Ethiopia Adventure Travel Tips

Ethiopia Adventure Travel Tips

In November 2010 my husband and I travelled around Ethiopia for three weeks by public bus with a private guide. Travel (especially bus travel) is a real adventure and not for the faint hearted as there is long travel days (even longer if the bus breaks down) on poorly maintained roads. But it is an excellent way to get up close and personal and experience the life and culture of the locals.

Addis Ababa
We arrived at the airport at 3.30am. We had not booked any accommodation due to our early arrival so we stayed at the airport till about 7am. A taxi agreed to take us into the city for USD$10. We went to the Ras Hotel where we had to wait till 9am to see if they had a room.
Travel Tip: We stayed at the Ras Hotel 3 times due to its central location. The price includes breakfast which is awful but lunch and dinner are good.

Bahir Dar
We stayed at the Ghion Hotel on Lake Tana and did a boat cruise to the islands to see the painted churches. The Blue Nile Falls area is pretty but not worth the long bumpy ride to get there. Since damming the river, the waterfalls are certainly nothing like the posters show.
Travel Tip: Check if a guide is included with your Lake Tana boat cruise. There was 9 of us on our boat. No guide accompanied us on the boat except for our private guide Samson. The first island we visited Samson acted as intrepreter otherwise we would have not understood what we were looking at. The second island we visited the church guide spoke English.

Gonder
The abandoned castles are very interesting and it is worth hiring the guides inside the gate.
Travel Tip: We stayed at the Belgez Pension which was cheap, clean and quiet but the rooms were very small and cramped. They do your washing for a very small fee – give to the cleaners in the morning.

Simien Mountains
We did a one day 4WD day trip with another traveller and our guide Samson.
Travel Tip: We would have liked to have stayed overnight even though we are not trekkers, as the scenery is stunning.

Lalibela
We spent 2 nights in Lalibela exploring the amazing rock churches.
Travel Tip: Keep your entrance ticket handy as they will be checked at each church entrance.

Arba Minch
Arba Minch is a overnight bus stop between Addis Ababa and Jinka.
Travel Tip: Spend an extra night on one of the stopovers and do the lake tour.

Jinka
We hired a 4WD locally to tour the main 3 tribes in the area (Mersi, Hamer and Karo tribes). We shared this cost with 3 other travellers who were on the bus and stayed at the same accommodation as us.
Travel Tip: Buy your bus ticket to Addis Ababa early (at least 1 day in advance) so you can obtain a better seat number otherwise you will find yourself stuck at the back of the bus on the 2 day journey. Buy good ear plugs so that you can block out the noise of the loud music videos playing.

Transport
We used a variety of transport that included: public bus, minivan, 4WD and boat.
Travel Tip: If you find that quite a few of you are heading in the same direction, it will be more economical and comfortable to rent a minivan and driver like we did from Bahar Dar to Gondar (7 people).

Tour Guide
We used the services of a private guide. This was the first time we have hired a guide for the entire trip through a new country. The guide proved invaluable in keeping the touts away (worth the money alone), dealing with local tour operators and obtaining hotels.
Travel Tip: Use a private guide’s extensive knowledge and experience to enjoy Ethiopia through the eyes of a local.

Travel Tips For Canada

Top 5 Travel Tips For Canada

Canada is a great vacation destination and has many things to offer to its visitors like the majestic mountains, beautiful winding roads, lush green forests, wildlife and the multicultural cities. I traveled to Canada last year in December using my air Canada miles, my trip was simply awesome. Here I want to share with you my five best travel tips for Canada.

First Tip – Purchase A Good Travel Guide:

When you are traveling to some foreign country, it’s always a god idea to carry a travel guide. Canada is also a no exception, if you don’t want to buy a travel guide there are always many good travel tips and guides present online which you can print.

You can find some good travel guides for Canada on top web pages like Fodor’s, Lonely Planet or Rough guides. A good thing about travel guides is that it provides you with an insight about the destination, like where to go, what to eat and drink, things to do and see, where to shop etc. Investing in a travel guide is not bad and it only helps you in knowing the place better.

Second Tip – Always Consider The Climate:

Before you pack your bags for Canada, don’t forget to consider the season you are traveling in. If you are heading for the Maritime Provinces then you must know that they tend to be more humid than the other provinces in the west. In Nova Scotia, Halifax, you can expect to experience weather that is temperate in summers and freezing in winters.

If you are staying in the mountainous areas of Canada, then you can expect to see a lot of diversion in the climate. Keep yourself layered up if you are staying in this region. On the other hand, areas like Victoria and Vancouver are more temperate and don’t usually see too much freezing temperature.

Third Tip – Plan To Cross The Border:

Traveling to Canada is not that easy anymore like it once used to be. The new restrictions have made it difficult to cross the borders, the documents needed for traveling to Canada are always changing from time to time. So it’s best that you check the documents and verify that you don’t need anything extra before you head for Canada.

Fourth Tip – Know The Currency:

Another important tip for traveling to Canada is that you should know the importance of comprehending the currency before you leave. Canada uses Canadian dollars, though you can also use US dollars. It is always wise to carry a traveler’s check in Canadian currency since they can be accepted anywhere.

Fifth Tip – Tips On Tipping:

Also remember when you are giving tip in Canada you need to know how the Canadians take gratitude. Tips are not included in the restaurant bills and a standard tip for good service is $12 to $15.

Vacation Planning Easier

A List of Travel Tips to Make Your Vacation Planning Easier

any people spend their vacation traveling either in country or abroad and find it can be a complicated ordeal to remember all those little details before leaving home, and while on the trip you thought was so well planned out. This is where some travel tips can be most useful. It usually helps to make a list of necessities and then divide it between what needs to be done before locking that door at home and what needs to be remembered when traveling to your destination. Here are some valuable travel tips to include on your lists:

• If traveling out of the country scan your passport, travel tickets (cruise or air travel), ATM card info, emergency phone numbers, and store this information on your email address so it can be accessed by you if necessary from anywhere in the world.
• Do not carry all your valuables in one place. Split up your cash, bank cards, credit cards, and travelers checks into different locations either in pockets or your baggage (best if kept on your person in case of luggage misplacement). That way if you get robbed you may not lose everything all at once.
• Take bar soap and toothpaste powder instead of liquids and tubes to simplify matters for security clearance. Purchase the sample sized items if possible.
• One of the best travel tips suggests you pack everything you possibly can in plastic bags because they keep cleaner and are visible to those who feel it necessary to go through your luggage at airports, etc. They also come in handy as an emergency umbrella.
• Travelling with a flashlight (or torch) is common but don’t let those batteries run down if the light comes on accidentally. Turn your batteries around before storing it, and then turn them around again when you get to your destination.
• Shoes should be put into plastic bags to keep the other items in your luggage odor free and clean. You could put a pair of socks inside each shoe for easy packing.
• When flying, especially on a long flight, keep any necessary medications along with your important papers close by in overhead baggage. It might be useful to also bring along a clean change of clothing when on long flights.

The last item on this travel tips list must be to remember to get any necessary vaccinations that may be required (depending on the location) and to not forget your list!

Travel Tips

Local Customs and More on a Travel Tips Blog

Experienced travellers claim that you should travel light on luggage and heavy on knowledge. Genuine globetrotters point out that everywhere you go, the hotels, restaurants, and shops will have everything you need. Moreover, if you keep your suitcase empty on your outbound trip, you have lots of room for all the great one-of-a-kind items you will pick-up on your travels. You cannot and should not, however, keep your mind more than half empty, leaving yourself vulnerable to hijackers, pirates, and international incidents. Reading a good travel tips blog, you can develop an experienced traveler’s wisdom and insight without ever leaving home.

Rules, regulations, and requirements

A travel tips blog will detail the rules, regulations, requirements, and laws governing travel to any destination on earth. Learn whether you need special documents or identification; should you carry your passport and birth certificate wherever you go? Learn whether you need proof of vaccination to enter the country; should you protect yourself against malaria, smallpox, and other contagious diseases relatively uncommon in Europe and North America? What will you do if you are injured during your travels abroad; will your insurance protect you, or should you purchase extra “trip insurance”? Can you drive a car through the country; what are the rules of the road? A travel tips blog breaks-down all the information into its main ideas and details, placing emphasis where it belongs and adding information only the locals would know.

Currency and exchange rates

Although the vendors and merchants will help you with all your transactions, you should know enough about the currency and values that you can tell the difference between a genuine bargain and an over-priced touristy curio. A travel tips blog will advise you to carry a pocket calculator or get an app for that, so that you can go comfortably from dollars to Euros to rupees or pesos. When you have mastered the math, move on to mastering the etiquette of tipping: to whom do you offer a gratuity, and how much is enough? Perhaps most importantly, a travel tips blog will advise you about shopping-what about tariffs, duties, customs fees, and other costs. That little trinket that seemed like the most awesome bargain in the universe may become your most expensive mistake if you do not prepare in advance.

Customs and courtesies

Learn a little bit about common courtesies in the countries on your itinerary. A travel tips blog will advise you about the consequences of asking for a fork in Japan or China, the complications of violating a local’s “personal space” in New York, and the ramifications of belching or becoming belligerent in an Australian pub. What about handshakes, bows, and hugs? Who does what, when and why? People in California and Colorado believe in hug-at-first-sight; other places not so much. Women may discreetly inquire about proper headwear: what does one wear as she visits the Vatican, takes tea with the Queen, or travels anywhere in Iran?

China Travel Tips

China Travel Tips

Survival China Travel Tips and Tricks

These China Travel Tips, Survival Techniques, will help you get around and make your trip to China easier, so you will be able to experience the real China with a little less stress.

China is an odd beast that needs to be respected; the major cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, all have their own personalities.

Some complex situations that you think would be an organizational disaster turn out to be great and you wonder afterward what all the fuss and worry was about. Then the simplest of tasks can turn out to be a major calamity.

This is when you have what we call here a “China day”.

These days come and go and are part of the experience of everyday travel in China. One needs to have an open mind when travelling China. It is a place with thousands of years of history and culture that is trying overnight to adapt to Western ways of living.

You need to have a very open mind when you Travel in China.
I have listed below a few China Travel Tips that will make life that wee bit more bearable on your Travel China experience.

China Travel Tips – Be Toilet Wise

o Never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time.

o Be prepared; Carry some tissue.

o You may have to use a squat toilet, again if you know this before hand it is not a shock. If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet, try the following experiment at home.

While holding onto something for support with both hands, lower your body down into a low squat position, so that the cheeks of your bottom is almost touching your heels or the back of your calf. Now, let go with your hands. See if you stay in this position for at least 1 minute. If you fall backwards or you cannot get up, then a squat toilet could be a problem for you! Practice, you will be happy you did.

o If you see a clean toilet, Go… it may not come again for a while.

o There are many public toilets around the cities, usually the ones you pay for are OK, (RMB .5), the others best to stay away from if you can. You will soon notice them as you walk around the cities.

o Be warned that public areas like bus and train stations are usually what I class as “tough toilets”, however if gotta go you gotta go.

o Outside of the major cities, the toilet systems are old or have very narrow plumbing /pipes and get blocked easily. In these cases a small basket is usually beside the toilet, this is for your used toilet paper.

One of the best China Travel toilet Tips I can give you, is use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are always clean. Still they may not always have toilet paper. It depends on the class of hotel that you are using.

I do not wish to scare you. However, of all the China Travel Tips in all the other web sites I have read, this is a topic not often mentioned, but it is very important to us all.

So outside of the major cities conditions can be tough. But most of the time everything will be fine, especially if you book a tour; everything will have been checked out before hand. However even the best laid plans can go wrong, so be prepared, the toilets in the smaller cities, towns and villages can be scary.

China Travel Tips – The Food

o The food is great and the variety is overwhelming. Most of the time you get to choose what you eat, or you can recognize what you’re eating, however sometimes you do not get a choice. Carry a chocolate bar or something; this will keep you going until some food that you can recognize turns up. Drink bottled or boiled water, as the tap water is NOT safe to drink, this is for the whole of China. Even boiled water, while sterilised can contain a lot of minerals and iron deposits that you probably do not want in your system. The safest bet is to drink bottle water. Tap water in most big cities is OK for brushing teeth.

o Eating habits – Most Chinese people have a great habit of being very noisy when they eat and lunch and dinner times can be a wonderfully noisy celebration, food tends to go in all directions, its just part of being in China.

o People also smoke at the table while everyone is eating, so some restaurants get very loud and smoky.

o If you get stuck what to order as most of the menu’s are in Chinese just look at the table next to you and point to the dish you fancy and ask how much it is, this system works really well and know seems to mind.

o I have a basic menu that will help you order safe food, (no Cats or Dog) this will enable you to visit a larger selection of restaurants, not just the tourist ones with high prices. You can carry it with you and use it in the local restaurants where most will be able to serve what is on it. This way you will know what you are eating.

These local places are very cheap and the food it great. Contact me if you would like me to send it to you.

China Travel Tips – Taxis

o China Travel Tips- Taxis – Taxis are an experience that can have you griping the seat and gasping for breath; however you soon get used to it, after the first few

Travel Tips And Advice

Travel Tips And Advice – Travelling With A Disability

A disability should not stop you from travelling, but a chance to try different travel options. The three key challenges to travel with a disability are – transport, toilets and accommodation. We will provide you with Trusty Travel Tips and advice that will assist you on your next travel adventure.

Don’t get hung up on how accessible a place is, focus on all the activities you can do!

Planning Your Adventure

When you are travelling with a disability or travelling with someone with a disability, the most important thing for a smooth vacation is correct planning. Don’t go overboard and plan your holiday down to the last minute, but all your accommodation and transport should be booked before you leave home.

You should research the accessibility of your transport and accommodation options, and also for the activities you are planning. Ask questions about access to buildings, the number of steps, how wide are the doorways and lifts and is there easy access from the car park. And for your accommodation, off course ask whether there are disabled toilets and showers, and if there is enough space in your room for a wheelchair.

When contacting places, you need to be specific about your own limitations, so that different options can be put in place to cater for you. The best place to get information is from other travellers who have done it before. Otherwise you should try local tourist information centres.

Make sure you pack all essential and necessary medications, and bring with you any necessary prescriptions. Also make sure you pack extras of any medical or personal equipment that you might require.

Choosing The Right Transport

One of the biggest difficulties when travelling with a limitation is choosing the right transport and especially getting on and off public transport. Once you have planned your itinerary, you need to research your options between locations or cities. The best way to find accessible transport is to talk to “customer relations” or the person in charge of ‘specific needs customers’. They will be able to provide exact information on the transport options.

Catching a plane can be a daunting experience! When you book your ticket, let the airline know your limitations and specific consideration should be provided. Be sure to check with your airline to make sure it has accessible toilets before booking a long haul flight.

Many people with a disability will forget figuring out the best transport all together, and will take a cruise holiday – either a river cruise or a large cruise liner. This way all of your luggage will stay in the one place, you don’t need to find an accessible restaurant or toilet, and many of the activities are brought to you.

Other good options are:

Hiring a camper van that is wheelchair accessible
Take a train holiday in Western Europe – most trains are ideal with easy access and accessible toilets.

Finding An Accessible Toilet

Research is essential to finding accessible toilets. Many toilets say that they are accessible, when they are clearly are not. Don’t find out the hard way! Asking at the tourist information centres for up to date information.

Places to look for an accessible toilet is at museums or art galleries, fast food restaurants or at modern train stations. Some travellers will plan what activities they do or attractions they see each day by where they can find an accessible toilet.

What is The Best Accommodation

It will be hard to find the perfect accommodation when you’re travelling, except if you are willing to pay for it. Research is essential before you go to find a place that is accessible.

A good hotel will have accessible car parks that have easy access to the hotel. They will normally have a lift and even a porter service. Most will have a restaurant or food service on-site for easy access. Make sure you tell your accommodation when you are booking about your limitations, what equipment you might have and what assistance you may require.

A good idea is to stay in accommodation in a central location. It will be easier to visit local attractions and these attractions will be close-by. You might even be able to do day trips away from the city. This way you avoid the need to move all your luggage again.

Other Great Tips And Advice

If you are in a wheelchair and have someone to push you, take a manual chair. It will take up less space then an electric chair and it doesn’t require recharging.
Allow your family or carers to have a holiday too. Let them do activities that they choose. This way they will want to travel with you again and it might give everyone some needed time apart.
Have your wheelchair cleaned and serviced before you leave. Make sure you have checked the batteries and all moving parts are in working order. Also research who you could contact if you have a major breakdown on the road.
If you have an electric wheelchair, take spare travel adapters