If everyone is marketing experiences, and if everything has become an experience, what does it mean to be truly different in travel? GetYourGuide
If everyone is marketing experiences, and if everything has become an experience, what does it mean to be truly different in travel? GetYourGuide
— Sarah Enelow-Snyder
A demonstrator holds a sign reading “Join us” in Biarritz on Dec. 5. Concessions made by French president Emmanuel Macron’s government in a bid to stop violent anti-government demonstrations seemed to have failed to convince protesters. Bob Edme / Associated Press
— Hannah Sampson
Representatives from Romania encourage visitors to learn a local dance at a stand at the ITB Berlin 2018 event. Romania was one of the countries that benefited from tourism growth this year according to a new survey. ITB Berlin
— Sean O’Neill
Lufthansa aircraft lined up at Germany’s Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Group has billed a cabin-crew union for pay it says some staff received when they were actually working for the labor group. Bloomberg
— Sean O’Neill
Virgin Atlantic spent months trying to figure out if it should launch a low-cost carrier. Bloomberg
— Tom Lowry
A terminal at Singapore Changi Airport is shown. Online travel agency Zuji, which operates in Singapore and Hong Kong, has failed to meet its payment obligations for airline ticket sales and has been suspended by the International Air Transport Association. johnlsl / Flickr
— Raini Hamdi
Fosun raised $426 million after pricing its Hong Kong initial public offering at the bottom of a marketed range Bloomberg
— Raini Hamdi
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Olay. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Travel doesn’t stop because Winter is here, but there are several changes that need to happen when the seasons change. Your body needs warmer clothes, your cameras need more batteries, and your skin needs more attention! Winter air is cold and dry, so skin hydration becomes much more of a concern. If you are planning to spend some time outside, it’s important to find the right products that work for you. Which is why I’m excited to be trying out the new Olay Mists – Ultimate Hydration Essences.
I recently took a short trip to Vernon, BC and it was a perfect time to test out these new products in the crisp, Canadian, autumn air. The temperature has been dropping and the interior of British Columbia can have very dry air which is tough on the skin. This trip would definitely put these products to the test.
I started the morning with the Olay Energizing Mist to help wake me up and get me ready for the early hike we had planned. My first impression was how fine the spray was and then the refreshingly subtle scent that accompanies it. So fast and easy, it was the perfect little pep I needed to get out the door.
The energizing mist contains botanical ingredients such as vitamin C and bergamot extract which left my skin feeling revitalized, refreshed and energized. The mist is very fine, almost like walking through a cloud. I also enjoyed that it can be applied on top of my current makeup and foundation without causing it to run and leaving my skin looking bright with a healthy glow.
I especially like how it hydrates my skin without having to rub in a product with my hands. I’m frequently in a lot of airplanes, restaurants, outdoors, or other public places where my hands are picking up germs that I don’t even want to think about! The fact that I don’t have to touch my face gives me one less thing to worry about.
The hike wasn’t too intense, but the temperature was hovering around the freezing level and there was a slight breeze coming off of the lake. Usually, after being outside in that kind of weather I’d be left with dry, tight-feeling skin. Despite the challenging conditions, my skin held up and felt great when the hike was over.
Later that day we got back to the hotel and it was time to wind down for the night. After several hours of hiking and a day’s worth of exploring, it was time for some Olay skincare TLC and a nice hot bath. While the bath was filling, I decided to try out the Olay Calming Mist.
The calming mist contains aloe leaf and chamomile to calm dry, tight skin. Aloe vera is great for hydrating and calming skin, while chamomile is known for its soothing properties and rich antioxidants. Just like the energizing mist, it’s free of oils, parabens, and artificial colours and dyes.
The combination of the fine spray and fresh scent made it so relaxing. I think it would have been easy to overdo it with an overpowering smell like a lot of other hygiene and skincare products. I feel they hit the perfect level of scent with these products which I think is especially important for the calming mist.
After testing these products out in Vernon, I am very excited to have two new additions to my winter skincare routine. I just love how easy they are to apply with or without makeup! On a dry plane (they are TSA approved sizes!) and anywhere around the world, I think these mists are going to find a permanent home in my skincare routine. I now have one less thing to worry about when it comes to cold weather travel.
Winter is coming, and I’m ready for it.
I’m not a huge fan. I just don’t feel comfortable when the streets are jam-packed, when I need to constantly dodge other people, when I’m faced with lines and groups and little space to call my own.
As travel becomes more and more popular and commonplace though, such tourist crowds seem to be the norm all over the world. Walking down the street in many destinations requires a lot of focus in order to avoid bumping into strollers, lost tourists and group leaders that don’t seem to mind taking over the sidewalks.
Of course, I know I’m part of the problem too. I am indeed a tourist visiting these very same destinations.
Forget about low seasons and high seasons, forget about visiting cold destinations in the heart of winter or tropical destinations in the middle of monsoon season. It almost doesn’t seem to matter any more. Travelers are everywhere, all the time.
We were just in Granada, Spain during what was supposedly the low season. It was 10C / 48F and rainy but the streets were packed and the tapas bars full, every day and every night.
Before that we were in Porto, Portugal, walking around in the cold, right alongside thousands of others willing to line up for an hour at the Livraria Lello or ready to walk along the Douro River.
In Lisbon earlier this month we were quite thankful to be staying at an Airbnb away from the city center, and away from the crowds that turned the streets of the Chiado and Alfama neighborhoods into one big bus tour.
Of course, we still loved these destinations. I’ve always been a strong believer that travel is about the mindset anyway, not the actual places we visit. It really is possible to enjoy any country, city or village if we’re open to getting the most out of our experiences and we focus on the important stuff.
For me, that focus has always been local interaction and local activity.
And no matter how crowded or touristy a place might be, those two things are still ALWAYS possible. (I follow a simple 5-minute rule to help ensure I have local experiences.)
At the same time, there are definitely moments when I just want to push through a crowd and keep running until I’m somewhere quiet, somewhere without other tourists around, somewhere without lines, where we can just enjoy our surroundings on our own.
That takes me to last week…
As my girlfriend and I walked around the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, a breathtaking palace and fortress so very worthy of at least one visit in a lifetime, I made two observations:
Yes, you read that correctly.
While the Alhambra completely blew me away and quickly became a travel highlight of this year, my mind couldn’t help but drift to Romania at times.
The Alhambra. AWESOME. And crowded.
Corvin’s Castle in Hunedoara, Romania. Not as awesome, but definitely remarkable. And no tourist crowds at all.
The same goes for Sighisoara, Corund and Sibiu.
That short list includes one of the best preserved medieval villages in Europe, a stunning region in the countryside where traditional life is still the norm and a historic and gorgeous city. If all of those places were located in a more popular country, they, too, would be full of crowds.
But for now, they offer all the good stuff, without the over-tourism.
Sure, there are tourists in Romania but compared to the sights of Western Europe, there’s VERY, VERY, VERY few. (In Corund, one of my favorite areas, there’s almost none!)
Naturally, it’s not just Romania. There are many countries where even the greatest of what they offer can be enjoyed without the tourist crowds and lines and buses.
Such locations are becoming slightly harder to find these days, but they do still exist.
Actually, maybe they aren’t much harder to find. It’s just that everyone wants to visit the same places that they see on social media or that have the marketing budget to promote themselves as the destinations we ‘must see’ now. Or simply a destination where airlines are suddenly offering crazy cheap flights that we simply can’t turn down.
Whatever the root, though, it’s worth getting away from the crowds from time to time.
There really is something special about having a castle mostly to yourself, even if it’s not rated the most unbelievable castle on the planet.
There really is something rewarding about walking into a restaurant and being the only foreigner.
Or visiting a small workshop where the family is actually creating something useful for the community, not just to sell to tourists.
When you end up in the middle of a local religious ceremony or being invited off the street and into a birthday celebration, chances are high it didn’t happen in the middle of an extremely touristy city. It usually happens in places without crowds, where genuine interaction is still appreciated by all sides.
That’s why my mind drifts to Romania every now and then. It’s one of those countries that offers authentic interaction and rewarding travel experiences almost everywhere you go.
It’s also why my mind drifts to East Timor, Western Sahara and a local island in the Maldives. It’s why I’m just as happy in the streets of Timisoara or Moshi or on a random dirt road outside of Wanaka, New Zealand talking to a farmer about her horses as I am at the dreamy Gardens By The Bay in Singapore or wandering around Rome.
While those popular locations are popular for a reason, sometimes the lack of tourist crowds makes up for the lack of ‘top 10’ sights or ‘must do’ activities. Sometimes all we need is a destination all to ourselves.
Of course, ‘all to ourselves’ is impossible…but luckily, there are still destinations out there that offer something pretty darn close.
Thoughts? How do you feel about visiting incredible, but crowded, places vs less discovered destinations?
The post Let’s Talk About Tourist Crowds (Are They Everywhere?) appeared first on Wandering Earl.
That was crazy. My girlfriend and I recently booked a ton of flights around the world. We needed to get from Europe to South America, then travel all around South America before heading to the USA and back to Europe before I fly off to India in mid-February.
It’s not usually how we travel – to have 3 months planned out and booked before we arrive – but this time, it was the option that worked best given our tight schedule.
When we finished all the bookings, I didn’t know what to do. Celebrate? Sleep? Shower?
Here’s what we booked:
– Barcelona to Miami
– Fort Lauderdale to Quito
– Quito to Rio de Janeiro
– Rio de Janeiro to Ushuaia
– Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
– Buenos Aires to Santiago
– Uyuni, Bolivia to La Paz
– Cusco, Peru to Bogota, Colombia
– Bogota to Medellin, Colombia
– Medellin to Fort Lauderdale
– Fort Lauderdale to London
– London to Budapest
– Budapest to Delhi
In 18 years of travel I’ve never booked so many flights in one go!
At first glance, it would certainly be understandable to think that the above 13 flights around the world cost us an absolute fortune in total. I still have a difficult time looking at all those flights and not thinking that myself.
However, while that colorful array of air journeys certainly didn’t cost $200, the grand total of those trips…
That’s an average of about $169 per flight. Some of those trips are 1 hour long, others are 14 hours and the rest are in between. And in the end, those flights will take us to 4 different continents over a period of almost 3 months. That’s remarkably inexpensive if you think of what we’re getting for that amount of money.
My usual flight booking process is this:
#1. Check the following websites:
(I know a lot of people use Skyscanner and Momondo but I’ve personally never found a cheaper fare on either of those websites.)
#2. Play around with dates and destinations.
Since my plans are rarely 100% set in stone, I always play around with various dates. I also play around with different orders of the destinations. For example, with our flight from Medellin to Fort Lauderdale, changing the date by one day reduced the price by $90. Going from Rio de Janeiro to Ushuaia and then to Buenos Aires was $150 cheaper than going from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Flexibility is key!
#3. Grouping flights / Multi-city flights
I always try to group flights together. On this South America trip, booking separate flights was more expensive than grouping together Rio to Ushuaia, Ushuaia to Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires to Santiago. Grouping those three together in a multi-city search saved us $200. (But booking Uyuni to La Paz, Bolivia was much cheaper on its own. That flight cost $85. When grouped with other flights, it increased the overall price by $130.)
From Cusco, Peru to Medellin, Colombia, it was also much cheaper to group two separate one-way tickets together than to book one complete ticket all the way through. By booking Cusco to Bogota and then Bogota to Medellin, we saved $110.
Here’s another great example: I once needed to fly from Budapest to NYC. The cost of the one-way flight was $650 at the time. I then decided to try and group it together with another flight I knew I needed to take 4 months later – Miami to Delhi. The airfare went down to $625, total! I ended up with two long-distance flights for the price of one.
Grouping random flights is one of the best methods for reducing airfares in my experience.
#4. Check the airline’s website
Once I find the lowest fare from the websites listed above, I’ll generally visit the specific airline’s website to see what they offer directly. Sometimes, the fare is the same or even lower. When that’s the case, I book it on the airline’s website as this takes away the middleman and is much easier to deal with, especially if there’s an issue at some point.
However, sometimes, as was the case with LATAM Ecuador, the fares on their website were MUCH higher than what we could get on Kayak for the same flights. In these instances, I definitely go with Kayak or Orbitz or whichever site offers the lowest fare. While it’s convenient to book directly with the airline, it’s not usually worth a few hundred extra dollars to do so!
If it’s a multi-city/grouped flight, it depends on whether it involves one or multiple airlines. If it’s one airline, it can be booked on the airline’s website and if it’s multiple airlines, it usually needs to be booked through the site offering the deal.
#5. Different languages
Our flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to London Gatwick is with Norwegian Airlines. I saved $37 by going to Norwegian Airline’s Swedish website versus using their English-language website, where the same flight was more expensive.
It’s a little tricky since there are often dozens of different languages you could test for each airline. But I will generally try a couple of versions, usually the native language of the airline and another country nearby, just to see if there is any difference in airfare.
#6. Discount codes
I’ve started doing this with anything I purchase online. Before I confirm the purchase, I’ll do a Google search for the name of the website or company followed by the words ‘discount code’. Something like “TAP Portugal discount code”.
Every now and then I find something that works. Maybe it’s $10 savings, maybe it’s 10% or more. All it takes is a few seconds and you could end up saving some money so it doesn’t hurt to try!
Finding good airfares is not really complicated. Sure, there are some tricks involved, but it really just requires time. Search, compare, tweak dates, tweak destinations, group flights together, search again…and again and again.
But if you simply don’t like searching for flights, you might not want to spend as much time as I do looking for deals. I usually spend what my girlfriend describes as ‘way too much time’ trying to find cheaper fares. In the case of our 13 flights around the world above, it really did take us a solid 3 days, searching about 3 hours per day, until we finalized everything.
But we did save over $1200 each based on the total price we started with from our initial searches. I’ll take a $1200 savings any day for a few hours of work over a 3 day period!
The extra research also led to more direct flights, shorter layovers and better departure and arrival times. For me, the extra research is worth it even if all I get is a later flight that doesn’t require me to wake up at 4:00am. Also, I landed three flights in premium economy class (it was cheaper than regular economy for some reason), a bonus I certainly won’t turn down!
What’s the best flight deals you’ve ever found? Any advice to add?
The post How I Booked 13 Flights Around the World for $2200 appeared first on Wandering Earl.
Philile Nzimande co-founded Traveling Cheapskates in 2011 with business partner Pearl Nkosi. Traveling Cheapskates
— Richard Holmes
Traveling Cheapskates co-founder Pearl Nkosi is shown at Table Mountain National Park in South Africa. Traveling Cheapskates
— Maria Lenhart
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