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Posts published in “Tips”

Two Roads, One Destination: Taking A Tried And Tested Route Versus Trying Something New

Karen Cottle

One of the things I love the most about travelling around the United States and Europe is that if you have the time, there are so many options other than flying. Backpacking, bus rides, train rides, and driving all become viable options. But most people are likely to go with what they know, sticking with familiar routes rather than trying something new. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of both.

Old, Familiar Routes:

Pros

There is a sense of safety in familiarity. If you've already happened to enjoy a Monaco trip, with a nice luxury car rental and everything...why do something new? When preparing for a trip down a familiar route, you know that should anything happen, such as a car breaking down, an essential item getting left behind, etc., you know if there are places to get your car serviced or where you can go to get the essential item replaced.

Being familiar with the route also means that you have a much clearer idea of how long it should take you to get to your destination, which allows for a clearer timetable. Knowing you’re ahead of schedule will allow for more rest stops and the like instead of always worrying how much longer it will take to get there.

Cons

Too much repetition can feel like work. Part of the joy of travelling lies in discovery. Taking the same route to your favorite weekend spot can be a little TOO reminiscent of work. This can make the journey feel less like vacation and more of routine, which is something that vacations should avoid feeling like.

Another issue with being too familiar with a route is that it can lead to overconfidence. Leaving late because you know you can make the trip in a certain amount of time, not worrying about whether you remembered to pack something or not because there are stores on the way. This can lead to disaster if it turns out your usual route isn’t passable and requires a detour or the stores don’t have stock.

Trying Out New Paths

Pros

The chance to discover something new is always great. Just imagine a Ferrari hire in Marbella, cruising through the streets and turning heads in your awesome ride. If you’re travelling around the continental United States, a lot of the road routes often have little tourist traps and eateries that aren’t widely known outside the area. This can lead you to discovering new favorites and making your trips all the more memorable!

Exploring new routes can also be helpful in the long run in the event your usual route isn’t available or becomes over congested.

When travelling abroad, routes that aren’t along the more popular tourist paths often offer better prices for their food and wares. This makes it a lot easier to try out local delicacies or local crafted items without eating too much into your budget.

Cons

Even with GPS based apps to help us get to where we’re going, the chance of getting lost or turned around still exists, especially in areas where there’s poor signal. This is especially true when travelling abroad and can even be dangerous.

Conclusions

Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of each route type, what would you consider trying? Would you focus on the routes you already know, or would you try out new routes when you can?

 

Getting Ready For A Wild Ride! Destination: South Africa

Karen Cottle

For most people, South Africa invokes images of adventure: safaris on the wide-open savannahs, interacting with animals we usually perceive as wild and frightening, good food under bright, clear skies. Knowing full well how they’re perceived, South Africa has for the most part, embraced tourism as a major source of income.



Planning Your Trip

The best way to prepare for your trip to South Africa is to check out their official tourism website. It gives you a great overview of what they have to offer. It also has a section on business events and travel partners! Given the wide range of activities and offerings South Africa has, this can help you narrow down the essential experiences for a first-timer.

What To Eat

South Africa provides a wide variety of flavors that reflect its diversity. One must try is vetkoek (literally: fat cake), a fried ball of dough that can have different fillings, from the sweet to the savory, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Biltong is a dried and spiced meat strip, similar to beef jerky. Biltong however isn’t exclusively made of beef. If you want to try something different, kudu and ostrich biltong is also available.

Shisa Nyama isn’t a dish but rather a traditional way of eating. It’s a social event that has friends sharing meals cooked over coals. It’s a good way to experience South Africa’s many flavors the way they’re served traditionally!

For those looking for something sweet, koeksisters (whose appearance and flavor is different based on where in South Africa you are) are comparable to fried donuts, and are popular around the area. Cinnamon-topped milktarts are another popular pastry you may want to try while you’re there.

The more adventurous can try a dish called smiley, a popular street food made from sheep head. Yes, the smiley comes from the wide smile-like grimacing mouth. Not something everybody would try, but for the brave, the flavor and tenderness of the meat is hard to match.

Activities

South Africa is one of the top 10 megadiverse countries in the world, boasting a wide variety of animal life. In an effort to raise awareness and support for the wildlife, ecotourism is one of the primary forms of tourism you can enjoy here. In a conscious attempt to move away from the days of big game hunting, photo safaris are available almost everywhere, whether on the veldt or along the coasts.

For the adrenaline junkies, South Africa offers a wide variety of choices as well, ranging from skydiving, hot air ballooning, whitewater rafting, and dune surfing. There are also nature trails in certain areas, bicycle tours, and theme parks you can visit during your stay.

For those who want something less adrenaline pumping, there are golf courses and city tours as well. One can enjoy the architecture and cultural centers in Johannesburg or explore some of the country’s many museums.

South Africa is a land with a lot of history and its effects echo throughout the country to this day. The wide variety of cultures, both native and foreign, is reflected in their food and architecture. The days of big game hunting and its effects on the land and people are clear in the steps being taken towards ecotourism. Be part of that history. Experience that change.

 

Pirates Ahoy! Destination: The Caribbean

Karen Cottle

When most people think of a summer cruise, the Caribbean is usually the first destination that comes to mind. Given that region has been a tourist getaway since the 1800s, it’s no wonder that they’ve become one of today’s best and busiest tourist destinations.



Planning Your Trip

With around two dozen island destinations available, planning a trip to the Caribbean can seem like a daunting task. In fact, we don’t recommend first-timers trying to plan a Caribbean trip on their own unless they have a specific island they know they already know they want to go to. What we instead recommend is booking one of the many different tour packages available first.

What To Eat

The Caribbean offers a wide range of flavors from the sweet tartness of tropical fruits, to the savory goodness of the Caribbean’s signature goat stew. The abundance of seafood should also be taken advantage of. However, be sure to check health alerts concerning seafood related issues, such as Red Tide.

For more experienced travelers looking for authentic flavor, local eateries and marketplaces are a definite must. A word of warning however, especially to those with sensitive tummies: eating too much, too fast of a new dish may shock your digestive system! Remember to take everything in moderation. Also avoid tap water when unsure of water quality.

Activities

Land, air, or sea, the Caribbean has something for everybody!

Being an island chain, many tours are done by chartered plane, offering an amazing view of the islands and the surrounding ocean. This is a good method for island hopping as the travel time is shorter and the smaller planes usually have shorter lines and are perfect for small tour groups that don’t really aim to socialize much. The main downside is that large groups will usually have to split up in different planes.

For those who would rather keep their feet on the ground, the Caribbean has quite a few golf courses, nature trails, ATV courses, and other terrestrial out door activities. Just remember to bring insect repellant! Tropical areas usually have a lot of mosquitos and other biting insects. Always best to be safe!

For those who want to take advantage of the wide-open waters of the Caribbean, there’s fun to be had both on and under the water. Island hopping cruises, jet skis, and surfing make up the surface activities, while scuba diving remains the most popular underwater activity. Just remember: while coral and starfish look great, don’t break them or bring them home! Protect the environment for future generations!

As you can see, the Caribbean has a lot more to offer than TV and movies lead you to think; a cruise isn’t the only fun to be had in this amazing chain of islands. If this is the destination you’ve decided on, remember: plan ahead so you don’t end up trying to cram too many activities and end up enjoying none of them, bring bug repellent, and vacation responsibly! When you get back, let us know how it went for you!