Traveler in New Horizons - Planning a Trip to a Place You Know Nothing About

Planning a Trip to a Place You Know Nothing About

No one wants to go somewhere without knowing some necessary information about the place itself. Doing research is one of the primary things a traveler must do before taking the first step. From the current exchange rate down to the basic courtesy and other essential items to remember while visiting a new territory, learning how to plan a trip to a place you know nothing about is a good thing!

If you’re a new traveler, then it’s safe to say that you know less about the places that you plan to visit. And when you’re blind about something, it is difficult to plan things ahead of time. But thankfully it isn’t impossible. Here are some pointers that you can follow when preparing for a trip to a place that’s new to you:

1. Do Some Research and Acquire Some Guidebooks

In the modern age in which we live in, almost everything can already be searched and learned from the Internet. That’s exactly the first place you would need to go to before starting to plan for your trip. Open Google Search then type in the name of the country or the specific city that you want to visit and read through the sites that provide information about the place.

And if you need a more reliable source of information, the best one you can get are guidebooks. While most of these have some quite outdated information, you will still get some useful information on how to get around in some areas of interest, what attractions are available and the activities that you can do in them. Other guidebooks also provide more advanced information like suggested itineraries and even maps.

Guidebooks are a good foundation for your planning, and it’s better than reading through blogs since it allows you to highlight certain places. Additionally, it also provides quick access to a precious resource of information even without WiFi.

2. Read Through Some Blogs and Travel Websites

Websites like Wikipedia can give some facts and other crucial information that a traveler should know about before visiting a place. But if you need more, your next stop should be travel blogs and websites. These resources can fill in the gaps that are left after you’ve done your homework with guidebooks and other sites that basic information. Most travel blogs provide up-to-date details and even real-life experiences which can help in your planning.

Some even give an overview of new spots to discover and more exciting activities to do while staying you are in the place. Reading through the comments section on every blog content that is relevant to the place that you want to visit also helps since it gives answers to questions that other readers who are planning to visit the same site have asked. Doing these things will provide you with even more sense of your planned destination.

3. Ask Others Who Have Personally Experienced the Place

Third, you need to move deeper into your research and start asking friends or other people you know who have already visited the place. There’s nothing that can beat first-hand information, so if you need more advice and tips or even suggestions on restaurants and hotels, these are your most reliable resources! You may also find someone who has family members residing or having a vacation in the place itself which is a big bonus! Just imagine having people who can show you around after landing on the spot. People you can stay with or even help you get settled on your first few days in the place!

4. Look Into Social Media and Blog Communities

The beauty of reading through blogs is that most of them (especially the popular ones) already have a significant number of followers and readers. This group of people is also a precious resource of information since there could be some of them who have already gone to the place that you’re planning to visit. The social media pages of these travel blogs is also an excellent place to go to as you do your research.

5. Buy a Book That Tells Its History

Lastly, it will also be helpful if you buy a book that tells much about the history of the place. During the planning stage, you can skim through the book itself taking only the useful information that you need and read it in more detail while you’re on travel or during a long flight. It is impossible to know a place without knowing its history so be sure to invest in a piece which you can spend your spare time reading throughout your trip going to the site itself!

Researching is the Key!

Planning for a trip to a place that you know nothing about can sound intimidating, but with proper research, you can shake all the fears and hesitations away easily. Take time to do all the five (5) steps we’ve shown above, and you’re sure to be on the way to a new and exciting adventure that’s going to produce memories all set to last a lifetime!

scuba header - Why Scuba Diving is a Good Activity to Add to Your Travels

Why Scuba Diving is a Good Activity to Add to Your Travels

It always feels fulfilling when you’re able to tick-off one dream destination from your bucket list. All the thrill, fun and excitement finally gets sealed in photos, captured in videos and logged into a diary that’s ready to last a lifetime. But even if you’ve been on the land of all the 195 countries in the world, you’ve only conquered at least 29% of the planet.

But where is the 71% that’s missing? Well, by now, you should already have a wild guess! Yes! The big chunk that’s missing lies underneath the vast blue oceans and bodies of water that’s found all over the world. So it is safe to say that if you’ve only enjoyed the sceneries, travel spots, and tourist destinations on dry land or the surface of the great rivers and lakes, you are missing much of what this beautiful planet has to offer.

Explore the Remaining 71% with Scuba Diving

Humans are built to explore the dry land. There is not a single part of the human body that can help us thrive underwater. But thankfully, with the help of modern equipment, we can now explore what’s lying below the surface of the great bodies of water that covers most of the planet, and that is through scuba diving.

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Unlike snorkeling, scuba diving allows you to explore the majestic beauty of marine life in different diving spots up close. Remember those high definition National Geographic undersea documentary films that you used to watch from your hotel room? Scuba diving gives you the same feeling of awe and amazement, but this time, it’s for real! You can swim with colorful fishes and see a whole new world that’s entirely different and unique from what you’ve already seen on land!

So if you’ve been doing snorkeling in your previous travels, it is time to consider scuba diving and start on a new set of bucket list exploring a whole new world full of exotic marine life and exhilarating underwater sceneries. But before you can do that, you need a PADI Open Water Certification.

What is PADI?

Scuba Diving is like driving; you first need a license or in scuba diving, a certification before you can be allowed to dive. And you can obtain such merit from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors popularly known as PADI. They’re the world leading diver training organization with 135,000 member professionals and over 6,500 dive training sites located around the world. They are also actively promoting marine wildlife and environmental awareness through actual dive training experiences and education.

Diving Lessons: What to Look For and Where to Find One

Once you have fixed your mind that you want to do scuba diving, you can start searching for diving lessons at your nearest PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) locations and dive shops. And you also have the option to combine your new interest in diving with your passion for traveling. It means that you can train in any PADI dive shop or location around the world and not just stick to the lessons near your home.

Doing this will also open an opportunity for you to save on the actual cost of training since diving courses are cheaper in other locations. For instance, it is expensive in the US but less costly in South East Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and in less developed countries like Mexico or Honduras.

Finding a Perfect Diving Experience

PADI is not just an organization that provides certification for aspiring divers; they also offer rich travel resource through their new travel platform PADI Travel which is global in scope. It is the perfect place to find ideal diving spots depending on your preferences and level of skills. With over 300 diving locations spread all over the world, PADI’s platform can offer information and planning for adventurers and divers seeking to achieve their travel goals.

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Through PADI Travel, you can find spots that allow you to stay on land and dive on a schedule during one of your trips or you can also do liveaboard. Liveaboard is for those who want to stay aboard a boat and experience the best of what diving locations can offer. You will be on the water most of the time training with the knowledgeable crew on topics about ocean conservation, local marine life and environmental conservation efforts in the area.

PADI Travel offers a large selection of dive destinations with a liveaboard option available online, and it’s one of the largest in the market. Finding and booking your first diving destination is a breeze no matter where you are in the world! And with PADI Travel’s ‘search wizard’ feature, you’ll be able to quickly choose the perfect place by selecting the kind of animals that you want to see and the month when you want to travel.

Do I Need to Be an Excellent Swimmer to be Allowed to Dive?

Diving does not require one to be an expert swimmer. But it’s a requirement for one to be able to swim and be in good physical condition. You need to be fit enough to take on the physical challenges of swimming underwater. PADI’s ‘Discover Scuba Diving Program’ is an excellent first step into the world of diving. It offers training by an instructor under relatively open shallow open water. You need to be comfortable to stay underwater, and you must have necessary swimming skills to qualify for this.

In case you want to move to a more advanced level of diving course, you can complete the PADI ‘Open Water Diver Course,’ but for this, you will need to be able to do 10 minutes of swimming or floating on the surface and as well as swim at least 300 meters with fins, snorkel/mask or 200 meters with any stroke.

How About Scuba Diving Gear?

Scuba requires some specialized gear, and it is one of the sport/recreation out there that needs a lot of equipment. But starting with the lessons only requires three things- a mask, snorkel, and fins. Most of the advanced gears that you’ll need like dive computers, BCD or Buoyancy Compensator Devices, and dive computers are available for rent in your nearest dive shop. But as you start to love diving and go through even more advanced courses, investing on your scuba diving gear would be a wise move.

Advanced PADI Scuba Diving Certifications

It is easy to fall in love with scuba diving, and if you think you finally are in love with the sport, you may want to take more advanced Diver Certification Courses. It takes time but all the time you would be spending will all be worth it! The PADI Open Water Diver Course takes four (4) days at most and requires one to practice diving skills both in a pool at first then on open water. Learning the basic manual knowledge of equipment uses, adjustments, and settings is also needed for more advanced courses.

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Most courses are flexible when it comes to learning options and progress is measured based on performance. For instance, if you need more time on a course, your instructor will first ask you to assess if you’re comfortable with it before moving forward. Some courses can even be started at home if that’s what you prefer.

Your dive instructor will be with you to guide and walk you through every step and on all four (4) dive sessions needed for you to graduate. But for your safety, it is recommended that you read and study all the materials provided, and you will even be asked to complete and pass an exam.

Acquiring advanced PADI Scuba Diving certifications would allow you to explore greater depths and go into places like the cenotes in Mexico. And if being a PADI instructor is your target, taking these diving courses is the way to achieve it! Scuba diving may sound complicated, but it isn’t. You only need to invest time taking the courses required and spend money on it as well. Once you get certified, you’ll then be ready to explore a whole new world and finally be able to start off with a new bucket list that’s different from the previous ones you’ve already fulfilled!





Blog6 - Banish Your Packing Blues! Five Handy Tips to Pack Like a Pro!

Banish Your Packing Blues! Five Handy Tips to Pack Like a Pro!

While going travelling is a truly exciting event, the only part of it that can bring the blues is packing. With baggage limitations, just how many can you bring? Today, pick up a few tips and pack like a pro!

lug2 - Banish Your Packing Blues! Five Handy Tips to Pack Like a Pro!

Roll. Don’t Fold!

You’ve probably heard this one but it’s a tried and true tip that all of us still use today. We all mostly blame movies for giving the idea that clothes need to be neatly packed away. One of our writers had a rude awakening on a trip to Cambodia. He tried to do the fold packing technique and ended up with only 2 changes of clothes for an 8 day trip! We don’t know about you guys but that’s a complete nightmare for us!

So instead of folding your things, roll them up. You can even roll certain items of clothing together (like shirts and your underwear). It’s a great way to plan an outfit and save up on space as well!

Got wheels? Put heaviest items near the wheels

One of the best things to have ever been invented is the concept of the stroller luggage. However, if you’ve ever packed your things all willy-nilly before, you’d have noticed that some may have slipped on downwards toward the wheels. Chances are that these are the heavier parts of your luggage.

So in order to avoid any unwanted movement in your luggage, pack all the heaviest things like shoes near the bottom of the luggage (near the wheels when the luggage is up). That way you can spare yourself from any unnecessary jostling in your luggage.

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Invest in a good luggage weighing scale

This is a true lifesaver when you’re planning on buying a lot of things abroad. Or even if you’re just trying to make sure your luggage passes the allowable weight. There are a lot of small scale digital ones available in the market today. It may seem like an unnecessary expense but it will save you from having to dump any of your precious clothing in the airport just to meet the luggage limit.

Make cable ties your friend

A cable tie is an inexpensive way to keep your things together. This is particularly handy when it comes to your electronic cables. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to dig through your luggage to find your charging or laptop cables.

 Keeping them in a bunch via zip ties and putting them in a container (like an old sunglasses case) is a great way to secure them.

 Zip Lock bags were invented for a reason

One of our writers, an active international flight attendant, makes use of zip lock bags for two things. She uses one bag for her toiletries and another one for the gadgets. Zip lock backs are waterproof and airtight so nothing goes in and out without by your leave.

Packing needn’t be a nightmare any longer. By using the tips aforementioned above, you save yourself time, money, and a lot of space. This is space that you can dedicate toward other things like the things you buy from your trip!

Blog3 - Never Splurge Again! Financial Travel Hacks to Help You Save Money

Never Splurge Again! Financial Travel Hacks to Help You Save Money

Do you always end up paying more for flights and hotels quite often? Read on as we discuss some very wise financial travel tips to keep you from paying more than you should ever again. We’re not restricting this discussion to simply flights and hotel bookings. We’re going to be discussing other things that will help you save massive dough before and during your travel.

Make going incognito a norm

As much as we hate to break it to you, it is a fact of life that websites do take note of where you’ve been. This means that if the airline website you’re on detects the cookies from previous visits or other airline websites, the prices will go up.

Going on the incognito browser (Ctrl+Shift+N on Chrome) will ensure that no cookies are being saved. This means that you’ll always get the best deals and really low prices.

Notify your bank prior to travel

A common mistake that a lot of people make is that they do not notify their banks about their travel plans. Then, when they try to use their credit cards or try to withdraw, they suddenly find themselves blocked off. This is because your card carries your country code and will send alarm bells to the ATM or payment processor. This is actually truly helpful in protecting you from fraud.

When you notify your bank prior to your travel, be sure to state the specific duration of your stay. So if you suddenly get any sudden charges past your travel date, your bank will know right away that there is something fishy going on.

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Never leave your toiletry buying at the last minute

The usual habit of the non-savvy traveler is simply buying some essentials like toothpaste and the like in the airport convenience store. You may have noticed this if you’re a frequent flyer, but if you aren’t one, you should know that airport prices are stupidly excessive. What will normally cost you $2 at the grocery will end up costing you $10.

Do yourself and your wallet a big fat favor and do all your necessary buying beforehand.

Double check to see that your mobile data is OFF

One of our writers had a grandmother that had racked up $400 in mobile data expenses for an overseas trip. This is a very sad truth; most travelers do not realize that mobile date is something that they can switch off. A good thing to remember is that WiFi is pretty much everywhere so there’s no real need to be connected using your own personal mobile data.

Be sure to check if your mobile data is on and immediately switch it off. The charges for overseas usage are completely staggering and it would be wise not to be caught unaware.

Final Thoughts

Leave your comfort zone in your own home. Travelling should be all about trying something new. Be aware of any cultural norms like the preferred dress code. If the country you’re visiting highly values modesty, it is important to dress appropriately. Not only do you get to plan your look but you also safeguard yourself.