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Travel Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid

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If you travel a lot, you’ve probably made at least a few travel mistakes, learning some lessons the hard way which can mean financial losses and headaches or simply missed opportunities. Even the most experienced travelers can make a mistake, but learning about some of the most common ahead of time can help you avoid them so that you can enjoy a fun vacation with fewer bumps along the way.

Using the Airport Currency Exchange

While getting currency for your destination at an airport’s currency exchange facility when you arrive is convenient, it’s the worst possible way to do it as you’ll pay the highest exchange rates. Whether money is tight because you just purchased property among Vancouver real estate, or you’ve got plenty to spare, no one should pay more than they have to. Most airports have plenty of ATMs, which will give you a much better rate. If your bank doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, that’s even better. Be sure and call yours before you go to find out about any fees and let them know you’ll be traveling so that the transaction isn’t declined for potential fraud.

Being Too Cheap When Buying Airfare

While we all want a good deal, sometimes that cheap airfare isn’t the best value. Some airlines advertise extremely low prices only to tack on fees for just about everything afterward. That means not only baggage fees and fees for upgraded seats, but fees to reserve any seat, even in economy. Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and snacks used to be included on just about any flight, but now many low-cost carriers are charging for those too. 

The other problem with that cheap airfare may be customer service which can turn a minor inconvenience into a nightmare, say when that flight is delayed, causing you to miss your connection which was the last flight going out that day. It’s just not worth the savings in most cases to book a seat on a bad airline – Consumer Reports’ readers gave low marks in every category to Frontier and Spirit Airlines, in its latest survey, for example, ranking them among the worst with American, United, and Allegiant not far behind.

Forgetting to Check Passport Validity In Time

It’s important to check the expiration date on your passport as soon as you book your trip if not sooner. Many countries will deny you entry if there aren’t at least six months left before it expires. And, another problem that frequent travelers may encounter is running out of blank pages for passport stamps. As it’s no longer possible to have additional pages added, you’ll need to renew with plenty of time to do so before your departure date. Otherwise, you’ll face some hefty fees to expedite.

Packing Too Much

It’s easy to pack too much with the worry that you won’t have the right outfit for every possible occasion, but you’ll probably end up lugging around that heavy suitcase, exhausted only to realize that you’ll never wear it all. Then there’s the anxiety that comes at the airport baggage scale, wondering if you’ve accidentally exceeded the weight limit. There are few places in the world where you won’t find laundry facilities, take advantage of them, or bring along a trial size box of detergent and hand wash a few things. Many Airbnb and other vacation rentals even come with a washer/dryer. 

Trying to See and Do It All

You won’t truly enjoy your trip if you try to do too much. A jam-packed itinerary means you won’t have time to discover those hidden treasures, and you’re likely to feel more stressed than relaxed. Be sure to allow plenty of time to immerse yourself in the destination for the best experience.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Travel Tips

How to Spend a Sunny or Snowy Weekend in Sochi

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Caption: Sochi’s sandy beaches and blue sea are something we might associate with a Caribbean getaway.

Snow and Sochi are not always two things we associate with one another. Sochi has a sub-tropical climate and is one of Russia’s best-known beach resorts. However, just a short trip inland is the famous ski park of Krasnaya Polyana. In one weekend you can sun yourself on the beach and pick up your skis in the mountains. The incredible range of activities on offer makes this a bucket list destination for many. Here’s how to spend 48 hours there.

Stay at Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa

The Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa is undoubtedly the most luxurious hotel in Sochi. All of the rooms look out either onto the beautiful black sea or to the immaculately kept subtropical gardens. While the views out are stunning, the rooms are even more special. Each room is only furnished with natural materials, marble bathrooms, precious wood furniture, and leather upholstery. Royal interior designers were appointed to ensure that the hotel was up to the most exacting standards, and it shows.

Stroll Along Sochi’s Promenade

Sochi’s climate is perfect for beach-goers. The city boasts a long, well-kept promenade, which provides the perfect place to enjoy a morning stroll. Start at the port where you’ll see enormous cruise ships, as well as some privately owned superyachts. If you get lucky then you might even witness a regatta. After you’ve enjoyed the port, make your way along the rest of the promenade, taking in the Olympic Park as you go. Once you’ve found the best bit of beach, stop off and soak up some rays. Perhaps have a swim to build up an appetite, then dry off and take a short walk up to the restaurant for lunch.

Eat at Vysota 5642

Caption: There are lots of traditional dumpling dishes at Vysota 5642 but Khychin might just be the most delicious.

Vysota is a spectacular restaurant near the beach. It’s owned by famous restaurateur Arkady Novikov, who was determined to make this place a foodie destination. If you fancy a taste of home then the burgers here were immediately voted the best in Sochi, bringing together freshly ground, properly seasoned beef and simple toppings. However, if you want to try true Circassian cuisine, then the menu will not disappoint. The Khychin are delicious, combining beet leaves with cheese in a paper-thin casing. So too is the chicken in sour cream. All of the ingredients are sourced locally, from foraged herbs to chickens that have lived an almost wildlife.

Visit Krasnaya Polyana

Krasnaya Polyana is a ski resort just an hour away from Sochi. You can buy a day’s ski pass and enjoy the slopes to your heart’s content. Or if you aren’t particularly sporty, there’s another big draw up here, Casino Sochi. The European Poker Tour is one of the most hotly anticipated events to come to Sochi in recent years and will be returning again in 2021. The Casino Sochi has played host to the tournament and has seen some interesting occurrences in its time. Besides holding regular events it also has a huge selection of table games and slot machines. The building itself is beautiful, with richly decorated interiors, so whether you’re playing the slots, skiing the slopes, or soaking in the scenery, Krasnaya Polyana is definitely worth a visit.

Sample Some Sochi Wine

Russia is most widely known for its vodka, but it has a surprising wine history. Sochi is the region that produces the most wine, some 60% of the country’s output, thanks to its southerly location and warmer climate. Russian wine is fascinating for those with a real interest in wine and delicious even for those who haven’t. Abrau Durso is a short trip away and offers tasting sessions and vineyard tours for real enthusiasts. However, if you’re pressed for time then most of the restaurants around town will be glad to tell you about the local wines on the menu. Of course, if you’d rather there is always a good selection of vodka too, so no need to choose one or the other!

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Travel Tips

A Trip To Qatar In 2022

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Qatar Financial Centre

While although international travel is not on the agenda in this current climate, one would hope that the world will return to a sense of normal by 2022 and if it does, it means football’s biggest party will be sending out its invites.

A party that will be hosted in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar and although FIFA’s decision may have initially raised some eyebrows, there’s no doubt that plans for such large festivities are being anticipated all over the globe.

It is the first time that the crown jewel of world football has been staged in the Middle East and although that adds an element of pressure to the Qatari organisers, they are ready to put on one gargantuan show.

Of course, the show needs its headline names and with 32 teams earning qualification for the tournament over the next couple of years, the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi will be ready to display their talents on the biggest stage of all.

Even though we are still two years removed from the first game of the tournament, the bookmakers are still taking bets on the eventual winner and at present, France and Brazil are topping the odds to get another cup at Qatar 2022.

France will certainly be considered as favourites and after success in Russia back in 2018, Paris Saint-Germain’s Mbappe will be ready to lead his side to back to back trophies and a third overall title for the country after previous jubilation in 1998.

With that said, a lot can change between now and November 2022, as form and fitness will dictate who will be able to mount a serious challenge and who will end up being left behind as nothing more than an also-ran.

When it comes to who wins the competition, that is not something we will know for quite a while and although the start of proceedings seem still a long way away, that should not stop you from making your own travel plans.

Even though Qatar has a relatively small landmass when compared to previous host nations, it is still ready to open its arms to football fans in all corners of planet Earth and with 80 countries enjoying the ability to travel visa-free, that will be one less headache for you to worry about.

While when it comes to headaches, alcohol is still something of a sensitive issue within Qatar and although it is largely forbidden in day to day life, there will be the usual fan parks in place, in order for you to enjoy a beer or two.

In addition to that and if you are not in the vicinity of a fan park, you will be able to celebrate or commiserate with a beer in any of the licensed hotels or restaurants, but do check if such venues are in possession of the necessary license before booking.

Much has been made of the weather and with that in mind, you may want to swap the alcohol for water and keep the hydration levels at their maximum, especially when you consider the expected temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius.

The weather may be conducive to wearing less clothes than back home, but if making the trip to Qatar do please consider the local customs when it comes to clothing and for men, a pair of knee length shorts should be sufficient to keep the heat at bay and keep you comfortable.

By comparison and for the female of the species, a little more caution may be required and therefore the advice is, to dress modestly in public – a remit which advises against showing your shoulders or wearing a short skirt.

Before the tournament begins, nine stadiums will be newly created and three will be renovated, which means the seven host cities of Al-Daayen, Al-Khor, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal, Al-Wakrah, Doha and Umm Slal will be ready to host the 64 scheduled fixtures.

With this advice, all you need to do is book your flights and with the likes of British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, Sri Lankan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air India, Jet Airways operating in the area, there is nothing from stopping you joining the party in 2022.

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Travel Tips

Consider alternative airlines when booking your next trip

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Whether you are a devoted Muslim wanting to finally make your Hajj, or just a tourist to Arabia and the Middle East who wants to get around cheaply, it’s important to not waste money needlessly on airlines.

Thankfully, competition has been heating up in the region for some years now. Lower cost airlines have been springing up all over the region over the past several years, and this benefits us, the consumers, immensely.

Choosing the Right Service

Finding the right airline to choose can be confusing. Now, more than ever, people need a way to source all of the airlines to find the best way to travel. Many with low budgets have found great ways to save. Spicejet tickets allow you to book the best flights with the best airlines.

The power of secondary airports

Flyadeal, the people behind the portal in the above section, aren’t just a portal, they are an airline. The great thing about this airline is that they have a hub in a secondary city (Jeddah).

This is one of the secrets to saving money, if you can avoid the major airports, you usually avoid a lot of taxes and extra charges that wind up getting built into your tickets.

Secondary airports are often very close to major airports, sometimes surprisingly so. Finishing the last couple of hours of your trip by land can lead to major savings at the end of the day because of this.

Airlines are desperate right now

It’s no secret to anybody that 2020 has been a real rough year for airlines. Many of them seem to be even raising their prices, but ultimately, it’s the consumer who determines the price of something, not the provider.  Don’t panic if you start seeing high prices everywhere. Keep looking for alternatives and waiting. Outside of the immediate short term, the trend is going to be for the cost of travel to fall sharply, and this applies all over the world.

Established airlines may take more time than the newer more competitive airlines to get on board with pricing that’s going to be acceptable to consumers. That’s exactly why you need to use a good portal as a starting point, one that works with an increasingly large network of low-cost airlines.

Being adventurous will pay off in more ways than one. Cheap air tickets should be a more normal occurence in the future due to a slight decrease in demand. However, over time this will all even out but for now you can enjoy your economical tickets.

And to top it off, you will have the run of places that are normally jam-packed with tourists and visitors. It will definitely pay off in spades to do some due diligence now and be on top of things. And that definitely starts with getting your alternative airline game on.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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