Hiker, survival skills

10 Survival Skills Every Traveler Should Master

Nowadays, traveling doesn’t necessarily require survival skills, since is no longer that incursion into the unknown that once motivated Conquistadors and explorers who set sails for India, only to get to America, and were guided by a compass and Lady Fortune! Now you have GPS, a bunch of apps, mobile phones, tablets and other stuff designed to make the life of a traveler easier.

So, you don’t exactly need to be Bear Grylls to travel the world and return home safe and sound. However, it wouldn’t hurt to master at least these 10 survival skills just to be covered in case the “unlikely” unexpected happens, and you actually have to light a fire with a battery or build a shelter.

So, check out our recommendations and make sure you also pack these survival skills with you when you’re getting ready for a trip (any trip!):

1. Master these four basic survival principles:

React fast in case of an emergency: if you’re in a building on fire, get out; if you’re in danger, run; if you’re shoot at, move to cover etc.

If you’re in the wild, find a weapon: if you’re at risk to be attacked by humans, animals or zombies, make sure you have a weapon to respond to the attack: a knife, gun, stick, frying pan etc.

First aid kit is a must in your luggage: following a dangerous event (that you had the luck to survive) always check yourself for injuries and make sure you know your first aid procedures.

Concentrate your actions to respond to these five basic physical needs: shelter, water, food, fire and hygiene.

Make fire, surviving skills
Samantha Cristoforetti

2. Stay positive

Well, it’s not going to be easy to be positive if you find yourself stranded in the wilderness and at risk of being attacked by various predators, but you need to, so you can make the best decisions for you. Your attitude is very important for surviving. Base all your decisions on these steps that need to guide all your actions: stop, plan, execute, assess and re-evaluate (SPEAR). This will help you avoid panic, keep your mind active and take the best decisions.

3. Know the Rule of Threes

It is very important to know than a human can survive for 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without regulated body temperature, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. So, basically you need to first make sure you have…plenty of air, then shelter to keep your body temperature constant, find a source of water and lastly concentrate of finding food.

4. Build your shelter

After air, shelter is the most important thing you need to survive in any extreme situation, so you should know how to use nature’s gifts to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Basically, you need protection from exposure to the elements, such as avoiding hypothermia and minimize heat and water loss. Try and find a location away from hazards, focus on insulation from rain, wind, air, and ground, and make sure you’re near a heat source. If you can find a cave, you’ve just hit jackpot, if not a debris hut is undoubtedly you’re best chance to survive:

 

5. Find and filter water

Finding water is vital for your survival, so it would be great if you were to find a spring or head-water stream, so you can have access to drinking water without having to filter it. Of course, you can also collect the water from rain or snow, which are great sources of water that don’t require to be purified. If not, you should learn how to filter your water because it may be contaminated with chemicals and metals. For example, grapefruit seed extract works perfectly as a water purifier, but since it seems unlikely to have it on you, all you can do is boil your water. You should bring water to a boil and then leave it to boil for another 2 or 3 minutes to be sure all bacteria and viruses are dead. And this brings us to the next skill:

 

6. Make fire

This is the perfect time to literally start a fire, and you will be happy to find out that there are several ways to do that. It would be phenomenal if you were to have on you a lighter or matches, flint and steel. These would make things a lot easier for you. If not, you will probably have to travel back in time to the primitive era and make your fire by friction. Fire by friction can be obtain through various methods such as hand drill, bow drill, fire saw or fire plow. You can even use rays of sun or a battery – it involves short-circuiting the battery by connecting the negative and positive terminals with a foil (a gum wrapper will do), wire or steel wool. Once you create a spark, drive it onto your tinder bundle and you’re all set.

 

 

7. Find food

Although food is not as important on your priorities list and you can survive without it for about 3 weeks, you probably don’t want to test this. Most natural environments are as rich as supermarkets when it comes to things that can be eaten, although they might not be as delicious and beautifully wrapped as the ones on the shelves. From seeds and fruits to insects and small wild game, you will probably find something to eat in any natural environment. The most “acceptable” dietary choice for many of us would be fish, so if you’re near a river, lake or ocean, your diet will probably abound in Omega 3 and 6. Frogs and lizards are also an option. If you’re a vegan, things will get a little more complicated and you would have to make tough choices to survive. You can eat cattail, lambsquarter, dandelions, parts of conifers and grasses. Try and stay away from mushrooms if you’re not 100% sure they are safe for you.

Lambsquarter, survival skills
Oregon State University

8. Make tools and weapons

You will probably need tools and weapons to hunt, cook and, of course, for self-defense. From a simple club or an axe to bow and arrow, the options are various, especially if you have imagination and you’ve watched your share of action movies. Also, it will prove to be very helpful to know how to make knots that will be used for tying snares, securing your shelter or even for lowering yourself on cliffs. There are different types of knots, so it wouldn’t hurt to know how to make at least a few of them. If you want to learn just one, stick to the bowline.

 

9. Have a first aid kit

It will be very hard to find in nature what you need to treat injuries, so always have a first aid kit in your backpack. Also, learn how to use it, otherwise it will prove to be quite useless. It wouldn’t hurt to also have on you a book on survival medicine. It’s important to know how to clean and keep a wound closed, as well as how to immobilize broken bones. Also, you need to know how to identify and treat hypothermia, heat exhaustion and shock. The more you know about first aid, the more chances for survival you got.

10. Learn SOS signaling

Before going into wilderness it’s very important to let someone know where you’re going and when you’re planning to return. This way, if you get lost, they will know the area where to search for you. If your car broke down or worse, your plane crashed, and you made it out alive, then you should wait for rescue. But, to make things easier for everybody, you need to know how to signal that you’re there and need help. The key is to be noticed and for this you need to use colors, shapes, movements that stand out in the area. You can use logs, make a rescue signal panel on your jacket, use a ham radio, if you’re lucky enough to have it on you, a signal mirror, or, of course, a signal fire.

These are our 10 top skills we would use in case of extreme situations that require our survival instincts. Have you ever had to find your way out from such a situation? Do you have other survival tips for our readers? Feel free to share them!

Featured image: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

Travel Photos

Make Money with Your Travel Photos

No journey is complete without travel photos! Every traveler’s dream is to travel for free, or at least to afford their trips and not have to call relatives for a loan! Most of us, who live for traveling, are neither rich nor heirs to any throne, so we have to work to afford our journeys.

Having a travel blog can very well be an income source, but it’s quite hard to have an audience in the first months, or even year, of your online presence, so you have to think to alternatives. We discussed before about several ways you can make money while traveling, but we would like to focus for one moment on travel photography and its benefits.

Yes, taking photos of the places you visit is a must, and it’s a must you love so dearly, but did you know that they can also help you boost your income? You won’t be able to pay for a suite at the Ritz just from your photo sales, but they will definitely cover your travel costs for a week or so.

Camera, travel photos
Sophie

So, check out the intelligent ways you can make money with your travel photos:

Sell your travel photos on stock photography websites

There are so many stock photography websites available that you won’t have any problem in finding a few to accept your travel photos and make them available to the world. You just have to make sure your travel photos are of good quality, and that you ask for permission of your subjects, if what you’re selling are portraits. Don’t expect to hit the jackpot from the very beginning. Give it time and be persistent! Here are some examples of stock photography websites: istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com, snapvillage.com and fotolia.com.

Sell your travel photos on Etsy and eBay

You can sell anything on Etsy and eBay, as long as it’s original, attractive and your own property. On Etsy you will find a lot of clients in love with travel photography so, as long as your work is beautiful and of good quality, you will definitely be a hit with your photographical masterpieces. On eBay, on the other hand, you can get creative and sell your photos as stock photography, as well as canvas. The auctions here will definitely help you set a price for your travel photos.

Canva Travel Photos
Pierre Omidyar

Create photo products on various websites

The most famous websites in the field are zazzle.com and cafepress.com, the perfect platforms to create a wide range of products based on your travel photos, such as calendars, canvas, mugs, key chains, postcards etc. You just need to make sure you provide unique photos that make an impression and stand out in the sea of photo products available there.

Create photo books

The best website to create photo books is undoubtedly blurb.cm, a smart platform that will help you tell travel stories in images. You will be surprised to see how many photography aficionados are willing to pay for travel books! So, don’t waste any time and start writing your travel photography book. All you need is inspiration, a good camera and your passion!

Restaurant, Travel Photos
Joe Ross

Make from commercial spaces your own art gallery

Whether you put your photos in a frame or on canvas, your travel photos will be a great addition to commercial spaces, and this will work for you too, since these are areas that enjoy high traffic. You can choose from restaurants, boutiques and coffee shops. Business owners love to support local artists, especially since your travel photos will be an inspired element of décor to their walls. If you decide to share the earnings resulted from selling your travel photos with the owners, they will certainly welcome you with open arms and this will contribute to a long term relationship with them. Make your entire town your own art gallery.

Check out the newest photography websites

And by this we mean Scoopshot, Clashot, Foap and Snapwire. While Scoopshot allows you to sell photos for your own price and sends out daily photo contests, Clashot helps you sell your smartphone photos through Depositphotos. Foap, on the other side, guarantees a fixed price of $5 per photo and gives you access to photography missions that can bring you various rewards, and Snapwire suggests contest that fit your shooting style. Check them all out!

Rock your Instagram account

Instagram travel photos
Jens karlsson

Your Instagram success depends on the number of your followers, so make sure you draw their attention to your original, unique travel photos! Many followers will come to you, but just to be sure you will make an impact on the Instagram community, also join networks such as IZEA, BlogHer Influencer Network and The Mobile Media Lab.

These are our ideas that will help you make money from selling your travel photos! Do you have any other ideas that might help travelers all over the world make a living out of this?

Featured image: Nathan O’Nions

money saving travel tips

11 Best Money Saving Travel Tips

Being a traveler is not a cheap dream to follow, so finding money saving travel tips to make it happen is kind of a necessity! Travelers are bombarded with information about gas price rising, the power of their local currency dropping and plane tickets that are absolutely merciless, especially if you want to change continents. But, they don’t need to panic! Every problem has one or more solutions!

Check out these money saving travel tips and make good use of them. They will help you see the world on a budget:

1. There are good days and bad days to buy plane tickets

Being spontaneous is a really cool thing to be, but not when it comes to plane tickets. There may be some last minute deals for plane tickets, when airlines can’t fill up their planes, but it’s wiser to not count on this and book your tickets about 2 months ahead of the date of flying, or better yet exactly 53 days before. Also, it would be great if you would buy your tickets on a Tuesday and leave on a Wednesday. It’s recommended to avoid booking plane tickets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Don’t hesitate to follow airlines on social media, so you can take advantage of their offers, and do subscribe to their newsletters.

Lufthansa plane
Aero Icarus

2. Don’t avoid connecting flights

Not many of us are happy with changing planes to get to our destination, but sometimes this is the cheapest way you can get from point A to point B. If money is more important than time, opt for the connecting flights. Look at the good side of this: you get two airplane meals! Delicious!

3. Prefer return tickets

From our experience, most of the times it’s cheaper to book return plane tickets than one way tickets. We don’t know exactly why, but it’s a fact. If you want to get to your destination, but don’t actual need a return ticket, you can just decide to no show up when the nice lady is going to call for you. It seems weird, but it works!

4. Who wakes up early, gets the best rental car for the lowest price

The trick here is simple. If you want to rent a car, go and pick up your car early in the morning. Why? Most customers don’t return their rented cars early, so the rental car company will probably be out of low-priced cars. This means they will have to give the pricier car available for the same price. That’s really a neat trick!

car rental money saving travel tips
jurek d

5. Do you need a car for a few hours? Choose car share!

If you only need to rent a car for a few hours, it’s more advantageous to opt for car share. For example, Zipcars is a platform that allows people to rent cars for only a few hours, from prices that start from $9/hour. For now the platform is available only in the U.S., and it comes with a one-time application fee of $25 and an annual fee of $50.

6. Drop your rented car where you picked it

It’s a known fact that dropping a rented car in a different location than the pickup location might cost even twice than the price of a standard rental, so it’s best to break the rental periods depending on your destinations. Instead of booking a car for a week from one place, and then dropping it in a different city or country, choose two rentals, one in each city or country. This might save you hundreds of dollars.

7. Always choose the low season to travel

This is one of those tips that can be repeated over and over again without annoying anyone because it’s so damn true! Everything is cheaper when you decide to visit Thailand and Dubai during their summer, or Paris and New York in spring. You will get to save a lot of money on plane tickets, hotels and restaurants, and enjoy shorter lines at museums and other tourist attractions.

Pathio, Chumphon Thailand, travel tips
nate2b

8. How about staying in the house of a nice, local family than at a chain hotel?

We think it’s a good deal for many reasons. One, you get to save money, because staying in a private room is cheaper than a hotel room. The virtual world has been invaded by websites that promote private room or home rentals, with AirBnB being the undisputed leader in the field. Take advantage of the internet! Moreover, staying with a local family, will give you the opportunity to learn much more about the place you’re visiting than from museums and tours.

9. Public transportation rules

If you visit big cities, it’s best to forget about car rental and head straight to the metro or bus station. All big cities have public transportation networks, and you can be sure that traveling by bus, metro or tram is going to be a lot cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking.

10. Every city comes with free museums

Sure, world famous museums will probably have an admission price, but each city has plenty of museums that you can visit for free. Also, many cities, Paris and New York included, offer free entrances once a month, whether we’re talking about the first Sunday of the month or the first Tuesday. There are also Museum Days once a year, when all museums are free to visit. So, you just need to do your research.

Cruise, travel tips
Corey Balazowich

11. Ready for your dream cruise? Book it early or late!

When it comes to booking cruises it’s best to either book them one year in advance or a few weeks before departure. This is when you’ll get the best prices! At an early point, the supply is high comparing with the demand, while later the company will try and fill up all their cabins. As you can see, you’re going to get the best deals!

We know the list with money saving travel tips is long, and we’re eager to know all about them. Please feel free to share them with the world, so everyone can be a traveler!

Featured image: 401(K) 2012

Copenhagen Cherry Blossom

Top 9 Cherry Blossom Festivals in the World

Spring always comes with an abundance of colors, fragrances and life. It’s a magical period for nature, and we can see this just by strolling the parks. However, we know for sure that spring is in the city, once we get to admire the beautiful and delicate pink and white blooms known all over the world as cherry blossom or sakura (cherry tree).

The entire world is celebrating sakura, when cherries invade the streets with their serene colors and mesmerizing fragrance. From Japan to Washington D.C., cities all over the world organize festivals to praise the beauty of cherry blossom and celebrate spring.

The cherry blossom festivals around the world are based on the Chinese custom of viewing blossoming plum trees, which has been celebrated since 700s. The celebrations were accompanied by music, sake and haiku writing.

It’s important to know that the cherry tree blooming cycle lasts for only one to two weeks, from the first buds opening to full bloom. However, its beauty lasts for a little longer. Since Mother Nature establishes the actual cherry blossom festival dates, you might not found out the exact dates until one week before the actual start of the festivals. However, you can take a look at the previous years and make an idea about the approximate time to plan your holiday.

1. Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Festival, Himeji, Japan

Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom
Andrea Hale

As expected, Japan is the number one destination when it comes to cherry blossom. The amazing Himeji Castle, perched on a hill and looking like a heron, is the background of no less than 1,000 cherry trees. The festival dedicated to sakura lasts three days, and includes drum and harp performances, local food, casual picnics under the blossoms, and a ceremonial tea service. The castle complex includes over 80 buildings and dates back to early 1300s. Although the festival lasts for three days, the blooming period is spread over two weeks. Himeji is situated 60 miles northwest of Osaka, and you can get there via Sanyo rail line.
Don’t miss: the cherry blossoms at night
When to go: early April

2. Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival, Kitakami, Japan

Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom
Dao-hui Chen

If you decide to attend this festival, you’ll have the magnificent chance to view no less than 10,000 cherry trees. The trees are lined along a 1.4 mile pathway, located on the shore of the Kitakami River. The whole experience also includes romantic river cruises, waterside strolls and impressive lantern viewing once the sun sets.
Don’t miss: the nighttime lantern viewing and horse-carriage rides through a tunnel of cherry trees
When to go: mid April-early May

3. Matsumae Koen Park Cherry Blossom Festival, Matsumae Town, Japan

Matsumae Koen Cherry Blossom
alljapantours

Let’s stay a little longer in Japan and visit the Matsumae Koen Park too, to admire its 10,000 cherry trees. This beautiful seaside town has as core the Matsumae Castle, a structure dating back to the 17th century, which impresses visitors with delicate, curved eaves. The surprise is that you will find more than 250 varieties of cherry trees, including the “weeping sakura” that looks like a willow, but has the flowers of a cherry tree. The festival includes local seafood, parades and even a karaoke contest.
Don’t miss: the local specialties, such as miso soup made with iwanori seaweed.
When to go: late April – mid May

4. National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C., USA

National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C.
Josh

Washington D.C. is as famous for its cherry blossom festival as the cities in Japan, visitors being able to admire no less than 3,000 sakura, received by the American people 99 years ago as a gift from the mayor of Tokyo. The festival lasts for 16 days and invites visitors to attend fun events, such as the Blossom Kite Festival and a grandiose parade that takes place on the Constitution Avenue.
Don’t miss: paddleboat rides in the Tidal Basin and nighttime lantern walks
When to go: late March – early April

5. Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, Jinhae, South Korea

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
Sam Ng

This is the largest cherry blossom festival in South Korea, a celebration dedicated to the naval hero Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who held back the attack of Japan about 400 years ago. In spring, the city of Jinhae is invaded by the white blooms of no less than 220,000 cherry trees. The best spots to capture the magical sakura are Animin Road that houses a 3.5-mile tunnel of cherry trees, and Jehwangsan Park, where the ethereal blooms contrast enchantingly with the sea and the pine-studded mountains.
Don’t miss: the snowfall of petals on the Yeojwacheon Bridge
When to go: late March – early April

6. International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon, USA

International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon
Macon Georgia

We bet you didn’t expect this, but this Georgia city is proud to present no less than 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees, so it’s definitely a must see destinations for those who’re searching for sakura. The locals like to call this festival “the pinkest party on Earth”. Guests are invited to attend a marvelous street party as well as a beauty pageant, a fireworks show and to see the beautiful “balloon glow” – a nighttime show that includes illuminated hot air-balloons.
Don’t miss: the Bed Race that takes place on Cherry Street – a race for bed frames and mattress on wheels.
When to go: early March

7. Sakura Days Japan Fair, Vancouver, Canada

 Sakura Days Japan Fair, Vancouver, Canada
Caelie Frampton

Canada also received the cherry trees that bloom every spring as gift, this time from the Mayors of Kobe and Yokohama. Vancouver houses no less than 500 cherry trees planted in Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Kitsilano Beach Park, and on West 22nd Avenue. They hold one of the youngest cherry blossom festivals, starting to celebrate the sakura in 2005. The celebration includes a Cheery Jam, which is a downtown lunchtime concert.
Don’t miss: the Haiku Invitational, an event dedicated to poetry, which takes the shape of odes to the sakura
When to go: late March – early April

8. Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, San Francisco, USA

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, San Francisco
Kelly Martin

All the cherry action in San Francisco takes place in Japantown, one of the only three remaining Japanese enclaves in the country. Cherry trees are easy to spot along the pedestrian mall, while the festival takes place for two weeks. The festival includes performances on the koto (a Japanese musical instrument), and visitors will also have the opportunity to attend classical and folk dance performances.
Don’t miss: the parade that takes place on April 17th, starting with 1 p.m.
When to go: April 9-10 and 16-17

9. Copenhagen Sakura Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Sakura Festival, Copenhagen
Alex Berger

Let’s change continents again and head to Copenhagen to discover 200 beautiful cherry trees in Langelinie Park. The cherry trees were received from the Danish Honorary Consul of Hiroshima, to honor the bicentennial of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and this is how, in 2005, a new tradition started. The festival takes place in the park, and includes tea ceremonies, but also martial arts and Japanese crafts demonstrations.
Don’t miss: the flea market situated near the main stage
When to go: early May

Do you know any other wonderful festivals dedicated to sakura? Please feel free to send us photos of cherry trees on our Facebook page.

Featured image: Alex Berger

Enjoying the Setting Sun, Chicama

10 Useful Answers to Your Travel Insurance Questions

The world of travel insurances is a complicated world. Not many of us know exactly what our insurances cover and this is exactly what the insurance companies want. This way, they won’t have to pay when bad things happen, because everything you need to know is in fine print and it often works to your disadvantage.

It’s wise to buy travel insurance whenever you’re planning a trip abroad, but do you actually know what it covers? Or you just buy it because you have to and don’t waste your time with reading it? Every clause in there makes a difference, and every fine print contains the exceptions that will allow the insurance company not to cover certain costs. That’s why you should always read your insurance before paying for it, and ask questions if you don’t understand some articles or you just need more details.

Here are a few general travel insurance questions that we might be able to help you with, so check out our 10 useful answers:

1. Why exactly should I buy travel insurance?

Because it covers unexpected events occurred without your intention. Travel insurance usually covers sudden accidents and death, trip cancelation, lost luggage and so on. From the most serious tragedies – the lost of someone dear while you’re in a different country, to losing your passport, insurance covers all kind of events that happen unplanned. However, it’s useful to know that travel insurance is not the same thing with the health insurance you have in your country of residence. They are two different things and, in our opinion, you need them both.

Vintage travelers
Konstantin Lazorkin

2. Does travel insurance allows me to go to a doctor for any medical reason?

Not exactly! Each travel insurance policy has different conditions when it comes to medical coverage; however the common denominator is that your medical visit should be based on an emergency or accident. So, you won’t be able to do your annual medical checkup and check your cholesterol level on your travel insurance. Basically, this insurance works when you break your leg or get food poisoning, but a new tooth crown is not covered – although, some insurances also cover dental emergencies.

3. Will my travel insurance cover the expenses caused by a pre-existent medical condition?

Most likely not! Travel insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Moreover, insurance policies specify that the provider won’t cover pre-existing conditions, so there’s no way they are going to pay for your ulcer medication or any other chronic diseases. If you get sick while being covered by travel insurance, you still won’t get a penny from them because they will still be considering it a pre-existent condition. So you can depend on your travel insurance only when it comes to accidents.

4. Does travel insurance cover adrenaline junkies?

The answer is probably obvious: no! Most travel insurances specify clearly that they don’t cover any accidents or illnesses caused by scuba diving, skiing, mountain climbing, sky diving or any other extreme sports or risky activities. Some insurances don’t cover even pregnancy or child birth, probably because they are also considered extreme sports. However, you can find special insurances that deal with these situations.

Extreme sports
M Afif

5. How does travel insurance work?

The actual process of getting your money back from the travel insurance company, after you’ve paid yourself for the costs occurred by the emergency (covered by the travel insurance), is a bit complicated, time-consuming and involves tons of papers. However, in the end, if you follow the procedure by the letter, you will probably get your money back. The key rule here is to immediately contact the insurance company once the covered event has occurred, no matter if we’re talking about hospitalization, lost luggage or emergency repatriation. After that, make sure you keep all the documents resulted from this event – every receipt and bill you’ve ever paid, police reports and other similar documents. No one will take your word for it, so be prepared!

6. Does travel insurance cover stupid things that happened when you were drunk?

Probably not! Travel insurance companies have made their thing from not covering expenses resulted from their clients being foolish, and this includes the whole “I was drunk and didn’t know better” situation! Even if this situation has lead to breaking your leg, for example, an accident usually covered by a self-respecting insurance company! Once they know that you broke your leg because of partying too much, they may very well deny your claim. Well, nobody says that you will have to drink water for the entire trip, but don’t get involved in risky situations while drinking or doing drugs.

7. What destinations are included in the travel insurance?

This depends on the travel insurance you choose to buy. You need to carefully check the list with the countries that the travel insurance provides coverage for, because every insurer states clearly certain destinations are not covered. Some insurance companies won’t provide coverage for destinations such as Turkey and Egypt, while other providers might say that their insurance is available worldwide, but their worldwide doesn’t include USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

Exotic beach, travel insurance
Henrik Winther Andersen

8. Is my credit card insurance enough as travel insurance?

Not really. Of course, it depends on the credit card company, but usually insurances attached to your credit card have coverage limits low so, in case an unexpected event happens and you need your travel insurance to cover it, you will find out that the difference you need to pay is quite significant. Also, while some credit card insurances cover lost or stolen item, trip cancellation and medical expenses, they probably won’t offer any protection when it comes to being airlifted home, for examples. That’s why is best to carefully read you insurance. And one more thing! Travel insurances attached to credit cards only work if you book your trip with them.

9. Where should I buy my travel insurance?

Although many travel agents recommend certain insurance companies, we recommend buying your travel insurance online. This way, you can talk your time with the research, reading the fine print of every insurance policy, and checking out the prices. You may encounter insurance suggestions on booking engines, but since these work on commission, it’s best to look somewhere else in order to save some money. Online has always been easier and it gives you plenty of time to make your decision!

10. When I should by my travel insurance?

From experience, we recommend buying your travel insurance as early as possible, if not during the same day you’re booking your trip. And that’s because many things can happen before you actually take the trip, such as the death of a relative or a sudden illness that will force you to cancel your trip. If you have travel insurance when this happens, you can at least reimburse the costs of your trip. This means that solid travel insurance always covers trip cancellation too. However, it’s useful to know that many insurance companies won’t allow you to buy travel insurance earlier than 30 days before the first day of your trip.

Have our answers helped you with choosing your travel insurance? Do you have any other questions or even answers you want to talk to us about? Feel free to contact us!

Featured image: Geraint Rowland

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Hotel Kakslauttanen igloos

10 Unique Valentine’s Day Trip Ideas

So, Valentine’s Day is coming! Hearts are pumping blood like crazy; brains are suffering trying to find the perfect gifts. Madness takes over the month of love, and you probably need help deciding where to book the most romantic holiday of the year.

However, not all of you go for the chocolates, rose petals and Valentine’s cards. I have to admit that it sounds a bit (more!) like a cliché! Your love is one of a kind, and your Valentine’s Day celebration should be the same. Let’s break the barriers, keep the chocolates for gloomy days, smell the roses and leave them with their petals intact, and do something different this Valentine’s Day. Let’s:

Go to Krabi for an outdoor adventure

Krabi, Valentine's Day Trip
Mike Behnken

Krabi is a province in Thailand famous for its beaches. However, we’re not sending you to a beach bungalow to enjoy romantic sunsets while yawning with passion. We’re sending you to climb the region’s frowned and steep cliffs, zipline through its forests, canoe on its rivers, and do some trekking in the jungle. If you dare to climb up the karst in Krabi, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of Railay beach. We also recommend going on an adventure on the forest trails that lead to Tiger Cave Temple. After days like these, you’ll probably want to lie down on the beach and watch the stars. We understand you! It’s cool!

Go to Hawaii to watch the stars

Mauna Kea, Big Island, Hawaii
Jade Shandro

It may sound like a cliché and you can do this in your own town, but in Hawaii the stars are more beautiful and closer to you. Hawaii is famous for its clear skies and has the largest telescope in the world, so you will definitely get to see the man on the Moon from here. You just need to get to Mauna Kea, where the telescope is situated, and enjoy a free star-gazing experience. The Visitor Information Station can be found at Mauna Kea’s foot (2,800m). The program starts at 6:00 pm and lasts until 10 pm. It is held every night, so it’s not a Valentine’s Day special thing, which means it won’t be as crowded as expected.

Go to Grasse to smell the flowers

Grasse, view from Cathedral
Dennis Jarvis

I know what you may think, but you’re wrong! Grasse is truly a special place to spend Valentine’s Day because is the fragrance capital of the world. It is also situated in Provence, so double the romance and passion. Grasse is a hilltop Provencal village, where you can find famous French perfume workshops, such as Fragonard and Galimard. It’s a place where everything revolves around lavender, roses and jasmine, and in February, the town is invaded by yellow mimosa. If you visit the fragrance workshops, you’ll discover everything you want to know about how French make their perfumes, and have the chance to buy a variety of beauty products and even design your signature perfume.

Go to Finland to see the northern lights

Hotel Kakslauttanen
Hotel Kakslauttanen

Book one of the heated igloos at Hotel Kakslauttanen in Saariselkä, and sleep under the glowing northern lights, which you can admire from the comfort of your bed. How? Your igloo has a glass ceiling, so you will enjoy the magical night “show” that takes place at minus many degrees, while being under a blanket, in a heated room. During your stay, you will get the chance to book a reindeer, fishing or snowmobile safari, eat delicious specialties at the four restaurants in the resort, and relax in the largest smoke sauna in the world.

Go to Buenos Aires to learn how to tango

Tango Lessons, Buenos Aires
Andre Deak

It always takes two to tango, and what better place to learn this dance than its birth city, Buenos Aires, on Valentine’s Day. Argentina’s capital is famous for its dimly lit clubs, where you travel back in time to the 1930s, while dancing on tango rhythms. Now, don’t expect to learn how to tango in just one day. It takes years to master this passionate dance, and at least 10 classes to learn the basics. If you don’t have that much time to spend in Buenos Aires, at least buy a pair of fancy tango shoes and tickets for one of the many glamorous tango shows in the city, such as the cabaret-style Rojo Tango, or the Broadway-style Tango Porteño.

Go to Portland for a beer

Deschutes Beer, Portland
Karen Neoh

Forget about champagne and red wine! Beer is the trend in Portland for Valentine’s Day. The city has been a craft-brew capital for many years now, and houses the highest concentration of breweries on the planet. So, if you love beer, this is the place to visit! You can visit a brewery, see how this magic potion comes to life, and then do some tasting sessions. We recommend Brewvana or Brewbus, really fun booze bus rides, but if you prefer to walk, you will have no problem finding breweries and pubs by foot.

Go to Venice to…see Venice

Venice Carnival
Nemodus photos

Venice needs absolutely no presentation and no reason to visit it. You just have to go there! It’s a fabulous city, like no other in the world, and the number one romantic destination on the planet. Of course, if you choose to visit Venice in February, around Valentine’s Day, you’ll get the chance to attend the phenomenal Venice Carnival that brings decadence, opulence and extravagance into town. From elegant period costumes to gondola processions, everything is under the sign of luxury and romance. Find more about the Gran Ballo delle Maschere (Grand Masked Ball), and travel back in time when love ruled Venice.

Go to Kerala to cruise the backwaters

Kollam - Kerala Backwaters
Thangaraj Kumaravel

Kerala is a coastal state in south India, blessed with almost 600 km of Arabian Sea coast and beaches. It also houses a fabulous network of backwaters, as well as the hills of the Western Ghats covered in spices and tea. Choose to spend your Valentine’s Day cruising the Kerala backwaters, a web of canals and lagoons while admiring breathtaking landscapes. The climate here is mild and balmy, the rides are gentle, and the Ayurvedic massages – absolutely divine. Kerala is also home to wild elephants and beautiful exotic birds, and has an amazing cuisine.

Go to…places where famous TV shows and movies were shot

The house in Torr Head, Northern Ireland
Giuseppe Milo

So, you’re addicted to Netflix? There’s no shame in that! Celebrate Valentine’s Day by visiting the places where your favorite TV shows were shot. You can go to Northern Ireland to see the amazing sceneries from Game of Thrones, to Washington, DC, to feel the Machiavellian energy captured in House of Cards, or in New Mexico to follow the routes of characters from Breaking Bad. Now, if you really loved Lord of the Rings, book your plane tickets for New Zealand and discover the Tongariro National Park.

Go to Carcassonne to feel like royalty

Carcassonne
Dennis Jarvis

Carcassonne is the place to visit if you love medieval castles, and stories related to knights and maidens, tight corsets, heavy armor and…bubonic plague. A fairytale city situated in the south of France, Carcassonne is dominated by medieval turrets, cobblestone streets, and luxurious hotels, such as Hotel du Chateau, located right at the entrance of the old town. Perched on a hilltop and surrounded by fortified walls and old turrets, this city is the perfect illustration of a medieval setting.

What do you think about our quirky Valentine’s Day celebrations? What would be the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration for you?

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