen, apply filters. After some practice, you’ll know how to fix a photo from the first glance.
Don’t Buy a New Camera: Tips for Great Vacation Photos
It’s hard to stay clean and fresh when you’re in the middle of a one-day car ride or on a flight to the other end of the world. But with these simple life hacks, you’ll save yourself from being smelly.
Avoid perfumes and body sprays. You may think that these substances are a good way to cover up for the unpleasant odour. Fine, but what about fellow-passengers? Would they want to inhale these heavy scents? Most probably, not. Use a basic deodorant or freshening wipes instead. It’s not as effective as taking a shower, but better than nothing, of course.
Wear sports clothes. Sports mean sweat, and clothing companies have found ways to reduce it. Such clothes help deal with moisture and destroy odious bacteria. They still need to be washed, but if you don on clean sports clothes, this’ll make you smell a trifle better during the trip.
Look for hygiene options. There may be showers at airport lounges, and long-distance trains may have bathrooms that allow space for showering. For car travellers, there are public showers available. Some people don’t mind brushing their teeth and washing up right in a bathroom at a train station or an airport. If there are no other options, use face wipes to clean yourself up a bit.
Drink water. This simple trick will help you avoid bad breath and too much sweating. Dry mouth means that your saliva won’t be able to clean the mouth and destroy bacteria. To keep your breath clean, refrain from drinking alcohol or soda (your mouth gets dried out), and don’t eat spicy food.
Use a plastic bag for dirty laundry. Otherwise, if you pack dirty clothes in a suitcase, your clean clothes will also start to smell. Plastic bags help isolate the odour. If the clothes are very dirty, airing them out will reduce the smelling, and you can pack them afterward.
Staying Fresh on Long Trips
You won’t believe it, but travelling to some countries will require a face mask. Air pollution can be really bad, especially in Asia. Even in Europe and North America, there will be places to raise concern. Whether it’s a short trip, doesn’t matter: you may still feel the effects. Here are the tips on how to protect yourself from air pollution while travelling.
Do a research. There are air quality websites which offer real time updates on air quality globally. This can help you decide where and when you’d like to travel. Air pollution isn’t all about factories and traffic. It can also have natural causes, such as dust particles from a nearby desert, which can be seasonal. Read up about the factors influencing the quality of air for your destination.
Learn how to use a face mask. Surprisingly, pharmacies and stores rarely offer quality face masks. It’s better to order one online, but make sure it’s been recommended by professionals in the field of medicine. Wearing a mask properly and not using it excessively is also useful. When to wear it depends on how old you are and your health condition, but there are no universal guidelines. Air quality scale will help you make a good decision for yourself. Be double careful in case you have allergies, asthma or respiratory issues.
Care about your skin. After spending a day sightseeing, take a shower to protect your skin and lungs from air pollution. You can also apply a moisturizer and sunscreen for skin protection. Taking care of your skin in general while travelling is also beneficial.
Stay inside if needed. If you know which days will be heavily polluted, don’t risk and stay indoors. This doesn’t mean locking yourself in a hotel room; choose activities where you won’t have to stay outside. Shopping at the mall or visiting museums will be fine. Also, look for accommodations offering clean air as a feature. Some hotel chains have air purifiers, and there are clean air cafes and oxygen bars in some cities.
Air Pollution and Travelling: Useful Tips
Those who travel by plane know how big of a challenge this can be in terms of sleeping. Switching time zones and all the stuff… However, these simple tricks developed by medical professionals will help you no matter where you are.
Sleep schedule. Try to adjust it before the flight; this way you’ll feel more comfortable when you land. Find out the time difference in hours and start adjusting your schedule by one hour each day. For example, if the time is 5 hours earlier at your destination, use the preceding 5 days to retire one hour earlier each day, and you’ll fare much better upon arriving.
Don’t eat or drink too much on board. Though some believe certain foods can foster falling asleep, this hasn’t been scientifically proved. The good idea is to eat when you feel the need. Avoid too much coffee or alcohol. Wine in small quantities may help, but no more than a drink or two.
Follow local habits. Try eating and sleeping just like the locals. The faster you can adjust, the better. Your body may protest at first, but trying to do this is important. Also, get some exercise; this will help you with falling asleep and, generally, staying fit.
Think of using sleep aids. There’s no strict answer as to whether you should use sleep aids on long flights. Some aids can foster the jet lag symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, headaches. There’s a greater risk of deep vein thrombosis if you’re immobile for long periods. Also, being fully alert is vital in emergency cases, and you won’t be after using sleep aids. Keep in mind that there are legal restrictions as to what medicines you can (and cannot) bring to a specific country. Finally, seek reliable advice if planning to use high-tech devices to fall asleep. There isn’t enough research that would evaluate them, so be careful and double-check.