Category Archives: General

Top Travel Tips for Solo Women Travellers to Stay Safe on the Road

The good news is that an increasing number of women are going solo on their travels, and coming back with heartening stories of their own to tell. The bad news is that world is still not as safe for our women as we would like it to be. But the slightly better news is that there are ways and precautions following which women can feel safe on their journeys, and make the most of their time on the road.

Solo Women Travellers
Here are our top travel trips for an independent woman who wants to travel to her heart’s content without risking her safety.

Research, Research and Research

Being lost in a foreign land is romantic but only till the time your safety is not at stake. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to research all you can on the place of your visit. Read latest guidebooks, blogs and gather information from travel forums. Any contradictory information about the timings of buses and local transport as well as sightseeing locations must be verified before plan your itinerary. Try to speak to at least one person who has travelled to the destination in the span of past 2-3 months, and always keep local travel apps handy as also the emergency contact details of nearby police stations, hospitals, local embassy of your country and at least one local friend or acquaintance.

Always Reach Your Destination before the Nightfall

Cheaper tickets at odd timings, clumsy planning and overconfidence in the knowledge of your destination are all reasons that can cause you to book flights/trains/buses that leave you at your destination late at night. Solo female travellers should, however, make sure to avoid these pitfalls and reach their destination while the locals are still up and about so that they can process their surroundings better; get any local supplies, if needed’ and steer clear of being isolated  in dark places with their luggage clearly identifying them as tourists.

Have A Backup Plan

A lot of us have found ourselves perplexed, irritated, endangered and at a loss of a solution when our travels have not exactly gone as we planned them to. Just because a guidebook said that it’s okay to catch that last train between the two cities on your itinerary doesn’t mean you cannot find a creepy man making you uncomfortable on that train. You can find unexpected crowds, miss your flights/trains because of the traffic, attract unwanted attention at the places you least expected but you must always have a backup plan for these sticky situations so that you don’t feel out of place and lack confidence to carry on.

Always Keep At least One Person Update on Your Whereabouts

It’s a thrilling and liberating to be on your own, cut away from the mundane lives, soaking in beauty, cultures, architecture at a foreign location. So much so that you might not always be motivated to update your family and friends of your whereabouts. But it’s sensible to keep at least one person you totally trust updated every day. You might also leave a trail on social media with your check-ins if calling/messaging is distracting. Also, always give the number and address of your local hotel, resorts and tour guides to your friends or family so that they can be contacted for your whereabouts in case you can’t be.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings at All Times

You safety is truly in your own hands, and you can feel a lot safer with just a little keen observation of your surroundings at all times. Always be aware of the people you are travelling with, and trust your gut instinct while forming judgement on them. Don’t ever leave your luggage unattended no matter how tempting and immediate the calling of a certain view is. In public places, always keep your purse close to your body and the zip’s done up at all times. Never underestimate the warning of your gut, and leave a place as soon as you feel even slightly threatened. Always remember that no experience is worth risking your safety.

Best Snorkelling Spots in the World

Snorkelling

Check out our list of some of the best places to enjoy snorkelling around the world.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

With about 1500 islands and numerous tiny islets, Raja Ampat is one of the most sought after diving destinations in Indonesia. Home to over 1000 different species of fish, sea turtles, sharks and mantra rays, this popular marine oasis is best to experience the rich and beautiful underwater aquatic world. A snorkelling tour along the coast of the island takes you through shallow reefs and some of the unexplored habitats. Spot some of the endangered species such as Nudibranch and Tasselled Wobbegongs. Be aware of the ocean currents and weather conditions before venturing deep.

Mahé, Seychelles

Comprising of over 115 islands, several bays and coves, Mahé is one of the popular snorkelling sites in the Seychelles. Featuring a spectacular marine life along with rich flora, the island is best place to explore the shallow lagoons and numerous tiny corals. The marine park of Ternay Bay, Port Launay, Anse Soleil, Petite Anse, and Anse Takamaka are the popular diving and snorkelling sites on the island. Sea turtles, angel fish, parrot fish, and demoiselles are among the species which can be spotted here.

Norman Reef, Australia

Consisting of over 900 tiny islands off the coast of Queensland, Normal Reef is one of the top diving spots in the country. Packed with numerous corals and home to different marine species, the reef is perfect to enjoy the beautiful underwater world. For those willing to explore the marine life, regular snorkelling tours are organised by guides and tour operators. Angelfish, Unicornfish, Butterflyfish, hawkfish, sweetlips, reef bannerfish, pufferfish, wrasse, moray eels and turtles are among the common species spotted here.

The Coral Triangle, Asia Pacific

Stretching all the way across Bali, the Philippines and Solomon Islands, The Coral Triangle is another famous diving spot in the world. As the centre of the world’s marine biodiversity, it is home to over 2000 species of reef fish and numerous sea turtles and is thus regarded as one of the best snorkelling sites in the world. Due to the shallow water level and low lying waves, you don’t have to dig in deep to explore the rich aquatic world. Most snorkellers here enjoy the swift-moving channels, exposed seaward reefs, protected coral gardens, quiet lagoons and bays, and mangroves as a part of their adventure.

Isla Holbox, Mexico

A sleepy island off the coast of Mexico, Isla Holbox is a popular diving site and one of the top destinations for whale shark swimming. Swimming with sharks and other sea animals in the waters of North Pacific Ocean is undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime. If you are lucky enough, you can spot dolphins and sea turtles as well. The lagoons, corals and the rich marine life provide a playground for snorkellers to enjoy and explore the hidden ocean treasures. The months from June to September are usually considered best to enjoy snorkelling and other adventure activities here.

5 Popular Archipelagos of the world!

island

Looking for an island destination for your next holiday inspiration? Take a look at five of the most famous archipelago countries of the world!

Indonesia

Comprising of over 17,000 tiny islands, Indonesia is often referred to as the world’s largest archipelago. Located in the Pacific Ocean between the mainland Asia and Australia, the island country is renowned for its ancient buildings and monuments. The Bukit Barisan mountain chain on the western side of Sumatra is one of the most active volcanic eruptions sites in the world. Much to the delight of the wildlife enthusiasts, some of the most endangered animals of the Southern Hemisphere can be found in Indonesia. Scuba diving, rafting, surfing and trekking are among the popular activities enjoyed by the tourists in Indonesia.

Fiji

Fiji is a beautiful country comprising of over 300 islands and around 500 tiny islets. Scattered across 194,000 square kilometres, this country is known for its fabulous climate, rich culture and terrific wildlife. The beautiful beaches, attractive corals and volcanic activities make Fiji a traveller’s paradise. For its suitable location and climate, the country is rich in flora and fauna. Visitors can take up Jet Ski safari and boat and ship cruises for a perfect holiday experience.

Papua New Guinea

With the Pacific Ocean in the north and Coral Sea in the south, Papua New Guinea remains one of the most famous holiday destinations in the world.  Known for its dense forests, tiny islets and an unbroken chain of mountains, the island country is indeed a charming destination. Papua New Guinea is home to active volcanoes in the South West Pacific, including Manam, Karkar, Lamington, Langila, Ulawun, Rabaul and Bagana. Kayaking, snorkelling and trekking are some of the most popular activities here.

The Bahamas

Lying on the north of Cuba and Hispaniola, The Bahamas is a famous archipelago in the Caribbean. Comprising of nearly 700 islands and several tiny cays, the island is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Due to the mild Bahamian climate throughout the year, this beautiful country invites tourists from all over the world and introduces them to its terrific wildlife, which is mostly dominated by marine species, reptiles and several species of bats. The surrounding cold waters of the Pacific Ocean allow visitors to indulge in numerous water sports and other adventure activities including fishing, deep sea diving and snorkelling.

The Philippines

A famous travel destination in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is one of the largest archipelagos in the world. Consisting of over 7100 islands out of which around 5000 are yet to be named, this beautiful country has a rich biodiversity. There are a total of 50 volcanoes in the country, out of which about 10 are known to be active. It has a long and beautiful coastline, and offers snorkelling, deep sea diving and swimming opportunities to travellers visiting here.

Most popular coral reefs in the world

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Housing countless marine species, Coral Reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. It is this perfect combination of plant life and marine animals that makes these reefs a place of interest among scuba divers.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The earth’s only living structure visible from the outer space, the Great Barrier Reef is clearly huge! Comprising of 3000 individual reef systems and over 400 different types of corals, this popular marine ecosystem is a beautiful place to explore.

Great-Barrier-Reef-australia

Located off the coast of Queensland, the reef features over hundred islands and is perfect spot to enjoy snorkelling and scuba-diving and other water sports. Bare boat tours, submarine tours and helicopter tours are available as well. After all the water adventure, do sit down and enjoy some local delicacies served at the nearby restaurants!

Great Mayan Reef, Cancun

Touching along the coast of five island countries, the Great Mayan Reef is the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere and the second largest in the world. Home to over 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk and around 500 species of fish, the Great Mayan Reef is lovely place to enjoy a holiday at.

Great-Mayan-Reef-Cancun

Located in the warm waters of the Caribbean, it offers its visitors a chance to enjoy adventure sports like snorkelling and scuba diving. The reef is home to one of the world’s largest populations of manatees and whale sharks.

Apo Reef, Philippines

Often referred to as one of the best dive sports in the world, Apo Reef is the second largest atoll-like reef in the Philippines. Situated in the Mindoro Strait, the coral reef is home to over 285 water species, including fish, snappers, giant napoleon wrasse and yellow margin triggerfish. You can enjoy water sports and other recreational activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling, bird watching, dolphin watching, reef cruising, kayaking and lagoon rafting.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Featuring over 1500 small islands, cays, and shoals, Raja Ampat is yet another famous reef region in the world.  Located off the coast of West Papua, this beautiful place is home to 540 types of corals, more than 1,000 types of coral fish and 700 types of mollusks. Owing to the low lying ocean currents and warm waters, snorkelling and scuba diving are the most popular activities here. Although there are not many fancy restaurants here, several small shacks serving authentic cuisines can be spotted.

Great Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean

Comprising of over 55 islands, Great Chagos is the least polluted and the most protected reef in the world. Located off the coast of the Maldives, it is known for featuring over 370 species of corals, 784 types of fish and around 17 species of breeding seabirds. The endemic brain coral, Ctenella Chagius is a unique coral found here. Boat tours and submarine rides are organised here all the time.

5 of the Most Popular Museums from Across the World

Exhibiting a range of items, objects and artefacts, museums have always been a major attraction among the tourists. Located all over the world, they allow visitors to study and understand the rich past and traditions of different countries/cultures.

Museum

As per the World Museum Community, there are over 55,000 museums located in 202 countries. Here are just 5 of the most visited ones from across the world.

The British Museum, London

Dedicated to the human history, The British Museum is one of the largest in London. Established in 1753, it is home to a collection of over 71,000 objects of all kinds including painted books, manuscripts, prints and drawings by prominent artists and painters. Artefacts from the tomb of King Khasekhemwy from the 2nd dynasty, flint knife with an ivory handle (known as the Pit-Rivers Knife) from Sheikh Hamada, Egypt, Colossal limestone bust of Amenhotep III, Obelisks, and sarcophagus of Pharaoh Nectanebo II are among the popular exhibits displayed at the museum.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Presenting over 5000 years of art from across the world, Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States and the most visited one in the world. It features an amazing collection of art and artefacts dating back to the early 18th century. The Statuette of Amun, Votive stela of Userhat, Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces and numerous ancient European paintings are displayed here. The museum is divided into 17 curatorial departments.

The Louvre, Paris

A prominent landmark in the city, The Louvre is the world’s largest museum and a historical monument in France. Located on the bank of river Seine, the structure is known for featuring a wide collection of objects and artefacts. Officially established in 1793, the museum is home to over 38,000 objects including 500 paintings and around 10,000 artefacts. Papyrus scrolls, tools, clothing, jewellery, musical instruments and weapons including the Gebel el-Arak Knife, and The Seated Scribe are among the popular exhibits here. Regular exhibitions and workshops are organised for the visitors at The Louvre.

Acropolis Museum, Greece

Opened to the public in 2009, Acropolis Museum is a recent addition to the list of museums across the world. A former Turkish garrison built during the colonial period, the museum is home to ancient artefacts dating back to the era of the Byzantine Empire and Greek Bronze Age. Sculptures and figures of Kritios Boy, Goddess Nike, Peplos Kore and Moschophoros are among the popular items on display here. Be a part of the weekly exhibition and weekend workshop to understand the country’s rich history and culture.

Vatican Museum, Italy

Founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, Vatican Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world. Located in the beautiful Vatican City, the museum contains a total of 54 galleries displaying around 70,000 objects and over 20,000 paintings and sculptures. The works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Perugino and Raphael are displayed here. A collection of maps from different periods in history can be located at the popular Gallery of Maps.

5 Packing Tips You Should Know

Planning a trip can be all fun and games till you land in your destination and realise you didn’t pack the essentials!

Packing-Tips

Imagine being on a beach where the sun is burning your skin and realising you forgot to pack your sun block; or hiking up to a picturesque sight and realising you don’t have your camera to capture the beauty of that place.

Here are some handy tips for your next holiday!

1.    Pack light- Yes you love choices and yes you pack a hundred outfits even for a weekend’s trip; and then realise when you are dragging huge bags of clothing when you are actually going to wear the same pair of jeans and a couple of tees in the course of your trip. According to the days you are going to spend and the type of activities you are going to indulge in, pack the bare minimum plus a few choices. You will thank yourself for keeping it light.

2.    Check the weather forecast- Been to a holiday and realised you should’ve brought more warm clothes with you? Or did you miss your shorts on a hot summer day? It seems like an obvious thing to do to pack according to the weather at the destination of your holiday; but when you skip to remember it; you may end up messing up your entire trip. Do check out the weather forecast, it will help you pack only the kind of clothes and shoes you will need. For example if there are rains expected around your visit you might want to pack clothes and shoes suitable for the same.

3.    Must haves- No Matter what part of the world you are travelling to, these essentials will never fail you. A good pair of sunglasses, a chap-stick for dry lips, a good camera( if you are into photography), moisturisers and sun-blocks, chewing gum and a small first aid kit that can help you deal with cuts and bruises on your own.

4.    Comfort over style- Packing for a holiday can be tough. One can go ahead and pack unrealistic outfits and shoes, that turn out to be uncomfortable according to the weather and the conditions of the place you are visiting. This is why it’s essential that you always choose comfort over style, so that you thoroughly enjoy your time off and don’t have to worry about a thing.

5.    Strategize your packing- So you pack your shampoos in your handbag and they leak and spoil your bag; while your socks were in your luggage when you most needed them! Don’t we all face problem when we pack up the most essential things in our suitcases and trivial stuff in our handbags?  One has to understand that packing according to what you are going to use the most is important. This way everything you need will be handy and you won’t have to unpack and restack your clothes.

A Look at Some of the Famous Markets around the World

Shopping at every market in the world is impossible, so here is our list of the most recommended ones from the lot. Take a look!

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Istanbul

Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Located in the heart of Istanbul, the ancient market is home to over 4000 shops and numerous other stalls and outlets. Established shortly after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the bazaar is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls in the world. Rugs and textile are among the biggest sellers here. Apart from shopping, most tourists come here to appreciate and admire the architecture and design of the building which is home to the market.

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

Bangkok

Along with other attractions of Bangkok, traditional markets are big favourite of the tourists. One of the largest markets in the city, Chatuchak Market is a must visit. First established in 1942, the commercial shopping area today has over 8000 stalls divided across 27 sections. Plants, antiques, pets, ceramics, furniture, home decor, clothing, books, and food and drinks are available here. Most of the goods sold here are reasonably priced.

Camden Market, London

London

If you are looking to buy clothes and accessories in London without burning a big hole in your pocket, Camden Market is the place to be. Established in 1974 as a local foodstuff marketplace, the market today is a popular attraction among visitors and locals. Open mostly on Sundays, products sold here include crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac and other daily essentials. Originally known as ‘Buck Street Market’, it is best known for its jewellery and antiques. There are as many as 200 stalls and outlets here.

Castries Central Market, St. Lucia

St-Lucia

Castries Central Market is one of the largest markets in St. Lucia. The market has authentic goods and other interesting items, which are loved by the tourists who are looking for souvenirs. If you plan to laze around the beach, you can also pick up some fresh fruits and other essentials from the shops here. There are several restaurants and bars around the market offering visitors a chance to enjoy local cuisines along with other delicacies.

La Boqueria, Barcelona

La Boqueria is the largest covered market in Barcelona. Initially a travelling market for stallholders from Catalonia (tiny administrative region in Spain) and other far off countries, the market today features a fine range of fruits, vegetables and spices. A special area dedicated to fishmongers and butchers is perfect to pick up fresh sea-food and other items used for daily cooking. Once you are done exploring the market and picking up your favourite stuff, treat yourself to a sumptuous range of local cuisines and authentic food delicacies at the nearby restaurants and cafes.

Here is Travel Trolley’s Latest Instagram PhotoedAt Contest Winner

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our Instagram #PhotoedAt March contest!

We had a terrific response to this contest and received dozens of fabulous pictures as contest entries. Our panel of judges, including members of Travel Trolley’s Social Media team, had a tough job selecting the winner of the contest but eventually it was a unanimous decision to choose Sally (@Broomside) as the Winner of Instagram #PhotoedAt Contest! Congratulations to Sally! She will win a £150 holiday voucher from Travel Trolley!  Here is her winning entry.

winner

Here are some of the other impressive contest entries.

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Click to see all contest entries.

Our Instagram #PhotoedAt April contest is already on. You can post your best holiday picture on Instagram, follow Travel Trolley and include #PhotoedAt in the caption to win £150 Holiday Discount on your next holidays with us.

A Layover Can Be Great Fun At These Airports!

flights

If reading a book to kill time is not your piece of cake, a long layover can be a tedious exercise. This is the last thing you want when out on a leisure tour for fun. That’s why it is desirable to plan a tour while you are “in-transit” to your destination. You need to learn about the amusements and tours that are offered at the airport where you will be in for a long layover. Some airports offer a free city tour to its major attractions. Let’s learn about some airports that offer the best layover experience in the world.

Airports

Doha’s Hamad Airport

If you are travelling through Doha and the layover is more than 5 hours, the tourism authority of the country takes you through the city’s popular tourist attractions which include the Katara Cultural Village, a traditional Arabian market called the Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art. As this tour is managed from the comfort of air-conditioned vehicle and an English-speaking guide takes you through the sights and sounds of the city, you never feel out of place by the heat and language of the place.

Dubai Airport

Emirates offer free visa for one-night stay as a stopover offer for travellers whose layover is scheduled at Dubai. As you don’t need to pay for your Visa to visit Dubai for a day, this allows you to spend money on the Dubai City Tour. Another planned tour that you can take is known as the Capital Adventure of Abu Dhabi. Emirates will give you a brochure of the available tours, expeditions and even Safaris during the Dubai Stopover.

Seoul’s Incheon Airport

You would never feel stuck in Seoul as you can choose to visit an interesting place even when your layover is no longer than an hour. The Yonggungsa Temple in Seoul has a Zelkova tree that has stood there for more than 1300 years. If you need to wait for more than 5 hours, visit the Insa-dong Street or Gyeongbokgung Palace to revel in the vibrant South Korean culture.

Suvarnabhumi Airport of Bangkok

You can take a short tour if your stopover is around 6 hours at Suvarnabhumi Airport of Bangkok, which includes a visit to the city’s museums, temples and a boat trip on the picturesque canals and rivers. If you have more time, you can opt for the long version of this trip that includes shopping, spa and massages, and night-time amusements at bars and markets.

 

Enjoy the Best of Winter Festivities at Carnaval De Quebec 2017

Get ready to rock and roll at the largest winter carnival in the world – the Carnaval de Québec 2017! Québec Winter Carnival, its popular English name, is a way for the Canadians to show their love for the winters! Carnaval de Québec 2017, which started on January 27 and will go on till

Flight to Canada

February 10, is considered to be the oldest of all winter festivals held in the country. Be a part of this fantastic festival which celebrates Canadians’ love for winters and collect lifetime memories of pure fun and merry-making with your family and friends!

Festival Events and Activities

The festival holds a number of fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages including snow bath, ice canoe race, night parades, snow slides, giant foosball, snow sculptures and skating. Read on to know more about some of the best activities and events of the carnival in 2017.

Snow Racer Grand Prix

Snow Racer Grand Prix is a racing event where participants will race down a snow track on their motorless snow racer. Participants, who must be 5 years or older, will be required to wear the 2017 Carnival Effigy for the event. Adding more excitement to the event will be the presence of popular radio host Marto Napoli and live music being played in the background by a DJ from Mexico.

Upper Town Night Parade

Be sure to attend the Carnival Night Parades to feel the pulse of the festival. The Upper Town Night Parade will introduce you to a land of dreams, with the celebrations being held out in the open on the streets of Quebec City. The parade will see people dressed up as giant animals and iconic characters giving the illusion of a winter Atlantis full of secrets to be explored.

Duproprio Polar Mission

DuProprio Polar Mission is a fun activity for children. The activity will test the strength, dexterity and wits of your children with its many obstacle courses, memory game, maze, puzzles and many more challenges. This amazing multi-stage journey is sure to be a hit with your kids as they resolve twisted scenarios and undertake fun trials to retrieve the stolen polar star from Sisi Otentis, the queen of Hiverness.

Ice Skating With Bonhomme

Head straight to the historical square of Place d’Youville in Old Montreal to enjoy ice skating with the carnival’s famous ambassador Bonhomme. Bonhomme will be at the venue to skate with you and your family on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 in the evenings until for around 45 minutes.

Hula-Hoop Quebec

Don’t forget to visit Bonhomme’s Ice Palace at the Loto-Québec Zone on 28 January and 3 and 11 February to catch artists from Hula-Hoop Québec displaying their skills with the vibrant halos of luminous hula-hoops. This unique dance performance by two artists is sure to light up the venue and make your day!

Snowga

Are you a fitness freak? Or a yoga enthusiast? Or both? All those who wish to keep fit amidst all the feasting and celebrations during the carnival should try the Snowga on the snowy grounds. Try the Snowga and feel the therapeutic virtues of this fitness activity which includes outdoor meditation, stretching and breathing exercises.

Camp Games

It is one of those places where you can do what you want – go about breaking ice, chat with friends or strangers or just groove to the music to party hard! The highlight of the camp is the different lively games that will be held at the camp, which include drop the ball and the duo table hockey games.

Uniprix Ice Slide

An exciting activity for the young and the old alike is the Uniprix Ice Slide, where participants can rent a sled on-site and then ride down a slope made out of ice. It is a must-do activity at the carnival for snow-lovers as well as adventure seekers.