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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

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20 Tips for First Time Travellers

Josh okungbaiye

Travelling, although exciting, may come across stressful for those first timers. Here are a few tips to make your travels less stressful.

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1.    Respect the locals

 

When travelling to different countries, you may experience a cultural shock due to the major shift in cultural tendencies. This includes food, music, customs, religions and of course, language. My advice is, always be open to learning the countries ways of living, especially as you are the visitor.

 

2.  Try the local cuisine

 

As humans, we often result to sticking to what is within our comfort zone; especially when it comes to food. Although this may be suitable when in your home country, when travelling, I encourage you to try as many local dishes as possible. After all, you are travelling to experience a change in culture.

 

3.  Be flexible

 

When travelling you will more often than not face unplanned events such as transport delays, lack of money, or getting lost. These circumstances are perfectly normal and if anything would be extremely rare not to experience. Remember to remain clam and flexible. You 100% are not the only one that has faced this situation before!

 

4.  Don't be afraid to mingle with other travellers

 

Although your mother always told you not to speak to strangers, there are a few occasions where talking to strangers may in fact benefit you. One of these instances is when travelling; especially if you are travelling solo as knowing that people are in the same boat as you makes the whole journey a little less lonely and a little more enjoyable.

 

5. Attempt to bargain

 

It is no surprise that travelling can be costly. One tip I find especially useful when trying to save money, is to attempt to bargain. When renting a car, purchasing from street markets or even staying at a hostel, many times they bump up the price just incase you are willing to pay for it. If you think you can get it for cheaper, by all means, attempt to bargain a lower price.

 

6. Don’t rely on technology

 

Although we live in a digital world whereby our lives revolves around technology; if ever your phone, laptop or GPS were to fail you, you would be lost on what to do next. In order to avoid further confusion if this were to happen, my advise is to learn and remember addresses such as your accommodation as well as closest public transport. Furthermore, carrying a physical map is always a good idea in order to save your phone battery in case of emergencies.

 

7. Keep your valuables on you 24/7

 

It may seem like a burden to carry things you wont be using everyday such as a copy of your passport, but rather than leaving it at your accommodation, keep it close to you along with your other valuables such as your phone, wallet, keys and any other necessities you may need. This also serves as a form of ID if ever it is requested.

 

8. Travel for longer in fewer places

 

One mistake many first time travellers make attempting to fit as any destinations as possible in a limited amount of time. Although this may seem like a good idea when first planning the trip, when it comes to actually travelling you will find it’s more convenient to stay for a longer period of time in fewer places in order to fully feel as though you are explored that destination.

 

9. Have travel insurance

 

Although travel insurance isn’t always opted by many travellers due to wanting to remain within their budget; it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when in a foreign country.

 

10. Be prepared for reverse culture shock

 

Finally, the same way you can experience a culture shock when first arriving at a new country, you may also experience a reverse culture shock once your travels are over and you return home. This is due to the extreme shift in activities, climate etc. Do not fret, there is always time to do some travelling.

 

11. Always carry local cash

 

When travelling to foreign countries, especially quaint towns within those countries, it is very rare for every place to take credit cards. Therefore, it is important to carry cash on you in order to avoid hassle; especially at important places like trains or buses.

 

12. Carry double ID

 

Many times some places do not take your foreign form of ID as valuable proof when purchasing alcohol or getting into +18 events. Therefore, it is always best to carry 2 forms of ID in order to avoid disappointment.

 

13. Purchase tickets for places you know you want to visit prior to arrival

 

By purchasing your tickets in advance, you’ll be able to skip long queues, especially for really touristic attractions; as well as find more deals, saving you some money.

 

14. Take guidebooks

 

Guidebooks usually include maps, key phrases as well as give you enough detail on certain sites which you otherwise wouldn’t have known. Guidebooks will overall give you a little more knowledge on your travel destination to make sure you get the full experience.

 

15. Research events going on while you’re there

 

Having knowledge on any events occurring at your destination will ensure that you don't miss out on fun events such as festivals, ceremonies and natural events. by attending these events, you will feel like a local in their home town as you fully experience their culture.

 

16. Bring a charger adapter

 

As countries have different plug sizes and voltage, in order to use your electronic devices you will need to ensure you bring a suitable adaptor to charge them.

 

17. Activate Free Roaming

 

Back in the day, phone companies would charge for roaming usage. Nowadays, roaming is completely free for the majority of phone companies. Make sure to activate it before travelling to get use out of your data, even while you’re away.

 

18. Bring snacks

 

When travelling long distance, make sure to bring small snacks with you in order to avoid paying for overpriced snacks on your chosen form of transport and stations.

 

19. Check-in with your doctor

 

Before leaving, make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations in order to avoid any unwanted illnesses. Also ensure that you have renewed all essential prescriptions as you may not be able to find them if you run out.

 

20. Go with the flow

 

Although planning ahead seems like the appropriate option, allow yourself to get lost in the side streets on the way to your chosen attractions as you might encounter something completely unknown and unexpected that might surprisingly become the most interesting part of your trip.

 

Nicole Fernandez Medina

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 5 SAFETY TRAVEL APPS

Josh okungbaiye

Travelling to another part of the World is exciting. However, it is always important to stay safe and keep in mind your personal security while you are having fun. While you are travelling, situations may arise unexpectedly that may be out of your control and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared just in case. As we all know, summer is fast approaching and we know that a lot of you guys will be travelling this summer. To help you get prepared, we wanted to give you some useful tools to help you stay safe so we listed our top 5 safety travel apps to help you on your journey.  See below. Enjoy! :-)

(1)    ICE

While on vacation a medical situation may arise. They can be unexpected and it is best to be prepared as much as you can. The ICE app is a very useful tool if such situations arise. The app keeps details about your medical conditions, your insurance information and your doctor's direct contact details. It can also be accessed even if your phone is locked. Everyone should have this app all the time. The app also comes in a number of different languages.

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(2)   Tripit

This app enables you to track your itinerary. You can also share your itinerary with your family and friends so they are also aware of your plans and be reassured of your safety. This is useful for just in case you forget or can’t pronounce the name of your destination. 

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(3)   iTranslate

This is a dictionary and translation app. It can easily translate texts in over 90 languages. It can also translate your voice phrases. Absolutely genius! Not being able to speak the local language can make you very vulnerable so this app is a powerful tool in empowering you as a tourist and gives you a lot more confidence in navigating the country that you are visiting. Also, if you are in a risky situation and cannot speak the local language the app will help a lot in assisting you in the situation.

(4)   Companion

This app acts like a guardian angel. The app lets your friends and family know that you are on your journey. All you have to do is enter your destination and select your contacts to be your Companions. They don’t even have to have the app installed.  These companions anywhere in the World will see a live map of your progress. It alerts your friends and family and lets them know if something happens to you so they can take action. It’s a great app that puts you at ease and also puts your friends and family at ease wherever you are in the World.

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(5) Safeture

The app provides real-time status on warnings, alerts and security. The app automatically filters warnings and information to you based on your location or your travel destination. The Safeture app has for a number of years provided international businesses and Government organisations with travel security. The app also provides you with emergency information and updates quickly on events that may affect your travel plans and well-being.

TOP 5 HOTEL HACKS

Josh okungbaiye

Here are our top 5 hotel hacks to help you guys get free upgrades, discounted rates and additional perks during your hotel stays abroad. Enjoy! :-)

1.    Twenty Dollar Trick

As far as we know, this only works in selected Hotels in Las Vegas. If you happen to be travelling to Las Vegas definitely try it and see what happens. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. This is what you do:-

When you arrive at check-in, you provide your debit/credit card and ID and put a $20 bill in between the cards very discreetly and give it to the check-in staff. As you do this, ask if there are any upgrades available. If they find you an upgrade they keep the $20 bill, if not, they will simply decline and give it back to you. If successful, you could get a king size room with an amazing view and indoor Jacuzzi. It’s definitely worth a try.

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2. Offer to write a review

It helps to mention that you are on TripAdvisor as you check-in. You can also offer to write a review of your experience. In response, you may get extra special treatment or even an upgrade from the hotel.

3.    Use the Do Not Disturb sign for security

If you are staying in a cheap hotel or hostel and unsure about the safety of your belongings, leave the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door when you go out; this will deter intruding thieves by giving them an indication that you may be in your room (even though you might not). This sign is effective in helping to keep your stuff in your hotel room safe from intruders and will give you some peace of mind while you are out and about exploring the city.

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3.     Call the hotel to speak to Hotel Manager or the Front Desk before you arrive

If you have stayed at the hotel before mention it. As an effort to ensure you come back the Hotel Manager may give you a special offer or special perks as a reward for being a regular customer.  If it is your first time staying at a particular hotel do not hesitate to ask for additional perks.  If it is a special occasion, anniversary or a birthday, mention it. If you don’t ask you don’t get. People underestimate how much power hotel staff have, they have the power to upgrade for free or for a good rate to make your stay even more enjoyable..

4.    Be Nice

Being nice and friendly can go a long way in getting extra perks during your stay.

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