Guides from our travels

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

Tips for Mastering a Family Road Trip

January 14, 2016


Family road trips are always a nice way to get together and spend some quality time. However, the ultimate question “Are we there yet?” and screaming and arguing are inevitable if you do not know how to keep your kids occupied. Be prepared for everything they may need for a long drive.

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Try ‘trip in vain’ rule if your missed flight makes your trip useless

December 11, 2015


You’re flying to a destination for a purpose such as family gathering or a business meeting, and even though you made to the airport on time, the flight was delayed because of reasons in-hand of the airline and you will not be able to attend that event. This is when you must call out “Trip in vain”.

There is no official policy outlined by any authority, but most airlines will honor this if you ask. Airlines have their own policies to compensate you, but seeing from examples like…

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This tool will list destinations you can travel to with your FF award points

December 10, 2015


After earning a bunch of miles in your frequent flyer account, you would want to know where in the world will those miles take you. A site that compares flight prices in terms of your travel rewards points, AwardAce, has come up with a new tool called “Discover” that suggests destinations based on the points or miles you have in your frequent flyer program.

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Tips for backpacking West Africa

November 30, 2015


The famous violinist, Eugene Fodor, once said that “you do not have to be rich to travel well” and backpacking is the truest reflection of those words. Combine backpacking with Africa, and you will get an incredible journey that will not require a lot of money, but will make you richer with experiences. The main excitement about traveling to Africa is the fact that no matter how much we know of this continent, there is still so much to explore and discover.

Here are some tips on how to make that experience even better:

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Tourist Visa application form & details for Swaziland

November 16, 2015


If you are visiting the Kingdom of Swaziland, which borders Mozambique and South Africa, and if you are required to apply for a tourist visa, then there are limited resources online that give you information on how to apply, where to apply, visa fees, and application forms.

After going through the government website or their tourist website, we could not find specific and concrete details on how to apply for a tourist visa and other details.

So after calling the Embassy of Swaziland in Washington D.C. multiple times with no response, we were finally able to get hold of someone and upon request, they sent the visa application form with all the requirements.

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Now access Google Maps in offline mode

November 11, 2015


Getting lost in a city or town is fun, but if you find yourself using online maps to get your way around, then Google Maps is the best app out there. Starting today, Google has made its most used app awesomer by adding an offline mode.

Still rolling out to all the users (Android first, with iOS coming soon), the updated version of the Maps app that gives you almost full access to the maps without an internet connection.

Up until now there was a way to access Google Maps in offline mode, but that just meant pre-loading or caching the map before you get started on your route. Now it lets you search for addresses, pull up information on businesses (including reviews, contact info and hours of operation) and even get turn-by-turn driving directions.

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Hostel Review: Pousada Magia Verde, Paraty, Brazil

November 10, 2015


Breakfast included: Yes
Wifi: Free, good network everywhere

Address: Rua 5 final, Bairro Portal de Paraty, Paraty 23970, Brazil
Phone: +55-24-9986-40661

This is the biggest drawback of this inn. Located at the end of the town, the only way to reach the center is either drive (for 10 minutes) or walk (for 30 minutes). The inn doesn’t have any grocery stores or any other facility areas nearby and the roads can get dark and lonely in the night.

Most rooms are much like cottages on their own. I got a double bed room with TV, air conditioning, and private bathroom. The beds have mosquito nets in them, and each room comes with a hammock outside the door.

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Hotel review: Sombra Palace Hotel, Manaus, Brazil

November 10, 2015


Breakfast included: No
Wifi: Free, included in price, good network across the hotel

Address: Av. 07 de Setembro 1325, Centro, 69000 Manaus, Brazil
Phone: +57-92-3234-8777

Located in the center of Manaus, just walking distance from the Teatro Amazonas, you can walk up to the local markets, center of the city and other hostels from this hotel.

After arriving at the hotel, I was given room 304, which is a one double bed room with air-conditioning, fridge and a private bathroom. The AC in the room was located in a corner and after turning it on for 2 hours, there was barely any cooling in the room. Although this room faced the main road and had huge windows, considering the hot and humid weather of Manaus, one would need air conditioning! At the cost of R$106 (approx $27) a night, this was a huge room for one person.

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Million Mile Question? American vs. Delta

November 2, 2015


Eleven years of flying and I feel like I have seen it all. Monday morning frenzy, Super-efficient TSA (Really?? When?), Hello Kitty bags, overhead bins filled with small luggage items while passengers have to valet their luggage, shrinking seat pitches, super (un)friendly flight attendants, unreasonable airline policies, chicken in my specially ordered vegetarian meal, chronic delays, being the first to NOT get upgraded, that gorgeous view of heavenly skies from 35K feet above and last but not the least and my most favorite; view of loveliest Los Angeles every time I connect through LAX. I would say the last two are the reasons I would do this over and over and over.

My membership to the ever growing community of Road Warriors began in Jun 2005 in Dallas, TX. Of course, I instantly enrolled into AAdvantage and slowly achieved my Million Miler Status over the 10 years of my travel.

Like every relationship we had our challenges. What started as a playful twice a week romantic rendezvous; quickly turned into an experience filled with frequent travel delays, missed connections and less than exhilarating in-flight travel experience. But the last 18 months have been the worst.

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The world’s best airport, yet again, is…

October 21, 2015


Skytrax has released the annual World Airport Awards report, and based on 13.02 million customer nominations from around the world, and 550 airports that were included in the survey ranking satisfaction in 39 different areas (including security wait times, TV and entertainment facilities, baggage delivery times, and how easy it to get through the terminals), Singapore’s Changi airport tops the list yet again.

With Changi airport (SIN) coming in the first on the overall list, Paris’s Charles de Gaulle (CDG) was the “most improved” airport, the Tokyo Haneda (HND) had the best security processing, and Taiwan’s Taoyuan airport (TPE) had the friendliest staff.

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Wiffinity offers connectivity on public places without knowing password

October 20, 2015

wiffinityLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

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

Wiffinity is a brand new app that lists the WiFi credentials of public networks in the areas you’re visiting. Still not one hundred percent accurate, the app will default to mainland Europe as your “near me” settings displayed on the map.

Zoom in to see all the WiFi hotspots around, select the one you would like to connect to, copy the password (which is not displayed in the app) from the app and paste it in to your WiFi settings screen.

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Travel Tip: Privatize & secure your internet connection while traveling

October 15, 2015


Most of us connect to public WiFi networks while traveling, and you may not know that your browsing information is collected by companies world wide. Also, using a public WiFi is not safe in terms of security and privacy. Connecting to a public WiFi network you find in a café, hotel or restaurant has its risks. If you don’t want anyone snooping on and watching your online activity or even reading your conversation, we strongly advise you to connect to your VPN before using the WiFi.

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‘Packet of Power’ is your friend in case of cancelled flight

September 23, 2015


Many of us have been through the experience of a flight getting cancelled, and that could mean anything between getting re-booked on a different flight or being stuck at the airport. Having a “packet of power” before each trip will help you to know your rights as a passenger and prepare you for things-to-do.

Just three pieces of information are required:

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The Pearls of French Polynesia

August 24, 2015


As one of the most imposing archipelagos situated within tropic environment of South Pacific, French Polynesia hosts numerous picturesque islands, atolls and motus (reef islets), including the most popular and, undoubtedly, the most impressive Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea. From radiant and dreamy Bora Bora and black sandy coasts of Tahiti to pristine turquoise beaches of Huahine and Moorea, there’s an impressive kingdom of tropic colors, perfectly shaped coasts and captivating lagoons, and this is a slice of magical world which those Polynesian pearls offer:

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Popular Natural Wonders of Australia

August 20, 2015


There rarely is a place on Earth that can boast about with lushness of nature it is blessed and sites to see like Australia is. Narrowing a list to only a couple of them is a hard and rather unfair task to all those spots that will not find its place on it this time. However, this one is about popular natural wonders of Australia, places that are most frequently visited, with instructions on how to get there and what to do while visiting.

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