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Category Archives: Worldwide

Maybe avoid these places while looking for somewhere to vacation…

1 – Ilha de Queimada Grande, Brazil

Looks nice right? Wrong. Ilha de Queimada translates to “Snake Island” and that’s what inhabits this island. With up to 5 snakes per square meter this place is crawling with Golden Lancehead snakes, a type of Viper with a  deadly venom that melts the skin around the bite.

2 – Izu Islands, Japan

The Izu islands are a volcanic stretch of islands in Japan. The stench of sulphur is ever present and due to dangerous levels of gas all residents are required to carry gas masks with them at all times. The islands were evacuated in 1953 and 2000, the residents returned in 2005 gas masks in tow. Creepy.

3 – “The Door To Hell”, Turkmenistan.

I know what you’re thinking, this looks kinda cool right? But it’s actually poisonous gas burning. In 1971 archaeologists came across an underground cave filled with gas. They then set fire to the hole so the gas couldn’t escape and poison people, they expected it to go out within a couple of days. It still burns today and it’s known as “The door to hell”.

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“The city that never sleeps” is a nickname given to 8 global 24 hour cities. Some may seem obvious but others not so.

Here’s a breakdown of the “Cities that never sleep”

New York City

Perhaps the most obvious one, NYC attracts 47 million tourists a year and in 2010 tourists spent $31 Billion there. Not the cheapest place to visit but you’ll never get bored! Definitely somewhere everyone should visit in their lifetime.

Buenos Aires

The Argentine capital is the 2nd largest city in South America and boy do they know how to party into the night. In 2007 it was voted the 2nd best city in the world by Travel + leisure magazine. It has quite a European feel to it making it more cosmopolitan and attracting tourists from all over the world.

São Paulo

Sao Paulo is not only the largest city in Brazil but in the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere. It’s the 6th most populous city in the world. While people may assume Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in Brazil it is in fact Sao Paulo that holds that title.

Tel Aviv

Often called the “Miami of the middle east” and it’s beach scene compared to that of Rio’s Tel Aviv is fast becoming the “in” non budget party vacation option. It has a thriving nightlife scene and a very european 24 hour culture. A common mis-conception of Tel Aviv is that is has a high crime rate, the reality is, every city has it’s bad parts but Tel Aviv is safer than most UK or US cities.

Mumbai 

With a population of over 20 million, Mumbai is the 4th most populous city in the world. It is India’s entertainment capital so naturally, something is always going on. If it’s culture you’re after, you’ll find it in bucket loads in Mumbai.

Belgrade

The Serbian capital might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of “The City that never sleeps” but it has a bustling nightlife scene. Many people from neighbouring countries travel to Belgrade just for the nightlife on weekend breaks. Lonely Planet ranked Belgrade top in their 2009 top party cities in the world.

Madrid

The Spanish capital and largest city in the country tops many different travel lists but it’s nightlife earns it the nickname. The nightlife scene here is so diverse and has a very bohemian feel.

Barcelona

The second Spanish city with the nickname…but what would you expect from the country that consumes the largest amount of Cocaine in Europe! The spaniards know how to party and Barcelona is the 4th most visited city in Europe. There are many sights that attract millions of visitors to Barcelona every year and at night, they all take to Las Ramblas to party. If you like it rowdy, go when Spain or Barcelona are playing a big match…they go crazy!

I actually just saw this on Tumblr and turns out it’s pretty fun.

So basically you go to MapCrunch (A random google street view generator) and click “Hide Location” in the sidebar on the right, click “Go” and bam you’re in a random place and have no idea where you are. The aim of the “game” is to find your way to the nearest airport but it’s pretty fun to just try and work out where you are and you might even get some travel ideas while at it.

I’m currently trying to find my way out of what appears to actually be the middle of nowhere but right now I’m going to take a wild guess and say Australia or South Africa?

At this point an unknown location!

If you give up then simply un tick the “hide location” box.

Edit – After 35 mins of wandering down this road, past a small town and back to the middle of nowhere I gave up, un ticked the box and turns out I was right…it was Australia!

Just want to get away and explore for a while but don’t have a bottomless budget? Here’s a few tips to help you save money wherever possible.

Forget Hotels

You can get the occasional hotel room very cheap but the chances of this happening are slim, by all means, have a look if you are travelling somewhere where it is their off season but 9/10 this will be the most expensive option.

Couchsurfing.org is a site where you can find people who are willing to let you stay at their home for free or sometimes in exchange for simple chores. If you’re worried that it sounds a little sketchy, check out the reviews…it’s got great reviews from travel critics and over 9 million member references, log in, take a look around and you might be surprised.

If you’re looking for a Hostel then Hostel World is a great site with a huge selection of properties.

If you’re not just passing through and want to stay in one place for longer then check out Roomorama who specialise in short term rentals, if there’s a few of you travelling, this could be a very worthwhile option.

If you have friends abroad, ask them if you can stay with them, you might save yourself a lot of money.

Volunteer and receive free board & lodging

Have you always wanted to mix Volunteering with Travelling but are put off by the costs? Well there are some volunteering opportunities that offer free board & lodging in exchange for volunteering.

World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms Offers you the opportunity to learn about Organic farming while receiving free lodging and board in many countries including; Canada, USA, Hawaii, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, The UK, Sweden, Israel, Portugal, Italy, Ghana, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, China and Sri Lanka. You can stay from as little as one week and up to well years if you want!

Does the Appalacian trail sound good? You can volunteer with www.appalachiantrail.org and help maintain the trail in exchange for basic accommodation and food.

Kill two birds with one stone: Get accommodation while you travel

Flying might be the quickest and easiest way to get from place to place but it’s expensive and usually not very enchanting!

Night trains are a great idea, they get you to your destination pretty fast and you get a bed for the night! Some routes are just magical  and it’s an experience everyone should have in their lifetime. Some of Europe’s best night train journeys include: Paris to Venice, Sofia to Istanbul and Moscow to St Petersburg.

Another option to consider if you need to travel across the ocean to your destination is on a cruise ship. Some of the best deals can be found on repositioning cruises (Starting and ending in different locations) and you’ll get to see even more places on your journey and have a much more luxurious one than any business class flight cabin could provide. Many of these are even cheaper than taking a flight, here are some examples; Travel from San Diego to Vancouver (3 Days) for $149 in May, New Orleans to Barcelona (13 days) $429 in April and visit Miami & Ponta Delgada on the way.

Befriend the Locals

You might be surprised how much you can gain just by talking to locals! Take an interest in the local history, ask about stories, just seem interested! Maybe you’ll be offered accommodation, maybe a lift, maybe a meal? It will cost you nothing to have a conversation with a local and you’ll probably end up remembering it for a long time. Tell people about your travels, tell them a funny phrase in your language, ask for advice and tips, people will usually be more than happy to offer advice and more.

Make an attempt to speak the local language, people really appreciate this. If you speak Esperanto…you can use the Pasporta Servo where you can receive free accommodation in exchange for just speaking the language!!! If you don’t speak Esperanto, learning it might come in handier than you imagined!

Stay Away from Tourist areas! 

This one should be obvious but just by walking a few streets down from a tourist area you’ll find things much cheaper. Don’t be tempted to buy tacky souvenirs from every place you visit, if you want a memento, take a photo or something that’s free. Take advantage of Tapas bars where for the price of a drink you can get enough free Tapas to qualify as your lunch. Always try and Barter, you’ll always pay the highest price if you don’t ask! (While in Cadiz, we managed to get enough food for 5 people and drinks for €10.) Sometimes places may offer things cheaper in a different currency, so if you have any left over that you’re not planning to use again on your trip, offer that. (I’ve used US$ in Tunisia & Malta.)

Do Your Research

Don’t travel to places while they have a big event on, prices will go up! Find out when are the cheapest times to visit certain locations, when the off seasons are. Research local culture, when their days of rest are, what times businesses and shops will be shut. If you’re travelling to a Port City, sometimes they put prices up when a ship docks, so avoid this. Booking bus and train tickets in advance will save you money, plan out your itinerary and make sure you account for missed/late trains/buses. A good resource for planning your budget is BudgetYourTrip.com. Planning down to every little detail can save you money. For example if you’re somewhere where certain things are cheap and travelling onto somewhere you know will be more expensive, buy your essentials there.

If you’re travelling in an area that is notorious for crime, carry a “fake” wallet with old credit cards and a small amount of money in. If you have a gun pointed at your head and someone is asking for your wallet, you’ll feel very glad you did this.

Decide where you want to go, then decide how you’re going to get from place to place then find accomodation. Account for all of this and then set yourself a daily survival budget and stick to it!