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Category Archives for "Travel"

Apr 24

5 Travel Tips From The Road

By NoManToYou | Life , Technology , Travel

Planning your next trip and looking for some advice?

Maybe you have traveled before, be it for holidays, business or a long term trip. Having the best knowledge to manage your trip well and to help you enjoy all of the experiences along the way is important when setting out. Having traveled, I have put together five tips to help you with your travels.

  1. Be an early riser

Wake up for sunrise to have the best locations and views all to yourself. Sunrise is a spectacular time for snapping some photos due to the unique light. Higher risk or “dodgy” areas are also less threatening in the morning times too. If you’re on a long term trip, then having some time to yourself can be a nice way to appreciate life, free from distractions.

  1. Have some humility

In years to come, you will look back on your travels and remember all of the times when you felt like you looked like a fool. When you’re in a new place with different languages and traditions, it’s very easy to feel vulnerable or silly for not knowing something or doing something in a different way. But don’t get embarrassed, just laugh at yourself and take a deep breath. Don’t fear failure and remember to empathise with peoples customs.

  1. Extra cash is king!

All over the world, cash is still king. In the event of an emergency, stashing some cash in multiple places is a good idea just to cover yourself. I would suggest a couple hundred pound/dollars/euros worth at least. That way, if you do happen to lose your wallet, if your debit/credit card stops functioning, or if ATMs actually run out of cash, you’ll be safe as you will have your stash!

Examples of places to stash your extra cash would be under shoe insoles, in your socks, in a toiletry bag, or in a secret compartment in your bag.

  1. Meet Local People

Many places will be full of travelers, depending where you go and what the purpose of your trip is. You should make it your business to avoid fellow travelers for some of your trip and strike up conversations with the local people. Generally, basic English is the language of world. So relax, it is much easier to communicate than you may have thought, especially combining body language and tone of voice.

The locals may teach you a traditional cooking method or some unique music. The people you meet will enrich your travels much more than sights will.

  1. Patience is a virtue

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Whatever is thrown at you, life is too short to be annoyed or frustrated for any longer than a minute!

Miss your bus or train? Not to worry, there will be another one shortly.

Wifi goes down for an hour? Great! Talk to a human being or take an unplanned trip over to closest village and look around. Have patience.

The bottom line is

You will figure it all out as you go. Stuff will happen, your direction might change. That’s life.

cards and alcohol
Apr 15

3 More Travel Scams (How To Avoid Them)

By NoManToYou | Application , Life , Travel

Be vigilant again!

In a previous article we touched on three of the many scams that you may encounter on your travels, from taking a ride in a cab to using your gadgets on public wifi. Below, there are three further scams to watch out for and how to avoid them:

  1. A closed attraction

This travel scam is common among major tourist locations. A random “friendly” local (who probably also speaks very good English) approaches you, informing you that the attraction you were looking to visit is actually closed, for any possible reasons (e.g. religious, national holiday). They will then happily guide or bring you to a different shop or attraction where you will be pressured into buying something or pay over the top for entry.

Avoid it:

Visit the ticket office or shop front and find out for yourself if it is closed! Alternatively, you could ask a local who is willing to help.

  1. The group photo offer

At a busy tourist attraction or landmark, a local will offer you to take a big group photo with your friends. As soon as you start getting ready for the shot, you look up to discover that your new photographer friend has completely vanished, along with the expensive smart phone or camera.

Avoid it:

This is a tricky one to judge, you really need to analyse the situation well. Busy attractions in cities are typically the most risky of places for this scam. If you really need to, ask a fellow tourist to take the photo and exchange the favour.

  1. Motorbike/scooter rental damage

You rent out a scooter or motorbike. It seems to get damaged overnight, or worse again it gets stolen!

The owner demands additional payment or tells you that repairing it will be expensive and wants compensation. But what you didn’t realise is that it the owner or his associates was the bike thief.

Avoid it:

Get out your phone and take some photos of the motorbike first to document any previously visible damage. Buy your own lock to use, don’t use one provided by that rental person (who may really have the spare keys for it!). If possible, don’t tell the rental company where you’re staying and please also inspect that there is a secure place for parking the motorbike overnight.

More to come

As with my previous three scams and how to avoid them, it really is down to being vigilant and aware of the pitfalls of being goods and services in foreign places. Having your wits about you is key, so try to be of sound mind when you do go to buy something or ask for advice on something. Being under the influence gives scam artists the upper hand to take advantage of you, especially if it is night time and where running off could be a very easy option for them. If you haven’t already done so, check out my other article on 3 Travel Scams (And How To Avoid Them)

apps for travel
Mar 22

7 Useful Travel Tips For First Time Travellers

By NoManToYou | Technology , Travel

Have you decided to take the leap and go travelling for the first time?

Fo many, this is a daunting prospect and may involve quitting your job or taking unpaid extended leave. Leaving a job, family and friends behind you is by no means an easy thing to do but once you bite the bullet and book your first flight you’ll be well on your way to a more exciting appreciative life as you venture through he world. For your first trip, knowing what to pack and what not to pack is a big dilemma.

You’ll find as you go through your travels that you will often unload clothes and/or non essentials, maybe selling them or donating them to save space and weight for your rucksack.
Having the correct information about local visas, currencies, taxes, transport and accommodation are so important as well or you might find yourself overwhelmed.

I’ve put together a checklist of seven useful tips for the newbie traveller below. These are a solid foundation to get you started on your way.

7 useful tips for first time travellers

1. Get your passport in order
Having your passport well in date is a simple but very often overlooked thing to do before you go jet setting. It’s easy to forget when your passport expires and if you do not use it frequently, you might have no reason to check that the date doesn’t expire soon! The last thing you want is to discover on the day of your flight that your passport just expired. Also, when you are on your trip make sure to check the date before you intend to book a flight home, as you may be gone on a long term trip so have forgotten about your passport altogether.

2. Get your phone sorted out
You might think that keeping your current phone plan and phone is a good idea but with roaming charges and signal issues, you are probably better of starting from scratch with a local option. This all depends on where you ware visiting and for how long. Be sensible, don’t go spending a fortune on a new top of the range smart phone for the sake of a month trip!
There are great plans available for sim cards and basic phones too. After all, you don’t want to be on your phone 24/7 while you travel. That kind of defeats the purpose of experiencing travel in its best form.

3. Don’t go somewhere too remote or crazy
If you are traveling solo, maybe go somewhere that is well known and reviewed enough online. Talk to other who have gone to where you want to go. Keep an eye on local current affairs and laws etc. Some countries have laws that you might deem as crazy but which is normal practise to them. Do your research and learn as mush as you can about the pitfalls and challenges of your destination. There are numerous offline and online guides, books and blogs that can help you to understand your trip better, from foods and vaccines to visas and crime issues.

4. Get the right luggage gear
Bring a good quality comfortable backpack and/or small gadget bag if you are bringing a camera, tablet or laptop. There are loads of great bags out there online and many of the travel and outdoor-adventure shops stock great options. Remember you want to pack lightly and try to use a strict “in or out” policy with yourself. In addition to having the right bags or cases, you should have some locks and name tags to identify and protect your baggage on the road, or when you have to wait at the luggage collection belt.

5. Travel insurance (belongings and health cover)
Depending on where you are going, there are varying degrees of local safety theft and crime and general health risks that may be more evident in certain parts of the country or region you are visiting. Having a good insurance plan is crucial, no matter what length of time you plan to go for. If you will be taking part in outdoor / adventure activities then you should make sure that you have the best insurance cover to cater for these, as some companies and policies won’t cover certain activities.

6. Make digital backups
Make a digital copy of your passport, drivers license, itinerary, flights, boarding passes and insurance information. Also, make a digital copy of any required visas you may need. You never know, you might lose your paper documents, your luggage could go missing in transit or worse again it could get stolen, leaving you without important documents. Before you leave, make a copy of whatever you can and put them on a password protected USB key and also create a password protected Dropbox or Google Drive folder with eh digital copies in them. That way, you can access them from any computer online or with your USB key.

7. Be open to staying in hostels
Staying in hostels is one of the best ways to meet other backpackers and travellers on your journey. There are too many great hostels around the world, it just depends on where you are going and what your likes and budgets are. Beware though, that hostels are basic in nature and also that you may end up sharing a random bunk bed or share in a 16 bed dorm room! This is normal. Hostels are cheap and great fun and most of them have solid wifi access.

To wrap up
• Travel lightly and protect your luggage
• Stay where your budget will permit, hostels and camping are great options for low budgets
• Back up your documents to a USB key and some cloud storage service
• Check that passport well before you book a flight and actually fly
• Do your research and don’t go anywhere too crazy or off the beaten track
• Buy a local phone or sim plan (depending on your trip’s length)
• Get yourself insured and any valuable gadgets too.

travel advice
Mar 01

4 Things To Make Your Travels Even Better

By NoManToYou | Life , Travel

When planning your trip, think outside the box

Planning your trip can be fun and exciting but don’t plan too much or your trip itself might become less exciting as it will be too scripted and you might feel that you have to rigidly stick to the plan!

After all, you may find that you prefer one place over another and so rearrange your plans to move on or stay. Spontaneity is great and keep sth travel experience fresh and unique. It’s in these spontaneous moments that we learn something new or meet someone who we will never forget. I have listed below five things to do or ways to approach travelling that you might like to consider:

  1. Volunteer occasionally

As you travel throughout the world, you will see the vast variances in the poverty divide. You should make it your business to volunteer for worthwhile meaningful projects while you are traveling. This is not only a rewarding experience, but you can often learn more about a country and its people in addition to making new friends through volunteer work. You might find somewhere to volunteer when you arrive or you can pre-plan it.

There are a couple of websites around where you can search for recommended opportunities to volunteer around the world. Do some research and find something that is close to your heart and will benefit people.

  1. Get lost on purpose

To see where the real people live and work, you’ll need to go visit those areas. So many places in the world are geared up for tourism and this gives a certain portrayal of an area but often you will need to venture out further to discover authenticity. Not knowing where you are going, wander off!

Make note of your hostel or accommodation name if you need to get a taxi back later, then just randomly pick a direction and get your feet moving.

But what about danger? Don’t be too worried about meandering across a dangerous neighbourhood either, as many locals will usually warn you before hand.

  1. Eat local cuisine

Coming from he Western world, you might think that you already know what Chinese or Indian food tastes like? But you are probably wrong! On your travels, taste everything even if you don’t really know what you’r eating. Ask for local eating recommendations too. If eating street food, choose a vendor with a big queue out in front!

local food

  1. Slow down

Don’t make the mistake of cramming five countries into five weeks of travel!

Usually, all of the good stuff that you’ll forever more cherish happens when you simply take your time to explore the area. You will learn about the activities that you won’t find in the guidebook and you will also meet people who are eager to show you around. Its nice to not have to be anywhere at any time and just soak it all up.

Experience enhanced

These four things can really help you enhance your experience of travel. There are lots of ways to make your traveling better, more rewarding, more exciting or whatever it is you are looking for!

uk places you should visit
Jan 15

Great Places To Visit In UK – Beyond London.

By NoManToYou | Travel

So you have been to London, where to next?

London is one of the great cosmopolitan cities to visit, with loads to see and do. Whether you are after museums, shopping malls or just some sightseeing, there is something for every type of traveler. However, London is often compared to similar cities in Western Europe. So with that in mind, there are hundreds of great spots to visit around United Kingdom besides London. Below are just a few great places to go to on your travels.

Edinburgh

For summery weather, go to Edinburgh! Filled with art festivals, a great comedy scene and spectacular scenery, Edinburgh is a wonderful choose to experience a culturally steeped city. If you are into museums, the National Museum of Scotland will give you a nice taster of country’s history. Believe it of not, you’ll see more than just scotch whiskey, kilts and medieval swords!

Moving on a little further, in Glasgow, art fans will really love the stunning art gallery and museum at Kelvingrove.

On the Northwesterly side of Scotland, little towns such as Torridon offer visitors nice surprises like sea-life tours, yachting, and camping for those of you who like the outdoors.

Castles

King of the castle? Inverness, Cardiff, Windsor and Skye sports some nice castles where the grandeur of the nation’s intricate past is on full display. Scotland is home to the famous Stirling Castle. However, if you are not going that far up north, check out somewhere closer to London, maybe Leeds Castle in the southeast of the city. There are a number of chartered buses in operation from tour companies to drive you between castles, so do your research prior to your trip to find the best options and prices.

Canterbury

A medieval city and home to Canterbury Cathedral and St. Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury was a major pilgrimage location for many years, boasting a fascinating rich history. Regardless of if you don’t like or don’t want organised tour guides, Canterbury is definitely one place where you will miss out if you don’t hire one.

Museums

To gain more knowledge and historical insight, check out Southampton, York, Manchester, Liverpool or basically any of the cities that have something unique in their history. For example, Southampton, was the port where the famous Titanic departed from back in 1912. It also houses the SeaCity Museum. Whereas Manchester on the other hand, sports the National Football Museum for any of you die-hard soccer fans (we call it football in the UK). If transportation and infrastructure is your thing, then York has a whole museum dedicated to trains and railroads and better again it is free in! Beatles fan? Liverpool is the place for you, with the dedicated Beatles museum. Also check out The Beatles Story while you’re there.

Hull

Fields of real flowers are nice and all, but what if you could experience blooms that live forever? Well, you can in Hull! Celebrating the City of Culture 2017, an annual event held all over the world in an effort to celebrate a city’s vibrancy culture, people and arts point of view — Hull houses a field of yellow flowers, in King Edward Square. What’s the catch? The more than 1,700 flowers are made out of nearly 147,000 bricks of Lego!

Gloucestershire

With many charms, in the southwest of the Cotswolds region, this place is not to be missed. As it is further away from London, it is not as over run as other regions. A little town with cobblestoned streets, boasting vintage shops and artisan breweries among the bustling markets, Stroud manages to offer a charming history as well as the modern requirements of today’s traveler. 

castles

Rye

A lovely little historic town, Rye is similar to other market based towns across Britain. However, what makes this place special is its location on the Romney marshes. This is along the edge of one of the longest beaches on the South coast. Staying in town? Expect to rummage through the antique shops and wander through the alleys and battlements.

Glamping tickle your fancy?

On the other end of the spectrum of hustle and bustle is being out in the open with nature. Maybe part of your trip requires some nice relaxing down time int he countryside. Then glamping is ideal for you, giving you a glorified camping experience.

Roulotte Retreat, Melrose

Hide away from the cold in a traditional Gypsy’s caravan at the Roulotte Retreat in Melrose on the Scottish border. With the Eildon Hills overlooking, each caravan has its own style and flavour to it influenced from Morocco, Celtic and Indian cultures.

Back to London maybe?

If you are a first timer to London, maybe you want to spend more of your trip there. Great! It’s pretty easy to make your way over to Cambridge, where you’ll find the Fitzwilliam Museum and of course the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens.

If you ware looking for nice beaches, then Southend-on-Sea is a stunning destination.

For a countryside shopping experience, High Wycombe will tickle your fancy and has some amazing architecture to keep you gazing and questioning.

Budgets and more information

With the economy starting to recover and all of the rustle and bustle with Brexit, the travel industry will probably take much longer to reach maximum capacity once again. For you the traveler, this is great because it means competition among tourism and travel companies will remain competitive giving you a great number of choices for all budgets!

If you are traveling from outside of Europe, for now, make sure you have the correct visa and that your passport is in date (the visa will depend on how long you intend to stay for).

Do your research based on where you want to go, find out costs, the pros and cons of the area and the best times to book and you’ll be on your way!

Dec 01

How Can Facebook Application Trends Affect Traveling

By NoManToYou | Application , Technology , Travel

Considering that millions of people are active on Facebook, this social media has become a new Google. Ever since Facebook implemented ads on its platform, many users discover new things, places, and gadgets through them. In the last decade, Facebook has become a massive mega force and now is changing the way how people think and behave. So, let’s see how Facebook is affecting traveling.

It promotes travel applications

Facebook Application Trends Affect Traveling

Many tech companies use Facebook for the purpose of marketing. They market their apps on this social media, where many people have access to it. So, in this way, they shape the public’s opinion and affect their choice of destination. Recently, many travel apps have appeared on Facebook, and people started using them as a very convenient solution to choose or review a certain destination. Now, users have a chance to see what is right for them and what to avoid. In the past, this has been passed along in person, but now people have become a part of this virtual community where everything is transparent.

Hotels, resorts, and tourist organization apps

Facebook Application Trends Affect Traveling Sites like Facebook are used as an excellent online marketing because of the vast accessibility. Many hotels, resorts, and tourist agency target people through this social media. They are offering them a possibility to download their app, through Facebook. Many users will seize this chance to explore something new, to connect with people and to hear their experience, rather than trying something for the first time on their own. Through these apps, you can book and pay for the hotel room, read the reviews of other users and explore interesting things site can offer you. The Facebook application trends have become a powerful weapon, which has one goal, to attract a bigger number of visitors to a certain destination and they are succeeding in that.

image of washing bag
Nov 26

Managing Laundry On Your Travels

By NoManToYou | Life , Travel

Clothes dirty? Haven’t washed in a few days?

So you have packed your bags full of clothes for every season. And then you end up throwing some out or donating some to charity to save space and reduce weight. So now you will probably be wearing some of your clothes a little longer. Keeping your clothes clean on the road is a challenge at first but there are ways to manage it well and for little cost. It’s actually pretty easy to keep everything fresh and clean. Below are some techniques I use that you could also adopt on your adventures:

Wash-in-the-sink method

The method is pretty easy to follow. Plug the sinks drain, add in your soap, add some hot water and wash the clothes by hand, the good old fashioned way! This is probably the most popular way that travelers clean their garments and it costs only for the soap (free if you collect some in the previous hostel or eatery).

If the drain in your sink is missing, then rolling up a sock or a cloth will work too, just stuff it in to block the hole. Wrapping the cloth or sock in a plastic bag will improve your drain blocker ability! Finally, rinse off the garments in the sink and unplug.

Coin-operated method

The world is full of coin operated laundromats. Although, these are usually found in the cities and larger towns. Occasionally, hostels and guesthouses will have a few machines, just ask at reception.

Basically you put your clothes in, set the temperature and time, add some detergent and put in your money to start the washing cycle. These are a great place to meet people and you can have a chat while you wait around.

The laundry lady

Depending on where you are, there may be a laundry service for a small additional charge. Simply arrange to have your laundry done onsite and you won’t have to worry about the wash-dry burden yourself!

Finally, drying your clothes

If washing your clothes with the wash-in-the-sink method, discovering an efficient, quick way to dry them is crucial! Depending on the weather and general climate of where you are in the world, drying clothes outdoors might not be an option to rely on. However, when the sun is out, and your hostel or accommodation does have an outdoor clothesline (very often found on the roof), drying your clothes out on the line in the fresh air will only take a couple of hours.

What is the weather is bad?

In places of bad weather or if you are in a hurry for a flight so you are forced to dry indoors, below is a nifty trick to speed things up for you:

Get a dry towel, lay it out over a bed, put your garment on that towel then roll it up really tight.

Additional moisture will be sucked out by the dry towel, giving you a faster dry time for your clothes.

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