Category Archives: General

Top 10 Tips for Travelling Solo

solo-traveller

Travelling solo is a terrific plan but the idea has its perils too.  If you happen to be someone thinking of embarking on a travel trip all by yourself, you probably have calculated the ups and downs of the same. But if you have not, these below mentioned tips on solo travelling will definitely help you explore the world in a safe way.

Learn about the destination

Read as much as you can about the destination you are heading to. Make a list of places which are not tourist friendly. Also keep a tab on the famous local news channels aired at the place. It is good to know which places you must visit but better to know about the ones you should not.

Pack wisely

Solo travelling empowers you to travel at your discretion and packing wisely complements those decisions. Pack as light as you can. Swap dresses for extra pair of t-shirts and heels with sports shoes. This will make sure you don’t get a headache trying to carry humongous travel-cases while travelling from one city to another.

A family or friends ‘Whats-app’ group

Solo trips require the utmost levels of confidence and knowing someone has got your back absolutely helps. Create a Whatsapp group including a few people you trust completely, and drop information of your whereabouts constantly. Tell them which hotel you are staying in and places you plan to visit next. If possible keep sending emails as well.

Make new friends but be careful

Meeting like-minded travellers on a solo trip is probably the best perk of travelling solo but be careful while doing so. If you feel anything dicey about the new people you are meeting, politely make an excuse, tell them something urgent came up and retreat from the place. Don’t share where you are staying instantly with anyone you have just met!

Learn some words from the local lingo

No we are not telling you to master a new language in a few days. All we are saying is learn a few phrases and common slangs used in the country you are visiting. For example – learn to ask where is the toilet or the police station? Leaning to speak thank-you in local language can also help.

Copy all essential documents

Copy all travel documents including visa, passport and your id proofs and keep them with you at all times. It is also advisable to store electronic copies of these documents on your phone and on emails. Leaving duplicate copies of these with a friend or a family member is also a good idea. Doing so will help especially in cases of pick-pocketing.

Don’t become a sitting duck

Touts and anti-social elements specialize in identifying tourists in crowds. Try to gel with the local population, as the same will definitely keep you off the radars of goons. Wear normal t-shirt and jean combos and do not pick out fancy stuff including that expensive DSLR camera too often.

Learn to say no

It is sure that you will meet a lot of people acting needy and asking for small charities. You will also meet people who would encourage you to go to parties out of the city or talk you in for trying new things. Say no and walk away if you feel anything fishy.

Stick to day tours

Though night tours are fun, you may want to consider sticking to day tours as you are the only one practically taking care of yourself. If in case you decide to visit a restaurant or a local club in the night make sure to educate yourself about the place first and only go to places which are crowded and have ample transportation options located nearby.

Use local transport

Taking about the means you will be using to commute from one place to another on a solo trip, it is strongly advisable that you use local means of transport. Use trains, buses, metros and tramps as much as possible. This way you will always be surrounded by people and chances of mishaps will decrease significantly.

Dining Etiquette in Different Parts of the World

Treating your taste buds to local flavours at the place of your holiday is one of the most sought after experiences for any traveller or foodie. The idea of relishing an authentic meal in a foreign country is all fun till the time you don’t get stared at for your sloppy table manners.

Dining

Since dinning customs and rituals around the world vary from one another, and what may be considered appropriate, and even an advisable thing to do at the dining table in one country may be something that offends your fellow diners in another, you need to watch out for common mistakes to avoid while dining around the world.

Slurp All You Like in Japan

While slurping might get you condescending looks from fellow diners in most of the western world, it is a recommended practise while eating in Japan. The Japanese believe that the louder your slurp, the more you appreciate the food at the table. Also, try learning the accepted ways of using the chopstick in Japan and China before you visit. As a principle, don’t lick them, don’t cross them or stick them vertically into a bowl.

The Right is Right and the Left is Wrong in the Middle East

We’re talking of hands here. In the Middle East, and also countries like India and Pakistan, it is considered unclean to eat food with your left hand as the left hand is assigned the tasks of maintaining the basic hygiene of the body. Also, don’t be surprised if you see people eating with their hands, directly off the plate in these parts of the world as it is commonplace to do so.

Use Fork and Spoon or Fork and Bread in France

The French use both their hands for eating and use either a combination of fork and knife or fork and bread. The bread is consumed not only as an appetiser but serves the same purpose of pushing the food onto the fork as a knife. There is also a right way of eating the bread i.e. breaking it into a piece and not biting into it directly.

Pizza with Extra Cheese? Not In Italy

Though the entire world treats itself to cheese-burst and extra-cheese pizzas, it is considered impolite to add extra cheese to your pizza in Italy. As a ritual you should never ask for cheese separately in Italy if you have not been offered some.

Hands on the Table in Russia

The Russians consider keeping your hands in your lap impolite while dining. So if your hands need rest, make sure you rest them on the edge of the table. It is also advisable to always follow the Fork in Left, and Knife in Right rule in Russia.

Sharing is Caring in Ethiopia

The Ethiopians all eat from a single plate of food with hands. You might find it odd, but it is best that you don’t eat in your own plate while dining in the country as it is considered wasteful.

Popular Black Sand Beaches in the World

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Usually formed by volcanic eruptions and eroded lava, black sand beaches may not seem as romantic as the pink sand ones, but they still seem to attract tourists in large numbers. Mostly found in the tropical and Mediterrean regions of the globe, these beaches certainly deserve a visit.

Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia

A beautiful island paradise on the north-western side of the island of Bali, Lovina Beach is one of the most stunning black sand beaches along the coast of Pacific Ocean. Formed by the flowing lava from Mount Agung, this beach is perfect for those looking for some quiet time away from the city life. The volcanic hot spring and the nearby fishing villages are the key attractions around here. Watching sunrises and spotting dolphins are much loved tourist activities.

Piha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Known for its fascinating black iron sand, Piha Beach is among the most famous beaches in New Zealand. Located a few miles from Auckland, it is quite popular among swimmers and surfers from across the world. KiteKite Falls and Waitakere Ranges, located very close to the beach, are great spots to enjoy some family time. Also, enjoy the stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape from the around 100-meter tall ‘Lion Rock’.

Black Sands Beach, Whitethorn, California

Situated on California’s Lost Coast trail, Black Sand Beach gets its colour and tone from greywacke (dark coloured sandstone) and remains a popular attraction among hikers. You can spot the giant gray whales on the beach between the periods of September and January and March and June.

Anse Chastanet Beach, St Lucia

Anse Chastanet Beach is a must visit attraction in the Caribbean island nation, St. Lucia. Owing to the clear ocean waters and the nearby hidden corals, swimming, snorkelling and deep sea diving are some of the few interesting activities you can enjoy here. Fort Charlotte, Soufriere Marine Management Area and Le Pavilion Royal Museum are the popular nearby attractions. Numerous walk-up vendors serving on the go food can be found almost everywhere on the beach.

Cahuita Beach, Costa Rica

Nestled on the Caribbean Coast, Cahuita Beach is one stunning beach in the town of Cahuita. The presence of Costa Rica’s biggest and the only living reef ensures that snorkelling and deep sea diving remain popular activities among visitors here. The nearby Cahuita National Park Bird is terrific spot for the travellers to spot some interesting flora and fauna.

5 Popular Pink Sand Beaches across the World

Straight out of a Disney movie, pink sand beaches are perhaps the most romantic things in the world! Few in number, these beaches, unsurprisingly, are among the most popular attractions in the world. Getting their colour and tone from corals, algae and offshore shells, here is a look at top five pink sand beaches from across the world.

Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda

Named for its curving shape, Horseshoe Bay Beach is perhaps the most famous beach in Bermuda. Lying along the coast of Atlantic Ocean, it is known for wide stretches of pastel pink hued sand, crystal clear waters and numerous attractive corals. Along with the hue of its sand, Horseshoe Bay Beach is loved for facilitating different adventure water sports, such as snorkelling and bodysurfing.

Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia

Also known as ‘Pantai Merah’, Pink Beach is one of the most striking attractions on the Komodo Island. Located right in the heart of the island, the beach’s pink hue sand is rather its additional charm. The main attractions in the Komodo Island are surely the massive lizards! The Komodo Dragon National Park is situated very close to the beach, so make sure you pay a visit.

Balos Lagoon Beach, Greece

Balos Lagoon Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in Greece. Featuring miles and miles of pink and white sand along the azure ocean waters as well as numerous attractive corals, the beach is a major hub for water sports and adventure activities. The surrounding cliffs and rocks create a picture perfect view for anyone with an eye for natural beauty! Numerous restaurants and shacks serving a wide variety of traditional delicacies line up certain parts of the beach.

Crane Beach, Barbados

Crane Beach is one of the most outstanding beaches in Barbados and among the top ten beaches in the world. Situated along the east coast of the island, this paradise is dotted with jagged cliffs, rocks, rolling dunes and miles of soft coral pink sand. Owing to the less erratic waves, adventure sports such as boogie boarding and deep-sea diving are popular here.

Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

Located along the east coast of Atlantic Ocean, Pink Sand is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas. Stretching for over three miles across the coastline, the beach is a perfect destination for holidaymakers seeking both fun and solace. The sand is strikingly pink and remains a much loved spot among the honeymooners.

9 Must Pack Essentials for Happy Holidays

Wondering what essentials to pack for next holidays? Here is a list of 9 must pack items that will help you make your holidays a happy, safe and an enjoyable affair.

Happy Holiday

Charcoal tablets

Charcoal tablets are counted among the best ways of stopping diarrhoea and checking dysentery. These tablets work by absorbing toxins and pathogens. They usually don’t take more than three hours to bring you back to normalcy. A must pack if you feel dicey about the food quality served at the destination you are visiting.

Portable Water Filter

A good water filter on a trekking tour can become a life saver. You can consider small devices that use ultra-violet light to kill bacteria and other harmful elements present in the water. A portable water filter will always come in handy when bottled water is not easily available.

Pollution & dust mask

You will definitely encounter places with a lot of dust and pollution in the air. Such places will not only make you sick but would also lead to a bitter holiday experience. Putting on a good dust and pollution mask can help you keep your holidays happy!

First-aid kit

Many travellers overlook the importance of packing a travel-medical kit.  Such kits come to the aid in times of medical emergencies and also make sure that you don’t have to step out in search of medical supplies during odd hours. Pack a first-aid kit keeping allergies and prevailing climate conditions in mind.

Protein Bars

Protein bars come in handy at places where you are not sure about the quality of food. A usual protein bar can provide you with good amount of calories and keep your stomach full for a long time, probably till you find a restaurant good enough to eat.

Ear Plugs

A lot of tourist attractions especially beaches and local markets are crowded with persistent hawkers who can be very pushy and loud. Simply put in those ear-plugs, close your eyes and relax. Ear plugs are also useful during train and airplane journeys.

Travel toilet Paper

Using toilet paper is not a regular practice in many countries, especially the ones in Asia. Travel toilet papers come in small sizes and can be packed easily too. These will also be useful during night stays at camps or during long trekking trips.

Sunscreen

Holidays generally include instances of exploring cities in the sun and getting tanned by the beach. Do carry a good sunscreen if you do not want to end up with skin burns during holidays. A good sunscreen is a must carry essential on trekking trips as well.

Universal power adapter

Power adapters or power plugs usually differ from country to country. Carrying a couple of good quality universal power adaptors will help you charge your phones, laptops and camera batteries with ease.

Eight Bizarre Laws From Around the World Every Traveller Should Know Of

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Planning to travel the world? Here is a list of weird laws from around the globe that you must know before embarking on that next travel adventure.

No high heels at ancient sites

Thinking of visiting the historical monuments in Greece? Make sure you leave those stilettos at home! Authorities in Greece do not allow women wearing heels entry to any of Greece’s historical monument sites. The decision was taken to stop damages caused to the monuments by sharp pointed heels. Besides heels food items are not allowed at the sites.

Don’t pee in the sea

Portugal has some of the most pristine beaches. But what would you do if nature calls amidst a swim in the sea? The answer will depend from one individual to another; however, you must know that urinating in a sea in Portugal is completely illegal. Not sure how the authorities plan to catch people urinating in a sea!

No chewing gums please!

Have a habit of chewing gums? Well, you will not be able to do so in Singapore as chewing gums are completely banned in the country. The reason cited as responsible for the ban is the huge cost paid by the Government of Singapore in getting the leftover gums removed from the metros and other tourist attractions.

Don’t climb a tree

It’s illegal to climb a tree located in a public area or a park in Oshawa in Canada. It is also illegal to stick bills and carve letters on any part of the tress. The reason, Oshawa, Canada wants their tree cover to be safe and like it has always existed.  And if you get caught climbing a tree in a public park or in any other space falling under the authorities’ rule, you will get charged with a hefty fine.

No feeding the pigeons

In San Francisco, it is illegal to feed pigeons. The authorities claim that pigeon droppings soil public places and are also a hazard to the human health. The authorities also say that pigeon food attracts rats.

Don’t forget to wear the Underwear

It is illegal to leave your home without wearing underwear in Thailand. Any arrests being made on the pretext of not wearing underwear have not been reported so far in the country but it still is best not to leave the house without wearing undergarments. It is also illegal to drive without a shirt in Bangkok.

Paying food bill? Who cares!

It is completely legal to deny paying the food bill in Denmark if you don’t feel full after eating at a restaurant. The best part about this law is the fact that it is only your opinion that matters. So if you feel hungry in Denmark and don’t have the money with you, you know what to do!

Drive a car wearing a bikini but…

Driving a car wearing a bikini is legal in Kentucky only if the woman driving is carrying an object for self-defence. Women can also wear bikinis if they are being accompanied by two officers. Moreover, the law does not imply on women weighing over 200 pounds and under 60 pounds.

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!

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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.