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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

Filtering by Tag: fly

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

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Pickpockets in Spain

Josh okungbaiye

Although Madrid and Barcelona are both wonderful, touristic cities to visit, they are both listed within the 10 worst cities for pickpocketing. Here are a few tips to follow in order to avoid pickpockets ruining your holiday full of fun and sun in Spain.

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1) One popular scam in Spain is pickpockets masquerading as undercover policemen. They are known to approach you on the street and ask for your wallet. One thing you must keep in mind is policemen are unlikely to approach you unless your behaviour seems suspicious; and even so they certainly are wouldn’t ask to go through your wallet without showing you a police badge of his own.


2) Avoid ‘tourists’. If a random person comes up to you asking for directions, you are most likely going to try and help them out. As nice as this seems, you must be aware that the ‘tourist’ might have an accomplice using the distraction to pickpocket you.


3) Don’t get caught in a people sandwich. If you find yourself sandwiched between two people on the street, an escalator, or public transport, be aware that while the person in front may be blocking your way, the person behind you picks your pocket or backpack. In order to avoid theft, always wear your backpack in front of you and avoid keeping valuables in your pockets.


4) Don’t fall for the fake petition trick. Pickpockets will often approach people on the streets with a fake petition to sign. Whether you choose to sign it or not, they will ask you to donate to a ‘charity’ as a way of extorting money. Moreover, while the person holding the petition sign distracts you, pickpocket is focused on stealing your belongings. Therefore, it’s best to avoid strangers approaching you on the streets and asking for donations; don’t be fooled into thinking the money goes to a good cause.


5) Lastly, as fun as they may seem, avoid impromptu roadside games. While strolling down the street, you may come across a few people playing a card game on the footpath. No matter how enticing it is, refuse their invitation to join the game. One, they will cheat to make sure you will lose your money. Two, while you are busy playing the game, pickpockets may be enticed to steal your belongings.

Into Seoul and Beyond: See, Do and Experience it Beyond the Touristy Stuff 

Josh okungbaiye

 

The vibrant city of Seoul in South Korea is a metropolis that’s brimming with action. There is so much to do and see there that you’ll never be able to see it all. Unless you pack up and move there, which isn’t a bad idea either.

seoul

You’ll definitely want to visit popular tourist destinations like Insadong, where you can check out art galleries, eat temple food while watching a traditional performance, and scoop up amazing souvenirs to take back home with you. You’ll also want to take the subway to Lotte World for a Korean version of Disney World. Plus, there are museums that will help round out your experience. And the palaces! You can’t miss those either. The most famous of them all, Gyeongbokgung Palace, has two museums on-site too.

The DMZ tour is also another popular thing for tourists, and honestly if you’ve got the time to do it, you shouldn’t skip the chance to visit. You’ll need to take a long bus ride for it, but most hotels can set you up for a tour if you ask the concierge.

While these touristy things are incredible and you should make time for them, if you stick to just those things, you’ll miss out on a whole other side of Seoul that you’ve simply got to see. Here are some other things you should make time to do and see while you’re in Seoul.

travel solo in south korea

1. Go for norebang

Korean karaoke rooms, called norebang, are amazingly fun. You get your own private and comfortably outfitted room with a state-of-the-art sound system. This singing room allows you and your crew to sing songs, order plenty of Hite or Cass (Korea’s domestic beers), and have an absolute blast. They have them everywhere so just pick a place that looks good and go. 

karaoke in seoul

2. Take line 2 for a view

The line 2 subway will give you the most impressive view of the Han River. You can also get out at Dangsan and walk out exit 3 to walk across the walkway and take selfies to your heart’s content.

train in seoul

3. Seoul Children’s Park

Most people that visit Seoul for a trip don’t know about this awesome place. You could spend the entire day here and still not do it all. It’s free to get in too. You’ll find a zoo and a stunning botanical garden. There’s also an amusement park. You only have to pay for rides or any food purchases that you make, making this a fantastic way to stay entertained even if you’re low on funds.

south korea architecture

4. Food, drinks, and nightlife

Go out like the Koreans do. Start at one place, like a Korean barbecue where you can grill your meats right in the center of your own table. Make sure you wash it down with plenty of soju, an alcoholic beverage akin to vodka. Then, amble on to the next place. Often, fried chicken joints are an inevitable stop where you and your friends will get spicy crispy fried chicken and a pitcher of beer. Want to dance or do the bar scene? Itaewon practically caters to foreigners, while Hongdae gives you more of that college set. Either place is great for a fun night out with plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs to fill your night!

nightlife in seoul korea

5. Go shopping

Seoul is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Look at the way the women here style themselves and in a few months, you’ll see the trend take hold in the states. It’s an excellent place to shop. You’ll see plenty of malls filled with sparkly stores that will tempt you to spend. But one place you have to look is underground. Take the subway to the Gangnam Terminal where you’ll find the Goto Mall. Or head to Yeungdeungpo or Jamsil for more underground shopping madness. There are gobs of trendy clothes, shoes, jewelry and more, and the prices are outstanding. Hopefully, you’ve brought an expandable suitcase to take all your goodies home with you. If not, you can find one in one of these underground malls for super cheap.

If you do these things and get in some time at the many other touristy stops you can make, you’ll get the best taste of Seoul. It’s impossible to do it all so plan wisely and you’re experience in this majestic city will be truly unforgettable.