Top Tips for Booking Cheap Flights

What are the top tips for booking cheap flights?

We all want to save on flights but most of us could do with some help and advice to get us started.

You should already know to compare prices for everything you need from flights, travel insurance, hotels and more but these tips should help further.

Follow this tips for booking flights and you’re no doubt about to get the best deal.

Booking cheap flights
Booking cheap flights

Top Tips for Booking Cheap Flights

When is the best time to fly

Did you know the day of the week that you choose to travel can affect the price of your air ticket? Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the best days to fly if you like a bargain. Fridays and Sundays are the most popular so expect higher rates on these days. With Saturdays, it depends on the destination as the day is not liked by business travelers but is popular with one week package holidaymakers.

Even if you do need to travel on a high demand day, the time of day can still make a difference. Evening flights are wanted by business travelers so think about leaving at lunchtime instead. The overnight red-eye flights can have some great deals as can the early morning flights, especially with budget airlines.

When to book flights

If you are looking at a budget carrier then the earlier you book the better. Months before your departure date is when the bargains are to be found as prices go up as availability reduces.

Other airlines will also try to entice you with offers and deals when they first release tickets so, again, early planning can be best. If you have a preferred airline, sign up for their e-newsletter/Like them on Facebook/follow them on twitter, etc. as they often offer deals to subscribers first.

If planning so far ahead is not for you, the other time to get a great deal is a few days before the flight leaves. Last minute offers are there to try and fill up the remaining seats so if you can be flexible with when you can fly then try this option (read all about planning last minute vacations).

The time of day you look for an online fare also matters as strangely many have found the cheaper fares in the early hours of the morning, around 2-3am. Whether it’s in your time zone or the airline’s is not clear but bargain hunters could try both options.

Related Read: How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets Using a VPN

Where to book your flight

Online travel aggregators such as Expedia are a good place to start as you can compare rates with different airlines and they do bundled packages with accommodation.

Travel search engines such as Kayak are considered to be second generation travel aggregators and offer similar options.

Travel Agents can still be worth talking to as they are travel specialists but be aware they may have commission deals that suit them well but possibly not you.

Airline websites are the place for those last minute deals and to get an idea of routes and prices they can offer.

Finding the best airfares during peak season

So how do you find affordable flights to popular destinations during peak holiday season?

Here are some tips:

  1. Looking for airports close to your destination (for example Sharjah is an airport which is only a 30 minute drive from Dubai). Sharjah is the hub of Air Arabia, (one of the best low cost airlines in the Middle East). Check out these airports in California.
  2. Keeping an eye over airlines, especially national carriers, which provide affordable airfares to destinations as compared to other carriers.
  3. Being flexible with dates of travel (+/- 2-3 days). There are always chances of you getting affordable airfares for flights taking off during weekdays (Mondays to Thursdays) than weekends.
  4. Catching a red-eye (night) flight. While flying in odd hours or avoiding rush hours can be a bit tough it could be a lot easier on your wallet.
  5. Booking in advance (if possible, although I would recommend you to book flights only when your travel plans are confirmed as Air Tickets are usually non-refundable).
  6. Managing your Frequent Flier Miles to your benefit.
  7. Using internet tools for airfare tracking.


Island Hopping in the Caribbean

Island hopping in the Caribbean seems like a great way of taking in lots of smaller destinations in one visit to the Caribbean.

On paper – or on a map – it looks like it should be pretty straight forward. All the islands look nice and close together so just pick three or four that you’d really like to see and then book flights or find ferries that run between them. 

In reality, however, this isn’t quite as practical as it at first looks.

Why it’s not so easy to hop between the Caribbean islands

The Caribbean is encompassed by the Caribbean Sea which is some 2.7 million km², so those islands that all look like they are practically touching each other actually have pretty substantial bodies of water separating them.

With the exception of islands which are close enough together that their mutual waters are protected by both islands, ferry crossings are generally impractical, involving navigating open seas. The other alternative is by air, but this can get expensive, not to mention resulting in a lot of down-time hanging around airports.

Unless you have a few weeks on your hands, the disproportionate amount of time spent traveling can quickly make the proposition unattractive.

However, that’s not to say that island hopping in the Caribbean is completely out of the question, the trick is to pick islands which make it a practical and enjoyable travel experience, giving you time to enjoy the laid-back pace of these tropical islands.

Rather than aiming for three or four big islands spread out across the Caribbean chain, a more fulfilling island hopping experience is to find groups of islands which are close enough together to make traveling between them easy and enjoyable.

Practical considerations for island-hopping in the Caribbean

There are a few things to bear in mind when planning an island hopping expedition in the Caribbean (or anywhere, for that matter).

Firstly, check whether the islands you are visiting are all part of the same country. If not, you’ll need individual visas for each of them.

Secondly, be prepared to pack light. If you’re going to be flying, you can seriously cut down your time hanging around in airports if you can travel with just a carry-on. Likewise, if you’re darting about on ferries, it’s no fun being loaded down with luggage.

If the thought of spending more than a day away from home with nothing more than you can squeeze into a carry-on bag is unbearable, consider using one island as a central jumping off point. Book accommodation there for the entire trip and do day trips or overnighters to other islands leaving the bulk of your luggage at your central hotel or a holiday villa.

Caribbean island hopping itinerary ideas

Here are a couple of recommendations to get started with island hopping in the Caribbean.

The Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands is a collective name for an island group bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.  

The Virgin Islands and separated into the US Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St.John and St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. As they are respectively controlled by the United States and UK governments, they are very popular holiday destinations for US and British citizens and boast some beautiful nature reserves and historic sites for adventurous tourists.

Island hopping in the Caribbean - The Virgin Islands
Island hopping in The Virgin Islands

St. Croix

St. Croix is the largest and most southerly of the Virgin Islands. However, it is some distance from the rest of the island group and it is probably easier to fly than to take a boat. The rest of the islands are all within easy ferry distance, making hopping between them very easy.

Indeed, as St. John doesn’t have an airport, ferry trips from St. Thomas to St. John are extremely common as the main means of accessing the island. The longest ferry crossing is from St. Thomas, in the south west of the main group of virgin islands to Anegada, the most north eastern island which takes around 2 hours.

The rest of the main islands are generally reachable in hops ranging from 30 minutes to 1hr 30min, making this a very accessible group of islands, with lots of smaller satellite islands to explore on day trips to boot.

Caribbean island hopping in St. Croix
Caribbean island hopping in St. Croix

The Bahamas

The Bahamas is another great opportunity to indulge in some Caribbean island hopping. Located southeast of Florida, over 3,000 islands belong to this single country, meaning all of your island hops will be domestic.

The Bahamas have a rich and exciting culture, both current and historic. Once a safe haven for pirates, it is now a vibrant and lively country, fantastic for outdoor pursuits such as diving, fishing and golf. Relaxing beaches, an intoxicating night-life and festivals and fascinating historical sites are scattered throughout this archipelago state.

The Bahamas Fast Ferry service connects the islands with regular roundtrip services, making island hopping a straight forward affair. The Bahamas Tourist Board has some pre-prepared island hopping excursions which mostly involve a mix of ferries, domestic flights and transfer via hotel’s private plane.

Island hopping in the Bahamas
Island hopping in the Bahamas

Related Read: Best Beach Bars in The Abacos, Bahamas


The Ultimate Collection of Road Trip Tips

There is nothing fun like piling everyone in a vehicle and going for an old-fashioned road trip.

The allure of the adventure and the fact that it is such an economical option as compared to a vacation. As the miles start to increase and the weariness sets in, everyone starts to feel tired and bored. 

But, don’t worry. We’ve got the ultimate collection of road trip tips to make sure that you have an epic, memorable road trip with your friends or family.

Let’s dive straight in…

Planning a Round-The-World Trip
Planning a road trip

The Ultimate Collection of Road Trip Tips

Top tricks to make your road trip safe and memorable for the whole family.

Before you leave

Make sure you take your driving license. It’s so obvious, yet so forgettable.

Take your specs too, if you wear them for driving, and some sunglasses.

If you’re old or have a disability that affects your ability to drive, check with the hire company if they have any restrictions on people like you.

Compare quotes from different hire companies. There are a number of recognized stores in the US and they’re pretty similar in terms of cars and service, so try to get a good deal.

If you can, get your map or GPS before you leave. At least try to get directions from the car hire place to the main road!

Carry a First Aid Kit 

Before you get into the driver’s seat and drive off, make sure you have a complete first aid kit with you. Make sure you have a variety of items in the kit to cover a wide range of emergencies.

With trips being so unpredictable, you need to make sure the kit is extensive enough. If you had a kit before and used some items on a previous trip, you need to find out what items are missing and you replace them.   

Travel as a Group 

A road trip will be very boring if you decide to go on your own. At first it may seem fun due to the freedom you feel, but with time, you start getting bored. Having a group will be more ideal because you will be able to interact and have fun. 

One other thing about travelling in a group is that you will feel safer when you have other people around you. In case your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you are less likely to be at risk of getting burgled as compared to when you are travelling alone.

Therefore, when planning a road trip, ask your friends and colleagues and plan on travelling together.   

Find Something Unusual 

There are many places along the road that you can make a stopover to turn your trip into an interesting one – all you need to do is find the places. Use the billboards on the roadside or use a search engine to find any attractions along your route.

Find a way to incorporate the site into your trip so that you have something to talk about many years to come. Additionally, most of these attractions are normally near the highway and inexpensive. These locations may also serve as educational stopovers for the children especially when they represent landmarks that are a part of history.   

Add an Element of Safari to the Trip 

Major highways have one or more wildlife attractions located near the highway. It would be a nice experience to see animals you have not seen before in your life. It will also be a lovely surprise for the kids to see some wild animals for the first time in their life. After a long and tedious journey, it is usually nice to just glide through a park so that you and the rest of the group can have a welcome distraction.   

Leave Details Behind 

Most of the time you find that the apprehension of going on a long road trip makes you forget the most important thing about any journey – safety. One way that you can be sure of help when something happens is by telling someone else about your travel plans. If you are not at a specific place after a given period of time, the person will let the authorities know. It is also good to let someone know by calling every time you reach a given place.   

Learn Some Road Trip Games 

There are several games that have been invented both for the adults and the young. These road games are not only for entertaining the travellers but also to keep everyone alert. Some of these games include “I Spy” which involves clues and guesses. Such games will keep everyone engaged and entertained for a long period of time.   

Road trip tips
Road trip tips

Carry Some Snacks 

If the journey is long, getting cranky is easy especially for the young ones. This usually happens due to hunger. Well, you can tackle this problem by carrying snacks of various types for the children as well as adults. Make sure these snacks are appropriate, fun and delicious for everyone that is on the trip.

Also have snacks that are specific for a particular type of condition suffered by any member of the group. This applies for people suffering from conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and ulcers.   

Choose Quiet Rest Stops 

Along the way, you need to stop time and again to rest. When choosing ideal places for stopovers, consider quiet rest stops especially if you have children in the group. Such stops will offer you a more relaxed environment to sit and cool off the hassle of the journey.

Additionally, the children will have enough space to run around before getting into the car for the second stretch of the trip.   

Bring Great Music or Audio Books with You 

Every road trip needs some music. You need to sit down and find out what every member of the group likes in terms of music and collect enough last the whole trip. Many people who have been on road trips can remember what happened on the trip when a particular song plays on the stereo.

It is also advisable for you to get sing-along music that all of you can join in and sing. You can also get some audio books especially for the little ones.   

Double Check Your Vehicle 

The vehicle is what will make or break the trip. Make sure the vehicle is spacious enough to hold all the travellers and in a condition to move long distances. You can have a mechanic to double check everything just to be on the safe side. If you have any doubts about the car, you can go ahead and rent one for the trip. When it comes to such a situation, you need to work with a reliable car rental service.   

Here are the top features to consider in a vehicle when taking a road trip:

Exterior

Whether a fan of driving an SUV or wanting to ride in a sedan, there are a few features that are important when driving through different climates and various environments. Depending on individual preference, these features to be helpful during a road trip.

  • Privacy Windows Featured in Rear Sides and Back of Vehicle

Interior

The most important thing I am looking for when on a road trip is to be comfortable for consecutive hours at a time. This means I need room to store all my gadgets, maps and snacks within close proximity to reach when needed. Also, breathing in fresh air, singing to the top of my lungs and knowing which direction I’m headed tops my list.

So while most of these popular features are optional, they sure do make the road trip more enjoyable.

  • Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control with AC and Heat
  • Sterio System with USB port and iPod Connectivity
  • Sunroof or Moonroof
  • Bluetooth
  • Dashboard Navigation System
  • Power door locks and Power Windows
  • Auxillary Power Outlets
  • Cruise Control
  • Cup Holders, Cargo Space and Overhead-and-Center Consoles

Related Read: Tips for Sleeping in Your Car

Performance

As long as you can get from point A to point B shouldn’t be your only worry, having a high-performing and safe vehicle is very important to consider before going on a road trip. Make sure the vehicle’s breaks work, engine is tuned-up and any other mechanical specs are up to par before hitting the open road.

But besides the standard performance of the vehicle, these features make the road trip more conveniant and safe.

  • Rear Parking Assist Sonar
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Advance Airbag System
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System
Road trip tips
Road trip tips

The do’s and don’ts of road trip safety

Aside from choosing the right tunes to play on the radio, staying safe on your road trip is vital to having a trip that will make the memory books.

Follow these road trip tips for safety do’s and don’ts before your wheels hit the pavement!

  • DO try to blend in. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist, but being confident is one of the top theft deterrents, so trying to blend in like a local allows you to exude just that. Don’t leave maps out in plain sight, and if you need to consult one while walking around town, do it discreetly. Follow up our guidelines of how to avoid pickpockets.
  • DON’T try to reach the next gas station when you’re at a quarter tank. If you’re not familiar with the route, don’t risk it! Being stalled out on the side of the road with no gas and maybe even a lack of cell phone reception is certainly a safety risk.
  • DO look at your backseat when you get into your car. We hope your road trip will only be a happy one, but crimes do happen. Take a look in your backseat to make sure no one has stowed themselves inside, ready to take control of your car when you put the key in the ignition.
  • DON’T keep washer fluid or hard objects in your backseat. If you’re going 45 mph and need to stop suddenly, you can imagine how any fluids, toys, or books are going to fly around your car. Harmful fluids can even open and spill. Keep it neat and trim for you and your passengers’ safety.
  • DO stash an emergency kit in your car. The old adage about being safe than sorry always rings true. Keep a box in your car filled with water, snacks, a flashlight, a warm blanket, flares, a first-aid kit, and jumper cables if your battery dies.
  • DON’T stay on the first floor of a motel. It may be easier to carry your luggage in to a room on the first floor after a long day of driving, but it’s also easier for thieves to break into your room. Even better – get a room facing the parking lot so you can keep an eye on your vehicle. Read all about the difference between a motel and a hotel.

Road trips are a rite of passage and are often unforgettable adventures, but it’s important to keep an eye on your personal safety and security while traveling on the open road. Use your common sense, and if a situation or area doesn’t feel right, go with your gut and get out of it!

Travelling is not easy especially when you have children in tow. You need to make sure you meet the demands of both the young and the mature so that you can make the trip amazing. Use the above road trip tips to make your road trip safe and memorable.


How to Find an Adventure

Are you looking for that next exciting adventure in your life? 

If so, following are a few things to help you find it.

With so many incredible options available it’s good to take a systematic approach that will save you time and help you find your adventure dream come true.

So, how to find an adventure?

First, we’ll cover some things for you to consider when choosing an adventure, then I’ll get more specific with some lists of adventure activities to get you thinking.

Here are three factors to look at when evaluating the adventure travel activities that will be the the best fit for you.

– The risk involved
– The skills needed and physical factors
– The fun factor

How to find an adventure
How to find an adventure

How to find an adventure

When wondering how to find an adventure that suits you, consider the below factors.

The risks of the adventure

When some people think of adventure travel experiences they get visions of paragliding around the Swiss Alps or swimming with sharks in the Bahamas. Yes, those activities have a certain amount of risk involved.

However, an adventure doesn’t have to be dangerous in order for you to have the time of your life. Walking and cultural tours are very popular, and you can find them all over the world. Wildlife watching is an incredible adventure and you can do it from the comfort of a boat (whale watching) or you can kick it up a notch and go to the Australian Outback or the Galapagos Islands.

Generally speaking, the higher the risk, the more adrenaline you get. So, if your middle name is “Danger,” and you love an adrenaline rush, you’re going to have to embrace the risks involved.

So ask yourself this question: How much risk are you willing to take on?

The skill and physical factors

Fortunately, many adventure activities come with training wheels.

For instance, if you want to try skydiving, you don’t have to jump out of a perfectly good airplane all by yourself. You can connect (literally) to an expert and let them guide you through the experience while you focus on the fun of it.

White water rafting runs have several grades of difficulty, trekking routes vary in their length (and the terrain) and many other popular adventure travel experiences offer a range in the degree of difficulty to suit most people.

If you’re in great shape, and have the experience needed, you can head off to Paarl Rock in South Africa for some grade-A rock climbing. However, even if you’re not the athletic type you can find thrilling adventures like zipline canopy tours, horseback riding and flying adventures that are sure to get your heart pumping.

The point is this: Don’t let a lack of expertise, or great physical conditioning, get in the way of adventure. You can try something that interests you in a safe environment and then pursue it on your own if you find you have the passion for it.

The fun factor

So, what do you like doing most? Will it be adventure on land, on (or in) the water or would you like to get airborne? It’s time to start narrowing down your options.

Here are some lists of the most popular adventure travel experiences out there.

Land adventures

Everest Base Camp Trek tour
Everest Base Camp Trek tour

Water adventures

Kitesurfing in Tarifa, Spain
Kitesurfing in Tarifa, Spain

Air adventures

Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours, Costa Rica
Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours canopy tour

Before you make your final decision there are a few more things to think about.

Ask yourself some basic questions.

– How much time do you have?
– How much money are you willing to spend?

If you’re short on time and/or money then look to stay close to home. If you’re going to plan a great adventure you don’t want to rush it. Overseas adventure travel experiences are great, but for many of us there are fun and exciting excursions within easy driving distance as well. A quick search on Google using the name of the activity and a location should get you some quick and easy results to check out.

What interests you most?

Do you enjoy physical adventures? Then think about these: Hiking and trekking, mountain biking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, scuba diving and paragliding.

If you’re looking for something a little less physical, and more mentally stimulating, then try these: walking tours, cultural tours, wildlife watching and eco tours.

For those looking for exotic exploits consider jungle exploring, flying adventures, camel and elephant riding, safaris, dog sledding and bungee jumping. You can also do a number of things in an exotic location like India, Thailand, Nepal, Brazil, China or the Galapagos Islands.

Luxury adventure travel experiences are extremely popular for those with the disposable income, and there are plenty of luxury accommodations for each of the following: safaris, golf vacations, cruises, resorts and spas (yes, some consider these an adventure), villas in exotic locations and romantic getaways.

If you’ve got family adventure travel on your mind then here’s a short list for you: bicycle tours, camping, fishing, nature trips, white water rafting, eco tours, wildlife watching and zipline canopy tours.

As Andre Gide once said,

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.”

So, now it’s up to you. Discover yourself in the adventures you choose to pursue. 


Great Tips for Planning a Round-The-World Trip

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 possible to add a big trip to their life-plan. Especially as more businesses and workers have taken up remote working – meaning that you can travel the world, while keeping up with your day job!

But, what goes into planning a round-the-world trip?

I’m going give you a few tips (seven to be exact) to help you better arrange your planning, to you show you how to kickstart your round-the-world trip with an ease you may not have recognized.

To more easily break it down, I’ll put the process into chronological steps you can tick off one by one.

Planning a Round-The-World Trip
Planning a Round-The-World Trip

7 Tips for Planning a Round-The-World Trip

Step 1: Finalize where you’re going

Before you start planning your round-the-world trip, you need to have an idea of where you’d like to go.

This process of deciding where to go may have started when you first discovered there was a world out there to travel to, when you first saw images of places like the Great Pyramids and Machu Picchu, when words like Burma, Bali and Buenos Aires only just began to capture your imagination.

The final decisions about destinations should take place about six to eight months before you want to leave. This way you’ll still have a couple months before you lock down your route by buying plane tickets. 

If you need to, hang a world map on your wall, put some pins or stickers on it, and reinforce the idea that you’ll actually be in these places soon. Adjust them if your itinerary strategy or motivation changes. If anything, this process will serve to coalesce your vision, not to mention sharpen you geography skills – which is great since you’ll be needing them later on.

For some inspiration, check out these posts:

Step 2: Create your round-the-world trip budget (and stick to it)

The financial aspect of round-the-world travel planning may be the most challenging and least fun part but someone’s going to have to pay for the trip, and if it’s you, set a budget. It could be the one thing that keeps you on the road when others are running out of money.

There are ways to determine how much things are going to cost; the Internet is rife with information about the costs associated with round-the-world trips, so use the resource to formally assign some costs to your budget plan.

Make yourself comfortable and physically write down your numbers based on your personal traveling style. Use a spreadsheet if necessary, some expensive budgeting software, an abacus, whatever works best for you because you’ll want to be able get a complete overview as you work your way through the process.

Here are some categories to get you started:

  • Plane tickets – see step 4.
  • Accommodations – you’ll need a place to stay every night, but this doesn’t have to be expensive. If this is a concern, extend your stay in countries where the cost of living is cheaper, and lower your room standards in countries that are more expensive. Look to homestays, couchsurfing, long-term rentals to keep costs down.
  • Food – if you’re a self-proclaimed epicurean, budget for lots of restaurants, otherwise set you food budget lower by vowing to eat cheaply.
  • Entertainment – i.e. tours, shows, activities. Things like white water rafting, ziplinging, Zorbing come up via circumstance and you might not want to miss out. Keep money in this category so you can actually thrill yourself once in a while, perhaps with a jetboat ride around the fjords of New Zealand.
  • Transportation – trains, cars, taxis, ferries, tuk-tuks, bike rickshaws. This is absolutely essential to have in the budget; you’re going to be covering a lot of ground outside the plane, make sure you have money to get places.
  • Purchases – things like souvenirs, specialty items. Keep this small since you’ll quickly grow weary of carrying things around or else shipping them home.
  • Minor incidentals – give yourself a big buffer on this because things come up, many things and you don’t know quite how things will be on the road. You can adjust it a few weeks after your trip starts to see how you’re doing resisting overspending.

Step 3: Plan what you’ll be doing when abroad

Even at this point you should have a pretty good idea about how you’ll be spending your time while you’re on the road. This helps dramatically when alloting how much time to spend in each place. Take it from me, a place can get pretty dull when idly passing each day by.

Will you be:

Each of these requires different time commitments. You’ll also need to know how long for reasons such as visa stays, setting dates for departing flights, aligning dates for planned events down the road.

Revisit your budget to include these details.

Step 4: Pick up your tickets

There are a variety of places to purchase round-the-world plane tickets. I won’t go into them here suffice it to say some are better than others. But certainly don’t stop at the first place you see.

Also know that the airlines are not the only game in town. As a matter of fact, my recommendation is unless you’re using airline miles, look elsewhere. The Alliances’ websites may be slick and easy on the eyes but it doesn’t mean you’re doing yourself a favor by using them to buy your tickets. There are numerous rules, restrictions and pigeonholes that aren’t immediately clear but that force into traveling a certain way, and quite unnecessarily. Perhaps get a price from the airlines to set the bar and buy the trip elsewhere.

It’s actually possible to have the ticket purchasing process be fun, not riddled with frustrations, headaches and uncertainties.

Choose your patronage based on the following:

  • Value
  • Service
  • Pleasure of experience
  • Gut instinct

Do-it-yourselfers, remember: a couple hundred dollars more spent to have someone else book your tickets may be the difference between unsolveable logistical road snafu and an effortless journey around the world. The choice is up to you and how you want to go about planning a round-the-world trip.

If you’re doing it all yourself though, remember to tick that ‘flexible’ tickets box – you never know!

The best time to buy plane tickets is 4 – 6 months before your departure.

Step 5: Organize your life

You’re taking the trip, you’ve already decided that. In order to keep everything on track, you’ll need to make sure the time leading up to your departure is spent making smooth transition into your traveling life. I’ll call this your “exit strategy”.

Think of this strategy as a straight line to your departure day, and then think of a puppy trying to walk that line. Every time the puppy strays off the line (due to sparkly objects, the smell of cooking steak, someone trying to make him do tricks) pick him up and put him back on. Always remember, at the end of the line is you getting on the plane!

Your exit strategy will function best if you write down a timeline of when you need to do things to get done by the time you leave. A written timeline will make it 100% easier to remember what you’ve forgotten. If you need help putting a timeline together, there are options online.

Some major parts:

  • Set up your job sabbatical or organise your remote working schedule.
  • Deal with your pets, house and car.
  • Get passports/visas.
  • Buy plane tickets.
  • Get travel insurance.
Planning a Round-The-World Trip
Planning a Round-The-World Trip

Step 6: Book a couple nights of accommodation in the first few cities you’ll be traveling too

Give yourself smooth arrivals in foreign cities by knowing where you’ll be going when you get off the plane. Book a couple nights accommodations before you leave for the first few cities (you can always extend the stay if the location and price were right) then book accommodations further along as you get better at predicting your needs.

It’s probably not a good idea to book stays more than a month or two ahead since things may change dramatically on your itinerary and canceling or changing reservations is often trickier than booking them.

Step 7: Get ready to leave for your round-the-world trip

This may arguably be the most angst-ridden time you’ve ever known. There are a million things left to do, and that’s okay. You can’t change that. What you can change is your approach to them. If you’ve been using a planning timeline, you should be perfectly set up to slide right into traveling. You’ll have purchased all the items you need to buy, you’ll have set up your vitals for your absence, you’ll have kissed the dog goodbye.

Organization is key, make it a habit and it will help you dramatically once you’re on the road.

That should do it. Seven steps to get you juiced to start achieving your travel dreams!


Basecamp Hotel: Chic, Comfortable ‘Base Camp’ in South Lake Tahoe

Surround by tall pine trees at the basin of Heavenly Mountain and a close walk to the shores of Lake Tahoe, Basecamp Hotel is a rustic camp-like accommodation with chic undertones located in South Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada.

The hotel offers travelers a stylish home base with a strong resemblance to that of a base camp to rest after an adventurous day discovering the area’s natural beauty.

The highly-affordable and eco-friendly hotel in South Lake Tahoe adds a sheer bit of luxury to make everyone a happy camper.

Book your stay here

Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe
Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe

Our experience of staying in Basecamp Hotel, South Lake Tahoe

Designed with exploration in mind, the 50-room boutique hotel offers travelers modern amenities in a cozy atmosphere. From a typical plush king-sized room to queen-sized rooms featuring bunk beds, the hotel can accommodate any size party. Each room takes on a rustic decor lined with reclaimed wood, painted tarps as headboards and comfortable wool blankets at the end of every bed. The high-thread count bed linens featured in each room adds a touch of luxury for travelers. Other amenities include a flat-screen TV, gear racks, free wireless Internet access, a desk and a spacious in-room bathroom with a walk-in shower and eco-friendly bath products.

Energy efficient room heaters, in-room recycle bins and reclaimed building materials are just a few of the additional green credentials Basecamp Hotel offers. But while the hotel’s founding principals include sustainability, its chic comfort is the main attraction.

The rooms at Basecamp Hotel

Travelers can take advantage of a unique experience and stay in their Great Indoors room, which brings the great outdoors camping experience indoors. Lined with green carpet to resemble grass, an electric log fireplace, landscape painting adorning the walls and a tent pitched over a king-size bed, book your “campsite” inside Basecamp Hotel.

Or step into the lap of luxury where travelers have the option of renting the Penthouse Suite. After a day of exploration, unwind with a stocked wet bar and views stretching through the forest to the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe accommodation
Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe accommodation

Communal areas at the eco-hotel

communal environment is encouraged inside Basecamp Hotel as it provides travelers a lounge area with large leather couches to sink into and a fireplace to warm up by all while sharing stories and travel experiences with others. Or enjoy a coffee with a fellow traveler during continental breakfast, which is served daily and included in the price of the room.

The hotel also offers two dinner sittings at the large reclaimed farm table in the center of the lobby; share in a fondue experience among other travelers or possibly another family style dish depending on the day of week and time of year.

A few added touches Basecamp Hotel offers travelers includes a roof-top hot tub over looking the mountains, cozy fire pits to toast some marsh mellows at night and a stocked cash bar featuring organic beers and steaming hot chocolate.

With long trails through the woods, water activities within walking distance and two of North America’s best ski resorts are just some of the natural resources just waiting to be explored, Basecamp Hotel is the most affordable and stylish option no matter the type of traveler or adventurist.

The eco-friendly hotel will have you traveling back to South Lake Tahoe year after year.

Book your stay here

Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe
Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe

If you’re going to Lake Tahoe in the skiing season, check out these ski resorts in Lake Tahoe.


How to Plan for Last Minute Vacations

When we have no idea what travel restrictions are going to be place when, planning your travels in advance has been a bit tricky lately. Which is why we’re seeing an increase in last minute vacations!

Arranging last minute vacations typically means higher budgets and more stress.

This is certainly true for travelers who have no experience exploring last minute vacation deals.

However, with a little bit of foresight, careful planning and the following tips you can greatly reduce your expenditures and spend more time and money enjoying your vacation!

How to plan last minute vacations
How to plan last minute vacations

Preparing for your last minute vacation

1.  Plan your expenditures

Set aside a budget for your vacation. If you are taking the entire family for a vacation, then you need to set aside a budget for every member of the family. This will enable you to avoid impulse expenditure and unnecessary fights.

2. Know your destination

It is important that you learn about your holiday destination prior to travelling. Find out about the local transportation, some popular sites as well as the general climate of the destination. You may want to make some print outs to bring along.

3. Know your destination’s currency conversion rate

Be aware of the exchange rate for the location to which you are traveling. If you can, convert your currency before making the trip. Airports and tourist resorts typically add premiums to their exchange rates that can unnecessarily increase your travel budget.

Discovering Last Minute Vacation Deals

Here some of the tips that can help you to plan your last minute vacations effectively without straining your budget.

1.  Search for deals online

Most hotels and airlines advertise discounts packages on their websites. In addition, you can also find great deals on online travel agencies. If you are looking for on-budget last minute vacations, be sure to search and compare the deals that multiple agencies and airlines offer for various destinations.

2. Register for alerts

You can sign up for price drop alerts from online travel agencies. This is a great strategy because you will get instant alerts in your inbox as soon as airfares or hotel bookings drop below a certain price.

3. Opt for all-inclusive packages

If you are planning a vacation to a place where you will stay at a single accommodation, then all-inclusive vacation packages might be the right deal for you. This is because most travel agencies offer great discounts on all-inclusive vacation packages, taking care of your airfare, accommodation and meals. This is a great way of saving money in the long run. But on the others side you will loose the fun of exploring the destination and trying out different restaurants.

4. Call the airline help desk or travel agent

If you are running out of time, then consider making a direct call to the airline’s help desk in order to discover the best vacation deals. You may also want to book your ticket through an agent who can meet your requirements at a discounted price.

5. Be open to your options

Finally, it is important that you are flexible with your options when planning last minute vacations. It may turn out that you cannot get your favorite seat on the plane, or that your flight may arrive late at night. In such events, you will have no choice but to compromise on your preferences if this will reward you with a good deal on airfare or accommodation. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box to realize the best deals on last minute vacations.

Last minute vacations can be a great option if you are working on a tight budget. These vacation packages are usually abundant towards the end of travel dates when there are several un-booked packages available or when there have been cancelations.

With adequate research, you will certainly find the best deal by holding on until the last minute before making your holiday reservations.

Check out these tips for travel planning:


Volunteer Abroad Travel Insurance – Travel Dudes

You will need travel insurance when you plan to volunteer abroad. Most companies that organize travel trips insist or recommend you having volunteer abroad travel insurance.

Travel insurance is an insurance that is intended to cover medical expensesfinancial and other losses incurred while travelling.

Travel insurance can be gotten directly from insurance companiestravel agents and travel suppliers. The insurance covers student travel, business travel, leisure travel, adventure travel, cruise travel and international travel.

If you’re going to be volunteering abroad, you’re going to need to get specific travel insurance.

Buy travel insurance now!

Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance
Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance

Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance

Buying travel insurance is tricky especially when finding the right plan for you that will cover you extensively. Travel insurance covers you against risks such as severe weather, last minute cancellations, terrorist attacks, emergency/accidental care, and travel delays, missed connections, lost baggage etc.

Most people buy travel insurance so that they are medically covered when they are abroad; they don’t want to lose money due to cancellations and others want to prevent losing their luggage and travel documents.

There are various companies to buy travel insurance from depending on your location, price and what you want. Some insurance companies provide travel insurance which is niche specific where they specialize in student travel; others offer simple policies for everyday travelers, some offer just medical insurance or evacuation plans. 

World Nomads, for example, has specific travel insurance for volunteering abroad – get more details here.

Depending on what plan you want there are generally two types of plans which are package plans and travel medical plans.

When planning to buy travel insurance when volunteering abroad consider the following

Trip Cancellation insurance

Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement for lost travel expenses if you need to cancel your trip. Unexpected events like sickness, death, severe weather, industrial strike, terrorist incidents, something happens to your destination residence, theft of travel documents like passports, financial default by tour operator, and you may be needed back at work.

Trip cancellation insurance is important because some volunteer abroad fees are expensive which can go up to $ 5,000. With some organizations you are asked to plan early in advance in order to confirm a place with them. In such a situation during the period of waiting a lot can happen and you may need to cancel your trip. Also volunteer abroad programs involve a lot of several stops and connections and they have a higher risk of problems and things to go wrong.

Trip cancellation is important as you may choose to volunteer as a group or as a family and you may need to cancel because one of you may fall sick. This will save the money that could have been lost. Depending on the insurance company you use, they each have a number of reasons for you to cancel and they will reimburse you. Trip cancellation coverage should be bought early in advance to make sure you get the full benefits.

Medical insurance

Health insurance from your country only covers you while you are at home. When you decide to volunteer abroad you will need travel insurance. Travel insurance takes care of medical coverage while you are volunteering abroad.  When you are abroad despite of the vaccinations you are given you are still prone to be infected by indigenous diseases.  

The coverage includes being taken to hospital, being treated, charges for hospital stays, the cost of drugs, and evacuation back to your home country. Medical insurance is important since when you are in a foreign country and you might know where the hospital is. Also they may be speaking in a foreign language and getting help might be a bit difficult. When you are evacuated back to your home country, they will take you straight to hospital for further treatment. When buying medical insurance, inform them of your preexisting conditions to make sure you are fully covered.

Other advantages

Travel insurance covers against lost or damage baggage. This happens a lot due to connecting many different flights. It also protects against your property being stolen. There are some occasions when you arrive at your destination and your baggage is delayed.

The cover includes reimbursement of essential items like toiletries, and basic clothing. Some companies offer extra coverage on car rental damage protection, identity theft, and adventure travel coverage. Consult your travel agent on which is the best insurance company to use and what exactly they cover

Examples of travel insurance companies

There are many companies, travel agents and specialty travel companies that provide travel insurance.  They vary greatly on price and what they offer or cover.

At Travel Dudes, we highly recommend getting travel insurance from World Nomads.

Volunteer activities in their Standard plan may cover include:

  • Hospitality or work at bars.
  • Farming such as fruit picking, WWOOFing or other manual labor.
  • Wildlife or animal care.
  • Environmental or conservation work.
  • Au pair, nanny or other volunteer childcare.
  • Teaching.
  • Retail work such as shop assistant or store manager role.
  • Office or clerical work.

Volunteer activities their Explorer plan may cover include:

  • Undertakings in construction or renovation projects, including painting, using power tools, operating machinery or roadwork.
  • NGO support and disaster relief.
  • Medical and health care work (health education, medical services, medical practitioner).

Get a quote from World Nomads below:

Check out our other posts about travel insurance:


Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Want to leave goodness in your path when you travel?

These sustainable travel tips will help you to embark on travels that are good for the earth, communities and yourself.

They will help you to immerse in local culture, see the land through the eyes of the people who live there and it will save you a ton of money.

It’s also possible to travel sustainably while on a budget…here’s our tips.

Sustainable travel tips
Sustainable travel tips – Walk, bike and use public transportation over taxis, rental cars, and flights.

Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Live happy. Live healthy. Live free. Live beyond yourself. And travel sustainably.

Here’s our top sustainable travel tips:

1. Walk, bike and use public transportation over taxis, rental cars, and flights.

2. Eat locally produced food. Stick to a whole food plant based diet, which means more veggies, fruits, grains, nuts and less or no animal products

3. Be a part of the local economy. Eat local, shop local, play local. Avoid national chains and corporations.

4. Reduce- Reuse- Recycle– In that order. Trash sucks, don’t make it! Check out our sustainable camping tips.

5. Use the sharing economy. Use websites like couchsurfing.comwarmshowers.org, wwoof.net and craigslist.org. The sharing economy is one of our top tips for how to travel the world for free!

6. Buy less stuff and purchase used stuff when you can. You can buy second-hand camping gear, luggage and clothes.

7. Conserve water and electricity. Just be conscious of your usage. Refrain from buying water in plastic bottles by rather taking your own travel water bottle and filling it up with tap water (where safe).

8. Don’t use one time use anything’s (bags, take out containers, bottled water, straws, napkins etc.) Carry your own reusable dishes, cutlery and bags.

9. Positive consumerism. Buy from businesses that are using business for good.

10. Simplify. The less you need the easier it is to be friendly to our planet and to get around.

11. Travel light and carry only what you need (here’s our guide on how to pack lightly). It will force you to interact with the locals.

12. Be conscious. When you make decisions take into account where things come from and how they were produced. If you don’t know then find out. Take action by putting the information you find to good use.

13. Live beyond yourself. How do your actions affect other humans, animals, and the earth? Make your decisions based on the wellbeing of everyone and everything not just you.

14. Lend a hand to the local community. Spend time at orphanages, volunteer at a community kitchen, or pick up trash from the beach. There are so many ways to give back!

15. Help protect wildlife by refusing to purchase wildlife products and take part in tourism activities that include animals.

16. Don’t go where you’re asked not to go. Certain places are out of bounds for a reason – they could be private land, or they could be protected wildlife areas. Respect the rules of both the land and the local community.

Check out these other sustainable travel tips:


How to do Sustainable Camping

Camping provides access to beautiful hiking and fishing sports, making it the ideal way to escape from the daily chores so you can unwind and relax.

It is important to keep the environment in mind though – and that’s where sustainable camping comes in.

There are a lot of things you can do to make your stay at a campsite eco-friendly.  

Sustainable camping tips
Sustainable camping tips

Related Read: Camping Survival Tips for Adults

Top tips for sustainable camping

Let’s have a look at the things you can do to minimize the damage on the environment when camping:

Use solar energy 

When camping in a motor home, portable solar equipment creates pollution-free electricity and therefore it is an excellent clean alternative. They can provide power for a number of devices such as radios, chargers and lights.

If you want to have a shower in the great outdoors why not use a solar shower? It is as simple as filling a water bag in the morning so that you’re ready to wash in the afternoon. 

Here’s a few great solar-powered camping gadgets:

These are all great gadgets to add to your sustainable camping kit!

Take your litter with you 

Campsites have huge problems with waste, therefore if you go to a campsite make sure you throw away all the litter you have produced. Instead of adding to the litter problem, try to leave the campground in better condition than you have found it. This is crucial because it can take months or even years for litter to decompose. Also try not to leave food, as this attract animals to the campsite for a snack.  

Have a safe fire 

Most campsites have fire restrictions you should pay attention to, whilst other campsites even have their own fire rings you can use. When choosing wood go for fallen timber instead of cutting wood off trees.

When you can’t make a fire because of safety restrictions you can use camping stoves to cook, lanterns to provide you with light and extra clothing to keep you warm.  

Wash it green

If you keep the environment in mind and bring reusable cutlery then also wash it green. Instead of using toxic detergent, you should try to use biodegradable soaps. Also remember that liquid waste should not be emptied into a river, but onto vegetation or dry ground.  

Green equipment 

Nowadays caravan dealers choice in camping materials, so choose wisely. When it comes to sustainable camping you can consider the following idea’s:

Choose a tent that is completely made out of recycled materials. If that’s a bit too expensive for you, have a look at pre-owned tents or eco-friendly tents at a sporting goods store.

There is also a broad range of eco-friendly sleeping bags. Whatever choice you make, be sure to look at the materials before you decide to buy a tent or sleeping bag.

Check out these great camping spots in the US: