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Now you’ve watched every episode of Game of Thrones and the series is complete, it’s time to visit the filming locations.

If you haven’t watched it and you don’t like spoilers then now is your chance to look away!

Most of this epic, long-running production was put together in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the Titanic studios.

This is where you will find mega green screens in the parking lots and popular sets, as well as the production offices for the entire show.

The Titanic Studios truly is the home of GOT, and it’s a great place to visit for diehard fans and casual viewers alike.

The studios are located in the same area that the Titanic was built in – this has now been converted into a sprawling exhibition about the ship and its build, as well as being home to 106,000 square feet of film sets that were used to shoot most episodes of Game of Thrones.

(On a GOT walking tour around Belfast, Northern Ireland)

My guide in Belfast joked that you knew filming was taking place in Belfast when you started to see an increase in bearded men walking around town. Whether that was Khal Drogo, Jon Stark or our beloved Tormund the wildling, I cannot tell you.

When the show was still being filmed, you couldn’t actually stop or take pictures near the gates of Titanic studios to avoid any spoilers being leaked about the popular series.

However, when I drove past I did see a sneak peek of the top of Winterfell from a distance. Whilst you’re in Northern Ireland you can also visit Doune Castle, which was also used as a filming location for Winterfell.

Northern Ireland is currently in talks to see if the studio and other filming locations in the area can be turned into a major tourist attraction – so maybe one day in the near future you can be the King of the North for a day and walk around the battlements of Winterfell.

Until then, why not visit some of the stunning filming locations used by the show around Europe?

Some parts of the series were filmed in more remote locations around Northern Ireland such as the Dark Hedges, and many other parts of Europe were used for this globetrotting show – you can go and visit many locations used in scenes today.

Here is a guide to Game of Thrones locations around Europe and how to easily visit them on your own.

1) Gardens of The Alcázar Palace in Seville, Spain

The Gardens of The Alcázar Palace in Seville are the oldest gardens in Europe, and are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

They were used as a location for the Water Gardens of Dorne,and they look just as sumptuous and exotic in real life as they did in season 5.

Inntravel offers a taste of Southern Spain​, plus a look at the gardens themselves, with their self-guided walking holiday.

Starting in Seville, it’s the perfect way to see the sights at your own pace.

2) Iceland – Home of the Wildlings

Iceland was used for many filming locations north of the wall – and features in every season of Game of Thrones after season 1.

The landscape and terrain of Iceland made an absolutely perfect location to represent the land of the wildlings, the children of the forest and white walkers.

A trip to Iceland for filming locations is actually pretty accessible, and most of the locations are just off the main ring road that traverses the country.

For a very recognisable place to visit from the series, take a trip to Hengill Mountain to witness the scenery where the Hound and Brienne had that epic stand off fight. You know exactly the one.

3) King’s Landing: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik was the main film location for King’s Landing, featuring in many episodes and every season.

Viewers will, of course, be highly drawn to the steps where they may have heard “shame” chanted many times as Cersei took her punishment from that weird religious order.

Walk the same streets at Lena Headley and chant at your holiday companions, that sounds like a fun Game of Thrones fan holiday, right?

4) King’s Landing Gate: Mdina, Malta

A wonderful town to visit on a trip to Malta, and it also happens that the entrance was used as a King’s Landing Gate in the earlier seasons.

Mdina was the capital city of Malta way back in the middle ages, and the history of this place traces back to over 4000 years.

An excellent place to visit for a solid dose of Maltese history.

5) Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland

Located close to the Giants Causeway, you can easily add this location to a Northern Ireland road trip.

Ballintoy Harbour provided the scene for Lordsport in Games of Thrones, where Theon was baptised into the religion of the Drowned God. What is dead may never die and all that.

Any of these locations will provide some of the most epic scenery you can find anywhere, and of course many memories of the biggest TV sensation the world has ever seen.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these locations and Enjoy your GOT fan trip!

The post Game of Thrones locations in Europe and how to visit them easily appeared first on Travel Dave.

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This is a blog post for those who are on a constant lookout for a good travel medical insurance policy for long-term travel.

It goes without saying that if you travel, you need to travel with travel insurance.

Travel is uncertain at times and you never know what could happen.

Personally, I’ve had to use my travel insurance for a number of different reasons, such as dealing with cancelled flights, minor injuries and theft issues.

You never know what might happen on a trip and you should always be prepared.

Touch wood, the majority of my trips have gone smoothly, and I’ve almost never had to make a claim on my travel insurance. However, when I have needed it, I’ve been happy to have it.

Having travel insurance gives you peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying your travel with ease and getting the most out of your adventure.

What makes SafetyWing the perfect travel medical insurance?

If you happen to be doing a lot of long-term travelling, you might be a Digital Nomad, a travelling freelancer or an entrepreneur travelling all the time, looking for a good long-term policy you can opt into and never have to worry about it again.

I found SafetyWing who have a core focus on understanding the needs of long-term travellers, and they offer a service that matches expectations.

Why should you get a travel medical insurance policy?

SafetyWing is a special travel medical insurance for digital nomads, travelling freelancers and entrepreneurs that gives you that added peace of mind.

Before we get started, it’s good to note that this is a good option solely to take care of your medical cover when abroad – the insurance does not cover the loss of electronics or personal equipment.

SafetyWing takes care of the most important part of travel insurance, which is the medical part.

Other travel insurance providers might also cover loss of technology, such as laptop, camera equipment and gear.

The idea is to take out two policies for a better rate rather than having a combined policy which includes everything all in one which can soon start to add up.

I have my technology such as laptop, camera equipment and gear covered with a different policy to help break up the cost and make it more affordable in the long run.

SafetyWing will soon be launching electronics coverage as an additional add on if you would prefer to have an all in one option. This will be coming soon.

Select where you will be travelling to make your policy more affordable

With SafetyWing, you can reduce the cost of your travel medical insurance by saying if you’re travelling in the United States of America or not.

The US has incredibly high medical bills so if you’re not travelling to this country, you can drastically cut down on your policy price by saving even further on your travel medical insurance.

Otherwise, if you are travelling to USA, you can pay the extra amount on top and be protected when it comes to medical bills if anything was to happen.

I’ve heard loads of horror stories when it comes to medical bills in the United States, and I would totally never take the risk of having to pay my own way if I was to land in a situation where I could start to rack up a medical bill after an accident.

SafetyWing has flexible policy that matches your travel plan wherever you wish to go.

What makes SafetyWing stand out from the others?

It’s completely reliable with around the clock help and support when you need it the most. There’s a helpful team waiting to answer your questions, which helps whilst you’re abroad and in different time zones. They understand long-term travel and help to support those seeking assistance.

SafetyWing is a Y Combinator company and the policy is administered by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world giving you that added peace of mind when on your trip.

SafetyWing offers competitive and affordable medical cover for your travels

SafetyWing works rather like a subscription, you simply choose your start date and cancel any time. There is no cap on the duration of a trip making it easy and flexible for long-term travel.

Great value as well starting from $37 for 4 weeks for a travel medical coverage (cover is without travel to the USA).

This is fantastic and almost a third off the price compared to the biggest competitor for similar coverage of this standard.

SafetyWing has worldwide coverage and also limited home country coverage.

It is available for purchase in 180 countries, meaning you’re pretty much covered everywhere you go.

Getting set up with your first SafetyWing policy is rather easy

When I signed up to my own personal travel medical insurance policy, I was amazed at how easy it was to get started.

The whole process took less than 15 minutes and I found the website easy to use and follow to find the best policy to match my trip. The checkout couldn’t have been easier to get set up and I was able to purchase my policy with great ease.

They’re extremely flexible and understanding. You can even purchase a SafetyWing policy when already travelling, so if you’re already on your trip and forget to sort out your medical cover you can quickly sort this out whilst on the road.

Thank you for reading about SafetyWing travel medical insurance

I hope you found this blog post useful and it helped to answer your questions about SafetyWing travel medical insurance. My review is based on my personal experience and all views remain my own. I enjoyed using SafetyWing on my recent trip to Canada and the USA and found the service worked well for my trip.

Please do reach out to SafetyWing directly if you have any questions before you sign up as every traveller is individual. They will be more than happy to assist you to find the best travel medical insurance policy for your needs. Thank you for reading and have a fantastic future trip.

The post SafetyWing the perfect travel medical insurance for long-term travellers appeared first on Travel Dave.

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If you happen to be in Berlin and fancy adding another mini break to your trip, why not jump on the train and head to the northern German city of Hamburg?

Hamburg is rich with maritime history and a popular hangout spot with many awesome bars and cafes to choose from.

Hamburg also isn’t that far away to reach if you fancy using the fantastic German railway network DB.

How to get from Berlin to Hamburg by train

Journey time by train from Berlin to Hamburg takes around two hours depending on which train you take.

As this journey is rather common from Berlin Hbf to Hamburg Hbf (central stations), the trains require no changes and frequently go nonstop every hour.

My one-way ticket from Berlin to Hamburg on the DB ICE train came to a total of €83.00.

I purchased the ticket for this high-speed train right on the spot before my journey.

How to find a better train price in Germany with DB

To be clear, I was in a hurry, I hadn’t done any planning in advance and purchased my ticket an hour before departure from the ticket office at Berlin Hbf station.

In all honesty, I did expect the price to be a bit lower, but I just paid it as I wanted to get to Hamburg ASAP, and this was the most convenient method.

I totally should have taken some time to look into my options in advance.

Little did I know that with a bit of forward planning I could have saved a massive amount on that ticket.

This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to put together this blog post to help those wanting to do the same and, in the process, save on your ticket.

No one likes to get caught short if they can make savings.

Be sure to check out the Omio app for better train prices in Europe

On my return to Berlin from Hamburg, I did take some time to plan ahead and book my train ticket online and see if I could find any deals.

That’s when I remembered that I could use the Omio smartphone app to have a look at train ticket options around Europe, as well as buses, boats and flights.

I have used Omio in the past on a recent day trip from London to Brighton and found the Omio app to offer many great options.

What you have to take into account is that some trains might be already full which makes ticket prices more expensive. Tickets can also be generally expensive during busy peak periods, such as rush hour or popular work commute hours.

There are many reasons why some tickets can be more expensive than others. It’s all about knowing how to find the best options.

With a little bit of forward planning, you can use the Omio app to search your train route before you travel to see which times might be better to book.

If like me you’re travelling for leisure and don’t mind waiting or changing your travel time for a cheaper train, then this can be a great option for you.

Omio uses E-tickets which makes booking your journey a lot easier

Another great feature about Omio is that you don’t need to book your ticket from a ticket office or collect a ticket from a machine as you can book the train you wish to travel on directly with the Omio app.

You can easily get a DB digital ticket that you can keep on your phone, so no need to worry about printing the ticket, you’re good to go.

On my return journey from Hamburg to Berlin, I was able to find a ticket for €33.90. It’s a dramatic saving compared to my first ticket.

Almost a massive €50.00 difference and it was still on the DB ICE train.

This was all thanks to booking with Omio directly and picking a better time that offered a cheaper train ticket price as I was more flexible with my time and didn’t mind travelling whenever.

Gutted I didn’t think about this on the first trip but at least my return journey price wasn’t as bad.

Train travel in Europe is awesome, enjoy your trip

This just goes to show that even a travel pro can get caught short from time to time but at least I can share my experience with you directly and hopefully help others when booking train tickets around Germany.

So, remember before you book a train ticket around Europe, be sure to download the Omio app and price match the tickets before you make your booking to see if you can also save on your overall train ticket cost.

With many great train discounts waiting for you on Omio, why not see where your journey might take you on your next adventure? Be sure to enjoy the train journeys in Europe.

I love travelling by train around Europe – it’s truly my favourite method to travel as you can slowly enjoy the country you travel through by the view from your window. With some advance planning with the Omio app, it doesn’t have to break the bank either.

Thank you for reading about my encounter with booking train tickets from Berlin to Hamburg, Germany and if you have any further questions about this route, please feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to help.

Wishing you many happy and affordable rail adventures around Europe.

The post Travelling from Berlin to Hamburg by train with Omio appeared first on Travel Dave.

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New this spring 2019 is the pair of KEEN Venture WP Waterproof Hiking Shoes. I’ve been using my personal pair for the best part of three months and wanted to put together a comprehensive guide about how I’ve got on with them.

I love to travel light, and I like to stick with one solid pair of shoes for my trips. This allows me to save space compared to having to pack multiple pairs that I simply don’t need.

This means I’m always on the lookout for a well-built and multi-use outdoor shoe that can put up with my rugged travel plans with constant daily use on the road.

I’ve found it a challenge in the past to find a good pair that suits my specific needs, and I’m sure others out there are also looking for shoes for a similar purpose. I hope this helps explain why I’m happy to review footwear.

My travelling style is a mixture of urban city visits blended with outdoor adventure. I demand a diverse shoe that can put up with both elements.

Key features I look for in footwear are both comfort and lightweight, which, when combined, can withstand the test of time.

It’s important that I don’t end up with a bulky shoe that will weigh me down but at the same time, I don’t cut corners to sacrifice on comfort.

The KEEN Venture WP Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a new model launched this year which finds a perfect balance between comfort and lightweight without having to drop any important features.

When it comes to performance, they deliver, and I’ll go through each point now.

The KEEN Venture shoe is waterproof

I understand why many would say that you don’t need waterproofing in a low-cut shoe because it’s simply not needed for everyday use.

For me, however, waterproofing is important for terrains where it constantly snows and rains in the wintertime, such as in Finland.

With waterproofing technology, I avoid being buried deep in puddles. When walking through low-level slush, snow and puddles, this feature helps to avoid ending up with wet and soggy socks. No one likes soggy socks.

The KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane feature is important for me to use on a daily basis so I can tackle puddles without any fear as I know my KEEN Venture shoes have me covered.

KEEN Venture have awesome grip and protection

KEEN Venture offers an all-terrain rubber outsole for higher-traction grip with
4mm multi-directional lugs for additional traction and support for when you’re hiking on rugged terrain and the stability shank delivers lightweight support.

This pair also works well on ice terrain, but I’d still remain cautious and aware of your surroundings in these conditions. However, they’re for sure better on ice than a flat shoe and of course, you have that added toe protection that KEEN is most famous for if you happen to bump into a rock.

I’ve found the grip to be great in both city and mountain settings. Especially when you’re walking along rugged rocks you can feel protected with the great fit and support.

Well designed and look great too

Get ready to go full blast on your next adventure. With a lightweight upper, breathable, locked-in fit and higher-traction outsole, this KEEN Venture hiking shoe is faster, lighter, and sleeker, and it’s purposely built to perform on the trail. The shoes also look good and stylish and are easy to match with both outdoor and urban clothing.

After three months, they still smell great

A funny feature to mention, but with CLEANSPORT NXT technology, the KEEN Venture shoe offers natural odour control. When battling the elements each and every day, I find that my other shoes usually start to smell terrible after some time. With KEEN Venture, I’ve yet to find the shoes in a terrible smelling state. They remain fresh and are ready to go when I need to use them again.

Comfortable to wear, even after long use

The shoes are also rather comfortable to wear, and I haven’t noticed any signs of caving in yet. I’ve found that the dual-density PU insoles with arch support offer long-lasting comfort, and the pair is still going well after three months of use.

With the KonnectFit heel-capture system for a locked-in fit, you feel the comfort the moment you get your feet in, which creates a wonderful walking experience and is perfect for hiking.

You can also opt to look at the KEEN MID Venture model if you’re looking for more stable ankle support with a focus on solely hiking. If you’re looking for a shoe that is the perfect mixture for both urban and hiking conditions, then the WP model works wonders to tick those boxes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my gear review

Thank you for reading and I hope you found my gear review of the KEEN Venture WP Waterproof Hiking Shoe useful. If you’re looking for an all-around perfect shoe for multiple types of travel and you want to invest in only one pair, then this one has my vote for sure and I will continue to wear them for the rest of the year. If you have any further questions, please feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help.

Have fun on your next adventure with the awesome KEEN Venture hiking shoes.

The post Keen Venture WP Waterproof Hiking Shoes: Gear Review appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Many people prefer adventures and many people try to steer clear off of it. If you fall into the former category, a thrilling walk down the South Downs Way is something one needs to experience once in their lifetime.

It goes without saying that the experience itself is one of a kind, one that requires a lot of enthusiasm and adrenaline rush.

Familiarising yourself with the South Downs Way Walking Holidays and Routes is definitely something that you can not just pass up on.

The beauty surrounding these spots is not just enigmatic but enthralling as well.

The beauty of the place and the serenity that the walk brings along is nothing short of heavenly.

If you have been planning for a walking trip, this is most definitely one of the very best that you can opt for.

Visiting the South Downs Way is an experience that one can share with their grandchildren.

All that being said, it is best to know about the ins and outs when it comes to the trail and everything that it represents.

Know a little about South Downs Way

South Downs Way is one of the most popular long-distance footpaths and bridleway which runs along the South Down in the southern part of England.

Given that England is praised for its beautiful scenic beauty, it is not surprising that this is one of the 16 national trails around in the country.

The trail of South Downs Way is around 160 km long and extended on from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne located in East Sussex.

It comprises of 4150m of both ascent and descent altogether.

If the folklore is to be believed, it is said that people have been using this trail for over 8000 years now.

The best thing about this trail is the fact that it is quite easy to follow and is well marked.

It is predominantly used by the horses and the cyclists as well.

People who have walked along this trail have described it as an experience surmountable.

It is not technically the beauty of the surroundings but also the breathtaking lush greenery that encompasses every single person.

A guided knowledge about the route

The most important factor about the South Downs Way is the fact that there are sites that one can opt for walking.

It depends on the capabilities and the endurance of the people travelling through this path.

If you want, you can either opt for travelling through the entire route or even try and walk through sections of it.

Majority of the guided tours that you get are all prepared based on the requirements and choices of the people.

It goes without saying that you should be very cautious of the consequences through the route.

Pick the route that you know you will be able to embark on.

There are predominantly four different routes that one can opt for. They include:

– The entire trail
– Eastern section
– Western section
– Seven sisters and the long man

The last option being the short break option for the people who want to indulge in a small tour to just relinquish the beauty of the place.

To explain it better to you, we are going to be discussing through each one of these trails without any further ado.

The entire trail

The entire walk down the South Downs Way stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne.

It is 167 km long and is nothing but beautiful experience in itself.

Based on the stamina and the endurance of an individual, the guided tours are planned accordingly.

Majority of this range from either 4 days to 9-10 days long trips.

If you are fit enough to walk through the days, the least days trip is a good option and won’t technically cost you a lot.

But, if you are not that well off physically, it is best suggested to refrain from letting your body go through a lot altogether.

Eastern trail

The eastern trail of the South Downs Way includes a trip from Amberley to Eastbourne.

It is around 85 km in entirety and is perfect for the people who don’t want to go overboard with the walking.

If you want to experience the place and refrain from walking a lot, this is it. It provides with breathtaking panoramic views that you just can’t miss out on.

The trip often ends with the spectacular view over the cliffs of the seven sisters where the South Downs finally meets through the sea.

If you are here wondering what needs to be done, you do have a plethora of option under this trail.

Western trail

The western section of this trail stretches on from Winchester to Amberley.

It is around 80 km in length and offers a plethora of amazing views from across the place.

Apart from the lush greenery, this side of the trail also offers wooded areas and shady trees to have a relaxing walk and experience.

Seven Sisters and the Long Man

The last finishing part of this entire journey includes the short break through the seven sisters and the long man.

It includes a small yet eventful 2 days walk in Alfriston.

Majority of the people refer to this as the circular day walk, mainly because you start from Alfriston and end your journey at Alfriston only.

The entire trip is around 31 km long and offers one of the best views of the Seven Sisters that you get before you start heading inland. From there, you can again come back to Alfriston via the Cuckmere River.

Tips for walking holiday trips

It is not surprising that walking holiday trips are exciting and one of a kind but they bring forth a number of challenges as well.

It is thus important to keep certain things in mind that will help cope with the process all the more.

– Be careful and cautious of the route you choose. Don’t overdo it. It is necessary that you stay aware of your limitations and endurance
Carry all the essentials that would be required along the trip.
– Some of the necessities include flashlight, snacks and water bottles
– Ensure to get everything checked out on the medical terms. This will ensure that you don’t face any emergency during the trip

This trip is nothing but one of a kind that you just can’t get anywhere else.

It goes without saying that it is always best to keep the safety precautions in mind.

Never rush through the process and ensure that you take in the surroundings.

It is in the beauty of the small things that make the trip worth everything and more.

The post A Guide to Walking the South Downs Way appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Kerala offers many adventure opportunities as well as relaxing vibes and breathtaking landscapes for travellers. Altogether it’s a peaceful and charming environment to be in.

The Kerala region quickly grew into becoming my favourite area to discover in the south of India.

Kerala offers a whole other side of India that I didn’t know existed until I visited, and I’m happy I took the time to explore this unique part of India.

An adventure awaits in Kerala for those wishing to seek it.

Last year I explored the north of India and travelled across Rajasthan by railway which was a whole other side of India. Maybe you’re currently looking for something completely different on a second visit to India (just like I was)? Then Kerala in the south could just be the ticket for you.

I found Kerala to be less populated than the north which can become overwhelming rather quickly at times. The food in Kerala is also completely different with fresh coconuts and locally sourced spices and seafood being placed at the top of the menu. All these items are not commonly found in the north. Be sure not to miss out on the local favourite, banana chips, which I had the pleasure of enjoying a bag or two.

You will soon discover a tropical feel to the place as you explore the backwaters which are lined with palm trees and wildlife, waiting for you on every corner. It’s a magical experience which you have to try for yourself.

I’m happy to have spent the past two weeks discovering Kerala, and I hope you get to visit this unique region located in the south of India.

This is a useful travel guide to the Best places to visit in kerala, South India, which you can use to craft together your own trip. Enjoy the read!

Flying to Kerala is affordable and easy

The easiest way to reach Kerala, India is to fly into Cochin International Airport in Kochi. You will soon discover that many airlines fly to Kochi, such as British Airways, Air India, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

I flew to Kochi from London via a stopover in Doha with Qatar Airways to break up the flight and fit in a city break. I found the flight prices to be rather affordable in March/April and the weather sunny and perfect, away from the raining season of June.

Please note at this stage that UK passport holders must apply for an E-visa in advance before arriving in India.

Discover the capital of Kochi

Start off your trip to Kerala by spending a few days exploring the capital city of the Kerala region, Kochi.

The highlight from my visit to Kochi was going to see the Chinese fishing nets in use. It is a traditional and unique fishing technique which is still used in the Kochi area today.

Best to time your visit for evening so you can enjoy the fishing action as the sun heads down. Be sure to grab a boat back to your hotel to enjoy a sunset and the Chinese fishing nets from the waterways. What a wonderful experience.

Another recommendation is to explore the Jewish Street in Mattancherry which offers a unique insight into the Jewish quarter. Kerala is home to many religions, and this is why they call the region “God’s own country.” This also happens to be a great place to enjoy a spot of shopping.

Hotel recommendation: I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, Kochi and it has to be the best hotel that I stayed at across the whole trip. It was a perfect one night’s stay after a long flight and will set you in a good mood to explore Kochi.

Explore the backwaters of Alleppey

A trip to Kerala wouldn’t be complete without exploring the backwaters, and Alleppey is just the place to do it.

This river runs for thousands of miles and used to be a popular rice trading route until modern automobiles come along speeding up the operation.

Once the rice route was no longer needed along the waters and locals were left with over a thousand rice boats, the locals decided to transform the rice boats into accommodations for visitors to explore and enjoy the backwaters.

Now you can find many small companies offering this service.

You have two options, you can either do a day cruise around Alleppey or stay overnight on the boat and explore more of the waters.

This is a wonderful leisure experience and I opted to stay overnight, which includes lodging, crew and set meals all taken care of. I went with the local company called Rainbow Cruises.

Life goes on by the river and through the backwaters. Here you can see the local way of life in Kerala as locals use the commuter boats to get to and from work or school throughout the day. It’s a wonderfully relaxing journey through the palm trees and the calm waters, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

Adventure starts in Akkarakalam

Take your river cruise to Akkarakalam, and the adventure begins.

Through a local company called Kalypso Adventures, you can enjoy a spot of kayaking through the backwaters and then come cycling back through the palm trees. It’s a great way to explore the backwaters for the day by paddle and cycle.

Trekking at Suryanelli with Kalypso Camp

For those seeking adventure, be sure to check out and enjoy the Butterfly Forest Trek which is hosted by Kalypso Adventure.

Escape to nature and enjoy an overnight tent stay with an early morning trek and sunrise which overlooks a tea plantation. It’s a wonderful hike to experience the outdoors of Kerala.

Hotel recommendation: Kalypso Camp offers a unique tent village stay for those seeking alternative accommodation options and wanting to add a bit of adventure to the trip. Experience the night fire and BBQ, and sleep under the stars. This is a great way to have a fun overnight experience in Kerala.

Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation

India is world famous for its exotic spices, and in Kerala, you can find a wide selection of fresh produce on offer.

Head to Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation to learn about all the different spices which are grown in India, such as the pepper which is exported around the world from this very spot.

This is a great spot to pick up fresh spices for affordable prices to take back home as gifts for loved ones.

Hotel recommendation: Thekkady Spice Village is a great spot to stay whilst visiting Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation.

Boating in Periyar Lake – safari in Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve is broken up into two areas, the north and the south. In the north, you can take a jeep safari into the reserve to see if you can spot any wildlife.

Normally you will spot some rare birds that are native to the area as well as other wildlife.

Tiger spotting is not so common during a day trip, but you can spend more time in the reserve to improve your chances if you’re after a tiger sighting.

In the south of Periyar Tiger Reserve, you will find Periyar Lake where you can take a boat safari trip out onto the water which is a wonderful spot for bird watching.

Hotel recommendation: Greenwoods Resort which is located on the Periyar Lake makes for a perfect location for morning and breakfast safari experience.

Munnar by Jeep & Tea Tour at Lockhart tea plantation

A personal highlight for me in Kerala was visiting the tea plantations. If you wish to do the same, then Munnar is the tea capital of Kerala.

Visit the Lockhart tea plantation and learn about the process of tea manufacturing. You can walk through the whole production, as the tea arrives from the tea fields to the factory where it is then processed for consumption.

I like to enjoy a cup of tea each day, and it was wonderful to learn how tea is produced from field to cup.

You can also take a jeep tour up to the tea fields which makes for a wonderful photo opportunity.

Perfect experience for the tea lover in your life. Don’t forget to buy some tea to take home and brew for yourself.

Hotel recommendation: KTDC Tea county is located within driving distance of the tea plantations and makes for a perfect base to discover Munnar.

Trek to Athirappilly waterfalls

Athirappilly waterfalls is a sight of outstanding natural beauty which should be experienced on a trip to Kerala.

Take a river walk along the stream to see Athirappilly waterfalls first hand and go for a refreshing dip to enjoy your visit.

A spectacular view can also be enjoyed from many viewpoints around the waterfall if you don’t fancy the hike and swim.

Hotel recommendation: Green Trees Athirappilly is a boutique hotel which offers a small selection of rooms but total peace and quiet with a relaxing pool to enjoy in the hot sun.

Muzhupilangad Beach – drive-in beach

Did you know that in Kerala they have the only drive-in beach in India?

Be sure to check this fun attraction out if you happen to have a rental car.

Muzhupilangad Beach is flat enough for cars to drive on, and even a large bus can manage the drive on this beach easily. Rather fun and wild to experience at the same time.

Something unique to experience in Kerala.

Get wild in Wayanad

Explore the Vythiri area and take a walk on the wild side through the jungles of Wayanad, where streams originate, wild life-breaths and birds sing.

For the hotel I would recommend CGH Earth Wayanad Wild resorts, which is an eco-resort located in the depths of the surrounding tropical rainforest.

This is an ideal setting to switch off and escape to nature. It’s possible to spot wild elephants roaming here.

Visit Jatayu Earth’s Center

New to Kerala is the Jatayu Earth’s Center which can be found in Kollam.

Here you can find a large statue of a bird. Grab the cable cart up to the top to see this attraction for yourself.

The large mythical bird statue is of a character Jatayu, which fell after its wings were clipped by Ravana in the epic Ramayana.

It’s the largest bird statue in the world and can be found on top of Jatayu Rock at the Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala.

Hotel option: I stayed at the Raviz Ashtamudi, Kollam, which offered clean and cosy rooms with an incredible pool and service, can highly recommend this location.

Enjoy an overnight train journey in Kerala

A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a ride on the popular local train network.

Kerala has a wonderful night train called the Maveli Express that travels along the coast.

Save on accommodation and sleep whilst you travel in one of the affordable sleeper cabins.

I would recommend going for the A/C option for a more comfortable journey. Enjoy your journey across Kerala using the Indian rail network.

Don’t forget to pick up some local food which is always on offer from local vendors at most of the stations. A fun experience to try in Kerala.

Cruising in Valiyaparamba backwaters

Another area worth exploring the backwaters is cruising along the Valiyaparamba backwaters which is a great section to explore.

Here you could opt for the half day tour and enjoy lunch along the waters. From here you can also arrange a visit to Bekal Fort beach.

Relax in paradise at Kovalam beach area

Looking to end your trip with a beach escape? Look no further than Kovalam which offers a large selection of resorts and sandy beaches for you to explore. This is also a perfect spot to try some scuba diving if that is your thing.

I stayed at Turtle on the Beach Resort which offers a stunning view over the beach, a relaxing pool and a close walk to the lighthouse, making it a great place to stay during your time in Kovalam.

From here you have a number of options. You could either head back to Kochi and fly home or fly from the local airport Trivandrum International Airport which also has a few international flight options. It’s nice to end your trip to Kerala with some relaxing beach time before heading home.

Thank you for reading my travel guide to Kerala

Thank you for passing by and checking out my travel guide to exploring Kerala in the south of India.

I hope you found this blog post useful and you’re looking forward to discovering the region in the close future.

If you have any further questions about Kerala that you couldn’t find in this guide, please feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help. Happy travels!

The post Best places to visit in kerala, South India appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Skopje is the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia, and it’s located in the Balkan Peninsula area of Europe.

Over the years, Skopje has experienced both Roman and Ottoman rule, and you can still see influences from these periods around the city.

An old 15th century stone bridge connects the Ottoman period bazaar located along the Vardar River to the city square where you will find a statue of Alexander the Great.

Furthermore, the Skopje Fortress that overlooks the Vardar River has been defending the city for centuries.

After a recent visit to this newly named country, I wanted to share my experience of Skopje with you.

This blog post is a guide to what to see and do on a visit to the capital city of Skopje, North Macedonia.

Rent a car for the day and explore North Macedonia

Once you’ve explored the city of Skopje, why not explore more of North Macedonia? Public transportation around North Macedonia is not that great so why not rent a car in Skopje Airport for the day can be an affordable option and offer more flexibility.

With its rolling hills and mountains, hiking trails and picturesque lakes, North Macedonia has a wonderful selection of natural beauty and nature to choose from.

Places you should visit on a road trip:

Lake Matka
Lake Ohrid
Sharr Mountains
Mavrovo National Park

These locations will show you the pure natural beauty that North Macedonia has to offer. Enjoy the road trip.

But first, a short explanation surrounding the country’s new name.

Republic of North Macedonia

The country has recently changed its name from Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia.

It is one of the former states of Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in September 1991.

Skopje is the capital city of North Macedonia and offers loads of things to do for visitors over a weekend.

Best airport depatures. Getting to Skopje, North Macedonia

Flying to Skopje is easy with flights from around Europe arriving at Skopje International Airport. Wizz Air offers direct flights to Skopje from London Luton Airport and Turkish Airlines offers connection flights to Skopje from Istanbul.

You can also fly from Skopje to Doha with Qatar Airways and to Dubai with Fly Dubai. The Skopje International Airport offers many international flights out of Europe as well, thus giving a great selection of options for travellers.

Some tips regarding car rental in North Macedonia is it’s best to rent your car from Skopje International Airport as this location offers the most options. Parking is easy to find and can be arranged in advance with your hotel. Another point to highlight is to keep some small change handy as all the motorways in North Macedonia are toll roads.

Is North Macedonia safe for travellers?

North Macedonia is totally safe, and I never ran into any problems whilst travelling around the country.

I found the locals to be rather friendly towards me and a few locals even wanted to talk with me to find out what I was doing in the country and help me with my travel plans.

A handful of locals offered to chat over a coffee and wanted me to try some of the local food and enjoy their culture. Rather delightful experience.

Skopje city as well as other destinations in North Macedonia can be exiting to visit for travellers wanting to try something different.

Where to stay in Skopje city: Skopje Marriott Hotel

Whilst staying in the capital, I opted to stay at the Skopje Marriott Hotel.

Located perfectly in the city centre, you’re right at the heart of the action.

I found that Skopje Marriott Hotel had extremely affordable rates compared to other European cities, and I decided to make the most out of my stay and splash out on the best hotel in North Macedonia.

It was a delightful stay with incredible service, city view, spa facilities and a wonderful breakfast selection.

Happy with my stay and would recommend to others wanting to experience an affordable Marriott Hotel location.

Statues, statues, statues and even more statues around Skopje

The first thing you will start to notice whilst walking around Skopje city has to be the endless amount of statues that you will stumble upon during your visit.

Many will refer to Skopje as the city of statues.

Located on almost every corner, you will find a different statue waiting for you.

It’s rather bizarre. The idea of setting up statues was to help attract more visitors to the city but I think that maybe the city went a little overboard with the amount.

The statues are a very pointless and amusing attraction for tourists to discover around the city, and you will start to wonder what the story behind this is.

How many statues, you may ask? Well, I didn’t personally have time to count them all, but this can be a fun activity to add to your itinerary.

I counted 52 on my visit. Let me know how many you count on your visit and enjoy seeing all the statues around Skopje.

Explore the Old Bazaar

My favourite part in Skopje was exploring the Old Bazaar and the Stone Bridge.

Cross over the old 15th-century Stone Bridge that crosses the Vardar River and you will instantly be taken back to the Ottoman period.

Find local vendors selling an assortment of goods ranging from food, herbs, tea and spices to handcrafted gifts to take back home.

I found this an affordable spot to grab a bite to eat, and it was also fun to walk around in a flea market that takes place over the weekend.

A wonderful part of Skopje to see on your visit to the city.

Grab a coffee at Macedonia Square

The the best location to grab a coffee, lunch or ice cream has to be Macedonia Square located in the city centre. You will also find a large statue of Alexander the Great there that dominates the Macedonia Square. The statue makes it easy to find your way around Skopje city centre, and it’s one of the city’s main landmarks.

This is the place to be, especially when the sun is shining, which it often does in the summer. Find a place, pull up a chair and enjoy this modern looking square.

The Skopje Fortress – Kale

Throughout history, the Skopje Fortress – also referred to as Kale – has been protecting the city. The entry for visitors is free of charge, so it’s a nice place to check out on your visit to Skopje.

This also happens to be a good viewing point to get a nice look over the city from above.

If you want to learn more about the history of Skopje, you can go on a half day walking tour with a local.

Thank you for reading my blog post about visiting Skopje and North Macedonia

Thank you for passing by and checking out my blog post about Skopje city and North Macedonia.

I hope you found all the information useful for planning your own trip, and I wish you a wonderful, pleasant and safe trip.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help.

The post What to do in Skopje, North Macedonia appeared first on Travel Dave.

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A few years ago, whilst I was about to fly home from Zurich Airport, my flight was cancelled and moved to the next day. I was able to claim compensation from the airline for the delay and wanted to share my story with you and offer advice to help those who might also happen to be in the same situation.

This blog post contains a walkthrough of my story, and I also share with you how I was able to make a claim.

A note before we get started

Before you read any further, I would like to mention that I am not a legal professional and my opinions remain my own.

This blog post is based on my own personal experience, and you should seek professional help when making a claim.

Personally, I received help from AirHelp, and I will explain how I went about this later on in the post.

Again, this is my personal story and I want to highlight many tips that I wish I knew when I was in this situation to help speed up the process.

Ok, now we have that cleared up – let’s continue with the blog post.

My flight cancellation

I was flying with a low-cost airline from Zurich Airport to London Gatwick.

It was the cheapest flight I could find to take me back home after attending a trade show called the Outdoor show in Germany. (The trade show had free shuttle buses to Zurich Airport, so this was an easy decision for me.)

The cheapest flight was in the evening, which worked out perfectly as I could enjoy one last day at the trade show and then head home.

I wasn’t aware of the night-time curfew that bans flights from departing out of Zurich Airport between 23:30 and 06:00 due to noise pollution.

This means that if the flight is late on arrival and the crew is unable turn the flight around in time, the aircraft will be grounded till the morning.

In this situation, there is simply nothing you can do but wait until the airport is open again in the morning and flights can start to depart.

These situations happen when you travel so always be prepared

Standing at the departure gate, I was ready to fly home, but I noticed that my flight ended up being delayed.

This was not good as that limited departure time was slowly not turning into a reality.

At this stage, I started to see seasoned travellers getting grumpy and then leaving the gate. I was wondering if they knew something I didn’t whilst a bunch of confused looking passengers looked on.

My advice would be to take action immediately

The moment your flight has been confirmed as cancelled, you should take action immediately. Time in this situation is everything.

Remember a whole flight full of people will now be looking for a hotel to stay for the night.

Think about this for a moment. You could wait to complain to the member of staff at the departure gate, but what good would this do?

All they will tell you is that the flight has been confirmed as cancelled and you should wait for further instructions.

Calling the airline call centre will cost a premium whilst abroad, and if you’re in the same situation as me, it will be late, and the call centre might be closed.

Zurich Airport isn’t a major hub for budget airlines, which means there might not be any staff on hand, and this happened in my case.

Best to book your own hotel and invoice the airline later

Normally if the airport is a hub, they will have staff on hand at a desk to arrange food coupons and hotel bookings for cancelled flights.

For Zurich Airport and a particular budget airline, this was not the case. You’re better off booking the hotel with your own money and claiming it back online later.

On top of this, Zurich, Switzerland just happens to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe to book a hotel.

With some advance planning, you can find deals, but late into the night on the day last minute with a whole flight of passengers looking for a place, you’re left with limited options.

If I had known about the cancellation ahead of time, I would have quickly booked a room at the Ibis Zürich Messe Airport, but by the time I arrived at the check-in desk, they informed me that the hotel had just got fully booked.

This is the best airport hotel to be based at in case of a flight cancellation, and you can claim back the cost of the hotel directly with the airline.

As the airport hotels didn’t give me any options, I opted to grab the last train from the airport to the city and find a hotel close to the train station.

Again, my luck at run out. It was a Saturday, and almost everything was fully booked.

I found Ibis budget located around a 10-minute tram ride away, so I took the tram and tried my luck.

Luckily Ibis had had a few hotels available. They had an Ibis city and an Ibis budget, and between the two I managed to find one of the last rooms for a whopping £120. It was 01:20 am at this point, and I was in a room with a shower and could get some rest for the night. In the morning, I could head back to Zurich Airport to sort out my return flight.

Yes, I could have not got the last train to the city and found a bench at the airport to sleep on for the night and save on the costs, but the airline has a responsibility to pay you back for the room. It took some time to receive the repayment of the hotel, but I got it in the end.

Day Two: Returning in the morning

I want to mention that at this point, the airline said it would refund hotel and transport to the hotel. However, my return train tickets from Zurich Airport to Zurich city were not refunded as it was not a point to point journey, so it’s best to take a taxi and keep the receipts.

I was using free Wi-Fi and the budget airline app for getting flight updates and cancellation details. I got a notification that my flight was moved to the next day and that the check-in desk would be open 4 hours before the flight for questions and enquiries.

By using the app, I could get all my updates and there was no need to call the helpline. Check if your airline has an app.

I did choose to arrive back at Zurich airport 4 hours before my new flight to inquire about free food vouchers which you’re entitled to having if your flight is cancelled. As no member of staff was around the previous night, I got two vouchers for breakfast and lunch. In Switzerland, these vouchers are much welcomed due to the high food and drink prices the country has. I was able to get a meal at an airport restaurant and they accepted the vouchers with no fuss.

Luckily for me, this was the end of my brief visit to Zurich as the new scheduled flight took off on time with no concern about being grounded any longer. We could make as much noise as we wanted around the city, and I returned safely to London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

On my budget airline flight back, the crew apologised to us for the cancellation and let us order anything we wanted from the food cart for free as a goodwill gesture. I think they did this to save having to hand out even more meal vouchers.

If your flight is cancelled, you could be protected

After arriving back in the UK, I heard about the EU law called Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004. This entitles passengers to consumer protection if things go wrong, such as in the case of flight cancellation or delays. Depending on your case, you could apply for compensation up to €600.

As I was in Switzerland which isn’t part of the EU, I thought I wouldn’t be protected, but it turns out Switzerland is under bilateral agreements and the regulation does apply to it.

After having my flight cancelled in Switzerland by a budget airline, I found out that I was entitled to this compensation.

I did get an email from my budget airline offering a discounted flight voucher of £120 which I could use for a future flight as an apology for all the troubles.

I had indeed been put through some inconvenience and lost a day in total having to deal with everything. But the voucher wasn’t anywhere in the range that you should be compensated for based on the Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004.

When I emailed the airline about this, they replied by stating that I wouldn’t be entitled to this amount and the voucher should cover my time lost.

Normally airlines sort out the compensation that you’re entitled to, but many passengers are not aware that you’re entitled to claim a compensation, so they don’t bother going through the hassle to deal with it.

Why not seek legal advice from the professionals and let them take care of it for you?

AirHelp worked well for my situation

For my Easyjet compensation claim, I used AirHelp to take care of all the hassle for me.

They offer a really easy and simple service to help you with your claim.

Simply sign up to AirHelp, and they will look into your individual situation to see if you have a case and then help assist you with your claim.

You don’t have to do anything but apply and let AirHelp take care of all the work for you.

This hassle-free process made the service work well for me.

Your claim may take some time, but they will do their best to make sure your claim is successful.

I found the whole AirHelp process helpful and informative and easy to use.

After being told I couldn’t make a claim directly from the budget airline, it was nice to have someone take care of this situation for me.

AirHelp does take a cut from the compensation to cover their own fee, but this was well worth it to ensure that I got a result and didn’t have to worry about the process. They earned the percentage cut for sure, and I’m more than happy to recommend their services.

Thank you for reading my blog post about AirHelp

Thank you for spending your time reading my article. If you’re in a similar situation, I hope you can quickly resolve the issue and fly home safely.

I hope you have a better understanding of what you’re entitled to claim if your flight is delayed or cancelled and how to react in such a situation.

I enjoyed using AirHelp. I’m more than happy to recommend them and I hope that they work well for you too.

All the best and happy future travels.

The post Claim compensation for your flight cancellation with AirHelp appeared first on Travel Dave.

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One of the most fascinating wildlife experiences is tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

This should not be a surprise because mountain gorillas are Homo sapiens closest relatives with similar behaviour and DNA.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda close to the border with Rwanda.

The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the gorillas and vast rain-forest which cover an area of over 330 square kilometres.

The park is a sanctuary for mammals like leopards, forest elephants and duikers.

Several primate species live in the forest beside the gorillas like Colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.

Over 345 species of birds have been recorded in the park.

Despite this rich collection of flora and fauna, it is the mountain gorillas that stand out.

Mountain gorillas are considered an endangered species and are known to only thrive in the wild unlike their cousins the lowland gorillas.

Uganda is lucky to have half of the remaining population (about 1000) of mountain gorillas living in two national parks – Bwindi and Mgahinga.

The other half are found Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bwindi is one of the best locations to go gorilla Trekking

Bwindi is one of the best places to go gorilla Trekking because it hosts 14 habituated gorilla groups with more groups left undisturbed in the wild.

Bwindi is currently the only National Park where visitors can go and take part in the gorilla habituation experience.

This experience requires more time studying a particular gorilla group compared to the more common gorilla trekking.

The exercise takes a whole day and is led by prominent international primatologists (gorilla researchers), and experienced trackers.

Bwindi is also the only park where one can spot both chimpanzee and gorillas.

Apart from silverback gorilla tours, there are several other activities that one can get involved in while in the park.

Bwindi is also a great place to go birdwatching

As already noted earlier, Bwindi has a large collection of both resident and migratory bird species.

Birdwatching is a popular activity in Bwindi and can be combined with gorilla trekking and spotting the big five in Uganda’s other large National Parks for a more complete safari.

Birding can be arranged alongside nature walks to marvel at the beautiful forest and its creatures like forest antelopes, bush pigs and other smaller primates.

Another very popular activity is the Batwa cultural experience after gorilla trekking.

Meet the Pygmies tribe

The Batwa Pygmies were the original inhabitants of Bwindi Forest before the government decided to evict them and resettle them on land outside the park.

Unfortunately, the exercise was not a success – at least for the Batwa. Having relied on hunting and gathering in the forest for thousands of years, the Batwa were thrown into an unfamiliar world.

They struggle to survive outside the forest and face extreme poverty. Some of the Batwa are taking advantage of the tourism opportunities to earn an income by showcasing their cultural heritage to tourists through dance, drama and songs.

While on a visit to the Batwa community, tourists have an opportunity to learn about their earlier life – how they hunted, collected honey, prepared for war and used tree shoots as medicine.

By the end of the visit, visitors come out satisfied with the experience but also saddened by the many challenges faced by this indigenous African tribe as they try to adapt to a fast-changing modern world.

How is gorilla trekking organized?

The activity starts very early in the morning.

Trekkers gather at the park office as early as 07:00 am for registration, briefing and assignment of a gorilla group.

Some ground rules to give you an idea of what to expect:

– Only 8 people may track a particular gorilla family in a day.
– The briefing covers topics related to how to act around the gorillas, what to carry and what to wear.
– Shouting or making fun of the gorillas is strictly prohibited.
– You cannot run away when a gorilla charges at you.
– All you need to do is kneel down with face down in a submissive posture.
– Those who have transmittable diseases/infections or are below 15 years cannot track gorillas.

All the above information will be explained to you at the morning briefing as well as additional information.

After the briefing, trekkers go out in groups of 8 to track their group.

Bwindi is a large park with four sectors – Rushaga, Ruhiija, Nkuringo and Buhoma.

Some of these sectors are located far away from the park office and this may prolong the time taken locating a group.

The rangers usually know the location of the gorilla group based on where they built their last night nest.

Even with that knowledge, an advance team still has to be sent out very early to confirm their location.

The advance team is in constant communication with the Rangers leading the visitors using radio communication.

Locating the family can take between one to four hours depending on the gorilla family is assigned.

This will require some patience, but the reward will be worth it.

After trekking your way through thick vegetation with support from the park rangers, the visitor should find the family in around an hour.

Visitors are allowed only one hour with the gorillas to take photos/videos and observe the gorillas playing and the male silverback keeping stubborn members of the family in check.

Each group member has a different personality and there is the usual group dynamics which is interesting to observe.

The Cost of gorilla trekking and safety

How much does gorilla trekking cost? A gorilla trekking permit costs $600 US Dollars while the gorilla habituation experience costs $1,500 US Dollars.

By paying for the permits you will help to protect the gorillas, this is important to note as this fee is vital to secure the protection that they need.

The government through the Uganda Wildlife Authority uses part of the money collected for gorilla conservation activities and improving conditions in the park and nearby communities.

Gorilla trekking is a very popular activity and permits are on high demand.

Please note that Gorilla permits need to be booked months in advance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or more conveniently through a good tour operator which requires some planning in advance before you arrive in Uganda.

You also need to consider the additional costs for hotel bookings, food, beverages, souvenirs, transportation and tourist Visa.

In total, it’s recommended to budget between $1400 to $2000 US Dollars for a gorilla tour trekking trip to Uganda.

This might come across as expensive, but the experience with the gorillas will be one of those things that you will remember for the rest of your life.

How about safety with the gorillas

Mountain gorillas are one of the most peaceful and gentle creatures on earth.

This is quite surprising when you consider their size and demeanour.

They never attack humans unless threatened so it’s important to listen to your morning briefing and follow Safety Considerations for Gorilla Trekking from your park ranger who has years of experience.

The big five (lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and rhinos) animals can be far more aggressive.

Enjoy your visit to Uganda to see the wild gorillas

I really appreciate you passing by and reading my blog post about Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park Uganda for first-time visitors.

I hope you found it useful and wish you a wonderful trip to Uganda and have an amazing time.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to help.

The post Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park Uganda appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Over the years I’ve worked out a few tricks on how to find cheap flights departing from the UK and I wanted to share them with you in this useful travel hacking blog post.

The UK has hundreds of routes and destinations to choose from, and there are many great flights deals to be found in this country.

One big bonus point is having London Heathrow Airport on your doorstep. It’s the world’s second-busiest airport by international passenger traffic with over seventy million passengers travelling through annually.

You’re bound to find a few cheap flights popping up every now and then, and here is a guide on how to best find them.

Fly from a major UK hub

First of all, let’s focus on the main UK airports as they frequently have the best flight deals.

London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham airport each have over ten million passengers travelling through every year. This means that you will have loads of flight options to choose from departing from these major UK airport hubs.

Do bear in mind the transportation costs to the locations mentioned above and be sure to pick your local airport to focus on deal hunting.

For example, London Gatwick can be accessed off-peak from London Victoria station using the local trains, such as Southern rail from just over £8 with a topped-up Oyster card.

It’s a lot cheaper than Gatwick Express and a lot faster than the national express bus, so look into affordable options to reach your local airport to save on your overall flight ticket costs.

The Heathrow Express line is considered the most expensive train route in the UK based on distance. Take the London Underground to central London instead and save big.

You might also want to book a hotel for the night before or after your late or early flight as many of the hotels around Heathrow offer affordable options compared to the city centre such as the Hyatt Place hotel.

Be flexible with your time and dates and the world is your oyster

What if I told you that cheap flights are easier to find when you remain flexible?

Be open to trying new airlines and interesting destinations at flexible times in the year.

The more open you are, the better chance you have of finding that awesome deal.

I know this isn’t ideal for those with fixed working hours and I’m afraid that this is just how the cookie crumbles. If you want to find the best deals, you have to be flexible and stay away from major holiday periods.

Stopovers can save you big on flight tickets

From my past flight searches, I’ve noticed a trend in stopover flights becoming more affordable than direct flights.

Many airlines have a preferred home hub destination and flying into this hub can open up more destination connections for the airline.

This allows them to win new business with new customers and offer a larger network at more affordable prices.

This is beating the competition for empty seats and allowing the airlines to offer more value to customers, if you don’t mind the stopover.

Why not extend your stopover and stay for the night

Take Qatar Airways, for example. They offer an expanding aircraft fleet that covers a wide selection of destinations, if you don’t mind flying into Doha airport.

You can even book a hotel and stay for the night adding a stopover destination to your trip for no extra cost. It can be fun exploring a new city for 24 hours and getting some rest between flights.

I’ve one done this with Air China on a 72-hour visa-free stopover in Beijing, China and hiked up to the Great Wall of China before flying to Bangkok, Thailand, my final destination. How fun is that!

I’ve also stopped off in Helsinki, Finland for 24 hours to visit a sauna by a lake close to Helsinki Airport and then done a tour around a chocolate factory. This was done whilst on a stopover from London whilst on a connection flight to Japan. It was nice to relax before such a long flight.

There are loads of possibilities, and stopover flights can be a lot cheaper than direct flights. Have a look around and see what you can find.

Stick with hand luggage when you can

Many airlines are now charging extra for check-in baggage, so it’s a good idea to learn how to travel with hand luggage and save on these added costs.

Do you really need that extra pair of shoes?

Check-in baggage can increase your total flight cost so avoid this fee if you can and travel with hand luggage. I have some packing tips on another blog post to help you get started.

Sign up to frequent flyer schemes

Signing up to frequent flyer schemes is free and doesn’t take a lot of your time. Every flight you take with an airline that is part of an alliance will give you free air miles for each flight.

Over time you can save them up and use them for free flights.

Once you’ve subscribed to an alliance’s newsletter, you will normally be informed about flight sales and deals with selected airlines. They like to inform loyal customers first before the general sale starts, so you get first dibs on the best deals.

I’ve been able to grab some great flight prices by finding out about these deals first as a loyal customer, so choose your favourite airlines you enjoy flying with the most.

These are the three major airline alliances and airlines that I use:

– One World – Finnair (Finland)
– Star Alliance – Lufthansa (Germany)
– Sky Team – KLM (The Netherlands)

Each alliance issues a membership card, and, over time, you can even earn an upgraded status which can help you save on your flight. You only need to be a member of one airline to collect points from the whole alliance, no need to sign up multiple times.

For example, last year I was flying frequently with One World and had my status upgraded to Silver. Now I can check in using the Business class line, check in additional baggage free of charge, get discount on lounge access and use the priority lane. All these services don’t cost me anything extra.

It’s worth the time saving extra air miles for no additional cost.

Last year I also earned a free return flight from Helsinki to Berlin with Lufthansa, a free flight from London to Stavanger, Norway with KLM and a free return flight from Helsinki to Dubai with Finnair. All for free by using my additional air miles.

I’m also a member of Norwegian Rewards which is not an alliance but a loyalty program. It allows you to collect CashPoints from every Norwegian flight, and you can then use those points as credit towards your next flight.

You will also be notified of sales and deals in advance.

It’s worth signing up to your favourite airline’s email list to find out about cheap flights first before anyone else does.

Sign up to Jack’s Flight Club

Don’t want to do all the searching? Then sign up for Jack’s Flight Club and let them take care of all the leg work for you.

It’s rather simple how it works – they will alert you straight away by emailing you the moment an awesome flight deal pops up.

They have a team scouring the internet around the clock to find the cheapest flights so you don’t have to.

The best way to bag the best flight deals is to act quickly.

A great thing is that Jack’s Flight Club is free to try out. The free version will limit your notification period, but you can still get one or two nice flight deals to check out each week.

If you love the service (like I do), you can choose the Premium membership option and be notified of even more deals immediately so you can act fast and grab that cheap flight.

I’ve been using the Premium service for a few months now to test it out and I’ve been happy with the results. The best deal that I found was from London to Bangkok with Air China for under £300, and this included meals and check-in luggage, which was an absolute deal!

You can choose from a selection of UK airports to depart from, which makes this a great service for those living in the UK wanting to find cheap flights. I’ve got my account set up to send me notifications for all London airports, and deals pop up on almost a daily basis.

The good thing about the Premium service is that it doesn’t cost that much, and you will quickly make the fee back with the great savings you will make. Happy days!

Be sure to sign up and share with me what deals you’ve managed to find

Thank you for reading my article about how to find cheap flights departing from the UK.

I hope you’ve found many useful tips and tricks to booking your dream holiday in the close future. Happy travels!

The post How to find cheap flights departing from the UK appeared first on Travel Dave.

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