Guides from our travels

Day-to-day details & all costs of our trips

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Do's, don'ts, advice, how-to's

Visas & passports – a rogue guide

December 16, 2014

Given the number of questions about visas and requests for detailed notes I have had over the last few years of my travels, I should have written this note ages ago.

My observations here stem from my own personal experience, ranging from the delightful to the tortuous, at embassies & consulates around the world.

I have been to over 200 embassies on my own during these last 7 years. Not counting visas & stamps obtained on arrival, I have been able to get around 90 visas of roughly 70 nations. At times, I will borrow from anecdotes related by others.

So here is the summary, from my experience of personally visiting around 205 embassies of 100 countries, in 70 countries:

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Make extra cash while traveling by carrying others’ packages

December 11, 2014


How would you like to make extra money while traveling? We have all heard that and there are many ways to do that. Peer-to-peer services like Uber and Airbnb allow you to make some extra cash in your town, and now a new startup called Carry takes on the courier and package shipping industry to your doorstep.

Instead of using UPS, FedEx, postal services or similar, the company looks for people who need something delivered by travelers who are going to the destination. Some of the existing listings include taking an iPhone to Mexico from Los Angeles for $350, and bring medication from London to New York for $44.

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10 gorgeous places in Iceland that should not be missed

December 4, 2014

[View of Reykjavik from top of Hallgrímskirkja church]

A lot of tourists visit Iceland for a few days or a long weekend of three days and cover the basic ‘Golden Triangle’. But driving around the country is the best way to experience this wonderfully marvelous country. And these sights make the trip worth-while. Every visitor must include these ten spots in their itinerary:

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Bangkok airport launches automated taxi kiosks

December 4, 2014

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport launched automatic queue-card kiosks aiming to improve travelers’ access to taxi services. Up until now, travelers have to approach the taxi counters for manual system where staff wrote down a passenger’s destination before handing it to a taxi driver.


The ten new kiosks, found outside Gates 4 and 7 on the first floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s terminal building, are designed to cut waiting times by managing the lines and directing passengers to numbered taxi ranks. Passengers need to press a button on a touchscreen kiosk for service. The kiosk prints a ticket, which shows a queue number, parking lot number, where the assigned taxi parks, driver’s name, and license plate.

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Tsingy de Bemaraha National park, Madagascar

December 3, 2014


Located inland about 70 km from the west coast in the northern sector of the Antsingy region of the Bemaraha Plateau, north of the Manambolo River Gorge, in Madagascar, much of the reserve integral to Tsingy de Bemaraha comprises limestone karst, delimited to the east by abrupt cliffs which rise some 300-400 m above the Hanambolo River valley and extend several tens of kilometres from north to south.

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Embrace the Holidays in NYC for Under $100

December 3, 2014

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City during the winter holiday season, you’ll discover that there are holiday festivities around every corner. From the lighting of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, there is something for everyone! Check out some of the best holiday events in NYC for under $100*.


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In pictures: Dubrovnik, Croatia

December 3, 2014


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Find cheaper, ‘hidden city’ fares and save money

December 2, 2014


The concept of “hidden city ticketing” is not new and if you do it right then you can save a lot of money on airline tickets. Basically, you book a flight past your destination, with your target destination as a stop on the route, and save more than what you’d on the direct route.

This means that users can book multi-stop flights and deplane before the flights reach their as-booked final destination. In its simplest form, a passenger purchases a ticket from city A to city B to city C but does not travel beyond city B. Sometimes a fare that travels through a hub city to another location can be cheaper than a ticket to the hub city alone.

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Get user-generated travel tips and suggestions at Tripinium

December 1, 2014


We all know that getting suggestions and tip from other users for the next travel destination is always helpful. Sometimes these tips help us beat the tourist path and takes you to off-beaten paths for surreal experiences. Most of us head to TripAdvisor as our first choice, but this new website called Tripinium gives you upfront suggestions or tips for almost 200 cities or towns worldwide.

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Of Gods and Shadow: Journey into Mexico’s Mayan History

November 30, 2014


Reaching the height of civilization between AD250 and AD900, the ancient Mayans were a sophisticated, advanced people, credited with developing their own systems of writing, art, mathematics and astronomy.

Occupying what is now the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala, their earliest settlements date back to 1800BC. As well as developing agriculture in the area, they also built pyramids, temples and palaces, and worshiped various gods related to the cycles of nature. Today, many of their constructs remain and a visit to Mexico is a real opportunity to step back in time.

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Al-Naslaa Rock Formation, Tayma, Saudi Arabia

November 29, 2014


One of the many natural occurrences that puzzle any traveler is Al-Naslaa Rock Formation, located in Tayma oasis, Saudi Arabia. Recent archaeological discoveries show that Tayma has been inhabited since the ancient times.

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Travel photos: White Sands Monument, United States

November 24, 2014

Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.


Travel Photo: Grossmünster, Zurich

November 21, 2014


AirAsia will launch a monthly flight pass for travel within ASEAN countries

November 21, 2014

asean2Low-cost carrier AirAsia plans to launch a AirAsia ASEAN Pass that will allow travelers to fly to 10 different destinations in Southeast Asia in one month for RM499 (approx $150). This does not include airport taxes.

Going on sale from January 15, 2015, this pass involves a credit based system for flights within ASEAN countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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PackMyBag helps you create & tick off packing items

November 19, 2014

PackMyBagLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

Just like other apps, there are tons of apps that help you create or manage packing list for the next travel destination. PackMyBag is yet another packing list app that lets you choose over 600 baggage items in 26 categories.

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