A Selection Of My Top Travel Tips Part 2

31 Jul

Taking a step into the great big world of traveling for the very first time might feel a tad bit scary, but by keeping the helpful tips listed below in mind, you will soon find yourself traveling like those more experienced travelers, who go on many trips, every year.

Don’t over-schedule your vacation. While it is important to plan some activities, especially ones which require tickets or additional travel, leave yourself plenty of free time. There is no better way to see a location than to just wander around. Take the time to explore and see where you end up.

Ask family and friends for suggestions on places you should visit when trying to plan your next vacation. Often times they will not only be able to give you good suggestions for places that you should go, they can also steer you away from places that they didn’t have such a good time.

Make sure to research what the weather is going to be like in your destination. This will allow you to pack more appropriately. If it will be cold, you will need to take lots of layers. If it will be warm, then you know you can pack a lot of light weight clothing and sandals.

If you are traveling with a group, be sure to book in advance. Booking in advance will make it more likely that your group will be seated together. If you are traveling with children, you certainly do not want to leave seating arrangements to chance. Book early and confirm your seating arrangement.

If you plan on traveling with young children, make sure to stop often on the way there and back. Explain them in detail where you are going, and how long it will take to go there. Prepare some activities to keep them busy during the trip, such as coloring books.

Make your travel plans more affordable by booking your flight through a meta-search site. It can be tempting to get your tickets from a website whose purpose is to locate cheap airfare, but a meta-search site looks through a variety of airlines and travel booking sites at the same time. It will then redirect you to the site that has the price you want, saving you money.

Ask around on the social networks you frequent for any tips or recommendations of the area you’re planning on visiting. You’ll be surprised just what may come up. Ask what the best hotels are, what the best restaurants are, what places of interest you should visit. Friends usually give the best ideas!

Find out if you need any vaccinations before travelling to your chosen destination. You should visit your local health professionals and ask them to recommend vaccinations and also ask them about any other precautions you should take while away. You don’t want to risk getting infected with a preventable, dangerous disease while on vacation.

If you need to leave your vehicle at the airport for the duration of your travels then always pre-book airport parking well in advance. If you book parking on the day of your flight it will usually be much more expensive. If you don’t live far from the airport, consider whether taking a taxi would be cheaper than paying for parking.

Bring a door stop with you when you are traveling if you are nervous about the hotel room’s security. Particularly if you are visiting overseas, some of the less expensive rooms do not have a dead bolt or chain lock. A door stop can be wedged between the door and the floor, offering a small deterrent to someone trying to get into your room.

If you are a heavy reader it may be useful for you to purchase an e-reader before leaving home. E-readers are lightweight and small but can hold hundreds or even thousands of books. If you download many books before your trip you will never find yourself with nothing to read on your travel downtime.

So, after reading and applying the helpful tips listed in this article, you should feel a bit more at ease in the land of traveling. You have the knowledge and now it’s time to use it. You should feel confident and ready to begin your travels, so that you can experience various lands and cultures.

A Selection Of My Top Travel Tips Part 1

30 Jul

Traveling is like leaving your home for a fun adventure. If you make your list, check it twice and then just sit back and wait to see what interesting things happen along the way, you will not only be prepared, but you will also have a great time. The following tips are things that should be on that list you check twice before heading out the door.

Keep a group journal in your hotel room while traveling. Invest in something as inexpensive as a spiral notebook, and allow the people you are traveling with to write in it during down time. This will provide an interesting read later and will be a nice keepsake from your trip.

When traveling to an area where the tap water is unsafe to drink, pay attention to the altitude as well. Above about ten thousand feet, water actually boils at a lower temperature. This means that it must be boiled for a longer time in order to ensure all of the contaminants have been killed.

If you are traveling overseas, always have local currency in a variety of denominations. It is much easier to be ripped off by a taxi driver or shopkeeper if the smallest bill in your wallet represents a week’s or even month’s profit. Small change can sometimes be difficult to come by, so hang onto your coins when you get them.

When considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip, be sure to compare rates of providers, not forgetting to check with your credit card companies. Many times they may provide these benefits to you at a cheaper price. They may cover items such as lost luggage or trip cancellation. However, these benefits are not usually found with base-level cards.

Traveling with a suitcase that has no dividers or compartments you can split your clothes up in can be tough. A great way to get around this problem is by placing a piece of cardboard between different clothing selections or items. Not only will you be able to separate your items, but you will come out looking more organized.

Travel is a great way to educate family members. By taking time and preparing, there is nothing to fear from the developing world. It is a great way to show other cultures to children. Time spent abroad helps you understand and appreciate diverse cultures. In addition, it encourages an acceptance and tolerance of ways of life that differ from your own.

To avoid high exchange rates in foreign countries, stop at an ATM for your bank when you disembark from your flight. Large banks get much better exchange rates than an individual, so pulling money out once you get there is a hassle-free and inexpensive way to get the currency you need.

When traveling by plane, make sure to wear shoes that are easy to remove. You will be required to remove your shoes to go through security, so wearing slip-on or Velcro shoes will allow you to remove them quickly. Once they come out of the scanner, you will be able to quickly replace them and be on your way.

To save money on your vacation, don’t be afraid of last-minute bookings. When airlines or cruise companies still have tickets available a few days before the departure date, they lower prices because they are desperate to sell. With a last-minute booking, you can take the vacation of your dreams at rock-bottom prices.

If you’re visiting a museum or other tourist attraction, make sure to ask about any special discount rates for which you might be eligible. Many attractions have discounts for seniors, children, and students. Getting a discount rate will help you save money and travel on a budget while still enjoying the local sites.

Attend educational seminars while traveling on board a cruise ship. Most ships offer these lectures for free, and they are often entertaining and interesting. Many talk about something related to your cruise, such as the wildlife that you might see when you port. This activity can make your entire trip more enjoyable.

While the tips and information that we have presented to you here in this article are meant to put your mind at ease while traveling, no one trip will be without its ups and downs. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to relax and enjoy the ride.

Who says resolutions can’t be changed? Rules are for breaking!

21 Apr

As thoughts turn to Easter and chocolate I find myself asking what happened to my New Year’s resolutions! (check out some cool stats on those here). Ha! They did not last long and if I told you that they lasted this long it would be a lie as they didn’t really make it beyond the first week of January. Wow, so lame huh? Well, what can I say? Sometimes life gives you lemons and you have to make lemonade. Or in my case lemon cheesecake served with cream and lots of it. Yes I have a sweet tooth! Anyway, what is the point of this I hear you ask? Those of you with a sweet tooth, stick with me, we can help each other. I have decided that Easter is my new New Year and that I shall give those resolutions another go. Who says we have to play by the rules, and who made those rules anyway? So tell me have you stuck to your resolutions? Did you even make any? What were they? Mine were, in no particular order:

* To lose weight – that old chestnut!
* To start taking more exercise
* To learn a new language
* To be happy!

It’s pretty safe to say I have failed on all of those. Ok, ok… not failed. We don’t fail, we just don’t succeed. Positive thinking and all that! I have adjusted my resolutions and therefore my expectations. My new New Year resolutions are:

* To follow a healthy diet but allow myself one treat once a week
* To start jogging – twice a week for the first month, then work from there
* Scrub the new language thing! That was never going to happen.
* To be happy!

So I think these new resolutions are more attainable. By being more specific about what I hope to achieve I already feel more in control and more positive – and happy. I have even bought myself some new jogging gear to spur me on. OK, the fact the trainers are still in their box is neither here nor there – it’s not Easter yet remember! Buying myself some new trainers is my way of committing to my resolution, it is a promise to myself, and an upfront treat if you like. The next thing on my list to look at is how to make eating more healthy be fun. The worst thing you can do is put yourself on a mind numbingly boring diet that you can only stick with for 3 days before caving in with your body screaming “give me sugar, give me sugar right now!”. But I do have a sweet tooth remember I told you already? I think I might have a cunning plan for that – all thanks to my mate who is a bit of a health freak, and therefore shouldn’t really be my friend at all, hey sorry mate if you’re reading, love ya really! He suggested I look at juicing – a way to pack some good stuff into my otherwise appalling diet. The best bit about this is – if I juice fruit, my sweet cravings may be satisfied at the same time! I’m pretty jazzed up about that and I’m going to get myself one of those juicers to give it a go. Or I’m going to persuade my mate to lend me his anyway. It sounds pretty awesome and perfect for lazy “cooks” like me. I like the idea of bunging all the food in and letting a machine do the hard work that’s for sure!

So look, what I’m trying to say is, it is never too late to make some positive changes. Positive mental attitude is what it’s all about – and that is the hardest part for me! Actually, writing this down has been pretty therapeutic, why don’t you try it too? Good luck to me and you all! Now for that chocolate…

The Best Large Vehicles for Travelling Around Australia

20 Apr

Going on vacation or just going around the country can be a great adventure in itself. There are a lot of places to go to with their own interesting take on being a part of Australia. Traditionally, when travelling, the vehicle of choice is a caravan. Roomy and comfortable, a caravan is an all-in-one vehicle for a local tourist.

But for all the advantages of a caravan, it does have a big drawback. You have to rent one every time you bring your family along on trips. The alternative is a roomy SUV for the average Australian family. SUVs have increased in popularity among suburban families. This is an upgrade from the station wagons in terms of size and handling. It may not be as big as a full-sized van, however, if you’re going to use it in the daily drive to work, it can provide good mileage at the same time great responsive driving. Besides the everyday use, an SUV is also perfect for travel around Australia in comfort.

Here are two of the most popular 7-seater cars fit for travel in Australia:

1. The Hyundai Santa Fe. The 2013 release of the Hyundai Santa Fe costs anywhere from above $36K to close to $50K. It is a vehicle that boasts of modern design such as a turbo diesel, a six speed transmission (either manual or automatic) and towing capacity of 2,500 kilograms. All in all, this family vehicle offers great value for money. As an SUV, it is ideal for travel around Australia’s rugged outback and for the city’s elegant sights. You and your family will surely enjoy the leather seats and great dashboard design. Your ride will be a pleasant and comfortable one in the Hyundai Santa Fe.

2. Audi Q7. An Audi car is naturally more pricey than the rest but the Audi Q7 certainly makes up for it. This 7-seater has one of the most elegant seats and fits the description of SUV to the fullest. The good thing about this car is that there are diesel, petrol as well as eco-friendly options to lessen your carbon footprint. The multi-media interface makes sure that there will never be a boring drive for you and your family. The price is between $80K to $92K depending on the added features you want included.

There is a range of 7-seater SUVs for travel around rugged areas, not only in Australia but in other rough terrain as well. You should choose which one will be most appropriate for your family’s needs. But if you think 7-seater SUVs wouldn’t suffice, here is a good list of the best 8-seater SUVs and people-movers.

Cross Country Trekking for Beginners

18 Apr

I always loved cross country trekking and I know how difficult it is to go on this journey. Most people would go to extreme lengths to prepare for this journey, and they are right to do so. Most people would think that the trek is the most difficult part, but it’s only difficult if you have not prepared for it. If you’re just getting started with cross country trekking, here are some of the things that you need to do in preparation for it. You will also know why you need to prepare this and not that. If you think picking the wrong kind of Crossfit shoes (check the right ones here) is a huge pain in the rear, think of how troublesome it is to misplace your GPS.

Heel Drop Shoes Measurement

First, plan your trek months in advance. Don’t believe people who will just tell you to pack up your bags and go. This is not Hollywood. A lot of things can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re up against and cross country trekking is not where you want things to go wrong. Do some research at least 3 months prior to your trip. Find out what your location is all about, what the paths and trails are, and the laws. Try to list down important contact information like the local law enforcement, park rangers, and so on. This will help you avoid turning your small problems into big problems. Remember what happened to James Franco in the movie 127 Hours?

Next, plan what you’re going to bring. In line with preparation is knowing what to bring. If you’re going to be walking most of the time, you have to get the best pair of shoes. I am not talking about your usual Zumba shoes, but go for those outdoor shoes that are meant to withstand heat, moisture, and rough surfaces without making you uncomfortable. Look up brands like Vibram, Merrell, and Caterpillar.

Get some gadgets. In this day and age, electronics can help save lives and with your journey, you need to be prepared. Again, remember 127 Hours? You need to be equipped with satellite phones, waterproof GPS devices, and a durable phone. You can actually purchase these from shops that sell outdoor products and they’re fairly affordable. Just don’t go for branded ones. Go for their features. Take note that the gadgets should not be weighing you down while you trek. Just bring what gadgets you need and leave it at that. Don’t bring your laptop because this won’t do you any good unless you plan to blog on the spot.

Lastly, remember what happened to James Franco after he got rescued? He left notes for his family or friends every time he left for an adventure. This is something that you should do. Leave your contact information to someone close to you and that someone should not come with you. Make an agreement that the person who has your contact information will check in every 24 hours. This way, you will have a lifeline of sorts even if it’s 1000 miles away from you.

Important Tips When On Internship Overseas and What to Do to Avoid Financial Troubles

17 Apr

Not everyone gets the opportunity to do internship abroad. The good thing is that with several universities being open for overseas partnership, more students are given the chance to conduct internship. These interns may either work in a laboratory of a partner university or be assigned to a foreign company. These interns may also be paid or not depending on the agreement. When you are lucky to have been chosen for this opportunity, then you have to make the most out of it.

Pre-departure Tips

  • Make sure that all your documents are complete. You need to secure a visa that will let you stay throughout the duration of your internship without any problem at all. Research on the type of visa that is acceptable for student interns. Take note that just because you are will register as a temporary student in a particular university does not mean you have to get a student visa. Don’t forget to bring all these documents along with your flight tickets and acceptance letter just in case it will be checked by the immigration.
  • Buy travel and health insurance. This is important since you are staying in another country for at least a month. You don’t know what is going to happen when you are in a foreign land. Thus, it is best if the expenses will be the least of your concerns.
  • Be familiar of the culture in the country where you are going to. Bring appropriate clothing. If you think you won’t be comfortable with the food that they eat, you can bring some food with you to sustain you until such time that you can find a good place to ear.

Tips During the Internship

  • Attend the orientation. Your partner professor or employer will most likely provide an orientation day to discuss the internship requirements and other important announcements. If you have questions about the internship, this is the best time to let them know.
  • Find a student buddy or a partner who will help you get through the first few days. However, you need learn to be independent along the way.
  • Ensure that you have finished the required number of hours. If there is a project that you need to work on, you have to finish it on time as well.
  • Maximize the opportunity given to you by talking to your professor and asking questions related to your course. You can also try out equipment in the laboratory that is not available in your home university.
  • Take the time to travel the local area or nearby cities. Of course, you don’t want to miss the opportunity since you are already there. Buy local dishes and don’t forget to bring home souvenirs for your classmates and professors. However, if you are not familiar of the place, you can ask someone to help you.
  • Don’t look for a job. If you will be caught by the immigration department, you will be in trouble. If you wish to earn while on an internship, you can open free binary options trading account. This is a legal way for you to earn money. In fact, anyone who is of legal age can open a binary options trading account for free.

What to Do After the Internship

  • Submit all reports and required documents by your partner university. If this internship counts as a credit course, then you will only get a grade once your documents were completed.
  • Send something back to your partner professor or the people who helped you out during the internship duration as a sign of gratitude.

Hopefully, you will enjoy your overseas internship with the help of these tips.

My recent camping trip

13 Apr

Australia can be expensive for the budget traveler, and camping is a great way to save your cash for the big ticket items like a trip for to the Whitsundays or Frasier Island. When I traveled with my sister to Australia we rented a van from a local joint called Wicked Campers instead of staying in hostels or hotels. The country was amazing, and we spent our days tanning on the endless beaches, surfing the waves and exploring the unique natural land formations throughout the country.

I was keen to pack all the essentials for our trip – sleeping bag, first aid kit, water purifying tablets, survival kit and a fire starter.  I thought I had everything in order until sis’ reminded me that I needed a pocket knife!  I didn’t have a clue what to buy until I found a useful site aimed at helping you find the best pocket knife.  I was surprised how pocket knives have evolved over the years, becoming lighter yet stronger with today’s manufacturing technologies.

Our favorite campsite was Carnavon Gorge. Located about 375 miles northwest of Brisbane, this stunning landscape was created through eons of erosion.  In this national park you can explore miles of well-maintained hiking trails, traverse natural streams and climb the dramatic cliffs. Tucked into the rock faces is the sacred site Cathedral Cave, which contains some of the most well preserved examples of ancient aboriginal art. These primitive paintings tell the story of the Rainbow Serpent, the mythical dreamland creator of the gorge.

After setting out from the visitor’s center, we first stumbled upon the Moss Garden. This was an amazing place to discover the flora of the area.  The gorge narrows and the sides of the path are lush with a wide variety of vegetation. In the cool and damp atmosphere where crystal clear water seeps out of the sandstone, many species of moss and ferns grow undisturbed.

On our hike we hoped to see some of the six species of gliders that live in the national park, but they were too shy. The kangaroos seemed less concerned with the human foot traffic, and often a mischievous joey would pop its tiny head out of the mothers pouch to get a better look at us. Bird watchers will be in paradise with eagles, falcons, king parakeets and kookaburras.

We trekked on the graded paths through the tropical forests and narrow sandstone canyons to reach the famed Amphitheater. The entrance to this spectacular site is wedged between two cliffs. From a distance it looks treacherous, but steps have been built into the entrance to help visitors along. As you step through the crevice into an enormous chamber carved out by floodwaters, you can’t help but be stunned by the most dramatic feature of the canyon.

We spent our first night camping at Big Bend, a 6 mile walk from the entrance. Setting down our packs after our exciting day of hiking, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of massive curve in the cliff face. After cooking our favorite campsite meal, chili, we sat under the stars relaxing, and noticed we could hear our voices bouncing off the bend. We couldn’t get used to the eerie sound of the noise echoing back at us, so we took to speaking only in whispers.

On day two we hiked up to the lookout point. It was a steep, unrelenting climb though the mossy Boowinda Gorge. The stunning view that awaited us at the top was worth the quivering legs and tired muscles. We spent the night again at Big Bend, and befriended the group of young Australians at the campsite next to us. We taught them how to make s’mores when we learned that they are not a traditional camping food in Australia. This time, with lots of company, the echoing only added to our fun.

The next day we hiked out early, sad to leave the dramatic landscape. Once we reached the entrance, we took a dip in the Rock Pool, just outside of the park, to wash off the dirt and sweat from our three day hike.  We hopped back into our camper van ready for our next adventure.

The best time to visit Carnavon Gorge is between March and October, when temperature is mild. Make sure to carry plenty of water as it is not safe to drink from the creek. We carried Iodine tablets with us, but a water filtration system will also work. Wear insect repellent and bring appropriate footwear. You need to acquire a camping permit ahead of time, and bookings cannot be made at the visitor’s center. Permits run $5.60 AUS per person/per night or $22.40 per family group/night.