The Highlights to See and Experience in South Africa

South Africa is a country with a lot to offer visitors. From its natural expanses to its modern cities. If you do decide to take a trip to the country, you certainly won’t be short of things to do. But which of them are actually worth your time and energy? You’ll find out about South Africa’s main highlights for tourists by reading on. Each of these ideas will provide you with an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

 

Go On an African Safari in Kruger National Park

 

It would be a shame to take a trip all the way to Africa without experiencing the natural wonders the continent has to offer. One of the very best safari experiences you’ll find in South Africa is at Kruger National Park. It’s a location that’s brimming with life, and you will be guided by conservation experts. It’s incredible to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat, safe in the knowledge that they’re being protected.

 

See the Cradle of Humankind

 

You’ll find a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa, but if you have to choose just one to visit, it should be the Cradle of Humankind. It’s found 50km north of Johannesburg, and it’s made up of caves made from limestone. It’s where fossil skeletons of an extinct form of hominin were found, hence the name. It’s thought the species lived roughly 300,000 years ago. If you’re interested in the history of the planet, you can’t miss this site.

 

Head to the Top of Table Mountain

 

Table Mountain is one of the most famous mountains on the continent, and hiking it is one of the best things to do in Cape Town. Because of its location, you won’t have to travel far into the wilderness to see it. If you want to do a little more than just look at it, you could hike to the top. The hike isn’t too gruelling, so it can be taken on by amateurs. However, there is also a cable car that goes to the top if you simply want the stunning views.

 

 

Try Cage-Diving in Mossel Bay

 

If you’re looking for a thrill and the chance to see even more of South Africa’s natural side, head to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape Province. There, you’ll have a chance to see sharks up close and personal, while staying protected in a diving cage. It’s certainly an experience you won’t forget if you’ve never done it before, and it is perfectly safe.

 

Find Out More About the Country’s History

 

South Africa has a fascinating history, and there are museums around the country that allow you to find out more about that history. In Cape Town, you can take a tour of Robben Island, which is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Monuments are found at Blood River too. That’s where the Dutch colonists fought the Zulus many decades ago.

 

Make the most of these ideas, and most importantly of all, make sure you enjoy your trip to South Africa. You’ll probably leave wanting to come back again soon.

The Secret Scenery Of The United States

Us travelers have a habit of getting carried away when planning trips. We want to see all the things and experience all the places. Money, practicality, and possibility go fresh out the window most of the time.

But, now and then, you may get that wanderlust tingle and realize that your finances won’t stretch to another big trip. It’s always a harsh blow to take and can lead to feelings of claustrophobia and despair. But, fear not. Limited funds don’t mean you can’t go anywhere. They just mean that you might have to stick a little closer to home.

 

It may not be the round the world trip you crave, but staycations are underrated. They’re quick, cheap, and can still lead you to some breathtaking experiences you never knew were waiting for you.

Here in the USA, we’re incredibly lucky to have some stunning scenery. In fact, many of the sites here could rival anything you’d see abroad. For proof, we’re going to look at three states with sights which are sure to take your breath away.

Arizona

Naturally, Arizona had to come first on this list. If you’ve never visited before, you’re missing out. Most notably, this state is home to the world-famous Grand Canyon. If you’re after life-changing views, it doesn’t get much better. Every American should pay a trip here at some point in their lives. The layered bands of red rock are a history lesson in themselves. And, education aside, they look pretty damn amazing.

 

And, the sights don’t stop there. You could keep your education going with a visit to the meteor crater in the Arizona desert. Or, you could head to Oak Creek Canyon, little cousin of its grander counterpart. The stunning scenery here is sure to transport you to other worlds.

Oregon

 

 

Another state worth a mention is Oregon. Known for its diverse landscapes, this is an area sure to have mass appeal. Mount Hood, a potentially active volcano, makes for a stunning day out. The same can be said for a trip to Crater Lake National Park, the namesake of which, Crater Lake, came from the collapse of former volcano, Mount Mazama. If you want to get a panoramic view of Oregon’s diversity, you could book into somewhere like University Inn & Suites Eugene, and take a hike up Spencer Butte. With an elevation of 2,055 feet, the views are guaranteed to take your breath away.

Wyoming

 


And of course, we couldn’t forget Wyoming. The most notable stunning scenery here is Yellowstone National Park. This nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness hosts hundreds of animals. There’s also remarkable scenery for miles around. Yellowstone is even home to Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest natural hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world. And, that’s not all Wyoming has to offer. Here, you can also find stunning natural monuments like Devil’s Tower in The Bear Lodge Mountains. If breathtaking scenery is the aim of your travels, this is the place to be.

Underrated Holiday Destinations

 

When we think about going on holiday, we will often start to think about the most popular destinations for holidaymakers: Spain, Greece, Australia… however, there are a whole host of stunning and exciting destinations which many of us never even think about. That’s why today we are going to talk through some of the most underrated holiday destinations in the world. By the time this last is over, you’ll be buying yourself a ticket out of here.

Bolivia

Bolivia is a country which is nestled between a few more popular holiday destinations. It is the neighbour to Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru… but not many tourists make their way to Bolivia on holiday. If you love to be by the beach, then this landlocked country isn’t for you. But if you love nature and stunning landscapes… then this may be the perfect destination. The country features bright red lakes, huge volcanoes and some stunning historical sites. It is a cultural hotspot and has plenty to offer visitors to its hoteles.

Havana, Cuba

Cuba is a beautiful country which looks as if it should be the set of a romantic novel. With the unique characters, colourful houses and vintage cars… you may be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped back in time by 40 years. The city is full to the brim of happy faces, culture and plenty of museums and art galleries to visit. If you are a creative person then you may fall in love with this place and never want to leave.

The Philippines

The Philippines is a place that we’ve all heard of, but for some reason not many of us think to visit. The area is made up of over 7000 islands; and visiting this place will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a tropical paradise, tucked away from the real world. It has world class beaches to relax on, stunning natural landscapes to view and you can even swim with Whale Sharks if you are brave enough.

 

Nara, Japan

Japan is a rich nation filled with one of the most technologically advanced cities on earth, as well as some of the most beautiful Buddhist temples nestled away in nature. Nara is full to the brim of botanical gardens, shrines and Buddhist Temples to enjoy, and it also houses a host of restaurants and bars for tourists.

Albania

If you love the temperatures of Greece but want to try out a different landscape, then Albania is the perfect place to visit. Sitting directly above Greece; it is a nation with stunning landscapes and a very lively nightlife. The country is full of historical landmarks and stunning beaches for a relaxing vacation.

Montenegro

Montenegro is perhaps one of the most underrated holiday destinations of all. It is situated neighbouring Croatia, and is the home of some of the most stunning seaside landscapes in Europe. Kotor is one of the seaside cities which contains a medieval city- which you can access via a narrow passage, and will be the perfect place for anyone who loves history to visit. The villages which reside by the seaside are buzzing with activity and life, and from the villages you can look down across sapphire blue waters.

From Traveller To Expat: Should You Move Abroad?

 

Should you be on that plane?

 

If you are a seasoned traveller, you will have spent time in many amazing towns and countries. Taking in new cultures, sights, people, and lifestyles, you may have experienced a common thought. Should I stay? We aren’t talking about an extended vacation, but rather, setting up roots and actually living for a much longer period in the country of your choosing. After all, we all need to settle down sometime right? We don’t need to return to our birth country if we find a particular place that really takes our fancy.

Maybe the thought has never crossed your mind. Or perhaps you read our recent article, http://www.imsoaringsolo.com/traveler-to-digital-nomad-how-does-it-work/ and decided the life of a digital nomad is better for you. Or maybe you aren’t a traveller at all, but you are content to dream on the coattails of those who have taken up the mantle to explore and travel to faraway places, and you can see it all from the comfort of your living room as you peruse sites such as this one. However, if you have ever considered planting a home in a foreign clime, we have some advice in this article that you may find useful.


What makes people want to live abroad?

If any of the following are true for you, living abroad may be the leap you should be taking.

– You’re single with no ties, and you have few commitments at home. There is nothing stopping you from getting on a plane; bags packed, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

– You are aware of time passing, and you don’t want to grow old living a life that holds no interest for you. The idea of living abroad is rife with exciting possibilities, and you don’t want to be in the same place (literally and metaphorically) in another ten years.

– You are somebody who craves adventure. If getting on the bus every morning to go to work is the only slice of action you are getting – Will the bus be on time? Who will I sit next to this time? Oh, the suspense! – you are going to want something more.

– You want to find yourself. Possibly put in a box by other people, you know you have so much more to offer than what other people expect of you. Not only do you want to prove to others that you have what it takes, but you want to prove something to yourself. Stepping out of your comfort zone and living abroad will kick in your survival instinct, and you will discover things about yourself that you never thought possible.


– You have more curiosity than a cat. You’ve read the brochures, you have seen the tv shows, you may have even been to a particular place on holiday. But to actually live there? You want to know what it would be like full-time, seeing the world through somebody else’s perspective.

– There are career possibilities that will benefit you when living abroad. Take a look at the various options on this site, http://www.webworktravel.com/jobs-to-work-anywhere/, careers that are easily transferable to any location. Then consider specific jobs, such as teaching English to children, travel writing, or working as a tour guide. You will need to make some money when living abroad, so thankfully there are plenty of choices awaiting you.



Practical considerations

 

Don’t forget your passport! 



If we have struck a nerve so far, you may be tempted to book a flight now. But wait! Don’t pack your bags just yet. If moving abroad is a serious possibility for you, there are some things you need to be aware of. These are just some of them.

– You will need the correct paperwork, including a visa, work permits, and of course, your passport. This will vary depending on which country you are leaving from, so check with your local government.

– Living costs vary from country to country, so while you may be financially able to move overseas, don’t be caught out by the exchange rates. Head over to this excellent website, https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living, which gives you some idea of how much it costs to live in the country you are considering. You may suddenly become wealthier than you are now, but then again you may not, so it pays to check!

– Health care varies depending on what country you are moving to, and you should find out what your rights are as an expat living abroad. When living in an EU country, for example, you will need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card, which will give you reduced or free medical care. Check with the country you are visiting, and make sure you register for medical services on arrival. It could be lifesaving!

– You will need to find somewhere to live, so it’s worth trawling through international real estate websites to find something suitable. Travellers to Indonesia, for example, should head over to https://rumahdijual.com/bogor/perumahan-murah-bogor-tanpa-dp, though you may need a translation tool to help you. Remember property taxes and legal fees when factoring in what property to buy, and research specific areas to make sure you aren’t moving into a crime zone. Hint: some properties are cheap for a reason!

– You won’t get very far in your chosen country if you aren’t able to speak the language. This may not be an issue in English speaking countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, but if you are heading somewhere with a specific local language, you will need to learn the lingo. You may be able to take an evening class at a venue near you, though there are also online courses and audio CD’s available that do the job just as well. Not only will learning the language make it easier to socialise with others but when dealing with foreign estate agents and solicitors as you arrange your move, you need to understand the instruction they are giving to you.


Pros and Cons

 

Think carefully!  



You may be raving to go, and the practical necessities may be no problem to you. However, you still need to weigh up the pros and cons. While moving on a whim isn’t possible (darn Visa wait times), you still need to consider the viability of such a move for you and your current circumstances.

Some of the pros include:

– The overall experience. As we mentioned earlier, there is a whole new part of the world to explore – the culture, the people, the food, the sights – there is so much on offer, as you may know from travelling, so living somewhere full time is going to give you a greater scope to discover new and incredible things.

– There is much to learn from living in another country, and you may pick up life lessons that will stay with you forever. Languages aside, read the following article, https://www.adventureinyou.com/travel-inspiration for other ways in which your mind will be broadened by the experience.

– You will earn money in a foreign currency. As noted earlier, this will have advantages and disadvantages depending on the exchange rate, but you may be able to build up a tidy nest egg if you live in a place where the cost of living is lower than where you live now.

Some of the cons include:

– As a stranger in a new land, you will feel lonely and disconnected from people for a while. You will miss friends and family, and there will be some home comforts that you don’t get from living in another country. As with any move, you will settle in eventually, but it takes times, and living in a foreign country will be harder because of the language and cultural differences.

– As alluded to above, culture shock is an issue. Yes, you will meet new people, eat new food, and live a whole new way of life. This could be a fantastic experience, but then again, it could be awful! As an outsider, people may not take to you lightly. You will need to become accustomed to new laws and social norms. One night you may be in the mood for your favourite takeaway, only to discover you can’t get the food you love from the local restaurant. There are pitfalls ahead, and you need to be ready for them.

– There may be issues of safety. As you may stick out like a sore thumb in a new country, people may try and take advantage of you. Of course, common sense needs to prevail wherever you are, but you may need to take extra steps to ensure your safety. There is great advice at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-be/21-tips-to-staying-safe-abroad, so take note of the tips given.



And so…

There is much to think about, but we hope our advice helped. If you are keen to move abroad and don’t have too many commitments holding you back, then go for it! Living in a new country could be a life-changing experience, and it may just be what you need now or in the future. However, think through your options carefully. You can still see the world without setting up roots on a temporary or permanent basis, and you may prefer the luxury of coming home to your usual comforts on a regular basis. Good luck in whatever you decide.

The Ultimate Travelling Hazards (& How To Avoid Them)

You know what they say about travelling? Oh, you don’t? Okay, well then, let me fill you in!

 

Travelling is an amazing way to experience new cultures and broaden a person’s horizons. No matter how many documentaries you watch online, it is possible to get the full scope of a country or a civilisation without visiting. Oh, and there is the social aspect. Meeting new people is always nice, especially if it’s a smoking hot guy with rock hard abs and a great sense of humour! Partying all night and day isn’t bad either, as long as you can handle your liquor.

 

On the face of it, travelling is a haven of opportunities. Sadly, visiting new countries and having experiences don’t always go to plan. For every feel-good tale, there is a horror story which is twice as bad. As the saying goes, excrement happens and you have to learn how to roll with the punches.

 

So, to help, this post will list the worst hazards and how to tackle them head-on.

 

 

Cancelled Flights

 

The flights are booked and you are uber-excited about boarding a plane and starting your journey. Then, out of the blue, the airline calls and says the flights are cancelled. Even worse, you may get there and the company will have no record of your booking. Oh no – what a start! The key is not to panic and meltdown in front of an airport full of people. Not only does it not help, but it is very uncouth. Should the airline cancel the flights, there isn’t much you can do but contact your insurance company. Hopefully, they will cover the costs of the flights and any accommodation. Also, make sure the company provides details about additional travel. When they have no record, just show them a confirmation email and give a reference number. At least they know you are legitimate and need accommodating as soon as possible.

 

 

Lost Passport

 

Uh oh! “What am I going to do? How am I going to get home?!” A lost passport seems like the end of the world but it isn’t as bad as it appears. Firstly, some companies and countries let passengers travel with a photographic ID. So, a driving licence may be okay depending on your nationality and the destination. Otherwise, you need an emergency or replacement. The first step is to apply for an expedited passport to speed up the process. That way, it may show up within a couple of days and limit the damage. Next, ask for an emergency document which allows you to fly. Most people stay in one place but it’s nice to have a contingency just in case. Finally, provide an address which is safe and suitable so that the consulate can deliver the passport. Alternatively, see if it is possible to transport it to the nearest Western Union or local post office.

 

Stolen Credit Card(s)

 

Just because you have landed doesn’t mean the trouble is over. In a lot of ways, it’s only just beginning. Credit card fraud happens everywhere, and thieves are as industrious abroad as home. The methods may differ, yet it doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Pickpockets are a huge problem in foreign countries, as are robberies. One thing worth remembering is that you shouldn’t be a hero. Should anyone threaten your safety, give them what they want and tell the police. Make sure you get a copy of the report and a reference number, too. When a pickpocket steals a card, you should cancel it ASAP. Hopefully, they won’t have enough time to run up a balance. Again, get in touch with the card and insurance companies if money does disappear from your account.

 

Stomach Issues

 

Delhi belly isn’t unique to India. Travellers who venture into South America or Europe tend to get stomach issues from time to time. The problem is a constant change in diet which causes the body to adapt. Usually, the problem will go away in a couple of weeks. So, all you have to do is persist. Should the issue get worse, head to the nearest doctor and ask for treatment. Your health insurance policy should cover the costs, so there’s no need to worry about money. Self-medicating is an option yet you are not a medical professional. The trick is to avoid contracting diarrhoea by drinking bottled water. Dirty water contains millions of bacteria and can lead to severe diseases and illnesses. Never trust tap water and always buy bottles.

 

Accidents

 

There you are, minding your business when an accident turns your life upside down. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the future, so you have no way of knowing what will happen. Still, it is possible to decrease the chances of an accident by taking precautions. Being safe doesn’t sound cool when travelling, but it could be the difference between life and death. Therefore, don’t be stupid and walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night to cut five minutes from your journey. Also, stick to the speed limit when behind the wheel and wear a seatbelt. Finally, don’t get too intoxicated and lose your inhibitions. Partying is great, but not at the expense of your health.

 

 

 

Loneliness

 

Travellers will tell you that travelling alone is terrific, and they are right. Alone, you get to decide the route, the sights you want to see and take your time. In a group, there is a lot less flexibility because you feel as if you have to stay together. The problem with travelling alone is loneliness. At times, it feels as if you are the only person in the world. Sure, it’s nice to be in control, but human contact is essential too. Going around the world is about experiencing new experiences and meeting new people. So, take the plunge and introduce yourself to a group. “Proper” travellers will accept you into the fold, no problem.

 

If you don’t panic and keep a positive outlook, none of the above will ruin the journey.

Best Things to Do in Arkansas

Arkansas, the Natural State, is home to plenty of extraordinary experiences. If you are planning on visiting Arkansas for your next vacation, you are certainly going to be in for a treat. From floating down a wild river to digging for diamonds, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Read on to discover some of the best things to do during your stay.

 

Go underground – If you are looking for an adventure, the Ozark Mountain in Arkansas is home to a subterranean world of wonder beneath the surface. You will find everything from decorative rock formations, to soda straws, flowstone, stalagmites, and every changing stalactites, as well as underground lakes and limestone caves. You can walk a paved trail or go wild caving; it’s completely up to you.

Embrace the water – If you love being close to the water, Arkansas is definitely the place for you. There are plenty of amazing places to paddle, fish, and float. The state is home to 300 miles of the Arkansas River, as well as 9,700 miles of streams, and 600,000 acres of lakes. You can easily go ski boating, paddle boarding, or kayaking. Or, why not rent a houseboat and explore yourself?

Experience culture and art – You will find the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. It boasts an impressive range of American masterworks that aren’t to be missed. Another interesting museum is the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, which celebrities the brine and oil industry pioneers in the region.

Take your pick from the many parks – There are seven national parks and 52 state parks in Arkansas. If you want to explore as many as possible, it’s wise to pick central accommodation like the Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This will ensure it is easy for you to enjoy everything that Arkansas has to offer. You could dig for treasure at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, go horseback riding, camping, fishing, go golfing at DeGray Lake Resort State Park, or even soak in the indoor pools and thermal water baths at Hot Springs National Park. There really is something for everyone!

Watch for wildlife – The vast natural areas in the state play home to more than 300 bird species and more than 70 kinds of mammals. At the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, you can see lions, tigers, and other big cats that have been rescued. To see wild eek, Boxley Valley is certainly worth a drive through. You can also spot everything from bald eagles to black bears, so it’s really worth incorporating some wildlife spotting into your vacation plans.

Hit the trial – This article would simply be incomplete without mentioning the many trails you can enjoy in Arkansas. From rambling through the sandstone boulders on the Bear Cave Trail, which is kid-friendly, to hiking the stunning 95-foot Cedar Falls, there really are some majestic places to behold. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a popular option, offering everything from rugged backpacking excursions to easy woodland walks.

 

Looking for Backpacking and Hiking Inspiration? Look No Further Than Montana

Wanderlust is an incredible thing. The joy of travelling and experiencing new things can get tiresome, but not for someone that is afflicted with wanderlust. These individuals love to travel. They want to go everywhere, they want to see new sights, hear new songs and taste new food. Wherever they go, they make the most of it and turn travel into a mission of exploration and discovery.

 

This is what travel should be about. Holidays are fun and relaxing by the beach in a luxury resort feels great, but if you really want to experience what travelling is truly about, then look no further than a backpacking trip. To many people, their first backpacking experience is a life-changing one, and the same could happen to you. If you’re interested in backpacking and need some inspiration, then look no further than Montana in the United States.

 

 

In terms of size, Montana is one of the largest states, yet it’s also one of the least inhabited with a population that reaches just over a million. Perhaps this is why Montana is the perfect go-to destination for hikers and backpackers. With over 147,000 square miles of nature to explore, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a location that you don’t enjoy. Just keep in mind that, even as a backpacker, it’s good to look for accommodation especially if you’re new. Local inns such as the Best Western Plus GranTree Inn Montana are perfect places to set up your base of operations. However, if you want the true backpacking experience, then take a sleeping bag and tent with you—just remember to be safe!

 

So without further ado, here are some of the most popular hiking and backpacking locations in the whole of Montana.

 

Cottonwood Creek

 

If it’s mountain views you’re after, then there’s nothing quite like Cottonwood Creek. There are plenty of fishing spots at Cottonwood Creek, so make sure you bring a stove and some fire to cook your catches.

 

Boulder Pass

 

Boulder Pass won’t disappoint if you’re looking for variation. The hike starts simple but you’ll eventually reach the reminders of the area’s history as a volcanic location. There are breathtaking views on this hiking and backpacking trail, so make sure you bring a camera and some spare batteries to record your memories in this beautiful area.

 

The Beaten Path

 

Also known as the East Rosebud Trail, this is perhaps one of the best hiking experiences that Montana has to offer. It’s a 26-mile hike, which could be done in anywhere from a single day to three. There are plenty of side trails (hence its nickname) so if you find your path inhabited by other hikers, you’re free to go down a different route.

 

Moose Lake Trail

 

Located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the stunning Moose Lake Trail is located south of Glacier Park’s southern edge. There are countless options on the Moose Lake Trail, and a quick look at the map of the location will reveal more hiking trails than you could experience in a lifetime.