Writing and Travelling

Adventure? Excitement? And looking to be in control of your travel money? It is suggested that travel writing may well be the dream career for budding writers and young explorers who want to see the world. The canon of travel writers are made up of four individuals who have made the craft their own. Here is a short biography of each.

Paul Theroux was born in 1941 and made his name as a writer of fiction with the publication of the 1967 somewhat hyper-real novel Waldo. His movement into travel non-fiction came in 1975 when he embarked on a succession of train-rides from London to Japan and chose to document the journey as The Great Railway Bazaar; an adventure that took him through war-zones and deserts and back again aboard the Trans-Siberian express. Recently known for his controversial (mis)representations of certain celebrities and authors, his most recent outing, Ghost Train To The Eastern Star, is a revisit to the places of which he wrote in 1975.

Bruce Chatwin was also both a novelist and travel writer. Born in 1940 and after a job at Sotheby’s and later The Sunday Times – he near-spontaneously left the paper and travelled to Patagonia. Whilst he was there, he wrote In Patagonia which was subsequently published as his first book in 1977. Due to his untimely death, Chatwin’s writing career was relatively short and thus his last travel book was published ten years later as The Songlines, often described as a meditation on restlessness in the Australian outback.

Isabella Tree is a biographer and travel writer for numerous British newspapers and has been published often in book form since 1991 with an exploration into the life of ornithologist John Gould. Her first travel book, Islands In The Clouds, documents her journey to New Guinea and she is currently researching her next book in Kathmandu. ‘You can get so wrapped up in observing, thinking, making notes,’ she says. ‘As a traveller you need to dive in and experience things.’

Robert D. Kaplan is a travel and foreign affairs journalist and was born in 1953. He lived in Israel before joining the army and doing some part-time reporting in Europe, but his career in writing really began in 1984 during his coverage of the Iran-Iraq war. Kaplan’s popularity was stimulated somewhat by Bill Clinton’s decision to not intervene in Bosnia due to the arguments proposed within Balkan Ghosts. His recent work focuses on the American military Imperial Grunts: The American Military On The Ground and Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground.

Travel Planning & Immunization

For some countries no immunizations are necessary, but the further off the beaten track you go the more necessary it is to take precautions. Be aware that there is often a greater risk of disease with children and in pregnancy.

Leave plenty of time to get your vaccinations before you set off: some of them require an initial shot followed by a booster, and some vaccinations should not be given together. It is recommended you seek medical advice at least six weeks prior to travel.

Record all vaccinations on a International Health Certificate, which is available from your physician or government health department.

Discuss your requirements with your doctor, vaccinations which may be required include:

Cholera:

Despite its poor protection, in some situations it may be wise to have the cholera vaccine eg for the trans-Africa traveler. Very occasionally travelers are asked by immigration officials to present a certificate, even though all countries and the WHO have dropped a cholera immunisation as a health requirement. You might be able to get a certificate without having the injection from a doctor or health centre sympathetic to the vagaries of travel in Africa.

Hepatitis A:

The most common travel-acquired illness after diarrhea which can put you out of action for weeks. Havrix is a vaccination which provides long term immunity (possibly more than 10 years) after an initial injection and a booster at six to 12 months. Gamma globulin is not a vaccination but is ready-made antibody collected from blood donations. It should be given close to departure because, depending on the dose, it only protects for two to six months.

Hepatitis B:

This disease is spread by blood or by sexual activity. Travelers who should consider a hepatitis B vaccination include those visiting countries where there are known to be many carriers, where blood transfusions may not be adequately screened or where sexual contact is a possibility. It involves three injections, the quickest course being over three weeks with a booster at 12 months.

Japanese B Encephalitis:

This mosquito-borne disease is not of great risk to travelers. It occurs in Asia. Consider the vaccination if spending a month or longer in a high risk area, making repeated trips to a risk area or visiting during an epidemic. It involves three injections over 30 days. The vaccine is expensive and has been associated with serious allergic reactions so the decision to have it should be balanced against the risk of contracting the illness.

Meningococcal Meningitis – Healthy people carry this disease; it is transmitted like a cold and you can die from it within a few hours. There are many carriers and vaccination is recommended for travelers to certain parts of Asia, India, Africa and South America. It is also required of all Haj pilgrims entering Saudi Arabia. A single injection will give good protection for three years. The vaccine is not recommended for children under two years because they do not develop satisfactory immunity from it.

Polio:

Polio is a serious, easily transmitted disease, still prevalent in many developing countries. Everyone should keep up to date with this vaccination. A booster every 10 years maintains immunity.

Rabies:

Vaccination should be considered by those who will spend a month or longer in a country where rabies is common, especially if they are cycling, handling animals, caving, traveling to remote areas, or for children (who may not report a bite). Pre-travel rabies vaccination involves having three injections over 21 to 28 days. If someone who has been vaccinated is bitten or scratched by an animal they will require two booster injections of vaccine, those not vaccinated require more.

Tetanus & Diphtheria:

Tetanus can be a fatal wound infection and diphtheria can be a fatal throat infection Everyone should have these vaccinations. After an initial course of three injections, boosters are necessary every 10 years.

Tuberculosis:

TB risk to travelers is usually very low. For those who will be living with or closely associated with local people in high risk areas such as Asia, Africa and some parts of the Americas and Pacific, there may be some risk. As most healthy adults do not develop symptoms, a skin test before and after travel to determine whether exposure has occurred may be considered. A vaccination is recommended for children living in these areas for three months or more.

Typhoid:

This is an important vaccination to have where hygiene is a problem. Available either as an injection or oral capsules.

Yellow Fever:

Yellow fever is now the only vaccine which is a legal requirement for entry into many countries, usually only enforced when coming from an infected area. Protection lasts 10 years and is recommended where the disease is endemic, eg Africa and South America. You usually have to go to a special yellow fever vaccination centre. Vaccination poses some risk during pregnancy but if you must travel to a high-risk area it is advisable; note that people allergic to eggs may not be able to have this vaccine.

Traveling by Train across the U.S. and Europe

Have you ever considered traveling by train across the United States or Europe? Most people in the United States do not consider train travel as a good option, but it may be time to think again. When you think of traveling by train, you may think of all of the commuter trains, but to truly experience train travel you need to look at it in a new light. With the cost of gasoline and also air travel on the rise, it may be time for the relaxing, smooth and carefree way to see the country-traveling by train.

Train travel in the United States is by no means a new thing. A century ago it was the best way to get from one point to another. Airplane and car travel was very new and most people could not afford it. However, it was not long before traveling by train became a thing of the past as air and automobile travel became faster and more efficient. People take trains now for commuting. Just a select few enjoy traveling by train for nostalgic reasons. You can still catch the Trans-Continental Railway across Canada, or the Durango to Silverton train in Colorado, or the Grand Canyon railway to the South Rim.

In Europe, on the other hand it is a different story. Traveling by train is the norm rather than the exception in many areas. It is expensive to own and operate a car, so people take the train. Visitors as well as natives take the train not only to get around town, but also to get from city to city and country to country. If you get a Euro rail pass and a passport, you can go virtually anywhere. These passes can be purchased online or at a station.

Train travel in the U.S. may experience a rebirth of sorts in the future as people try to control travel costs as well as slow down the busy pace of their lives. Many train operating companies offer great discounts and deals for travelers and students. If you want to take a train, get on board.

Kazakhstan Travel Notes

A newly-emerged country, once republic of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan is a country with huge tourism potential. In the south, the country features monuments of the past, Islamic mosques and madrassahs. Almaty, the southern capital, is a busy political and financial center, a city with buzzing nightlife and lots of attractions. In the north, the Baikanur Cosmodrome, attracts visitors who wish to view the impressive launches of Russian spacecrafts.

The past centuries have given the lands of Kazakhstan many historical monuments. The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in the city of Turkestan is a unique example of medieval architecture. Numerous rooms are grouped around a square mausoleum hall, covered by one of the largest domes in Central Asia, eighteen meters in diameter. The majestic building is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Such historical and cultural monuments and mausoleums as Abat-Baytak and Aisha-Bibi, a necropolis of Karaman-Ata, palace complexes of Akyrtas and Baba-Ata, the ancient settlements of Koylyk, Issyk, and Berel are of considerable interest for touristrs. In total, Kazakhstan has more than 25 thousand monuments of history, archeology, architecture and monumental art. Kazakhstan is a lowland country, bordered by mountains. An example of such relief is the city of Almaty, where the windows of the houses have a view on the peaks of the Trans-Ili Alatau. This is a popular district of the Tien Shan, famous for its beauty of the mountain forests and alpine landscapes. Covering the area of nearly a thousand square miles, there is the Almaty Reserve located here. Almaty neighborhood is well-known for its orchards where amazingly big apples ripen. Among the sports facilities, one can mention the famous ice skating rink Medeo in the mountains.

Lake Balkhash is a unique natural phenomenon, being half fresh and half salty, 600 kilometers in length and surrounded by sand dunes and desert pastures. Another peculiar natural attraction is Lake Burabaj, admired for its relict pine forests, bizarre sculptures carved from granite by rain and wind. In the middle of the lake, there rises above the water surface a rocky island called Zhumbaktas. Its coast is overgrown with pine and birch forests. The combination of mountains, pine forests and the lake creates special climatic conditions, therefore a resort known for curative mud and mineral waters has been opened here.

Kazakhstan is not just an open air museum, but also a country with beautiful natural attractions, such as alpine meadows of the mountains, the majestic scenery of the Charyn River Canyon, and Lake Burabaj, mentioned in myths and legends. One of the most beautiful corners of Kazakhstan is Bayanaul National Park created to protect the unique flora and fauna of the north-eastern part of the country.

The most beautiful city of Kazakhstan is Almaty. Located near the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains, it is characterized by original architectural ensembles that combine the elements of traditional style with the latest building structures. Chimbulak mountain sports base in the suburbs of Almaty attracts mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, seeking the ski slopes with a considerable vertical drop.

One of the most spectacular wonders of the country is the Charyn River. Along the river one will find a deep and picturesque canyon, while the forests of this vast desert oasis make a lasting impression on the traveler. The water, wind, and heat have given the banks of the river wonderful shapes, resembling the walls of the ancient city. Diverse flora and fauna, with giant ashes and poplars, over 300 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians and more than 800 arthropods give this place a unique appearance.

On the banks of the Ili river, there is a wonderful monument of nature, the Singing Dune. Located between the two mountain ranges, the dune is influenced by the winds in such a way that the sand remains in one place all the time, without moving anywhere. The sand produces a humming sound so powerful that its ‘singing’ can be heard for several kilometers.

Top 10 Inspiring Travel Books

This may not be your typical list of travel books but these books inspired me to pack my bags and visit distant lands.

Whenever you are in need of inspiration, you can pick any of these books up and get motivated to travel and explore all over again!

So here are my favourites!

Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks

British comedian Tony Hawks takes a friend up on a bet to see if he can hitchhike around Ireland… with a fridge. The book not only inspires you to visit Ireland but also makes you fall in love with the Irish people and their quirky acceptance of just about anything… even a hitchhiker with a fridge.

Travels by Michael Crichton

The acclaimed author chronicles his travels as a young student as he battled the many challenges travellers today don’t have to contend with. His journey takes him up Kilimanjaro and around the world with both laughter and tears.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Before it was an inspiring movie this was an inspiring book. You can literally taste the delicious Italian food and feel the spirituality as the protagonist seeks “the meaning of life” on a journey through Italy, India and Bali. The book has great descriptions of the foods she tries and the cultures she encounters.

Pole to Pole by Michael Palin

I actually don’t remember which of Palin’s travel books I’ve read (I’ve read more than one) but they are all inspiring. This is the one I most clearly remember, as it inspired me to visit Tromso in Northern Norway. I love his style of writing, always with a bit of humor thrown in. He also has incredible TV travel programs, after he returns from the filming of each TV travel series he turns his adventures into a book.

Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson

This is just one of Bill Bryson’s entertaining travel books. It’s one of those books where you find yourself laughing out loud, even if you’re reading on the bus! The author has a hilarious sense of humor and always sees the funny side of foreign cultures and sites. Another of Bryson’s great books is Small Island which takes a quirky look at Britain.

The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemingway

I wonder how many travellers have gone to the Pamplona’s running of the bulls because of this book. I certainly would want to. Hemingway’s classic tale of the bullfighting aficionados conjured up the sounds, smells and spirit of this unique Spanish festival.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Having been forced to read Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast at university, which put me off ever travelling to Central America, I then discovered his other novels. Theroux travelled by train from the UK to Japan and his account of this journey became a classic travel book. His 4 month trip took him on many of the most famous rail routes in the world including the Trans-Siberian Railway. He went on to write other great train journey books.

Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen

OK so this isn’t an obvious travel book choice, as it focuses on food, but the setting and the delicious French food described in the book inspired me to visit Denmark. Babette arrives as a refugee in a remote village on Jutland, Denmark. 14 years later she wins the lottery and decides to spend all her winnings on preparing a French feast for the austere and modest community. Incredible French flavors and austere Danish landscapes seem like a world away.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Veteran shoestring traveller Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.

The book is about taking time off from your normal life-from six weeks to four months to two years-to discover and experience the world on your own terms.

Seven Years In Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

Originally published in 1953, this adventure classic recounts Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer’s 1943 escape from a British internment camp in India, his daring trek across the Himalayas, and his happy sojourn in Tibet, then, as now, a remote land little visited by foreigners. Warmly welcomed, he eventually became tutor to the Dalai Lama, teenaged god-king of the theocratic nation.

I am always on the lookout for something new to read. What are you reading?

Travel Essentials in the Philippines

Travel essentials in the Philippines may differ from one traveler to another depending on your preference and objective. From swimming, diving, shopping, sight-seeing or exploring, Philippines has all the essential things to offer. Travel in the Philippines must be a fun-filled, extra-special traveling experience so I intend to acquaint you with what you need to know about the Philippines, which places you may want to visit, how is air, sea and land travel in the Philippines and more. No matter how long you intend to stay here, whether it be for 4 days, 4 weeks or even more, you can explore, learn and experience why it is essentially, more fun in the Philippines!

People: Filipinos are very well-known for being hospitable since time immemorial. When you are in a foreign land, it makes you feel better when you are at ease and when you feel that you are very much welcome. And what can make you feel more welcome than receiving gracious greetings and sweet smiles even from those you may consider strangers in a foreign land? It is the overwhelming warmth of the Filipinos in general, the friendliness and the sincere desire to help that will surely make your stay in the Philippines, extra special.

Language: Filipino and English are the official languages in the Philippines. While Filipino is the national language, English is also widely used. Communicating your thoughts with the locals will never be a hard task.

Weather: It is best to travel in the Philippines between the months of November and May. The average temperature in the Philippines (except Baguio) is 26.6 deg. C (79.9 deg. F). November to February is cool while March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, with the months between July and September characterized by typhoons. Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines, with an elevation of 1,500 m (5,000 ft.) above sea level has an average temperature of 18.3 deg. C (64.9 deg. F).

Currency: The currency in the Philippines is peso or PHP. Coin denominations are 5, 10, 25 centavos and 1& 5 pesos. Bill denominations are 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos. Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Most large stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express, Visas and MasterCard. Traveller’s checks, preferably American Express are accepted at hotels and large department stores. Personal checks drawn on foreign banks are generally not accepted.

Religion: Filipinos are predominantly Christians – 82.9% Catholics, 5.4% Protestants, 4.6% Islam, 2.6% Philippine Independent Church, 2.3% Iglesia ni Cristo

Water:The supply of water in Metro Manila and in all other major cities are considered drinkable. But if you are looking for bottled purified water, mineral water or spring water, you can easily find these available in all grocery stores and are often supplied in hotels and resorts nationwide.

Electricity: 220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.

Clothing: Casual clothing, which consists of a shirt and shorts or pants is very common among Filipinos.

The most common business casual attire combination (which is more like a business attire) for both men and women are as follows:

For women, a business casual attire consists of a skirt or a slacks. Jeans is a definite no-no. For the top, a dress shirt or polo would do.

For men, a collared shirt top and cotton trousers (preferably colored blue, gray, brown, or black) with a belt and modest shoes with socks is generally acceptable.

Filipino Food: Rice is a staple food in the Philippines. Try our sinangag or fried rice with your favorite dish. Adobo, kaldereta, lechon, kare-kare, sinigang, lumpia and bistek (beef steak) are very popular ‘national dishes’. You might also want to try bibingka, puto, palitaw and kuchinta for merienda or snacks. Street foods are common such as fish ball, kikiam, kwek-kwek and barbeques like isaw, chicken head and chicken feet.

Tipping is expected for many services. The standard practice is 10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that already include a 10% service charge.

Business Hours: Normally, business hours starts between 8:00 am – 8:30 am and ends between 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm from Monday to Friday. Most private offices are also open on a Saturday when operating hours starts between 8:00 am – 8:30 am and ends at 12:00 noon.

Banks are open from 9am to 3pm, Mondays to Fridays, with automated teller machines (ATM) operating 24 hours. Banks found inside the malls are open everyday, except holidays, from 10am to 7pm.

Telephone and Mobile Phone: Telephone service is modern and you can direct dial anywhere in the world. Public phones are available and are plentiful. These public phones only require one five peso coin for a three minute local call. If your friends or relatives, living outside the country wishes to call you here, the international dialing code is +63.

Time Zone: Standard time zone in the Philippines is UTC/GMT + 8 hours. Time zone abbreviation is PHT for Philippine Time. There is no daylight saving time in the Philippines.

Anti-Smoking Law: Section five of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9211) prohibits the carrying of any lighted tobacco product in public vehicles, schools, health centers, elevators, cinemas, malls and in places where fire hazards are present. Smoking is also banned in recreational facilities for minors. Fines imposed on violators of this section range from P500 to P10,000.

Anti-Jaywalking Ordinance: Jaywalking used to be rampant in Metro Manila, causing traffic or even accidents. To avoid this, the Anti-Jaywalking Ordinance, under MMDA Ordinance No.1 Series of 1995, was made. Those who will be caught crossing the streets outside the pedestrian crosswalk or footbridges in Metro Manila will be issued a pedestrian violation receipt (PVR), will be made to pay a P200-fine and will also be made to attend a 30-minute seminar on disaster response and assistance to be given by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Driving: Motor vehicles are driven on the right side of the road.

Air Travel in the Philippines: By air, Philippine Airlines, Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific, ZestAir, Seair, Tiger Airways, and Air Asia provide air travel services to major cities and towns in the Philippines. These airlines offer promotions and big discounts on flights several times a year making air travel in the Philippines more affordable. There are also scheduled chartered flights to major domestic destinations serviced by smaller commuter planes.

Sea Travel in the Philippines: Commercial ships and ferries are the most affordable way to travel from one region to another. 2Go Travel, Super Cat, Ocean Jet, Cebu Ferries, Cokaliong, Trans-Asia, Lite Shipping and Montenegro Lines provide ferry services within the Philippines.

Land Travel in the Philippines: Public Transportation by land consists of buses, jeepneys, tricycles, pedicabs, taxis, and MRT/LRT/PNR. If possible, try to avoid these public transports especially buses, jeepneys and MRT/LRT in Metro Manila during rush hours (6:30-8:30 AM/PM), when you can expect these transport vehicles to be overcrowded.

Entry Regulations: A passport valid for at least 6 months. Except for stateless persons and those from countries that do not have diplomatic relations, all visitors may enter the country without visas and may stay for 21 days provided they have tickets for an onward journey.

Health requirements: A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers coming in from an infected area.

How to get there: The international gateways in the Philippines are Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark and Laoag. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA; IATA: MLA), which is located about 7-12 kilometers south of Manila and southwest of Makati, is the main international gateway for travelers to the Philippines.

Customs: Visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage Declaration Form before disembarking to facilitate Customs examination. The following are allowed inside the duty-free: reasonable quantity of clothes, jewelry and toiletries: 400 sticks of cigarettes or two tins of tobacco, two bottles of wine or spirits of not more than one liter each.

Porterage: Baggage carts are available for free. Porter services are also free. Tipping is traditional.

Airport Transfers: Visitors are advised to avail of accredited fixed rate or metered taxis at the airport’s arrival area. All airports have counters for hotel transport and car rental service.

Accommodations in the Philippines: In Metro Manila and in key cities and towns throughout the country, a wide selection of deluxe, standard, economy and pension-type accommodations are available.

Shopping in the Philippines: Shopping in the Philippines is truly amazing and delightful – whatever it is you are looking for.Major shopping malls like SM Super Malls, Robinsons, Ayala Malls, Araneta Malls, Gaisano and others are available throughout the country. For the budget-conscious traveler, Divisoria in Manila and Baclaran in Paranaque offer wholesale prices and the lowest prices in retail sales.

Entertainment and Culture: Manila’s nightlife is one of the most vibrant in Asia, reflecting the Filipino’s love for music. The hubs of nightlife activities are at the Remedios Circle in Malate, Ayala Center, The Fort at Bonifacio Global City, Timog and Tomas Morato Avenues in Quezon City, Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong and Pasig Cities and Eastwood in Libis. Clubs, music lounges, pubs, and sing-along bars feature Filipino bands and singers known for their exceptional talent in music. Deluxe hotels offer a variety of live musical entertainment. Concerts and stage plays form a part of the country’s entertainment scene.

Top Beaches and Travel Destinations:

Boracay Island in Aklan
El Nido in Palawan
Honda Bay in Palawan
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Camiguin Island
Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro
Panglao Island, Bohol
Mactan Island in Cebu
Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte
Pearl Farm in Davao

Major Cities in the Philippines:

Manila
Cebu
Baguio
Davao
Cagayan de Oro

Top Diving Destinations:

Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro
Anilao in Batangas
Coron Island in Palawan
Monad Shoal in Malapascua Island (Cebu)
Yapak in Boracay Island
Tubbataha Reef National Park in Palawan
Crocodile Island in Boracay (Aklan)
Balicasag Island in Bohol
Apo Island
Cabilao Island, Bohol
Sarangani Bay

Top World Heritage Sites:

Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, South Sulu Sea, Palawan
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan
Ifugao or Banawe Rice Terraces in Ifugao
Historic City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur
Church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Nuestra Senora dela Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila
Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo

Top Ten Ways to Travel Cheaply and Stick to a Budget

Everyone would love to have the money to travel in style, stay in 5 star hotels and travel first class on planes but this is only a fantasy for 90% of travelers. Most of us have to travel on a budget, stay in hostels and pray that we have an aisle seat on the plane to stretch out into on a long haul flight. This is however the best way to travel as in many people’s eyes you are backpacking properly and getting a much richer experience, but you still need to tighten the purse strings and spend wisely.

I have composed a list of the top ten ways to travel low cost for the first time backpackers. If you keep these points in mind on your journeys you may even return home with some loose change in your pocket.

Swap With Other Travelers

Swapping items of clothing and equipment is very economical and practical when trying to travel cheaply through many different climates and countries. If you start out in cold weather but plan to move onto tropical countries then try and swap your coat for a good waterproof. You would not want a winter coat taking up space in your backpack anyway. Similarly, you can swap travel guide books for countries you have been to for those on countries you are going to. If you do plan to discard something, always check to see if there is something you can swap for in return people will be very happy to oblige.

Travel Overnight

This is a great idea because you can travel a long distance without the wait endured while being conscious, and save money on the accommodation for the night. You do not have the luxury of a full night sleep or the comfort, but the savings are huge if the journey is necessary. Asia has a lot of trains which take days to get from A to B i.e. the Trans Siberian Railway. Of course you would not travel the whole way in one stint but many have bunks and are slightly better than a coach. You may need a face mask and ear plugs.

Purchase Discount Cards

There are several cards which offer you discounts at many world wide attractions and for stays at budget accommodation. Google either the International Student Identity Card or if you are not a student the International Youth Identity Card. Getting a YHA card is also a great money saver if you are going to New Zealand, Australia or to an extent the USA. I saved a load of money in all these destinations. Each of these cards mentioned cost roughly 10 Pounds or 20 US Dollars but you can easily earn your money back. I f you are having trouble finding the cards, following the link to my site below and click on discounts in the menu.

Local Food

In Asia and South America the local people bring their cuisine to you. City streets are normally lined with locals selling good traditional food for lower prices that in restaurant and cafes. You can easily grab a generous portion of noodles or grilled chicken for around One Pound or two US Dollars. Also, do not be surprised if you find the tastiest food at the side of the road either (and I am not talking road kill) as many local recipes are past down and refined through generations.

Opt For Shared Accommodation

Hostels do offer single or double rooms with en suite facilities but these can be up to five times the price of other rooms available. To keep the price low, opt into a shared dormitory with a shared bathroom. The size of the dormitory does vary from 15 down to 4 people but usually the more sharing the cheaper it gets. For instance, in New Zealand I opted for a private double room which cost 55 NZD a night between two, while other people shared a dormitory for as low as 15 NZD a night each. The savings can be huge especially if you are booked in for a long stay.

Stay On The Beaten Track

Inevitably cities are more expensive than the outskirts but also have a lot to see and do. Alternatively you could avoid the cities and see all that nature has to offer. You could stay in the jungle in Thailand or Yellowstone National Park in the USA and save a lot on the high accommodation and entrance fees generally associated with cities. Even if you cut out a one or two city stops and exchange them for National Parks and hiking, then you will find the cost of traveling a lot less.

Avoid Traveling Long Distances

This is not always a great idea because overland journeys are much more rewarding than internal flights as you can break the journey up and stop off to see lots of different things. However, long distance travel can be costly even by coach or train. Work out what you definitely want to see and plan your route carefully as you may have to make choices if money is running low. Another good tip is always book travel in advance firstly to avoid disappointment and secondly as sometimes discounts as offered.

Walk Instead of Ride

If you are sight seeing in cities you can get tired especially if the city is large and there is lots to see. If you have time then walk instead of riding the bus or tube because you will save a lot of money. Transport in major cities is always expensive in the Western world and in more developing countries you can be in danger of getting ripped off. To strengthen my argument, walking is also the best way to see things. If you jump on the tube and ride for 5 stops you miss everything in between and have a hole in your pocket. You will be paying enough on transport costs so save when you can.

Cut Back On The Booze

This is probably the last area that you will try and save on but it can be a big expenditure for some travelers. Try and get you drinking out of the way in South America and South East Asia while the drink is cheap. Anywhere in Australasia or Western Europe will be quite dear. Be prepared to also pay over the odds for drink in Muslim countries such as Malaysia as they do not consume alcohol. Remember you can drink back at home anytime you like but you may only backpack once, so ensure you spend your money on the right things. Besides, nobody likes traveling with a hang over.

Local Services

Be sure to make use of public services in foreign countries. No your taxes are not paying for them but it would be a shame to waste other people’s. I found that the local library was an excellent way to lower the cost of Internet access as in many countries access is free. Libraries are also a have a good source of travel information if you cannot get to a computer or again just to save money. The only challenge is finding a library so do some research in advance or ask tourist information. Other services such as buses, museums, and exhibitions are often heavily subsidised or free so always be open to taking a look.

What Is Responsible Travel?

“I take very seriously the sense of our living these days in a global neighbourhood. And the first sensible thing to do in such circumstances, as well as one of the most rewarding things, is to go and meet the neighbors, find out who they are, and what they think and feel. So travel for me is an act of discovery and of responsibility as well as a grand adventure and a constant liberation.” – Pico Iyer, Renowned Travel Writer

Travel today is littered with new vocabulary: sustainable, responsible, ecotourism, community-based, fair trade, voluntourism. There has been a shift in consciousness, and conscientiousness, for travel and tourism to “create better places for people to live in, and better places to visit”. This essay will discuss the concept of Responsible Tourism, its benefits and what you can do to make sure you are a responsible traveller.

The 2002 Cape Town Declaration describes the major pillars of responsible tourism as tourism that:

Minimises negative economic, environmental and social impacts
Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities
Improves working conditions and access to the industry
Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity
Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
Provides access for physically challenged people
Is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence

These pillars seem like common sense, so why has responsible tourism only recently become an important tenet? There are three reasons, namely climate change, customer demand, and corporate social responsibility.

The conversation about climate change has increased environmental awareness globally, and we are more aware of our personal impact on the Earth. Carbon offsets when booking a flight, eco-lodges, and hotels saving water by not washing towels everyday are examples of businesses buying into the climate conversation.

Consumers’ awareness extends beyond climate change however with increased demand for a holistic approach to responsible global citizenship. Travellers want to ensure their holiday is less invasive and more beneficial to local communities. There is interest in engaging with communities and understanding different cultures, rather than sitting in a tour bus gawking at foreign lands from behind the safety glass. Tour operators are almost required to incorporate community visits, and communities are realising that it is beneficial for them to open their villages to tourists (the question of the ethics of this is another matter, for another article).

Thirdly, Corporate Social Responsibility means it is good for business if consumers believe that organisations are good global citizens. The fair trade movement is evidence of this, as consumers willingly pay much more than standard brands for fair trade chocolate, coffee and other goods. Capacity development programs are a way for large corporations to demonstrate their commitment to responsible global citizenship. Staff are offered the opportunity to volunteer in a developing country, training local people in their field of expertise. Done well, these programs can be enormously beneficial for both parties.

But why is it necessary to travel responsibly? Perhaps it is better to consider the question in reverse: what happens if we do not travel responsibly? We can already see evidence of centuries of irresponsible travel with the growing list of endangered species, prostitution and sex slavery, poverty, intolerance and racism, and exploitation. To prevent these terrible things happening, we must treat the entire Earth as our own home. We need to protect the world’s treasures for future generations.

So how do we do it? There are already two important promises responsible travellers can subscribe to. One is the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Second is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. Responsible travel is treating others the way you wish to be treated. For example, thrusting cameras in a person’s face without asking permission or entering a stranger’s home uninvited are probably not acceptable behaviours in your home country, so why while on holiday?

It is up to individuals to travel responsibly and positively contribute to other’s well-being. Some actions you can implement right now include:

Not littering and educating those that do. For example, while riding the Trans-Siberian Railway carriage attendants often empty the rubbish bin out the window. You can ask them to keep it in the smoking area and dispose of it yourself at the next station.
Buy local. This usually means you must haggle, so be fair. When you find yourself quibbling over 50 cents, ask yourself what that 50 cents means to the vendor compared to you.
Don’t give hand outs. Instead of creating a hand out society we should be encouraging the attitude of earning. That means if someone assists you, it is good to give them a small tip.
Choose local guides. Not only does this support the local community, but it also gives you access to the best knowledge, for who knows their homeland better than a local?
Stay in locally-owned accommodation.
Respect local norms. If locals are dressed conservatively, also dress conservatively

There are some things to consider in choosing a tour operator:

An operator calling itself responsible, is no guarantee – ask questions
Research their accommodation
Look at their other services; are they in line with what is being offered to you?
Is the operator part of a conglomerate? What are the values of that conglomerate?
Use travel forums to ask travellers’ experiences with the operator. Check they delivered on promises, treated people well, etc
Do they give back to the community?
Check the operator’s activities against the Cape Town Declaration

Five years ago the World Travel Market and the UN World Tourism Organisation designated November 7 as World Responsible Tourism Day. It is an event of global significance, bringing together travel and tourism professionals to build a solid and sustainable future for the industry.

The Conversation Around Healthy Business Travel Has to Change Here’s Why

There is a distinction to be made between the Jet Lagged and the Jet Stressed. It is the same difference between the chronic and the acute. One is acute and the other is chronic. Jet stress is in fact chronically acute. The value of this distinction alone is what separates those who fly well and those who don’t. A second valuable observation to our cause is that any time Man has conquered or thrived in an environment he has done so by taking his own environment with him. To beat jet lag in all it’s forms you and I must do the same, frequent fliers more so than others. The current conversation on the subject of flying well repeat the buzz words like body clock and melatonin too often without a change in results or progress. The conversation is long in the tooth with the same tired advice – get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water and keep your mind active. Old wives tales and a pastiche of personal remedies exist alongside rigid scientific data. The masses of frequent fliers and business travellers are confounded and struggle to make sense of disjointed and often confusing information. Productivity, personal health, relationships and global business’s bottom line suffers.

The Most Intensive Frequent Fliers Hold The Key

I once read some good business advice which preached the value of catering to the extremes of a target audience. The notion was that if they were catered for all other demographics within that target market would be well taken care of. Frequent business fliers are representative of this extreme. An article in Wired magazine* charted the travel paths of business fliers over a year demonstrating the intensity of travel schedules of frequent fliers. The goals of business travellers to maximise productivity on the road, make the right impressions, close the deal and stay healthy bring home the urgency of the conversation at hand.

Unhealthy Flying Doesn’t Pay, What Are The Costs

The price we pay for not dealing with frequent flying challenges and it’s associated woes outweighs the benefits. The costs are measured on a personal and global business scale. You can measure it on the personal scale with the tendency towards weight gain, insomnia, tiredness, fatigue, adrenal stress, hormone irregularities, trouble conceiving and the list goes on and on. The cost to global business is measured in millions of dollars in lost productivity. A 2003 New York Times survey* estimated that heavy-duty business travellers lost about 20 per cent productivity due to trans-meridian travel. A recent AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper* also highlights the link between business travel and productivity.

Solutions Need An Upgrade

Over the short ascent of global business travel and globalisation many advances and efficiencies have been made in the area of civil aviation. The hardware of the trade, the planes have seen many modifications including fly by wire technology and a new generation of fuel-efficient planes to take us into the 21st century. Contrast that with the plight of the frequent business flier, healthy flying advice has remained static. There has been no respite in terms of the pressure and demands in the workplace. Global mobile working is on the increase see the Worldwide ERC website* for confirmation.

Look to Hollywood as an example of what I mean by this. A script is produced, a film is cast, locations are scouted out and the cast goes on location to shoot. Travelling to locations are incidental to the outcomes sought be it a film or a business meeting. Yet the quality of the end product can depend so much on the well-being of the participants. As globalisation makes the world smaller and calls for collaborative groups to come together in the name of a common goal over a short period of time, the need to be fully functional and productive is a conditional necessity for success.

Pharmaceutical Interventions The Only Show in Town, Really?

Until now the loudest voice heard in this conversation has been that of the pharmaceutical industry. Representative of this was Cephalon’s failed bid* to get the FDA to permit the sale of Nuvigil as cure for jet lag. It speaks to the default mode of operation, a pill for every ill and re-classifies jet lag from a costly inconvenience into an illness. This brings me to the point I want to make – better living through chemistry does have its limits. The entire idea that you can continually drug yourself out of jet lag over the span of your career of flying and come out ahead is moot. Workforce mobility and globalisation on the horizon should make this obviously clear by now. Any conversation about a cure to the problems of jet lag has to have an element of sustainability about it, and this is where current approaches fall down.

Let’s Start with The First Question

The required change in tone of conversation is not complete without looking at the definition we give jet lag. Up until now it is characterised as being all about the body clock to the exclusion of anything else. As useful as this is it is limiting in the creativity we can bring to finding a sustainable solution. The discussion has to include a Jet Lag 101 course which asks questions like what is jet lag in its entirety? How does it affects you differently from me? How can you take charge of your solution? What guiding principles and methodologies we can all relate to and use? Without this first step we are doomed to looking at the same information but expecting a different answer. Scientific data is useful in dissecting the mechanisms of jet lag but we need to look beyond that to find a workable solution. Just to be clear any sustainable methodology has to be able to stand up to scientific examination to gain acceptance and credibility. However it starts with an inclusive discussion rather than graphing an old understanding onto an environment and condition which is current, dynamic and changing.

Curing Dog Travel Anxiety Through Homeopathic Method

There are times when the dog has to go with you on certain places. There is always a need to take dogs to another place, especially when their owners travel and they do not have somebody else to take care of them. Most of the time, dogs are brought along during its owner’s vacation time maybe because of the owner’s love or they are left with no other choice.

Either the case, the dogs should have the ability to travel along. But problem arises if the dogs have some travel disorders, usually referred to as dog travel anxiety. Dog travel anxiety means that the dogs are very afraid of riding a car or any other vehicle. Dogs could even have car phobia, which is a bigger problem to solve.

In the U.K., the homeopathic method of curing dog anxiety is developed and is widely used. It was seen effective and a lot of people are trying it. Take a look at what homeopathy has to offer. Read on the following:

1. It provides fast relief from dog’s fear of travel, relocation, and motion sickness. Homeopathic pet products are working like human medicines. It works as fast and as effective. A lot of credit is due to veterinarians who are constantly developing products for your good old beloved dogs.

2. It is non-sedating. Homeopathic remedies do not sedate the dog to help it with its restlessness and anxiousness. It has a well-blended formula of proven ingredients to cure the dog without giving it clear, glassy eyes.

3. It is in liquid form. Homeopathic remedies are usually administered in a liquid state so as to make it easier to give. You can easily add it to its water or food. You an also give it directly. Just place several drops on his tongue.

4. It is proven safe. Homeopathic remedies are basically made of natural herbs and medicines. This, on its own, makes it safe and effective. Homeopathic remedies have come a long way in research and medicinal science.

5. It is multi-functional. These remedies do not only focus on travel anxiety alone. Most of the time, it can also be used as treatment for the dog’s fear of loud noises and being alone. Dogs can also be afraid of fireworks and thunders. Some remedies could be an all-in-one package.

6. It is veterinarian recommended. A lot of veterinarians across the U.K. are recommending the use of homeopathic remedies to cure dogs as compared with any other options. Veterinarians know best.

7. It is widely available. Homeopathic remedies can be availed from all specialized pet shops and clinics all over U.K. and other countries as well. You will not have any problem looking for the right homeopathic remedy for your dog. You can even buy it online.

8. It can be used on your other pets too. Homeopathic remedies are known to be effective not only on dogs but on your cats as well. It is known to have a trans-species use. So that means a lot of savings too.

Pets need special care and attention, especially if they are going through some problems and hardships. Although they are only pets and not humans, they deserve as much. Pets have always been a part of families. Most of the time, they are not regarded as merely pets, but family members as well.