Two sets of couples using selfie sticks at the Acropolis during pre-pandemic times in Athens, Greece. Skift
Two sets of couples using selfie sticks at the Acropolis during pre-pandemic times in Athens, Greece. Skift
— Jason Clampet
The post Staying at The Malibu Five Beachfront Vacation Rental appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.
The Philippines, a captivating archipelago in Southeast Asia, beckons travelers with its stunning beaches, rich culture and warm hospitality. This tropical paradise is known for its pristine shores, vibrant coral reefs and lush landscapes that make it an ideal destination for both relaxation and adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key aspects of traveling to the Philippines, from budget considerations to breathtaking beach destinations, accommodation options, staying connected with international eSIMs and the best time to visit.
To embark on your Philippines adventure, it’s essential to plan your budget wisely. The cost of traveling in the Philippines can vary greatly depending on your preferences and choices. On average, a budget traveler can get by on $30-50 per day. This budget covers accommodation, local meals, local transportation and a few activities. If you spend $50 – $100 per day, you can really travel here without watching what you spend too much and possibly even use some internal flights or stay at nicer accommodations.
To save money while enjoying the best the Philippines has to offer, consider the following tips:
Keep in mind, saving money on a trip usually starts before you even leave home. You should look at ways to save money on airfare or even accommodations using credit card points or travel tricks that can lead to some big savings.
The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso (PHP). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most urban areas. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially when venturing into rural areas or onto smaller islands. It simply makes life easier as you don’t want to be stuck somewhere that doesn’t accept a credit card.
The Philippines is renowned for its beaches and island paradises, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the most popular beach destinations:
Each of these destinations offers a unique blend of natural beauty and activities. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure or a bit of both, the Philippines has an island for you.
On most islands, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations. Here are some recommendations:
Airbnb has gained popularity in the Philippines, offering travelers a different type of experience. Staying in an Airbnb property often allows you to connect with local hosts and discover a different side of each island. Here are some tips for finding and booking Airbnb properties:
Staying connected while traveling is essential for navigating, sharing experiences and staying in touch with friends and family. In the Philippines, you’ll find various options for internet connectivity, including Wi-fi in hotels and public places. However, the connections are often not reliable and it is very common for Wi-fi to stop working or to be extremely slow. For seamless and reliable internet, I recommend Holafly as the best eSIM card for the Philippines.
Holafly eSIM cards offer several advantages for travelers in the Philippines:
Easy Setup and Activation: Setting up an Holafly eSIM card is quick and hassle-free. There’s no need to swap physical SIM cards or visit a local store. You simply download the eSIM onto your phone and follow the simple activation instructions as soon as you arrive in the Philippines. Here are the easy steps:
Flexible Data Plans: Choose from a variety of flexible data plans to suit your needs, whether you require a lot of data for streaming or just basic internet access for communication. Holafly offers great data plans for the Philippines, such as:
5 days Unlimited Data = $19.00 USD
7 days Unlimited Data = $27.00 USD
10 days Unlimited Data = $34.00 USD
15 days Unlimited Data = $47.00 USD
20 days Unlimited Data = $54.00 USD
*As you can see, all Holafly eSIM data plans come with UNLIMITED DATA for the time period specified, so you don’t need to constantly watch how much data you’re using. If you’re approaching the end of your eSIM’s time period, you can easily top up using the Holafly app in order to keep your connection going without interruption.
With an Holafly eSIM card in the Philippines, you’ll enjoy reliable coverage throughout the country, from the moment you land. This eliminates the frustrations involved with trying to find a stable Wi-fi connection in the Philippines.
The Philippines experiences a tropical climate with two main seasons:
Of course, the best time to visit depends on your preferences but the Philippines is one of those destinations that can be visited and thoroughly enjoyed year round. I’ve been to the country in both the dry and wet seasons and there was barely a difference. There were occasional rain showers during the wet season but it absolutely did not affect my trip in any major way.
In summary, the Philippines is a captivating travel destination that caters to various budgets and preferences. From the pristine beaches of Boracay, Siargao and Palawan to diverse accommodation options, including hotels, resorts and Airbnb properties, there’s something for everyone. Staying connected is a breeze with a convenient Holafly eSIM card, and there are great destinations no matter what time of year you want to visit.
Make the most of your Philippines adventure by planning wisely so that you can fully enjoy the natural beauty, rich culture and warm hospitality of this incredible archipelago. Whether you’re a beach bum, an adventure seeker or a cultural explorer, the Philippines has it all.
I’ve been several times and each time, I choose a couple of different islands to visit. Every trip has been incredibly rewarding and I always look forward go going back!
The post Philippines Travel: Costs, Islands, Weather, Internet & More appeared first on Wandering Earl.
Shanghai, a metropolis that has been synonymous with rapid development and modernity, is a city that embodies the new face of China. With a rich history dating back centuries, it’s a city that marries the old with the new, creating a dynamic, thriving atmosphere that’s unlike any other place on Earth. If you’re considering a visit to this bustling hub of innovation, commerce, and culture, you’ll need to secure a China travel visa, but rest assured, the experience is well worth it.
Before we delve into the exciting facets of modern Shanghai, let’s take a step back in time to appreciate the city’s history. Shanghai’s roots date back over a thousand years, when it was a small fishing village. It later became a prominent trading port during the Ming Dynasty and played a significant role during the Opium Wars in the 19th century. Its history is marked by foreign occupation and colonial influences, which are still visible in the city’s architecture and culture.
Before you embark on your journey to Shanghai, you’ll need to secure a China travel visa. Depending on your nationality, the process and requirements may vary, so it’s essential to check with your local Chinese consulate or embassy for the most up-to-date information. Ensure you have a valid passport, complete the visa application form, provide a recent passport-sized photo, and be ready to pay the visa fee. The processing time can vary, so it’s wise to apply well in advance of your planned departure date.
Once you’ve obtained your China travel visa, you’re ready to explore this incredible city. Here are some must-see modern marvels in Shanghai:
The Bund: Start your journey with a visit to The Bund, a waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. It’s home to iconic skyline views that feature an array of architectural styles, from Gothic to Art Deco. Here, you’ll be reminded of Shanghai’s history as an international trading port.
Shanghai Tower: The Shanghai Tower, standing at 632 meters, is one of the tallest buildings in the world. Its unique spiraling design and state-of-the-art facilities make it a true engineering wonder. A trip to its observation deck will provide panoramic views of the city.
Shanghai Disney Resort: For a taste of family-friendly fun, head to the Shanghai Disney Resort. It’s not just any Disney park; it incorporates Chinese culture into its attractions, making it a unique Disney experience.
The Oriental Pearl Tower: This iconic landmark, with its distinctive, space-age design, offers incredible city views and a museum that explores the history of Shanghai’s development.
Shanghai World Financial Center: With its sky-high observation deck, the SWFC is another excellent spot for taking in breathtaking vistas of the city. It’s known for its distinctive trapezoid hole at the top.
Nanjing Road: If you’re looking for shopping and vibrant street life, visit Nanjing Road. It’s one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, offering a wide range of stores, boutiques, and restaurants.
Yuyuan Garden: To experience a slice of old Shanghai amidst the modernity, explore the Yuyuan Garden. This classical Chinese garden dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling city.
Shanghai Maglev Train: The Shanghai Maglev Train is one of the fastest commercial trains globally, reaching speeds of 431 km/h (267 mph). It’s an experience in itself, and you can hop on it at Pudong International Airport.
Shanghai is renowned for its diverse and delectable cuisine. Don’t leave without sampling some of these local dishes:
Xiaolongbao: These succulent, steamed soup dumplings are a Shanghai specialty. They burst with savory broth when you bite into them.
Shengjian Bao: If you love dumplings, try Shengjian Bao. These pan-fried pork buns are crispy on the bottom and soft on top.
Jianbing: Often considered as the Chinese crepe, Jianbing is a popular breakfast option. It’s a thin, crispy pancake filled with various ingredients like eggs, vegetables, and sauces.
Beggar’s Chicken: This traditional dish involves marinating a whole chicken, wrapping it in lotus leaves, and baking it until the flavors meld together.
Shanghai Noodles: These thick, chewy noodles are often stir-fried with a variety of ingredients, creating a hearty and flavorful dish.
Stir-Fried River Shrimp: As Shanghai is close to the coast, it offers some of the best seafood in China. Stir-fried river shrimp is a popular choice, showcasing fresh, plump shrimp.
In addition to its modern attractions, Shanghai is a hub of culture and art. Some cultural highlights include:
Shanghai Museum: This world-class museum houses a vast collection of ancient Chinese art, including ceramics, bronzes, paintings, and calligraphy.
Shanghai Opera: Enjoy a performance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre or the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. Whether it’s traditional Chinese opera or contemporary theater, you’ll be in for a treat.
Tianzifang: Explore this artistic district filled with narrow lanes, boutique shops, and galleries. It’s an excellent place to discover local art and crafts.
Propaganda Poster Art Center: Dive into China’s history and culture through a unique collection of propaganda posters from the mid-20th century.
Shanghai comes alive at night, with a vibrant nightlife scene. Visit places like:
Bar Rouge: This iconic rooftop bar offers stunning views of The Bund and a lively atmosphere.
M1NT: A popular club with a glamorous ambiance, perfect for dancing the night away.
Old Jazz Band: Enjoy traditional jazz in the heart of Shanghai. It’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts.
Acrobatics Shows: Don’t miss a mind-blowing acrobatics performance. Shanghai is renowned for its acrobatic talents.
While Shanghai is generally a safe city for travelers, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and take standard precautions. Respect local customs, and be aware of cultural differences in behavior and etiquette. Learning a few basic Chinese phrases can be immensely helpful, though English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Shanghai is a city that never sleeps, a place where the past and present intertwine harmoniously. From its stunning modern skyscrapers to its ancient gardens and flavorful cuisine, it’s a destination that offers a wide range of experiences. After securing your China travel visa, you’re poised to embark on an unforgettable journey through this dynamic and captivating metropolis. Shanghai will leave you in awe of China’s past, present, and future.
The post Enchanting City of Shanghai: Journey Through Modern China appeared first on Wandering Earl.
In a world where international travel has become more accessible and appealing, it’s essential to ensure you have all the necessary documentation to explore foreign lands, including a valid International Driving Permit (IDP). When it comes to obtaining an International Driving Permit, the International Drivers Association (IDA) stands out as the go-to solution for getting one quickly, conveniently and with numerous benefits. In this post, I’ll delve into the advantages of choosing IDA as your trusted partner for securing an IDP.
International Drivers Association, or IDA for short, has established itself as the premier provider of International Driving Permits. These UN-regulated permits, known as IDPs, are essential for foreign travelers who wish to drive in a foreign country legally. IDA’s track record and commitment to customer satisfaction make them a top choice for obtaining an IDP.
Here are some key features that set IDA apart:
4.6 Trustpilot Rating (1,500+ reviews)
The high Trustpilot rating reflects the company’s dedication to providing quality service and ensuring customer satisfaction. With over 1,500 reviews and an impressive rating, IDA is a reliable choice for your IDP needs.
Speed and Convenience
One of the standout advantages of IDA is the speed and convenience of their services. They provide digital IDPs in just 8 minutes. This swift turnaround ensures that you can obtain the necessary documentation for your international driving adventure without delays. They can also send you a physical copy to your home address or any address abroad.
24/7 Customer Support
IDA’s commitment to customer service is unwavering. With 24/7 customer support, they are always ready to assist you, regardless of your location or time zone. This ensures that you can get your questions answered and issues resolved promptly.
3-Year Money-Back Guarantee
IDA’s confidence in their services is demonstrated by their 3-year money-back guarantee. This guarantee provides peace of mind to customers, knowing that their investment in an IDP is secure and backed by a reliable company.
Free Replacements for Customers
Accidents happen, and documents can be lost or damaged. IDA offers free replacements for their customers, ensuring that you have a backup IDP if the need arises. This convenience is invaluable when you’re abroad and need a replacement quickly.
Issued in 12 Translations
IDA caters to a global audience by offering IDPs in 12 different translations, making it accessible to people from around the world. This inclusivity is a testament to their commitment to serving international travelers.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a vital travel document that allows you to drive legally in foreign countries. It is recognized and accepted in 165 countries across the globe. It is common for rental car companies overseas to require an IDP in order for you to rent a car. Also, if you’re ever stopped by traffic authorities, many countries now require you to present an IDP alongside your valid driver’s license from your home country. (Learn more with these country specific driving guides.)
This simple document is increasingly important as it acts as a translation of your native license, making it easier for local authorities to understand and validate your driving credentials. However, it is not an official identification document and cannot be used as a replacement for a driver’s license.
As long as you are 18 years of age or older, you can apply for an IDP through the International Drivers Association. No test is required and the process is quite straightforward. You simply answer a few questions on the IDA website and in just a few minutes, your application will be complete.
Once confirmed, your IDP booklet (physical copy of your International Driving Permit) will be sent to the address you provide. You’ll also receive a digital copy of your IDP in only 8 minutes. This digital copy can be used in many countries but check the local rules as some countries only accept the physical version. Finally, you’ll receive a complementary ID that has your important IDP information on it as well.
Please note: This service is excellent, especially if you’re already overseas and need to obtain an International Driving Permit quickly. If you are still in your home country, you can also obtain your IDP in person at the proper office. In the USA, for example, you can visit any AAA location and obtain your IDP in just a few minutes while you wait.
You definitely don’t want to be caught without an International Driving Permit these days. One of my friends recently traveled to Romania and had a wonderful 10 day driving itinerary all planned out, with accommodations paid for in advance. When they arrived at the car rental location, they discovered that without an IDP, they could not rent a car. As a result, they had to cancel their plans and ended up staying in one city the entire time.
More and more people are surprised by these new rules all the time. That’s why it is so important to make sure you get your IDP either before you travel or, if you’re already overseas, as soon as possible. With the help of the International Drivers Association, you’ll soon have all the documents you need to avoid any surprises when driving or renting a car during your travels.
The process is quick and easy and the peace of mind it provides is invaluable!
Taking selfies is an art! If you don’t believe me, spend a bit more time on Instagram. Figuring out how to take the perfect shot does take a lot of practice.
People often ask me how I take amazing GoPro shots as a solo traveler. I finally decided to put together a rundown of some of the tricks that I have learned along the way.
Anytime we are talking about photography; settings are the best place to start. Learning which settings are best for different situations is an essential part of becoming a good photographer. Settings are particularly crucial for selfies because they really are more challenging to take than shots of other people.
Raw Format: The most common setting for me is continuous shutter in RAW format. I love this option because it dramatically increases my odds of getting a gorgeous pic.
Using the RAW setting is a must. Although it creates a bigger file size, it gives you the best quality pics. Since no information is compressed when you shoot in RAW, it is much easier to edit.
Continuous Shutter: Continuous shutter is especially useful for selfies. It gives you a few shots to choose from, which lessens your chances of having your eyes closed in an otherwise perfect shot and other similar issues.
Pro tip: While learning how to take a good shot is essential, having the right tools to edit your pics is priceless! Even the best photographers on the planet need to edit their photos. If you haven’t already, check out my Lightroom Presets for a collection of my fave fixes.
Night Lapse Mode: This is so important in low light environments. From dimly lit rooms to shots of starry skies, night lapse mode is a must use. It will make a dramatic difference in the quality of pics that you can shoot in dark conditions.
Burst Mode: To increase your odds of capturing the perfect shot, use burst mode on your GoPro. This will shoot a quick sequence of photos that will give you a video-like line of shots. Doing this will capture every exciting moment whether you are jumping off of a waterfall or just making a silly face.
Voice Control: This is a total game changer for solo travelers. Just turn on this feature, and you can get hands-free selfies! Just say, “GoPro, take a photo,” and you will get a single shot in RAW format. For video, you’ll say, “GoPro, start video,” and you can create your own hands-free movie. What more could a solo traveler ask for?
Video Settings: When it comes to mastering the GoPro, you will also want to figure out which video settings are best for different situations.
For a slo-mo video, go for 60fps / 2.7k (or 240fps for super slo-mo). If you are planning on sharing on Instagram, YouTube, or FB Stories, opt for 24fps / 2.7k. If you are aiming for professional video production standards, use 24fps / 4k.
Incredible accessories are a must for every girl on the go! For me, it’s all about the three-way mount. This gives a camera grip, extension arm, and tripod, so it’s perfect for pretty much any situation.
I also bring my dual battery charger with me everywhere that I go. Having 2-3 batteries on hand is essential for travel, and it’s ultra-convenient to be able to charge two batteries simultaneously.
Last but not least is my best amigo, El Grande! This seriously long pole (38 inches/ 3.16 feet) is perfect for paragliding and other times when you truly must capture the entire scene.
Traveling can be a rewarding experience, but it often comes with its fair share of challenges. Rarely is travel one extended period of purely stress-free moments. That would be ideal, but it’s not reality and I can say this after having traveled non-stop for over 20 years. Some of the more common challenges that travelers face are anxiety, stress and motion sickness, all of which can put a damper on your journey. Like I said, travel is hard at times and it can take a toll on our bodies and minds.
Fortunately, I came upon a product that offers a very simple yet effective solution to alleviate these kind of travel-related woes. It’s called the Reliefband.
This product was introduced to me by two friends. They both used it to eliminate nausea associated with motion sickness whenever they are traveling by air or car during their adventures. I did some more research about Reliefband in order to find out how it works and if it could be a genuine solution. While looking for more info, I was also thinking about the small group tours that I lead as there are often travelers who experience some motion sickness on some of the journeys we take.
In the end, this product could very well be a must-have piece of travel gear for those travelers who do suffer from motion sickness, stress or anxiety.
Traveling should be exciting and fulfilling, and free from the discomforts that can often accompany it. With Reliefband, you can now bid farewell to motion sickness, nausea and anxiety, and fully embrace the wonders of exploration. This revolutionary wearable device offers a drug-free, non-invasive and highly effective solution for travelers.
(Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific medical concerns, please consult with a healthcare professional.)
The post Travel with Ease: Discover the Benefits of Reliefband appeared first on Wandering Earl.
Let me start off by thanking every one of you who left a suggestion in the comments of my last post (and in emails) about where I should travel next. I really wasn’t expecting such enthusiastic recommendations and every single comment I read put a huge smile on my face.
And as soon as those comments starting piling up I began to spend some time pondering over the suggestions, as well as thinking about my own goals for my upcoming travels and what I wish to accomplish.
In fact, I had originally planned yesterday to be the day that I would sort it all out and make a decision. The idea was that I would use the one and a half hour flight from Cancun, Mexico to Florida to concentrate on choosing my next destination. Flying through the sky at 35,000 feet just seemed like a perfect time to think about travel.
And as the plane took off at 11:31am yesterday morning, I did begin to read through the list of possible travel destinations – which includes Africa, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Colombia, Antarctica, Latvia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, India, Tajikistan, South Korea, China, Japan and many more – I had written down from all of your comments.
However, the reality is that my flight came and went and I was not able to reach a conclusion, not because there were too many options but because my session of travel contemplation did not last very long after take-off.
I believe that it was about 20 minutes into the flight, as we soared high above the western tip of Cuba, that the airplane suddenly dropped straight out of the sky. One second the clouds outside seemed to be far below the airplane and the next second they seemed to be far above.
And I, my friends, was terrified.
Okay, maybe the above was a little bit of an exaggeration.
Perhaps the airplane didn’t exactly ‘drop’ out of the sky. I guess it was more like a quick shake, a little shimmy if you will. Actually, if I remember correctly, the pilot referred to it as a ‘small pocket of turbulence’.
However, it sure felt like more than a ‘small pocket of turbulence’ to me. I braced for the worse and remember thinking that I really should have been kinder to the woman at the airline check-in counter who had confusingly tried to charge me double the normal airport departure tax. Now I was certain that my life was about to end and that was going to be my last thought.
This never used to happen when I traveled on airplanes. But, and I really, really, really, hope that I’m not alone with this, as I get older, it seems that those little moments of normal turbulence have become significantly more frightening.
It’s as if the airplane hits one small ‘bump’ in the sky and the next thing I know the sweet elderly lady next to me is asking if I would be so kind as to release my insanely tight grip on her now black and blue arm.
All it takes is one little hiccup in the air and I immediately reach under my seat (while holding back tears of course) to ensure that my inflatable life vest is in place before lowering myself halfway into the crash position. Of course, I try to pretend that I’m searching for something in my backpack that I’ve placed under the seat in front of me but I’m really just getting ready for the inevitable impact.
I’ve literally flown hundreds of times during my life and for years I loved every single minute of every one of those flights, even those moments when the plane was stuck in turbulence, both small and large pockets. Never did I find such common turbulence to be any reason for worry at all.
But these days, not only do I immediately think my life is in its last precious moments but I’m often unable to concentrate on anything else during the rest of the flight.
I can’t even concentrate enough to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 on my personal entertainment screen. The airplane shakes once and I close my eyes so tightly and my heart beats so quickly that I enter into a twenty minute ‘life flashing before my eyes’ session. And when I finally snap out of it, the damn Panda has somehow discovered inner peace and is now able to redirect cannon fire coming from Lord Shen’s armada. How did that happen? I missed it all.
Well, I suppose this is just something that I need to come to terms with. There is no denying the fact that as I get older, I find myself more and more uncomfortable while flying. Perhaps ‘uncomfortable’ is not even the best description.
‘Scared out of my flipping mind‘ is probably somewhat more accurate.
Has anyone else experienced this? Anyone? Please??
The post Air Turbulence: The Older I Get, The More It Makes Me Cry appeared first on Wandering Earl.
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