Family Travel Blog for Nomadic World Travel with Kids
Family travel blog for traveling with kids, digital nomads and families seeking adventure. Independent slow travel lifestyle tips for top travel destinations, travel preparation, travel with kids, budgeting, hotel reviews and inspiration.
A quick intro to this article. This is a guest post from Cassidy who is now 20 years old and has been featured in a couple of our articles such as: climbing Half Dome and our recent Banff trip. She has become a new member of the family over the past couple of years. Apologies for the photo quality.
In this article, she talks about her experience growing up traveling on a boat with her parents and young siblings and hopes that her family's success story will help others take the leap! Here is Her Experience Growing up and Traveling with Young Kids on a Sailboat
A common debate when considering traveling with young kids; how young is too young? My parents didn’t dwell on this question for too long before deciding to move all of us aboard our homebuilt catamaran with my (then) six-month-old brother. There were eight of us total; I was the eldest child by 7 years, the next was 6 years old, then 5, 3, 1, and the baby. Add my parents and we made eight high-sea explorers, ready to sail south from California.
The youngest – Val – had barely mastered crawling, let alone walking or swimming. He needed his afternoon naps, was still nursing, still wore diapers (a fun product to stock and dispose of properly on a boat and in foreign countries). He was adventurous, quick to take up an opportunity to explore, and he was all too fond of fishing lures. Val took up a lot of our energy, but what six-month-old doesn’t? This is the time in a child’s development where they have gained the freedom of mobility and the curiosities of the world are at their fingertips. What better time is there to introduce more of that world to them?
As for my other siblings, the four of them quickly mastered swimming with ice cream bribes. While Val chased after hermit crabs on the beach, the others would practice diving with snorkel gear along the shore. Competing with each other – who can hold their breath the longest, who can find the biggest shell, who can catch a fish (an unsuccessful endeavor). On occasion, my stepdad would bring out the SCUBA gear and they got even more comfortable in and under the water.
During our time hiking through Costa Rican jungles, I would create wild stories about pirates and talking monkeys. The kids would run around in character and add to the story as they discovered a “magical beetle” climbing a tree or a "secret path leading to buried treasure". Just because they’ve been mobile for years doesn’t make them any less excited than little Val about the world around them. I ask again, what better a time to expand their access to that world?
Our long-term plans involved pinballing through the South Pacific Islands. Sailing to some of the planet’s most remote locations did sound lonely at the time. Being a teenager, I was concerned about how I would make friends or even meet people of any caliber. My siblings as well. Just because the crew all get along, doesn’t mean outside interactions aren’t beneficial. But even in Central America, we interacted with the locals much more than I initially expected. While my parents and I attempted charades to get our minimal Spanish across to the adults of the village, my siblings would seamlessly connect with the local children.
They found other ways to communicate despite a lack of shared language. They would be up a tree with four other children within five minutes of landing. My sisters traded toys for woven trinkets and eventually learned how to weave themselves. The boys would go out on treasure hunts or build driftwood rafts. Sometimes, their roles would be reversed and you would find boys with woven baskets and girls with rafts. Either way, the day usually ended with everyone jumping off of the bow of the boat and having a blast!
We later found that within the small boating community there was an even smaller community of family cruisers that we would cross paths with as often as possible. Even though we always found ways to interact with locals wherever we were, it was still nice to have some people we could easily communicate with. We met a lot of like-minded people in the community that led to lifelong friendships despite the long distances. Including my best friend of now 6 years.
By the time we had reached Panama, Val gained his sea legs and was comically tipsy on solid ground. He had become vocal and very friendly to anyone who would listen. He was no longer in diapers, no longer nursing, no longer NEEDED naps, yet he didn’t break his desire for fishing lures. He and his older brother were obsessed with fishing and had learned how to troll while underway. They would ask questions about the kinds of fish they caught and, as a family, we would do the research. Within a few weeks, everyone knew where the fish came from, what they ate, if they were any good to eat, and all about their lifecycles. Their curiosities became a great way for everyone to learn more about a big part of our lives on the boat.
I was young during our travels, but the age gap allowed me to experience my siblings’ childhood through a more mature lens. I have seen each of them develop into confident and compassionate young adults. They are well-rounded and talented thanks to their life experiences. Experiences that they would not have had if my parents continued to dwell on whether or not a six-month-old was too young to travel with. But the line isn’t drawn at six months. If you are contemplating an adventure with your family, make it happen. I am not saying it will always be easy (when is anything easy with young kids?), but they will thank you for the life experiences you gave them. I couldn't imagine my life today without those experiences.
I hope you enjoyed this little piece about my time growing up on a boat traveling with young kids! It is my first time writing about my life in this way and I hope it helps more people take the great leap as my parents did. Please feel free to leave a comment below about your experience!
Food has a special place in my heart when it comes to traveling. Not only because it can be delicious, but because it’s one of the greatest ways to immerse ourselves into another culture. Food takes up such a large portion of every culture around the world that there is always something new to learn from heading out and trying the local delicacies wherever you may be. And you never know when you might come across your new favorite food!
Some of our very best cultural experiences happened while sitting on a rickety plastic chair in some hole in the wall, where all we can do is guess what it is we’re ordering off an incomprehensible menu. Not to mention all the mouthwatering meals that accompanied them along the way.
With that said, here is our list of the Top 5 Incredible Foods to Try in Bangkok: 1. Pad Thai
For those who don’t know, Pad Thai is stir-fry dish made with rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg and bean sprouts. The ingredients are sautéed together in a wok and tossed in a delicious Pad Thai sauce. It’s common street food in Thailand and one of the most popular dishes at Thai restaurants around the world.
After traveling all over Thailand for years and eating Pad Thai wherever I could get my hands on it, I can honestly say some of the best I’ve ever found was in Bangkok. You’ll have the best luck walking along and near the famous Khao San road. There are people all throughout the area whipping up delicious Pad Thai constantly. It may be the wild tourist street we’ve all heard about, but it's also where you can find some the best street Pad Thai in the country.
If you want to avoid the chaos try walking around some of the other streets in the area or maybe booking a Bangkok food tourwould work better for you.
2.Thai Basil Stir Fry (Phat kaphrao)
Thai Basil Stir Fry is a must try for those looking for an authentic Thai meal. This meal is prepared by stir-frying minced pork or chicken, Thai holy basil, various spices, and vegetables together in a wok. It's traditionally served over rice and topped off with a fried egg. The holy basil, garlic, and bird's eye chili pack this dish full of flavor while also giving a bit of a kick.
You'll have no trouble finding this dish in almost any local restaurant on the side of the road. Thai basil Stir Fry is one of the most incredible foods to try in Bangkok. And a great way to experience it and all the others on this list is to simply go for a walk and stop at the most local restaurants you can find. Or ask some locals where they love to eat. You’ll find that almost anyone would great you with a smile and be happy to point you in the right direction!
3. Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tam Thai)
Papaya Salad is another famous dish that you can’t miss on your trip to Thailand. It combines the five main flavors of all the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, salty, savory fish sauce, and sweetness. The ingredients are mixed or more appropriately, (pounded) together with shredded green papaya in a mortar. You would find papaya salad all around Southeast Asia, but the style that became popular worldwide is made with peanuts and comes from central Thailand.
Due to its popularity, Som Tam Thai can be found all over the city. I quick google search can help you find the most popular places to find it.
4. Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niao Mamuang)
Although famous for its delicious savory dishes, Thailand desserts are perhaps not so well thought of. However, the simple but delicious Mango Sticky Rice is one of the most, if not the most popular Thai desserts. It’s traditionally made with glutinous rice (or “sticky rice”), fresh mango and coconut milk mixed with palm sugar. This is the perfect dish for all the mango lovers out there!
You can find Mango Sticky Rice all over the city, but some of the best can be found by taking a walk along Sukhumvit Soi 38. You will have no difficulty finding the dish, as mangoes are almost always in season in Thailand. The best time for mangoes, however, is from March to July.
5. Thai Iced Tea (Cha Yen)
Okay so Thai Iced Tea may be more of a drink than food, but it happens to be an amazing refreshment when exploring the city on a hot day. Which in Thailand, is pretty much every day! It's most commonly made with a strong tea that is mixed with sugar, condensed cream and topped off with just a little more cream for good measure. Thai Iced Tea might be too sweet for some people, but whether or not you have a sweet tooth, it’s well worth joining in with the locals and giving this a try.
Thai Iced Tea can be found pretty much anywhere that serves beverages. As well as various street carts around the city.
On a side note, BUGS!
Although it’s not on our main list, insects still have a place here. Some bugs are considered delicacies in Thailand after all. And while it may not be the most desirable of things to eat, it’s certainly an experience. If you're looking to tick “eating bugs” off your bucket list, Bangkok is a great place to do it. There are all kinds of fried bugs that are sold in the city, ranging from fried crickets to giant scorpions! I can’t promise it will be the most pleasant experience, but it’s worth a try if you happen to walk by some fired bugs stands along Khao San road.
Thailand is a magical place full of delicious experiences waiting to happen! I hope you enjoyed our list of the top 5 incredible foods to try in Bangkok. Let us know in the comments below what your favorite Thai dish is!
When it comes to the topic of traveling with children, there’s a general air of misconception and misunderstanding surrounding education and schooling on the road. Long-term traveling families are undoubtedly familiar with the looks that cycle from confused, to concerned, to disapproving from people who simply don’t get it.
In this article, I will go over different methods of learning on the go, the merits of combining travel with education, and some of my thoughts on the questions that alternatively minded parents have grown accustomed to hearing over the years.
An Introduction to Travel as Education:
The Methodologies There are plenty of different ways that traveling parents choose to educate or support their children abroad, and all of them are valid. Some families take comfort in having more structure, while others are fine with flexibility and spontaneity in regards to learning opportunities. Below are 3 main styles that I have identified, however, it’s important to note that there are as many unique educational styles in the world as there are individual families.
Homeschooling Homeschoolers are those that choose to follow a curriculum whilst traveling. That being said, there are a few different types of homeschoolers, including Traditional Homeschoolers who tend to follow state or school-district approved curricula, and Eclectic Homeschoolers who mix and match their schooling materials, often incorporating their travel destinations as part of their study content. Families with children that strive with clear direction, discipline and structure tend to find some type of Homeschooling to be the best fit while traveling.
Self-Directed Learning Also known as autodidactism and sometimes associated with ‘Unschooling’, proponents of Self-Directed Learning operate on the principle that learners should be empowered to seek out their own education and supported in their choices as a student. This method synergizes beautifully with travel, as exposure to new experiences and immersion in different cultures can spark interest in subjects such as history, science, economics, biology, language, and many, many others. This style of education is for those who thrive with a sense of freedom and can allow ambitious and eager learners to excel in their own learning process.
Traditionalism Traditionalists believe in the merits of a structured, brick and mortar school setting, and will often seek out schools, classes, and courses in their host countries. Though in some senses this approach can be restrictive whilst traveling, there’s something to be said about it facilitating connections between your family and the local community, and is often viewed as a short-cut to meeting locals and forming bonds and friendships with them. Other benefits include a strong sense of cultural understanding (ie: doing what the locals do) and one of the best approaches to immersive language learning.
The Merits Travel and education go hand in hand, with the union of the two making way for more integrated learning, personal growth, soft-skill development and shifting perspectives. When having a conversation about travel as education, It’s important to remember that not every classroom has four walls. Here are a few of the many notable merits that pertain to this rich and complex topic.
Relevancy The proximity to subject matter when traveling tends to make the opportunity for learning more personal, ultimately resulting in a deeper and more gratifying experience. Students and learners who can see themselves and their relationship to the subject in perspective are able to recall information and knowledge with greater ease than those who may have simply studied the same topic from a static source. Travel tends to make things personal, and a student who has visited, experienced and related to a topic is more likely to understand it than someone who has only witnessed it second hand.
Something similar can be said for experiential learning as well (or, to put it simply, ‘learning by doing’). Experiential learning is the oldest and most familiar method to mankind for knowledge and skill acquisition, predating the modern-day understanding of ‘schooling’ for thousands of years. This is something that is accessed commonly when traveling abroad. Some key examples of this are: doing volunteer work with local projects, budgeting, and planning and language learning through conversation.
Worldview and Cultural Awareness Though the other merits listed above are also significant, in my opinion, this element is the most important one of all. By immersing ourselves in a new environment, travel allows us to change, adapt and adjust our perspectives and worldviews, (the way that we perceive the world) and by doing so allows us to better understand people from different backgrounds. This is one of the most important soft skills that one can learn, and there is no better way to pick it up than by the power of cultural immersion.
The Dreaded Questions
These are the questions that every traveling parent knows you’re going to ask before the words even leave your mouth. They have all heard them a million times and will likely continue to hear them until there’s a better, general understanding of travel and education. Though there are many of these questions, these are the 3 most common:
“But what about math?” For some reason, many people cannot conceive of how people ever learned math before the existence of textbooks. Math is all around us, and I’m inclined to argue that this is even truer when traveling. Concepts such as foreign currency conversion, budgeting, and time zones become commonplace everyday occurrences, providing a more relevant and real approach than the abstracted ‘math problems’ we’ve grown accustomed to.
“How will your child get into college?”
This is a loaded topic with many resources already defined and developed so I won’t get too deep with this one, but alternatively educated learners can easily get into college or university (and they have), provided they’re motivated enough. At least in the United States, many respected schools are starting to favor experience and autodidactism over credentials, and students from a less conventional background can easily test in if they so choose.
There are plenty of digital resources for traveling families aimed at helping alternative learners get to where they need to be, including online test preps and materials. One of the best of these online resources is Study.com, which helps location-independent students remotely earn college credits and improve their grades while providing a fun and relaxed way to study on your own time. We highly recommend Study.com's CLEP prep products, or Study.com's DSST prep products instead if you are part of a military family.
The great people over at Study have offered a 20% off coupon to our readers only! So, if you're interested in trying either of these resources, be sure to use the promo code: "Bohemian-Travelers".
“How will your child be socialized?” And lastly, the question of socialization. While it is true that a traveling lifestyle may not provide the same social environment as a school setting, it makes for a truly unique social aspect. Well-traveled children and adolescents are less predisposed to only interacting with people within their own age group, and as a result, are much more socially adaptable and versatile than their schooled counterparts. They’re also less likely to engage in ‘bully-ish’ behavior, as they view differences as something to be celebrated rather than mocked.
This was only a cursory glance into the nuanced and intriguing world of travel and education, and I invite you to do your own research as well. Happy trails!
They say "It's not about the destination, it’s about the journey" and part of the journey happens before you even leave your house. While the planning prosses may not be the most enjoyable part of your adventure, it plays a crucial roll in making your trip as smooth and relaxing as possible.
Whether you’re planning a weekend vacation or a long-winded adventure there are always going to be those unavoidable hurdles. And while you can’t always prepare for everything, there are some things you can do to ensure you have the smoothest and most enjoyable trip possible.
In this article, we're going to talk about some of the most helpful tips for planning a trip. Including budgeting, finding the best flights, packing, ground transportation and more.
10 Helpful Tips for Planning a Trip the Whole Family will Love! 1. Establish a budget The first thing you'll want to do when planning a trip is to establish a budget, even before you know your destination, travel dates or itinerary. This can help avoid any disappointment that could come from forging a fabulous itinerary and then realizing that you won't be able to afford everything you planned.
Once you know what you have to work with, you'll be able to plan your trip around that. There are many factors to think about when you're trying to stick to a predetermined budget and we will cover them the best we can in the following steps.
Before we move on, here are a few tips to help give you a little extra cash to work with:
Travel in the offseason.
Pick budget accommodations.
Plan a shorter trip (if necessary).
Keep an open mind about accommodations.
Start saving money wherever you can leading up to your trip.
2. Pick a destination
Now that you've started saving and have a good idea of what your budget will be, you can start looking for a destination... I know that’s easier said than done, but if you’re anything like most travel enthusiasts, I’m sure you have a long list of places you are dying to see. It shouldn't be hard to find somewhere that is perfect for you as well as your bank account.
If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, then somewhere in South East Asia or South America will get you a lot more bang for your buck. If you have more to work with then it might be the best time to take that tour around Europe we’re all dreaming of.
3. Get your documents in order Once you have a destination picked, you’ll want to be sure that you have all the documents you need. If you’re heading out of the country, then you must have a valid passport at least six months from expiration. But depending on the country you plan to visit, you may need to apply for a tourist Visa ahead of time. Make sure you look into that before booking any flights. All it takes is a quick google search to know whether you need any extra paperwork or not.
4. Pre-plan your itinerary Planning a full-on itinerary is not always necessary. Especially if you prefer to just show up and play it by ear, but it's understandable that some people would like to have a better idea of what their trip is going to look like. And even for those that don't, having at least somewhat of an itinerary can go a long way to help with the rest of your planning process. Plus it can be a great way to get the whole family excited about the trip.
A good way to start is by researching sites and cities you really want to explore, and then figure out which ones you have the time and budget to get to. You can go as far as you want with that. From having every day filled with activities to winging it day by day. However, if you want to be able to book your accommodations and ground transport ahead of time then you'll need to write up at least a basic itinerary.
5. Book your flights
By now you know where you’re going and how long you want to be there. That means you’re finally ready to buy flights! And since airfare will most likely be the biggest expense of the trip, it feels good to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Plus the earlier you buy flights the cheaper they will be.
There are a few good tricks to make sure you get the best deal possible. We all know that booking sites like Kayak, CheapOair and Priceline offer some of the best prices, but what some don’t know is that even when using a flight searching site there are a few ways to save even more:
Be flexible with the time of day, layovers and baggage allowance.
6. Look into travel insurance Travel insurance is one of those things that is highly debated amongst the travel community. Some feel that it isn’t necessary, especially when you’re in a country with affordable health care. And some feel that you should always have it when traveling because you never know what could happen. If you prefer to remain on the safe side or you’re planning a more intense adventure, you should do some research to find out what works best for your situation.
There are several kinds of travel insurance: trip cancellation insurance, flight cancellation insurance, medical insurance, etc. It’s up to you to decide what level of coverage you feel most comfortable with.
7. Get crafty with accommodation
Booking places to stay along your trip is one of the later steps in this list based on the fact that you need to have your trip mostly planned out before you even know what cities or towns you want to stay in. Once you know what you're looking for, the only thing left to consider is your budget. Depending on what you have to spend, there are countless types of accommodation to choose from.
Sure, you can book a room in the local Hilton and be good to go. But you'll find with a little research, that there are tons of funky places to stay around the world. Airbnb is a great way to find these unique and affordable accommodations no matter where you’re going. But don’t forget to look out for some local gems along the way as well.
8. Find the best ground transportation Finding safe and affordable ground transportation when you’re just arriving in a new place can be difficult. It's especially annoying trying to figure it all out after a long and tiring travel day. And in most airports, you walk out and get hounded immediately by people trying to scam you into an overpriced ride. It never feels good getting sucked into that because you think you have no choice. RideGuru, a fair comparison calculator is a great tool for finding the best price as well as allowing you to customize your search to ensure you get the best ride for you and your family.
Taking a train or bus is also a good and affordable mode of ground transportation for traveling longer distances and getting a more local experience during your trip.
9. Pack smart Now it’s time to pack! But be careful not to overpack. Overpacking is one of the most common mistakes of people new to travel. Instead of packing the day before your trip, start thinking about what you’ll need to bring at least a week before you leave. This way you’ll have the time to research the few key things to consider when packing: the type and length of your trip, your itinerary, the weather, the size of your luggage, and any weight limits imposed by your mode of transportation.
If you’re having trouble fitting everything in your limited space, lay everything out and rule out anything that you may not need. You can most likely make it without the few extra outfits you're trying to stuff in there. If you're still having trouble, here are a few other packing tips:
Packing cubes help save space as well as organizing your smaller items.
Roll your clothes instead of folding.
If you’re packing shoes, fill them up!
Don’t forget about that little zipper on most bags that gives you an extra couple inches.
If you consider these things while also staying as light as possible, you’ll be traveling like a pro in no time!
10. Have a great time! The final step on our list is simply to enjoy your trip to the fullest. This is easier said than done of course. There are always unforeseen obstacles to get over when you're traveling in a foreign place, but that doesn't always have to be a bad thing. As long as you keep an open mind, you'll be able to get through any issues that may come up and continue having the best adventure possible! Keep an open mind and you’ll never be disappointed when plans change.
There you have it! Our top 10 helpful tips for planning trip the whole family will love! I hope this post comes in handy for your next trip. Let us know in the comments if you have any other good tips!
When traveling abroad, the sense of freedom, exploration, and discovery is one of the most gratifying parts of international travel. Some travelers are able to find these virtues on public transport and others do it through hitchhiking, but I’d like to talk about the form of transport that is the ultimate embodiment of these values: rental cars.
Some countries have public transport that leaves something to be desired, and it’s in these places that the value of rental cars really shine. Greece is a perfect example of this, with limited bus routes that run seasonally and sparse train lines. If you want to see the country’s various historical sites, a private car will be the way to go. Here’s an example route that showcases what I mean, the ‘road trip of the gods’, if you will. Here is what you will see on the Road Trip of the Gods
Rent a car in Greece in advance so you can start your trip as soon as you arrive in the capital of this historic nation. Start by spending some time in Athens, visiting the famous Acropolis and Parthenon, the world-class Acropolis museum and the many other sites that litter the fascinating city’s downtown area.
The tickets for the Acropolis run from €10-20 depending on the season, but I would recommend splurging for the €30 multi-ticket which includes the entrance to the smaller sites around the city as well. The Ancient Agora and Tower of the Winds alone make it worth the extra cost.
The trip from Athens to Argos is about 80 miles (or 125 km) and takes about 2 hours. Though Argos has a handful of interesting touristic destinations (Larisa, Bourtzi Castle, Ancient Theater of Argos), we’ll mainly be using it as a jumping off point for two of the most breathtaking sites in all of Greece: Epidaurus and Mycenae.
The Asclepeion of Epidaurus was essentially the medical center of the ancient world. It had an incredible reputation, and people would travel for weeks on end to this place, just to be treated by the local physicians and priests. The medical practitioners here would famously prescribe treatments based on information that the patients had given to them about their dreams, and though the method seems unorthodox, they had the highest success rate in the known ancient world with dozens of surviving accounts.
Epidaurus is also home to one of the most impressively built theaters in all of Greece. The layout was meticulously designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC, and can clearly carry the voice of the performers to over 14,000 spectators on natural acoustics alone.
Mycenae is no less impressive, however. Being one of the strongholds of the ancient world, Mycenae is responsible for the domination of the southern Greek city-states in the 16th century BC. According to legend, it was founded by the mythical hero Perseus, and was ruled by his descendants for years to come. In the 12th century BC, Mycenae collapsed and no one is sure as to why. Today, most of the site still stands, with interesting architecture and a quaint museum on site. Not only is Mycenae just a great site to see, but it represents such a dominant place in a period of history shrouded by uncertainty.
The Rio-Antirrio bridge links the Peloponnese to the Greek mainland, and though there is no ancient history surrounding it, it is one of the most impressive feats of modern engineering and architecture. The bridge spans for nearly 3,000, and thanks to the hills on either side, there’s a potential for a 70 mph wind tunnel. Such precise and ingenious tactics were employed that if the ancient Greeks were around to see it today, they’d have considered it to be a mythical marvel.
Considered by the Greeks to be the center of the world, Delphi was one of the most famous religious and prophetic sites in the world. Now recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, the Oracle of Delphi influenced things as minor as a shepherd’s grazing path, to things as significant as a nation going to war. It was believed that the Priestess onsite would be possessed by Apollo himself after inhaling mysterious vapors that came from a subterranean room. It was in this trance that the oracle would deliver her prophecies.
Traveling from the base of Mt. Parnassus north, we find ourselves at one of the most iconic battlegrounds in world history: Thermopylae, the ‘hot gate’, It was here that the fierce unit of 300 Spartans held off the advances of the innumerable Persian hordes. Now, there rests a monument to their posthumous triumph and informational signs that provide insight into the Persian’s Pyrrhic victory.
There is also a wonderful set of hot springs that were said to have been heated by the venom of the Hydra in the legends of old. After a long day of traveling, I can’t think of anything better.
And, finally, we’ve reached our destination: Pelion, the Summer Home of the Gods. In the mountains above Volos, Pelion is one of the most picturesque and quintessential sights in all of the Mediterranean. With stunning views (on clear days one can see Mt. Athos across the ocean) and endearing villages, you may never want to leave. The gods could have been anywhere in the world, yet this is where they chose to spend their summers, and if that doesn’t tell you of the beauty and wonder of this place, then I don’t know what will.
There you have it! No Greece trip is complete without following the Road Trip of the Gods! Where is your favorite spot in Greece? Let us know in the comments below.
One of the things you most likely do not know about traveling to the US is the fact that it is possible to be denied entry right after you arrive. This is what happens when you do not comply with the country’s visa requirements. All people that want to go to the US should be aware of the different options that are available. Planning the trip can be so much more complicated than what you might think at first glance.
Here are ESTA Visa facts you should know when planning a trip to the U.S.Visa Waiver ProgramThe VWP (Visa Waiver Program) allows people that come from specific countries to visit the US for tourism or business purposes, as long as the stay is under 90 days. No visa is required in this case. USA legislation dictates that visa status cannot be changed if this is how you enter the company and in the event that you do not qualify, this is when a visa is needed.
If you are not interested in tourism and you need to travel to the USA for working arrangements, the work visa is mandatory. In fact, if you are allowed entry through the VWP, you are not legally allowed to receive payments for practically anything. If you are on a visitor visa or enter through the ESTA visa process, you breach conditions if money is received for something. You can be arrested and even detained.
If you enter the country through the VWP, the passport you hold needs to be valid and machine-readable. If you do not have such a passport, a visa is needed.
Electronic System For Travel AuthorizationWhen you are a resident for any of the countries covered by the VWP, you need ESTA authorization before you actually leave on your trip to the US. There is a travel and operational promotional fee that has to be paid as you apply for authorization. However, payment does not guarantee you are going to be allowed to enter.
When you apply for ESTA, you have to fill out an application form. In it, you need to be as honest as you can be. This is the only way to be accepted. Background checks are going to be done and if you lied, there is a pretty good possibility that you will never be able to take advantage of the ESTA system. If this happens, your only alternative is a visa.
It needs to be added that the response to the application is much faster than what you might think. Since everything is handled digitally, you normally get ESTA approval in just a few hours after you submit the application. Only in rare situations, when more checks are needed, you will need to wait for up to 72 hours. Be sure that you get your ESTA authorization first, before buying your plane ticket. The official response will be emailed to you, together with a number you should hold.
One of the best possible ways to enter the country is through ESTA. With this in mind, whenever you can use this system, take advantage of it.
Recording videos that look impressive can be challenging, especially when you’re traveling. You might not be able to fit all the optimal gear in your limited space. Or maybe you don't feel the need to own a super expensive camera. Even with these limiting factors, you can still capture some awesome footage of your next trip!
Here are our top tips for learning how to record great video footage on your next big adventure!
· Make sure the camera doesn’t shake
One of the main problems with photos and footage shot on vacation is very often the camera is shaky. While some camera shake can be corrected in post-production, that isn’t ideal and the video won’t have the same quality regardless.
Be mindful of that fact and try to keep your camera as still and steady as possible while you record videos. It may be a good idea to invest in a portable travel tripod that you can quickly set up and use to keep the camera steady.
· Find the right lighting
In many cases, you may not have the time or opportunity to find the right lighting – but if you do, make it count. The video footage that you record will look far more impressive in soft lighting that has fewer harsh shadows or bright spots.
If possible, try to make it a point to record outdoor footage during the golden hour – i.e. the hour right after dawn or right before sunset. The lighting conditions during that timeframe are especially good, and the footage that you capture will reflect that.
· Decide about the audio – in advance
Before you go on vacation, you have a decision to make: Is it important to you that you record audio along with the video that you shoot? If it isn’t important or you intend to replace the audio track with background music anyway, you have nothing to worry about.
However, if the audio is important – you need to take steps to ensure that you’re able to record good audio. That starts with using a decent external microphone, such as a portable shotgun microphone for general audio, or a lavalier microphone to record commentary.
· Increase the frame rate on your camera
The one setting on your camera that you should try to adjust to capture footage that really looks great is the frame rate. Setting the frame rate at 60 will let you record videos that look smooth and fluid, and you could even consider using slow-motion effects later on.
It should be noted that recording at high frame rates will increase the file size of the videos that you capture, so be sure that you bring spare storage cards, just in case.
· Keep your camera clean
Honestly, you’d be surprised how often video footage of a vacation is ruined just because the camera lens was slightly dirty. To make sure that never happens to you, bring your cleaning kit with you on vacation and make it a point to check and clean your camera regularly.
· Diversify the types of shots that you record
Try to make it a point to capture a wide range of shots. Mix things up by recording some tight shots, medium shots, and long shots – and of different subjects including people, landscape, transportation, sights, and so on.
The diversity of your shots is especially important when you edit and cut together your video. Having more diverse material will let you put together a far more compelling video and tell the story of your vacation much more effectively.
· Do not use the digital zoom on your camera
The digital zoom on your camera should be avoided at all costs. While it will enlarge the subject you’re recording, it will do so at the expense of the video quality. Instead of trying to ‘zoom in’, if you want a close-up shot you should get physically closer.
Or you could just as easily apply a zoom effect in post-production, and for example, could use Movavi Video Editor and follow the steps at Movavi.com.
If you follow all the steps listed above, you should notice a marked improvement in the quality of the video footage that you record – and how good they look. It may take a bit of experimentation before you’re able to gauge the lighting perfectly, but that will come in time too.
Trains have a rustic, old-school charm about them that is almost irresistible. Although it may not be the fastest way to get around, a train trip gives you an opportunity to experience and enjoy the journey as much as the destination itself. There aren’t many forms of transportation that offer the same level of space and freedom you can achieve on a train. There’s nothing like being able to sleep in a real bed or get up and walk around when traveling long distances. Not to mention the captivating countryside or cityscape outside your window at all times. There’s nothing like it in my opinion.
Here is our list of the 5 best train trips around the world!1. Sleeper Train, Thailand
Taking the sleeper train, or overnight train, in Thailand is an ideal way to travel long distances. It’s cheap, comfortable, and before you know it hundreds of miles have flown by while you’re sleeping. Not to mention the wonderful views of the countryside during daytime hours.
If you’re looking for a more private experience you can book your own cabin the first-class sleeper car. Otherwise, you would be in one of the bunks in the second-class car which is still very comfortable and perfect for those who enjoy socializing. With both options, you have access to the restaurant car with a variety of options. Though it may not be the most luxurious of trains, it gets the job done and always ends up being one of those adventures that any traveler lives for.
2. Venice Simplon Orient Express
The Orient Express was a long-distance train service created in 1883. The original route of the orient express ran from Paris to Constantinople (Istanbul). However, there were several routes in the past that have used the Orient Express name or one of the many variants.
Although the original Orient Express is no longer running on any route there is still a way you can experience what it was like. The Venice Simplon Orient Express is a private luxury train using original carriages from the 1920s and follows many of the old routes including Paris to Istanbul. With all the carriages restored to their former glory and the lack of modern technology its almost as if you step through a doorway to the past when you climb aboard.
3. The Trans-Siberian Express
The Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) is known by train lovers everywhere to be one of the most legendary train journeys you can take. The official 5,772-mile route from Moscow to Vladivostok passes through eight time zones as it weaves through the country’s vast and little-visited interior. This makes the TSR the longest railway in the world. And that is only the main route through Russia. You can also take a connecting line to Beijing and the rest of Asia.
The TSR is actually a number of services, ranging from slow local stoppers to grand international trains running the main route, as well as two separate routes to Beijing in China. The more affordable public train, Rossiya No 2, takes six days and is definitely a great way to meet the locals and see the countryside. Those looking for a more high-end experience can find that as well with Golden Eagle, a private luxury train service that runs along the same route.
4. The Canadian
We all know Canada is a stunning place. And no other mode of transportation allows you to experience the country so intimately as taking a train. There are a few train services that run through the gorgeous countryside, but if you want the full 3-day adventure from Toronto to Vancouver, The Canadian might be what you’re looking for.
The Canadian is known for having “Canada’s best window”. This is true no matter where you’re seated, but the absolute best view would have to be from the dome car. If having a panoramic view from the top of the train doesn't interest you; you can still enjoy the magnificent scenery over a gourmet meal or in the comfort of your own cabin.
5. Train to the Clouds, Argentina
The Train to the Clouds is a tourist train service that climbs 13,800 feet in the rugged Andes on its way from Salta, Argentina, to the Chilean border on one of the highest train journeys in the world. The railway line has 29 bridges, 21 tunnels, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals and 2 zigzags throughout the duration of the 8-hour trip. This has to be one of the most adventurous experiences on this list and you still get to do it all from a comfortable seat!
I hope you enjoyed our article on the best train trips around the world. Have you ever taken one of these trips? Let us know in the comments!
Christmas and New Year celebrations give loved ones the opportunity to spend wonderful times together shopping, drinking, eating, gifting, and simply relaxing. Unfortunately, everything that has a beginning has an ending. With nothing to look forward to in mid-January, except for the pressure to achieve something new and big that year, a lot of people end up experiencing New Year's blues. Going back to the norm can be a bit challenging, especially for those living abroad.
Here's a range of tactics for avoiding homesickness when you're away from loved ones after the festive season:
Acceptance First of all, it's quite normal to feel down after the holidays. In fact, New Year blues are part of a cycle, meaning they'll come and go. The first step to overcoming January blues is adopting an acceptance mindset, which means recognizing that things have gone back to normal. Rejecting reality is likely to lead to surges of hope followed by huge disappointments.
Make a Plan After the high of a holiday, going back to the regular, boring routine is enough to lower anyone's spirits. Revive the excitement of anticipation by planning fun activities such as fun get-togethers with friends, a trip to take place in a few months, or start thinking of what you'll do over Easter. Use an international calling app that makes cheap international calls to include others back home in your plans. Whatever you plan, ensure the activities fit your budget, lifestyle, and will give you a thrill.
Staying active is another great way to avoid getting the blues when you are away from loved ones. Luckily, there are several ways to keep you occupied after the festivities, including exercising, trying a new sport, taking walks, starting a new class for a hobby or interest, etc. Getting outdoors and staying active keeps your mind occupied and helps release mood-boosting endorphins.
Get Your Finances in Order Part of the New Year blues come from financial stress. We spend a lot of money on trips, food, and all forms of entertainment during the holidays. This leaves a lot of people with holiday debt. After the festivities, it's time to sit down and sort your financial situation. If you still have some money left, use it to settle a bill/debt right away. It's also important to set yourself a budget for the next few months until your finances are back in order.
Get a Grip on Jet Lag People living abroad tend to travel across multiple time zones to be with loved ones during Christmas. Unfortunately, they may end up experiencing jet lag. The body clock takes time to adjust to the timing of light and darkness at the destination. This disrupted rhythm can cause certain unpleasant symptoms like a headache, poor concentration, tiredness, disorientation, and indigestion. Restoring your regular sleep pattern can help speed up the re-adjustment phase after the holidays.
Reframe the Situation Whatever emotions you are experiencing, try making your circumstances work in your favor. For instance, think of the extra pounds you gained over Christmas as an incentive to finally start exercising and eating healthy. Some mood-boosting foods to stock up are those containing vitamin B like whole grains and those containing Omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish. Reframing your situation will make you feel like you are in control of your life and not the other way around.
Spending time with friends or even colleagues is another great mood-booster. If you just moved to a new country, it's time to perk up your social life. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to meet people from all walks of life. There are several apps for meeting new friends and keeping in touch at Christmas, including Bumble BFF, Friender, WeChat's 'shake' feature, and much more.
Laugh all the time Laughter releases endorphins which instantly raise your spirits. When the festive season feels long gone and you have nothing exciting to look forward to, find humor in everyday things and avoid taking life too seriously. Lighten the load by making some jokes, reading a funny book, watching funny movies, going to comedy shows, or simply hanging out with friends who make you laugh. Plus, remembering memories of strange and funny moments during the festivities will surely get you giggling.
Stay Connected Most of the New Year blues are related to having been around many people over the festive season and then suddenly finding yourself surrounded by few people or people you don't know that well. To lift your spirits, try and stay in touch with loved ones throughout the year. Luckily, keeping in touch at Christmas and after the festivities has been made easier and faster with technological advancements.
Those living or traveling abroad can now make cheap international calls with apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WeChat, Google Duo, and much more. Although app-to-app chats are free, they require an internet connection. In the event that your loved ones haven't installed an internet connection or the older generation don't own or even know how to operate smartphones, you can use the Yolla app. This international calling app makes cheap calls to mobiles and landlines across the globe.
Hopefully, you won't ever need any of these tips, but here they are if you do. I hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to let us know how you get motivated after all the festivities in the comments!
Bali has a place on nearly every traveler’s bucket list, and with good reason; the allure of warm weather and perfect beaches, the thrill of jungle adventures and the rich history of the island’s many Hindu temples makes Bali a top destination for all kinds of tourists. Thanks to the region’s breathtaking views, fascinating cultural heritage and overwhelming biodiversity, tourism makes up 80% of the local economy, and in 2017 Bali was even named the top destination in TripAdvisor’s “Traveller’s Choice Award”. Here’s our list of the top five things to do in Bali: Island of the Gods1. Ubud Palace
At the beginning of the 8th century, an Indian noble named Rsi Markaneya traveled to Bali to establish the first Hindu temple in all of Indonesia. When he arrived on the island, he felt magnetically pulled to a location in the foothills that he believed to be sacred, and it was here that he founded the first temple on the island. This is the history of the enigmatic Ubud Palace.
Now, in the modern day, the palace is open to visitors and hosts events including Balinese dancing and various festivities. When it comes to the recorded history of Bali, this is where it all started.
2. Monkey Forest
And while you’re in Ubud, you have to visit the peculiar Monkey Forest situated in the center of town. The Mandala Suci Wenara Wana is the natural habitat and sanctuary of the Balinese long-tailed Monkey, as well as the site of 3 Hindu temples constructed in the 14th century. The park has a strangely spiritual yet mischievous atmosphere, thanks to the playful monkeys and the many statues of revered Hindu deities scattered around the park.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is an important site not only for ecological conservation and research on the social behavior of monkeys, but also for historic and cultural preservation, which makes it one of the coolest and most educational things to do in Bali.
3. Pura Besakih
Definitely one of the most picturesque views in the world, Pura Besakih is the mother temple of Bali and watches over the rest of the island intently. The temple complex houses 23 unique but related temples, which eventually lead visitors to the most sacred temple of all: Pura Penataran Agung. The temple complex, located on the south slope of the Agung volcano, narrowly avoided complete destruction in 1963 when the same volcano erupted. The faithful Balinese people took this as a sign from powerful, but merciful gods and kept practicing their beliefs there.
Pura Besakih attracts over 100,000 visitors a year, and at least 70 festivals occur here annually, on a cycle based on a 210 day Balinese calendar called Pawukon. If you can arrange it, it’s definitely worth a visit during one of these events.
For those looking for a relaxed, island vacation, Seminyak is your place. Home to hip bars, high-scale shopping, luxury accommodations and relaxing beaches, Seminyak is one of the most carefree spots on the whole island. Whether you’re interested in the gentle surf, fine cuisine, contemporary art, Seminyak has something for even the most eclectic of visitors.
During your stay, you could even stay in a villa in Seminyak. Consider choosing villa-Bali to help find the best accommodation for you and your family.
5. Tirta Gangga
A truly unique site, Tirta Gangga is a Hindu water palace that even rivals many of the better known temples in architecture and beauty. Built in 1946 by the late King of Karangasem, Tirta Gangga is a series of pools and fountains nestled in the thick jungle of the Balinese foothills.
The whole site is incredibly well kept and boasts entrancing sculpture gardens and amazing buildings, whose greatness is reflected on the many surrounding pools.
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed our list of some of the best things to do in Bali. Let us know in the comments how your last trip went!