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Wednesday
Mar052014

Travelling: Food + People + Culture = A good fattening life experience!

Travelling is often a very interesting activity to do, whether it’s solo travelling, backpacking or even via tour packages. Being an avid traveler myself, my all-time favorite way of travelling is backpacking with my friends.

Why travel? I can use the money for savings, say some. But there are certain things in life that money can’t buy, one of it is EXPERIENCE. By going places, we would open up our mind to exploring new experiences ranging from cultural differences to delicious food. FOOD is something that I will not miss when I travel. I recall trying “exotic” food like Balut (duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell) which is a hot delicacy in the Philippines.

Not to mention, for all you spicy food lovers, Indonesia has a lot to offer particularly in the Java Islands where their famous “sambal” can bring tears to your eyes, but you will never stop.

Here are some tips that will be very useful if you plan to travel (backpacking):

  1. PLAN your trip. You can save $$$ by planning ahead. In the era where flying can sometimes be way cheaper than taking coach, ferry and etc, budget airlines has got a lot to offer. Lookout for cheap fares from Ryan Air, Air Asia and other budget airlines.
  2. Utilize websites which offers cheap accommodation packages like agoda.com and booking.com. If you are backpacking traveler, you will realize that most of your time is spent on the move exploring places. So places like backpacker’s lodge will give you a good value for your money and if you are lucky, you can save up to 80%!
  3. Be Prepared: Study the culture and understand how to be safe. This will help you to be alert of your surroundings and always keep an eye on your belongings. Keep the embassy’s number with you just in case you need it. Watch out for the rain if you are planning to head to Asian countries. Bringing a “poncho” with you is highly recommended.
  4. Stay healthy, stay hydrated: Some countries can be really hot during summer and throughout the year. It is important to stay hydrated and bring a bottle of mineral water with you. Also, if you have medical condition like Asthma, be sure to carry your inhaler with you.
  5. Respect: Respect the local culture wherever you go. In places like Malaysia for example, it is important that you take off your shoes before you enter the house and there are many other cultures that you may find very different from what you normally see. Avoid getting into any kind of trouble with the locals, and say thank you as a simple “thank you” from you will bring a big smile to their face.
  6. Spend less on shopping, spend more on exploring : I know a lot of us cant resists the urge to shop particularly some fancy souvenirs when we travel, but if you are on a budget travel reconsider your shopping plan. Shopping too much not only adds your bag weight, but also drills a hole in your wallet!
  7. Wifi : Gone were the days when we have to either switch on our expensive telco roaming or get a local simcard to call back home. Nowadays, you just need a smartphone, some good apps and a hotel/lodge with WIFI. Apps like Viber, Skype, and LINE does the trick!

Last but not least, BARGAIN! You will be surprised on how much you can save by bargaining. Some things are just overpriced because tourists come and go, but your bargaining skills will tell you how far you can go. This is something I have been trying to improve on as well.

I hope the tips above will be helpful and happy travelling!

Written by: Pravin Nair (GE O&G/ Newcastle, UK)

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