What to do if Illness Strikes When Traveling

When you are on the road, you are at a much higher risk of getting sick than when you are at home, living your normal life. This is because as you travel through different countries and cities in the world, your body absorbs different types of bacteria which your immune system is not accustomed to dealing with. We all know the dangers of traveling through infection-hit countries and rainforests and of course, we have vaccines for such diseases. Vaccines however only prevent a handful of diseases and they cannot prevent you from getting sick on the road either as a result of food poisoning, strep or any other type of bacterial infection. If the worst does happen, here is what you need to do.

Don’t Ignore It

Illnesses and infection can worsen very quickly if you don’t do something about it and so you should react as soon as you feel unwell. Even if you have been unwell for just a day, it could be the beginning of something far worse so you need to react quickly. Food poising can come and go for example, but it can also quickly turn into something worse such as salmonella so you need to take evasive action the second that you feel unwell, hopefully it will be nothing but acting quickly could prevent something worse.

Stop if You Can

If you have any plans to travel then you need to try and put them on hold whilst you rest and recuperate. Naturally there will be some instances where you can’t do this, if you are going to lose a lot of money through cancellation for example. There is nothing worse than traveling whilst you are sick, you will feel terrible, you may make your illness worse an you could infect other travelers. If you have the option then stay where you are, getting comfy and see it through.

Local Healthcare

If the problem persists for more than a few days you should seek medical help, you may not have a great deal of confidence in the local medical professionals but it is important that you at least seek a consultancy. Check on a search engine to find the best healthcare professional near you and pay whatever you need to in order to get better. Many people worry about paying the fees but it is unfortunately, a necessary evil, untreated illnesses could get much worse and result in you canceling the trip entirely. If you are a US citizen then you can also contact the embassy to find a range of certified healthcare providers.

Take The Advice

Whichever treatment or advice which you are given should be respected and you need to do all that you can to get better and get traveling again. If you are given meds for a duration of 7 days, take them for 7 days and don’t stop after 4 days just because you are feeling better. If you want to get back on the road again with a clean bill of health, then take the advice seriously.

France’s Best Wine Regions

Last year I was fortunate enough to take an extensive vacation throughout France, discovering the north, south, east and west of this fascinating country and discovering that there is in fact, far more to the nation than its popular capital, Paris.

I met up with a couple of guys who were going on a wine tour through the country and asked if I wanted to tag along. As someone who is more accustomed to chugging a Miller Lite spent the next 2 weeks discovering the best wine regions in France. I am now a converted wine lover and if you like the vino too, then here are the best regions in France to visit.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is the real master of the wine producing regions in France and it has gained notoriety worldwide for its outstanding contribution to the world of wine. Much of his is thanks to its proximity to the sea, meaning that exporting the wine has been pretty easy for many years. This region is over 100 kilometers squared and offers some of the finest wines in the world.

Champagne

What would a wine tour to France look like if it didn’t include a visit to the home of the most expensive sparkling wine in the world, Champagne. In all honesty, I could never really tell the difference between a Champagne, an Asti or a bottle of cheap fizz bought at 7/11 before I visited the region. Thanks to the informative tours however, I have a new found appreciation for Champagne, how it is made and what to look for in a good bottle.

Loire Valley

This is the second highest sparkling wine-producing region in France behind Champagne and offers some beautiful Anjou Rose amongst others. This was my favorite place in terms of landscape and fun to be had and in actual fact the wine tours here were really entertaining as we sampled Muscadet, Pouilly Fuissé and my favorite, Gros Plant. I had never really understood the wine to go with food thing, but after eating some delicious seafood with these wines, I genuinely understood the connection.

Cotes-du-Rhone

Prior to visiting France, this was one of the few French wines which I had actually heard of, so I felt as though I had to visit the source. What I hadn’t expected was a collection of vineyards which spread across the 200 kilometer long Rhone Valley. I have to be honest, this valley is absolutely stunning and whilst the wine may not be the greatest which France produces, I didn’t see a more extensive or ornate collection of vineyards as I witnessed here.

If you want to go for a wine tour to France then these are the areas which I would most recommend that you visit, not only will you discover a beautiful range of wines but you will also be able to see the most beautiful side to the country at the same time.

What Clothing To Take When You Go Backpacking in Australia

Hitting the Aussie outback with nothing on your shoulders except a rucksack can be one of the greatest experiences which you will ever have. There are some challenges which trekking around this part of the world brings however and one which you will struggle with regularly is that of which clothing you should tae with you in you bag.

The reason this is such a challenge is because on the one hand, you don’t want to be lugging about numerous kilos of weight on your back and on the other, you want to have sufficient clothing for a range of activities. To help you out when it comes to packing your bag, here are the essentials which you’ll need.

Flip Flops

There will be times when you will need a good pair of walking shoes if you are going hiking or going to be on your feet a lot. For all other times however, flip flops are an absolute godsend. The beauty of wearing flip flops is that they are light, they keep your feet aerated, they are waterproof and packing them is an absolute synch as they are flexible and can fit into small spaces in your bag.

The Utility Shorts

Shorts are by far and away one of the best items which you can take on the road with you as they are easier to pack than trousers and they can be worn whatever the weather. If it is raining ( a rarity in these parts, )then shorts are ideal as your skin will dry far quicker than clothing will. If the weather is hot then your covered and even if it is cold, your legs are the last thing which you need to keep warm so as long as you have covered the extremities, you should be ok.

Four T-Shirts

You may not win any prizes for fashion on the road but you will be the one having the last laugh with your light baggage and one way to ensure it stays that way is to limit your t-shirts. I always stick to the four t-shirts rule, this has never failed me in the past and it has always given me at least one clean one to wear until I get the stuff washed. Usually I have two dirty, one which I wear and one which I keep until I am washing the other 3.

Universal Wear

I often try to pick up multi-purpose clothing where I can which helps out in a number of situations. For example, I have a scarf which keeps my neck warm when it is cold, I can put it over me mouth if there is sand flying about and put it over my head when the heat hits the crazy temperatures. I also have a pair of lightweight, waterproof trousers which can be ripped off at the knee to make shorts. These items of clothing are a great idea when it comes to traveling to a wide variety of places.

Make sure that you are always focussed on weight when deciding what clothing to take, you will thank yourself for it once you are on the road.

Top Tips for Keeping Fit on the Road

If you are someone who likes to stay fit and healthy then traveling the world can pose a problem in terms of your daily fitness routine. With that being said, there are many ways in which you can still stay fit whilst you are on the road and it is important that you don’t allow the fact that you are traveling to hold you back from your fitness goals.

If you are planning to go traveling and are worried about how you will be able to stay in shape, here are some tips to help you do so.

Find a Minute

There is no way that you can guarantee being available at a particular hour of a particular day to do your exercises so it is important that you get the idea of routine out of your mind. What you need to do instead is look for any moment which you have and use it for exercise. You may not be able to dedicate two hours per day to your routine but you should be able to find at least an hour, wherever you are, which you can use to work out.

Go For Activities

Traveling itself actually helps you to stay in shape as you will be on the move a lot and taking part in activities which you wouldn’t usually do at home. If you want to stay in shape then you should take on as many activities as you can. Not only will this give you amazing experiences but climbing volcanoes, hiking through forests, snorkeling with sharks and surfing new places will also help you to keep your body in good shape.

Rocky Workout

In Rocky IV, Stallone’s character fought Ivan Drago, a Russian boxer with high tech equipment which he could use to work out, Rocky wasn’t blessed with these options and instead used all that he could find for his training. This is how you need to approach your training and whether you are doing pull ups on a tree, lifts using rocks or kettle-bell style workouts using a heavy branch, you have to use your environment to help you. In reality, gyms aren’t necessary for a workout and you can run anywhere in the world and do things like press-ups, squats and sit-ups whether you are in a hostel or in the middle of the desert, there is always a way.

Alcohol Management

There is a temptation to party all of the time when you are traveling but if you want to stay in shape then you need to learn to sometimes say no to a night out. Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself but if you want to make sure that your body stays in good shape, then going out each and every night is not the way to do it. Partying is great but in all honesty, the idea of traveling is to explore, experience and open your eyes to new things, you can sit in a bar anywhere in the world!

You will naturally have a more relaxed approach to your fitness but that isn’t to say that you should forget about it entirely, there is always a way to stay on track, even when traveling.

Top 5 Things to do in Mexico City

Mexico City is becoming a more popular tourist destination each and every year, especially amongst school leavers and gap year travelers. The reputations of Mexico City’s past are disappearing and far more people are now appreciating the capital for the forward thinking, cosmopolitan metropolis that it really is. No matter what it is that you are looking for in a destination, with the exception of the beach, Mexico City has it all.

It terms of a city which you can explore, it doesn’t get much better than the Mexican capital and here are 5 awesome things to do during your time there.

Hit a Tianguis

The Mexican food is absolutely amazing and after just a few hours in the country you will quickly realize that the Tex-Mex variety which we have in the States, is far different from the local Mexican cuisine. Mexico City does have a wide range of options across the city which accommodates those looking for international options, as well as those who have more specific requirements such as vegan food. The best food in my opinion though, is found with the street sellers and if you want the real experience then hit a Tianguis. A tianguis is a pop up market which usually features a wide range of true Mexican food, cooked by passionate vendors, right in front of your eyes.

Visit Teotihuacan 

Many people are unaware that just outside Mexico City is the eighth largest pyramid in the World, set on an archaeological complex in the ancient city of Teotihuacan. This city, over the years, has been occupied by both Mayans and Aztecs and the complex is a must visit place. Here you will find 2 pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, as well as one of the best preserved ancient cities in the World. Teotihuacan is just an hour out of Mexico City and a fantastic location for history buffs and travelers alike.

Visit Zocalo

Zocalo is the historic center of Mexico City and a great place to spend a day, drinking in the culture both new and old. At the heart of the area is Plaza de la Constitucion, the main square where many  events take place, political and cultural. Close to the square you will find the Palacio de Correos which is arguably one of the finest post office’s which has ever been built. In this region you will find pedestrian only streets, Mexican music playing in the alleys as well as the ornate and intricately designed Palacio de Bellas Artes theater.

Xochimilco

What many people don’t know is that Mexico City was once a vast network of canals and the city itself is actually built on these waterways. In the south of the city you can see how things used to be and take a trip on one of the brightly colored boats across the canals in an area called Xochimilco. If you are traveling with friends then you can turn this into a part on the water and take your own food and drink as you float through the canal networks which still exist.

If you are planning on traveling through Mexico then you should plan at least five or six days in the capital, it is a great place to explore and there is a great deal of things to do.

How to Meet New People On The Road

One of my favorite things about travel is all of the new people which you meet, I have friends from all over the world which I have made when traveling. I have always found that other travelers seem a lot more open to new experiences and to meeting new people and once you have escaped the bubble which you live in at home, you become one of those more open people too.

 

When you first leave home, it can be quite overwhelming in terms of how to go out and actually meet those new people so here are a few ways in which you can do so.

Staying in Hostels

Hostels, more often than not, offer a far cheaper mode of accommodation than hotels, but this is not the only benefit. Usually you will find that the other people who stay in hostels are exactly like you, traveling the world and looking to meet people. IF you are going to be staying in a hostel then it is important that you put yourself out there and introduce yourself to people you see.

Go On Tours

Taking small tours to tourist spots or popular attractions can often mean that you will meet someone who is just like you and traveling alone, looking for some fun. Once again, it is important that you introduce yourself to people with confidence and don’t hide away from the chance to meet others. I have made many friends during tours and ended up traveling with some of them once the tour was done.

Meetup

There is a great website called meetup.com which does exactly what it says on the tin. The website allows any user to create their own meet up and then members can decide whether they tag along or not. Usually these meet ups are created around a particular theme such as language exchanges, book clubs or any other such passion or interest. If you are looking to meet new people then you have two options here. You can either set up your own meet up group and invite others to come along, or you can join one of the meet ups of others and get introduced to some interesting people.

Just Talk

I have found that one of the best ways to meet new people is to just talk to them, sit in a cafe or a bar and try to strike up a conversation. These social places are often filled with people who are in a group but there are also going to be times when you spot someone else on their own and you’ll have a chance to get chatting to them. The key is confidence and in all honesty, if you are rebuffed when you try to start a conversation then perhaps that person is not the type of person you’d like to have spoken to anyway.

The key to meeting new people is to simply try to be sociable and put yourself in situations where you can meet someone new, it really isn’t as hard as you may think.

How to Find The Cheapest Accommodation for Your Trip to Africa

For most of us, when we take a trip away, we always have money on our minds and look for the cheapest possible options when it comes to accommodation. There is a fine balance to be struck when seeking cheap accommodation however as just because we want to pay as little as possible, that isn’t to say that we want to sleep in some filthy basement, well, not all of us anyway.

If you want to know exactly how to get the best priced accommodation for your upcoming trip to Africa then here are some of the best ways to go about it.

AirBnb

I always check AirBnb first when I book a trip and in all honesty, nine times out of ten it gives me the best places and the best value. The things with AirBnb when contrasted with a hotel or hostel is that you are not renting from a company, you are renting from someone with a spare room, a free place or a novel sleeping situation and they are rarely greedy in terms of their price. The other benefit of renting an AirBnb is that the host will usually be on hand to help you with any issues you may have, as well as giving your  bit of guidance about the area.

Direct to Hotel

The pendulum seems to have swung a little but in terms of booking hotels online and whereas in the past, booking through an Expedia or booking.com, was always cheaper than calling directly to the hotel, in my experience this has now changed. I usually use search engines to find hotel prices and then I will contact the hotel directly to see if they can offer a better price, and usually have success. When you find a hotel that you like, get on the phone and call them directly to get the best possible rates.

Consider Camping

If you are traveling to somewhere set in nature, then avoid the eco-lodges and nature hotels and opt to camp. Many campsites these days have tent rental or even some cool little wooden yurts which you can stay in. Not only will this give you an outstanding night under the stars but you can also cut down on the costs of accommodation by a huge amount. I have done this in many areas of North and South America as well as in Scotland during my European trips.

Got a Blog?

If you blog about your travels then why not contact some hotels and resorts to see if they will enter into an agreement with your for a sponsored stay. This will involve you writing for them after your stay with a positive review which you can place on your blog. This is a great way for many hotels to advertise and if they are not full up for the night, it will cost them very little to do it, a complete win-win.

There are always ways to bring the cost of accommodation down and if you follow these tips then you could be paying budget rates for beautiful places.

Awesome UK Cities to Visit on Your Gap Year

If you are taking a gap year through Europe this year then you have most likely already penned in some time to spend in the UK. Despite its size, the United Kingdom offers so much in terms of places to visit that it can be difficult to squeeze it all in when you are on a limited time-frame. Some of your time should most definitely be spent exploring the British countryside, some of the most outstanding natural beauty which you can find anywhere in Europe. Equally, much of your time should be spent exploring the cities which have had a profound impact on the World and today we are going to take a look at some of the best UK cities to visit on your gap year abroad.

London

We should probably start with the British heavyweight London, this is a vast and interesting city which has made an indelible mark on the entire world. Expect to spend at least a week in London, exploring its many boroughs and neighborhoods which offer one of the widest varieties of culture and history that you are likely to find. Make sure that you visit the biggest landmarks like Big Ben, Westminster and Tower Bridge but don’t forget that it is in some of the smaller boroughs where you can find some of the more trendy/hip areas of the city.

Newcastle

If you are looking to party then Newcastle is one of the best cities in the UK where you can do so. The clubs and bars in the city attract people from all over the United Kingdom and yet it is a city which many visitors to Britain miss out on. There is much more to Newcastle than drinking establishments and here you will see a great deal of northern English, working class culture as well as modern installations such as the Tyne Bridge, the Sage theater, the Millennium Bridge and Baltic art museum.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is something of a strange city, on the one hand it is the financial and geographical capital of Scotland, on the other, it is a city with the countryside within its walls. There are two main streets in the center which sort of juxtapose with each other and this is where you should spend most of your time. Prince’s Street is the modern area of the city where you’ll find trendy bars and restaurants, it is also a great place for shopping. On the other side of the train station you will find the Royal Mile, a long street which leads up to the Ancient Edinburgh Castle. Along the Royal Mile you will find traditional Scottish shops selling whisky and tartan as well as some cafes selling true Scottish cuisine.

These are just my favorite three of the many cities in the UK which you could visit, I would also recommend the northern English cities of Manchester and Liverpool but if your time is limited then hit the cities above for a true British experience.

5 Foods Which You Have to try on a Trip to India

India has long been a popular place for travelers from all over the world to explore and discover a unique country which has so much to offer. Whether it be touring through the rural landscape of this great nation or taking time out in the bustling cities, India is truly a trip like no other.

On a personal note, one of my favorite things to do in India, is to eat, the food here is so varied, so tasty and so plentiful that you could spend 3 weeks there and not try it all. If you are heading to India any time soon and want to indulge in the finest cuisine, here are my 6 favorite dishes for you to try.

Biryani

This beautiful dish consists of a rice base which is served using the delicious raita yogurt as well as some salad, usually cucumber. The rice is served in a biryani sauce which is made of cumin, coriander and tomatoes and then mixed with chicken or chicken tikka. AS with many of the Indian dishes, you can enjoy a vegetarian variety of the biryani dish and it can be found in restaurants throughout the country.

Chaat

This is the most common curry which you will find throughout the streets of India and it is the perfect snack to pick up when you are trying to save some money. The sauce of a chaat is made using Tamarind, onions, tomatoes, chill powder and vermicelli and the sauce can be mixed with a variety of different meats and other ingredients for the perfect comfort food.

Chloe Batura

This beautiful bread dish can be eaten at any time of the day and it will fill you up for quite some time. The bread is made with white flour and then deep fried before serving, the bread is served with a variety of side dishes such as chick peas, yogurts, chutneys and sauces and it is by far and away my favorite way to start the day.

Samosa

The samosas in India taste far superior to any which you will have tasted before in your home country and they act as the perfect daytime snack. The samosa is white flour pocket which has been filled with any variety of ingredients from potatoes, garam masala, onion, chill powder, salt and fennel, before being deep fried and served with some tasty sauce.

Sag Aloo

Vegetarians and vegans love Indian food because of its almost non-reliance on meat and with dishes such as Sag Aloo, it is easy to see why. This dishes consists of spinach (sag) and potatoes (aloo) and it can be eaten at any time of the day. The mixture of veg is usually given a flavor punch with some spices and tomato based sauce and it is a flavorsome and filling dish.

I could write for pages and pages about the stunning food in India and the only thing I would say to you is that you should try your best to try as wide a variety as you possibly can.

Best Ways to Pack Your Clothes

 

One of the biggest things which I have struggled with since leaving home is how best to pack my rucksack. I have tried a million different types of packing, I have tried to pack less things in my case and wear more, I have removed larger items and tried to fill out the space, but in truth, the clothes very rarely go in, the same way as they come out.

Thankfully, after much trial and error, I have found a few ways which work best for me when it comes to packing my clothes and I wanted to share my findings with you, let’s take a look.

Roll Up

The best way I have found of folding my clothes in order to keep them as wrinkle free as possible and also ensure that everything fits in is to roll up my clothes. Start with the big stuff, roll it up as tight as you can and place them and the bottom of your back pack. One you are done with this, fill out the pocket of space with smaller items like socks and underwear. After this, add your bath bag into the middle of the package before filling out the rest of the space with t-shirts, try a few times and you will get it just right.

Use the Shoes

I generally take two pairs of shoes and one pair of flip flops when I travel, I will wear one pair of shoes whilst traveling and pack the other two. Flip flops are great because they fit in to practically any space which you have and with the other shoes, you need to make sure that you are filling them up with items such as socks and underwear or valuable possessions.

One Big Lump

This is a surprising technique which has worked for me on a number of occasions and if you are only intending to take on pair of shoes with you in your bag, then it could work for you too. Start with your biggest items and lay them out in full on the floor, gradually add each item of clothing on top of one another until you have a neat pile of clothes, place your shoes in the center and then gather all four corners of your clothes until you have a sort of bag of clothes. Place the whole thing in your bag and voila!

Lose The Bathroom

The only bathroom items I ever place in my bag are a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste and some deodorant. The other stuff simply fills up your bag too much and in all honesty most accommodation options will provide you with soap at the very least. If this isn’t the case then you can always buy something on the road for a low price and then throw it away once you are finished. Too many bathroom items overfill your bag and you can avoid it with ease.

Keep practicing packing your bag until you can get it down to a fine art!