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Why Traveling Alone Can Be The Best Experience

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When you think of traveling, you might think of a big family vacation, a group of friends setting off to see the world, or perhaps a couple’s romantic getaway. What you might not think of is traveling by yourself. However, solo traveling can be an amazing experience, and there are so many benefits that if you’ve been tempted to visit a far-flung destination but didn’t have anyone to go with, you really should just book your tickets and head off to explore! Read on for more details, and you’re sure to understand what we mean.

It’s All Down To You

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

One of the most significant benefits of traveling alone is that every decision you make is yours entirely. You get to choose where you go, to begin with, without having to compromise because other people you are traveling with want to go somewhere else. You can pick the hotel that you like the look of best, or choose to stay in a hostel or camp out if you prefer. You can go out on day trips or spend a relaxing day by the pool playing games on Unibet. You can make your own itinerary and not have to work on someone else’s time frame. If you decide you don’t like a place, you can move on somewhere else without having to persuade anyone else to. It’s an amazingly freeing feeling.

You Can Meet New People

“Wherever we travel to, the wonderful people we meet become our family.” –

Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

Meeting new people is one of the joys of traveling, and according to Psychology Today making friends is essential, but it can be hard to do when you’re in a group or traveling as part of a couple. First, it can mean that you tend to stick with the people you already know because there is no real need to look outward to other travelers or even the locals around you.

Secondly, even if you did want to make new friends, those around you who might have struck up a conversation if you had been on your own could choose instead to stay away because they feel you are already with your friends and aren’t looking to meet anyone new.

Either way, you can miss out on some fantastic, life-long friendships in this way and that can be a big regret which Pocketmindfulness.com explains is not a healthy way to live.

You Can Find Yourself

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

It may sound strange to say that you can find yourself when you travel alone, and it might not initially be something you think you want to do. However, if you can start to understand what it is that makes you happy, what fills you with joy, what you want from life and even how you intend to get it. When you return home, you will be more powerful and better able to do whatever it is you want, without compromise, and without damaging your mental health or your personality.

Understanding more about yourself is fundamental to living the best life you can, and when you are traveling alone this is a much easier thing to do!

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

Sights to See in London

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If you’re traveling to London, congratulations. You are going to enjoy yourself. The capital of the United Kingdom has something for everyone – history, theater, art, and of course, the monarchy. Before you go, make sure you have attended an english course. It will make your trip all the more enjoyable. While there is much to do across the pond, make sure you put these destinations on your must-see list.

British Museum

Considered by many to be the best museum in England, this architectural marvel is free to visit. Constructed in 1753 and opened to the public six years later, the British Museum became the world’s first national public museum. Nearly six million people visit the museum each year and explore its 10 departments – Africa, Oceania and the Americas; Ancient Egypt and Sudan; Asia; Britain, Europe and Prehistory; Coins and Medals; Conservation and Scientific Research; Greece and Rome; Middle East; Portable Antiquities and Treasure; and Prints and Drawings. Famous antiquities housed in the museum include the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and the Lindow Man.


Buckingham Palace
The home of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace is available to tour from July through October. It costs $34 for adults, $19 for kids 17 years of age and younger and is free for guests under 5 years old. When you visit, make sure to check out the 19 State Rooms, the Grand Staircase, fine art, a Prince Charles-narrated audio tour, fine art, the Throne Room, Sèvres Porcelain, the royal gardens, flags and clocks, special exhibits, the Garden Café and the Garden Shop. If you don’t want to pay for a tour of the palace, you can still witness the storied Changing of the Guard. Executed by active soldiers from the Foot guards who have protected the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since the 17th century, this special ceremony is forever linked to the British monarchy.

Westminster Abbey
The famed royal church offers daily services and is a World Heritage site. Since 1066, Westminster Abbey has served as the coronation church. It is the resting place of 17 monarchs. Started by Henry III in the 13th century, the church is considered the most famous Gothic building in England. At its center is a medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint. Abbey’s most popular spots include Poet’s Corner, Coronation Chair, The Lady Chapel, Pyx Chamber, Royal Tombs, Unknown Warrior, The Quire, Cloisters, Chapter House and College Garden. Admission to Westminster Abbey is $26, but you can visit for free. Evensong services are offered seven days a week. While not highly publicized, simply walk over to the iron gate by the church’s main entrance and enjoy a beautiful service performed by a world-class choir.

London truly has it all. Depending how long you are in the country, you may not have time to see everything that makes the country great. If that’s the case, make sure you put the British Museum, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey on your to-do list.

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Adventure Travel

Review: 10 Day Egypt Explorer Tour with Expat Explore

A comprehensive review of Expat Explores 10 Day Explorer Tour through the stunning country of Egypt.

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Expat Explore Group in Egypt

We have been wanting to visit Egypt for a while now so when the opportunity to get away over the Christmas and New Year period arose we knew we needed to head there for a break. We joined Expat Explore on their 10 Day Explorer Tour through Egypt taking in the sights of Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Hurghada.

Expat Explore Group Photo

The reason we chose Expat Explore was that they were the cheapest in price with all the same sights and in the end we were happy with our choice.

Pre-departure they emailed us our itinerary with the optional excursions and additional costs for entry fees included so that we could budget properly. As well as following up with our pre-trip questions regarding flights, insurance and uhealth and safety advice.

From the start they were very professional. Landing in Cairo we were personally greeted the day before our tour and transported to our City centre hotel. That drive was an eye-opener to Egypt with crazy lane changes, honking, swerving, flashing lights with animals, people and vehicles everywhere.

El Tonsy Hotel is your base for your arrival and last night. Luckily we didn’t expect much as our door didn’t lock which was a bit dodgy and the rooms were freezing cold with a broken heater and only one blanket. You wouldn’t think you would need heat in Egypt but it was the middle of winter and it was chilly at night. No complaints with the location though as we could see the Pyramids in the distance and were only 5 minutes walk from the Nile and 15 minutes to Tahir Square (perfectly safe by the way). Plus they have a little bar/restaurant with cheap food and free Wi-Fi. Just buy your snacks and water from the supermarket across the road and you will get on fine.

El Tonsy Hotel View of Pyramids

It’s quite hard to break down a whole trip into one post but here goes:

Day One

Your tour starts with the best in my opinion by touring some sights of Cairo. The steeply angled Step Pyramid, mind-blowing Pyramids of Giza and the smaller than expected Sphinx. This day was definitely the highlight.

That night is spent aboard the train for 10-12 hours to Aswan. I highly recommend the Sleeper train for an extra £50 per person. Others that caught the standard train froze their butts off while we had a toasty sleep with a served dinner and breakfast. Unfortunately Expat Explore never told us about the provided food so we ate before we got on-board but what we could fit in was delicious.

Day Two

The tour splits in Aswan as one group embarks on a River Cruise aboard a 5 star ship while the others spend time in hotels and on a Felucca. No surprise that we went with the cheaper option aboard the Felucca so the next few days are from that point of view.

The afternoon is yours at Sara Hotel on the banks above the Nile. We lapped up the beautiful rays of the sun and managed to turn our pasty white bodies a more fitting slightly white shade. The Hotel was great until the toilet next-door erupted sending a river of smelly waste across our bedroom floor (throw your toilet paper in the bin not the loo)! Luckily we woke in time to rescue our bags from the watery mess! Not the fault of Expat Explore and we didn’t blame the Hotel either as shit happens.

Day Three

Your day begins by visiting the monstrous High Dam for 10 minutes (fairly boring) and a drive past the Unfinished Obelisk. While the highlight is definitely the Philae Temple. When the sunsets across the Nile reflecting off the stonework it really is quite magical.

Philae Temple Sunset

The evening ended with an optional dinner in a traditional Nubian families house. The food was scrumptious and you better bring your singing and dancing shoes.

Day Four

The following day and night is spent relaxing aboard the Felucca for a sail up the Nile for several hours. Sleeping no more than 8 people you will be snug if you bring your own sleeping bag like us. The rest of our crew were jealous as it did get quite chilly in the evening however blankets were provided.

With delicious pita bread and falafel cooked on the boat you will not be disappointed with the food either.

The day ends with a bonfire on the Nile shoreline as you sing and dance with the crazy fun Nubian crews. This was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip for us.

Travel Tip: Don’t be put off by doing your “business” amongst the reeds of the Nile. Just enjoy the view and remember to bring your own toilet paper (which you need everywhere in Egypt anyway).

Felucca on the Nile

By all accounts, from the other tour members, the River Cruise is just as great with 3 nights on-board in comfortable accommodation, a pool and  buffets morning, noon and night.

Day Five

Waking to a sunrise breaking the morning chill is a glorious way to start a new day. Unfortunately there is little time for relaxation before you are off the Felucca and on a bus to Kom Ombu and Edfu Temples. I must say, all of the transportation was more than adequate with toilets on the buses and room enough for everyone. It’s lucky because you do spend the majority of the time being driven around.

The Lotus Hotel in Luxor was probably the pick of them all. Situated on the Nile bank with a swimming pool and tasty buffet breakfast.

Day Six

One more day, one more busy schedule. Rushing to beat the crowds at the Valley of the Kings it’s another 8am start. You are only allowed to visit three tombs and we recommend the guides picks which were Ramses II, IV and IX.

Travel Tip: You are NOT allowed to take your camera with you off the bus. Please don’t ruin it for everyone by taking photos as you will be charged by security when caught.

We also squeezed in the crowded rock carved Hatshepsut Temple but only drove past Luxor Temple as we ran out of time as you need to drive 6 hours to reach Hurghada that night.

Day Seven and Eight

The next two days at the Red Sea are yours to do whatever you like so use them wisely. We joined most of our group for a spot of snorkelling and diving. The dive and the staff were great but the whole day seemed a little rushed which was a shame. Keep an eye out for our post on our diving experience in Hurghada.

Diving in Hurghada on the Red Sea

So nice being able to relax on a beach and read a book after such a hectic schedule. It’s hard to leave and the 6 – 8 hour bus ride back to Cairo is tough.

Travel Tip: If you plan to do the tour over New Years Eve then you will have to depart Hurghada half a day early which sucked as it meant celebrating the New Year at the Hotel in Cairo. Bit of a let down but when hasn’t New Years Eve been!

Day Nine

Your final day of sightseeing is spent around Cairo. Our favourite part of the day was definitely the Cairo Museum with an excellent tour guide. It fits perfectly at the end by seeing all the history close-up after having learned about it over the last 8 days.

By the time we hit the old area of Cairo and the Coptic Hanging Church we were spent on history but our guide made a good effort at keeping us entertained.

The last group activity is free time for an hour or so at the Khan El Khalili souk markets where the touts try to prise your cash from you for the last time from every nook and cranny.

Day Ten

With the tour over it’s time to head home. Our flight was late the following night so we walked around the city and Souks on our own for the day. Expat Explore provides transport back to the airport which was great.

The Negatives

The trip was awesome but we think it’s important to note the little things that could make a huge difference to the overall experience:

  • It felt like we were always hungry. Maybe it is just Kiwi’s and Aussies that eat all the time but it seriously felt like we were constantly starving with lunches being served usually after 4pm and dinner at 9pm onwards. It might be the Egyptian way to eat at those times but not for us. Travel Tip: Buy lots of snacks for the road which are very cheap at supermarkets.
  • There was sometimes a lack of direction in what seemed to be happening. Everything is done on Egyptian time so be patient.
  • We were often delayed or behind schedule with little to no guidance as to how long it would take to get from place to place. A little knowledge goes a long was as then we can plan ahead.
  • More free time would be great to explore places on your own rather than have our hands held everywhere.

The Positives:

As we said above, the trip was amazing and the little positive things far outweighed the negatives which helped make it a memorable trip.

  • Pre-departure information and care was extremely good.
  • The tour was exceptional value for money and it was the cheapest tour we could find even though we still saw all the same sights the other groups did.
  • The guides were extremely knowledgeable and never failed to answer any questions we had. The insights into the daily lives of the people around us was a nice break from all the history. They also ensured you never felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • The Felucca trip was better than expected and overall so was the accommodation and transport options.

All in all we highly recommend you book with Expat Explore if you are considering a trip through Egypt.

Make sure you subscribe now and come back soon so you can enjoy reading our new posts which will cover everything else in more detail.

Disclaimer: Expat Explore provided us with a discount for our 10 day tour of Egypt however as always our thoughts are always our own.

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Travel Tips

How to Buy the Perfect Swimwear for Your Next Trip or Vacation

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If you are planning to spend time on the beach or by the pool during your next trip or vacation you are going to need to buy the right swimwear. Below, we explain how to make the right choice.

Don’t be afraid to try something a bit different

Gone are the days where men wore trunks and most women wore a one-piece or bikini. As you can see when you click here, these days, there is a lot more choice, especially when it comes to women’s swimwear. You can now buy swim dresses, tankinis and even shapewear that is designed with swimming in mind.

If you have not been costume shopping in a while, it is worth taking the time to try out some of these new cuts and styles. The same applies to men. Try out a pair of swimming shorts instead of always wearing trunks. You never know you might end up really like them.

Getting the fit right

Before you travel, you should try your swimming costume on and make sure it fits you properly. It needs to stay in place regardless of what activities you take part in. So, when trying it on, go through the entire range of motions. Reach your hands above your head bend down and bend over. Then repeat the process when it is wet. Going through this little exercise will ensure that you do not end up embarrassing yourself while on the beach.

Bear in mind local swimwear rules and customs

In some parts of the world, there are regulations that govern the type of swimwear you can wear. Regardless of where you are planning to travel to it is worth clicking here and checking if there are any swimwear related rules or customs you need to bear in mind. For example, so many people get caught out by the French rule that says that men cannot wear shorts when swimming in a public pool that they now have vending machines that sell trunks.

The quality matters

If you are planning a long trip, it is wise to spend a little extra cash and buy a high-quality swimming costume. In the end, doing so will end up saving you a lot of money.

In many popular tourist destinations, the cost of swimwear is high. So, you really do not want to be forced to buy a swimming costume in a place like that. That is why it makes sense to buy something that has been made to last from your home country.

Most supermarket costumes are only designed to be worn for beach holidays. So, usually, they are not made from very good fabric. After a month or so you will notice that your costume starts to lose its elasticity and get baggy.

More packing and holiday clothing tips

If you found the above article useful and would like to read something similar, just click here. When you do, you will be taken to one of our packing tips articles.

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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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