Category Archives: Travel

Agritourism — we should all visit farms

Agritourism is tourism that involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. It of course comes from the term ‘agriculture’. This is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. (Hayley Stainton).

A further definition of agritourism by the North Carolina Agritourism Activity Liability Law states that it is: Any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions.
It doesn’t necessarily have to include travelling abroad. A simple visit to a petting zoo or local farm definitely counts as agritourism!

Agritourism is a type of tourism that is increasing around the world. With the increasing popularity of niche tourism, coupled with a growth in the desire to make our travels more sustainable, it is no surprise that the agritourism industry has grown significantly in the last few years.

Agritourism is a type of experiential travel. It involves doing something on your trip or holiday, and therefore experiencing the country or destination more so (and more deeply) then if you simply visited on a relaxing holiday. More specifically, agritourism involves doing something that is related in some way to agriculture.

Here are a few examples.
  1. Wine/vineyard tours
  2. Glamping/camping
  3. Quad biking
  4. Horse riding
  5. Fruit/flower picking
  6. Animal farms parks/safari parks
  7. Wwoofing
  8. Staying in a home located on a farm
  9. Farm tours
  10. Educational visits
  11. Relaxation retreats
  12. Hunting trips
  13. Rural weddings/events
  14. Farmer’s markets
  15. Corn Mazes
  16. Bird and wildlife watching
  17. Nature centers

Agritourism comes with economic benefits for travelers and for other tourism stakeholders (farmers, ranch owners and so on). Scholars argue that it is In fact necessary for the survival of some small farms. It diversifies farmers’ income streams, meaning they are able to make money outside of their regular season. When farmers offer agritourism opportunities,  surrounding areas and local communities see an increase in people visiting or passing through. This of course means an economic boost for rural areas and is an example of a positive economic impact of tourism!

Types of Agritourism

There are typically 5 types of agritourism. The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development labelled these as:

Direct-to-consumer sales
This includes farm stands and ‘pick your own’ experiences. A farm stand is, as the name suggests, somewhere you can visit to buy produce directly from a farm. A farmers’ market is similar to this. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. A good example is Ope Farms in Abeokuta, they attend Farmers market around Dolphin estate, Lagos Nigeria and they have retail outlets as well.

Farmers Market

Agricultural education
School trips to local farms fall under this category of agritourism. You might also, as an adult, visit a farm and enjoy a guided tour where a farmer or farm assistant explains different aspects of the farming industry to you. This would be a type of agritourism as well as a type of educational tourism, although it is just a small part of agricultural education as a whole. A great example of an operator in this space is Highsoles Farm Tours, operating as Farmtour2016 on Instagram.

Hospitality
In terms of agritourism as proper tourism, e.g. something which involves travelling outside of your hometown for a holiday, this category is where it starts. From family-friendly interactive farms to relaxing adult only retreats complete with hot tubs, there are various different farm stay options across the world.

WWOOF, or the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, facilitate this globally. They connect travelers with farmers, and you can have a really affordable holiday this way. As long as you’re prepared to put the work in, that is! There are farms you can work on in Mexico, Portugal, Serbia, Myanmar and so many more incredible locations. We also have a great example in Abuja Nigeria – Almat Farms positions itself as a leisure and corporate getaway destination that allows you time away from all the bustling noise of the city life to relax, refresh and renew yourself.

Recreation
Hunting, horseback riding, meeting donkeys on the seafront… all of these are recreational types of agritourism. Whether you go on an organised hunt in a rural location or choose to ride a horse across the desert, these are types of agritourism. Hunting doesn’t just mean animals, either; you could go truffle hunting! Horseback riding is also something that is offered worldwide as a fairly standard tourist activity. Amlat Farms in Abuja also offers equestrian services.

Horse riding at Almat Farms Abuja, Nigeria

Entertainment
The final type of agritourism is entertainment. Although the above categories are entertaining in themselves, this is slightly different. The entertainment category includes hay rides, which are popular in the US especially and involve a hay-lined truck or tractor ride. Corn Festivals are also popular globally with 70 years plus of history. In 2020, a tour company named Travel Begins at Home also started the “Naija Corn Festival” as an Agritourism event to celebrate the versatility of Corn, educate Nigerians about Agritourism and increase youth participation in Farming.


Advantages of Agrotourism
Agritourism is a fantastic way for farmers to diversify their income and to make some extra cash. With increasing issues such as droughts or increased competition, farmers are often susceptible to financial loss should they have a bad season. However, agritourism can be a great way to compensate for this!

Disadvantages of Agritourism
Agritourism can have its disadvantages also. Tourists visiting farmland may have negative environmental consequences– trampling the ground or by frightening/displacing local wildlife. The introduction of agritourism can also take the attention away from traditional farm work.

Over dependence on tourism is a bit problem in many parts of the world, and it is important that farm owners do not entirely abandon their traditional methods of making money… because should something happen to discourage tourists from visiting (an illness, political unrest, a natural disaster etc.) then there would be no money coming in for the farmers. And if he has abandoned his primary assignment there will be trouble as crops don’t sprout and mature overnight save for Aaron’s rod.

After all has been said and done, Agritourism has come to stay and the earlier we adopt it mainstream the better for our nation. Then we can maximize the vast land mass we have and put sustainable food security measures in place.

According to Schumacher, “I am now fully convinced that farming and tourism create synergies, where the natural beauty of the region, its cultural richness and vibrant communities can blend with farm activities, especially when a variety of farm products are grown, and the emphasis is on biointensive farming and biodiversity”. (Henry J. Schumacher 2017)

Making the Big Escape Solo

Sometimes, life gets overwhelming. Work pressure mounts, family responsibilities double up, and it feels like your life is a crisis you have to manage. It isn’t always easy. While going through tough and sweet seasons in life, you should try to live in the moment – experience the moments for what they bring, and take breaks to reset and revive your energy. 

Traveling is one way to recharge your energy. You physically leave your troubles behind; leave your home or state to another where you can declutter your headspace. 

 

One of the perks of traveling is you get to engage in relaxing and curious activities. This either helps you create new hobbies or better coping mechanisms.

 

Here are some reasons why you should make your next trip solo.

 

When you travel alone, you do everything at your pace. You wake up when you like and decide when to explore. You create a travel experience on your terms.

PHOTO BY BLACK GIRLS HIKE

This is good because work/life experiences may put you under pressure that feels like you have no control over. Solo travel helps reset this mindset. Exerting control over the bulk of your activities can bring back the feeling of being more grounded.

 

Nothing makes you feel like you have things together than being able to sort out your affairs. 

Making snap decisions on your travel journey helps to boost your confidence in your decision-making process.

Decisions as simple as deciding on what to eat from a menu with a variety gives validity that you are good at making decisions to suit your needs. With an ego boost accumulated during your trip, you are certain to come back with a better sense of self-worth.

 

Solo travel gives you quality alone time. Time to meditate, sleep in, and ease your mind. You can choose to book a trip where your schedule is filled with spa dates and indoor activities without feeling guilty about boring anyone. 

Trips with lots of serene activities help declutter your mind or allow room for rest and recharge.

 

Sometimes going on trips with family or friends hinders making new friendships. You become engrossed in what is happening around your travel companions, you actively do not foster new relationships. Other times, you might not want them to feel left out or uncomfortable.

Photo Cred: Can Stock Photo Inc

 

Solo travel throws an aura of openness. You can meet or be met by new people without the drawbacks that come with travel companions.

 

There are many perks of solo travel; there are also some cons. For instance, you might feel lonely if you go on an extended trip without company. It is nice to meet new people, but not having a support system you are familiar with on a long trip can be a downer.

 

There are also places where you stand out awkwardly going by yourself, or would not have as much fun. For trips planned with a lot of group activities, it is better to embark on them with friends.

 

Another con of solo travel is how expensive it can be. When you travel in a group or a party, it is easier to split the costs of accommodations and feeding or have access to more discounts because of the number making the trip.

 

Why you should create a Travel Scrapbook

Do you recall the excitement you felt creating a scrapbook when you were younger?

A part of what makes it beautiful is the emotions attached to the pictures and mementos creating a riot of colours on pages to make your own personal scrapbook. You flip through a page and it feels like a trip back in time complete with the thoughts and sentiments attached to that moment.

Sharing Memories

The most beautiful part is in sharing. Some of my favourite home visits include flipping through scrapbooks to find both embarrassing pictures parents always have backstories for, sentimental trinkets like laminated leaves, tickets, and the look of reminiscence pasted on faces.

A scrapbook made into an album

Imagine a trip to a new state you have mementos for like plane or bus tickets, pictures of you in tourist sites, pictures of buildings and restaurants you find interesting, all taped or collated in one place. It makes for an exciting recollection of tales with visuals to back them up.

A Fun Activity

It is also fun putting together scrapbooks whether digital or physical copies. While digital copies need a bit of editing in your skillset, it is not difficult. Physical scrapbooks, on the other hand, are avenues to show creativity. It is a shared activity family and friends can do together.

A scrapbook in form of a folder

There is a more wholesome experience in creating a scrapbook from trips made with family or friends. Each person has personal pictures and trinkets from memories created on the trip. There are also group pictures and shared moments created together that make reenacting those experiences in a scrapbook more fun.

The Perfect Gift Item

Travel scrapbooks serve as wonderful gift items. They are better than an off-the-shelf picture book especially if it is to a place the intended has on their travel bucket list.

Scrapbook

A travel scrapbook would have pictures of places you visited on your trip that you think the intended should see when they make the trip themselves. It can also include witty fun facts you discovered about those places while you were there.

Trinkets attached to the travel books can have space for a pair to be added to it when the intended makes the trip, filling up the scrapbook with joint memories.

A Way to Escape

Travel scrapbooks serve as a reminder. We all go through tough times in life, and it is wonderful to have something to look at and remember the good times.

African woman making memories with her scrapbook album

Travel scrapbooks are perfect for this. You can flip back to dive into memories of a time that you were happy enough to make a record of it.

 

 

5 Things you are likely to forget on a Trip

There is this feeling of sharp disappointment you get when you are hours into a trip by bus or plane ride, and remember you forgot to pack an item. Most times, those items can be replaced, but it is annoying to have two of them in the end, especially when the item you own is perfect. 

It’s okay; it happens.

The best way to avoid forgetfulness in packing properly for trips is to have a checklist for packing. In this checklist, you itemize details from the purpose of the trip to trinkets you are prone to forgetting. For every item packed, you could cross it out.

Here is a list of some of the top items you are most likely to forget to pack.

Phone Charger

iPhone and the charger

This is particularly miffing because you could have meant to pack it, but forgot it last minute before stepping outside. 

Try to ensure your device is charged the evening of your trip. This way, you can pack it beforehand instead of risking forgetting it because of a last minute power-up. 

Alternatively, if you are a frequent traveler, you might consider getting a separate charger for your travel purposes. This one can always remain in your travel box.

Toiletries

Toiletries for travel as accepted by airlines

This one has some of our names written all over it. Toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, and the likes are easy to forget. You tell yourself you just want the air to dry them up in the bathroom, and you are ten miles into your trip before you remember.

Sure hotels have travel-size collections of this, but if your skin is sensitive or you are picky about scents, you might not want to opt for this.

Frequent travelers ought to have travel-sizes reusable bottles quantities of ointments can be turned into and stored in ziploc bags to ensure they remain safely packed in your travel bags. 

Always check on the expiry dates from time to time, as it will always be in your bag.

 

First Aid/Medication

Fist Aid kit for travelling

This is super easy to forget, and it gets worse when you are on medications you need a prescription for.

People don’t have to tote the entire first aid kit around, but it is safe to have painkillers, antihistamine, antidiarrheal, band aid, and balms handy on travels. One never knows when you or someone else would need them.

Umbrella

Umbrellas that can fit into a hand bag

Forget on travels alone; this is one item almost everyone forgets to take along. Whether it’s fine weather or not, the weather forecast might not be so accurate where you are heading. Plus, the good thing about an umbrella is it can be used when it is too sunny or rainy.

You don’t need a big umbrella making packing even more of a hassle. A small foldable one is guaranteed to take up less space and serve the same function.

Hair Brush

Travel Hairbrush

Imagine  getting ready for your first day out on a travel trip when you realize you forgot your comb or hair brush.

Don’t go around looking like you got zapped by lightning so it’s best to have one stashed away in your travel bag at all times. 

Travel Skincare Hacks

Most times, you’ve filled your box with clothes and shoes, sat on it to force it shut, then remember you didn’t include your body lotion or other skin ointment. It is at this junction I usually shrug, and expect nature to take care of me.

But, the older you get, the more particular you are about certain things. It is never too late to start taking better care of your skin because like it or not, it is one of the first things people notice about you.

It is also important to note that varied climate change impacts your skin negatively when you travel facing elements other than what your skin might be used to.

Whether you have dry or oily skin, it is good to stick with a skin care routine. How do you ensure to stick with your routine while you travel?

Refillable Bottles are your Friends

There might not be enough space in your box to carry around your huge lotion bottle. The best option is to get small refillable plastic bottles for travel. These can be gotten as a set in local supermarkets near you, or shops that sell gift items.

You can tag them in order not to mix up your ointments and use shampoo for body lotion.

Another thing to note is to skip packing bottles that may break, like your perfume, and turn out a quantity in a refillable plastic perfume bottle.

This not only saves space and allows you room for more, it also ensures you have all your products with you anytime you travel.

Ziplock bags are Religion

There is nothing more annoying than pulling out a shirt from your travel bag and finding out compressed packing caused your lotion to squirt all over it. Not only is it a waste of a perfectly good product; you have one less clothing item.

You can never tell how your luggage would be packed, and the smartest way to avoid uncontrolled spillage of products is to seal them in ziploc bags before putting them in your luggage. This way, if it does spill, it is in a contained space.

Non-Liquids are Genius

Ever been to an airport and you have to decide between your shampoo or body wash because you have exceeded the amount of liquid quota you can carry? I know, it is a hard choice to make.

Save yourself the trouble and opt for non liquids for some of your favourite products. Some shampoo have non gel forms, and you can scout if your favourite body wash has a bar soap version. Look on the bright side, you can fit in more liquids this way.

Hyaluronic acids are Dry Skins’ Besties

Studies show that moisturizers, night creams and serums that contain hyaluronic acids better hydrate dry skin. So, if you have dry skin, you might want to check the content of your moisturizers closely.

 

Packing the best product for your skin type goes a long way to ensure your skin is on a constant glow.

 

There are tons of hacks for keeping your skin peng while you travel. Share some of your favourite in the comment section below.

Is Tarkwa Bay worth the Hype?

If you live in Lagos, lived in Lagos, or studied at the University of Lagos; there is no way you wouldn’t have heard of Tarkwa Bay.

Lagos is famous for its beaches (of course, most of the island is reclaimed land), and there are a number of them to have a group or private beach hangout . But Tarkwa Bay is one of the most talked about.

Like me, you might have stayed in Lagos for a long time, but never had the chance to visit the beach. So, it was made a destination point by a number of my friends to spend a day at.

What to Expect 

One of the most fun parts of the experience for me was the boat ride. I had never been on any waterborne vessel and it was a treat. 

There is no need for nerves. Asides from my ungraceful ascent into the boat, and squealing at the initial rocking, everything went without a hitch. 

 

It was miles and miles of faultless aquamarine waves that gave the feeling like you could walk on it as the boat glided through the ocean.

There were plants of different varieties floating on the surface of the ocean, interspaced with clear waters and other waterborne vessels. It was a special delight to look at the buildings from the water.

All in all, it felt like riding a bus with a marine view.

What Tarkwa Bay was like

Upon descent, we had to pay a gate fee of 300 naira before we were let in. As beaches go in Lagos, that was really cheap.

There are rows of wooden cabanas facing the beach. The lean-in chairs were the perfect touch for a beach vibe. It looked like the picture of a beach out of a book: shirtless men playing volleyball, people taking dips and pictures in the ocean, and mellow music.

The cabanas cost a thousand naira per head, so depending on the number of people taking one, the price could be split.

Photo Cred: Cassie Davies

You are allowed to take your food and drinks without question, but there are available spots to get a variety of food from chicken and chips, barbecue fish, jollof rice, and lots more. 

We brought our own food and drinks for games and chills.

Some available activities are horse riding and quad bike rides.

What I felt

Unlike other beaches I have visited in Lagos, Tarkwa Bay was quite unimpressive. The sand was more solid than the loose feel you get off other beaches in Lagos. There were a lot of seaweeds and plants on the shore that made it look quite unappealing.

It wasn’t too crowded and there was enough room to settle in; the flipside was that it made it feel like a ghost town-like there was something missing.

The waves weren’t massive which made for a less exciting watch.

But in all, the environment made for better bonding, and it was a trip I was especially glad I made with my friends, if for no other reason, for the boat trip and cruise. 

A holiday in Namibia

Namibia is a beautiful country in South West Africa and it’s a magical spot recommended for nature lovers, first time visitors and even returning travellers, whether young or old! There are a variety of fun activities for all to do.

Namibians are proud of their amazing wildlife, the country is well known as the home to iconic Safari destinations. This includes the famous self-drive safari tour, where visitors pick up a car from the airport and drive themselves to tour through these wildlife parks. Some tourists prefer this because it is less pricey.

Namibia till date, holds the highest Cheetah population in the world, which are the fastest land animals on Earth. They are considered to be in danger of going extinct by the International Union for Conservation. The Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia is working hard to protect these endangered species.

The oldest desert in the world is found in Namibia and no it’s not the Sahara desert. Research shows the Namib desert in Namibia is believed to be the oldest desert in the world. It’s a coastal desert along the shores of Western Namibia about 1600 km long. The desert has been dry and arid of life for more than 50 million years! The Namib desert is well known for also having the highest sand dunes in the world. A sand dune here can be as tall as 300 meters which is like a building with 100 floors, about the height of a skyscraper! There are lots of activities to do, ranging from climbing the Dunes 45, airplane tours or balloon tours over the Namib desert and quad biking over the golden sandy desert.

       

Namibia is actually a coastline country and has plenty beautiful shores with over a thousand miles of coastline. However, swimming in the beaches is not safe for people or tourists because of the rich marine life in the waters.  This is due to the cold strong waves of the ocean, being capable to sweep swimmers away. However it’s coastline is more suitable for professional surfers with surf boards, who want to explore the waters and high waves.

The famous skeleton coast in Namibia is  known for it’s dark past of ship wrecks due to it’s rough tides from the violent Atlantic ocean.  Though survivors made it out of the ship wreck to land, there was a large mass of dry sandy desert with no water, food or shelter waiting to welcome victims. Hence very few made it out alive of the desert and there are skeletons of animals, whales and ships littered all over this coastline.

Today in Namibia, the Skeleton Coast is a tourist hot spot littered with beautiful luxury lodges for tourists who come for sight-seeing of the desert and the ancient ship wrecks. This coastal desert tells a special story while being truly, tragic, sad, beautiful, historical and unique at the same time.

     

On the 13th January 2022, Mr Humphrey Geiseb, the Namibian high commissioner to Nigeria, paid a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed in Abuja.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed used this opportunity to also voice out Nigeria’s interest in partnering with Namibia to boost tourism and culture between both nations. The Minister remains hopeful that the MOU between both nations would be implemented as soon as possible.

The Minister also assured to promote healthy working relationships  between Nollywood and the Namibian film industry. He also received the kind gesture of the Namibian government to assist in improving the Elephant conservation in Nigeria as Mr. Geiseb emphasized that African wildlife is in danger of extinction. Lai Mohammed appreciated the Namibian government for supporting the country with 279 wildlife animals in accordance with the already signed MoU in cooperation of wildlife.

It seems a new tourism and cultural chapter between both countries is about to unfold, especially with Nigeria taking tips on wildlife preservation from one of Africa’s wildlife gurus, Namibia.

Mr. Humphrey Geiseb, the Namibian high commissioner to Nigeria also recounted and appreciated the support gotten from the Nigerian government when Namibia was fighting for independence. He also made clear that the Namibian-Nigerian joint commission would hold meetings to analyze and work towards all possible means of cooperation between the two countries in the future, these areas including tourism, beef infrastructure, creative industries, oil and gas sectors and animal conservation.

English is widely spoken in Namibia, their local dishes are delicious and foreigners are warmly welcomed  to the country. The Landscape of Namibia is second to none, having almost all types of landscape ranging from mountains, to savannah grasslands, deserts and beach coastlines. A lot of untold wonders to discover in this fascinating Southern African Nation. A trip to Namibia is well worth it.

The Lure of the Middle East

Over the years the Middle East has transformed into one of the most loved tourist’s destinations in the world. It has a global impression of having some of the world’s best holiday resorts, airlines and airports for travel. It is a major travel hub for passengers to connect to another flight and has a reputation for luxurious spots for vacations and relaxation.  Among Countries in the Middle East, Nations like the UAE and Qatar  are among top world class in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries. Dubai is also a choice destination for a lot of Nigerians with 3 hours time difference .

   

The United Arab Emirates where Dubai is found stands out as one of the most visited countries in the Middle East and the world, with over 20 million visitors each  year. Of all the oil rich nations in the Middle East, UAE has been able to establish one of the world’s most successful tourism industry.

The world famous Dubai is like a bright shinning magnet that attracts travelers and visitors from all over the planet. It is almost shocking to hear one has not visited this astonishing city, with all that has been told and heard about it. However why do you think travelers desire to visit Dubai over and over again? 

Before setting foot into Dubai, visitors already have this idea of experiencing heaven on earth and getting to explore one of the globes most futuristic cities and to relax in luxury resorts. Dubai may have already set awesome tourists standards for the world to follow. To the extent, people who haven’t visited already have an imagination of what to expect and when they do visit their expectations are often met.

 

Majority of Nigerians love to take a holiday off from work in this amazing city. It’s no surprise that 56% of the total visitation of Africans to Dubai are Nigerians and they were thrilled with the news that the United Arab Emirates had lifted it’s travel ban off Nigerian inbound flights, granting access of flight routes from Nigeria to UAE and vice versa. This officially became effective on 29th January, 2022. The travel restrictions were put in place late last year, by the UAE government to help control and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant. Passengers travelling to Dubai must still present a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate and also receive a PCR test upon arrival. 

World Food Festival 

Dubai  hosts multiple world class events like the recently held Gulfood Festival, that was from 13th to 17th February 2022, which is the world’s largest annual food event that brings together international chefs and leading food flavors  from different continents. Nothing less than 120 countries exhibit their national food and dishes, professional chefs, well-known restaurants and Food and Beverage startups secure their spots and showcase their culinary art to the global hospitality and food industries.

Gold Souk

The famous Gold market in Dubai, also called the Gold Souk keeps tourists flocking in and out. This market is known for a wide range of classy jewelry made from gold, diamonds, silver or other precious stones.  The Gold Souk is one of the largest gold markets in the world, with over 300 retailers and lots of visitors dropping by to either purchase gold or  just sight-see the beauty of this glittering market place.  The gold pieces found in this market are sold 60% cheaper than any where else in the world, hence Dubai got it’s nickname “the City of Gold”.

Cultural Diversity – Something for everyone

What’s most interesting about Dubai that makes it so unique from any other country in the world, is that Dubai has a bit of every destination in the world added to it. It highlights cultural diversity from around the globe in a fascinating way. Dubai has an indoor Ski Slope, even though it doesn’t snow in this desert region country, you can find artificial snow in the indoor Ski Slope. The popular Dubai Safari Park has over 2500 animals from different species including elephants, rhinos, lions and so much more, paying homage to the African wildlife safari.  There is also Lego land and Bollywood park in the Dubai parks & Resorts. This shows how welcoming Dubai is to visitors from other nations and who wouldn’t love the feeling of being welcomed in a home away from home.

Man Made Events and Festivals

Dubai has a lot of events e.g. shopping festival, Jazz festival and a host of others  always happening within its walls and a constant attraction to the whole wide world. One of such is Dubai Expo slated from October 2021 to 31 March 2022 with an estimated visitor arrival of 8,067,012. The visitors in their millions will surely impact the nations economy. The Dubai expo offers daily shows, restaurants with world-class cuisine with different countries exhibiting and giving you a taste of their homeland.

Now tell me why you will not want to go to Dubai .

Travel and Passports

Passports are issued by a country’s government and it confirms a person’s identity and nationality for worldwide travel.  Passports basically contain information like the bearer’s place of birth, name, date of birth, photograph, signature etc.  When planning to travel out of the boarders of your home country to any other country, the first thing you would need to process is your international passport and have it ready before any other thing. You don’t need a passport for local flights or trips within your country of origin.

   

In Nigeria, passports are usually issued by the Nigerian immigration service. They are not processed immediately and may take a duration of weeks to be ready. The standard Nigerian passport consists of two categories, a 32 page passport with a 5 year validity and a 64 page passport with a 10 year validity. The 32 page passport has 33 usable pages for visas, stamps or stickers. Frequent travelers go for the 64 page passport, as it has more usable pages.

There are also different types of passports based on purpose of travel and they include

Emergency passports: These types of passports are issued temporarily in urgent situations like when you loose your passport or have it stolen and do not have time available to apply for a new one, upon contacting your embassy, you would be issued this passport. This passport is just for the moment to get you to your destination on emergency grounds, hence you will have to process a new and valid passport on arrival to your destination.

E-passport : These are also known as electronic passports which are also available in Nigeria. This type of passport booklet has a electronic chip in it which helps prevent passport fraud.  This electronic chip on the front of the passport booklet holds the same information that is in the passport data page and also has a bio-metric identifier. It makes it way too difficult to impersonate another person.

Official passport: This type of passport is meant for government employees, entering another country for official purposes. The official passport doesn’t come with any special privileges.

Diplomatic passport: This is a special type of passport meant for diplomats sent to foreign missions, representing their home country for official purposes. This passport comes with special privileges and immunities, like exemption from taxes or prosecution.

While travelling out of the country you need to actually present your passport several times at the airport and even at border checks while travelling by road. A passport should have at least 6 months validity before using it to travel. The Nigerian passport is ranked 82nd in the world by the 2022 passport index, with access to 48 nations without visa.

It is important to be a law abiding citizen especially while leaving your country and representing where you are from in a foreign land.  The Nigerian presidential committee recently deactivated 200 Nigerian passports as they were Covid-19 test defaulters. They were found to posses fake vaccination cards and fake PCR tests.  The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi  stated “It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.”

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had a major impact on the State public health systems and the economy.”

“We have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year”.

Passport Hack: Always have a soft copy of your Passport backed up in the cloud in case of loss of belongings  or theft, to enable easy access at borders.

 

The power of your International Passport

There remains a glaring gap in freedom for global travel by citizens of different nations across the world. While some nationals enjoy a wide variety of countries they can visit with just their internationak passports and no visa hassle, other nationalities have limited access to gain entrance into some Countries with just their passports. The sad truth is even with international passports travel is still limited for some nationalities around the world. Different passports have different strengths, which implies some passports are more powerful than others.

 

The world’s leading and most powerful passports in terms of travel freedom without visa applications are Japan and Singapore. The Henley passport index reports that Japan and Singapore ranks top before other countries in the world, making citizens of these nations have access to a whooping 192 countries without a visa!

Yes, you heard that right. Japanese and Singaporean passport holders  are able to enter 192 countries without a visa. According to Henley passport index 2021, which uses data from the international Air transport association (IATA), these two countries also tied first place in passport rankings last year.

Some passports actually allow their bearers more freedom of movement than others. Germany and South Korea are next in line with citizens having access to 190 countries without a visa, while the famous nations, the United Kingdom and United States of America come in 6th position with visa free movement to 186 nations around the world. Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand also tie in for 6th position.

 

(Photo via kieferpix / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

 

On the other hand, Afghanistan ranks as one of the weakest passports globally with access of visa free travel to only 26 countries in the world. Iraqi passports allowing visa free entry into 28 countries for it’s citizens follows up close. Next in line is Syria, Pakistan and Yemen, with 29, 31 and 33 countries allowing them visa free entry respectively.  Mozambique with it’s citizens having visa free travel to 62 countries in the world. Nigerian passport having 50 visa free destinations for it’s citizens and ranks 82nd position globally for passport rankings in year 2022.

Why are some International Passports strong and some weak?

The strength of a passport may depend on several reasons and they may include how stable the country is in regards to economy, terror attacks and politics.  Also mutual understanding, reciprocity and diplomatic relations between countries play a major role and affect the strength of a passport. Nations with high populations or population issues like migration have a weaker passport.

“The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration in an effort to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide, including improving the size and quality of their own workforces,” stated Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.