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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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Here are some airports where you might not mind being delayed or having a long stop over.

Terminal 4, Barajas Airport, Madrid

 

Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay

Marrakech Menara Airport Terminal 1

The following statistics are from the 2011 ABTA report and the stats represent between spring 2009 & spring 2010.

Crime:

  • 2,012 Brits were arrested in Spain
  • 1,367 were arrested in the USA
  • 831 were Hospitalized in spain
  • 5,930 deaths of British Citizens abroad
  • 27,272 had their passports lost or stolen (6,618 in Spain, 3,268 in USA, 2,400 in France)

Top Destinations; (In 2009)

  1. Spain (11.6m)
  2. France (9.8m)
  3. Republic of Ireland (3.5m)
  4. USA (3.1m)
  5. Italy (2.6m)
  6. Germany (2.1m)
  7. Greece (1.9m)
  8. Netherlands (1.8m)
  9. Portugal (1.8m)
  10. Turkey (1.6m)
Flights;
  • As a general rule flights are usually cheaper on Tuesdays and wednesdays. Avoid flying on weekends if possible.
  • If you’re flying with a budget airline, make sure you know the proximity of the airport to the resort centre. For example, Ryanair fly to more than one airport for Barcelona, they don’t however mention that one of them in over 100km away from Barcelona.
  • Take into consideration how much luggage you will be travelling with when you choose your airline. Some offer more weight and less restrictions on hand luggage sizes and prices differ on hold baggage.
  • Use comparison sites such as skyscanner.net to compare flight prices but it’s always a good idea to check with your local travel agent to see if they can offer you a better deal, this goes for the whole package of your holiday too.
  • Prices change by the minute so don’t be surprised if you see a cheap flight one day and check back to find it has gone up by £50 the next day and don’t fall for the “only 2 seats remaining” text you might see, it’s just incentive to get you to book at that time.
  • Look at departing from different airports, if the difference in cost is more than it would take you to travel to another airport, you can save.
 Resort & Accommodation;
  • Obviously not going away in school holidays. Going to a resort in it’s “off-season” has it’s pros and cons…not all amenities may be available but things will be much cheaper and if you’re hiring a car parking will be much easier.
  • If hiring a car, booking with a rental company based in the resort rather than the airport will generally be much cheaper and many of these companies will let you pick and drop the car off at the airport anyway.
  • If you find a hotel you like, search the price on other sites before booking as they can vary widely and deals are given to travel agent’s and websites so it will almost always be cheaper than booking directly through the hotel.
  • The further out of a resort you get, the cheaper things will be, this is easy if you hire a car or have your own transport, think about where the locals eat and shop.

If you follow these guidelines it shouldn’t be a problem to get a weeks holiday in spain/portugal form Jan-April for under £100 pp for flights & Accommodation.

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!

About 8 hours Car ride out of Lima, Peru into the Jungle sits a strange small village named Oxapama. What’s so strange about this Peruvian Village? well it’s actually German. It was founded in the 19th century by German settlers, those that made it after a 2 year journey by boat from Europe. Peru’s road’s are notoriously dangerous which makes this even more remote and a wonderful find and something you’d not expect to find hiding in the middle of the amazon rainforest. The village has 3 hotels a few pubs & restaurants and  has traditional german architecture.

Oxapampa

When you think of Japan, you might think; Technology, sky scrapers, Sushi? What you probably don’t think of is white sandy beaches and idillic crystal clear waters. Perhaps it’s most well known beach is it’s indoor one but peace, tranquility and pristine beaches can be found on the Japanese Island of Ishigaki. The island is located between Japan and China and therefore takes cultural influences from both countries. It has an airport which is accessible only from Japan via Japan Transocean Air.

Ishigaki Island

The Shetland Islands are an archipelago comprising of over 100 islands off the north east coast of Scotland where you can find dramatic landscapes, an abundance of wildlife and some great traditions. Although the Islands belong to Scotland and the United Kingdom, the nearest major city is actually Bergen in Norway. The largest town on the Islands is Lerwick with a population of around 7,000. A range of wildlife can be spotted here including Puffins, Seals and Orcas. There’s a thriving culture and events like Europe’s most famous Fire festival, “Up Helly Aa” which is held on the last Tuesday in January. You can reach the Islands by Ferry from Aberdeen and by plane with LoganAir from Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is also worth noting that the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) can be seen from the Islands.

Foula Island

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!