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Category Archives: Tips
New Years Eve is that day of the year where we would like to let go for one more night before committing to our resolutions. And what better way to experience the exciting festivities than relaxing in a paradisaical beach or dancing until dawn in cities that never sleep?
The world is your oyster throughout the holiday season, with many options and different traditions for every kind of traveler for an unforgettable experience. We would like to share with you our Top 5 favorite NYE destinations for a last fun fueled night in 2013.
From watching the fireworks in the London Eye, to partying in the numerous nightclubs in the city, you are sure to have a great time while visiting. Make sure to book hotels and special events in advance, as everything gets booked very quickly. You can check this website to find out all of the different attractions in the city.
4. New York City
New York City has one of the most famous NYE celebrations in the world. The city is famous for its superstar televised performances, as well as different attractions like the Luminosity, which will certainly take you to a different dimension with its jugglers, clowns and their daring stunts. The city gets very crowded during this period, so make sure to book your hotel rooms and event tickets.
The city of Amsterdam really knows how to put on a show in NYE. The main halls of the city compete among themselves with the best names of techno and electronic music, as well as beautiful fireworks at Nieuw Markt. If you are thinking about going to the city, you should book in advance both entertainment and hotels as the city gets really busy during the holiday season.
2. Rio de Janeiro
How about flocking to the beach at midnight and jumping seven waves for good luck in 2014? That is one of the many traditions millions of Brazilians do in the enormous festivities at Copacabana beach. From live concerts to high profile parties, the city turns in to one of the greatest spots in the world to welcome the new year.
The city sports one of the most beautiful NYE in the world, which extends to the whole month of January. If you choose the city of lights to be your destination this year make sure to visit the Moulin Rouge, good shows, lights, food and drinks make up the 700 Euros admission fee. Champs – Élysées is where all locals meet for the coming of the new year, make sure to bring warm clothes and drinks in order to make a few local friends. If you are in a romantic getaway Montmartre is a great place to have a panoramic view of the city. Note that fireworks have recently been absent from the New Year’s Eve celebrations, but there are many other beautiful things to make the year’s passing a worthwhile experience.
If you have more NYE location tips, please let us know on the comments below.
Overpacking is a common nuisance most travelers choose to face while traveling abroad. We usually cogitate the worst case scenario as an excuse to stuff most of our wardrobe into our suitcases. Usually, this mistake is made by late packers, people that usually wait until the last minute to pack for short-term or long-term getaways.
When we pack last minute, many problems may occur in between our house door and the hotel door. Overweight charges during check-in, no space for souvenirs and gifts, getting most of the clothes dirty due to the lack of space, to name a few.
We have learned a few tricks in order to pack more efficiently and we would like to share with you essential items (which most people neglect) for your next destination. These items will spare you from common mishaps as well as helping you to save your hard earned money.
Buying a compact day pack is an investment travelers will not regret. Backpacks are an easy target for pickpockets as well as taking a toll on your back and sightseeing plans. opt for messenger bags or backpacks with protected zippers, this way you can enjoy your trip in a more comfortable way.
Power Strip ( + adapter depending on country visited)
It is never a good idea to rely on hotel plugs, specially if you are traveling with family or friends. With a power strip you can charge cellphones, camera batteries, laptops and all of your dear gadgets at the same time, which will certainly save time and arguments. Adapters may be needed in case the location you’re traveling to has different plugs. You can check different plugs abroad in this website.
Pairs of Jeans in Neutral Colors
Neutral color jeans are a good way to save some space on your luggage and you can match them with pretty much any shirts, tops or sweaters you wear.
This is a very versatile piece that will certainly be used during your trips. You can use it as a hand towel, lens cleaner, eye mask, hair tie, headband, scarf, pillow if you wrap it around a bundled-up sweater, as a sling for a sprained arm, and even as a hobo handbag to tote your belongings.
This is a life savior during trips, from rescuing busted suitcases to removing lint from clothing, we can always find a good reason to use duct tape while traveling.
This is also a neglected article that could potentially save your life while traveling, well at least your social life. Wet wipes can be used to clean food and drink stains, clean dirty cutlery in restaurants as well as keeping hands clean and sanitized.
1 Pair of Dress Shoes + 1 Pair of Jogging Shoes
There is nothing worse than sightseeing with uncomfortable shoes or being under dressed for a night out. Opt for different shoes for day and night during trips, but restrict yourself to one pair of each. ( +1 flip flops if you are traveling to the beach).
With a travel mug you can save a pretty penny on drinks while sightseeing. It can also be used as a safe compartment for glasses and/or delicate souvenirs on your way back home.
Silicone Travel Bottles
Silicone travel bottles are not only within the size regulation for liquids in flights but also a good option to avoid wasting products, as you can easily squeeze out your favorite products until the last drop.
There are many ways in which the use of safety pins can save you while traveling, from fixing and securing bag zippers to fixing hems if they come undone. It can also be a quick fix for teared clothes when sewing is not an option.
Every experienced traveler should invest in a good money belt, as it can keep your money and passport safe, as well as avoiding pickpockets.
Besides being an environmental friendly option for carrying groceries or gifts while abroad, it can also be used as a beach, laundry or picnic bag.
There is nothing worse than getting our coats soaking wet and having to purchase a new one while traveling. A thick (winter) or light (summer) waterproof jacket will keep you dry and warm as well as lasting for a good time.
If you have more tips for effective packing, please list them on the comments below.
Nature is an always evolving masterpiece which never cease to surprise us, from breathtaking landscapes to horrific natural disasters, it seems like the world we live in tries to talk to us constantly, in cryptic yet obvious ways.
And if you are anything like us, you will enjoy this post which is not for the faint of heart, a list of the most spine-chilling natural locations in the world. They are beautiful natural wonders that need to be visited with extreme caution or not be visited at all.
But for the sake of curiosity, we have selected some of the world’s most beautiful and deadly locations, for an adrenaline filled expedition or complete avoidance. So, put on your helmets and join us on a trip around the top 10 most naturally dangerous places in the world.
10. Thetford Mines – Canada
The open-pit mine operates only during the summer, from May to November, when you can take a bus tour of the mine. The tour promises to enter the working mine and visit the plant, where asbestos fibers are packed. While undoubtedly fascinating, the idea of touring an active asbestos mine may be questionable.
Asbestos is composed by fibers that when split cause a dust, which could be inhaled or swallowed, if any of these happen the effect is deadly. While it seems like a fascinating experience, we do not encourage taking part of this free tour(would you expect it to be any other way?). If you insist, don’t forget your full body bio-hazard suit. We know we won’t.
9. Alnwick Poison Gardens – England
The complex of gardens Alnwick is the most secured dangerous place in our list. Not due to the various species of very poisonous plants, but the way in which it is controlled. This is a garden in the property of the English duchess Jany Percy. The garden is especially dedicated to poisonous and narcotic plants, where the most dangerous ones are all very well locked in cages. Flame-shaped beds contain belladonna, tobacco and mandrake. The Alnwick Garden has a Home Office license to grow some very special plants; namely, cannabis and coca which are also found behind bars in giant cages – for obvious reasons.
8. Izu Islands – Japan
The Izu Islands are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honsh, China. These islands currently form two towns and six villages which are still inhabited. The location of these islands is placed exactly in the junction of three tectonic plates, which adds to the probability of volcanic activity. In 1953, an eruption killed 53 people, while in 2000 residents had to evacuate due to its activity. They have been allowed to move back into their houses since, but nowadays residents are encouraged to have gas masks at hand due to the high emission of toxic gases.
7. The Door to Hell – Turkmenistan
This geological structure of 70 meters in diameter was drilled by Soviets in the hopes of finding oil mines in the area. During the drilling the soil broke, revealing a crater that emits toxic gases. These gases quickly spread, killing hundreds of people in the nearby villages. Due to the disaster, researchers tried to find a way in order to fix the problems with the toxic gas. What is the solution you may ask, To burn it, as they believed fire would cease in a few days, which was not the case. Due to the miscalculated effort the pit spits fire to this day and although it looks like a hell of a place, we prefer to admire it through pictures, thank you very much.
6. Crystal Cave – Mexico
Who wouldn’t like to visit a place where crystals go up to 11 meters in height, 4 meters in diameter and weight approximately 500 tons can be found? But did you also know that for this marvel to exist, you would have to face a temperature of around 50 degrees Celsius and humidity oscillating in between 90%-100%? This natural marvel is found in the city of Chihuahua in Mexico, which is the biggest zinc, silver, and lead source in the world. An unequipped person would survive for around 10 minutes inside the cave. So make sure to be equipped before having your crystalline wandering.
5. Dominica Boiling Lake – Dominica Island
Do you enjoy relaxing in thermal waters with a drink at hand? This would be completely possible here if the waters weren’t a bit too hot. 197 degrees Celsius to be exact. The water is constantly boiling, and if it wasn’t dangerous enough, the rocks surrounding the lakes are extremely slippery due to the local climate. So don’t get too close when taking a picture.
4. Mud Volcanoes – Azerbaijan
Are you afraid of getting burnt in this volcanoes, do not worry they are cold… very cold. That is the main reason why people underestimate their dangers, but once eruption starts, the volcanoes shoot mud up to hundreds of meters, but due to gravity they return to the soil in a very heavy consistency. Therefore, if you get hit in the head, you will be out before you know it. These eruptions have killed many shepherd and sheep in Azerbaijan, where one third of all mud volcanoes in the world are located.
3. Ilha da Queimada Grande – Brazil
This beautiful island is located only 35 kilometers from the coast of Sao Paulo, which in itself seems like a pleasant place to kill a few days. Well, go ahead if you don’t mind some venomous snakes. And by some we mean five per square meter. The species that live there is the Pit Viper, the golden lance-head. This species of snake is responsible for 90% of deadly snakebite fatalities in Brazil. If you are still considering, maybe with the fact that their fast-acting poison melts the flesh around their bites may convince you otherwise. This place is so dangerous that a permit is required to visit.
2. Nyos Lake – Cameroon
“I was surrounded by dead people, inside, outside and behind the houses. Dead animals also everywhere, I was very confused. In my family we were 56, but 53 of them died”. This is a statement given by Monica Lom Ngong to the BBC. They used to live in the surroundings of Cameroon’s Nyos lake in 1986. A tragedy occurred during this year, killing over 1800 people living in the surroundings of the Oku mount. The lake is situated in the flank of a deep inactive volcano, which makes its waters to become rich in Carbon Monoxide, a very toxic substance to human beings. Other lakes in Africa share the same characteristics, therefore research well before booking your trip.
1. Bolton Strid – England
You must think this is a joke. How come this beautiful little river could be the most naturally dangerous place in the world? There is a statistics flying around the world which says that 100% of people that bathed in this river, never returned (A.K.A they are dead!). Although it is a very narrow river, it has extremely deep waters as well as a very strong stream. In reality, this river is a continuation of Wharfe River, located in Yorkshire, which flows a large amount of water coming from the river. Therefore stay away from this seemingly inoffensive river.
Istanbul is a great destination for those looking for a unique cultural experience. As the country resides in the meeting of two continents (Europe and Asia), and has the biggest population in Europe, you can already predict the contrasts and rich history of this traditional yet cosmopolitan city.
Cross the Bosphorus back and forth and visit some of the city’s best selections of beautiful landmarks, exquisite markets, trendy or cozy nightclubs and a cuisine which will certainly not disappoint.
We have selected some of our favorite spots in the city, to guide you in the quest of worthwhile attractions, breathtaking landmarks and some very authentic venues, and of course for the foodies, a selection of budget conscious places offering delicious local food.
Where To Eat:
Do eating freshly baked pastries and sipping on a nice cup of tea sound like a good morning to you? Then you should pay a visit to one of Istanbul’s Kovans. The cozy environment and the friendly staff will present you with their amazing selection of Turkish pastries such as tahinli çörek, a tahini based dough, or anything chocolate. Baking is done throughout the whole day, so do not hesitate in getting your midday croissant on, it will definitely be fresh.
Location: Üsküdar, Kadıköy, Caferağa neighborhoods
Finding a nice and cheap place in the historical peninsula can be quite a challenge, the touristic hub usually offers far from tasty dishes to very tacky atmosphere. But there is Borsa Self-Servis, an authentic Turkish restaurant with pocket friendly prices that make up for the “uninspiring” ambiance. You can choose from the large selection of meat, chicken and vegetarian meals. You can never go wrong with fast, easy and cheap.
Location: Yalıköşkü Cad. Yalıköşkü Han No:60-62
Snack pick: Taste the Delicious Simit (Turkish Bagel)
This is the best option if your stomach starts growling and you are not ready to make a stop to your expedition. You can always stop by one of these carts, and taste some freshly baked Sesame bagel. Prices are usually around 0.75 Korus, which is less than 50 cents.
Turkish Coffee Pick: Ethem Tezçakar Coffee
This is a must stop if you fancy a taste of genuine Turkish coffee. It’s a great place to sit and relax for a break in exploring the Grand Bazaar. It is a small place and run by a local family, causing the whole atmosphere and coffee to be one of the best in the city.
Location: Halicilar sokak the Grand Bazaar. Open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm
Lunch or Dinner Pick: Keyf-i Mekan Cafe and Restaurant
This is definitely one of the greatest restaurants in Istanbul. The menu is very unique and the atmosphere is as Turkish as it gets. The restaurant gets raving reviews online, and for a reason, from its tasty pasta to chicken and beef Turkish dishes, it is definitely a nice and cozy option for a pleasant dinner or lunch.
Location: Tigcilar Sokak No: 48 | Kapalicarsi / Mercan
What to see:
This is one of the greatest masterpieces in Istanbul. This church-turned-mosque-turned-museum displays a variety of attractions, from beautiful shinny mosaics to tombs of Ottoman sultans to beautiful carpets; the place is definitely a must-see for its visual and cultural aspects.
Location: Ayasofya Meydani, Sultanahmet Fatih
Hürrem Sultan Hamam
If you want to partake in a traditional bath house experience, then this is the place for you. This newly restored heritage sight is designed with the best austere style and endowed with an understated modern luxury. The place also contains separate baths for men and women for a more comfortable experience. Although the treatments are relatively expensive, the location is exceptionally clean, and the people working there know what they are doing. Embrace some soap and exfoliation massages and be surprised by how dirty your skin actually is.
Location: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih.
This cistern was forgotten for centuries, but now it is a must-see while in Istanbul. The cistern combines water to lights, music and fish which flitter around the 336 columns that support the ceiling. Don’t miss the upside-down head of Medusa that forms the bottom of one column.
Location: Yerebatan Caddesi 13, Sultanahmet.
Istanbul Archeology museums
After a visit to Topkapi, you should flock to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The large porticoed building housing the glorious sarcophagus of Alexander, which depicts scenes from the life of Alexander the Great in vivid 3D. The museum also showcases some of the city’s oldest Ottoman structures, beautifully restored to show off its finest ceramics.
Location: Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu, Sultanahmet.
Where to stay:
A luxurious 5-star property, Eser Diamond Hotel & Convention Center features 218 rooms, two restaurants and a roof garden. You can unwind in the spa with a massage and a beauty treatment, exercise in the fitness center or enjoy long laps in the Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is also equipped for seminars and wedding with 16 meeting room accommodating up to 3250 people and two closed ballrooms. The hotel’s friendly staff is available 24 hours and complimentary wireless Internet is accessible throughout the property.
Location: Çanta Mimarsinan Mh.Kınalı Çorlu yolu Cad. No:17 Silivri
An inviting Istanbul hotel in the old town, with easy access to Süleymaniye Camii and the Grand Bazaar.
A short walk from Süleymaniye Camii, Kaya Madrid Hotel Istanbul is located in Aksaray, within easy walking distance of the Grand Bazaar, in the centre of the old city. Trams run along nearby Ordu Caddesi, Aksaray metro station is a five minute walk away, and further attractions such as Galata Tower and Taksim Square to the north are easy to reach.
Location: Cingiraklibostan Str No 50
For more hotels, you can check our website. We have different options for all kinds of budgets.
Where to Party
Overseeing the Bosphorus, Reina is a classic venue for different bars and world cuisine with its 5 exclusive restaurants. If you are looking for a glamorous night out, this is definitely the place to be.
Location: Muallim Naci Caddesi no:44 Ortakoy
By its name you can predict the eclecticism of the place, from reggae, jazz and world music to the best Latin, Electronic, indie acts. With no entrance fee, it is the perfect place to spend the night listening to good music for those on a budget. (Note that during concert nights an entry fee is required)
Location: Sehbender Sok. No:3, Beyoglu
Jolly Joker Balans
If you are looking for an incredible night out with live music, this place is a great alternative. From its amazing acoustics to the old pub vibe, a location where you can check some of the best Turkish pop and rock acts.
Location: Balo Sok. No. 22, Beyoğlu
From middle-eastern food to the Harem-like design, a mixture of oriental and occidental music from add an incredible vibe to this venue, and the Bosphorus view does not hurt a bit.
Location: taskisla cad. no:3, macka demokrasi, parki ici
If you have more tips, please leave them in the comments below.
Traveling is a very rewarding experience, from sightseeing to enjoying different cuisines, a culture can be easily sensed whenever one travels abroad. And although the biggest tourist hubs cater to milking traditions in order to make some cold cash, the best way of experiencing the local lifestyle is by interacting with locals. And what better way than bonding by an amazing festival?
We have made a calendar so you don’t miss out on some of our favorite festivals worldwide. These will never leave your memory and definitely cause a repeated visit.
January: Carnival of Venice
As a revival of it’s roots in the Renaissance period, the carnival of Venice was relived in 1979 as a main effort to celebrate Venice’s history and culture. The festivities take place yearly, exactly 40 days before Easter. Highlights are the beautifully crafted venetian masks, which hold different meanings.
The festivities begin on the Friday afternoon with La Festa delle Marie, a procession through the city, and other attractions that follow in the next 12 days.
February: Rio Carnival
The carnival in Rio is one of the biggest celebrations in the world, where Brazilians push aside their love for soccer and start rooting for their favorite samba schools. In Rio’s carnival, you will be able to see beautiful parades with millions worth of raunchy costumes, floats and hypnotic drum music.
March: Annual Witch Gathering in Mexico
Contrary to what you may take from its name, this is a lighthearted festival. From parades to typical food, travelers have plenty of reasons to visit Catemaco in Mexico. During March the parades and processions extend through the streets, special dances and gatherings, as well as charms to protect you from curses and enemies.
April: World Marbles Championship – England
Do you want to lose your marbles fast, then you should flock to t Sussex pub– the Wembley of marbles – where around 140 competitors vie for championship honors inside a 6ft concrete circle. The event invites everyone to compete in this nostalgic sport, which attracts people from the U.S and Continental Europe. There is even rivalry between the best two German and British teams, so don’t be surprised if you see some marble hooligans.
May: Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling – England
Do you love cheese? To the point that you would roll down muddy hills in order to prove your love? If so, you can come to the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling. The festival attracts over 5,000 people worldwide, in order to put their love for cheese and injuries to the test. The premise is simple; A seven-pound circle of Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled down the hill, the first person who catches it or arrive at the bottom gets to take the cheese home.
June: Sonar Multimedia Festival – Barcelona
Sonar is an electronic and advanced festival which takes place in Barcelona, Reykjavik, Stockholm, Mexico, Tokyo, Osaka and Cape Town. The festival hosts from the biggest names in music to the most alternative names in arts installations. The festival happens yearly by day and night in different locations of Barcelona, therefore accommodations and tickets should be booked in advance.
July: Running with bulls – Spain
This is a controversial festivity for adrenaline seekers. The running of the bulls is one of the main attractions from Pamplona ‘s Fiesta de San Fermin. Nationals and Tourists gather around the city in order to drink and party. You can also watch some bullfighting or if you have the nerve to participate at the main attraction, which consists of running as fast as you can from life threatening bulls.
August: La Tomatina – Spain
The messiest festival in Spain takes place in the small city of Bunol, where approximately 40,000 international and national tourists show their love for tomatoes. Trucks of squishy ripe tomatoes supply the local battlers, all attendees rejoice in laughter as the main square of Calle del Cid becomes a nasty sauce. After the whole fight, get ready to be hosed down by the local fire brigade.
September: Burning Man – U.S
One of the most unique festivals in the world, the burning man feels like you have entered another dimension. It takes place in the somewhat isolated Black Rock Desert. The festival which still remains as a non-profit organization, encourages attendees to explore their uniqueness, and detachment from their conventional capitalistic ways. If you intend on visiting it, make sure to research about the festival’s guidelines.
October: Amsterdam Dance Event
One of the biggest events in Amsterdam, where several venues invest on big names to set themselves apart from the fierce competition. The event usually starts on a Wednesday and stretches all the way until Sunday throughout the whole city. Make sure to purchase tickets in advance, as the main parties are sold out months before.
November: Dia de Muertos – Mexico
The Dia De Los Muertos ( Day of the Dead) can be celebrated in two special locations in Mexico, Mixquiq and Janitzio. Locals prepare a feast with many of the favorite dishes of lost loved ones. Pan de Muertos or “Bread of the Dead” is a traditional bread which is baked and eaten during this celebration. Mementos are set out of favorite things of the the ones who have passed away.
Visiting the cemetery is a popular tradition. At the cemetery, the tomb or burial plot is decorated. The cemetery visit is spent in a picnic environment. The air is filled with music from Mariachi bands while the scent of a wide variety of foods wafts through the air. Fireworks are also common.
The largest celebration by the Kalasha people in Pakistan, who resist Islamic religion that surrounds them. While men bake goat shaped bread, women sing songs to the demigod Balomain, who is believed to pass through the valley, staying for four days to enjoy the festival and collecting prayers to take back to the creator, Dezau – what better recommendation for a festival than from a god himself? The festival also sees the mass slaughter of goats. If you do visit during Chaumos you are expected to take part in the festivities, which may include buying your own goat to sacrifice. In Bumboret the festival is closed to Muslims. You will need a temporary registration form to enter the Kalasha valleys; these are available free of charge from Chitral town’s superintendent of police.
Traveling is a great part of our lives in this modern world. We travel for work, leisure, to visit distant relatives and what not. It is something that has become increasingly accessible with the passing of time, allowing you to cross oceans and countries in a matter of hours and even minutes sometimes.
Although most of us enjoy our occasional traveling to unwind from our daily lives, some brave men and women have given up their 9-5 jobs and social circles to embark on a nonstop adventure around the world. Making travel not a luxury but a lifestyle.
Meet Samuel, the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel cultural travel blog. He’s also the lesser half of Backpacking Travel Blog which he runs with his girlfriend Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. You can connect with Samuel on his YouTube travel channel and on Google+.
We have for long followed his adventures, and decided to contact him in order to ask some of our burning questions. We hope this interview inspires you, if long-term travel is on your mind.
Who are you?
I’m Samuel Jeffery of NomadicSamuel.com. I’ve been living overseas and/or traveling in some capacity since 2005 with no plans to give up this lifestyle anytime soon.
What triggered the idea of becoming a long-term traveler?
When I decided to teach English in South Korea I thought I’d only be abroad for several years; however, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I loved having the opportunity to work and travel around the world.
How did your family and friends react to your decision?
They’ve been overwhelmingly supportive. My parents are coming to visit me next year for several months in SE Asia. My travels have served as a catalyst to involve my family in adventures abroad.
What city would you recommend to our readers for a memorable visit?
Recently I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting Istanbul, Turkey. It’s a city that really has it all in terms of attractions, culture and food. Moreover, the locals and stray cats are as friendly as can be.
Any cities you would never return, even if paid to do so?
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. It’s overpriced, lacking in culture and attractions and offers little in terms of public transportation or cheap accommodation.
What was the most memorable experience you’ve had in this journey?
Meeting my girlfriend Audrey in South of Korea! Going from traveling as a solo backpacker to a dynamic duo has been the most pleasant surprise I’ve had on the road.
In what place have you experienced the biggest culture shock?
My first time working in South Korea was definitely a shock to my system in terms of adapting to a completely different culture. I didn’t find it particularly hard getting used to the food or making friends; however, working culture was another story. Sick days, weekends and holidays are concepts that are not as familiar or practiced in South Korea compared to the western cultures.
What does it take to be a long-term traveler?
It’s more of a mindset than anything else. Deciding you want to travel long-term is the first step. The next step is figuring out a way to do it. Long-term travelers tend to share a number of characteristics:
frugal (ability to save money and spend it wisely)
versatile (willing to work in a number of different capacities)
open-minded (fascinated by experiencing new cultures, food, people)
What is the best food in the world?
I’m totally enamored by cuisine from the Middle East these days. From falafel to hummus to tabouleh.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this experience?
I’ve learned to be more patient and to trust my instincts. On the road you’re away from your normal comfort zone, routines and circle of friends. You learn to rely more on yourself. Moreover, you realize that there are certain things you can’t control and with this comes a certain level of maturity and patience.
What’s a piece of advice you would give someone that wants to be a long-term traveler?
I would suggest to jump at the opportunity with both feet. I find the difference between those who do travel versus those who don’t is related to the level of commitment by the individual. If traveling is a ‘should’ it’ll always be on the back-burner; however, if it is a ‘must’ you’ll figure out a way to make it happen sooner rather than later.
Thanks Samuel for the inspiring interview and lots of success on your upcoming endeavors.
If you have made an international trip thus far, you know you are constantly at the mercy of travel scams. Scammers change their antics from time to time, and although it seems like you have seen and heard it all, sometimes you can only learn once you’ve become a victim.
The most important aspect of these scams is that they are widely known by the local authorities, and as soon as you realize you’ve been scammed, do not hesitate in contacting the local police for help. These scams are different in every country and they might even be considered old-school tricks by now, but they can give you an insight in order to help you analyze situations as well as to watch your belongings vigilantly.
A pushy vendor approaches with the intention of demonstrating something incredible. He asks for your wrist and starts strapping some sort of bracelet with very tight knots. Once the bracelet is firmly placed, he demands a payment. If you find yourself in this situation just be firm with an assertive “NO” and keep walking.
Instant friend – A good looking local stops you in the streets to ask for information or prompt to show you around his/her city. Once you’ve talked for a good while, he/she invites you to his/her favorite bar that is just a few steps away. After one or two drinks the steep bill comes to your table and buff security guards emerge in all the exits, leaving you with no option but paying the bill. If you meet someone on the street, simply thank him/her for the information and/or conversation and keep walking. Sometimes things that are too good to be true are too good to be true.
Fake Police – Two thieves dressed in Police attire may stop you and ask to check your wallet for counterfeit bills or drug money. Never hand in your wallet; you are in your right to refuse to do so. If they are very persistent and you have a phone, tell them you will call the local police to sort the situation out.
In convenience supermarkets or shops where customers and tourists are usually in a rush, cashiers take a long time in order to give back the wrong change. Sometimes even going further to change bills in order to say you’ve paid with a smaller bill. First thing is to get acquainted with the local currency, as well as avoiding these places. Whenever you have no choice but to shop in these stores, you should be aware of the bill you are about to give. It also helps to say out loud the amount you are handing to the cashier.
Petition signing and donation(Especially in Paris)- In Paris there is a commonly practiced scam by young gypsies. They stop you in train stations asking for a signature for a petition and giving of a symbolic donation. Once you sign the paper, in their terms, you have agreed on donating more than 10 euros. Therefore, if people stop you on the street in order to sign something or donate something, just say “no” and keep walking.
You’re jostled in a crowd as someone spills ketchup or fake pigeon poop on your shirt. The thief offers profuse apologies while dabbing it up — and pawing your pockets. There are variations: Someone drops something, you kindly pick it up, and you lose your wallet. Or, even worse, someone throws a baby into your arms as your pockets are picked.
Room Inspector- If someone knocks on your hotel room door, without being called and claiming to be room inspectors do not let them in. Kindly say you will close the door and call the reception to make sure.
Big Scandals – Not all the scandals that happen in public areas are between victims and scammers. If you see a vendor having a big discussion with a customer, claiming they are stealing from them, make sure to watch your valuables throughout the whole scene. Usually they have partners which seem as shocked as you are by the situation, but secretly patting tourists for their wallets.
Where are you from?- This question is often asked by people you meet in bars and such and it is fine, but if a person randomly asks you for a cigarette or directions and ask where are you from afterwards, beware. Respond and say you are in a hurry. Usually they show an incredible knowledge about your country’s culture, while studying where your wallet is.
This is a classic, but people still seem to fall for it. Taxi drivers especially in airports, refuse to turn on the taximeter as it is “broken”, or they change the time specified so you pay a larger fare. This can be resolved by simply researching online the costs and agreeing on a price beforehand. Also make sure the taxi you are entering is licensed.
Fellow football lovers, if you live under a rock and you are not aware, the next world cup will be held in the cultural melting pot that is Brazil. And if you are planning on watching the matches in person, this is probably the best time to book your tickets and hotels.
As a Brazilian, I award myself the credibility to write this piece on how to get around the country, as well as trying to cope with the skyrocketing prices. these are increasing not only due to the fast-developing economy but also with the hosting of the two biggest sports events in the world, 2014 FIFA world cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
The country has changed immensely in the last few years, where a booming economy has shifted the life of locals as well as placing cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in any list of most expensive cities in the world. As most people think Brazil is in Rio and SP, maybe it’s time to expand your geographical knowledge and cut expenses experiencing the real local life, visiting some of the less known hosting cities. All of them count on very different cultures and lifestyles, which add incredible spices to this extremely patriotic nation.
Belo Horizonte is the fifth largest city in the country, with a population of just over 5 million people, edging Salvador’s population. The city houses many cultural and architectural attractions, with its mixture of colonial and modern buildings. Locals also sport one of the most peculiar accents in the country, and a cuisine that will keep you self-conscious about hitting the beach afterwards.
Local Tip: Sunday Hippie Market. All sorts of kitchy things for sale. Every Sunday. Also you can watch Capoeira, street performers, and eat food on a stick.
Food: Eat pão de queijo, drink cachaça, enjoy a local churrasacaria, and eat by the kilo.
Where to visit: Visit a nearby historic city (Ouro Preto/Tiradentes/Diamantina)
Salvador is a known city for its street carnivals, a relaxed lifestyle and pride of its African roots. The city is home to some of the biggest names in Brazilian music as well as some of the most famous dishes in the country. The city counts on some of the most beautiful architecture and landscapes, with incredible beaches and colonial buildings.
Local Tip: People watching and caipirinha drinking at Praia da Barra ( Porto da Barra beach)
Food: The amazing Acaraje. Order a fria (cold) or morna (warm), the quente (hot) one is the spiciest thing you will ever have!
Where to visit: Visit Morro de São Paulo and its beautiful virgin beaches
Porto Alegre is the capital of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The city showcases an incredible selection of German and Italian architecture. Walking through the historic city, you can see indigenous figures mixed with Renaissance style. This multi-cultural hub is home to the best barbecue in the country, as well as the world’s most beautiful street. Although it is a chilly part of the country, the beaches are to die for.
Local Tip: Visit Dirt Old Man: A micro brew with delicious local beer.
Food: Churrasco, churrasco and churrasco! (barbecue for locals)
Where to visit: Casa da Cultura Mario Quintana (a place for Cinema and busy cafes)
Brasilia houses the most expensive stadium to host a worldcup in Brazil ( US$ 500 million). The city consists of several creations of Oscar Niemeyer. The entire city seems like an artistic mixture of sci-fi buildings and the “cerrado” vegetation. The city is a special location for the architecture aficionados and also the host of the semi-final match.
Local Tip: Visit the feira do guara for a typical Brazilian experience.
Food: Try the typical chicken rice with “pequi” a typical fruit from the area.
Where to visit: Parque Nacional Agua Mineral
Cuiaba is the capital of Mato Grosso, in the middle of Brazil. The state is famous for its immense fauna and flora. Most visitors flock to see Pantanal and the rustic environment of the city, which for the previous years have been greatly modernized. With great cuisine and amazing scenery the state is a great option for families and nature lovers.
Local Tip: Do the Transpantaneira route to see the night creatures like Tarantulas and Capybaras.
Food: The city’s specialty is fish dishes.
Where to go: The historical museum of Mato Grosso.
Curitiba has a chillier weather than most parts of Brazil, depending of the time of the year you should pack up some warm clothes. The city was awarded the Globe Sustainable City Award, given to cities and municipalities which excel in sustainable urban development around the world. The mixture of nature and modern city is one of the biggest triumphs of this blooming place.
Local Tip: Visit Opera do Arame for unusual architecture with an outdoor stage that hosts several acts throughout the year.
Food: Barreado, Pinhao and Carne de Onca
Where to go: Check Park das Pedreiras for national and international acts throughout the year.
Fortaleza has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, as well as mouth watering cuisine and warm weather. This paradise in Northeast Brazil will also host some of the world cup matches. There you can check the real northeastern culture with heavy afro-brazilian culture and delicious seafood.
Local Tip: Visit the Dragao do Mar
Local Food: The local Feijoada and tapioca are the best in the country.
Where to go: Vira Virao, one of the most famous and picturesque bars in the city.
If you would like more tips, ask in the comments below!
And that jolly time of the year has arrived once again! When lights and pine trees emerge from their hiding places, shops dust off their best Christmas tunes, and festive sweaters shamelessly parade throughout town.
Christmas is just around the corner, and with each year it starts a little earlier, as people don’t seem to get enough of it. If your traditional holiday cheer is less than merry and you would rather skip your local festivities, we are here for you!
We have selected some of the world’s best Christmas destinations, so you can get your Grinch on, but still secretly sip on some mulled wine and roast nuts elsewhere.All of these destinations will assure you of unforgettable Christmas stories, being by visiting the iconic Christmas markets in Europe, or relaxing on a beach, creating your own sandy version of a white Christmas.
Amsterdam gets very festive during the holiday season. Where “Sinterklaas” is awaited by 16th century houses filled with lights and flashy ornaments. Cozy Christmas markets emerge on ‘Leidseplein’ and ‘Rembrandtplein’–Amsterdam’s main squares – alongside ice rinks, where locals show off their renowned ice skating skills. Do not forget to taste the local “Oliebol”, a deep fried pastry that will definitely keep you warm.
In Munich, you can enjoy the hundred foot tall Christmas tree and a dozen Christmas markets, where you can cultivate your holiday belly with some gingerbread and international cuisines. The markets also house different attractions including a Medieval Christmas Market with gospel singing at the Wittelsbacher Platz, a gay pink Christmas Market (Stephansplatz), and if you have forgotten anything before leaving for home there is even a Christmas Market with ice skating facilities at Munich’s international airport.
The Icelandic capital is famous for its quirky Christmas traditions, where the 12 mischievous Yule Lads (the local version of Santa) are the protagonists. Locals enjoy 4-hours daylight and northern lights during that period, meanwhile, you can relax in one of their many thermal pools or stuff your stockings with some smoked puffin and shots of Brennivín (firewater) in local restaurants. The city has also several Christmas markets and the picturesque Hafnarfjordur Christmas Village (Jólaþorpið í Hafnarfirði) for a fun afternoon/night affair.
Rio de Janeiro
Who wouldn’t like to spend Christmas in a place where Santa dresses down to silky garments in order to bear the summer heat? If you think the city has no Christmas spirit, think again, Rio still holds the title for the biggest Christmas tree in the world. In between the beach hopping, you can enjoy some local Rabanadas (French toast with cinnamon and sugar) or any of the delicious local food. If your trip extends throughout NYE, get prepared for the millions of people and fireworks that embellish Copacabana Beach.
The city is the epitome of Christmas in America. The New England styled streets are covered in snow and the scents of traditional food fill every corner. The city is known for its celebration of Christmas ghosts past in the Christmas Revels at Harvard’s Sanders Theater. The city is also filled with Christmas markets as well as other numerous attractions that will attend to all of your Christmas’ requirements.
San Miguel De Allende
This city has one of the most eclectic Christmases in the world. While the weather is far from frosty, you can enjoy some of the local theatrical processions, as well as the many reenactments that take place in this beautiful Unesco World Heritage Site. The city does not have beaches as its compatriots Cancun, Cozumel, or Los Cabos, but if dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a cozy environment sounds like Christmas, this is the place to be.
This Indian city is a perfect destination if you enjoy beautiful beaches, warm weather and great Goan food. This destination has become a big hit among foodies due to its incredible and versatile cuisine. Goa is a place to relax listening to Carols, or Jazz in some of the biggest resorts in the city.
New York City
New York City is one of the first destinations when a traditional Christmas is something you crave. From ice-skating around the majestic tree at the Rockefeller Center to carriage rides through Central Park, the city has something to offer to every Christmas fan. The city is also known for its great shopping areas, you can buy your holiday gifts from massive chain stores at the Time Square or some unique pieces at the LIC Flea and Food Market in Queens.
If your soul needs some tropical isolation, the best place for your holiday season is in this paradisaical destination. Being a Grinch has never been so appealing, when your days are filled with snorkeling through coral reefs or kayaking in crystalline waters. Take a flight to Antigua and enjoy a scenic (booked) ferry ride to the island.
The gorgeous Vienna becomes even more beautiful during the holiday season. Experience some of the local glühwein and roast chestnuts in the numerous Christmas markets throughout the city. The town hall also sports a beautiful advert calendar decoration, where with each day, a different painting is revealed once a window is opened. You can also enjoy beautiful ceremonies in the Ukrainian Catholic Orthodox church and eat some of the delicious local dishes.
Fireworks decorate the night of Christmas in this picturesque Cuban city. Colorful floats parade through town, and the cheering people flock to the city’s main square for a huge party. You can also feast on the delicious local food like Yuca con Mojo and the best Tostones (fried plantain). Join one of the “El Carmen” or “San Salvador” teams and parade through the old streets for an unforgettable night. If the next day you are still hungover, wash it off in some of its amazing beaches in the nearby archipelago.
Do you agree with our list? If not, please leave us your favorite Christmas destinations on the comments below.
When traveling, we usually long to avoid any of the always changing tourist traps. We usually go online, check our Lonely Planet and converse with friends that have gone the same route. Deep inside, we want to be acknowledged as savvy travelers and therefore awarded the authority to call out every rip-off situation that crosses our paths.
As much as we try, this market is run by ninjas, and although we are careful, they always seem to get their way into our wallets. Therefore, we would like to show you some of the things that have been punching holes in your wallet and you probably have no idea about.
7: Gift shops and central shops
This one is a no-brainer, if you are in a central location, it is more likely that you will be taken advantage of. Well, not quite true. Sometimes we keep ourselves from buying that perfect T-shirt, in the hopes for a better deal elsewhere. Well, sometimes we won’t find it!
Our tip is not to dodge places so harshly while traveling. Once you are in a less central area, compare the prices of similar products and finally judge if it is indeed a rip-off. It is also an opportunity to engage with locals… simply ask someone on the street if that area is a haven or a trap.
6. Convenience at a price
Especially in Europe, you can see many of the so called convenience supermarkets, those are well placed from central stations to airports. Although the prices are not ridiculously higher, most places are steps away from bigger chains and cheaper prices. So if you have some time, grab the chance for some outdoor exercise and find the nearest supermarket.
5. Buying in airports
People just love to stroll around the duty-free area in the hopes of getting amazing deals. But in reality although things seem cheaper than in your local stores, you end up buying much more than you have anticipated. Our tip is to set a clear plan of what you want to buy, and if these things are not available or not at a reasonable price, run as fast as you can, and don’t look back, nor to the sides.
We know caffeine is vital for most people, and every pit stop is an excuse to sip on some bitter warmth. But as much as you love Starbucks, it can have a big effect on your travel budget. You should opt for cheaper options or bringing it along in a thermal bottle. It will compromise bag space but your wallet will remain healthy.
3. Travel in shoulder seasons
There is always a reason for low seasons in countries. Sometimes traveling to some destinations could be quite boring or even dangerous (hurricane alert!). A good way to avoid the crowds and still have a good time is to travel in shoulder seasons. The seasons in between low and high, when prices are coming down from the high peeks during summer or extended holidays. Mid May and mid-August through October are ideal times to travel to Europe, when the weather’s still nice but there aren’t too many tourists.
2. Inspect deals thoroughly
Sometimes we choose our destinations as a result of an incredible price on airfare tickets. Although this could be a good way to save a few bucks, sometimes if we make the math it is not so incredible after all. Sometimes destinations are so expensive, that the additional cash you would spend on a ticket elsewhere could be worthwhile. As an example, a ticket to London might be a hundred euros cheaper than to Buenos Aires, but in Buenos Aires you could stretch your cash way more than in London.
1.Pay the real price
We all know that in some destinations prices change according to the language we speak or the way we look. If you are in a market or in a place where you think it is appropriate, haggle for your life. They probably have altered the prices anyway, so in the end, the worst it can happen is that you pay the real price.
If you have more tips on saving money while traveling, please share them on the comments below!