Laptopingrassyfield
Uncategorized

Fantastic Cities for Digital Nomads to Work (and Play) While Traveling the World

Our idea of “working” has changed throughout history, and especially so in the past 100 years. Thanks to modern technology, it’s now possible to escape the office and work from wherever you may be.

There’s even been a term coined for people who do just that: digital nomads.

While you can, in theory, work remotely from anywhere in the world that has electricity and Internet access, the truth is that there are certain areas where doing so is far easier and cheaper.

Today, we’ll be talking about some of the cities best suited for digital nomads, taking into account the local culture, amenities, infrastructure, and cost of living.

Chiang mai temple

#1 Chiang Mai, Thailand

Where would any digital nomad list be without Chiang Mai?

We’ll be brief here – anybody who’s ever read a travel blog in the last 10 years already knows of this Thailand hotspot, now considered a digital nomad mecca.

Ubiquitous Wi-Fi, coworking spaces like Punspace, a small and friendly community, warm weather, tons of things to see and do, and delicious food all rolled into a low cost of living have all helped attract hordes of location-independent workers to the city.

Ubud bali temple

#2 Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

This city on this beautiful Indonesian island is quickly becoming a digital nomad mainstay for reasons similar to Thailand above – low cost of living, a pleasant climate, and delicious food, in addition to being a stone’s throw away from tourist hotspots like Canggu and the Gili islands.

You can easily live like a king on $1000 per person per month, but living costs for shoestring travelers could be as low as around $500 with no-frills accommodations and eating only local food.

There are now a few options for coworking spaces available as well, and the increasing prevalence of fiber-optic Internet means great connection speeds for Southeast Asia.

Berlin, Germany

#3 Berlin, Germany

For digital nomads who play as hard as they work, Germany’s capital has become one of Europe’s most happening destinations.

After wrapping up the day’s work, hit the streets to immerse yourself in one of the most hopping bar/club scenes in the world. Don’t worry about dropping money on a taxi, as the city’s efficient public transportation system can zip you to wherever you need to go.

What about the language barrier?

You’ll be fine, as most people under 30 speak English rather well.

Round it out with a booming arts scene, eclectic suburbs, and, of course, delicious German cuisine, and you’ll find that Berlin truly has something for everyone.

If you find yourself falling head over heels for this city, Germany also offers visa opportunities for remote professionals!

Lisbon, Portugal houses

#4 Lisbon, Portugal

Unfairly overshadowed by Spain to its west, Portugal is an up-and-coming country for digital nomads of all kinds, but especially those who want a Western Europe lifestyle for a very reasonable price.

Even in Portugal’s capital city, you can find single rooms for around 350 euro/month (just above $400) and apartments starting around 550 euro (~$650). Wi-Fi coverage is practically ubiquitous in hotels, cafes, and shops, so connecting to the Web is a breeze.

Lisbon has so much to see and do, you’re unlikely to get bored. Traditional architecture from historical landmarks (including castles) makes for fantastic sightseeing. With a 1,115-mile coastline, beach bums can enjoy a dip or surf in the Atlantic waters after a hard day’s work.

Finally, Portuguese food, not to mention their wine, is criminally underrated.

Caminito buenos aires

#5 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Combining European traditionalism with Latin American flair, Argentina’s capital is a sprawling metropolis that’s eclectic in both culture and lifestyle. Especially for South America, the city generally has great infrastructure and decent Wi-Fi speed/availability.

Although far from being the cheapest place to live in the region, prices can be reasonable compared to Western countries, with some apartments in the city center going for under $400 USD/month.

Buenos Aires is a vibrant metropolis with several artsy, quaint neighborhoods like La Boca and Palermo, a plethora of good eats, and plenty of social groups composed of people from all over the world.

The wine here is the best in the region, and who could pass up authentic tango lessons?

Don’t miss the chance to live in this beautiful country.

Szechenyichain bridge budapest

#6 Budapest, Hungary

European cities, especially in cheaper East European countries like Hungary, are quickly becoming digital nomad hotspots. Due to its culture and low prices, Hungary’s capital is especially attractive – if Chiang Mai is the Asian digital nomad capital, Budapest could very well be Europe’s.

Budapest is perfect for digital nomads who enjoy not only working in cafes or local joints, but also for those who love to work in open outdoors places like parks, as the city is full of fast Wi-Fi hotspots. The city is very livable with several things to check out, a couple highlights being a river tour along the Danube and the palatial Gellért Baths.

Alcohol is crazy cheap too! But keep in mind that Budapest is best visited during the summer, as it gets cold in the winter months.

Banteaysrei siem reap cambodia

#7 Siem Reap, Cambodia

After a violent, tumultuous past, Cambodia is finally beginning to emerge from the shadows and undergo an explosion of growth and tourism, putting one of its major cities, Siem Reap, on the map.

Home to the magnificent Angkor temple complex (the main one being the majestic Angkor Wat), the city is rich with historical architecture and a vibrant culture. If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife instead, well, Siem Reap has that too – head on down to Pub Street, a stretch of bars, clubs, and restaurants where things never get dull.

Although not as developed as other Southeast Asian cities (and the less-than-stellar infrastructure reflects that), the booming tourism in recent years has given the local government the financial means to build up the city, so we view Siem Reap as an up-and-coming digital nomad destination.

Quito Ecuador

#8 Quito, Ecuador

Thanks to the Galapagos Islands and several other nature-themed attractions, ecotourism makes Ecuador one of the world’s most visited countries. It’s also an excellent destination for digital nomads as Quito, its capital, is considered Latin America’s lowest cost of living city.

You could live there easily for around $600 USD/ month ($20/day), so it’s perfect if you’re bootstrapping or otherwise trying to save a lot of money.

If you’re based in the US, Ecuador also has the benefit of being in a similar time zone as the States, and the country actually uses US dollars as well!

However, there are a couple things to be mindful of: the city’s high elevation, especially if you plan to walk/hike, and the language barrier in the country is worse than most, so brush up on your Spanish!

While we listed some of the top digital nomad destinations, these cities are by no means the cream of the crop, or the only options available.

There are so many hot destinations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas to keep you traveling while working for a long time.

You don’t have to be rich, either – some areas in Europe may be out of the question, sure, but a mere $1000/month will take you far in many South American or Asian cities!

Thailand Food
Cuisine

Foodies, Listen Up: These Countries Have the Best Cuisine

People around the world can be classified according to the things they love. There are travel lovers, shopping lovers, sports lovers… but what about “foodies”? What about those who explore the world through their sense of taste? Are you one of them? … If the answer is an emphatic YES, this post is dedicated to you! Today, we’re taking a look at countries with the best international cuisine to bring out your inner epicurean.

Italy Cuisine:

Italian pizza

Located near the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italian cuisine is considered one of the most traditional and cultural (not to mention popular) around the world.

Their dishes, an amalgamation of those from ancient Mediterranean populations, are based on local ingredients. Thus, Italian gastronomy has a wide regional diversity – those in the north often use cream sauces, stuffed meats, and polenta, while southern Italians use more olive oil, seafood, and tomato sauces.

Italians don’t rely on elaborate presentation and flourishes but instead focus on the quality of the ingredients. As such, you’ll find that the “high cuisine” dishes still use more basic home cooking styles. Ingredients vary but often include tomatoes, olive oil, dry oregano, parmesan cheese, pasta, garlic, mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar.

Indulge in the endless varieties of pizza, pasta, ravioli, and risotto.

What about desserts?

Gelato and tiramisu are little pieces of heaven!  

 Cuisine in Thailand:

Pad thai food

Home to Pad Thai, one of the world’s most popular dishes, Thai cuisine is intricate but delicious – having been described as “the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish”. Influences include neighbors like China and Vietnam, but also include Portugal and the Americas.

Thai food is famous, even notorious, for how spicy it is, but its dishes often mix this flavor with sweet or sour notes for a combination of flavors.

At a Thai restaurant, you’ll likely enjoy your meal with a soup, rice or a noodle dish, and an assortment of sauces. Famous Thai dishes include the aforementioned pad Thai, tom yam goong (hot & sour soup), som tam (green papaya salad), Thai fried rice, and curries like green curry and massaman curry.  

Mexican Cuisine:

Mexican food

Now things are getting serious!

What if your cuisine is so good that UNESCO decides to recognize it as an intangible cultural heritage?

That’s the case with Mexico, home to the Mayans and one of Latin America’s most vibrant gastronomic scenes.

Mexican cuisine is a result of Spanish colonization, combining the cooking of native indigenous peoples with the influence of Spanish cuisine.

Mexico has honored its native origins with their use of corn, beans, and chili peppers as their major ingredients. With these, Mexicans create a bevy of dishes, with the most traditional being tacos, tamales, pozole, mole sauce, and Mexican barbecue.

Desserts aren’t neglected either – churros and flan are two popular choices.

Cuisine in Peru:

Peru ceviche

Peruvian cuisine, just as Mexican cuisine, is based on a blend of indigenous cultures (in this case, the native Incans) and influence from Spain (obviously) but also Italy, Germany, and even China! Yes, both natives and immigrants contributed to Peru’s unique cuisine.

The main ingredients of Peruvian cuisine are potatoes; grains like quinoa, kañiwa, and kiwicha; corn; and legumes.

If you decide to visit Peru, you must try ceviche, a dish of a marinated raw fish or other seafood. Peruvians also specialize in other savory dishes like lomo saltado, anticucho, or papa a la huancaína (potato filled with glory!).

Peruvian cuisine is often spicy, using ají pepper as a base ingredient for several dishes. This is the case with Ají de gallina, a chicken & potato dish that uses a yellow curry-like sauce made with these peppers.

After the main course, wrap it up with an alfajor, the caramel-filled South American equivalent of a cookie!

Food in Lebanon:

Lebanese food

Nicknamed the “Switzerland of the Middle East” since the 60s, Lebanon has one of the most traditional and culture-centric cuisines from all around the world. In Lebanese society, food means sharing time with family.

Lebanese cuisine is rich in flavors and ingredients, including a great variety of grains, starches, vegetables, fish, seafood, and sweet fruits. Lamb and goat appear in some dishes, but poultry is used more often. Parsley and chickpeas are staples in Lebanese cuisine, and locals often season their food with garlic, olive oil, or lemon juice.

Lebanon offers a great variety of dishes, so making a list of all of them is almost impossible. Nevertheless, if you decide to go there, you should definitely ask for Kibbeh or Kafta accompanied by Hummus and Tabbouleh. Falafel is always a popular vegetarian choice. For dessert, go for baklava or a piece of Kanafeh, both tasteful pastry desserts.

Japanese Cuisine:

Japanese sushi

After Mexico, Japanese cuisine is also on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list!

Home to “umami” cooking, a term describing a delicious, savory flavor, Japanese cuisine revolves heavily around a base of rice or noodles, with dishes being served alongside miso soup and other side dishes like pickles and other broth-cooked vegetables.

Japanese people have an extremely healthy diet, with red meat, dairy products, and unhealthy fats/oils being consumed sparingly. Due to its geography, Japan instead has a seafood-heavy diet.

Japanese cooking employs a very minimalist approach, with foods usually being only boiled or seared (if not eaten raw). Recipes also focus on using seasonal ingredients.

Perennial hits include the various types of sushi, yakitori (marinated grilled chicken), ramen, yakisoba, or okonomiyaki (Japan’s unique take on pancakes).

Cuisine in India:

Indian food

With a population of over 1 billion people and a colorful history, India’s culture and geography have given it a reputation for an eclectic and delicious yet healthy cuisine.

Indian cuisine is also extremely vegetarian-friendly as a lot of their recipes don’t call for meat, instead of using lentils, beans, various vegetables, grains, and spices. However, there are several popular meat dishes, such as chicken tandoori, tikka masala, or rogan josh (a somewhat spicy lamb dish).

Most dishes are served in a curry or sauce along with generous servings of vegetables and rice and/or beans. And who can forget about naan bread, a staple eaten with nearly every dish?

What are you waiting for?

Once you’ve packed your bags, the only other thing you’ll need is a hearty appetite and some curiosity.

What are you waiting for?

Get yourself out there and indulge in the best culinary experiences the world has to offer.

Monalisafrance
Featured

The Most Overrated Tourist Attractions Around the World

Traveling across the globe only to be disappointed is probably the worst thing that could ever happen to a traveler.

For years, many people’s travel dreams have been monopolized by the media with famous, overrated tourist attractions that don’t actually live up to their hype.

They’re iconic, they’re visited by millions, but they’re probably not worth the price of admission (and the hordes of fellow tourists you’d be dealing with).

Here is our list of the most overrated tourist attractions around the world.

The Mona Lisa, Paris, France

Mona Lisa in France

First of all, the painting is a lot smaller than what it looks like in pictures and movies.

Seriously, it’s about the size of a piece of A1 paper (30” x 21”).

You can’t get near it either.

Besides the mob of people that will always be in the way, the painting also has security guards near it on standby. Besides, you already know what it looks like.

If you happen to be in Paris and you really want to visit museums, we highly recommend the Musée d’Orsay, especially if you’re a fan of Vincent van Gogh.

Hobbiton, New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Of all the beautiful, natural landscapes in New Zealand, this movie set filled with fake buildings is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, which is really a shame. T

here are tons of places to go to in New Zealand that are more worthwhile than this tourist trap.

If you really are a “Lord of the Rings” fan, it’s still a pretty interesting place – assuming, of course, that you don’t mind the flocks of tourists because this place draws in all sorts of people, fans or not.  

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Wow, so it actually leans.

You don’t need us to tell you that this tourist destination is highly overrated. If you have already been to the more interesting places in Italy (Positano, for example), then by all means go.

Spend money waiting in a long line to see a slanted old tower so you can do the “I’m fixing/pushing the tower” pose to show off on social media.

Otherwise, there’s really nothing much to do here.

Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Temple Bar Dublin

Dublin is widely famous for its pubs which are kind of like little cultural centers throughout the city.

Temple Bar is the first that comes to mind for tourists who are looking for an authentic “Irish pub” atmosphere but, that said, it’s not really the best place to check out. It’s more a tourist trap for people who don’t know any better.

If you want to experience the Irish pub culture, there are lots of pubs within walking distance of Temple Bar that offer a far more authentic ambiance for a better price.

The London Eye, England

London Eye

It’s a bit sad that a giant Ferris wheel is one of the first tourist attractions that people think of in a city filled with historical landmarks, museums, and other magnificent attractions.

While it provides a great bird’s-eye view of the city, there are far more interesting places to go to in London. And no, a flashy giant Ferris wheel that dominates the London skyline is not one of them. Unless, you know, you’re really into Ferris wheels and/or aerial photography.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid Sculpture Denmark

Don’t get us wrong – the Little Mermaid sculpture in Denmark is remarkable.

It’s a bit tinier than you’d expect, but remarkable nonetheless.

But there’s nothing you can really do here besides take pictures of it. Also, the real Little Mermaid sculpture is kept indoors to protect it from vandalism; this one in Denmark is just a replica!

Not only that, at least thirteen other copies of the statue can be found elsewhere in the world, so it’s not as unique as some people think it is.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, USA

Mount Rushmore

If you love traveling to the middle of nowhere to see an unfinished rock sculpture on the side of the mountain, then Mount Rushmore is for you.

And yes, you read that right.

It was initially intended to be a whole-body sculpture until insufficient funding forced the project to a halt.

It’s also situated on sacred Indian land that the government promised to give to the Native Americans, but they went the other way, using it instead for this ambitious sculpting project.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge England

The mystery and appeal of Stonehenge have all but vanished because of the huge crowds of tourists, designated pathways around the area, and the nearby busy highways.

Movies, stories, and alien conspiracy talk on TV really hyped up the place.

Now, you can’t touch or even go near the actual stones. And because of all this, it feels more like a tourist trap than an ancient wonder of the world.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza

Another wonder from the ancient world, the pyramids of Giza have long been the subject of movies, books, and postcards, making it a popular bucket list destination for most people.

And yes, they’re on our list too, so you may end up leaving a bit let down.

If you’re thinking that the pyramids are in the middle of the desert and surrounded with an ancient Egyptian sort of vibe, well, newsflash: it’s located just beside the city.

So not only will you be hard-pressed to find the perfect camera shot, but with its close proximity to the city, you can also expect there to always be a big crowd of fellow tourists.

You should also be wary of the vendors who harass tourists into buying their stuff, not to mention Cairo’s pollution, which is among the worst in the world.

Hollywood, California, USA

Hollywood California

Getting the chance that you might bump into a famous celebrity is one of the things that hype up Hollywood for tourists around the globe.

And besides the tour buses, there’s nothing really that interesting going on in Hollywood.

Well, at least not enough to make it an ideal travel destination.

The few interesting attractions and activities and the run-down look of the place have upset many excited tourists.

Even the renowned Hollywood Boulevard doesn’t live up to its hype. The souvenir shops and the overly expensive restaurants that line the place might mean breaking the bank just to get a taste of that (overrated) Hollywood experience.

Despite their notorious reputation, some of you may agree that these places still look tempting to visit.

If you happen to do so, don’t get your hopes up too high. Pack in more patience than expectations so you can still enjoy these popular (albeit overrated) travel destinations.

Koala
Uncategorized

Top Ten Awesome Things To See (and Do) in Australia

With its gorgeous views and a mix of urban hotspots and natural landscapes, Australia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

From the ever-popular Great Barrier Reef to the scenic Great Ocean Road, Australia is home to a number of must-visits –there’s never nothing to do.

Here’s our list of ten awesome things to see/do in Oz.

 

1. Start your day right in Tasmania

Nothing’s more recharging (and exhilarating at the same time) than starting your day with a hike. Luckily, Tasmania has an abundance of hikes to choose from. One popular favorite is found in Freycinet National Park: taking a 45-minute walk to the lookout in Wineglass Bay.

Wine Glass Bay Tasmania

Can that water get any bluer? Paired with that white sand, the views of Wineglass Bay make for the perfect desktop wallpaper, but it’s much better because you’re actually there! From the lookout point, it’s a short 20-minute walk down to the beach, and if you have good timing, you could find yourself alone in this beautiful paradise.

Things to bring: pre-packed light meal/snack, water, and your GoPro or camera.

2. Get your coffee fix at Patricia Coffee Brewers, Little Bourke St, Melbourne

We don’t know about you guys, but we can’t go a day without our morning coffee – we’re confident to say that Australia can’t either. It all began when Italian migrants introduced espresso to the country after World War II, and for the past 20 years or so, Australians have really been obsessed with their coffee.

Coffee Art

So, there are now endless options for locals and tourists alike to get their coffee fix. But if you want a truly spectacular caffeine boost, Patricia Coffee Brewers on Little Bourke Street in Melbourne is the place to be.

Named the best coffee in Australia from a 2017 Yelp survey, coffee aficionados in Melbourne will undeniably enjoy a cup of joe from Patricia Coffee Brewers on Little Bourke Street.

Choose your fighter among choices for white, black, and filter blends. It’s tucked away in a little alleyway, but don’t be fooled; Patricia Coffee Brewers may be hard to find, but it’s worth the scavenger hunt as it may very well be the best coffee you’ll ever have in your life.  

3. Dive the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

The Great Barrier Reef is so great that not only is it the largest living structure in the world, you can also literally see it from outer space. Over 1,600 miles long and 130,000 square miles, this natural wonder is a must-visit for divers and non-divers alike.

Heart Reef Great Barrier Reef

From visiting the Daintree Rainforest to scuba diving the actual reef, the Great Barrier Reef lives up to every expectation. With its vast ecosystem comes a plethora of unique things to do in this underwater paradise.

When in your life will you ever have the chance to swim with six of the seven species of sea turtles all at once?

Or get to have an exhilarating swim with the sharks?

Never.

So take the plunge!

We recommended checking out the Reef HQ aquarium, the Daintree Rainforest Tour, and, of course, diving the Great Barrier Reef.

4. Shop till you drop at the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney

Besides being home to more than 180 stores, the Queen Victoria Building is also an architectural marvel. Built by George McRae in the late nineteenth century, the Queen Victoria Building was designed to be a marketplace – and what an amazing one it is.

Queen Victoria Building Sydney

Decked out with gorgeous stained-glass windows, beautiful archways, and a grand center dome, walking inside the marketplace is a surreal experience as you’ll feel transported right back to the 19th century (while you shop till you drop, of course)!

5. Unleash your inner wild side at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney

Giraffe Taronga Zoo

Animal lovers will love the Taronga Zoo. Housing over 4,000 animals from 350 species, this conservation is home to kangaroos, koalas, sea lions, elephants, and giraffes (oh my)!

The crowds and lines for the shows are worth the wait as you’ll hear that collective “ooh” with every seal trick and “wow” when you see the elephants playing in their bath.

Taronga Zoo is the place to go if you’re looking to interact with wildlife while learning about Australian wildlife advocacy.

6. Drive along the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne

If you’re in Melbourne, there’s nothing like a road trip along the Great Ocean Road. From the scenic Twelve Apostles to the stunning beach of Loch and George, The Great Ocean Road is an absolute feast for the eyes, as it’s filled with unreal sights you can only see in postcards.

Twelve Apostles Great Ocean Road

The drive from the Melbourne Central Business District to The Great Ocean Road is approximately 64 miles away, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive. Although the drive isn’t that far, don’t forget to prepare well for the trip!

Our favorite spots: The Twelve Apostles, Loch and George, Port Campbell National Park

7. Hike Cradle Mountain in Tasmania

One of the most popular spots in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain is a picturesque combination of tree pines and icy lakes cascading down the scenic mountains.

For animal lovers, this backdrop is also home to a rich habitat for wildlife including platypus, quolls, and even the world-famous Tasmanian devil!

Weindorfers Forest Walk

Feel free to either hike the summit of Cradle Mountain or take it easy by taking a two-hour walk around the lake.

Either way, it’s nature at its absolute finest.

To get the full extent of this natural beauty, visitors can choose to camp in cabins or campgrounds around Cradle Mountain.

Popular sights/treks: The Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park, hiking the King Billy Track, and the Enchanted Weindorfers Forest Walk (pictured above).

8. Stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria, Melbourne

Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria

If you’re looking to take a breather, visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria would be a perfect way to recharge during your trip. Established in 1846 by Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe, the Gardens are a horticultural haven, housing over 50,000 displays of plants within a space of about 94 acres.

It was so spectacular that Queen Elizabeth II added the prefix of ‘Royal’ to the Botanical Gardens, hence its name the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria.

We recommend wearing comfortable shoes during this leisurely stroll!

9. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Who hasn’t heard of the Sydney Harbour Bridge? This iconic steel arched bridge is no easy stroll, but it’s a fantastic way to get a panoramic look at Sydney as the views above are just amazing.

Climbing the bridge is super popular among tourists, though, so make sure to have the good sense to plan ahead!

We recommend climbing the bridge during sunrise or sunset! It’ll give you the perfect shot.

10. Surf in Noosa, Queensland

Surfing Australia

If you want to catch some waves down under, Noosa is one of Oz’s best surf spots. Noosa has five amazing point breaks and a kilometer-long stretch of pristine beach, all a short walk away from several restaurants if you get hungry afterward.

With the popularity of the spot comes to the crowd, though, so make sure to come early or be patient enough to claim a good spot! Surf’s up!

Our favorite spot: Alexandria Bay

Australia may be the world’s smallest continent, but there is never nothing to do in the land down under.

With its combination of picturesque mountainsides, one-of-a-kind coral reefs, scenic coastal hotspots, stunning beaches, rich wildlife, and manmade marvels, Australia is the complete package for every travel junkie.

Have you been to Australia?

Let us know your favorite spots/things to do in the country!

Maldives Beach Vacation
Budget Travel

5 Top Island Travel Destinations

Of the world’s seven continents, Asia is by far the largest. But let’s look at the other geographical extreme: islands. Nobody knows how many islands there officially are on Earth, but the number is estimated to be in the millions!

Sadly, tourists and travelers often overlook these tiny specks of land, but there are so many worth visiting.

Today, we’re taking a look at 5 such exceptional island destinations. The unique adventure, culture, and secluded relaxation are some things that make these islands on our list among the best in the world to visit.

Pack your bags and backpacks for these top 5 island travel destinations:

Bali, Indonesia

Bali Indonesia Vacation

Within the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is the most famous island holiday destination in the country, perfect for honeymoons and romantic getaways. Bali Island is home to a local culture well-known for its friendliness and warm hospitality. Some of its top tourist attractions are the exotic palaces and temples scattered around the island, with nature providing spectacular backdrops; these places are perfect for photo ops.

Further inland, thrill seekers can explore unspoiled jungles and tall volcanoes. However, most people can’t wander away from the beach too long. Luxury resorts and hotels can be found in the main areas of Bali.

After sundown, the island is thriving with nightlife, with exhilarating nightclubs and packed dancefloors. When it comes to dining, the restaurants in Bali offer numerous options for both local and international cuisine.

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands Ecuador

Located in the Pacific Ocean lies an out-of-this-world destination where unique endemic wildlife species flourish. Formed by volcanic eruptions more than 3 million years ago, the Galápagos Islands is composed of 19 chain islands and dozens of smaller islands.  Some of the volcanoes are still active, and volcanic eruptions are a part of the life cycle in the Galápagos.

The islands are best known as the place where Charles Darwin drew his inspiration for his most famous work. Back in 1835, after staying on the islands for 19 days, Darwin’s study of the flora and fauna was included in his book “On the Origin of Species”. After it was published, the book introduced the theory of evolution and the Galápagos Islands to the world.

Since then, the popularity of the islands has grown steadily over the years. Back in 1959, the Galápagos Islands became Ecuador’s first national park, and in 1978, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, the Galápagos Islands receive more than 200,000 visitors annually – adventurous travelers hoping to see the landscapes and animals unique to this part of the globe. A truly unique experience awaits anyone who makes the journey to these islands.

Boracay Island, Philippines

Boracay Island Philippines

Of the over 7,000 islands that make up the Philippine archipelago, the island of Boracay really stands out. The powder-like white sands and the cool pacific breeze that blows through Boracay are any beach bum’s heaven. Don’t get too carried away by the palm trees and the tranquil scenery, though; this island paradise wears a different face at night.

With cheap bars and nightclubs and the night performances of pyro dancers at White Sand Beach, Boracay can give off that wild-hearted party vibe for those looking for it. The thriving nightlife of Boracay is something worth experiencing, especially during the first week of May when the island celebrates LaBoracay, a weeklong party celebrating the start of summer in the Philippines and Labor Day. There’s a reason people call Boracay “the island that never sleeps”.

For thrill seekers, Bulabog Beach is the perfect place for adventure. Kiteboarding is the main attraction here and many outfitters and tour operators stand by to give visitors a thrilling experience. Parasailing, windsurfing, and other high-octane activities are offered as well – take your pick!

At the southernmost tip of the island lies the more tranquil Tambisaan beach. Away from all the partying of the main areas, Tambisaan is where you’d want to go for snorkeling or picnics. It’s also the main home of the island’s teeming marine ecosystem.

The Maldives

The Maldives Vacation

The Maldives is unarguably one of the most popular island travel destinations in the world. Situated between Africa and Indonesia, this low-lying nation (rising only 4 feet above sea level) attracts thousands of visitors worldwide. The geography of the Maldives is similar to an art piece; over one thousand islands connect with several atolls to form the beautiful mosaic of this tiny Indian Ocean nation. The marine life that surrounds the islands has also made it a favorite destination for scuba divers.

To fully experience the beauty of the Maldives, one must venture beyond the confines of hotels and resorts. One of the most highly recommended activities here is island hopping. Explore the many untouched islands, prepare your scuba diving gear, and swim along with the fishes (and, if you’re lucky, a giant whale shark).

Another unforgettable activity you must experience is eating at the Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass underwater restaurant. Even though it’s quite popular among tourists (not surprisingly), you can still get a chance to dine at this romantic restaurant. In order to make advance reservations, you must be a guest at the prestigious Conrad Rangali Hotel.

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan Philippines

The number-one island destination in our list comes again from the Philippine archipelago. Limestone rock formations, white powder-like beaches, and clear turquoise waters make Palawan look like an out-of-this-planet paradise, away from the worries of today’s world. That’s why travelers call Palawan “the last frontier”.

It’s not just the beauty of Palawan that captivates the hearts of tourists. The heart-warming hospitality of the locals and the Filipino culture play a big role in making the island 2nd to none on our list. Add to that the colorful, float-filled parades and the delectable cuisine the island offers to its visitors.

Another reason to love Palawan is that it offers many activities for different kinds of tourists/travelers. Being home to more than 600 different bird species, bird-watching is one such popular activity in the area. We highly recommend visitors also explore the Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the longest subterranean rivers in the world.

You may not be able to find these destinations easily on a map, but don’t dismiss them just because they’re tiny and remote. All of these islands are beautiful and unique in their own way. They may be a little harder to reach, but these 5 beautiful island destinations will reward you with unforgettable experiences – we guarantee it.

Worldmap
Budget Travel

The Least Visited Countries in the World And Why (But Are Worth the Trip)

Traveling to popular tourist destinations is fun.

Imagine walking down the streets of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop, or biking along the Great Wall of China.

It’s kind of cool, right?

Yes, but that might not be enough for some people.

Some people might want to travel more off-the-radar. They could be trying to forget about a past life, seeking out a destination untouched by modern civilization, or maybe they’re just thrill seekers trying to explore places that most people wouldn’t dare to go.

Whatever the reason, these individuals might be booking a trip to one of these countries, all of which are among the least visited in the world:

Solomon Islands

Flowers Solomon Islands

This country neighbors Papua New Guinea, Australia, and New Caledonia, but sadly, the Solomon Islands don’t attract as many tourists as the aforementioned nations.

Rainforests, secluded beaches, and lagoons make this country perfect for tourists looking for a thrilling and relaxing trip without having to mix with the crowd. The country’s capital, Honiara, has an outdoor fish market where one can buy fresh and delicious seafood.

Ask the vendor to cut up the catch of the day and enjoy sashimi or a grilled meal by the beach.

With 230 different types of flowers scattered throughout the country’s 900 islands, the Solomon Islands are perfect for nature lovers. But if you ever decide to travel to this country, make sure to get your vaccinations first – malaria is a serious threat.

Liberia

Stories of civil unrest and Ebola outbreaks make Liberia one of the least-visited countries. But despite all that, Liberia was the first African nation to elect a female president. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected back in 2006, received the Nobel Peace Prize Award five years later.

The beaches of Monrovia and the surfing spots of Robertsport make Liberia a must-visit country for thrill seekers. Despite all the negative events that have happened in the country in recent years, the negative vibes are sure to be carried away with the unique Liberian English hip-hop music, which remains very much alive to entertain locals and visitors alike.

Fun Fact: the country’s capital, Monrovia, is named after the 5th US president, James Monroe, after he helped establish the African nation.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Church Sao Tome

With the slogan “A well-kept secret!”, seclusion is sure to be found here.

The colonial Portuguese architecture, the beautiful beaches, and the colorful houses that line the outskirts of São Tomé can captivate the eyes of visitors. And the warm hospitality that locals show to visitors can steal their hearts.

Fishing, trekking, and whale-watching are the popular activities around here.

One should also try out the local chocolates that the country offers. São Tomé claims to have the best dark chocolate in the world. It wouldn’t really be a surprise, since the country used to be the biggest producer of cocoa in the world.

Comoros

This small island nation only has a population of 800,000 people. Since 1975, the country has experienced 20 coups (and coups attempts) until finally gaining independence from France.

Sailing, diving, and volcano trekking are one of the many activities that invite thrill seekers looking for a secluded adventure.

After those exhilarating activities, one should head over to Moroni. The colorful markets are the perfect place to buy souvenirs to take back home and have friends and relatives scratch their heads thinking about what/where on Earth Comoros is.

And if they ask about Comoros, tell them that they should be thankful for this nation. Comoros is the largest producer of ylang-ylang oil. This oil is used for producing perfumes, making the world smell better one person at a time!  

Turkmenistan

Gate to Hell Turkmenistan

This country is famous for having the “Gate to Hell”.

It’s not a literal gate to Hell, but it is a large crater filled with natural gas. The said gas was lit after a Soviet-era scientist had the brilliant idea of igniting the crater in the hope of snuffing out the leaking fumes.

Even after almost five decades, it’s still burning.

Besides the burning hole in the middle of the desert, the country’s capital, Ashgabat, holds the world record for the most buildings clad in marble. It’s a very impressive architectural feat, though no one actually works in the buildings.

Equatorial Guinea

If you’re a US citizen, you don’t have to worry about getting a visa. Americans are exempted from visa requirement in the country for stays of up to 90 days.

If you’re not a US citizen, you’ll have to go through a painstaking process, making this country one of the least visited in the world.

Despite the country’s poor tourism infrastructure, Equatorial Guinea still has plenty to see and do, especially for nature lovers and adventurers.

Did you know that it’s also the only African state with Spanish as an official language?

Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands Beach

Does the name ring a bell?

What about the name “Bikini Atoll”?

Not only is the famous swimwear item named after this group of islands, it’s also host to several US nuclear bomb testing sites. And yes, we mention the Bikini Atoll because it belongs to the Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands are a divers’ paradise. With over 250 types of coral and 1,000 different species of fish, the waters surrounding the islands are teeming with marine life.

With several nuclear tests conducted here by the US from 1946-1958 (67 in total), it was once regarded as the “most contaminated place in the world” by the Atomic Energy Commission. But that was back in 1956. Don’t go diving expecting to see three-eyed fish or radioactive coral.

Nauru

With an area of 21 square kilometers, you can literally run around the whole country!

With only a population of 10,000, what makes this country very secluded is the lack of modern transportation to the tiny nation. Only one Boeing 737 flight takes visitors to and from the island.

There’s no nightlife here, and there are only two hotels in the country. The country is so small, it doesn’t even have a capital! Yaren, the biggest village in the area, can somewhat be considered a capital.

Going off the beaten path and traveling to any of these countries is a unique and thrilling experience, not to mention an awesome way to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and not travel like a tourist.

Where will you be heading this 2018?

Blaise Vonlanthen 308747
Products

6 Popular Travel Backpacks Compared (The Good, Bad and the Ugly)

Size Guide & Recommended Light and Versatile Travel Backpacks

Choosing the right travel backpack is key for a smooth and hassle-free trip both during the journey itself and at one’s destination.

Not too many years ago, the travel bag market mainly consisted of heavy suitcases and clunky external-frame packs that were in no way suitable for long-term travelers.

Now that backpacking is a trend, the market is flooded with different types of functional, quality bags to choose from.

Deciding on which one to buy can be a bit daunting.

So, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular travel backpacks currently on the market.

Here is our comparison and review of six commonly-purchased travel bags and packs:

 

Osprey Farpoint 55

Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

This fully-featured backpack from Osprey is somewhat of a hybrid travel+hiking bag, making it one of the most popular backpacks for travelers. What makes the Farpoint a hit is its unique design that incorporates features found in a traditional hiking pack.

Moreover, its price is fairly competitive, making it a great travel investment.

The suspension system, which is designed after the suspension systems of hiking backpacks (padded shoulder straps, an internal frame, and a padded hip belt), guarantees comfort, while its front-loading ability (meaning you can pack it like a suitcase, not just from the top) provides much-needed convenience. The Osprey Farpoint 55L backpack is actually a 42L main backpack plus a 13L detachable daypack.

There is also a female-specific variant of the Osprey Farpoint called the Osprey Fairview. The Fairview is basically same as the Farpoint, but what distinguishes it are some design tweaks that Osprey made to make it better fitting for the female physique.

Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack

Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack

The Tortuga Outbreaker is a great travel backpack for the urban/city traveler. Its design sports a chic and modern look rather than looking like a typical rucksack. With the Tortuga Outbreaker, you won’t feel out of place when you’re traipsing around metropolitan cities like Paris, London or Tokyo.

Like most travel backpacks (and the ones on this list), the Tortuga Outbreaker is also front-loading and has adjustable shoulder straps and a removable padded hip belt. It also has a dedicated compartment for laptops or tablets – perfect for digital nomads.

Another thing that makes this bag great is its external pockets.

The Outbreaker has a large external pocket with a lot of compartments (for tablets, books, etc.), and two smaller ones perfect for tickets, your passport, and other small items.

For the security of your valuables, the double YKK zippers (including the external pockets) are both lockable and waterproof. The Outbreaker is also a bit heavier than most similarly-sized backpacks on the market, so keep that in mind when flying an airline with stricter weight limits!

Kelty Redwing 50

Kelty Redwing Backpack

One of the best-selling backpacks on the market, the Kelty Redwing is best known for three things:

  1.  its advanced features
  2. a very comfortable design
  3.  affordable price.

Just like the other travel backpacks on this list, the Kelty Redwing has a great suspension system, featuring well-padded shoulder straps and hip belts.

What makes the Redwing stand out among the rest is its ventilated back, which wicks away sweat and helps keep your back cool and dry while wearing it.

The Redwing is offered in 32L, 44L, and 50L sizes.

Minaal Carry On 2.0 Backpack

Minaal 2.0 Carry-on Backpack

The Minaal 2.0 is another backpack for the stylish traveler.

Minaal caught the public’s attention with its sleek and stylish design and features, resulting in a very successful Kickstarter campaign.

It features the same design and functionality one would expect from a travel backpack – a streamlined design, durable top and side carrying handles, a rain cover, and optional hip belt and shoulder straps (sold separately).

With a capacity of 35L, the Minaal 2.0 is relatively small compared to most common travel backpacks (which are usually in the 40-45L range). Despite its size, it utilizes space very efficiently, making it perfect for ultralight backpacking.

That said, it’s also the most expensive backpack on our list, with a price tag of $300.

Patagonia Black Hole Mlc 45l

Patagonia Black Hole MLC

Patagonia is a popular brand known for their high-quality travel and outdoor gear.

So it’s not too shocking that their latest travel backpack, the Black Hole MLC (maximum legal carry-on), is quite popular with people who travel often.

The Black Hole MLC is basically like a suitcase with soft padding and a shoulder strap, but no hip belt. It also comes with basic back straps (which are removable) for carrying like a backpack and, of course, top and side carrying handles.

The minimalist design of the Black Hole MLC won’t make you look out of place when you’re traveling in big cities. You won’t find anything dangling on the exterior of this backpack.

But then again, its lack of hip belt and the fairly basic back straps makes it only ideal for people who pack lightly or for those who prefer to use mainly the shoulder straps.

Aer Travel Pack

Aer Travel Pack

Another urban-friendly backpack, the Aer Travel Pack’s awesome features and minimalist design are a sure hit for the light-packing, quick-moving travelers.  

The brilliant design makes for easy access to and optimal organization of your items. It also has a ventilated compartment where you can store shoes, dirty laundry, or anything else that should be separate from the other contents of the bag.

The Aer Travel Pack also features quick-access pockets and a laptop compartment for your gadgets and other essential items.

The suspension system seems standard. The shoulder straps have decent padding, the back has ventilation for airflow, but there’s no hip belt, so you’d be lacking support there if your bag gets heavy.

With a capacity of only 33L, making this the smallest bag on our list, your bag probably won’t be too heavy anyways.

Quick Overview: The Best Travel Backpacks

BackpackImageCapacity (L)Price
Osprey Farpoint 55Osprey Farpoint 5555$169.95 – $180
Tortuga Outbreaker Tortuga Outbreaker35 or 45$269 (35L) or $299 (45L)
Kelty Redwing Kelty Redwing 5032, 44, or 50~$100-$140 depending on size
Minaal 2.0 Carry-on Minaal Carry On 2 035$299
Patagonia Black Hole MLC Patagonia Black Hole Mlc 45l45$199
Aer Travel Pack Aer Travel Pack33$220

For a smooth and worry-free trip, choose a bag that is both durable and that will perfectly suit you, your travel style, and your stops along the way. Most travelers would agree that your travel bag/backpack is the most important piece of equipment for your adventures, so choose it wisely!

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Philippines

Must-See Tourist Hotspots and Fun Activities in the Philippines

Widely known for its powder-like white sand beaches, cheap & delicious food, and friendly locals, the Philippines is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for travelers looking for a sun-soaked tropical vacation.

But there’s a lot more you can do in this archipelagic country than just downing cocktails at a beach resort.

With a staggering 7,600+ islands, visitors to the Philippines never run out of interesting places to see or thrilling adventures to experience. From colorful flower festivals in Baguio City, to scuba diving in Tubbataha Reef National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site), to visiting quaint colonial sites, there’s certainly a lot to choose from.

While it’s impossible to discuss everything you can see/do, we’ve made a list of the best tourist hotspots and activities in the Philippines that every traveler should check out.

Sinulog Festival Philippines

Joining in on one of the many festivals in the Philippines is something you shouldn’t pass up. The colorful parades, the delicious Filipino cuisine, even just the mere ecstatic celebration of the friendly locals can leave you with very fond memories.

Sinulog Festival in Cebu City

Held annually on the third Sunday of January, the Sinulog festival in Cebu is a religious celebration held in honor of the Santo Niño, the Child Jesus. Apart from the religious aspect, the Sinulog festival is also about the exciting street parades, day-long parties, and street dancers wearing colorful costumes.

The festival also features one of the best Filipino dishes the country has to offer, lechon. Lechon is a whole roasted pig slowly cooked over charcoal for hours. When the late celebrity chef, writer, and traveler Anthony Bourdain visited Cebu, he quickly fell in love with the dish and called it “the best pig, ever”.

Panagbenga Festival Philippines

Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City

The Panagbenga festival is an annual celebration that pays tribute to the flowers blooming in the Cordillera Region in the northern part of the country. The term “Panagbenga” is a Kankanaey word which translates to “blooming season”. The festival takes place in Baguio City and lasts for the entire month of February.

Flower-covered floats are paraded throughout the streets of Baguio. The parades also have street dancers wearing costumes decorated with, and you guessed it, flowers! The festival includes landscaping competitions and beauty pageants as well.

Visiting Old Manila

Intramuros Philippines

Intramuros, also known as “The Walled City”, is a historical center and the oldest district in Manila. The three-mile-long stone wall that surrounds Intramuros was built by the Spanish back in 1571 and wasn’t completed until 200 years later. Intramuros was built to be the center of commerce, religion, and government, and to house wealthy families and government officials.

The major attractions in Intramuros are the San Agustin Church, the Manila Cathedral, and Fort Santiago. You can visit these sites either by walking or riding a horse-drawn carriage locally termed a “callesa”.

Going to the Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano Bicol Philippines

The Mayon Volcano is famous worldwide for its perfectly conical shape. Located in the province of Albay in the southern Luzon region of Bicol, travelers can choose from a plethora of activities offered here such as camping, hiking, photography, and birdwatching. One popular choice is riding an ATV to visit the Cagsawa ruins located near the volcano.

The Cagsawa ruins are the remains of a 16th-century church destroyed by the eruption of the volcano back in 1814. The most recent eruption of Mayon was in February of 2018. The eruption has affected over 90,000 people and the tourism of the province. But as of today, Albay is back on its feet and so is its tourism!

Swimming Alongside Whale Sharks in Donsol

Whaleshark

Sorsogon, another province in the Bicol region, is famous for spectacular waterfalls, unspoiled beaches, and spelunking activities in beautiful caves. But what most tourists really come here for is the whale sharks that are found near the fishing village of Donsol.

These gentle giants are accustomed to people and won’t mind if you swim near them. However, it is advised not to touch the animals because it may harm them. After a memorable snorkeling experience with the whale sharks, visitors can hire a boat to cruise along the Donsol River.

Visitors can watch millions of fireflies light up the mangrove trees at the river during the nighttime.

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Chocolate Hills Bohol Philippines

The Chocolate Hills are a natural geographic formation consisting of more than 1,700 hills that dot the island of Bohol. The size of these mounds range from 90 to 100 feet (30 to 50 meters) and are covered in grass. This grass turns brown during the dry season, giving the hills a chocolate color, hence the name.

Once in Bohol, visitors can also check out the Tarsier Sanctuary. These cute nocturnal creatures are among the smallest primates in the world. The particular species of tarsier found in Bohol is endemic to the region.

Scuba Diving in Tubbataha Reef

Sea Turtle Diving

Situated in the middle of the Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reef spans almost 100,000 hectares and contains some of the richest marine biodiversity in the world. Given that the location is 14 hours away from land, only live-aboard boats can reach the reef. Dive excursions are also limited, running only from March to June when the sea conditions are safe enough for sailing.

El Nido, Palawan

El Nido Palawan Philippines

Limestone rock formations, white powder-like beaches, and clear turquoise water make El Nido worthy to be considered one of the best island destinations in the world. The “50 shades of blue” of El Nido’s water and its lush green trees make the place so picturesque that you may pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. Some travelers even call it “an out of this world paradise”.

The tour plans offered in El Nido bring tourists to the several islands scattered around the area, and it will also take you to lagoons, caves, and coves.

Since we’re talking about Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Underground River is also worth mentioning. Located just 200km away from El Nido, this underground river is one of the longest in the world. Using paddle boats, visitors can venture down the river to marvel at the rock formations inside the cave.

The destinations and activities listed here are only the most popular things awaiting visitors to the Philippines. With several thousand islands, there are many more hidden gems in the Philippines waiting to be explored.

Now make your plans and go!

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Products

Essential Toiletries and Personal Products for Any Travel Adventure

When you’re constantly on the go and interacting with people, hygiene and personal appearance should be one of your top priorities. People use a slew of personal products to be clean and presentable and feel good in their daily lives, and it shouldn’t be any different when you’re traveling.

You wouldn’t want to have that “my flight is delayed so I’m stuck at the airport” type of look, or have your breath smell like garlic bread.

Clothing and gear may reign supreme in packing lists, but small items like toiletries are also crucial for looking and feeling your best no matter where you are.

We’ve compiled some essential toiletries and personal items for travelers who want to look their best on the road.

Dr Bronner's Bar Soap

Body Wash

When it comes to body wash, we highly recommend solid bar soaps rather than the liquid ones. Because

  1. it saves more space
  2. you don’t have to worry about it spilling in your bag due to cabin pressure
  3. solid items aren’t under the same carry-on restrictions as liquids.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap is a hypoallergenic, moisturizing bath soap that can double as a facial scrub. They also have convenient 5 oz.-sized bar soaps that save all that precious luggage space. Dilute it in water and you’ll have a liquid laundry detergent.

Quite a flexible little thing, isn’t it?

Coconut Smiles Bars

Shampoo and Conditioner

As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to packing and [air] travel, solids are better than liquids. Along those lines, we’re recommending a shampoo/conditioner bar pair that’s perfect for all sorts of travel.

The Coconut Lime Shampoo & Conditioner Bar is an all-natural product made from high-quality ingredients to keep your hair healthy and smelling and looking good.

Just soak your hair in water, and then you can either lather the shampoo in your hands or massage it directly into your hair.

Lush Charcoal Toothpaste

Toothpaste

Yes, tablet toothpaste is a thing, and it’s perfect for people who want to travel with minty breath and whiter teeth! This innovative product from Lush is the answer for people who are looking for alternatives to the traditional toothpaste packaged in tubes.

To use these, just chew one tablet, swish some water around in your mouth, brush well, and rinse thoroughly afterward.

The texture feels a bit weird at first, but other than that, it’s a really great product and a perfect alternative to the traditional toothpaste.

Purity Disposable Toothbrush

Disposable Toothbrush

When opting for a disposable toothbrush, function and fashion should still go hand-in-hand.

This disposable toothbrush from Purity is made out of biodegradable materials so you don’t have to worry about throwing away rubber or plastic.

The bamboo handle has a great ergonomic design for better handling, and the charcoal bristles add antibacterial and antifungal protection each time you brush your teeth.

Neutrogena Sunscreen Stick

Sunscreen

Just hearing the word “sunburn” makes you leery to even head down to the beach. That’s why an effective sunscreen should always be on one’s packing list before traveling.

The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen is one of the best brands out there for jetsetters who enjoy hot and sunny adventures.

When using a sunscreen stick, it’s hard to tell if you missed a spot, so make sure to apply it evenly and generously to prevent sunburns that might blotch your skin.

Bee Bar Lotion

Lotion

Nobody wants dry, rough skin, especially while traveling. And for silky smooth skin, some lotion should always be within reach.

The Bee Bar Lotion from Honey House Naturals is the ideal lotion to tuck into a bag or backpack.

This non-liquid lotion is just like the ordinary lotions you have at home but with Bee Bar, you won’t have to worry about it leaking in your bag and ruining all your stuff (despite its pleasant smell).

Truman Disposable Razor

Disposable Razor

Instead of buying luxury razors that you might end up forgetting in your hotel room, opt for a disposable one. I know, most disposable products don’t have the same quality and features as the expensive ones, but not so with the Truman.

The Truman features five sharp razor blades, a heavy-duty rubber handle, and a flexible hinge for smooth shaving. You can have all that for a fraction of the price of other luxury razor brands.

Proraso Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream

After showing you the ideal razor for traveling, you’ll need a shaving cream to pair with it! Proraso Shaving Cream is a men’s classic.

This classic shaving cream is perfect for any type of skin or beard and gets the job done; the cream lathers up nicely, it has a great smell, and it will also leave you with a fresh-feeling sensation thanks to the menthol mixed in with it.

One Wipe Charlies

Wipes

Perfect for the traveling gentleman whose hygiene is a top priority, the multi-purpose One Wipe Charlies should be in every man’s bag.

With a peppermint scent and a minty sensation with each wipe, the One Wipe Charlies is worth every penny.

Chapstick

Lip Balm

When you travel to a place that has dry air, or a tropical place where you’ll get heavy exposure to the sun, chapped lips are inevitable.

That’s why keeping a tube of ChapStick in one’s pockets is a smart move for any traveler.

Pacifica Persian Rose Solid Perfume

Perfume

Another solid item on our list, the Pacifica Solid Perfume is the perfect travel buddy for female travelers. With its conveniently-sized packaging, you can simply put it in your jacket or bag/purse pocket.

But don’t let its size fool you.

The Pacifica packs a lot of fragrance into a small space, so you can use it in small amounts and still smell great.

Pantheon Toiletry Bag

Toiletry Bag

With all of the personal products we listed, it’d be a lot better to have them organized in a dedicated compact bag for your toiletries and grooming items. You can accomplish this with the Pantheon Toiletry Organizer Wash Bag.

The high-quality waterproof material that the Pantheon Toiletry Bag is made of is durable yet lightweight. It has a lot of room and pockets to neatly organize bathroom and grooming products.

Designed with the traveler in mind, it features a side handle for easy carrying (when you have it outside your bag/backpack) and a built-in hook so you can hang it anywhere.

Bringing out your best self is essential for a fantastic trip to any destination, and the right arsenal of personal products and toiletries will help you achieve that.

Making hygiene a top priority will be doing you and your fellow travelers a favor.

Nightmarket
Budget Travel

15 Tips to Avoid Getting Ripped Off on Your Travels

When a big trip is coming up and you’ll be visiting a new, exotic destination, it’s completely normal to be a bit nervous. Fear of the unknown often stops many people from getting out of their comfort zone and checking out a new place.

One of the main concerns on your mind may be, “How do I save my money and not get ripped off?”

On many occasions, locals (especially those from very popular travel destinations) see an economic opportunity with unwitting tourists and will try to take advantage of their lack of knowledge about local prices, places, and practices.

It’s common to find the same item at wildly different prices depending on where you go.

While the worst that usually happens is that you’re out only a few dollars, you can lose even more if you fall victim to a particularly nasty scam.

So, we’ve put together a few useful and universally applicable tips for those who want to keep pleasant memories from their travels and not constantly think back on the ungodly amount of money you had to part with.

For more detailed information on saving money in general, check out our other articles, such as this one covering saving on food.

1. Taxi Overcharging

Taxis have a notorious reputation virtually everywhere and are particularly risky for travelers.

There are always airport shuttles, and ridesharing services like BlaBlaCar, Grab, or Uber have entered the scene as economical alternatives, but if you still must take a taxi, DO NOT use the ones parked near the airport’s exit.

Those are the most expensive ones.

People generally pay more for convenience; walk for a bit and you’re likely to find a cheaper ride.

Classic Taxi

2. Not Agreeing on Price up Front

Some taxi/tuk-tuk/etc. drivers will try to make you get into the vehicle without telling you directly how much they are going to charge you.

THIS IS NOT OK.

Not telling you a price upfront is a strategy used to overcharge you at your destination, making you feel obligated to pay any amount.

This is a guilt-based technique that you can avoid by simply being very clear that you won’t get in the taxi unless a price has been set.

3. Confirming the Destination

When arranging transportation anywhere, communicate the address of your destination clearly and ensure that the driver understands where you want to go.

Another helpful trick is to track the route on your phone’s GPS; if the driver sees you know the distance and direction you should be going, they’ll be less likely to “accidentally” miss your destination or take a longer detour to make you pay more.

4. Complimentary or Not?

ALWAYS ASK. Is that bottled water you’re about to grab complimentary? Don’t just assume something is free or included with a reservation or package.

Even locals dressed in costumes or traditional clothing might ask you to pay up after you take a picture with them; always ask beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

5. Know the Scams

Know the most common/popular scams in the country you’re in. This will help you know specifically what to keep an eye out for.

In Europe, for example, women and children will employ a variety of common yet predictable tactics to swindle you such as dropping items in front of you, flirting, or other elaborate ruses to pickpocket you or make you pay for something.

In Southeast Asia, scams involving transportation services like buses, taxis, and motorbike rentals are common.

6. Avoid the Tourist Restaurants

Avoid restaurants filled with tourists or very popular near tourist attractions.

These will always be very expensive. (When it comes to food, 99% of the time, prices won’t be negotiable.)

You’ll get better prices at local places, and more hole-in-the-wall restaurants will be cheaper and will let you experience authentic local food for a better price.

Buffet Table

7. Keep the Tab Closed

If you’re at a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol, pay for drinks as you go.

Don’t open a tab as you can easily be charged extra, especially if you’re under the influence and not paying attention to everything you’re ordering.

8. Communicate Locally

An interesting thing that may help you get lower prices is to speak in the native language.

Remember that it’s almost always better to travel like a local and not present yourself as just another tourist.

9. Shop Around

Ask around and get a few examples of prices for the same service; having reference prices for common items at your destination is useful tool for determining whether something is a good deal or not.

If you catch someone trying to overcharge you, speak up as sometimes this will make them lower their prices.

10. Know When to Negotiate

Please, if the price of an item is fair, don’t negotiate.

Vendors, especially those in third-world countries, often work very hard to make a living. A good rule of thumb others follow is to not haggle for items priced under a dollar.

This will make you come off as cheap, and others may deny you service.

Vendor in Phuket

11. Know the Conversion Rate

Know the current local currency conversion rate.

You can’t know whether you got ripped off if you don’t know at least the approximate price you paid in your home country’s currency.

12. Cover Yourself

If you’re renting gear/equipment, take pictures of it as soon as you receive it. Check and count your change yourself before you walk away.

Get some sort of written confirmation (like a receipt) for purchases.

13. Buying Souvenirs

When buying souvenirs/specialty items, you need to have in mind what you are going to buy.

Uncertain or wondering tourists are the prey of many souvenir stores.

14. Know How to Negotiate

When negotiating, use this strategy: first, suggest to pay about 65% of the item’s price.

This suggestion is meant to be extreme and usually is going to be denied, but if you negotiate from an extreme, then it’s likely that at some point, before going back to the original price, the owner will agree on an offer somewhere in the middle that’s still a good deal.

Finally, if someone is trying to overcharge you, threatening to walk out can be a good negotiation strategy if you are willing to actually do it when things don’t go your way.

15. Trust your Instincts

There are shady individuals out there, but most of the time, you won’t be dealing with horrible people.

Many places need tourists to keep functioning and that can translate into a very aggressive economy.

Try to be understanding of (and not rude to) the locals.