Posts Tagged ‘travel tips’

  • 5 tips for couples moving abroad

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    In a Baskin Robbins in South Korea, I once met an American couple who were new to the country.

    They were teaching together, living together, and spending all their time together. I had given them a simple Fellow Foreigner Nod, but they waved me to their table and hit me with an outpour of pent-up observations and questions and stories. We had fun, despite the weird “thank God there’s someone new” vibe.

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  • 7 Tips to Planning a Great Round-The-World Trip

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    The RTW traveler: a breed of road veteran surpassed in experience perhaps only by the steely-eyed, scarf-wearing newspaper foreign correspondent.

    The idea of round-the-world travel has been gaining traction in recent years, with more and more people, from a widening variety of age ranges and backgrounds, deciding it’s not only possible to add a big trip to their life-plan but to do it with an economy that doesn’t force them to struggle for survival when the trip comes to a close.

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  • Travel agencies’ pros

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    Travel agencies have good things also, such as getting free information about travelling: train or bus schedules, transport connections, availability on trains and other interesting things. Ask in several agencies to get the information that you need and then decide whether you want to buy the tickets from them or directly in the train or bus station, avoiding thus paying their commission. There is people who prefer to pay the extra charge and to not have the hassle of arranging everything themselves. Suit yourself!

  • Travel agencies' cons

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    Buy your tickets always from the providers (local train-bus station), not through travel agencies. Those will keep a high commission and sometimes even cheat by giving false information or raising the prices to their convenience. When we were trying to go from Udaipur to Bundi, travel agents kept on telling us that only private buses were going there. We couldn´t believe that and continued asking around until we found out that there were also train and local bus going there. They were lying in order to get a commission, such a bad thing…

  • Finding a room

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    Hotels don’t have fixed rates for their rooms and increase the price if they know you need a place to stay. Try not to arrive too late at night. They will use their chance to charge you double the price. Finding a room in Jaipur at 10pm seemed difficult for us as many hotels were full. In one of them -a paradise for backpackers as our guidebook assured- we were asked for 1200 rupees for a room, which on the next day was only 250 rupees worth.

  • Transport in cities

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    Try to catch metropolitan buses to travel around in cities. You will save money (5-10 rupees for a ticket) and pollute less than if you were travelling by rickshaw (up to 100 rupees for the same journey and clouds of black smoke behind you). Furthermore, it is a good experience to interact with locals.
    A rickshaw driver asked us 200 rupees for a ride to Amber Fort, which is about 10 km north of Jaipur. We found out there was a metropolitan bus going there for just 7 Rupees. It is a good idea to always enquire the local people (not the rickshaw drivers since they will want to get your money).

  • Don’t waste your time on the road

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    India is a huge country and even small distances take long to be covered (100 km could take you around 3 hours on a train). If you are travelling for a short period of time, try to concentrate in one region rather than spend your holidays on a train or bus. We once met a spanish couple who were trying to visit some of the Indian highlights in just 2 weeks. They seemed to be exhausted after a 5 days full program through Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Kolkata…

  • Be aware of touts

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    Be aware of touts or rickshaw-wallahs offering surprisingly cheap or free services. They only want to get a commission by taking you to a friend’s hotel or shop. After arriving in Agra by bus, we had to catch a rickshaw to the hotel area where we wanted to stay, as it was too early to find a local bus. The driver diverted the way to different hotels which weren’t on the route, just trying to drop us there and get a commission, which would increase the price of our room. Tell the driver to drop you off a bit further of the hotel or shop where you want to go and then continue by foot. Take extra care that they don’t follow you, as they normally do to make sure they get some extra money.

  • Keep an eye on your lugagge

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    Use padlock and chain to secure your luggage onto train or bus racks. It is common to hear stories about luggage theft, so watch out your belongings on trains. Even indians do and there is people selling chains in many of the train stations.

  • Sleeper trains

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    Travelling at night in a sleeper train is a good way to avoid the long hours sitting in packed carriages, they are more comfortable than you may think and time passes faster. Don’t dream about travel, travel and dream at the same time!!
    We could not always catch an sleeper train due to bad schedule from our side or to non availability, so we had to travel during the day and share not only words but also our seats with a bunch of young indian people, who were too curious and stared at us during the whole trip. A whole carriage staring at you during several hours can be very annoying, believe us!! We thought we would never get to the station…

    sleeper trains

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