On first impressions, the Fillipino mega capital Manilla may seem like nothing more than an overwhelmingly crowded jam. However, bear with it and you will find that South East Asia’s mega-Metropolis is a hell of a lot of fun.
Yes, Manila – capital of the Philippines – is equal parts cool, crazy and captivating. When you are planning your next trip overseas, chances are that your agenda includes alluring places like Thailand, China, Japan, and Cambodia. It remains the case that for so many people, Philippines, and in particular Manila, remain a bit of a mystery.
There is an incredible cultural melting pot in Manila, including Malay, Spanish, American, Chinese, and Arabic influences. The resulting output is heavy, and at times overwhelming! The traffic here is startling, yes, and the poverty at times too much, but be sure to spend some time getting to know the incredible gift of Manila. Where some of the other capital cities in South East Asia reveal their treasures readily, Manila takes a little bit of time to get to know. Revealing this beautiful city piece-by-piece as you explore however, makes the reward much more worth while.
So, what are some of the top things to do in Manila?
This stone citadel was founded by the Spanish in 1571. The site itself has lived and stood through wars, natural disasters, and plenty of Colonial Invaders, and yet it still stands. This makes it a metaphor for Manila itself, a city that has undergone incredible change and much influence from the outside world. Be sure to visit here before 10 a.m. while the temperature outside is still manageable! After you have explored this 64-hectare stone citadel, check out the nearby breakfast places. The hot chocolate and savoury brioche are renowned in this area which is also the perfect backdrop for great pictures.
There is some incredible art that can be found in Manila, and none better than that on Chino Roces Avenue. The Manila Galleria is often home to world-class exhibitions from both the Philippines and further afield. You can explore superb photography, video and installation work at the gallery, and purchase gifts for the people at home from a nearby souvenir shop as well.
The Mind Museum
The Mind Museum is Manila’s premier science and discovery museum and is fun for all ages. It is well worth spending a half day here to explore the museum’s five futuristic zones: Atom, Life, Earth, Universe, and Technology!
In addition to this, visitors can experience science coming alive with more than 250 interactive exhibits as well as learn all about Music, Math, Living, and Water and play outdoors at Science in the Park.
Mind Museum Tickets can be bought on the day but to avoid disappointment, we recommend booking ahead online and buying an all day pass.
This stunning spot is as close to Filipino home cooking as you can get! Enjoy dishes like pork adobo, pasta with crab fat and deep fried whiting. The character-filled decor is a huge plus in my book and this makes a great spot to kick back and enjoy a day after a full day of sightseeing has you wanting to do nothing much at all. (Related: What to eat when traveling around the Philippines).
Manila is a predominantly Roman Catholic city. As such, you’re never going to be too far away from the Holy Spirit of some kind – even when you’re shopping! The spirit of the Roman Catholic church is very prominent in Greenbelt 3, a luxury shopping complex, and a spot where capitalism and Christianity make for intriguing bedfellows. Mass is heard here at least three times a day, so you can spend some time shopping up a storm, and then atone for the sins committed on your credit card in mass. After you’ve atoned, go out and sin some more why not, and then enjoy another mass. You’ve earned it, after all!
Yum. If there was one thing that I could take home from my trip to the Philippines it would be Halo-Halo. This is hugely confusing as a beverage, and yet entirely enticing as it stands. The name literally translates to mean ‘jumble-jumble’, and it is an incredible mixture of shaved ice and condensed milk, mixed up with any kind of combination of beans, fruit, coconut, dulce de leche, yams, and/or jelly. Don’t forget to top it all off with a scoop of ice cream, and stir it up for the ultimate sweet treat and ice cream headache in one!
Air taxi services were created to serve businessmen and senior executives who sought safety, privacy, flexibility and agility in their travels.
Today, aircraft do much more than that. According to the air taxi association and maintenance Workshops, taxis transport sick people and organs for transplants to hospitals, provide medical and social assistance in riverside and indigenous communities that are difficult to access, carry pouches from banks, post offices, garimpos and government agencies, conduct inspection flights in high-voltage networks, connect oil rigs with the mainland and even launch parachute launchers.
Understand a little more about this service and discover six things you should know before hiring an air taxi.
In Brazil, the service is regulated by the National Civil Aviation Agency, in the category TPX, referring to operations by demand. The site acts to prohibit the irregular practice of transportation by inspecting aircraft and pilots on airport yards. Another form of action of the agency is the investigation of complaints that reach the agency through its channels of care.
The consultants advises the user to only hire companies authorized to provide the specific air taxi service. The passenger can also observe if the aircraft is marked “Taxi” in a prominent place – if it does not have it, it is likely to be a clandestine aircraft, which renders the service irregularly. From https://www.taxi-airports-transfer.com/ you will have the best deal.
The authorized companies are obliged to contract insurance for possible damages to the passenger and / or the contractor.
An air taxi does not necessarily count on the presence of a co-pilot, it depends on the type of aircraft and the flight to be performed.
There is no established maximum flight path. The company must make a flight planning regarding the autonomy of the aircraft and check the conditions of the destination and alternative airport, if necessary. The crew must be trained and qualified by the regulatory agency.
Many lay people believe that smaller aircraft are less safe than large airplanes that operate on ordinary passenger transport, but this is not true. What is important is that the aircraft, the service and the crew are properly regulated and supervised.
What rights are needed to travel
Normal national rights are sufficient to travel around Montenegro and neighboring countries. Both plastic and paper laminated rights are recognized. International Driving Permit is not required.
According to Article 176 of the Law “On Road Safety”, which entered into force in January 2013, citizens of the governments of countries can drive a vehicle on the territory of USA with only a valid national driver’s license. Recognized rights of any type those are valid in the country that issued these rights.
While airports on the Eastern Seaboard like JFK and Newark are convenient for European trips, Pacific Northwest air hub Sea-Tac is equally well placed for Asian adventures.
One of which is a vibrant vacation to South Korea — just 11 hours away on the quickest non-stop flight, but an entirely different world where ancient traditions and cutting-edge culture sit side by side.
Making this dream destination your next vibrant vacay can be cheaper than you might think — here’s some advice on travelling from Seattle to Seoul on a shoestring.
You can fly non-stop from Seattle Tacoma International Airport to Seoul with carriers like Asiana Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air and flights typically take between 11 and 13 hours. Round-trip ticket prices vary depending on demand and desired travel dates, but they can be found for around $1000.
But if you don’t mind a layover, indirect flights from companies like Air Canada, United Airlines and Alaskan Airlines are sometimes slightly cheaper — subject to the variables mentioned, they come in around the $800 mark at the time of writing.
There’s lots to see in Seoul, from the iconic and inspirational Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces to the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art and the techno, house and K-Pop clubs of vibrant Gagnam-gu.
So you might want to find accommodation that’s close to the attractions you’ve earmarked — this is especially important if you’re only in town for a few days.
However, if you’re travelling further afield in South Korea to sites like the stunning Seongsan Sunrise Peak on Jeju Island or stunning Seoraksan national park, you’ll naturally need somewhere to stay nearby.
No matter how cool you’d look cruising the streets of Seoul in your Cadillac convertible, you probably don’t want to blow your Benjamins on the shipping costs associated with taking your vehicle on holiday.
But you might want to travel to Sea-Tac in your own ride to avoid feeling flustered and frustrated by possible public transport delays and cramped conditions.
And there are few things nicer after a long-haul flight home than jumping in your automobile and driving off to reunite with your nearest and dearest.
Anyone who’s looking to explore south east Asia would do well do add the Philippines to his list. The country offers a ton of stunning attractions, and is currently the go-to destination for backpackers. Now is the best time to go there, before prices soar as they did in Thailand as mainstream tourists flock in. The best place to go to is Palawan. Not only it has been named the best island in the tour for 3 years in a row, it’s also a perfect destination for budget travelers. El Nido is already the 2nd most popular tourist spot in the country so it’s getting expensive, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy everything it has offer and keep to a reasonable budget. So, no matter what you do, make sure Palawan is included in your plans. That said, most people also like to visit Boracay – which is by far the most popular island and will likely remind you of the famous islands in Thailand. Boracay’s increasing popularity and well-developed tourism industry makes it hard to keep a tight budget and also puts at the risk of falling to one of the countless tourist traps. Don’t worry, this guide will show you the best ways to save money while staying in Boracay.
Boracay overview and general facts
Boracay is a tiny island in the province of Aklan, which is located in the Visayas region of the Philippines. The island was first “discovered” by American soldiers in the 70s and has since become one of the most popular and well-known tourist spots in the country. The main reason Boracay became so popular is its stunning beach, known simply as White Beach. While other beaches on the island are quite beautiful as well, this 2.4km stretch of sand has gained recognition as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. As with most spectacular places, what started as a well-kept secret quickly became widespread knowledge and the island developed into a tourist magnet. Over the past couple of years things got so out of hand that recently the government had to completely block all visitors from entering the island for 6 months, while it underwent a massive rehabilitation project. Fortunately, this is due to end in October 2018 and rumors say the process was successful and Boracay is back to its old, stunning self.
Getting there cheaply – best flights to catch
If you don’t like flying, or are keen on saving every dollar possible, there is a ferry going from either Manila or Cebu. You’ll have to stop at Iloilo which is a major port city and take a bus to Caticlan from there. Once you reach Caticlan, it’s only a 15-20 minutes boat ride to Boracay. Alternatively, most locations offer direct flights to Caticlan itself. These include flights even from some other Asian countries such as Korea and Singapore. Assuming you’ll come from Manila or Cebu though, there are almost a dozen flights going there each day. Try and catch an early morning flight to save the most and also have a whole extra day to enjoy Boracay. What many people don’t know however, is that Boracay actually has another airport near it. This one is located in the town of Kalibo – only an hour and a half drive from Caticlan. Consider flying there instead and then taking the bus, since it can cost nearly half of what a direct flight would. The bus leaves from the airport once it gets full which normally happens right after a flight lands, and the drive is actually very pleasant.
Where to stay in Boracay island on a budget
There are more than 400 different hotels in Boracay, which can easily be overwhelming. Worse yet, many of these are tourist traps and you run the risk of ending up with a room that looks pretty much like a prison cell. Standards in the Philippines vary a lot, so if you don’t do your research well you could find yourself with a room that has no A/C or hot water for example. First thing to realize is that Boracay is inevitably more expensive than other islands. If you find an unbelievable deal, be wary and look carefully at guest reviews. One thing to especially take note of is whether the place has foreign or local guests. Filipinos are very price sensitive and their standards are significantly lower than those of westerners – so even if a hostel has ratings on booking sites, it might still not be the right choice for you. With that in mind, there are some safe options you should always consider first. Mad monkey is a hostel chain all throughout Asia, and they have a branch at Boracay as well. This is always a safe bet, and a great choice for young people who want to mingle and have fun. Couples who want a bit higher standard and more privacy can check out Club Ten Beach resort instead. This is a family-owned boutique resort and even though its just a walking distance from White Beach, its rates are very fair.
Best attractions and activities
Sadly, Boracay doesn’t really stand out in this department. The island resembles Thailand – the tours here are all very streamlined and designed to milk the most money out of tourists. The activities are all quite underwhelming compared to other locations, and since the island is very small many of these can easily be done yourself. That way you won’t have to pay for a guide, do things in your own pace and probably have much more fun anyway. If your main goal in visiting the Philippines is to be able to see and do as much as possible, then honestly maybe Boracay isn’t the best choice for you. This place is more about relaxing at the beautiful beach, and going out to party at night. Still, there are a couple of decent options for ways to spend the day while there, without spending too much money. The first and easiest option is just rent a bicycle and tour the island yourself. Most resorts provide these to guests, and you can also rent them on the main road for only a couple of dollars per day. The island is small so you’ll have enough time to see everything within a single day – there are a few more secluded beaches, as well as some mountain tops you can bike to and get a wonderful panoramic view of the whole area. Another cool option is to go kitesurfing at Bulabog beach. The beach is only 20 minutes’ drive away from White beach, and is renowned as one of the best kitesurfing spots in Asia. This is because winds there are strong all year round. You can book a visit there as part of an organized tour, but that’s probably just a waste of money. Just go there yourself, and you’ll have no problem renting the kite while you are at the beach.
Best places in Asia for beach-loving digital nomads
Asia is one of the most popular regions of the world for digital nomads. South Korea and Taiwan offer some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, but they both experience cold winters so may not appeal to those who are attracted to the prospect of working by a beach year-round.
Chiang Mai in Thailand, and Ubud and Canggu in Bali are hotspots for digital nomads because of their cheap accommodation options, access to value-for-money restaurants and coffee shops, and the fact that they are generally expat-friendly, but they are a long way from good beaches.
So where are the best locations in Asia for the beach-loving digital nomad to set up a base?
Thailand and the Philippines have dozens of beachfront locations that are suitable for working from all year round, but many worry about the security situation in those countries in terms of both terrorism and petty crime.
As far as petty crime is concerned, it’s no worse than most other developing countries. Take a security backpack to secure your laptop and other valuables, and simply exercise common sense when using your laptop in public areas. Check out this great blog post on choosing travel bags for a digital nomad.
Don’t leave your laptop unattended in a coffee shop whilst you use the restroom without making arrangements with someone you can trust to keep an eye on it for you, and don’t walk by the side of the road with your backpack slung over one shoulder. Bag snatchers on motorbikes don’t just target women with handbags.
Thailand or the Philippines?
So which country is best for the beach-loving digital nomad? Each has its pros and cons.
Probably the first consideration is internet access and speed. Here Thailand wins by a mile because the internet speed in many parts of the Philippines is as bad as it gets. But unless you are doing online work that involves a transfer of large files, it is still possible to find beach locations where the internet speed is reasonable.
Just don’t commit to staying too long in one place until you have had the opportunity to test the speed and the reliability of the local internet access. Pay attention to the data caps on data plans that you may purchase because these vary between operators in both countries.
Another consideration is the quality of infrastructure aside from internet access. Here we are talking about public transport, roads and traffic conditions, the reliability of power supplies, etc. Here again, Thailand wins hands down, although in more rural areas there may not be a lot of difference.
A further consideration is the cost and availability of food and beverages that are appealing to the expat palate. Another win for Thailand because Phillipino Food is generally high in fat and sugar content, whilst Thai dishes feature more fresh vegetables and fruits. Tasty vegetarian food is easy to find in Thailand, but not in the Philippines.
So given that Thailand is consistently winning on all these counts, doesn’t that make Thailand an obvious choice as the best destination for the digital nomad?
Not so fast! There are two other important factors that need to be taken into account.
The Filipino advantages
The first is language. Many more Filipinos speak English than Thais do. This is especially the case in provincial areas where some of the best beaches are located.
The average Filipino generally has a better grasp of the English language than even many more highly educated Thais. This not only makes interaction with locals on a day-to-day basis easier but provides a much bigger potential pool of support staff should you be doing work that needs local assistance.
The second is the attitude towards foreigners. Filipinos are generally far more gregarious and friendly towards expats. That’s not to say Thai are unfriendly, but they tend to be much more reserved and won’t engage in conversation with strangers as Filipinos are apt to do.
Another possible advantage for some might be the fact that the Philippines is the most Americanized country in Asia. Certainly, it is more western in its outlook than Thailand. Of course, some non-Americans may see that as a disadvantage, but it does mean there is less of a cultural adjustment to contend with in the Philippines compared to Thailand.
So does that mean those Filipino advantages offset the pros listed for Thailand? Not necessarily, but it does swing the needle back to near the center of the gauge.
Ultimately it will be some of these factors plus a multitude of other minor factors that will determine which country will be the better fit for any particular individual.
Probably the best way to decide whether to make Thailand or the Philippines your base, is to spend a few months in both, trying out at least two or three different locations, until you determine which country you feel most comfortable working out of.
If you can’t make up your mind, then split your time between the two. Eventually,y something will happen in either your work or personal life that will make the choice for you. Either way, you’ll have the experience of working out two of the countries with the best beaches in Asia.
There’s no debating that cycling is full of benefits. It keeps you fit, is great for the environment, saves you money on fuel or public transport and you can have fun doing it! Unfortunately, there are dangers involved with road cycling that can make heading out on two wheels seem like a very daunting prospect indeed.
It’sbusy urban areas that present the most significant risk to cyclists and are ultimately the biggest offender when it comes to the location of most accidents. Impatient drivers cutting through congested traffic and complex road layouts can make those on two wheels vulnerable. This is particularly true when cycling in unfamiliar countries and cities.
It’s understandable that many would-be cyclists worry about the possibility of getting into an accident as it’s always going to the cyclist who comes off worst. Injured cyclists can be left facing a long stretch off work and expensive medical bills piling up.
Fortunately, there is help available for the victims of accidents. Experienced specialist solicitors such as Your Legal Friend can help them claim compensation for their pain, suffering and financial losses.
However, just like driving, cycling can be perfectly safe if you follow the rules of the road and basic safety advice. These five top tips could give you the confidence to head out onto the open road safely:
Brakes at the ready
It’s not a good idea to delay braking at junctions and roundabouts. Cover your brakes with your hands on approach and start braking in plenty of time. You’ll also be ready if the need to make an emergency stop suddenly arises. This is also a good tip to put into practice if you’re ever unsure whether you have been spotted by another road user.
Treat junctions with caution
You should position your bicycle at least a couple of feet from the side of the road as you arrive at a junction. This will make you visible to drivers and other road users. It will also benefit you by allowing you to see further across the junction. Remember that most vehicles have blind spots, especially larger ones such as buses and lorries. Consider that you may have cropped up in a driver’s blind spot and try to make eye contact where possible. It’s also easier to misjudge the speed of moving vehicles than you may think. Don’t be over-confident when pulling out at junctions and stay patient.
Be wary of parked cars
Wherever possible, you should pass by parked vehicles with a least the width of a car door in between. This means you’ll clear any suddenly opening doors that could result in some unpleasant injuries for you. If it’s safe to do so, you should also cut your speed. This will give you a much better chance of breaking in time if you spot a door swinging open or a car preparing to pull out. Leaving a door’s width will also make you more visible in the wing mirrors of drivers who are about to move away.
The pavement is not the answer
Taking your bike onto pavements and pedestrian paths might be tempting if you’re still a little uneasy about the idea of road cycling. But don’t be fooled by the misconception that this will be safer. Cycling on the pavement is actually likely to throw up more hazards than the roads will. From cars reversing out of drives to playing children and unsecured grids to excitable dogs, there are many obstacles in your path.
Don’t rely on high vis
Although wearing bright clothing and fixing lights and reflectors to your bike is always helpful, some cyclists are guilty of putting too much trust in it. You shouldn’t be over-reliant on your high visibility equipment and should still follow your other safety rules and make sure you have been seen by other road users – especially when it comes to blind spots.
Camping is a great outdoor activity. Whether you are new to it, or have been camping for years, it can be enjoyable and a nice way to spend quality time outdoors. Of course, like any sport or outdoor activity, there are certain pieces of equipment or tools you should take along with you, to ensure an enjoyable adventure. Not only so you have the items you’ll need for survival but also for your safety and comfort when camping. Here is a list of some items you should make sure to pack for your next camping excursion, whether you are getting away for an overnight trip, or for several days to enjoy the great outdoors.
Some kind of navigational system should be brought along with you when going camping. Many devices are Wi-Fi compatible, they can access maps and local points of interest, and even if you don’t have internet access at your campsite, you can still access and track your routes.
In addition to knowing where you’re going during your hikes and outdoor trips, a navigational device can serve to help keep you safe as well. In the event you get lost, or are in a dangerous location during evening hours, you can signal for emergency help. Or, if you are injured or are in an area which might be a little too advanced for your hiking skill sets, you can signal for help when you have the latest gadgets with you during your hikes. You can also educate yourself about navigating in more traditional ways.
Sunglass and Sunscreen
This one’s pretty obvious, but not everyone thinks about the most important things. If you’ve ever forgotten something at home during a trip, you know it is a good idea to write a list of items you’re going to take on your trip, and these should be two of the most important. Sunglasses help shield the sun, help reduce clarity, and if the sunrays are extremely bright, will help protect your eyes from UV-damage. Additionally, they’ll make the day more enjoyable since you won’t have to squint the entire time you’re looking up at the sky.
Sunscreen is also something you are obviously going to need to protect your skin from the harmful UV-rays. High temperatures, and bright sunrays, can greatly cause damage to the skin. Sunburns aren’t only painful, but the extremely high temperatures and rays are also extremely dangerous if you don’t have proper protection. Make sure you include these items in your bags when you’re packing your luggage for your next camping trip. Also check that you are applying the correct amount.
Matches, wood, sparks, and other similar items should be packed as well. A fire is going to keep you warm if you’re camping during the winter or colder weather seasons. At night, it will provide the lighting you need to keep safe until you are ready to get to bed. It will allow you to cook foods you are preparing on the campsite, and it will allow you to heat water if you need it for bathing.
A fire is something that can’t start itself. And, although most campers are aware that they need fire/flame during their camping trip, many often forget that they need something to ignite the fires they are going to burn. It is also important to ensure you have sufficient fire starters and fuel, for the entire duration of your trip. So, measure accordingly, know how long you plan on burning the fires, and pack accordingly so you have exactly what you need for your camping adventure.
Even if you don’t plan on hiking high mountains or difficult trails you need hiking gear for your camping trip. The right shoes will help you prevent from slipping and sliding in wet mud or tough rocky terrains during your hikes. A hat will help to shield the sun from your head/face, to help keep you cooler. Wicking-clothing will help you reduce body heat and temperatures when it gets very hot and you’re hiking on longer trails.
It is advisable to pack at least one set of clothing/gear for each day you are hiking. You never know if adverse weather conditions may strike and you can’t use the same clothing two days in a row. So, pack at least one set of clothing for your hiking trips, for each day of your trip, even if you do not plan on hiking each day you are on your camping trip.
Somewhere comfortable and dry to sleep is also essential with most gear these days being made from ultralight, compact and durable materials. However, most hikers opt for a tent, which does tend to take up quite a bit of space. Instead, why not consider a camping hammock, if you’re intending to hike near wooded areas where hanging a hammock is fairly easy. The great thing about these backpacking hammocks is that they’re extremely compact, waterproof, and are very comfortable to sleep in, add in a fly tarp to keep the rain off and you’re sorted.
First Aid Supplies
Band-Aids, burn cream, gauze, and other items should be included on your camping packing checklist as well. Injuries take place; even if you are very safe and follow the rules when you go camping. You might slip and fall, you might get injured or stung by an animal, or other issues might arise, which will require some form of medical care.
Although a first aid kit won’t provide emergency care immediately, it can at least help minimisethe pain you’re experiencing, it can help cover up wounds, and the right supplies in the first aid kit, can prevent major scarring or damage to the skin, as opposed to if you were to leave cuts uncovered. You must consider your safety when camping. And, even though you plan on being safe, and taking the proper steps to ensure no one gets hurt on your camping trip, you simply can’t tell when something might arise, or when an injury is going to occur. So, it is best to be prepared for the worst, and hope you aren’t going to have to use any of the supplies you pack in your first aid kit when you are preparing for your camping trip.
Camping is an enjoyable experience you can engage in with friends or with family. But, you need to make sure you are prepared for the things which might arise, regardless of how well planned your trip is.There are loads of guides which can help you make sure you have all of the camping essentials. When you are packing your bags and making a list of the items you need to bring along with you, most people remember the obvious items. Consider a few of these additional items to ensure you’re safe, and to ensure you’ll make the most out of the camping adventures you plan on engaging in on your next planned adventure.
Travel is undoubtedly one of the best things you treat yourself to. The sights you will see & the experiences you will have out on the road will enrich your life, soothe your heart and nourish your soul. Furthermore, medical science studies are increasingly confirming that travel is also actually beneficial to your physical health in all kinds of ways!
But as always in life, there is a flip side. For every Ying and Yang. Things can and do sometimes go wrong and in some ways travel sometimes can even make you more vulnerable to financial loss or physical harm than you are back at home. That said, by exercising a few simple precautions, you can do quite a lot to protect yourself out of the road.
So here is our rundown on How to best look after your self, your health, and your stuff when traveling!
Many parts of the world today are still impacted by dangerous and deadly diseases which you should take action to protect yourself from. Yellow Fever, Hepatitis, Rabies, Tetanus and many more are still very real thing out in Asia, South America and Africa. You should check with your Doctor or travel clinic before you leave home to see if you need travel vaccination. Many of these will be available either free or for a low cost in your native country and may well save your life.
I know that some voices out on the alt-left don’t believe in vaccinations. I also know that some voices on the alt-right believe that the earth is flat.
Once you’ve gotten your jabs done, the next thing you can do to look after your health is to take some hygiene precautions. Firstly, check from a reliable source whether the local tap water is safe for consumption. If it is then, great, drink up and remember to stay hydrated! If not be very careful, don’t even brush your teeth with it and keep your mouth closed whilst showering (so no singing in the shower). Buy bottled water or use purification pills.
Also be very mindful of what you eat. Street food is usually fine but please do take a good look at the stall to ensure it and the cook looks clean and don’t eat anything that has been sat out for a while. Meat is usually the cause of traveler food poisoning so why not do the ethical thing and consider going vegetarian?
Finally, remember to wash yourself and your clothes thoroughly and regularly as bacteria can breed in them causing some nasty infections.
I have a question for you. Would you ride a motorbike around London with no helmet and only flip-flops on your feet? No. Would you ride a scooter around Chicago whilst blind drunk? Definitely not. Then don’t engage in these utterly reckless and stupid behaviors when in India, Cambodia or Laos OK?
You would be amazed by how many educated, sensible people seem to abandon all common sense whilst traveling and indulge in reckless, stupid acts that put themselves and others at unnecessary risk of harm.
Data Protection (VPN)
OK so now that we’ve worked out how to protect your physical self we now need to take a look after your online self, which let’s face it, is now kind of your real self…
These days, Data is a very valuable commodity and unscrupulous cyber-criminals from around the world are always devising new ways to collect and utilize it. Often, you will have no idea that your ID or data has been stolen but occasionally you will find out the hard way when your bank account is quickly emptied.
The best way to do this is to always use a VPN on your phone or laptop. If you use a public device, then think carefully about what sites you access (ie, do you need to do your online banking today?), make sure that passwords or not been saved and then delete the history and cookies afterward.
Colombia. An awesome country but still plagued by crime.
Despite a pretty clear directive issued in the 10 Commandments, taking other men’s oxen remains a major global concern to this day and theft remains the most common crime in the world. When traveling, you can become a particularly appealing target to thieves especially in places like South America and certain parts of Africa (sorry to name and shame but..). Sometimes, theft is hard to avoid but there are certain precautions you can take. These include;
Don’t carry more stuff than you need.
Don’t show flashy devices in public.
Don’t wear expensive jewelry.
Wear a money belt and keep most of your cash in it. Leave a nominal “robbers tax” in your wallet.
Fasten you backpack with padlocks.
Use a sturdy, strong padlock on the safe in your hostel.
Avoid darkened, lonely streets.
Carrying paper money is unavoidable as its kind of useful especially in many parts of the developing world where ApplePay and even Credit Cards are still a futuristic fantasy and cash remains King. As above, take care to hide the cash you do carry with you.
To minimize carried cash, I advice obtaining a specialist travel bank card which you can use, with minimum fees, to make intermittent ATM withdrawals. Usually, I try to work out when the next opportunity to use an ATM will be and take just enough cash to last me until then (with a small contingency built in). Revolut and Monzo are the ones I have used – if you find a better one then please let me know.
If you heed all of the advice in this post then hopefully you should have no problems. However, sometimes the worst does happen for reasons beyond your or anybody’s control. Therefore, I always recommend that you buy travel insurance before you leave home. As a minimum, you want to cover your devices and get medical and repatriation cover. I have never had to claim on my Insurance but I know a few people who have and it saved them $1000’s. I also know a few people who didn’t obtain it, got robbed and simply had to write off an iPhone…
Summiting Mount Everest and standing atop the roof of the world is the dream of many an aspiring adventurer. And it’s easy to see why of course, the allure of “conquering” the biggest hill on earth and standing where relatively few have ever stood before would make a good dinner anecdote…
But the thing is, Everest really isn’t for everybody. It’s harsh, tough and downright dangerous and even the best prepared, most experienced mountaineers risk losing a few fingers if not there life. Then, of course, there is the price tag, yep, climbing Everest is a rich man’s game for those with $60k to chuck around.
But fear not. There are plenty of other mountains out there for you. And guess what? Whilst Everest is the biggest, plenty of others are more beautiful, more dangerous and frankly a whole lot cooler and because they don’t have the title of being “biggest on the world, relatively few people try to climb them meaning you can have the whole adventure more o less to yourself!
Top 5 Epic Mountains that Anybody Can Climb!
Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
Kilimanjaro is the biggest mountain in Africa, the biggest most adventure-packed continent on earth. Kilimanjaro rises nearly 6000 meters out of Tanzania’s plains like an apparition and is conspicuous as the only mountain in the region. Climbing Kilimanjaro requires no climbing experience as its essentially a long walk around, and up, the mountain but there is some hair-raising moments for those not fond of heights!
You can book tours internationally, online or inside Tanzania itself. To ensure that your money is actually going to help the poor local economy, you may wish to book inside the country. Most trips provide plenty of porters and helpers so all you need to concentrate on is putting one foot in front of the other. Poor Explorers very own Broke Backpacker Will Hatton celebrated his 19th birthday by scaling the mountain – the first of many adventures.
2. Roraima -Venezuela
The 2,800 meter Mount Roraima is situated deep inside Venezuela’s “Gran Savannah” and is the largest tabletop mountain on earth – it is literally shaped like a flat table! Roraima was famously the inspiration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World” as the mountaintop boasts an unearthly moonscape (rich in Quartz) and a unique and barmy bio-diversity. Many people are currently put off from visiting Venezuela because of the counties socio-economic problems but we spent 3 months there is 2015 and absolutely loved the country.
To summit Roraima, you need to join an organised, licensed tour which can be arranged from the cool, mountain and student center of Merida or in the edgier Santa Elena. The summit takes around 5 days round trip and is tough but totally manageable. Just bring plenty of mozzy-repellent and be ready for some serious humidity. Because of the lack of international tourism, you will also have much of the Savannah to yourself and because of Venezuela’s “Mercado Negro”, the trip may cost you as little as $100….
3. Ben Nevis – United Kingdom
Bonny Scotlands mighty Ben Nevis is the largest mountain in the UK. Whilst a relatively humble 1,345 meters, it is still a challenge as its steep incline and all year round winter conditions at the top have caught many a climber off guard.
As long as you are relatively fit, bring the right gear and set off early enough, more or less anybody can get up and down Ben Nevis in a day making it a perfect beginners mountain. The views over the Scottish Highlands are sublime with mysterious lochs and green mountains as far as the eye can see. Once you’re done with the mountain, you can head down to Fort William to take in a Whisky Tour.
As no expertise, permits or guides are needed, this is definitely a cheap mountain to climb – just please do spend some money on good gear.
4. Chimborazo Peak – Ecuador
…So Everest is the highest point on earth right? Well yes but also no because whilst Chimborazo Peak stands at only 5000 meters, it is actually nearer to our earth’s orbit, closer to space and therefore debatably higher than Mount Everest. This is because of the quirk that is our spherical earth (also some still maintain its actually flat), as Ecuador (meaning the Equator) sits right at the midpoint of the planet.
Ecuador is full of amazing mountains to climb but this one takes the prize as it’s the only way to climb higher than Everest and out-do those millionaires!
Because there have been some fatalities, a pre-requisite of climbing the mountain is to do a two preparation course and join a licensed tour. Nevertheless, the whole thing still takes between 10 – 15 days and even expensive packages are still around $2.5k (cheaper if you have time to organize them inside Ecuador).
5. Mount Fuji – Japan
Situated 60 miles south of Tokyo, Mt Fuji is Japan’s contribution to the worlds great mountains. In true Japanese style, it is also very user-friendly.
Basically, you can drive all the way to the bottom, park your car and then head up the 3,776-meter mountain, in sneakers, all in one long day. I once met a guy who literally ran up the mountain in one afternoon sandwiched between a business meeting in Tokyo and his return flight home to the UK.
There are actually loads of great mountains that anybody can climb but this list has to end somewhere. So you see, you don’t need to be a half-crazed, rich athlete to get high and mighty, just savvy and suitably determined.
In case you are desperately craving a Himalayan fix, well there are loads of national treks you can do in India, Nepal, and Pakistan that don’t involve any actual mountaineering, danger and these are extremely affordable. But that’s a different post for a different day…
5 Awesome Trips You Can Still Take In The U.S. This Year
We’re about halfway through 2018, and at this point most people have probably planned any major vacations they still have coming up. But six months left in the year is a long time, and there are all kinds of fun things going on around the U.S. that could inspire a last-second vacation plan. To get you thinking, if you’re still looking for something fun to do with the rest of the year, we put together a few ideas.
1. Oktoberfest – Breckenridge, Colorado
Oktoberfest celebrations are held all over the world, and while there’s no beating the one in Munich, Germany, there are still some great imitations out there. One is in the gorgeous mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Named the top fall festival in the U.S. by Country Living, it’s essentially Germany-style street festival complete with traditional garb, delicious food and drink, festive music, etc. It’s a nice excuse to see the Colorado rockies in the fall, when travel can be fairly reasonable. And while accommodations in Breckenridge tend not to be cheap, the festival can be enjoyed on a budget.
2. Maui Invitational – Maui, Hawaii
This is a pricier option, but it’s worth noting because visiting Maui off-season, so to speak, can be at least a little bit more affordable. The Invitational, meanwhile, is just a good incentive to make the trip. It’s an annual early-season college basketball tournament that usually features some of the best teams in America, and it’s played in a very small gym that gives you a pretty intimate look at those teams. Mostly though you’ll just get the chance to enjoy a tropical beach getaway in November!
3. Ski Season – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Here too we’re not exactly talking about a cheap trip. But if you just want a reason to travel for the remainder of the year it’s worth thinking about catching the early part of ski season, which really intensifies in January and February these days. Going early could save you a little bit of money here and there, and either way it’s the sort of experience worth saving up for. There are all kinds of places to ski in the American West, but Jackson Hole can’t be denied as the United States’ best spot.
4. The Ryder Cup – Chaska, Minnesota
This isn’t an annual option, but it sure is a nice event to travel for in 2018. The Ryder Cup is a major international golf tournament between some of the best American and European players, held in a different location each year. As a guide to the 2018 tournament explains, top Ryder Cup venues have included a few different places in England, one in Spain, and the famous golf getaway of Pinehurst in North Carolina. But this year it’ll be in Chaska, Minnesota, which makes for very affordable travel and a chance to explore a state you might not otherwise visit.
5. Voodoo Music & Arts Experience – New Orleans, Louisiana
When you think about New Orleans festivals or cultural event, it’s the early spring tradition of Mardi Gras that first comes to mind. But the Voodoo Music & Arts Experience in late October can be just as much fun. It’s effectively a giant music festival with a Halloween atmosphere that still manages to embrace the unique culture (and culinary delights) of New Orleans. You’ll need tickets to the festival, but New Orleans is a city that can be enjoyed on the cheap. You can get great food for casual dining prices, and you can entertain yourself to no end simply walking around.