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Posts Tagged ‘travel tips’

It’s almost inevitable that you will get sick (pretty much inevitable) while travelling in India. Lifestyle conditions, letting down your guard and other factors will guarantee it. India’s standards are a lot different than ours so when you’re planning your trip, it’s best to be prepared. How can you travel through India and avoid Delhi Belly? That’s an excellent question, one which I can definitely answer. (I’ve had my share of “Beaver Fever” and Mexican Maladies)

It’s not something a lot of people thing about before buying their flights to India, nore should it scare travellers away from doing so. You have to really get your body ready for the foreign microbes about to hit you a top-speed before your tip. While you’re there in India, make sure you follow some basic precautions and you won’t be one of the foreign travellers dropping like flies or taking up the toilet all day long.

1) Avoid the tap water by all costs.

Simple enough, right? Keep a bottle of water ever-ready for when thirst strikes and when brushing your teeth, don’t use the tap. When buying bottled water, make sure the cap is still sealed to avoid any Slumdog Millionaire-type mishaps. You know that ice in your drink? That’s likely made from tap water so request your cold beverages without it.

2) Go vegetarian, avoid meat.

India is a nation of vegetarians. If you’ve never tried going a whole day without some pork in your beans, start now. India food is flavourful, protein-ful and delicious. Contaminated meats are the main cause for gut rot, so avoid your curry with a side of lamb.

3) Fresh cheese is a no-no.

I know what you’re thinking…but! cheese is a humble host for microbes that will split you in two. Avoid cheese that hasn’t been cooked, for example parmesan over pasta. Pizza cheese should be fine, as is Paneer, a local Indian cheese used in curry.

4) Eat in upscale restaurants.

I know, pretty much the opposite of what I always preach on here… eat like a local, follow the local’s footsteps, bla, bla, bla… but really. This time I’m saying different. Eat at touristy restaurants because they usually have a good reputation, steady clientèle and are most importantly hygienic… or else they wouldn’t find themselves in the pages of Lonely Planet year after year. Street food is not for the weary… what the locals can handle may not be what you can handle.

5) Wash your hands and trust your gut.

Washing your hands regularly before eating is always a good place to start. If there is no soap/warm water available, use a disinfectant (something you should carry around with you). Since everyone’s system is different, in the end, the best advice is to trust how you feel. India is overwhelming, so just go with the flow. You might still get sick after following my advice to the tee, but you might not. Take it easy if you do, Gravol will be your best friend.

Do you have any of your own tips to share?

This photo is from jonrawlinson, Flickr Creative Commons.

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Isn’t it every traveller’s dream to take to the open road and make a huge road trip from coast to coast across the great North American continent? It’s certainly been mine for years now and it’s always been on the back-burner. Well that’s all going to change this year, all-American road trip here I come!

First thing is first though, how to plan one. Making a trip like this abroad needs time to plan, that’s for sure. From the research I’ve done so far, it’ll be no easy task so here are a couple pointers that I’ve picked up along with my planning.

  • Give yourself time, at least two weeks to do the trip so that you don’t feel rushed. Plan well in advance (working on this now) making sure you can get time off work and other responsibilities at home for that period. Once you book your flights to the USA, give yourself some days to adjust to the time difference before hitting the road.
  • Make your itinerary, but leave room to move. The spontaneous style of road trips is almost their entire charm. Select some major cities and sights to see and then leave the rest open for new discoveries.
  • Ditch the GPS and pick up state road maps instead. These electronic navigation systems are good but are nothing compared to maps which will tell you the name of that mountain you passed 30 miles back, where the next campground is, how long until the next junction, etc. For free maps, scour the visitor information centres.
  • When planning your route, try to avoid making the whole trip using the interstate. Take the scenic rural highways instead. It will take you longer but you’re more likely to find something interesting on the way.
  • Don’t drive too much in one day, this’ll tire you out. Make the trip with a fellow driver so you two can switch, travelling only for a couple hours each day to be able to enjoy what you see along the road.
  • One last tip, make sure you don’t forget to apply for an international driver’s permit. It’s very important if you plan to drive in the USA to have this paper.

Have you ever taken a real road trip? Any tips to share with us?

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I’m not always the one that goes for the 4-star hotel or the up-scale restaurant when travelling (don’t get me wrong because I’d like to if my pocket could afford it). Usually on a tight budget, I’d rather eat with the locals in the local restaurants and pubs and sleep in backpackers hostels or guest houses instead of at chain hotels that are familiar from home.

But a friend of mine just came back from a trip to Marrakech, a friend that also travels on a budget and I couldn’t imagine her photographs and the stories about the places she stayed at. An average budget apparently affords a lot in Morocco so I asked her how she did it.

I know I’m not the only one that lives travelling like a diva but has never had the pocketbook to afford it so here is what I took from her advice, of course I did my own research into the topic as well and this is my short guide.

How to travel luxuriously on a budget

(some of these tips I’ll definitely be trying on my upcoming trip to Italy).

1. Savings Plan

(I hate this already) Luxury travelling takes savings and the preparations start long before the holiday does. At the start of each year start a holiday jar, adding £15 to it every week, or as often as you can. After 12 months, you’ll have £720, which can definitely cover the hotel bill and your cheap flights to Marrakech if you’re creative.

2. Save money on food

Instead of eating out every meal, go grocery shopping as soon as you arrive, picking up snacks, breakfast foods, etc which are easily eaten in your hotel room or at your riad. Book a hotel room in Marrakech that includes a microwave and a refrigerator. Make a “dining out” budget while on holidays for special nights and spare some change for grabbing street food at lunchtime.

3. Book in advance

If you know that you want to take a holiday in Morocco, or anywhere else for that matter, then book it as soon as possible. Riads and hotels often have special deals so call ahead and inquire. Look for “early bird” or “off season” savings especially.

4. Plan excursions online

Camel tours and special excursions are sometimes much cheaper if booked or reserved online. The savings might not seem like much but they certainly add up. You’re likely not to find too many museum savings on the internet in Marrakech but hotel-organised trips, definitely.

5. Save on the flights

If there’s anything I’ve learned from travelling is that transportation is easy to save money one and that there’s incredible savings out there if you know how and where to look. I use a travel search engine, liligo.com but I know there are a few others out there too. Search once and compare the fares available, then it’s easy to see what you’re missing (or not) without having to guess. Look for low cost airlines, off-season flights and book them in advance, it’s the best advice.

I don’t know about you, but I’d really love to take a luxury holiday one of these days, Marrakech sounds perfect. Where would you go on your all-inclusive luxury jaunt?

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