Category Archives: Travel

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.

 

 

You need a Workation

There was once a world where people had to go to work every single day. In this world, you spend your regular 9-5 work hours in a building staring at monochrome walls, laptops, and sipping coffee off mugs dedicated to working hours.

Imagine telling your kids this post COVID, and all it has turned the work system into. They probably won’t be able to picture it. You probably would have a hard time recalling it too.

The COVID outbreak showed that many office tasks could be carried out outside the workstation. This also brought to the awareness that a lot of operational costs could be shaved off by having your staff work from home. On one end, it is brilliant. The company saves more and the staff gets the option of avoiding tedious traffic systems by doing what they would have otherwise done in the office from home. Many organizations stuck to this routine, while some revived a hybrid structure where some days are spent working from the office, and other days from home.

The flipside, however, is in the peak of the outbreak, working from home became suffocating. It is different when your hours are spent amidst colleagues with a collection of daily tales and trends, but at home, it is you and yourself for company. That got old really fast.

Being that productivity is largely connected to mental wellness, one of the best ways to revamp your mental state of mind even while working is by going on workations. Office workers bought into the idea rapidly. 

Workations are a merge of work and vacations. It is carrying out tasks you would have done from the office in places of leisure. 

This takes a considerable amount of planning, and hotels, cafes, and resorts also put structures in place to aid the idea. For instance, some hotels offer check-ins as early as 8 am and check-outs as late as 6 pm; the work hours duration. 

Some resorts have workation packages at affordable costs. You can take spa breaks, or take a walk on lush grounds to stretch your legs, and get your creative juices flowing before going back to work.

Some cafes have isolated booths that allow seamless working in a quiet and cozy ambiance. 

Some travel organizations curate workation packages that allow you to network, have fun and get work done with all the necessary work facilities needed outside of the work environment. You can speak to us to TBAH to organize one for you .

All these packages and provisions ensure that one can avoid the monotony that comes with working from home, and also make work a pleasurable activity. And as a person, you only need to pack lightly, plan ahead to revel in all the wonders the experience of a workation provides.

COVID Travel Lessons for the 2020s

COVID shook the reality of travel and tourism, but above it all, we saw uplifts in the sector. 

It proved true that necessity is the mother of invention because we saw tech take over with virtual reality tours, robots to safeguard guests and control costs. We saw creative ideas like workcations, solo travel, and contactless deliveries blossom. We saw how travel and tourism preserved our mental health by actively trying to revive bits and pieces of the sector.

Overall, some activities have become more than a way to enjoy ourselves while keeping sane. They have become a preference. 

Here are some of these activities:

 

Exploring Local Cuisines

You might not have paid much attention to that Amala seller by your junction until you figured you couldn’t get into your favourite restaurant without a reservation. 

Surfing for more reserve or hidden spots or areas for food specialty was a downside COVID brought that turned into something good. There is more attention paid to vendors closer to us, and a revival in taste for local delicacies that reminds us of growing up, or a life with more freedom.

Call it nostalgia or reduced options, trying out local cuisines is an activity that would fade out any time soon.

 

Workations 

Already, it sounds odd going to work all through the week. Remote working was a gift from COVID. 

It eventually made us want to eat the walls from boredom and lack of social interactions, and this resulted in workations. 

Working from exotic spots or hubs outside your home where a group of friends or colleagues can link up made the thought not only appealing but relaxing. Some hotels subscribed to this idea by creating special offers for work, and other travel bodies like TBAH created the Beach Bum where you get to work from the beach on Mondays.

Being that working remotely sometimes in the week or completely is something that would definitely make workations a trend to stay.

 

Solo Travel and Tourism

Sometimes, the lure of the outdoors is hard to ignore. For people who love traveling frequently, COVID put a cold blanket over plans and destinations. But as travel restrictions reduced, solo travel became trendier.

You really do not want to spend a lot of travel time in the same space with people you aren’t sure of their vaccination status. Solo road trips, exploring rugged paths, and traveling with a small group of friends are all easy ways to still put on your outdoor boots and brave the world outside.

Along the way, you find you are more in tune with your inner thoughts, and travel begins to look more like an adventure within than an escape.

What trend did COVID bring as a habit to you?

Is Green Africa the cheapest airline in Nigeria?

   

 

It may have been challenging for other airlines in the Nigerian aviation industry as Green Africa Airways announced launching its much awaited airline services in June 24th, 2021, with flight tickets available for purchase by the public for as low as ₦16,500. Considering the negative effect of covid-19 vividly affecting the progress of other airlines in the country, the industry’s newcomer, Green Africa choose a perfect time to hit the Nigerian aviation world, stand out and make a glaring difference. 

 

They were offering to carry passengers almost less than half the amount other local airlines were conveying their passengers! Destinations routes included Abuja, Akure, Enugu, Ilorin, Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt. 

The CEO of Green Africa Airways, Babawande Afolabi,  made it clear that one of the main areas of concentration was to focus on the economic interest of it’s customers and provide low cost fares for passengers. 

“We are crafting a network plan that will afford more customers the opportunity to pursue their economic interest or simply spend more time with family and friends,” Afolabi said while announcing the new route.

     

However, months later along the line, after kicking off operations and bringing in fresh competition to the aviation industry in Nigeria, industry experts argue that Green Africa Airways is by far not the cheapest airline in Nigeria. 

Aviation professional analysts suggests that when airlines charge less than  ₦40,000 per passenger, there would be a loss in operational costs of the airline which is risky, as aviation fuel is estimated to cost about  ₦220 per litre and a whooping amount of 8000 litres ( ₦1.7 million)  or more is needed to operate a one way local flight route! 

An unhappy passenger simply identified as Wanger Barnabas Akaazua, stated “If anyone told you this airline is cheap then they don’t know the truth about this airline. They’ve painted a picture that they’re affordable but in the actual sense they are one of the most expensive,” he stated.

 Akaazua lamented that there are so many hidden charges that are only revealed at the counter and not included anywhere on their website.

“What they don’t tell you is that you are entitled to only 7kg (both hand luggage and baggage). So, for every extra 1kg you pay N600.

“Imagine travelling with your family. For a flight of N25,000 I was made to pay an extra N10,000. Even hand luggage is weighed. How will I pay N25,000 and be entitled to only 7kg? That’s how I ended up paying N35,500 when Air Peace was N30,000,” the passenger complained. 

There are three types of economy class on the Green Africa Airways, which are the gSaver,  gClassic and gFlex.  The prices of these ticket types differ on baggage allowance. Passengers’ flight fares vary based on the amount of luggage they carry. 

The gSaver flyer enjoys 7kg hand luggage, the gClassic flyer enjoys all the benefits of the gSaver ticket plus an additional 15kg checked in luggage while the gFlex passengers has access to 7k hand luggage, 15kg checked in luggage, free seat selection, free online check-in and flight ticket changes at no additional fee.

 

How to lighten your suitcase when travelling

 

The holiday season is upon us and somewhere right now, some how,  many of us have our empty luggages waiting to be filled up and carried off to that amazing Christmas destination!

If you are a chronic over packer like most people out there, you would be thinking of what to put in or not put into your suitcase to avoid making it unnecessarily heavy and full of items you don’t actually need for your trip. Relax over packers, you’re also covered!

To begin with, being at the airport with an over-weight suitcase heavier than an elephant is an annoying and costly experience, especially when you’ve tried your very best not to over pack. Airlines have a baggage allowance policy for each passenger and exceeding the baggage allowance costs extra money.

Here are some tricks to help you organise your luggage with just what you would need for your next trip and still stick to the allowed baggage policy.

 

1)      Forget about the just incase outfits : Many travellers, both female and male, usually have this urge to put in extra outfits in their suitcases for the unexpected occasions that may turn up. This particular packing habit needs to be dropped as you will most likely pack up a lot of clothes you do not need and most likely will not even wear during your trip.

2)      Arrange your travel wardrobe: Before heading out on a trip, research on how the weather will be in your intended destination and also the most likely events or spots you would visit. This will help you plan out what type of outfits to pack up for your trip and keep away the unneeded items.

3)      Always include neutral outfits: These are outfits that have basic colours that practically goes with and looks good on any other colour. Black, grey, nude, white etc. This is reasonable, because it frees up the space of packing up 6 or 7 different outfits, when one neutral outfit could be packed and rhyme with every outfit you pair it with!

4)      Pack less shoes: This won’t be easy, especially for the ladies but packing less shoes is important. Apart from the fact that shoes have a lot of weight, you definitely won’t be needing so many pairs. Two to three pairs of shoe should serve for your trip, hence you need to plan what shoes would go better with your already selected outfits. Anne McAlpin, a packing expert, says “people often over pack shoes, but setting a maximum of three pairs will help you pare down your wardrobe and avoid over packing.”

5)      Use packing cubes: Using compression cubes or bags are becoming more popular with travellers. Compression technology is so vital to travel as it will assist to keep you organised and also save up space in your bag.

6)      Don’t be a last minute packer: A lot of people are guilty of this, packing just a night before your trip can be crucial and chaotic. Asides from packing a lot of item you do not need, you may also forget a lot of item you actually need and end up with a pretty heavy luggage.

 

Is flying first class really worth it?

 

Flying first class most likely means luxury seating on a plane, preferential treatment in services rendered, more comfort and most importantly, the very pricy flight fares! The kind of ‘exclusive’ flight fares that makes you wonder, if it’s really worth it?

On all occasions, when you get on a commercial plane, there are always the first-class passengers who are a limited number of passengers (usually not more than 10), who are seated towards the front of the airplane enjoying more space, comfort, service and privacy.

       

First class is categorized as airplane luxury. Different airlines provide different services and special treatment for first class passengers ranging from private suites, fast in-flight WiFi, access to exclusive lounges to even on-board showers. In turn, first-class flyers pay an expensive flight fare, which is way more than any other class of flyers.

 

First class travel experience includes being the first passengers on board the aircraft, averting the long waiting lines at the gates, extra large seats with enormous carry-on space, complimentary gifts from the airline, first class bar with champagne and all the other wonderful things you can think of. It’s arguably clear that the benefits of first class play in even before your flight takes off. Amazing, isn’t it?

Other flight classes include the business and economy. Business class is above economy class. Flying business class also offers a premium experience in flight with upgraded amenities and even before boarding, there are separate check-in for them and business class lounges that offers showers and nap rooms. The main difference between business class and first class is the seat type, as some first class seat types are generally bigger, having a private space or suite and may rotate or even turn into a bed unlike business class seats.  Also the price difference stands out between a first class and business class traveller. In most cases, a first class traveller is expected to pay about 60-200% more than a business class traveller.

What about the economy class travellers? Economy class is also known as standard class, which many travellers make use of.  Generally speaking, compared to the other cabin options of business class and first class, the seats in economy are smaller with less legroom. Also the level of service, flight entertainment, type of tv screens and food options are limited and surely you can not keep asking for more champagne. A lot of people argue that economy class is just a way of travel, comfortable enough to get you to your destination and the extra travel fuss is not needed. However, Ralph Waldo Emerson says “it’s not the destination, it’s about the journey.”

 

It is important to note that all seat types and options of in-flight service depends on what airline you are flying, as different airlines sets different service standards for their passengers.

 

Flying is a fun experience for many, however who wouldn’t love an extra luxury added to that fun?  It is said that ‘fly business class once and you’ll never be happy in economy again’.  The benefits of flying first class are so many, but we will leave it to you to decide in the comment section if it’s really worth the money or not?

 

Baecation: 4 Resorts to Visit in Nigeria

At some point, you’ve pictured yourself rolling out of bed with the warm glow of sunlight against your skin, waking up to the sound of breakfast being served to you. This sounds even better when you share this experience with a loved one. 

Baecations are one of the ways couples reignite their bond. By spending time exclusively away from the world and all the care it brings, couples tend to forge a more intense connection with each other. You engage in shared likes both for fun and reconnecting. It is an activity that couples are advised to engage in periodically.

So, you want to take a Baecation, and you don’t know where to go. Read on to find our top recommended spots in Nigeria.

 

La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort (Lagos State)

When you think of a beachside African-themed resort with an abundance of activities to keep you and your significant other occupied, think of La Campagne Tropicana in Lagos State. 

La Campagne Tropicana invites you to ‘experience African luxury’ and boasts of comfortable lodgings with a variety of amenities alongside numerous side attractions couples can engage in. Some of the attractions include boat cruising, jet skiing, kayaking, horse riding, bicycle riding, kids attractions, and many more.

It further offers packages like the honeymoon package and daycation. In all, this is a place you can not only relax in splendor but grease your elbows as you bask in the healthy glow of growing romance. 

 

Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort (Uyo State)

Lagos isn’t the only State with star attractions, and when it comes to being in the right spot for a Baecation, Akwa Ibom has something exciting to offer.

Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort is a haven for golf lovers with an 18-hole golf course set amidst lush palm forest vegetation. When it comes to serenity and opulence, the 174 hectares of beautifully groomed land has it on point.

Besides ambiance and golfing options, Le Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort has a restaurant, cafe, and bar which provides several options to have lots of food-filled dates and quiet time for rekindling conversations.

One unique feature of this resort is its Piano Bar to bring a lot of classy to your night. 

 

Zuma Rock Resort (Abuja, FCT)

Abuja is not the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria without reason, and Zuma Rock Resort proves this point. It turns a notable attraction into comfort at its peak with its meeting rooms and learning center set in the midst of the humongous view of Zuma Rock.

 

The Zuma Rock Resort has prime lodgings set with superb amenities and other side attractions. One can apply for a Golf Membership to take advantage of its extensive provisions and 18-hole golf course. 

The view makes hiking, bicycle riding, and horseback riding to enjoy the scenic views a welcome idea. Quiet dinners can be had at the restaurant while reveling in the wonders of nature.

 

Obudu Mountain Resort (Cross River)

Popularly known as Obudu Cattle Ranch, this resort is located in the heart of the tropical forest in Cross River. It remains one of the most popular resorts with good reason. There are ample side attractions and things to do, you’ll barely have time to catch your breath.

The view is amazing. It is a mix of lush vegetation which the forest brings, and the ruggedness that the mountains contribute. Obudu Mountain Resort alongside its lodgings and other services (pick up and drop off services, gym, and spa provisions), the sites to see are numerous. 

Couples can decide to go on the canopy walk, view the Resort’s exotic provisions via a cable car ride, or visit the nature reserve and tree nursery. The Resort has a Grotto with a beautiful waterfall. 

It is sight upon more sights at the Obudu Mountain Resort, and it takes the experience to feel it all.

Of course, there are other resorts to have a Baecation in. Which sorts have you been to, and which is your favourite?

Qatar is set to receive 6 million visitors per annum

The middle East Tourism has been dominated by Dubai as a top destination with all sorts of attractions. Visitors keep  coming back for more but today, Qatar is the new kid on the block.

For years, Qatar has been preparing to take that enviable position as number one. This is a drama series we are looking forward to as the Qatari people do not give half measures.  If you have  been to the Qatar Airport then you will know they are in pursuit of excellence , the opulence and grandeur is unrivaled . The National carrier Qatar Airways,  is the only airline to be voted World’s Best Airline six times by Skytrax. This is further complimented by the airline’s home and hub, Hamad International Airport, which got the vote World’s Best Airport in 2021 by Skytrax.

Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Qatar Tourism has launched a new campaign to promote the destination with the tagline, “Experience a World Beyond”, and a new website has been launched to this effect , www.visitqatar.qa

It is available in five languages and supported by a recently launched Personalised Travel Companion mobile app, designed to showcase the world-leading destination. The campaign features nine unique, engaging key chain characters  to introduce travelers to the destination, which will roll out across 15 international core markets. We are not sure Africa has an invite to the party yet.

Experience the culture and play local games
Dates are regular features in the middle east -Dates are the first agricultural export product of Qatar, amounting up to 16,500 metric tons per year in 2003 but the local fruit production has declined steeply over the past decade.
Middle East scents in a jar

Destination Knowledge

To aid knowledge and development for travel agents, Qatar Tourism’s travel agency training platform, TAWASH, has also been refreshed with a new interface design, content and training modules. The training platform supports Qatar’s mission to become a leader in Service Excellence. The design offers an improved learning experience, the upgrade in programme functionality includes features such as interactive maps and knowledge check quizzes, alongside a new module structure to deliver an agile learning solution.

 

Agents can receive a ‘Qatar Expert’ certificate, which can be upgraded to ‘Qatar Specialist’ through completion of additional elective options. Learners who have already completed the former programme will automatically receive the ‘Qatar Expert’ level.

Infrastructure and Attractions 

With the goal of raising tourism to 12% of GDP by 2030, Qatar will grow and improve assets and attractions, including the addition of 105 new hotels and serviced apartments to its extensive growing portfolio. The strategy will enhance the end-to-end customer experience and deploy a tailored marketing strategy to target point-to-point and stopover visitors.  The country will also be hosting the FIFA world cup 2022.

International travelers are welcome  to experience Qatar’s rich cultural heritage, unique hotels and resorts, incredible outdoor activities, beaches and multi-cultural culinary scene. In Qatar, visitors will truly Experience a World Beyond.” This also includes the National Museum with a grand architecture – a complex form of the desert rose, found in Qatar’s arid desert regions which  inspired the striking design of the new museum building, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel.

 

Remote Places to book a Travel to

One thing ‘Squid Game’ pulled into focus is how there are many memories locked in our childhood. Every country is different, but even if you didn’t partake in playing the games as a child in Nigeria, you will always know tinko-tinko or fire on the mountain. These are part of what made the outdoors a fun place to be. 

There were no mobile phones or iPods. We had massive radios which made carrying them about pointless, and an abundance of time to run wild under the sun or in the rain. Growing up was quiet yet loud at the same time with face-to-face interactions at the core of socialization.

Today, it is a lot different with the world as a global village connected via social media platforms and the internet. It remains impactful, however, to spend some time in places that remind you of the happier years of your childhood- remote, quiet places away from the loud cities hold. Places you can live simpler for a bit.

Check out 4 remote places you should plan to visit sometime.

 

Nunavut, Canada

What if I told you this is a place where there are no traffic lights, would you believe it? 

Nunavut in Canada looks like a scene the cartoon ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ could have been drawn. With a population under 40,000, Nunavut is remote enough for quiet days filled with hiking, snowboard, birdwatching, and fishing.

Nunavut is famed for its art in etchings, stone print, carvings, and it is a good place for art lovers to both view and sell artworks.

 

Anegada, British Virgin Island

Imagine a place where the population of the entire area was 200 people ten years ago. Adrift on miles and miles of sparkling blue ocean waters, snorkeling is a favourite attraction on this picturesque island. 

Anegada is home to diverse wildlife and fauna, and some species are endangered like the Anegada rock iguana. With a bird sanctuary as one of the thrills, there are ample sights to be seen amidst the quiet.

 

The Republic of Nauru, Oceania

Random fact: Nauru is the third smallest country, and it has a total population of under 15,000. Although it is quite a difficult country to get a tourist visa to, it remains one of the most remote islands.

There is a wealth of history to explore on the island, alongside the beaches, and an ample opportunity to swim. In all, it makes for a reflective experience.

 

Easter Island, Chile

Photo Credit: NY Time

Easter Island is a tourist haven. It has over huge 900 moai sculptures which serve to draw in tourists all year round. It also has volcanic crusts that make the coastline a beauty to hike on. Although there is little beach activity, there are amazing seafood restaurants.

But with all of these, Easter Island is remote. It has about six thousand locals in total, a little internet interaction, and a lot of quiet time that can be spent in seclusion or on tour being a part of the wonderful sights it holds.

 

How to Plan for a Trip Overseas

If someone asked you the country you’d love to travel to, what would your answer be? 

Though you might not be swept away by the travel frenzy, you may have a destination you’d love to visit because of its sights or cultural activities. For some people, that destination travel dream is like a fantasy; something you imagine but do not believe would happen.

Whether it is the first international trip you are planning for or the idea of it you are nurturing, here is how you successfully plan a trip overseas.

 

Be Precise.

It’s vague to think you want to travel to France. When your thoughts aren’t precise, it is hard to create a visual or plan for it. Instead of thinking up a trip to an entire country, be more specific. What drew your attention to France? If it is the Eiffel Tower, think ‘I would like to visit Champ de Mars in Paris’.

This gives more perspective, makes the desire more visual, and shapes what you need to put into effect.

 

Draw a Budget

Travel budget concept. travel money savings in a glass jar

In drawing a travel budget you need to take into factor the place and duration of the visit. It is more expensive to travel to some countries than others, so do proper research on the place of your choice.

You also need to know your mode of travel (are you backpacking, traveling via sea or plane), means of transportation within the place of choice, accommodation facilities, activities you intend to embark on, feeding plans, and miscellaneous expenses. This helps you get a breakdown of your expected daily costs and total travel cost.

Knowing the figures also helps you know how to save up for it, and when to set your trip.

 

Research

There is nothing like being overprepared. It is a good thing to have at the back of your mind that you are entering new territories, and some things that are normal to you might not be where you are heading.

Make adequate research on proper documentation, credit card or bill payment platforms used and available in your destination, compare and book accommodations beforehand and after reading reviews on them, check travel policies and visa requirements, vaccination, and other medical requirements. 

 

Documents & Network Availability

Ensure you check your passport validity while planning for your trip. Also do not forget to make available your valid means of identification with scanned copies of all your necessary documents sent to yourself via email. This way, you can always access them.

Check and note the necessary network setup you would need. Find out if your network provider gives roaming services and if its services are available in the designated travel country. You could also make alternative means of communication available. 

International calls are expensive, ensure you have the best plan chosen for this.

 

Network

The advantage of living in a more social world with applications like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and others is that you get to communicate with people all over the world. There is nothing like have a local in your travel destination to show you the ropes and give relevant advice.

You might want to connect with some people before you embark on your trip.

 

Tour Organisations

Some people find the thought of traveling alone scary. You could look into travel agencies for available tour packages to the location you have in mind.

This is a preferred means to many because you don’t have to worry about accommodation, transportation, feeding, and company. These organizations usually have it all figured out with fun activities for the trip arranged too.