Loading...

Follow Out of Your Comfort Zone on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
Or

Valid


The 5 best and cheapest websites and apps to do international wire transfers. Easy to use and you can instantly calculate the cost to send and final value after conversion before confirming your transfer. Works for 40 different currencies in more than 70 countries, including USA, India, Australia, UK, & many more!

Click here if you want to jump straight to the top 5 list

It might seem like this topic isn’t so related to travelers. But believe me, it is. Plus it’s super useful if you (or any of your relatives) live, work, or study abroad.

(By the way, if you or anyone you know are planning or want to live abroad and still don’t know how you can, don’t miss our page with 10 Ways to Live Abroad)

Here are just some examples of when you might use the services of the companies I’ll mention below to transfer money to other countries. If you:

  • Are traveling abroad and want to save on exchange rates (we explain how 2 sections below)
  • Are studying or working abroad and need to receive/send money to/from your family back home
  • Have friends or family studying or working abroad and you need to send/receive money to/from them
  • Need to send money to yourself because you’re living abroad and your money is in a bank account in another country or your home country
  • Have a husband or wife abroad and need to send them money
  • Need to pay for something abroad (see bottom of article for notes on scams and fraud for this)
  • Are traveling and run out of money and need your family to send you money
  • Have international clients/suppliers and need to receive/send payment from them
  • Get your wallet stolen while abroad and need someone to send you money
  • Earn a salary abroad and want to send money to your bank account back home to invest
  • Have bank accounts overseas and need to send money from them to your home bank

And remember, the options that I’ll give you below work for that are living or are from any country in the world….The United States, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, India, etc…

So, let’s get started!

Important note: Official/spot exchange rate vs. retail/tourist exchange rate

Throughout the article, you’ll see us mention the official/spot exchange rate and the retail/tourist exchange rate.

In simple terms, you always want to get the official/spot exchange rate because then you’ll lose less money when you convert your currencies. This the rate that’s used in the financial market where large amounts of currency are traded (think of it a bit like “wholesale” or “discount” currency exchange rates).

Most of the companies I recommend below use the official/spot exchange rate (I’ll mention if they don’t).

The retail/tourist exchange rate, on the other hand, is what you’ll find when you exchange money at airports, banks, currency exchange stands, etc. They use the retail/exchange rate so they make a big profit by giving you a worse exchange rate.  

In other words, always try to exchange currencies using the official/spot exchange rate NOT the retail/tourist exchange rate. We mention below which rate each company uses.

How to save money on your trips by transferring money abroad

As you might already know (especially if you’ve read our article about How to Deal with Money While Traveling), doing things like withdrawing money with your debit card or paying with a credit card abroad can rack up a lot of fees (unless you get a card without foreign transaction fees).

One alternative could be to exchange money in your home country at a bank or agency before you go abroad. But the problem is that, besides not being a great idea to travel with so much cash, the exchange rates used by these places are the retail/tourist rates…so you can end up losing a lot in your transaction.

Another cheaper option for travelers is to use one of the options below to send money to friends or family that live along your travel route. Then, when you arrive in that country, you can pick up the money in the local currency from the friend/family member you sent the money to from back home.

For example, let’s say I’m from the United States and am planning a trip to Australia where my brother is studying. I use one of the 5 companies below to send money from my US bank account to my brother’s bank account in Australia. He’ll receive the money in Australian dollars and can pass it along to me when I arrive in Australia. Then, I won’t need to change money before in the United States nor after I arrive in Australia.

Now, let’s talk about the 5 best and cheapest companies to send, receive, and transfer money abroad.  

But first, what’re the 3 ways you should NEVER send and receive money abroad?

#1) BANKS

Many people around the world think that using a bank is an easy and cheap way to send or receive money overseas. But this isn’t true! 

Doing international transfers through banks is EXPENSIVE!! Banks’ll use a SWIFT code (or BIC) and IBAN to do incoming and outgoing international wire transfers…and they’ll screw you over! 

In general, they charge you a percent of the total amount transferred plus a fee that’s sometimes almost the amount of the transfer itself….and to make things worse, the conversion rate they use is horrible! So, if you transfer money to another country with a bank, you’ll probably end up losing a lot of money that you don’t need to.

For example, if you an American bank to send money to a European bank, fees could easily be $45 minimum for a single wire transfer (plus a horrible exchange rate).

HiFX (one of the companies I recommend below) has a good comparison between their rates and the rates of major bank’s for international wire transfers….

And this table gives you an idea of the fees charged by banks for incoming and outgoing international wire transfers…ouch!

#2) and #3) Western Union or MoneyGram

These are two of the biggest companies for sending money abroad in the world. Which means that, unfortunately, a lot of people are using them and wasting money without realizing it just because they didn’t know there are better options.

But if so many other people use Western Union and MoneyGram, why shouldn’t you?

Because they…

  • Are super expensive and take a high percentage of the money you’re sending

(MoneyGram, for example, will charge you nearly a quarter of the amount you’re sending – or US $22 – for a $100 transfer….what a ripoff!)

  • Don’t let you send or receive money online (you have to go personally to the agency yourself and the person receiving the money has to do the same)
  • Usually use the tourist/retail exchange rate (AKA: the one you don’t want)

One last time, here are the 3 ways you should NOT do international transfers:

#1) Banks

#2) Western Union

#3) MoneyGram

Then what are the cheapest and most practical ways to do international money transfers?

I’ve put the 5 options in order with my favorite options at the top (because of their low cost and ease). But I’d recommend you always test all the options below to see what is best for what you need.

  1. TransferWise

www.transferwise.com

Made by the creators of Skype, TransferWise is probably the cheapest and easiest way to send money abroad. It’s definitely my favorite and the one I use most often.

All you need to do is have a checking account in the country you’re sending the money from and a checking account in the country where you’re sending the money (note:  the account that receives the money doesn’t need to be in your name, making this a perfect option if you need to send money to friends or family).

You basically just put in the amount of money in the currency you want to send (US dollars, for example) and the currency you want to receive (Euros, for example). Then, put in how much money you want to send (US $1,000, for example) and Transferwise will tell the amount the person will receive in Euros including all fees.

Important: you can see that the conversion rates Transferwise uses are the official exchange rates that Google gives. In other words, the best rate possible, no matter the direction/currencies involved.

Then, just sign up with your info and put in the bank info of the person (even if it’s your own account in another country) who is receiving the money.

Depending on the country you’re sending money from, you can send money with Transferwise through domestic bank transfers, debit card, or even credit card! But to use a credit card you do have to pay a small percentage fee.

In some countries, Transferwise will issue you an invoice to pay the amount to be transferred. There aren’t any fees for this.

The money you transfer will be in the destination account in 2-3 days.

And notice that the currency exchange rate from Transferwise is pretty much the same as the official one given by Google!

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 


As a Spanish city located in Africa & surrounded by Morocco….Ceuta is kinda weird. But that’s exactly why you should visit! Keep reading here to get an itinerary with all you need to know to visit Ceuta. Including maps, crossing the famed Strait of Gibraltar, accommodation, attractions, what to do…and more!

Fact: there is one part of Spain that shares a land border with Africa

Fun fact: the city is called Ceuta, it’s Spanish yet located in Africa and surrounded by Morocco….and it’s a pleasant & easy place to visit!

Besides visiting just for the weird geopolitical situation, a trip to Ceuta will also give you the chance to:

  • Take a ferry across the famed Strait of Gibraltar
  • Set foot on the “African” continent
  • Wander through the city’s 1,000+ year old city walls and fortresses
  • Experience a unique mix of Spanish & North African culture
  • And more!
How to use this Ceuta travel itinerary

As you’ll see below, our detailed itinerary is just for 1 full day in Ceuta – beginning with us arriving the night before via ferry, staying a single night, spending the next day seeing the city, and then catching the ferry back to the Spanish mainland later that evening.

Technically, this could be done as a day trip from mainland Spain since the ferry is only about 90 minutes each way. But I’d vote spending the night if you can.

Beyond this short itinerary, we’ll also give some alternatives for what to do if you’re extending your stay in Ceuta or your trip overall by heading to nearby destinations (you’ll find them at the bottom of the article).

Table of contents
  1. Ceuta Fast Facts

             1.5 So, is Ceuta….Spanish? Or Moroccan?

  1. When to visit Ceuta
  2. How long to stay in Ceuta
  3. How to get to Ceuta
  4. How to get around Ceuta
  5. Where to stay the night in Ceuta
  6. What to do in Ceuta (1 day Ceuta itinerary)
  7. Have more time in Ceuta? Ceuta itinerary alternatives
  8. Looking for your next stop? Where to go before or after Ceuta
  9. Bonus tips for visiting Ceuta
  1. Ceuta Fast Facts

The What and the Where: Ceuta is an autonomous Spanish city and enclave that’s physically located on the African continent. It’s situated on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast and is just a short 8.7 miles (14 km) ferry ride away from the Spanish mainland.

How big is Ceuta? Pretty small! Just 7.14 square miles (18.5 square km) with a population of around 85,000.

What is Ceuta’s currency? Ceuta is technically a part of Spain and thus uses the Euro, just as Spain does.

What language do people speak in Ceuta? Spanish, just as they do on the Spanish mainland.

1.5 So, is Ceuta….Spanish? Or Moroccan?

As you can imagine, this is a bit of a complex topic.

As far as political borders go, Ceuta is 100% a part of Spain. They speak Spanish, its citizens can move freely throughout Spain and the rest of the European Union, and there’s only a loose border control for people crossing from Spain to Ceuta (or vice versa).

But as far as geographical location, Ceuta is very much in Morocco and northern Africa. Ceuta is not physically connected to Spain by land at all and the only thing it shares a border with (besides the sea) is Morocco (with a 5.2 mi/8.4 km line separating the two).

Some people call Ceuta “Spain’s African Gibraltar” (Gibraltar is another strange geopolitical entity as a British territory physically located in Spain).

View from the top of Gibraltar’s famous “rock”

As you might expect, the city’s borders are heavily fortified – consisting of 10-foot barbed wire fences ringed with searchlights, movement sensors, and guard towers. Which also means that cross-continent immigration is a sensitive topic….so be cautious if you bring it up to anyone during your trip.

As if Ceuta isn’t unique enough on its own, there’s one more city in this exact same geopolitical situation — the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Melilla, like Ceuta, is also located on Morocco’s Mediterranean Coast. It’s about a 4-5 hour ferry from Málaga.

Naturally, Ceuta and Melilla have a pretty interesting background. They’ve been under Spanish control for more than 400 years (there were under Portugal’s before that), were once used as ports to fight piracy, and are where Spanish dictator Francisco Franco launched his civil war campaign in the 1930s.

Because of all this history, when Morocco became independent from France in 1956, Spain wouldn’t give the cities up.

Obviously, there’s debate from both sides. In an overly simplified way, Spain’s argument is that the city has been Spanish since before Morocco was officially a country. And Morocco also makes territorial claims stating that Ceuta and Melilla are still colonies and thus should be returned.

Either way, it’s a unique, slightly messy situation.

  1. When to visit Ceuta

Ceuta has pretty nice weather all year round, but it can get pretty hot in the summer. We went in December and, though it got a little cold at night, it was a major upgrade from our Swedish winter.

  1. How long to stay in Ceuta

We personally felt we were able to do most of what we wanted to do in Ceuta with just one day. But if you wanted to spend some more time hiking the nearby mountains, taking a day trip to Morocco, or spending time at the beach or pools (if you’re there in the summer), you could easily extend your stay another day or two.

  1. How to get to Ceuta

There are 3 ways you can get to Ceuta:

#1) Take the ferry from Algeciras, Spain to Ceuta

It costs about roughly 30 euros one way (or about 60 euros round trip) and takes 1 hour-90 min depending on which ferry you choose. Get your tickets from Baleária here.

Or here for their front page: www.balearia.com/

(PS: Keep an eye on your blog because soon we will post an article about a great Ceuta, Gibraltar, and Málaga itinerary you can use to plan your trip)

View of Gibraltar from the Algeciras-Ceuta ferry

#2) Take a HELICOPTER from Algeciras to Ceuta (yes, really!)

For just over the cost of taking the ferry (35 euros one way), you can take a helicopter from Algeciras, Spain to Ceuta.  

Here’s the schedule for the 35 euro price (it’s 50+ euros all the other days):

From Algeciras to Ceuta — FRIDAY — 14:30-14:40 or 15:35-15:45

From Ceuta to Algeciras — SUNDAY — 19:30 – 19:40

Unfortunately, we found out about this option only after we’d already arrived. Otherwise, we definitely would have taken the helicopter one way and the ferry the other!

You can book the helicopter here: www.helity.es (click the upper right button to change the website’s language to English)

#3) Cross overland through Morocco

We don’t have any personal experience with this, unfortunately, but we know it can be done.  

  1. How to get around Ceuta

The city is pretty compact so you can get to many places on foot. Within the center, there are also plentiful buses. For places outside the city center (like the San Isabel II overlook), you’ll probably need to take a taxi.

We’ll specify how to get to individual places in our itinerary below.

  1. Where to stay the night in Ceuta

There isn’t a ton of accommodation options listed online for Ceuta.

But since we knew we were going to be arriving late, we wanted to stay somewhere close to the ferry terminal (even if it was a bit far from the city center).

So, we stayed at Pension La Puntilla (which also ended up being the cheapest accommodation we could find) and paid about $40/night for a private double with a shared bathroom.

It was a pleasant enough place and likely your best option if you are on a budget. Plus, the owner was really nice and helpful!

If you want to stay somewhere a little bit nicer and closer to the center, Hostal Plaza Ruiz also looks to be a good choice.

Click either of the images above to get more info about the places or to book your room.

  1. What to do in Ceuta (Ceuta 1 day itinerary)

Here’s a peek at the map with our recommended 1 day itinerary with 7 stops in Ceuta (you’ll need to click to zoom in and out on the map to see all the stops more closely):

(Click the image above or here to see a live version of the map)

Stop #1: Visit Ceuta’s tourist office

Your first stop of the day will likely be a tourist office so you can pick up a map and ask any questions you might have. There’s one tourist office near Plaza de Africa and another near the port (you’ll see signs for both of them, or you can check the map above).

Stop #2: Walk the Royal Walls

A short walk from either of the tourist offices is Ceuta’s most famous landmark — their old city walls! They are completely free to visit, so explore as much as you like.

There’s also a museum which you can visit for a small fee, and there are signs along the walls where you can read more as you go.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Like all big airports in Sweden (Stockholm, Malmö, etc…), Gothenburg’s airport (Landvetter) is also served by flygbussarna airport coach.

And truthfully, flygbussarna is s a very practical way to get to and from the Gothenburg’s airport with their very comfortable buses (bathroom, internet, etc…) and lots of trips throughout the day.

But it’s a bit expensive. Just one way costs 95 sek, or around 11.35 USD.

So, if you want to save money, your best option is FlixBus! With them, you can go from Gothenburg’s city center to the airport for 29 sek each way, or about 3.46 dollars. It’s just 1/3 of Flygbussarna’s price!

If you’ve read our article about The Cheapest Way to Travel and Get Around Europe, you’ve already heard of FlixBus.

www.flixbus.com

FlixBus is the biggest bus transportation company in Europe and has the largest interurban bus network on the continent. Altogether, they have more than 1,200 destinations in 22 countries.

Beyond city-to-city connections, sometimes FlixBus also has connections from cities to their nearest airport. They do that because they know some travelers are going from the airport to further away destinations served by FlixBus.

And because of this deal, you can travel from the center of Gothenburg to its closest airport (and vice versa), Landvetter.

I would say the only downfall of FlixBus is that they only have 3 trips in each direction per day. So, you’ll have to see if your flight’s departure or arrival time works with FlixBus’s schedule.

 

Bus schedule from the center of Gothenburg to Gothenburg’s Landvetter airport

1) Departure – 12:45 – Gothenburg City Center

Arrival – 13:15 – Gothenburg Landvetter Airport

2) Departure – 17:30 – Gothenburg City Center

Arrival – 18:00 – Gothenburg Landvetter Airport

3) Departure – 23:15 – Gothenburg City Center

Arrival – 23:45 – Gothenburg Landvetter Airport

 

Bus schedule from the Gothenburg’s Landvetter Airport to Gothenburg’s city center

1) Departure – 6:15 – Gothenburg Landvetter Airport

Arrival – 6:45 – Gothenburg City Center

2) Departure – 11:00 – Gothenburg Landvetter Airport

Arrival – 11:30 – Gothenburg City Center

3) Departure – 15:45 – Gothenburg Landvetter Airport

Arrival – 16:15 – Gothenburg City Center

The trip in either direction is about 30 minutes. The bus has bathrooms and free WiFi.

You can pay with credit card or Paypal (Paypal is a good option if you get charged international fees with your credit card).

 

Where to get the Gothenburg Airport bus in the city center

The airport bus arrives and leaves right from the heart of the center, just next to the main train station.

Here is the exact address where the bus arrives and departs:

Nils Ericsonsplatsen – 411 03 – Gothenburg – Sweden

I am putting a map below.

And of course, it arrives and leaves right from the airport entrance, which is the same for arrivals and departures.

I’ve used FlixBus in a few places around Europe (Gothenburg included) and I’d definitely recommend it as one of the cheapest transportation options.

So, even if you are traveling outside of Sweden, it’s worth taking a look. Here are some of the direct bus destinations in Europe that you can go using FlixBus.

Hostel / Hotel Tip in Gothenburg!

If you’re going to Gothenburg and want to save money, I’d recommend staying at the Backpackers Göteborg. I stayed there for a while and enjoyed it very much. It has a great location with shared and private rooms for one of the best prices in town. In addition, almost every day it has some type of activity scheduled (tours, bars, movie, etc …). Very cool.

That’s it. If you have any questions, just use the comments area below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Happy travels!

If you want to hear about new articles, check out our latest pictures, and read our newest updates, be sure to follow us here….

        

…..and subscribe to our newsletter below!

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It’s one of the most heavily fortified and militarized borders in the world. It has more than 1 million mines spread throughout. It separates one of the world’s most isolated countries with one of the world’s most modern.  

And if you read our article with 13 Places to Visit in South Korea Outside Seoul, you’ll know that it’s one place we recommend visiting.

Today, we’re talking about the DMZ (the demilitarized zone) – the “border” between North Korea and South Korea.

To be honest, in my opinion, a visit to the DMZ is MUST if you’re visiting South Korea. Besides being easy to visit – you just take a bus from Seoul, pass the day there, then return – it’s essential to understand the mindset of a country that’s been divided in two since the 1950s.

But before I tell you how to visit the DMZ…

What is the DMZ?

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the strip of land between North and South Korea. It’s 250 kilometers (155 miles) long and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) wide. Now, it’s become the border between the two countries and divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half.

It was established by the provisions of the Korean Armistice Agreement to serve as a “buffer zone” between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK/South Korea).

The agreement was signed by North Korea, China, and the United Nations in 1953.

Within the DMZ, there is a meeting point for the two countries in the small JSA (Joint Security Area). It’s located in the west part of the DMZ.

What is the JSA (Joint Security Area/Panmunjom)?

Panmunjom is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the north of Seoul. It’s where the Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27th, 1953.

Even today, Panmunjom is where dialogues between North Korean and South Korean representatives happen.

Currently, Panmunjom is also called the JSA (Joint Security Area). It’s a rectangular 400m x 800m area on the Military Demarcation Line inside the UNCMAC (United Nations Command, Military Armistice Commission).

As I said above, it’s used for conversations between the United Nations Command (UNC) and its communist counterparts (North Korea and China).

Over the years, there have been incidents along the DMZ with military and civilian victims on both sides.

Although the zone is demilitarized, the area just outside the DMZ is one of the most militarized border in the world.

Off the coast, there’s the Northern Limit Line (NLL) – the disputed maritime demarcation line between North Korea and South Korea in the Yellow Sea. It’s still disputed because it wasn’t officially established in the 1953 armistice.

The coastline and the islands on both sides of the NLL are also heavily militarized.

There is an interesting Korean movie called “Northern Limit Line.” It’s based on the true events of an armed naval incident between the two Koreas. It took place during the 2002 Football World Cup in Japan and Korea.

Here’s the trailer:

Northern Limit Line Official US Release Trailer 1 (2015) - Lee Hyun-woo Movie HD - YouTube

But going back to the DMZ, the reason this article is here is because you can visit it! I’ll explain how to visit the DMZ and with whom down below.

How a DMZ tour works

There are 3 types of tours to the DMZ:

  1. Morning only
  2. Afternoon only
  3. The entire day – includes: DMZ, JSA and the 3rd infiltration tunnel

In this article, we’ll focus just on the full day DMZ excursions leaving from Seoul. This is because we believe that this is the most complete tour and will give you the best idea of what the DMZ is without missing any of the highlights.

What is the cheapest tour company in Seoul to visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) with?

We went with Koridoor and it’s definitely the cheapest and most complete option.

Here’s some more info:

 

Koridoor

www.koridoor.co.kr 

Price for a full day DMZ tour: 96,000 Korean Won (about $92.00 USD)

This is the price for the full day tour that’ll take you to the DMZ, JSA, and the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel. I’ve listed the itineraries and schedules down below.

Just for comparison, the prices for the same DMZ/JSA & 3rd Tunnel tour with other companies are:

DMZ Tours: 135,000 KRW (about $120 USD)

13 Places to Visit in South Korea Outside Seoul

Seoul City Tour Bookings: 125,000 KRW (about $110 USD)

13 Places to Visit in South Korea Outside Seoul

CosmoJin Tour: 137,000 KRW (about $121 USD)

13 Places to Visit in South Korea Outside Seoul

Truthfully, there’s only one situation when it makes sense to do one of the more expensive tours above: when the Koridoor tours are all full!

This happens often during the summer or high season.

In this case, I’d check the other options. Even if they are more expensive, that’s the only way….

In other words, book your tour to the DMZ/JSA as soon as possible because they fill up fast!!

What does a full day DMZ/JSA/3rd Tunnel itinerary look like?

There are 7 possible full day itineraries to the DMZ. They are all the same – just in a different order. Some begin in Camp Bonifas to see the JSA – which to be honest is the highlight of the tour – and then go to other parts of the DMZ and the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel.

Others are the exact opposite….3rd tunnel, other parts of the DMZ, and then the JSA.

I put all 7 itineraries here (in order by start time, from earliest to latest) and you choose which you think is best ?

Attention! No company offers DMZ tours on Sundays and Mondays. This is because the JSA is closed for administrative reasons on those days.

Itinerary #1:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=654

0730: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

0900: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1120: DMZ theater, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

1300: Lunch at Korean restaurant

1340: Dora Observatory and Dorasan Train Station – free entrance (optional: admission

            to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD)

1400: Depart for Camp Kim

1530: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

Itinerary #2:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=658

0800: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

0945: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1200: DMZ theater, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

1330: Lunch at Korean restaurant

1410: Dora Observatory and Dorasan Train Station – free entrance

(optional: admission to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD)

1500: Depart for Camp Kim

1630: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

Itinerary #3:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=655

0900: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

1000: Arrive at and visit 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

Dora Observatory and Dorasan Train Station – free entrance

(optional: admission to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD)

1300: Lunch at Korean restaurant

1345: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1600: Depart from Camp Bonifas

1730: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

Itinerary #4:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=659

0930: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

1030: Arrive at and visit 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

Dora Observatory and Dorasan Train Station – free entrance

(optional: admission to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD)

1210: Lunch at Korean restaurant

1345: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1610: Depart from Camp Bonifas

1730: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

Itinerary #5:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=660

1030: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

1135: DMZ theater, the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

1250: Dora observatory

1320: Lunch at Korean restaurant

1425: Dorasan Train Station – free entrance

(optional: admission to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD)

1500: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1720: Depart from Camp Bonifas

1830: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

Itinerary #6:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=656

1130: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

1240: Dorasan Train Station – free entrance

(optional: admission to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD)

1310: Dora Observatory

1350: Lunch at Korean restaurant

1440: DMZ theater, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

1600: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1750: Depart from Camp Bonifas

1900: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

Itinerary #7:

http://www.koridoor.co.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=travelInfo&wr_id=657

1230: Depart from Camp Kim (Seoul)

1340: Dorasan Train Station – free entrance

(optional: admission to the train platform – 1,000 KRW or about $1.00 USD), DMZ theater, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, Dora observatory

1600: Arrive at Camp BONIFAS

          20 minute briefing from American soldiers at the JSA visitor center

Visit JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room, Bridge of No Return, point of ax murder)

1740: Dinner at Korean restaurant

1840: Depart from Camp Bonifas

1940: Arrive at Camp Kim (Seoul)

*Check on Koridoor’s website to see the most updated itinerary info

**A meal isn’t included. The group will visit a Korean restaurant during the DMZ tour. You need to bring 10,000 KRW to eat in the restaurant or you can bring your own lunch.

Lunch is often included with the other tour companies mentioned above. It’s up to you to find which option is best.

How to book a DMZ tour

Just go to the Koridoor website (or the website of any other company) and you should be able to reserve your spot online.

 

Is visiting the DMZ safe?

Absolutely. As you can see by all the tour company options above, the DMZ has literally been turned into a tourist attraction. Part of the tours are even organized and guided by American soldiers!

If there is any sort of threat, they shut down the DMZ to tourists. Or they may take items off the itinerary (for example, we weren’t able to visit the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel). But otherwise, visiting is perfectly safe.

 

Things to know before your DMZ tour:

You will be briefed on all these things before your tour, but make sure you still know about them beforehand:

  • Bring your passport (a normal ID isn’t enough!).
  • You must reserve your tour and send your passport number at..
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Out of Your Comfort Zone by Rodrigo @ Outofyourcomfortzone - 5M ago

(This article is part of a double feature along with an article titled: 11 Reasons Why You Should Travel)

Travel is awesome! If you read the article I posted just above with the benefits travel brings to human beings, you’ll know that I really believe this.

As I said in the other article, travel makes you a better person than you were before. The problem is when people who travel begin to see themselves as better than others simply because they’ve had experiences that the majority of the world population doesn’t have access to.

Even worse is when they think they are so superior to others that they begin to act super arrogant. This makes every interaction with them a nightmare, whether you are a stranger, friend, or even other travelers.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not perfect and I can honestly say that maybe I’ve acted in this same presumptuous way or said things that came off as arrogant. And if I’ve ever conveyed an image of superiority whether in this blog or in real life, I’m sorry…that hasn’t been my intention.

Sometimes, the thrill of wanting to tell stories about our life around the world make us seem like attention-hogs that come off as a bit egocentric. But at least in my case, I just want to share my happiness and achievements even if you don’t actually give a damn (*or a shit*) about them… : – )

Anyway, I decided to write up some of the examples of uncool traveler habits that I’ve personally seen from THOSE travelers:

  • Believing that they travel to better places than everyone else

 

We often say that Europe is somewhat of a “test drive” for many new travelers.
It’s fairly safe and very easy to travel in thanks to its excellent public transportation system and a wide range of accommodation. So, Europe is often one of the beginning destinations for first-time travelers.

Which means that someone who has already traveled a lot has probably been to Europe – and probably Southeast Asia – and is probably in search of destinations that seem more “exotic” like Central Asia or West Africa.

And of course, this isn’t a bad thing! You should travel to wherever interests you. But it becomes a problem when people act like traveling to these “exotic” destinations makes them smarter/more interesting/more unique travelers.

Here’s how it goes down.

Let’s say you are in a bar in Berlin and you meet someone who tells you they’ve just arrived after an incredible trip in France…and is super excited about it.

But then comes that a$*hole with the famous been there, done that attitude: “eh, France. I’ve already been there. It’s kinda cool but nothing special. I just finished a trip to Kazakhstan. Now that’s exotic.”

Cool, congrats on visiting a place that not many other people have. But France is still an awesome place to visit (which is why so many people visit every year!) and talking this way just ruins everyone else’s day.

Of course, person #2 is welcome to tell you about his trip to Kazakhstan – and I’d be the first to ask because I’m super curious. But it’d be great if he was a bit more modest and respectful without that tone of superiority.

No one likes people like that!

  • “Showing off” because they’ve been to more countries or had more experiences than other travelers

I meet people like this all the time.

You’re in a hostel and you meet a backpacker who’s super pumped to be on their first trip. They tell you about bunch of cool things that’s already happened on the trip alongside the challenges and mess ups (like when they got scammed by that taxi driver). You listen because it’s great to meet someone who’s been bitten by “the travel bug”…and the more people like this, the better the world!

But then comes that punk that’s already been halfway around the world and makes fun of our friend: “and you’re just starting! One day you’ll learn! If I were you, I would just travel around Europe because if you go to Southeast Asia you’ll never survive….”

And I’m writing this exact point because I’ve watched these situations unfold more than once!

Why bother being so superior?!?! Instead of being a jerk, the TRAVEL “specialist” should be a bit more helpful: “don’t worry, this happens to all travelers. If you want, I can give you some tips to avoid those types of situations….”

See? A much more pleasant and positive attitude.

Oh, and another characteristic of these types of travelers? People who casually throw out the number of countries they’ve been to whenever they can…or bring up stories like “when I was in Mongolia/Eritrea/etc….” even when the story is lame – just so they can make sure you know they’ve been there!

  • Competing to see who did the coolest things, had the most adventures, or spent “enough time” in a certain destination

You’re talking with someone and you tell them about your trip to Beijing, China. Of course, you’ll probably be asked “did you visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, etc…?”

And there I was thinking I had a great trip, but I didn’t have time on my trip to Beijing to visit the Temple of Heaven. And the other guy says: “oh no, you missed out!!! It’s the most amazing place in Beijing. Visiting China and not visiting the Temple of the Heaven is the same as not visiting at all!”

And to put the cherry on top, he demands: “how long did you spend there? Only 4 days!?!?! Whoa, very little. To actually get to know Beijing you need at least a week!!”

I see this same mindset all the time in guide books that recommend you stay an absurd amount of time in each city to really “get to know” it.

Look, I’m lucky that my type of work gives me a lot of opportunities to travel and I’m grateful for that every day.

And I definitely believe that spending a long period of time in a country is very different than visiting as a tourist, which is why I’ve spent time “living” in a bunch of different countries.

But seriously, not that many people have the time to spend a full week in every place they visit. There are people that don’t even manage to get ONE week of vacation each year!

I’m aware of the reality of the majority of people when it comes to travel time. So, bragging about the travel opportunities I had in life will just make me an arrogant brat in the eyes of others.

  • Negatively comparing the place they are in now with other places they’ve visited

You’re visiting an awesome beach in Australia with a group of travelers when someone says “ehh, the beaches are better in Palau/the Caribbean/Thailand, etc.”

This is a jerk move and can even end up sounding very petty if there’s someone from a place like Armenia in your group who hasn’t had the opportunity to visit a beach before. ‘Superior airs’ just spoil everyone else’s experience.

This is true for basically any other attraction…. “yeah, this museum is super boring. I went to the Louvre in Paris and there’s no comparison!”

Good for you that you’ve visited the Louvre! But give a bit of value to what you’re visiting and learning about at that moment. Nobody wants to know how well-traveled you are…they just want to enjoy the moment themselves which could be very special if they haven’t traveled as much as you have.

I know that comparing different things in life is just a part of human nature, but in cases like this keep the comparisons in your head if it’s just going to rain on others’ parades!

  • Being convinced that backpackers/travelers are better than tourists

Look, this comparison is (almost) as old as humanity. This idea that tourists don’t have trips that are as “authentic” or integrated as ‘true’ travelers or backpackers.

This comparison generates a surprising amount of controversy. I myself have maybe been involved in this debate…and not in the nicest way.

I personally prefer independent budget travel over doing it in a group or a tour. But that’s not to say that someone who buys a tour or heads to London just to see the main attractions or shop is doing it wrong. Everyone should just travel the way that makes them happy!

Which is why I even wrote an article with the 5 Best Group Travel Companies on the Market. Inside, besides the top companies I also give all the reasons why being part of a tour group or buying a travel package is the best option for some types of trips.

And of course, when I’m lost in the middle of Seoul, South Korea with a map open, I couldn’t look more like a tourist myself! 

  • Complaining that a place was much better in the past because it wasn’t as developed or as full of tourists

 

This is classic. Some dude visited Cambodia 15 years ago when it was very underdeveloped.

After visiting again and seeing a bunch of paved roads, drinkable water, cars instead of animal-pulled carts, etc….and he has the BALLS to complain and say that the country has “changed” and “lost its charm!” That it was now much more developed and too full of tourists (like himself, by the way).

Thank God the place has developed! Wanting a place to stay poor with dirt roads without a sewage system just so it stays “traditional enough” for him is the peak of selfishness!

I’d love if one day all of the countries of the world could be as developed as Switzerland in terms of quality of life. The world would be a better place. Too bad for those who prefer “poverty porn” instead.

But in this aspect, I can be a bit guilty myself so I want to try to clear it up a bit….. In our article about How to Visit North Korea on a Budget, I do say that someone interested in visiting the country should do so as quickly as possible before the influence of capitalism (an influence that I think would be really good for the country, actually) comes.

This isn’t to say that I don’t want to North Korea to open and become a better place for its citizens (because of course I do), and I in no way, shape, or form want it to stay “traditional” just so travelers can get a kick from visiting.

But I say visit soon because are definitely some aspects of the country that are very unique, although very sad at the same time.

  • Traveling with a closed-mind and thinking that everything is better where they’re from

Let’s go back to the example of the beach in Australia.

I know that my home country, Brazil, has an awesome coast with plenty of parties and lively people. But for me to keep complaining about the destinations I’m visiting because they “aren’t as good as my own country” just doesn’t make sense!

If your country is so great, then stay there and don’t travel only to just to keep degrading other countries and people.

I saw this a lot when I was living in Australia (but you’ll find the same with travelers, as well). There was a Brazilian guy that only hung out with other Brazilians, only had parties and barbeques with other Brazilians, and did nothing but complain about Australians – that they were as sociable as Brazilians, that they didn’t know how to party, that their food sucked, etc…

Come on. If you’re crossing the world to only stick around with Brazilians and not try out the local culture and customs, you may as well not leave Brazil in the first place. (Oh, and your ‘English’ – the reason you came in the first place – probably won’t get better either.)

Yeah, Australians in general have a different lifestyle than Brazilians do, but this doesn’t mean it’s better or worse…just different. And since you’re there anyway, why not embrace the experience of living with them so you can certainly learn something new and grow as a person.

The more you travel with an open mind, the more you’ll be able to absorb and learn.

But if you’re going to travel with a closed mind that’ll keep you complaining the whole time, just stay at home in your comfort zone. It’s better for you, your travel companions, and the people of the country you’re visiting that don’t need to put up with your bad mood.

Obviously, that’s not to say that all countries are perfect. And when you travel, there are definitely going to be things that annoy you no matter where you are. I would humbly suggest you to remind yourself that you have the privilege to travel so you may as well try to stay positive as much as you can.  

  • Or the opposite: hating wherever they are from so much that they think everything overseas is better (or pretending they do to try to impress people)

I’ll never forget the one time my plane landed in my home city of São Paulo and a fellow Brazilian proclaimed: “welcome to the third world!”

And we hear this type of comments all the time: “because in New York, the metro system is much better, because Holland is much cleaner, because in Sweden the people are more educated, etc….”

But let’s be honest. I am fully aware of Brazil’s problems. Whether corruption (political, business, or personal), lack of government efficiency, sucky education, bad infrastructure, etc…but we can all agree that Brazil also has a lot of things that make it great. And if anything, traveling to other places that don’t have those same things should make you appreciate them back home even more.

Plus, there are nearly 240 countries and territories around the world and there are MUCH worse places to live than Brazil. There’s some people I’ve met traveling that would give an arm and a leg to live in my country.
So, if you want to compare your destination with your country of origin, why not make it constructive. Something like this: “São Paulo’s metro is really good and modern, but it’s a shame that it’s not as extensive as New York’s. Hopefully, it’ll grow that way over time.”

Instead of with that attitude that nobody likes…because at the end of the day, everyone knows you’re only saying that to show well-traveled you are.

Final Thoughts…

As I said at the start, I’m sure at one time or another I’ve been exactly one of THOSE travelers brought up in the article. And for this, I’d like to apologize.

I’m always trying make myself a better person. So, I’m always trying to make sure that I don’t fall into one of the above and come off as arrogant when I’m talking with friends, family, or strangers about my trips and experiences.

But I think this is the biggest takeaway: if you sense that the narration of your stories around the world comes off as negative to others, just adjust your tone.

Then your conversation about traveling (something that I love) will be pleasant for all those involved… and not just for you.

Now, it’s your turn! Have you ever encountered someone like this? Have you ever met a pain-in-the-ass traveler (besides me ? ) that wouldn’t stop bragging about their trips without realizing that you really don’t want to listen?

Leave your comments below and we always respond!

And finally….don’t be that traveler!

Planning your next trip?

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Out of Your Comfort Zone by Rodrigo @ Outofyourcomfortzone - 5M ago

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain – American author

(This article is double feature with another article called: Don’t be THAT traveler!…make sure you check it out!)

First things first, I just want to make it clear that I very aware that traveling is a huge privilege!! Unfortunately, for a lot of different reasons – money being one of the main ones – 90% of the world population will never have the chance to travel the world (especially as willing tourists).

But if you’re one of the 10% that has the resources to travel (don’t beat up over the exact numbers) – this is my suggestion: travel!!

I have the strong belief that travel makes you a better human. Not better than other humans, but better than you were yesterday.

But the last thing I want to do here is seem arrogant. As if I was better than others because I travel and maybe they don’t. What I really want to get across with this article is why I travel and why I believe traveling has made (and will continue to make) me a better person than I was before.

It’s just that there’s a fine line between saying that travel is good and seeming stuck-up. So, at the same time I’m launching this article, I’m also launching another article: Don’t be THAT traveler!

On that note, I recommend you read the two articles and put them together to try to understand the message I’m trying to pass along.

But back to topic of this article, why does travel make you a better person?

Well, here’s what I think…

  1. Travel educates.

Travel educates you in a way that staying home in front of a computer theorizing about the world can’t.
This is because all of the information that you receive from the media – whether TV, internet, magazines, newspapers, or even school or college – are filtered through an intermediary which can easily give you an incorrect idea about a certain place or group of people.

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to break down these preconceptions and stereotypes is to travel, and from there you’ll see first-hand how and why generalizing an entire region or millions of people is complete bullsh*t.

 

  1. Travel challenges you.

Maybe your final destination is Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. But often what counts is the trip there and all that you will have to accomplish to reach that goal.

And this will include plenty of challenges.
Travel challenges you to find different ways of learning, understanding, interacting, communicating, socializing, negotiating, persuading, organizing, living, handling money, managing time, thinking, and doing.

As they say: “it’s all about the journey (the challenge and lessons learned), not just the destination (the Eiffel Tower).”

  1. Travel gives you a broader perspective of your place in the world.

If you spend your entire life in the same city, with the same types of friends, hearing the same info again and again, you could end up thinking that everything there, those people, that place, are the most important things in the world (and that nothing else matters much).

By traveling, you’ll put all this into perspective. The fact that your football team lost wasn’t actually that important. The fact that that famous celebrity couple broke up is totally irrelevant for the majority of the world. That no one in China has ever heard of your favorite band, and that that tomato sauce that you like so much ran out in the grocery store isn’t the end of the world.

You get a reminder that the world is a big, big place that stretches far beyond your hometown or the place where you live.

Back home, the stereotypical belief that you need to work 50 hours a week to buy a house, a fancy car, get married, and have children might seem like the only possible life path for you. But when you travel and learn about other societies with different values, you’ll see that there is an infinite number of ways to live your life.           

All of this leaves you more aware and conscious of your place in the world.

  1. Travel opens your mind.

Spending your entire life in the same place can make you feel that your way of life and your values are the most correct in the world. That you and all your friends from that one town are the only ones who really know how life should be lived. That all who live lives different than your own are wrong… (remember what I said above about there being lots of ways to live your life?)

The problem is when this feeling grows into a nationalistic furor that makes people think that their country is better than all the rest (and that they, personally, are the best types of people just because they were born there or live there). And if we look to the past, we already know that stories of extreme nationalism never end well…

(Just keep in mind that the nationalism I’m talking about is very different from patriotism – there’s nothing wrong with having some country pride!)

And sorry my American friends, but there’s no better example than some of your own. My jaw has dropped when I meet Americans that have never traveled abroad (or done so very little) yet still think the United States is the only “free” or “developed” country in the world.
All it would take is a quick step onto European soil or a little trip through Australia or New Zealand to see that there’s lots of places out there who have their sh*t together….it’s a shame some prefer to “understand” other countries through the TV and internet instead of in-person.    

As a personal example, we constantly hear about the dangers of the North Korean regime (which are indeed a threat).

However, we forget that there are REAL people like you and me who live in North Korea. And what struck me the most during my visit to North Korea was the reminder that country’s citizens were people like us who loved, played, drank, had kids, laughed, and made jokes.

Very different from the TV images we always see of the “communist” soldiers marching that always seem ready to cut our throats.
The same goes for any other country and its inhabitants…any person what constantly makes generalizations about other people has probably never traveled much.

My two "evil" North Korean guides and I inside the Pyongyang subway - YouTube

  1. Travel makes you more tolerant.

By helping you to open your mind, travel also makes you more tolerant.

Once you see that you’re not the center of the world or the sole voice of reason, you get out of your bubble and understand that there are billions of people in the world that live lives differently than you do. This isn’t to say that they are wrong, but just simply that they have different experiences in life than you do.

Besides this, having contact with other people who you’ve only heard about on TV humanizes them and helps you accept their way of life and who they are as people.

  1. Travel helps the world get closer.

Travel isn’t just good for those who travel, but also for those who receive the travelers (or tourists, whatever you want to call them).

As I said above, the great majority of the world population won’t have the opportunity to travel, especially if they are from developing countries. But this doesn’t stop them from have contact with people from other countries right from where they live.

I believe that tourists going to certain cities and countries is in general beneficial to local populations.

This is because it gives the local population more access to the outside world….and maybe even creates lasting friendships or romantic relationships! I saw this many times in Southeast Asia and Latin America when foreigners and locals met, mingled, partied and took trips together – bringing together different groups of people who were once distant.

The second reason is obviously financial. Tourists bring money which grows the local economy and creates jobs. Plus, the taxes collected through tourist activities can be invested into improving the community as a whole.

  1. Travel helps you learn a foreign language.

Well, this should be an obvious one! When you travel the world, eventually you’ll have to communicate with other people who don’t speak your language to execute basic activities like buying train tickets, buying food, or checking into your hostel or hotel.

You can communicate to a basic extent with hand signals (like we often did in China) or using Google translator. But this won’t always work, so if you want to explore the world, you’ll need that second or even third language.
And once you HAVE to use the language to communicate, you’ll no longer be shy with speaking. And with time and practice you’ll gain more confidence in the foreign language.

This is exactly what happened with me during my first solo backpacking trip in the United States…and I’m sure it will happen with you!

 

  1. Travel also helps you learn world history!

I have to confess something here. Although I was an alright student, I had a lot of trouble paying attention in my classes…especially history.
So, I made it through fine but this was mostly because of studying and memorization, NOT because I actually understood the history, its connections, or its consequences.

But after visiting Roman ruins in Europe, Machu Picchu in Peru, WWII relics in the islands of Palau, I began to learn, relate to, and understand our past as a civilization.

What has actually helped me A LOT with learning about local history is by by ALWAYS participating in “Free Walking Tours” wherever I go. I really can’t recommend “Free Walking Tours” enough for anyone who travels. They’re great! You can learn all about them in option #3 of this article here.

And obviously, there’s the many history museums you’ll have access to around the world. All the info they give you will stick much better in your head when you read about a king and his castle one day….and then literally walk through the ruins of the same castle the next day.

  1. Travel takes you out of your comfort zone and exposes you to new experiences.

Hahaha, I don’t even need to tell you why this is the name of the website! A routine in the same place will leave you “comfortable” in life, but you’ll basically already know what your days today, tomorrow, next week, and in the future will look like.

While I definitely appreciate the moments in life I have fully in my comfort zone, it’s been the moments outside of it that have really helped me learn, grow, and develop as a person.

When traveling, each new day is a new surprise full of unusual situations I’m not used to. Dealing with these not only brings me far out of my comfort zone, but has taught me how to adapt and adjust to situations outside of the norm. This process has taught me plenty of lessons that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.

  1. Travel molds your personality and helps you develop as a human being.

It’s these “life lessons” mentioned above – that come from living out new experiences during your travels – that’ll mold your personality. Exposing yourself to different situations will show how you react to each of them – sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly.

But it’s this exposure to the world – and your reaction and attitude through the highs and lows – that will mold your personality and turn you into a more developed person with more “life experience.”

And as I said in the beginning, I don’t mean to say that traveling makes you better than other people, but that it makes YOU better than you were before.

If there’s one thing I want to reach for until I die is self-development. To be a better person than I was yesterday, and better still tomorrow.
But this only comes with much work, study, learning, and life experiences. And traveling adds a lot to this life experience.
In other words, by getting out of your comfort zone, you’ll have access to new experiences and, by dealing with them, you’ll discover who you really are and develop as a person throughout the whole process.

  11.  And altogether, travel helps you “find yourself” in life.

Let the first stone be thrown by the person who’s never stopped and thought: what am I doing here and what do I want in life?

Not that it’s impossible, but it’s difficult for you to have an answer to these questions if nothing new ever really happens in your daily routine.

But traveling and being exposed to an infinite amount of new information and life experiences, one day you might have that “click” or epiphany and finally discover what it is you want from life – instead of just doing what society told you to do.

It happened with me and it’s possible for you as well!

I decided to leave my last horrible job in Brazil because of what I saw during my travels. I decided to live abroad for the same reason. I decided to work as a ski and snowboard instructor (and

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Of all the continents, Europe has got to be one of the best connected. It has some of the best public transportation systems in the world!

Plus, there’s usually a bunch of transportation options between any two cities on the continent: car, train, bus, plane, or even boat.

All of this makes Europe one of the easiest places to travel in the world because the traveler – whether a luxury tourist or a backpacker – won’t have much difficulty getting around….there’s (almost) always a way to get to your destination.

This is very different from places like the United States where the car is king (and your only option in many areas), or Brazil and South America in general where there are almost no trains.

But all these different types of transportation in Europe make one small problem for travelers: what’s the best option?

And that’s why this article is here! To help you choose the best form of transportation between two destinations in Europe.

But first….

How can I see and compare all of my transportation options in Europe at once?

If you check website by website for each mode of transportation, this will take a bunch of time and effort. But if your goal is to find the best mode of transportation in terms of cost and benefits, there’s a tool that can help with the process:

GoEuro – www.goeuro.com

With GoEuro, just put in your departure city and your final destination and the website will give you all the options between those points along with the price and duration of each trip.

This will make your life a LOT easier because you won’t have to stick it out comparing all the prices for trains, with those from the bus, with those from flights, etc….

But what if I just want to take the cheapest form of transportation and don’t care how long it takes?

Then check out FlixBus (especially for short distances).

FlixBus is one of the biggest bus companies in Europe and has the biggest interurban bus network on the continent with more than 1,200 destinations in 22 countries.

Just take a look at their route map!!

Plus, all FlixBus buses have free wifi, outlets, and bathrooms.

So if you are traveling in Europe and want to save on getting from place to place, I wouldn’t miss looking at their site to check prices. Sometimes, they even have deals as low as 1 Euro!!

FlixBuswww.flixbus.com

When the choice of transportation is about more than just money and time

Europe is a beautiful continent, covered in stunning mountains, lakes, and forests. So, often arriving at your destination isn’t the most important thing, but HOW you get there is.

And when it comes to Europe, there are 3 types of transportation that can’t be beat in terms of access to natural beauty and incredible scenery: train, car, and bicycle.

  • TRAIN

Being in Europe and not traveling by train at least once is almost unimaginable! You have to give yourself this “luxury.” And there are plenty of fantastic trains rides on the “old continent” that can be done if you have the chance.

You can see what European train trips not to miss in our article with The 10 Most Incredible Train Trips in the World.

When traveling by train in Europe, you can buy tickets individually or go with one of the famous European train passes. Read all about them on our article with The 5 Best European Train Pass Companies.

  • CAR (rented or your own)

Another type of transportation in Europe that isn’t always the most practical or cheap, yet still has its charm, is traveling by car on a road trip.

Besides having total flexibility in terms of time and the places you can visit, just as with train, there are some unbelievable European road trips by car!

Once again, our article with The 13 Most Incredible Road Trips in the World can give you some ideas. Though this article doesn’t talk about driving on the German Autobahn….something that’s still on my list of things to do in life… ?

Just remember that finding parking in big cities in Europe can be a nightmare…and expensive!

And if you’re interested in a European road trip, you’ll probably need to rent a car. So don’t forget to check our article with The 5 Best and Cheapest Sites to Compare and Buy Rental Cards Around the World.

  • BICYCLE

I love bikes and am still planning to do a big trip with one somewhere in the world (whether Europe or not). Plus, this is a transportation option where neither time nor money really influence your decision….if only this was always true! ?

BONUS!

  • Hitchhiking

 

This type of transportation is relatively common in Europe but not around the world. But it’s definitely a viable option for travelers who have a lot of time to spare and little money in their pockets.

If this is your thing, we talk about it a little more and give some tips in our looooooong article about saving on overland transportation during your trips.

What should I consider when choosing my transportation in Europe (or anywhere, really)?
  1. Price

Need I say more?

  1. Travel time

This is pretty straightforward. Think about if it’s worth take a bus from Amsterdam to Rome just to save a few euros if it means you’ll end up losing almost a whole day in travel. Sometimes, it’s better to just fly to make the most of your time.

Plus, when it comes to long distances, in general flying can be cheaper than bus, car, or train.

  1. Total travel time including getting to the station or airport (as well as leaving it to get to your destination)

If you want to fly, besides the time you spend on travel itself, you should also consider the amount of time it’ll take for you to get from where you are in the city to the airport. And upon arrival, how long it’ll take you to get from the airport to the center of the city (or the address of where you’re staying).

For example, if I’m going from Brussels, Belgium to Paris, France, the length of the flight is only 55 minutes. But you also have to add in all the time you need to get to the airport outside the city (at least 1 hour before your flight), getting through the check-in line, passing through security, etc…

Upon arrival, you then also have to include all the process of leaving your final destination’s airport to get yourself to the central areas of the city. And most airports around the world aren’t that close to city center. Both of Paris’s main airports are around 20 km from the city center.

But if you choose the train, you’ll leave directly from the center of Brussels and arrive in the center of Paris in about 1 hour and 22 minutes. In other words, your total travel time will definitely be much less if you take a train than if you take a plane.

  1. Baggage

This is another important issue, especially if you are taking a long trip in Europe with a big bag.

Today, most domestics flights (or those within Europe) in economy class don’t have a free checked baggage allowance. So, you’ll have to pay to check your bags and can only bring one small bag “for free” on the plane with you.

This isn’t only true with the low-cost carriers, but also with the big traditional airlines as well.

On the other hand, if you are traveling by train or bus, the free checked baggage allowance is much larger. With FlixBus, you can put two bags of up to 30 kg down below and can also bring a small one on the bus with you.

And with trains…wow!….I’ve brought basically my whole house with me on some of my train trips in Europe and never had a problem. So, no need to worry there!

In other words, you should definitely consider extra baggage costs when you choose your type of transportation in Europe.

NOTE! Don’t forget that there are also security restrictions with baggage. If you don’t check a bag on the plane and need to bring everything with you into the cabin, remember that you can’t bring sharp objects, certain liquids, and, maybe in the future, even computers!

And that’s it! It was a short and specific article, but hopefully you liked the tips for cheap tourism in Europe.

If you have any other suggestions or ideas about transportation and traveling cheaply in Europe, please leave a comment below!

Happy European travels!!

Planning your next trip?

Then don’t forget travel insurance! You don’t want to get stuck paying a ton of money and ruining your trip if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance. Our page with The 3 Best and Cheapest Travel Insurance on the Market can help you choose the right plan and will give you some discount coupons for the biggest insurance companies!

 Already reserved your hotel or hostel? If not, our article with The 6 Best and Cheapest Websites to Find & Reserve Accommodation can help you out. You’ll also find some promotions and discount codes.

 Still haven’t booked your plane ticket and want to save big? Take a look at our page with 16 Tips to Save on Flights where you’ll also find the 4 best websites to buy your plane tickets. 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

If you’ve already read our article with the 13 Most Incredible Road Trips in the World, you’ll know that a trip done by car can get you to some pretty awesome places that just aren’t accessible any other way – whether by bus, train, or plane.

And for many road trips, you’ll need to rent a vehicle to explore. No matter what model you choose (economical, van, 4×4, convertible), there are many options for car rental companies around the world. Such as Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Budget, Alamo, and Enterprise…

But if you don’t have the time to search on each of these individual company websites, here are the 5 best car rental websites to compare prices. These sites will definitely help you find some cheap car rentals.

Each website will give you results from all of the car rental companies on the market, making it easier for you to rent a veicule since car hire comparison takes time. But with these websites you can compare a bunch of car rental companies and prices at the same time.

And…what are the best websites to search for and compare car rental prices?

Here they are:

  1. Priceline – www.priceline.com

Payment: in US dollars or in the local currency if you pay when you arrive at the rental place

Cancellation policy: free most of the time up to several days before trip (though not for the “Name Your Own Price” tool)

Prices: usually the cheapest, but doesn’t have any sort of insurance

I like to use Priceline because they have great prices and it lets you compare several around the world at the same time.

Another cool feature is the “Name Your Own Price” tool. With the tool, you can say how much to want to pay to rent a car.

Here’s how the “Name Your Own Price” tool works:

You search for a normal car rental quote such as, for example, a pick-up from the Miami airport to use for 2 days.

Now, imagine that the lowest option given was 30 dollars per day. But nstead of paying those 30 dollars, you decide you want to pay just 25 dollars.

You type in your 25 dollars and the website will “test” your offer, seeing if it is either accepted or rejected. If your offer is too low and thus rejected, you’ll have to wait 24 hours before you can try again with a slightly higher price. If it’s accepted, then you have your car!

The only problem with being able to make an offer for the lowest price is that you can’t choose the company that you’ll rent from. You can just choose the type of vehicle (economy, sedan, medium, van, etc…)

Another important thing to know is that in order to give an offer, you’ll have to put in your credit card information.

If your offer is accepted, your card will be debited instantly. In other words, there won’t be a way to change or cancel or reservation without losing money. I still think it’s worth using, though, because you’ll definitely find the cheapest prices and best car rental deals!

I’ve used this method many times because, at least for me, the rental cars companies are all the same as long as they have the type of vehicle I chose. But rest assured, if you put in a “mid-size sedan,” you’ll get a “mid-size sedan,” you just won’t know the company or the specific model….but it does make car rental comparison much faster and cheaper. 

And then you’ll just pick the car up from the designated place as usual.

I’ve been able to rent cars for as low as 12 dollars per day in a place like Nashville! It will be difficult to find cheap car hire deals such as this one with regular companies. 

You can also go through the same “Name Your Own Price” process on Priceline with hotels and plane tickets. You can read more about this on our pages about finding the best accommodation for your trip and 16 tips to find cheap flights.

And don’t forget you can also use Priceline to rent cars normally, without using the “Name Your Own Price” tool.

  1. Rentalcars – www.rentalcars.com

Payment: sometimes prepaid, sometimes only pay at time of car pickup

Cancellation policy: free cancellations and changes

Prices: extremely competitive, one of the cheapest. But also without any insurance

Rentalcars is from the same group as Booking.com. In other words, one of the biggest travel reservations sites in the world.

Personally, I’ve found Rentalcars to be one of the cheapest car rental options. Ideal if you are looking for a budget car rental. Plus, they’re worldwide!

  1. Rentcars.com – www.rentcars.com

Payment: with a credit card online in your currency or at the rental place in the local currency

Cancellation policy: free if you haven’t prepaid by credit card. If you’d prepaid, a fee of 5% will be charged

Prices: in general, a little on the high side, but the prices already include all the extras

If you take a look at the search results for all the car hire, you’ll notice that the prices for Rentcars are higher. But this is because Rentcars already includes all the extra insurance coverage (CDW + THW + TPL) in the prices they show you. I’ll explain more about these insurance fees below.

And remember that these other websites won’t include these XXX in the final prices (but they can be added on).

  1. AutoEurope – www.autoeurope.com

Payment: prepay online in the local currency

Cancellation policy: free up to 48 hours before pick up. Same with changes to reseravation

Prices: the cheapest prices you’ll find for renting cars in Europe

Don’t let the word “Europe” in the name fool you. You can rent cars for almost any destination worldwide with AutoEurope.

But their specialty is definitely Europe since you can find at AutoEurope a lot of cheap rental cars for this region. Which means they have the cheapest prices I found for renting cars on the European continent!

But be careful! These super low prices don’t include any insurance coverage, such as CDW or TW (again, you can read more about these codes below). So this potential risk is up to you.

  1. Expedia – www.expedia.com

Payment: no advance payment. You make the reservation online and pay when you pick up the car at the rental place

Cancellation policy: free up to 72 hours before pickup

Prices: a little bit higher, but there are discounts so it’s worth searching

In case you don’t feel comfortable renting cars from companies that you don’t know, you can choose to search car for rent on Expedia. It’s one of the largest travel companies in the world and focuses on car rentals, hotels, plane tickets, cruises, and travel packages.

Bonus!

GoEuro – www.goeuro.com

If you’re traveling in Europe and you still don’t know what the best type of transportation is for you to use there, take a look at GoEuro.

GoEuro is an easy app that helps you compare the price for all types of transport (including budget rental cars options…plus bus, train, plane, boat, etc…) between almost any two cities in Europe.

So if Europe makes up part of your trip, GoEuro is a great tool to have in your pocket!
 

I would love to be able to rent this old soviet “jeep”!

Things to pay attention to when renting a car:
  • Type of vehicle: mini, economic, compact, medium, truck, premium, luxury, convertible, minivan, SUV, van, sports, electric, hybrid, etc…
  • Rental company: for me, they’re really all the same!
  • Mileage: unlimited or not.
  • Automatic or manual: in general, the car will be automatic in the United States and Canada and manual in Europe. But it’s always good to check.
  • Age: depending on the country and the rental company, you’ll pay extra if the driver is less than 25 years old or more than 70. Check this info in your search results.
  • Second driver: this also depends on the company, see if insurance covers if there’s more than one driver.
  • Driver’s license of driver: you can use the driver’s license from your home country in most countries around the world. But there are exceptions like Taiwan, South Korea, and a few other places that require an international driver’s license.
  • Cancellation policy: already mentioned above
  • Extras: young drivers, GPS, child seat, bike or ski/snowboard rack, etc…

Examples of extra options…

IMPORANT INFORMATION ABOUT RENTAL CAR INSURANCE IN CASE OF THEFT OR ACCIDENTS!!

Finally, one of the most important things you need to pay attention to when renting a car is the type of insurance it comes with.

Normally, there are 3 main types of coverage that most rental car places will try to push on you when you pick up your car. If you accept the insurance, this’ll increase your final rental price. (And they often aren’t necessary.)

Here’s a quick description of each of code for rental car insurance coverage:

CDW – Collision Damage Waiver

This covers the cost of vehicle damage in case of an accident. It protects you by transferring the responsibility of the damage cost from you to the rental company.

Most international credit cards give you this coverage for free if you pay for your entire rental car with it. So, this coverage is one that you can almost certainly decline if the rental company attendant tries to push it on you.

Just check if your credit card has this benefit...

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview