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Most people aren’t born savvy travelers. It’s something that only comes with on-the-road experience.
In the beginning, you make a lot of travel mistakes.
Travel savviness is a process born of missed buses, foolish behavior, cultural unawareness, and countless tiny errors. Then, one day, you begin to seamlessly move through airports and integrate yourself into new cultures like a fish to water.
I want to help speed up the process and help you avoid my mistakes (and I often make a lot of them), so I put together this giant list of my best travel tips that cover everything under the sun to help you reach your full travel ninja potential.
I’ve learned these tips over the last twelve years.
These tips for traveling will have you saving money, sleeping better, getting off the beaten path more, meeting locals, and just being a better traveler.
Without further ado, here are the best 61 tips in the world:
1. Always pack a towelIt’s the key to successful galactic hitchhiking and plain common sense. You never know when you will need it, whether it’s at the beach, on a picnic, or just to dry off. While many hostels offer towels, you never know and carrying a small towel won’t add that much weight to your bag.
2. Buy a small backpack/suitcaseBy purchasing a small backpack (I like something around 35/40 liters), you will be forced you to pack light and avoid carrying too much stuff. Humans have a natural tendency to want to fill space so if you pack light but have lots of extra room in your bag, you’ll end up going “well, I guess I can take more” and then regret it.
—> Click here for more tips on finding the best travel backpack
3. Pack lightIt’s OK to wear the same t-shirt a few days in a row. Take half the clothes you think you will need…you won’t need as much as you think. Write down a list of essentials, cut it in half, and then only pack that! Plus, since you bought a small backpack like I said, you won’t have much room for extra stuff anyways!
—> Click here for tips on packing
4. But take extra socksYou’ll lose a bunch to laundry gremlins, wear and tear, and hiking so packing extra will come in handy. I only take a few more than I need. Nothing beats a fresh pair of socks!
5. Take an extra bank card and credit card with youDisasters happen. It’s always good to have a backup in case you get robbed or lose a card. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. I once had a card duplicated and a freeze put on it. I couldn’t use it for the rest of my trip. I was very happy I had an extra and not like my friend, who didn’t and was forced to borrow money from me all the time!
Here are some helpful articles on banking and travel hacking:
—> Here’s an article that will tell you how to do that
7. Travel by yourself at least onceYou’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Traveling solo taught me how to fend for myself, talk to people, and handle unfamiliar situations with ease. It’s made me comfortable with myself, helped me learn about what I’m capable of, and allowed me to be super selfish and do whatever I want! It can take some getting used to if you’ve never done it before but do it at least once. Make yourself uncomfortable and surprise yourself. You’ll learn valuable life skills when you push yourself!
Here are some helpful articles on solo travel:
9. But don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost.Wandering aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know it, get off the beaten path, and away from the tourists. You might be surprised by the hidden gems you find. I like to wander around and try to find my way without using Google Maps!
10. Always visit the local tourism office.They know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay, and everything in between. They even offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It is their job to help you experience the destination better. It’s amazing how many travelers skip this when they are visiting somewhere but, as a savvy traveler, you know to use this resource! This is probably one of the most underused travel tips in the world. Use the tourism board! Save money!
11. Don’t buy a money belt — they’re stupid.Thieves know they exist and being seen with one basically shouts, “Look at me, I’m a tourist with money! Rip me off!” The more you can blend in and act like a local, the easier it will be to get deals and avoid touts. If you’re worried about pickpockets, keep a better eye on your stuff!
12. When you go out, take only what you need.Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you, so if something does happen, you can easily recover. Never take more than one credit card or ATM card with you. My rule for cash is to limit what I carry to $50 USD.
13. Always carry a lock.They come in handy, especially when you stay in dorms and need to lock your stuff up. Carry a small combination lock with you when you travel. Don’t use one with keys because, if you lose the keys, you’re screwed!
14. Make extra copies of your passport and important documents.Don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself too. You never know when you might need to have some sort of documentation with you and might not want to carry your original. Additionally, if your passport gets stolen having a copy will come in handy for your police report.
15. Ask hostel staff for information — even when you aren’t staying there.Hostel staff deal with budget travelers all day, every day. They know exactly where to go for cheap meals and attractions. They also tend to be locals so they know the city very well. Ask them for all sorts of information. Even if you aren’t staying in one, just pop in and ask for help. They’ll usually give it.
16. Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destinationThe locals will appreciate it and it will make your interactions easier. You don’t need to master the language but learning a few things like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Thank you!”, “Where’s the bathroom?” will go a long way to endearing yourself with the locals. They’ll like that you tried.
—-> Here are some tips on how to learn a language.
17. Read a history book!You can’t understand a place’s present if you don’t know anything about its past. Read up on the destinations you are visiting. It will give you a deeper understanding of this place you’ve wanted to see for so long!
Here are some of my favorite travel reads from last year. For more book recommendations, read these articles:
18. Don’t be ashamed to walk into a Starbucks or McDonald’s.Sometimes familiarity is comforting and both places have free wifi and public restrooms you can use. (Just don’t eat the food at McDonald’s! That shit is gross and unhealthy for you! You can get it back home!)
19. Don’t fly directWhen booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly into airports close to your final destination, and then take a train or bus to where you need to go. Be sure to shop around for your flight and know that direct isn’t always the cheapest route. My favorite flight search engines are:
20. Always get behind business travelers when in security lines.They move fast since they are usually in a rush and travel light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible. You’ll speed through the line!
21. Never get behind families.They take forever. It’s not their fault. They just have a lot of stuff because of the kids. Try to avoid getting in lines with lots of kids. It’s going to take awhile.
22. When you check in to the hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade.They have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Often times they can accommodate you if the hotel isn’t full. Just be super nice!
23. Libraries, Starbucks, and most cafés have free Wi-Fi.If you’re staying someplace that charges you to connect, check out one of these places. You can connect for free.
24. Lunchtime is the best time to visit historical sites.Be a contrarian. You’ll have fewer crowds getting in your way as big tour buses, groups, and most travelers head to lunch. It’s always best to visit an attraction super early, late, or when people eat. You’ll have even the most popular places to yourself!
25. Never eat in a touristy area or near a tourist attractionAs a general rule, I walk five blocks in either direction before I find a place to eat. The closer you are to tourist attractions the more you are going to pay and the worse the food (and service). Use websites like Yelp, Google Maps, Foursquare, or Open Rice to find some delicious and popular restaurants around you.
Additionally, never eat anywhere the menu is in like 6 languages! That means the restaurant is just for tourists!
26. Locals don’t eat out every night and neither should you.Go grocery shopping. You can learn a lot about locals’ diets by seeing the type of food they buy. Plus, it will save you a lot of money. You won’t regret it. Cook your food, save money, surprise yourself!
27. Eat at expensive restaurants during lunch.Most expensive restaurants offer lunch specials featuring the same food they would serve for dinner but half the price! That’s the best time to eat out when you travel.
28. Pack a flashlight.It will let you see at night, you avoid stepping on stuff, and help you tell ghost stories. Who’s afraid of the dark?
29. Carry a basic first-aid kit.Accidents happen so be prepared. I take band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes. You never know when you’re going to need it and you can’t always get it when you travel.
—-> Here are some tips for packing a professional first aid kit!
30. Book flights 2-3 months in advance to get the best price.Don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to get the absolute cheapest fare. Spending five hours to try to save $10 will cause you a lot of stress. Here are some article on how to save money on flights:
Here are some of my favorite sharing economy and hospitality websites:
34. But keep your guard up.Some people do bite, so keep a healthy level of suspicion. You don’t want to fall for any travel scams or get yourself into uncomfortable situations. Be open but cautious.
—> Here is a list of travel scams to avoid.
35. Try new food.Don’t ask what it is. Just put it in your mouth and see if you like it. If you put your guard up, you might miss out on some unusual and delicious local cuisine. Here are some articles on how to eat delicious — and cheap — food around the world:
37. Take an empty metal water bottle through airport security and fill it up at your gate.Drink from the tap when you can — you’ll save money and help the environment. If you’re going somewhere where you can’t drink the water, be sure to get a water bottle with a filter. I love Lifestraw and Grayl as my two preferred ones.
38. Take free walking tours.Besides being free, these tours will give you a good orientation and background of the city you are visiting. I love, love, love taking walking tours when I travel. You pass the time, you get to pepper the guide with questions, and you get to learn so much about where you are! Take a walking tour when you travel! Here are some lists of my favorite free walking tour companies in the world:
40. Take pictures of your luggage and clothes.If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
41. Carry emergency cash.Because emergencies happen. Like that time in Romania when I couldn’t find an ATM and needed money for the bus to the hostel! I usually try to keep around a $200 USD in emergency cash in case something happens!
42. Get good shoes.You walk a lot when you travel. Don’t beat up your feet. Love them as much as they love you, and they’ll take you to amazing places.
43. Get vaccinated.Because falling prey to an illness in a foreign country is not fun — and many countries require you to get vaccinated in order to visit them so, regardless of your opinion on the subject, you just might have to.
—> Here is an article on how to stay healthy on the road
44. Learn to haggle.Haggling is a fun, playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It’s the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout all of life, not just at the market.
45. Use points and miles for free travel.You can go a lot further in the world when you don’t have to pay for it. Learn the art of travel hacking and collect points and miles through your everyday spending so you can get free flights, accommodation, train tickets, and other forms of travel! It’s what all expert travelers due to lower their travel costs and something you should do too! Here’s how I earn 1 million frequent flier miles every year!
46. Take a jacket.Nights get chilly.
47. Eat street food!If you skip the street food, you miss out on culture. Don’t be scared. If you’re nervous, look for places where kids are eating. If it’s safe for them, it’s safe for you.
48. Get travel insuranceTravel insurance is the most important thing you get that you never want to use. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be out thousands of dollars in bills. It will be there if you get robbed, flights get canceled, you get sick or injured, or have to be sent home. It’s comprehensive and, for just a few dollars a day, one of the best investments you can get for a trip. You may think you’re superman/woman but so did my friend who broke her arm, didn’t have insurance, and had to pay thousands out of pocket. Insurance was there when I had to replace my camera and when I popped an eardrum scuba diving! Get it! Here are some tips on how to find the best travel insurance.
My favorite companies are:
50. Be respectful.Locals are willing to help you out, but there’s probably a language barrier, so keep your cool when something doesn’t go your way. If you don’t, you’ll end up just looking like an asshole tourist.
51. Don’t over plan your trip.Let your days unfold naturally. Schedule two or three things and let the day fill in the rest on its own. It’s less stressful, and letting the day just take you is one of the best ways to travel. Here’s my advice on how not to over plan your travels!
52. Relax.See Be patient.
53. Be frugal — but not cheap.Don’t be pennywise but pound-foolish. Look for deals and don’t waste money, but don’t miss out on great experiences or walk 10 miles to save a couple of dollars. Time is money. Spend them both wisely.
54. Take earplugs.Snorers are everywhere and you need your sleep.
55. Always have an extra USB charger.Batteries die. Your good mood shouldn’t.
56. Take photos of and with people.Lots of photos. Years from now, you’ll want to look back on those nights you can’t remember and the people who made them memorable.
57. Book your tickets onlineIf you’re planning to do any activities or excursions on your trip, book them online. Companies usually offer a discounted price when compared to buying in person. Not only that but you’ll be able to pay with a credit card, giving you some extra protection as well as more travel points!
58. Sign up for flight dealsWhen it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Flight Deal, and Secret Flying. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first!
59. Pre-book your tickets to attractionsMany major attractions allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in. I’ve seen people wait hours for the Paris Catacombs, Louvre, London Churchill War Rooms, churches, temples, historic fortresses, and more. Pre-book the day before, skip the line, get to see more during your day!
60. Avoid TripAdvisorTripAdvisor is fine when you need opening hours or an address, but when it comes to reviews I ignore it completely. People always leave a negative review when something bad happens but rarely leave a positive review when something good happens so the reviews tend to be skewed. On top of that, it’s very easy to create fake reviews and make a place seem better than it is. Many hotels and restaurants hire firms to artificially inflate their reviews on the platform. Additionally, TripAdvisor has been known to take down reviews that are overly negative as well as reviews on sexual assault. Use TripAdvisor with caution. Or better yet, don’t use it at all.
61. Finally, wear sunscreen.For as the Baz Luhrmann song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” goes:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience.
U.S. Travel Ban Ends, Easing Personal. Europeans were kept apart from family and friends as the ban dragged on long after E.U. leaders had opened their borders.
BRUSSELS — For months, Europeans and their leaders seethed about what they considered unfair treatment from the United States, which kept a Covid-related travel ban in place for much longer than Europe did.
Even now, as the United States is opening up again to travelers, many remain wary. Some were planning to jump on planes as fast as possible — just in case the welcome mat is suddenly pulled away again.
Laurence Tesson was one of them.
The fear that something could still go wrong haunted her as she prepared to see her son in Los Angeles for the first time in three years. In the hours before her flight was to leave from Paris, Ms. Tesson ran through her checklist of worries:
Her train from Lille in northern France to Charles de Gaulle airport could hit a wild boar. The train conductor might not show up. Or maybe a rail union would call a strike. And, of course, her U.S.-required coronavirus test could be positive — meaning no flying to the United States for her.
“Only when I set a foot at the Los Angeles airport will I be relieved,” Ms. Tesson, 54, said this weekend.
By Elian Peltier
Nov. 8, 2021Updated 7:07 a.m. ET
The coronavirus outbreak has left Thailand’s hotels empty, its tour guides without work and its markets unusually quiet. The country’s wildlife may also now be noticing the lack of visitors.
A video filmed this week in Lopburi, north-east of Bangkok, showed large crowds of monkeys brawling in the streets, apparently fighting over a yoghurt pot. Residents in the city, which is famed for its monkey population, say the fall in tourist numbers means there are far fewer people offering food.
“It’s the summer, so usually we see a lot of tourists, but now because of the outbreak there’s so few that the markets are very quiet. Not enough tourists come to leave food for the monkeys at Prang Sam Yod [temple],” Sasaluk Rattanachai, who posted a video of the brawl online, told Khaosod English.
AdvertisementThe monkeys are known for marauding the streets and stealing food from residents and unsuspecting tourists. Scraps between the monkeys are not uncommon, but a brawl of this size is rare, prompting one Thai reporter to attempt a vox pop with the local monkeys.
Each troop has at least 500 members, according to Manad Vimuktipune of the Lopburi Monkey Foundation. They’ll steal anything, he said: “Colourful ornaments, caps, sunglasses.” There are fewer tourists in the city, he added, and there is not enough food being offered.
The coronavirus outbreak is a severe blow to Thailand’s tourism industry, which is crucial to the country’s already struggling economy. This week, the country’s tourism authority warned that the number of foreign visitors may fall to 30 million this year from last year’s 39.8 million, according to the Bangkok Post.
The government has been criticised for a lack of clarity over its guidance to potential visitors, including over the quarantine measures that are likely to be imposed on tourists from affected countries.
It was announced this week that passengers who have travelled from or transited through several destinations – mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea, Italy and Iran – in the 14 days prior to their arrival may be subject to quarantine. Travellers from these destinations must also provide a health certificate, issued within 48 hours of their departure, certifying that they are free of Covid-19
Britain's famous tourist attractions, including palaces and castles galleries and zoos, have closed their doors to visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, millions of people from around the world are now taking virtual tours of tourism hotspots across Britain, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) said Thursday in a new report.
ALVA said said that millions of people may discover the diversity of Britain's tourist attractions through websites and digital galleries, science podcasts, virtual tours of the Houses of Parliament, web-cams of zoos and safari parks, as well as being able to take part in church and cathedral services and watching opera and theater, China.org reported.
"In the last week or so there has been an explosion in the number of people, here in Britain and around the world, virtually visiting the UK's top visitor attractions," ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue said in the report.
ALVA said that the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum and National Gallery have all seen a substantial increase in visitors to their websites.
The number of visitors to the British Museum's website has doubled in the past two and a half weeks, while visits to the National Gallery's virtual tour pages are up almost 800 per cent compared to last week, and 1,144 per cent up over last year.
Britain's best-known cathedrals, from Durham to Canterbury are also streaming church services.
Zoo cams have also become popular sites for virtual visitors.
Even William Shakespeare is proving to be a website hit more than 400 years after his death. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon is offering a video tour of the five Shakespeare family homes.
Visitors can travel even further back in time to the early days of the Roman occupation of Britain around 2,000 years ago, by paying a virtual visit to the Roman Baths in the city of Bath.
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Are you one of those who hates to go through the process of applying for a visa to an exotic holiday destination? Fret not, as an Indian national, you can visit 17 countries ‘visa on arrival’. Your holiday could not get smoother than this. According to local tour operators, the destinations include a good mix for water, adventure and nature lovers from India
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Sri Lanka. According to Sophia Tamang, Head of Business Strategy, AFC Holidays, "We have noticed the overall trend in Indian guests has been either to "travel for FOMO" or "travel for passion" but travel for sure and this has brought a surge to even exploring many of the visa-on-arrival destinations. Egypt, Jordan, Africa (especially Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda), even places like Uzbekistan and much easily accessible places like Kyrgyzstan are on our list this year because we've seen a growing demand for these destinations,
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Maldives: Maldives is one of the most astounding places for Indians to visit without the hassle of arranging a prior visa. You just have to be a water lover and you will love every bit of your stay here. White sands, pristine clear water, you could not ask for more. What are you waiting head straight away for your holiday. Places to see in the country: Male, Addu City, Lhaviyani, Kaafu etc. Key attractions: Scuba diving, Snorkelling, Water Skiing, Wind Surfing etc. Recommended duration of stay in the country: 5 to 6 days. Best time to visit: All year round. Cost Minimum Dh3,700 or Rs 70,000 excluding airfare, sightseeing.
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Mauritus: Mauritius has white sandy beaches, cobalt-blue seas, and luxury hotels. The island country has plenty tourist spots too - such as Port Louis, Hindu Temple, Waterfalls, Moonscape valleys and mountains, Champ de Mars, Mahebourg, Naval Museum, Pamplemousses Garden, Natural reserves and wildlife parks and beaches. With sapphire waters, powder-white beaches and luxury resorts, Mauritius is a fairyland made before heaven. Places to see here : Grand Baie, Rodrigues, Flic en Flac, Mahebourg, Tamarin Riviere Noire etc. Famous for: Beaches, Water Sports, Multi-Ethnic Culture, Backpack Trips, Honeymoon. Ideal Duration: 7 to 8 days. Best time to visit: From April to June, September to December. Cost: Minimum budget, Dh3,600 or Rs. 120,000.
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Seychelles: Spellbinding beaches are the main attraction of this island, along with the delectable cuisines and serene staycations. Seychelles is a group of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean. The capital city Victoria has a number of tourist spots including the Victoria Botanical Garden, Museum of Natural History, Le Jardin du Roi, St. Anne Marine Park, Aldabra, Bird Island, Cousin Island, Mahe Island, Beau Vallon Beach, Morne Seychellois National Park, Praslin Island, La Digue Island, etc are the main destinations to cover. You can engage in a number of land and water sports when you are in Seychelles. The Island is having an active nightlife. Place to see here Victoria, La Digue, Denis, Frigate etc. Key things to do : Water Sports, Beaches, and Luxury Resorts in Seychelles etc. Ideal Duration: 6 to 7 days. Best time to visit: October to March, May to September. Cost: Minimum budget: Rs. 65,000, Dh3,350.
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Sri Lanka: Adam’s Peak. Sri Lanka is a country known for its islands, beaches, mountains, and aromatic tea. Sri Lanka makes traveling easy for all Indians what with the visa on arrival facility. Sri Lanka issues an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) which gives permission to stay in the country for 30 days. Places to see here : Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Horton’s National Park. Key things to do here: Sightseeing like Tooth Relic, shopping, food, beaches, spiritual and religious centres, historical places to see. Recommended number of stay in the country : 5 to 6 days. Best time to visit: October to March. Cost: Minimum budget: Dh3,865, Rs.75,000 excluding air fare.
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Bhutan: Another destination that offers visa on arrival to Indians free of cost is that of the Land of the Thunder Dragon – Bhutan. While the citizens of Maldives, India, and Bangladesh do not need any visa to reach and getting around the country, other international travelers can also attain the visa on arrival either from the Paro airport, or from Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Gelephu in case they are traveling by road. Places to see here : Thimpu, Paro, Phuntsholing, Jakar, Wangdue, Phodrang etc. Famous for: Dechen Phodrang and other ancient Buddhist Monasteries, Adventure Tourism, Culture, Spirituality and Wellness, food Recommended duration of stay in the country : 4 to 5 days. Best time to travel: All through the year. Cost : Minimum budget: Dh1,546, Rs30,000
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Nepal: Kathmandu, Nepal. This is by far one of the cheapest countries Indians can visit visa on arrival. It is the land of mighty mountains, trekkers for the Everest Base Camp. The visa ranges for 15, 30 and 90 days that may cost around $25, $40, and $100 respectively per person for single-entry. Places to see: Kathmandu, Lumbini, Mount Everest, The Himalayan range. Things to do here: Adventure sports like trekking, mountaineering, rafting etc., learning Buddhist culture. Recommended duration of stay in the country: 5 to 6 days. Best time to visit: October to April. Cost : Minimum budget: Dh1,288, Rs. 25,000 (excluding airfare).
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Fiji Islands: Did you know that Indians can travel visa on arrival to Fiji Islands? A land where the time seems stagnant, the Fiji Islands is an archipelago of exquisite islands, lush-greenery and abundant underwater marine life which can be witnessed closely. And just in case you’re craving for a beach vacation without a visa then these islands will be a splendid retreat. The Fiji islands offers a Visa-on-arrival to the Indian citizens for up to four months which can be further extended to six months after applying for an extension. Places to see here: Suva, Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Beqa, Lautoka etc. Key things to do here: Enjoy resorts, the pristine islands, food and more. Recommended duration of stay in the country : 4 to 5 days. Visa on Arrival: Free, up to 4 months. Best time to visit: November to February. Cost : Minimum budget: Dh4,123, Rs.80,000.
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Madagascar: The island is all about exotic landscapes and variety of food. The island country has abundant flora and fauna. For Indian citizens, it is easier to plan a vacation at this island nation, as they can avail a visa for up to 30 days for free. Places to see here, Nosy Be, Antsiranana, Toamasina, Ranomafana National Park, Isalo National Park etc. Key things to do here: Wildlife, Reefs and Rainforests, Trekking, Diving, Deserts. Recommended duration of stay in the country: 4 to 5 days. Cost of Visa: Free for 30 days, $75 for 90 days. Best Time to Visit: May to October. Cost: Minimum budget: Dh3,350, Rs.65,000.
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Jamaica: The Caribbean country offers not only an exotic holiday experience amidst the nature’s finest views but also poses as one of the best visa on arrival destinations for Indians. A perfect escape for the travelers who are looking for a relaxing vacation. Apart from that this country is one of the places which offers a visa on arrival for Indian travelers. A traveler can enter and spend 30 days in the country without a visa. Places to see here: Montego Bay, Negril, Kingston, Falmouth etc. Famous for: Rastafarian Culture, Bob Marley Museum, Beaches and Caribbean Lifestyle. Recommended duration of stay: 6 to 7 days. Best time to visit: December to April. Cost: Minimum Budget: Dh4,639, Rs. 90,000 excluding airfare.
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Kenya: It is a paradise for wildlife admirers who want to capture the beauty of the rugged topography and abundant wild beasts residing on it. The country offers a visa on arrival to Indian citizens at a cost of $50 for 3 months. Travelers can avail the service of visa on arrival online through E Visa. Place to see here: Nairobi, Maasai Mara, Nairobi National Park, Tsavo National Park, Ngong Hills, Lake Nakuru. Key things to do: Wildlife Safaris, African Tribes and Culture. Recommended stay in the country : 5 to 6 days. Best time to visit: August to October. Cost : Minimum Budget: Dh.3,608, Rs.70,00
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Laos : Laos is a little South Eastern retreat which despite being small in area offers a magnificent tour of the enchanting landscapes, lush-green and dense forests sheltering abundant wildlife and sublime temples. Indians can get a free visa for a maximum stay of 30 days. All they need to do is provide a valid passport and onward tickets. Places to see here: Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phakse. Key things to do here : Visit historical places, Archaeology, and Buddhist Culture. Recommended duration of stay in the country : 3 to 4 days. Best time to visit: October to March Cost : Minimum budget: Dh 2,061, Rs. 40,000 excluding air fare.
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Bolivia: This is a country known as a complete roller coaster ride for its dangerous roads, lip-smacking delicacies, coffee, flora and fauna. Indians can avail the benefit of visa on arrival if they are willing to visit these adventure’s paradise. They can enjoy a stay for 90 days without a visa at a cost of $100. Places to see: La Paz, Sucre, Beni, Cochabamba, Oruro, Santa Cruz. Key things to do: Experience the multi-ethnic culture, visit Carnival de Oruro, The Andes, World Heritage site Potosi, Ruins of Inca civilization and other historical places. Recommended duration of stay in the country: 5 to 6 days Best time to visit: April to October. Cost: Minimum Budget: Dh.4,123, Rs.80,000 excluding air fare.
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El Salvador: It is an offbeat destination in Central America. El Salvador has beautiful and peaceful locations to see. The country is known for its abundant coffee plantations and splendid national parks. Indians can get a visa for up to 3 months at a cost of just $10. Places to see here: San Salvador, Santa Ana, San Miguel, Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco. Key things to do: Surfing, Volcano Hiking, visit the Intipuca Beach, visit historical and cultural places. Recommended duration of stay: 3 to 4 days. Best time to visit: November to April. Cost : Minimum budget, Dh4,123, Rs. 80,000 excluding airfareImage
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Nicaragua: The country has volcanic landscapes and guess what Indians can get a visa on arrival to Nicaragua easily at a cost of just $50 per person. All they need is a valid Schengen, US or Canadian visa. What to see here: Corn Islands Volcano, Islets of Granada, Volcano Boarding, Natural Reserves, Cathedrals, Spanish architecture, and beaches. Recommended duration of stay in the country: 5 to 6 days. Best time to visit: December to March. Cost: Minimum Budget, Dh4,123, Rs.80,000.
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Cook Islands: Did you know Indians do not need prior visa to travel to Cook Islands? Well you know now. The country is renowned for its snorkeling and diving sites. Cook Islands is one of the offbeat island countries located in the heart of South Pacific. Indian travelers can explore the country here without a visa for upto 31 days. It is one of the most exquisite places for Indians to go to at zero visa cost. Places to see here: Rarotonga & Aitutaki. Key things to do here : Enjoy the beaches, kite-surfing, fishing, play rugby, lagoon diving, snorkeling. Recommended duration of stay: 6 to 7 days. Best time to visit: May to August. Cost: Minimum Budget: Dh6,185, Rs.120,000 excluding airfareImage
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Cape Verde: Set off the northwestern coast in Africa, Cape Verde is a stunning destination famous for its culture and exotic beaches. Indian nationals can explore this beautiful town for just a cost of 25 Euros. Places to see here : Boa Vista & Praia. Things to do here : Wind-surfing, safari, visit cathedrals, do hikes, Pico do Fogo, do a turtle safari, visit art galleries. Recommended duration of stay: 4 to 5 days. Best time to visit: October to March. Cost: Minimum budget: Dh5,154, Rs.100,000
The Oman Ministry of Tourism recently revealed that significant investments will be poured in to transform ancient houses into heritage inns and guest houses in an aim to boost tourism efforts promoting the Sultanate’s vibrant local heritage. As one of the Ministry’s top priorities, the preservation of ancient houses - which are considered architectural treasures that show Oman’s archaeological character – are central to national initiatives showcasing the unique heritage and rich history and civilization of the Sultanate.Ancient local neighborhoods have already been restored using innovative engineering and architectural techniques to turn them into an attractive tourist destination. The Ministry said that tourists can visit these communities, among others, to get a glimpse of the Omani way of life during the ancient times as well as gain a rich cultural experience by immersing themselves into activities that define authentic local traditions. Heritage inns, green cabins, and guest houses will serve as a unique style of accommodation for the growing number of travelers arriving to the Sultanate.
The Ministry’s announcement is expected to result in higher tourist arrivals to meet the government’s goal of attracting 11 million local and international visitors by 2040. Boosting domestic tourism will also lead to new job opportunities for citizens and a diversified national economy.
Saleh bin Ali Al Khaifi, Director of Promotion and Marketing Department, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said that preserving heritage houses and building green houses are also aligned with the Sultanate’s intensified tourism initiatives that are responsive to the rapidly changing global tourism community and to the international environmental sustainability calls. Oman also aimed to sustain its top position on the list of the best cultural and heritage tourist destinations for 2019.
Al Khaifi added: “Investing in heritage homes is a step in the right direction amid our continued efforts to entice more tourists from all over the world to come visit Oman. Therefore, we are moving forward with our mega tourism projects aimed at transforming old traditional homes into heritage inns with the best services, while preserving and protecting the old structures and the atmosphere of the neighborhoods in our ancient areas. We will observe the highest standards in these projects, keeping sustainability and the finest hospitality in mind. We look forward to bringing the Oman experience of all tourists to new heights in conjunction with us promoting sustainability and heritage tourism, a sector that is fundamental to the Sultanate’s development and global positioning.”
Global demand for heritage inns is growing, with more and more tourists preferring to experience nature. Oman, which is accompanied with a pleasant climate throughout the year and is known for its hospitality, is celebrated for its unique cultural heritage, among others. The Sultanate has been taking proactive steps to meet the unique and ever-evolving requirements of its visitors.
As the novel coronavirus outbreak in China becomes more subdued, the country is trying to get tourism back on its feet, with more scenic attractions and museums reopening and travel restrictions being loosened.
The National Health Commission received reports of 34 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Wednesday, all of which were imported cases. No new domestically transmitted cases were reported.
A total of eight museums including Shenyang Palace Museum, the imperial palace of several Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors, reopened to the public on Tuesday in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, after months of being shutdown.
However, with the threat of cross-infection still a danger, visitors must have their temperature checked on arrival, maintain a distance of no less than 1.5 meters among each other in queues and wear masks during their stay.
The museum authorities also took measures including requiring real-time reservations, controlling visitor numbers and limiting opening hours to avoid overcrowding. Daily visitor numbers have been capped at 4,000 for the Shenyang Palace Museum.
"I'm quite assured of the preventive measures taken by the museum. My family canceled our travel plans during the Spring Festival holiday. When the outbreak is over, we want to travel and relax," said Zhao Yan, a Shenyang resident.
In northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, more than 100 tourist spots have resumed normal operation. Many ski resorts exempted or halved the entrance fees to attract visitors.
"The tourists coded green can make reservations online and enjoy free skiing if they live in certain hotels," said Liang Jing, manager of Jiangjunshan ski resort. Many provincial-level regions have introduced a health code monitoring system to control people's movements.
Liang said the resort is temporarily not open to tourists who came from the virus-hit areas or returned from abroad over the previous two weeks.
The majority of Shanghai's top-graded tourist attractions and all of its libraries have resumed business as of Wednesday. In early March, Shanghai Disney Resort partially resumed operations, with each of the reopened resort locations running under limited capacity and reduced hours of operation.
On Wednesday, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region issued a guideline allowing package tour businesses between low-risk cities and counties within the region to return to normal and outdoor cultural venues including tourist attractions and stadiums to reopen, while indoor theaters, ballrooms and internet bars must remain shuttered.
As the epidemic control situation is improving in China, a total of 3,714 tourist sites in 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland had reopened as of Monday, accounting for over 30 percent of the total. In addition, over 180 museums had reopened as of Sunday, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Tourism is among the industries hit hardest by the unexpected epidemic. The China Tourism Academy estimated that domestic visits will see a reduction of 932 million in 2020 while the number will plummet in the first quarter -- a negative growth of 56 percent compared with that in 2019. Tourism-driven revenues will drop by 1.18 trillion yuan (about 166 billion U.S. dollars) this year.
Known for its picturesque karst mountains and beautiful rivers, Yangshuo County in southern China Wednesday launched six measures to help local tourism pick up, such as exempting or reducing rent for tourism enterprises, providing subsidies for reopened tourist sites and cutting tax and fees for small and medium-sized firms.
Shanghai has provided financial aid for culture and tourism industries hit by the outbreak, including refunding deposits for travel agencies, allocating special funds for cultural and tourism development and providing aid for loans.
Companies and individuals in the tourism sector also took measures to save themselves. Livestreaming platforms and travel agencies have teamed up with tourist sites to make online sightseeing more accessible.
China's largest online travel agency Trip.com in March launched presell products including more than 1,000 travel routes and tickets to over 300 tourist attractions. It also started a revival plan involving 1 billion yuan for the tourism industry with its partners from home and abroad.
Xu Zihui, owner of a homestay near Huangshan Mountain, a UNESCO world heritage site in eastern China's Anhui Province, allowed customers to book rooms for a period before June next year with discounted price. She has received over 100 orders so far.
Industry experts said domestic tourism will take the lead in recovering despite the fact that the epidemic has not ended and the global tourism market is reeling from the coronavirus shock.
Dai Bin, president of China Tourism Academy, said the general management and emergency capacity of China's tourism sector have been better enhanced during the epidemic prevention and control.
"The cultural and tourism industry is trying to take the chance of the upcoming holidays with preferential policies. Travelers will be gradually coming back, and the tourism market in China will usher in a new phase of development when the epidemic is over," said Jin Jianping, deputy general manager of Liaoning Tourism Investment Group.
Embracing the era of the staycation as cross-border travel plummetsWith holidaymakers now worried about travelling abroad, the tourism industry should target stay-at-home vacationers in order to survive.
As holidaymakers become increasingly worried about the difficulties and dangers of international travel in the age of the coronavirus, the global tourism industry is scrambling to embrace the era of the “staycation” – the stay-at-home vacation.
Some of those who are staying in their own countries are even taking things a step further by seeking isolated destinations and stand-alone accommodation. The theory is that the more you can distance yourself from population centres, the less likely you are to be exposed to carriers of Covid-19.
Increased demand for isolated properties and off-the-grid placesHost Unusual, a UK accommodation website, reports a 45% increase in searches for isolated properties and a 38% rise in interest for off-grid locations.
“It appears that staycations are evolving, with a tendency towards more remote settings and standalone accommodation. The key words here are isolation and exclusivity, away from crowds,” Host Unusual director Alex Wilson told the Guardian newspaper.
AlsoRead‘Couch-surf’ and travel the world without leaving your homeBanish cabin fever with these ideas to keep the kids happy at homeHere’s how the coronavirus impacts on Airbnb industryCoronavirus flight cancellations: Information on refunds, changes and moreCornwall, one of England’s rural counties, thinks it could be a beneficiary of the trend, although it isn’t marketing itself as a “safer” destination at this point.
“It will be interesting to see how the British react,” said Malcom Bell of tourism body Visit Cornwall. “[They may view] coming down and walking on a Cornish beach as safer than going shopping in a town centre.”
Domestic travel enquiries in the UK rise by 40% versus 2019Overall, UK tourism businesses are seeing a rise of up to 40% in traffic to their websites – almost all of it coming from locals, the Guardian reports.
“For the period 1 January to 24 February 2020, we are, on average, 40% up on web visitors compared with the same period in the previous year,” said Steve Jarvis, owner of Independent Cottages, a business that rents out independently owned holiday homes. “Initial analysis of the most recent enquiries is that they appear to all be domestic – overseas enquiries have reduced significantly.”
In Singapore, tourism businesses are offering large discounts in an effort to attract staycationing locals and fill the void left by stay away foreign tourists. There are 50% discounts at indoor playgrounds, two-for-one entry deals at popular attractions, free admission for parents at kids’ destinations, and a water park has even reduced a $32 day pass to only $9.
People want to go on holiday, but feel the safest place is homeHotelier Middle East quotes Nick Wyatt, head of travel and tourism at analytics company GlobalData, as saying that people still want to go on holiday, but are asking themselves where it’s safe to do so.
“There is a very good chance that they might actually land on their own country as the answer to that question,” he said.
“Staycations are likely to make travellers feel more comfortable as they are familiar with the location, they can potentially avoid flying, and they know the health service and health structure, as well as other benefits of staying within your own country – such as reduced travel time and no language barrier.”
SA tourism industry must redirect its marketing to local travellersThe staycation theme ties in with the appeal by SA Tourism for the local industry to redirect its marketing efforts into attracting South African travellers.
“While a drop in international tourists and outbound travellers is a serious concern, it presents an opportunity for creating sustainable incentives to help boost the domestic market and encouraging South Africans to travel to regional tourist destinations around the country. Price-sensitive local travellers will be looking for add-on packages and exclusive experiences that will make their rands stretch further,” SA Tourism said.
“Although the impact of the virus is catastrophic, not all is lost. This presents the industry with a challenge to redirect all cancelled outbound travel to domestic travel opportunities. This is a means by which the sector can help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus, by boosting domestic tourism.”
LONDON, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Britain's famous tourist attractions, from palaces and castles to galleries and zoos, have closed their doors to visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, millions of people from around the world are taking virtual tours of tourism hotspots across Britain, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) said Thursday in a new report.
ALVA said millions of people are discovering the breadth, depth and diversity of Britain's visitor attractions through websites and digital galleries, science podcasts, virtual tours of the Houses of Parliament, through to web-cams of zoos and safari parks, as well as being able to take part in church and cathedral services and watching opera and theater.
ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue said: "In the last week or so there has been an explosion in the number of people, here in Britain and around the world, virtually visiting the UK's top visitor attractions."
ALVA had been scheduled this week to reveal its top tourism attractions of the year, but the announcement has been postponed because of the health crisis.
ALVA said the British Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A, Science Museum and National Gallery have all seen a substantial increase in visitors to their websites.
The number of visitors to the British Museum's website has doubled in the past two and a half weeks, while visits to the National Gallery's virtual tour pages are up almost 800 percent compared to last week, and 1,144 percent up over last year.
The V&A's blog is up 147 percent week on week, while the Science Museum has seen a threefold increase in views for its games section.
Britain's best-known cathedrals, from Durham to Canterbury are streaming church services.
Zoo cams have also become popular sites for virtual visitors.
Even William Shakespeare is proving to be a website hit more than 400 years after his death. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon is offering a video tour of the five Shakespeare family homes.
Visitors can travel even further back in time to the early days of the Roman occupation of Britain around 2,000 years ago, by paying a virtual visit to the Roman Baths in the City of Bath.
Emma Martin, senior curator at National Museum Liverpool's World Museum said: "Staying at home doesn't mean you miss out on visiting our museum. Thanks to public feedback on what people would like to see while our doors are temporarily closed, we've created a virtual tour of the World Cultures gallery with our friends at John Moores University."
Science Director Dr Roger Highfield from the Science Museum in London has even published an in-depth look at the science of the coronavirus, exploring what we know and don't know about the virus and examining its ongoing impact.
His work brings into sharp focus the biggest ever shutdown since World War II of Britain's famous tourist sites. Enditem