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Whether you’re packing your luggage for a weekend away or for a luxurious two weeks on the beach, here are some essential tips that everyone needs to make sure packing is 100% stress-free.

Organise – Make A List

I think when ever we leave home for a trip we’re thinking; did I forget my passport, toothbrush etc? We know that if one essential thing has been left our of our packing then it’s going to be a minor crisis – for example, if you forget your kid’s favourite toy then you’ll have to create entertainment the whole time you’re away! What I like to do is print off copies of the list with everything I need. I stick one on the fridge and one on my suitcase – I haven’t forgotten anything since!

Packing Clothes

Avoid Stains – sometimes when we arrive at our destination, open the bag, we will see that light clothes have become stained. The way I avoid this is to turn my light clothes inside out before I pack them, and another little trick is to put disposable shower caps over your shoes so no dirt gets loose.

Roll and Vacuum – There’s nothing worse that getting to the hotel and seeing that you’ve got a lot of ironing to do. To save as much space as possible and avoid dreaded creases, roll the clothes – don’t fold them, then pop them in vacuum bags. The bags are super easy to use; put the rolled up clothes in, seal the bag, then just squeeze out all the air.

Use Dead Space – When packing your bag it’s important to use up every bit of space possible. Items like underwear, socks and any small things can fit nicely in to your shoes.

Keep It Fresh – It’s very important that your clothes are always smelling good, most of all when you’re traveling for a long time. There are 3 things that will keep your bag and clothes smelling fresh; potpourri in a bag, fabric sheets (used for washing) or scented liners that you put in drawers.

Pack Gadgets – Ziplock Bags

If you’re one of those people who is the reason we have to wait at the security check for so long please change your habits! Don’t stuff them all in the bag along with everything else you have, make sure they are well organised. The simple way to do this is by using ziplock bags – I always travel with a handful. You can put all your tech (phone, camera, charger, headphones) in one place…..the same is also useful for keeping everything you need for the return journey home together (keys, parking ticket, home currency etc).

Read more: Essential Tips To Pack Your Luggage or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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India is one of those challenging destinations that people either love or hate, but what a lot of people find is that good preparation can really make or break your trip there. I have truly heard of people having the best holidays of their lives and I know others that have had some horror stories. When you know the following tips, you will hopefully belong to the ones that absolutely love their time in India. After all, it is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on earth. Read on to find out my guide to navigating India for the first time.

Visa

Like a number of countries in Asia, a visa is a must for India. The Indians do have a great system known as the e-Tourist visa and you can get get an Indian visa with evisums. The processing time is normally around 72 hours and costs around 60 American dollars. You need to print your e-visa before travelling to India. You should carry this with your passport at all times.

What to wear

As with any country, the climate will have a huge impact on what you wear, as well as the local customs and culture of the area. India is typically a very warm place, but there are regions where the weather can get cold at times, so be sure to research where you are going exactly to ensure you bring the right things. In general, India is a very conservative and modest country, and this means that covering the body is generally a good idea. This is an absolute must when visiting religious sites, such as temples or mosques. If you do not respect these rules, you may be denied access to such places.

Be aware of the stare

One thing that a number of foreigners find difficult in India, is often the looks that they get from the local people. It’s a good idea to remember that this is one of the cultural differences that makes India a very unique place. The local people are nothing but curious and it is simply a part of their culture to look when they see something or someone that does not look like them. Imagine seeing a 6 foot tall blonde haired, blue eyed Swedish guy after seeing smaller darker skinned people your whole life. You would naturally be curious too!

Enjoy the food but beware

Indian food is some of the best that you could possibly enjoy on the entire planet, but it is definitely something that you should be very careful of. India, unfortunately, does not have the highest standards of hygiene when it comes to food and if you are not used to this, it can make you quite sick. I know a number of people that have had their trip ruined by a bad case of “Delhi Belly”. Avoid street food if you can, as it tends to be the most unclean of all foods. It is also a good idea to ask around, because this often gets you the best results. For example  you could ask at your hotel for some good places where you know the food will be handled in a clean way or simply at at the hotel!

Another thing to note is spices. Start small and move up the ladder, never try to go too overboard from the beginning, because the Indians can really eat some spicy food!

Read more: Heading To India For The First Time or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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Traveling to Tibet is an adventure that requires planning, and while we at Explore Tibet can organize almost all of the aspects of your Tibet tour, what we ask you to decide is when you want to go. Tibet is really a year-round holiday destination, and each of the different seasons has its own appeal for travelers.

Most people want to travel when the weather is at its best, with warm temperatures, sunny skies, and clear views. Others want to travel for the amazing trekking experience at the roof of the world, and some just want to get away to somewhere peaceful and quiet, without the crowds of most peak-season holiday destinations. Whatever your reasons for wanting to travel to Tibet, we have a season that will be ideal for you.

Seasons for Tibetan Travel
Apart from the “closed” period of around 5-6 weeks in February and March, Tibet is an all-year destination, with many different aspects depending on the seasons. In spring and fall, take to the trails and trek around Mount Kailash. In summer, take in the pleasant scenery of the Lhasa River and the Lalu Wetlands, with their amazing birdlife. In winter, view the stunning landscapes around Lake Yamdrok and tour to Shigatse, the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, and even Mount Everest.

Travel in Spring
Spring in Tibet runs from April to the end of May, and while the season is short, it is one of the most delightful. While temperatures can be a little cold at night, the daytime temperatures are comfortable and pleasant and suitable for all types of travelers. Spring is the start of the tourist season in Tibet and it is best to book your Tibet tour in the early spring before it gets crowded.

Travel in Summer


Summer is also the monsoon season in Tibet, although the plateau does not really see much rain. Tibet is only affected by the monsoon to a degree, largely because of the shadow effect of the western Himalayas draining the bulk of the rains before the clouds cross onto the plateau. Summer temperatures are warm and very comfortable, and the air is richer with oxygen during July and august, making it easier to acclimatize. However, summer is also the peak season for tourism, and can be crowded with tourists, especially in Lhasa.

Travel in Autumn
Similar to the spring, autumn is one of the most pleasant seasons to travel Tibet and has comfortable weather with almost no rain. With huge tracts of deciduous forests, the fall of the autumn leaves is a popular attraction, covering the ground with a carpet of fall colors. However, it can get a little cold at night, reaching temperatures of around freezing.

Travel in Winter
Contrary to popular opinion, you can visit Tibet in winter, from December to the end of January. However, February and March are closed months in Tibet for the Tibetan New year, or Losar. Winter in Tibet is not as cold as you might think, and though temperatures at night can reach as low as minus 35 degrees in the most remote and inhospitable regions overnight, daytimes in Lhasa, Shigatse, Ngari, and Nyingchi can be pleasantly warm thanks to the thinner atmosphere allowing the sun to shine stronger.

Best Time for the Major Attractions

Mount Everest
While the winter can often see snow in the west of Tibet, it is quite rare to see a huge accumulation of snowfall, and travel to Everest is easily possible from December to mid-February. Clear skies are the best time t visit Everest to get a great view of the summit of the World’s Highest Mountain, and the best months for that is April to May and October to mid-February. Spring and summer also see clearer skies, with plenty of chances to view the mountain or trek from Old Tingri to the base camp itself. Summer is the time of the monsoon, and while it may not rain much, there is a higher likelihood of cloud cover over the peak.

Mount Kailash
The three-day trek around Mount Kailash is one of the most popular treks in Tibet, and as high-altitude trekking goes, it is definitely the most spiritual. Mount Kailash, in the Ngari Prefecture, is the world’s holiest mountain, and is held to be sacred in four religions. It is best to do this trek or visit the mountain in the spring and autumn, when the weather is clearest and there is no rain. The trek takes you to very high altitudes, so good weather is essential. This also avoids the time of the main Hindu pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, which can see thousands of pilgrims making the trek around the mountain.

Lhasa


There is no best time to visit Lhasa, as the city is open for tourism throughout the year (with the exception of Losar). However, if you are not a fan of trying to cram through the temples and monasteries with thousands of people, then it is best to avoid Lhasa from July to mid-October. Summer is the busiest period for tourism in Tibet, and Lhasa is the most popular place for tourists. Known as the City of Sunlight, it is a bright and cheerful city, filled with awesome sites and amazing, unique people.

Peak season sees hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists heading for the plateau, and the city can be very crowded. The first week of October is also a busy time in Lhasa and Tibet and should really be avoided. This week is known as National Day week in China, and it is a time when all Chinese have their annual holidays, with many traveling to Tibet for the week for their tours.

Tibet offers some of the most fabulous and amazing landscapes and scenery that this lovely planet has to offer, and much of the region is still an unspoilt paradise just waiting for visitors. And while Tibetan Buddhism offers you the path to a higher plane of existence, Tibet itself offers you the chance to reach a higher PLAIN of existence, on the vast Tibetan Plateau.

Read more: Best Time to Visit Tibet or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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A recent World Health Organization study detailing elevated levels of microplastics in bottled water shows we may be witnessing a poetic justice for our oceans. An upward of 90% of bottled water may contain microplastics that could damage human health. So, while we have spent half-a-decade polluting the waterways with plastic, those water supplies may now be polluting us.

From Bakelite Radio to the Bottle Top

In 1907, a Belgian-born American named Leo Hendrik Baekeland made a startling discovery: If you mix a phenol and formaldehyde, the result is a synthetic material with which you can use to make all sorts of exciting objects.

It did not take long for the invention to find its way into the everyday goods we use today. During the 1940s, the industry kicked off the modest production of plastic bottles. These were, at the time, expensive to produce due to constraints in the manufacturing capabilities at the time. This rapidly expanded into a global enterprise, producing more than one-hundred million metric tons of plastic by 1989.

Image: http://www.darrinqualman.com/global-plastics-production/

While plastic consumption stabilized in Europe at the turn of the millennium, we have witnessed the rise of plastic production by a staggering 67.5 percent across the globe since 2002. Moreover, where Europe has experienced modest population growth in the last fifteen years, population expansion at a global level remains on a steep upward trajectory. As the global population grows and plastic consumption increases per capita, these two trends suggest the problem will only intensify.

A Sea of Plastic – Who Is To Blame?

Did you know we have produced a cumulative total of more than 9 billion tons of plastic in the last 67 years? Just 9 percent of that has ever been recycled; 12 percent incinerated and the remainder has made its way to open dumps, gullies, rivers and eventually into the seas and the oceans. There are many culprits, however, indicators point back to the invention of the plastic bottle. More pertinently, changing production patterns and consumer habits have led to an over-reliance on single-use plastics. There must be increased effort to rid society of items that have such a limited lifespan, instead focusing on environmentally friendly alternatives. Overall, poorly coordinated waste management policies and low recyclability have only aggravated the problem, resulting in the suspended islands of rubbish that now plague the globe.

Image: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42264788

In a recent discovery, Captain Charles Moore drifted into a garbage patch greater in size than Mexico, which is yet another reminder of just how grave and under-estimated the current crisis is. The fact that such extensive wastelands have accumulated at sea with little-to-no realization should sound the alarm.

Even more arresting is an estimation that the seas contain a plastic-to-plankton ratio of 1:2. Given the importance of this tiny foodstuff in sustaining broader populations of marine life, there are significant grounds for concerns around micro-plastics entering the waterways.

By many estimates, most of the plastic ever produced is still in existence. Most plastics break down into smaller particles and sick, what we see floating on the surface or across beaches is a small fraction of what is across the oceans.

While it’s clear the plastic bottle has a lot to answer for, an equally disturbing fact points the finger in only a handful of directions. Just ten rivers across the globe contribute upwards of 90 percent of plastic pollution. While such a concentration highlights that the few must take significant action to redress the imbalance, everyone has a pivotal role to play in reducing unnecessary consumption. Moreover, where the behaviors of pockets of individuals may have a disproportionate effect – be that for an island nation, where there is a biodiverse ecology, or where individuals rely on the health of fisheries or waterways in general – the importance of collective action becomes ever more important.

How to Turn the Tide on Ocean Pollution

A store in Amsterdam recently unveiled the first plastic-free aisle in what could be a watershed moment for the world. Should such an initiative prove to be successful, others could soon follow suit. Then, at a global level, there are a number of campaigns taking hold as the UN Environment leads the way with the Clean Seas campaign aiming to eliminate the primary sources of ocean litter including microplastics in cosmetics and single use plastic, all by the year 2022; while World Environment Day is focusing on its own theme centralizing on Beat Plastic Pollution.

There are many ways you can contribute to reducing plastic pollution. It is now coming down to individual decision making, alongside coordinated action by those setting policy, as well as those in the industry.

Say No to Single Use: If you’re offered a single-use item such as straws, bottles, cutlery, coffee cups or plastic bags, just say no. Carry your own reusable version such as reusable metal straws, refillable bottles to stay hydrated, cloth bags for your groceries and refillable coffee cups.

Avoid Packaging: Plastic-free aisles are rare but choose foods with minimal packaging; and buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible.

Avoid Microbeads: Avoid health and beauty products with micro-beads and avoid any product that contains the worst types of plastics: Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and nylon.

Don’t Buy Disposable: Single use items such as razors contribute excessive waste – opt for razors with replaceable blades.

Choose Your Takeaway Wisely: Food packaging, including hot food, is often one of the worst offenders with polystyrene (PS) an especially damaging plastic.

Does It Come in Glass? Ask yourself if you can buy the product in a glass container. Products such as sauces, dressings, marinades and pickles all come in glass packaging. Anytime you make a purchase, favor glass over other forms of packaging, and re-use your old glass. If you can’t re-use, recycle.

Call for change: Make your voice heard by asking decision makers to implement policies which reduce single-use plastics and businesses to make smarter choices about their plastic use through.

We are at a tipping point; unless we make conscious changes to our consumption habits immediately, there is every risk we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. To reduce the volume of plastic entering our ocean by 90 percent and reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean by half, we must do two things with the support of research and innovative actions:

  1. Stop 7.2m tons of plastic entering the seas
  2. Collect 2m tons of plastic from the ocean per annum

Even at this rate, it could still take an upward of ten years to return the oceans to a more acceptable state. Therefore, it is more important than ever to be mindful of plastic packaging, explore reusable alternatives and take part in local activities to rid your community of plastic waste. The final push will be on government, lawmakers and leadership to actively push through bans, the enactment of new policy, and introduce into law measures that control both the production and consumption of plastics.

Read more: The war on plastic has begun or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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Canada is a truly spectacular country and easily one of my favourites! There’s so much to see and do there it’s impossible to pack it all in on one trip – that’s why I love going back. I’m excited to see what new things I discover when I head back to Ontario in August.

One thing that Canada is famous for is its wildlife, if you’re a keen photographer then you should book your flight here right away. Having been fortunate enough to photograph the wildlife in Canada myself I can testify that it’s an amazing experience.

There are around 200 kinds or mammals, over 400 bird species and a variety of oceanic life – it’s not difficult to see why Canada is known as a paradise for animal lovers. Being the second largest country on the planet you will have a lot of ground to cover in order to see all of the wildlife. So we’ve put together a list of our favourite animals that you should try to get a glimpse of.

Grizzly Bear

Don’t get too close to these guys! The male adults weigh in at about 790 pounds on average and with claws of 200 inches long they don’t have to worry about other animals. There are around 25,000 grizzly bears in Canada, so if you take a decent tour in the right area you’ve got a good chance of seeing them.

Cougar

You might have heard cougars being described on wildlife programmes as mountain lions or pumas. Their range goes from the Canadian Yukon as far as the Southern Andes in South America. Cougars are ambush predators so can be a little tricky to spot, so expect to take your time and make sure you’re patient – it’s worth the wait!

Moose

How could we talk about wildlife in Canada and not mention the Moose? If you want to get a glimpse of the moose then you better get over to Canada soon, that’s because the population of Moose in North America is unfortunately declining at a rapid rate. One of the best places to see these large beautiful animals is in Algonquin Park in Ontario – even there it can be tough because there are 3,000 Moose living in over 3,000sqm of parkland.

Have you been to Canada before to see the wildlife? I would love to hear all about your experiences there and what animals you were lucky enough to see. Just pop everything you’d like to share in the comment section below.

Read more: Amazing wildlife awaits in Canada or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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If you’re looking to book your next holiday, you may be wondering whether a cruise or resort holiday is best. I have been on both types of holiday and they do have their own benefits, I do however think that cruises tend to be much more exciting, versatile and adventurous. I think that everyone should go around the world on a cruise at least month in their lifetime.

Here’s 5 reasons why I think cruises beat resort holidays:

Quality Everywhere

It is true that resorts have many activities and other experiences, but they certainly do not compare to the level of quality you can find on some cruise ships. When you’re on a cruise you can expect the following:

– A variety of land excursions.

– Broadway style shows.

– Musical performances.

– Casinos and other games.

– Access to spas, pools and other pampering.

– World class cuisine, with something everyone will love.

– Friendly staff always willing to go above and beyond to make sure you’re happy.

Something For Everyone

Every cruise that I have been on has had activities for every passenger of all ages, so if you bring your family along you can rest assured that they’ll all be having fun. You can relax as parents when you’re on a cruise because make sure that the kids can all play safely. You are able to leave your kids by the pool enjoying organised activities whilst you head off to the spa, try some golf or enjoy a night of dancing.

The View

One thing that you’ll be seeing a lot of is the ocean, it’s one of the best things about being on a cruise. Everyone enjoy laying out on the deck listening to the sound of the ocean and staring up at the stars, the view from the ocean (with no light pollution) is spectacular.

Day trips and Adventures

Not all of the time has to be spent onboard the cruise ship, along the way you’ll be able to hop off the ship and enjoy some great excursions. It gives passengers the opportunity to experience local culture, food, places and the people. For example, if you’re on a cruise in South America then you may be lucky enough to get to visit Machu Picchu.

The Variety

When people go on holiday they usually visit one country – now compare that to visiting a different country every few days. If you’re on a cruise in the Caribbean, you can get the chance to visit the Bahamas, Aruba, Bonaire and also Grenada in the space of just 10 days or so.

Cruises are one of the best ways to travel in luxury, whilst experiencing local culture and getting to visit many different countries. It’s no wonder why I have been on one each year for the last 5 years!

Read more: Cruises Holidays Are Always Better Than Resorts or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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To some train journeys may seem long and boring, but the Tibet train that travel from inland China to Tibet (TAR) are exciting, have great views and way cheaper than flights. A Tibet train journey is part of the experience, as you get to mingle with locals, eat traditional food and save a lot more money. The follow tips will help you plan the travel cost for your Tibet train journey.

Decide which city to board Tibet Train to Lhasa

There are seven central train stations in China that you can board to travel to Lhasa. You can take direct trains to Lhasa from these seven Chinese cities.

They are -Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xining and Lanzhou.

Beijing – If you love crowds, you will enjoy the capital city of China, Beijing. It is the second most populated city in the world. Beijing serves as a significant rail hub in China’s railway network. It takes a total of 40 hours as it covers a distance of 3,757 km from Beijing to Lhasa.

Shanghai – The most populated city in the world, Shangai is bound to get you excited and experience a uniquely Chinese experience before setting into the higher altitude Lhasa. There is only one daily train from the Chinese city of Shangai to the Tibetan marvel we call Lhasa. The train leaves at 20:10 and reaches at 18:25.

It takes a total of 3 days or 47 hours as it has to cover a distance of 4,373 km.

Guangzhou – The Southern city of China is the longest route to Lhasa. Enjoy scenery of the open countryside through China and then witness major towns such as Chenzhou, Lanzhou, Wuchang, and Xi’an while on the way to Lhasa.

Ideal for travelers coming from Hong Kong, as is the closest train station from Hong Kong.

The total distance from Guangzhou to Lhasa is a total of 4,980 km which will take around 53 hours in total.

Chengdu – The southwest city of China is another popular pathway to Tibet.

Tickets are far easier to get from Chengdu serving as one of the top spots to travel from if you want to go to Lhasa.

The train leaves every alternate day and covers a total of 3,070 km which is 36 hours to reach the roof of the world, Lhasa.

Chongqing – Chongqing is based in southwest China and has significant history and culture. It is a significant manufacturing and transportation hub. You will notice Chongqing being a rapidly developing city, no wonder it’s one of China’s 30 emerging megacities.

The train going from Chengdu to Lhasa travels every other day and takes 42 hours as it has to cover a journey of 3,030 km.

Xining – Xining is much closer to Lhasa compared to the other cities in China where the train departs. For the religiously inclined travelers, Xining has the Dongguan Mosque for Muslims and the Ta’er Monastery for Buddhists.

Xining is in total 1,972 km to Lhasa and takes only 21 hours. There are nine different trains every day to the high city of Lhasa.

Lanzhou – Lanzhou is the capital city of Gansu Province in Northwest China, located on the bank of the Yellow River. The Langzhou to Tibet train is high in demand.

The train takes a total of 24 hours to reach and has a distance of 2,188 km in total from Lanzhou to Lhasa.

The trains also pass through minor cities of China like Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Xian, Changsha, and Taiyuan.

You will experience lakes like the Qinghai Lake, Delingha and Namtso Lake which is very sacred. Keep your eyes open for the long tunnels, charming sceneries and a wide variety of different mountains you will pass.

Choose the right train ticket that works best for you
There are three different types of tickets on the train from the Chinese cities to Lhasa. They are- soft sleeper ticket, hard sleeper ticket, and hard seat tickets. They vary in comfort and prices.

Soft Sleeper – The Soft sleeper is a comfortable experience for those who want to spend the extra dime for excellent and pleasant travel. There are 2 sleeper cars with 64 compartments, each having 2 lower berth beds and 2 upper berth beds. The best part is there is a door which you can close for privacy. If you are a senior, it is preferable to take the lower berth for the convenience of getting up when and how you please easily.

It is the priciest ticket and can range anything between 1,300 CNY to 700 CNY depending on the distance of the Chinese station from Lhasa.

If you are traveling with your family, you can opt for a compartment of your own with a small sized table to have family meals along with 4 beds. It is 70 square feet in area and has trash cans to keep the place tidy for your comfort and vacuum flasks to keep you warm. There is ample space for keeping bags in the soft sleeper berths.

Choose the soft sleeper if you got little extra money to spend on comfort and are traveling from a long distance such as Beijing or Shangai.

Hard Sleeper – The hard sleepers are not as uncomfortable as they sound, and the mattresses on these berths are pretty decent to sleep. There are about 8 to 11 hard sleeper carriages with 11 compartments each. It has two more berths in the compartment compared to the soft sleeper which means there is a total of 6 berths. These are the most booked as it’s reasonable, cheap and the most preferable choice amongst travelers and tourists. If you want these berths do book it at least 30 days before in advance.

There is also ample luggage space to keep below the berths.

Hard sleepers cost anything between 490 CNY to 900 CNY depending on the distance.

Hard Seat – It is the cheapest of the three types of tickets, but the least most comfortable. However, as the name sounds, it does not have such hard seats compared to the other trains in China and is softer. It is the ideal ticket for short train journeys which are within the time duration of 24 hours, such as from Lanzhou or Xining train stations.

You can store your luggage below your seat or above the seat near the window. However, do keep your valuables in a bag which you can keep near you at all times.

If you want to experience the culture of China and Tibet as it is and spend much less on the travel, choose the hard seat ticket which will help you interact with the locals.

The Cost of Dining in Tibet
The food on the train is remarkable and will make you want to live on the train forever! Meals from breakfasts, lunch, dinners and even snacks are available to make you never go starving. You can opt for a western breakfast of eggs, pickles, bread, and milk which will only cost around 25 CNY. If you are traveling a long distance, there is a good variety every day for the 2 or 3 days of traveling. The Chinese breakfast of noodles and baozi will make your mouth water even before it comes. As for lunch and dinner, munch on a choice between 8 Tibetan meals, 55 cold dishes, 32 ordinary dishes and 8 soup meals. Don’t miss the yak and ginseng salad for an authentic experience.

Sip on some yummy beverages or the healthy water whenever you want to with a handling cart moving to and fro most of the time on the train. These handling carts have an excellent Chinese set meal which is sold at 25 CNY only!

Vendors provide very cheap food and can be extra savings in your pocket. Pass your time eating crispy potatoes and chicken feet with peppers from vendors while enjoying the scenery. Basics like bread and milk can be bought from these vendors for a mere 15 CNY in case you eat light while traveling.

Extra Personal Cost for Tibet Train Journey

Toilet- There are two toilets at the end of each carriage, which are free to use. However, you will need to buy toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, and soap.

Drinking Water- Drinking water, especially warm water is available in water dispensers in ever carriage. You can keep them in a thermal flask for your convenience. The water in the dispensers are non-chargeable. If you prefer bottled mineral water, you can buy it from the food trollers that keep moving up and down.

Smoking Area- If you are a smoker, don’t worry there are designated smoking areas in the connecting spaces between the two carriages where you are allowed to smoke. Do not smoke inside the carriages as there is a huge penalty if you do.

Charging Sockets- If you want to charge your mobile or laptop, there are charging sockets available in the compartment which are free to use. Do bring an extension if you’re going to charge more than one device as there are limited charging sockets.

Overall a trip by train is the most preferred and ideal choice of travel from China to Tibet given the memories you will make from the local experience at a fraction of a cost of flying by air.

Read more: How to budget Tibet Train Journey? or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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Whenever a topic about South East Asia comes up in conversations especially about travels, <a href=”http://www.escapingabroad.com/thailand-travel/”>Thailand</a> is always the first on anyone’s bucket list. The Siam Kingdom is arguably the most popular country in South East Asia in terms of tourism and very few people would even blurt out Philippines. This country of more than 7,100 islands is still an infant in the tourism industry but it is slowly changing now as it continues to grow as a perfect tropical destination.

The fact that the Philippines is still not yet popular means that there are less tourists and therefore traveling is more fun, more quiet, less busy and less expensive. With more than 7,100 islands, travelers don’t run out of options to choose from. More importantly, your chance of finding luxurious accommodation for a cheaper price is much higher in the Philippines than in Thailand. Here, you can travel like a king without spending a lot of fortune and enjoy the best of what the islands have to offer. So here’s how you can do it.

  1. Travel during low season:

Philippines is prone to typhoons and rainy season starts from June to October. Typically, this is the low season which most tourists try to avoid. However, typhoons do not strike in all places at the same time and there are places in the provinces that don’t really get typhoons at all. If you can take advantage of that, then you are guaranteed to enjoy low prices for as much as 40% on plane tickets and hotels plus you also get a higher chance of enjoying the beach all to yourself.

  1. Book flights and hotels early:

If you really want to get that beautiful summer tan and want to enjoy the spots during the summer, then book way ahead of your travel schedule. This means that you get better and cheaper deals with higher chances of getting the best room with the best views. The best idea is to contact a local agency, especially the ones specializing in <a href=”http://www.philippinestravelpackage.com/all-inclusive/”>all inclusive packages to the Philippines</a>. If you go for higher end hotels, your chances of saving a substantial sum by booking through an agent increases dramatically.

  1. Avoid festival seasons and Holy Week:

If you want to see the cultural practices of the Filipino people, then we highly recommend our festivities and fiestas. Holy Week is also a must see because Filipinos have a different way of doing it. However, this also translates to huge crowd gathered all over the place and your chance of enjoying some quiet and relaxed moment will be disturbed by regular rituals of Pasyon – a reading on the suffering of Christ accompanied by chants and could last until Black Saturday.

Filipinos are very religious people and since Holy Week typically falls on a summer, expect that everyone will go away to some place for the Holy Week which means prices for hotels and flights are always driven up and planes and hotels are also fully-booked. Avoid Christmas, New Year and Easter as well if you want some quiet moments and if you are not willing to spend a fortune.

  1. Eat where the locals flock to:

Now, this is something you need to be mindful of. Filipinos love their fast foods but this is not what this is about. We are talking about real food here so try to observe where most locals get and eat their food. You will notice that Filipinos line up on roasted chicken stalls and you will see why when you taste it. Contrary to what many tourists say about Filipino foods, Philippine roasted chicken is the best and you can get a whole roasted chicken for only 5 dollars!

Moreover, when you buy your food, it is best to buy it from local market shops for guaranteed freshness. The ones in the supermarket sometimes have been frozen for a few days. Especially when buying fish and seafood, the best and the freshest ones can be bought directly from the fishermen and the prices are cheaper than the ones sold in the local market.

  1. Befriend the Locals:

Filipinos are generally friendly and so you can save a lot of money on accommodation, sightseeing and transport if you have a friend who lives in a province where you will visit. Nowadays there are different groups on social media where people can be friends with anyone and so if you plan on visiting the country, it will not hurt to invest in the locals before your travel date.

Filipinos would gladly offer you their home or get you in touch with someone they know who rent out an apartment or condo for you to use. They will also lend you their motorcycles (provided you have valid license of course) and if they have a car, they can show you around the province for sightseeing for free or for minimal charge. At all times however, it is important to be very careful who you befriend with online. Try to investigate first and check out very popular groups and check out profiles carefully before planning anything

  1. Choose your money-changing stores and ATM’s wisely:

While it may be safer to exchange currency at the airports, the conversion rate is typically lower than the ones outside. The banks and western Union are no better. If you see Subic Exchange in the malls, try that because their exchange rates are closer to the real deal. Furthermore, when you are withdrawing money using your credit card always uses the ones without commission charges. Try Citibank ATM’s or Metro bank. That way, you get more for your money.

  1. Stay away from the city center:

If you will choose a hotel or a B&B place, always choose the ones that are not located in the center. The ones at the city center are generally more expensive and very busy. This is also where befriending a local becomes significant because they can tell you where to stay at a cheaper price but with better quality.

For example, instead of staying on Boracay Island itself, why not <a href=”https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g1370766-Reviews-zfs6-Caticlan_Aklan_Province_Panay_Island_Visayas-Caticlan_Villas.html”>stay in a big villa in Caticlan</a> (very close to Boracay) where you pay for the whole villa at a fraction of the price of a room in Boracay with your own house help and huge beautiful garden? Not only, do you have the place all to yourself but you also get to enjoy peace and quiet without any tourists tailing behind.

  1. Concentrate on one place:

Philippines is an archipelago which means it consists of numerous islands. Transport from one island to another is cheaper compared to other countries in the South East but if you have to do it many times in your entire trip, it will definitely take up a lot of your funds and precious time. Try to focus on one place during your visit.

For example, if you want to see Palawan, then stay in Palawan. There are so many things to see and do in Palawan alone and 2 weeks for this will not be enough. Not only do you save time and money on transport, you also get to see more of the place and experience the local lifestyle. A lot of tourists make a mistake of trying to visit all famous places in one entire trip that most of their money actually get wasted on transport without actually seeing all they should see in a place. Don’t make that mistake.

Read more: How to Travel in the Philippines without Spending a Fortune or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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Going fishing in a kayak is one of the best ways to get out and about to catch those fish. When it comes to kayak fishing, you can expect to pay less than you would with regular fishing boats and using a kayak can also help you to reach those fish that you might not have been able to otherwise. If you are interested in taking up kayak fishing, keep reading to find out more about the best destinations in the USA for this activity.

Before You Go

Before you set off on your next adventure, make sure that you know exactly the what equipment that you will need to get the most out of kayak fishing. You’ll need the right kayak for the job which is normally one which lets you sit on top so that you can easily enter and exit the kayak. To make sure that you are well equipped, check out the best kayaks for fishing online.

Devils River, Texas

Our first popular fishing destination is Devils River in Texas which is part of the Devils River State Natural Area. If you are more experienced in fishing in a kayak, then we recommend visiting this area. You’ll need to bring everything with you and you should be aware that it can be quite strenuous. You will love fishing here though and if you have the right kayak for the job, you’ll love this adventure.

Kona Coast, Hawaii

If you’d like to take a trip to Hawaii, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of big fish available for you to catch on the Kona Coast. You’ll love fishing here in your kayak and you might even catch a glimpse of some tuna fish, grey snappers or tiger sharks in this amazing destination.

Shelter Cove, California

One of the best fishing destinations in California is Shelter Cove which has a wide variety of fish like salmon, rock cod and halibut in the water. This location has some great fishing, but you should make sure to be prepared for some rip currents on this Pacific Ocean stretch.

Grand Isle, Louisiana

As the only inhabited barrier island in Louisiana, Grand Isle offers some amazing fishing which is fun for those who want to take out the kayak. This destination is one of the best for those who want to try to catch some redfish and want to take on the shallow waters of Grand Isle. You’ll find some big fish here and you won’t be disappointed when you take your kayak out for an adventure.

Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Our final destination for you is Lake Guntersville in Alabama. This lake is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority and you’ll be able to check the level of the lake and how much water is being released. You’ll need to venture to some of the less popular areas if you want to get the most out of fishing in this area.

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Read more: The Best Places to Go Kayak Fishing in the USA or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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As more states, municipalities, and even nations legalize cannabis, travel and tourism industries are poised to take advantage of the buzz surrounding the plant. Nevada and Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensaries ramped up production this year as recreational markets opened in July of 2017 and 2018 respectively. In spite of these efforts, tourists and patrons flooded Nevada dispensaries, creating a weed shortage that prompted a statement of emergency by the governor.

The demand for exciting cannabis destinations is on the rise, and so is demand for rare strains of cannabis. Before you book a trip to a legal cannabis state, like Colorado or California, consider learning a bit about cannabis’ origins, and check out these international destinations, and the weed strains that share their names.

The first cannabis plants grew alongside the high, dry, Hindu Kush Mountain range in India. Today, strains descended from these plants are called “hindu kush”

Landrace cannabis strains are highly sought after by cannabis connoisseurs and cultivators alike. “Landrace” refers to naturally occuring cannabis strains that evolved and adapted in the geographic region where they were discovered by human beings.

For example, most cannabis strains that end in the name “kush” derive from the original hindu kush cannabis plants found growing alongside the Indian Hindu Kush mountain range. These resilient plants subsisted in high, dry regions, and soon spread their seed the world over through cannabis’ popularity as a commodity for trade.

You can thank the harsh environment of the Hindu Kush mountain range for the strain’s signature effects. Due to the cold climate, hindu kush plants create a thick layer of trichomes which protect the plant. Important cannabis chemicals, like THC and CBD, exist inside these trichomes, thus creating hindu kush’s signature calming, pain relieving effects.

If you’re a cannabis purist, making a pilgrimage to the Hindu Kush mountains and indulging in some of the oldest cannabis in the world may be a necessity.

Columbia Gold originated in the Santa Marta mountain range in Columbia

Landrace strains are the grandparents of all modern day pot. Since they were the first cannabis plants, landrace strains were used to cross breed and diversify cannabis across the world. Many of the most famous cannabis strains of today descend directly from older, landrace strains. Columbia Gold, a landrace strain indigenous to the Columbian Santa Marta mountain range, has fathered plenty famous sativa strains found in legal cannabis markets across the globe.

Columbia Gold adapted to the hot, wet South American climate near the Santa Marta mountain range. In order to be tough against the heavy sun, dry air, and cool winds the high altitude provided, Columbia Gold grew large buds to protect against the conditions. When smoked, these buds produce an invigorating, energetic high that sativa strains are best known for.

If you go for a visit to the Santa Marta mountain range you will be sure to find some wild Columbia Gold landrace.

Durban Poison originated in the South African port city Durban

Durban Poison originated in a sunny port town on South Africa’s coast called Durban. Durban’s location on the coast offered the plant a lot of sun and nutrient rich soil, creating very potent, sticky cannabis buds. This incredible stickiness is the result of oversized resin glands that formed due to Durban’s conditions. Durban Poison has uplifting effects, and is known for its fruity smell.

Durban Poison’s oversized resin glands make this landrace an excellent strain for producing cannabis concentrates, and Durban Poison has fathered popular cannabis strains like Girl Scout Cookies.

Landrace cannabis strains offer destinations as incredible as the cannabis they produce, so don’t hesitate to get out there and explore!

About the Author
Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter

Read more: Top Cannabis Destinations: Landrace Strain Origins or visit EscapingAbroad.com blog for more travel stories, photos and videos.

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