Category Archives: Travel

How to save up cash to fulfil your travel dreams

Show me someone who doesn’t like to travel and I’ll show you a flying elephant. We all love to travel, the golden opportunity to visit new places, meet new people, learn another culture, taste new cuisines, and most importantly create memories that will live with us forever!

Indeed, travelling has so many benefits, whether it’s for official purposes or leisure! However, lots of people find it difficult to fulfil this passion because of the financial aspect involved.

I would like to point out that travelling is not an expensive hobby as many people think it to be and putting together the funds needed to make a trip is way easier than you imagined! Let’s start off with the right mindset knowing within yourself, you can actually achieve your set goals is important, as this will boost your courage and self-discipline.

Get your figures and create a budget

Planning ahead and getting all the information you need for your dream vacay is essential. Make enquiries with Airlines, travel agents, and hotels on estimated prices for certain travel dates. When you add up all the estimated costs involved, make a clear budget for yourself.
Put down an estimated figure of the money needed and then make another list of how much you earn and spend monthly or even weekly.

Source – Dough roller.net

Consider other factors

Taking time to think about where or how many places you would like to visit is valuable. Asking yourself practical questions like what you would like to do on your trip or how many days you would like to spend, gives you a chance to properly plan ahead.
You need to consider the fact that a trip to France or Greece from Nigeria would cost you more than a trip to Ghana or within Nigeria. Also, activities like zip-lining, scuba diving, water motorbike, etc, would cost more than visiting the museum or public park. All these factors will help you know how much you need to save up.

Source – eslactivity.org

 

Source-Tourscanner.com

Cut down your spending

This involves having a close look at your expenses over a certain period of time. Placing them in order of priority and cutting off unnecessary expenses.
Avoid clubs, parties, or lounges where you spend a lot of money or better still relax at home and watch the television. Try as much as possible to cut on your utility bills, like electricity, gas, and water.

Separate your savings

When you save up money for travelling and other needs together, it tends to look bigger than usual. If you have ₦50,000 saved up and ₦40,000 is for future travelling, while ₦10,000 is for unforeseen expenses. You may see a lovely shoe or bag on sale and you quickly take out ₦20,000 from your savings and tell yourself you will replace it.
That’s how it starts and in most cases, the money is never replaced. This is where self-discipline comes in.
It is advisable to open a separate savings account for your travel plans that you do not have withdrawal access to for a period of time. That way there will be little to no temptation on spending it.

Keep rent low

For those of us who are not landlords and do not stay with our parents, rent can eat a big chunk of our income. It is wiser to stay in an apartment where rent is at a minimal amount or better to get a flatmate to split rent and other bills with you.

Get a side hustle

Look for flexible part-time or remote jobs/businesses that you can generate extra cash from. This may include taking online surveys, virtual assisting, marketing products and so much more. You may also work extra hours at work if it would come with overtime pay.

Sell out what you don’t need

We all have items around us that we do not use and most likely do not need. It could be a microwave, fridge, rug, or even books. Dust them off and sell them online or to interested buyers.

Source -Nerdwallet.com

These are smart tactics to get yourself visiting new places in no time. It is a gradual process and requires a lot of determination, however once you can pull this through, you are good to go anywhere!

Hacks for booking a great hotel room

In most cases, hotels come hand in hand with travel, from holiday cruise to business trips, festivals ,events  and so much more. Hotels are a major part of our society because they add to the economic value of a nation and increase tourism-related development.
Choosing a hotel room needs attention to details, or else you will make some costly mistakes that could have been avoided.
Making the right decision on booking a suitable room is very much to our own advantage. It may become a terrible experience if you choose a faulty room and there are no rooms available for upgrade.

Here are the key factors to look out for when booking a room, especially if it’s your first time lodging at a particular hotel.

Location

Where a hotel is located is very important. No one wants to lodge in a hotel that’s in the middle of nowhere. An accessible location is better. It is also nice to consider hotels that are closer to airports or train stations or even situated in the centre of town. Helen was traveling with family including little children and found herself in a dilemma, this particular choice is indeed unlucky for her. The location was way out of town and ended up being a stop over hotel close to the trailer park so you can guess the kind of market they cater to.

Source – departures.com. New York hotel room overlooking the city.

Neatness

Take note of the level of hygiene, right from the reception of the hotel. How tidy is the front desk? How neat are the staff? Does the reception smell fresh? All these are what you should consider before you proceed to preview the room. The room should be clean, with no smell, insects, stains, growing molds, or dust as finding any of this would be a red flag. Helen booked  a room from a popular hotel chain on booking.com, her card was charged already and getting to the hotel, the smell of the lobby was not inviting and should have been a no except she already paid in full and no chances of a refund.

Source – Elite Hotels

Staff

Staff that are welcoming, exuding warmth, kind and hospitable have a way of making guests feel at home and even when there are faults in the room, service, or food provided, their manner of customer service may help you overlook certain things. Good customer service is a key factor.

Source -Menlynhotel.com

Relevant information

Finding out as much as you can about the hotel online, reading reviews  and inspecting in person goes a long way in obtaining full satisfaction and value for your money.  Get information on the types of rooms available, room rates, discounts available, room service charges, amenities available, and all you are entitled to. Not all staff at the front desk give you full information on what you have access to, therefore it’s better you make your findings.

Comfort

Go for a place that has a cozy bed for ultimate relaxation and good food! Having a chef that delivers mouth-watering food is a necessity. Delicious food makes your stay enjoyable and will keep you visiting more often. A hotel that has fun facilities like a swimming pool, gym, snooker tables, casino, and massage parlors will definitely be a pleasant place to stay.

Getting over flight fear

As much as most people love the magical experience of flying on a plane, a lot of others panic at the mere thought of it.

Yes, the mere thought of being on a man-made flying machine, filled with fuselage and controlled by one person is enough anxiety to make anyone panic. Flying is a very common fear among the world population.

However, air transport remains the fastest and safest means of transportation. Due to the evolution of our society, the chances of you being on a plane often is on the high side.

If you usually have a strange feeling of panic whenever aboard a plane, now is the time for you to review your emotions and let go of such feelings. These flight anxiety tips will help you to relax and enjoy your flight.

It is important to know that proven research has found air transport to be one of the safest means of transportation on the globe.  Ian Savage, a professor in economics, found that there are just 0.07 deaths per one billion passenger miles. You better believe the chances of something going wrong while you are in flight are very slim and the likeliness of dying in an aircraft accident is 1 out of 205,552 possibilities. Coming to terms with and defeating flight fear takes bravery, knowledge, and a positive mindset.

Acknowledge your phobia 

Many who have a phobia for flying already know that flying is safe, but feel it’s still scary. It’s important to identify what sparks off your fears while flying. For different people, It varies from bad flight experiences, images, thoughts, sensations, turbulence, claustrophobia, and even fear of heights. 

Knowing what triggers off your feeling of fear is always a good start for overcoming it, as you would be able to expose yourself more to these fears, rather than distance yourself from it. Soon, it would no longer be frightful but something you are used to.

Get all the education you need

           Educating yourself about air transport is very essential. It helps you reduce anxiety as you replace assumptions with verified information. Learning about the safety features on a plane and emergency procedures set aside for flight operations will give you more confidence while in flight.

Pre-flight simulator classes

These machines are plane-like models that have similar features to a real plane. An instructor will simulate different flight scenarios to help you ease your fears. You will hardly notice you are not in a real plane. People with extreme fear of flying are advised to go on flying lessons in these machines. This will help reduce nervousness while flying. There are classes available in Lagos Nigeria.

 Therapy

            Seeking the help of an expert can play a major role in your mental well being. A medical procedure known as cognitive behavioral therapy helps extremely anxious passengers.

Focus on other things

While in flight, paying attention to other things to push aside your phobia, works like magic. It may not be easy but it sure does the needful. You may play a game, watch a movie, listen to music or podcast, write or even sleep. These activities will help distract your mind from the fact that you are even on an aero plane.

Daydream about your destination

Think about where you are headed to, the new environment, people you will meet, or even meals you would try out when you arrive at your destination. However, if you are headed back home, focus on your home, family, and friends.

Source- quora.com

Do it more often

Facing your fears is the best-known way to conquer them. Do not cancel your flight at the last minute and rush to use the train or bus to get to your destination. Keep getting on that plane, fasten your seat belt, and hold your head up high! Exposure therapy always brings about great improvement.

Getting over any fear is never easy, it is a gradual process. However, with a positive outlook and self-effort, you will be a conqueror sooner than you expect!

Croissants in Paris

Do you have a food obsession? 

Food obsessions are like an upgraded form of food cravings and I know this feeling well because when I was younger, I used to be obsessed with croissants even before I tasted them.

My first experience happened quite accidentally later that year. It was the end of a school day, the sun was hot and I was standing by the ice cream wagon fantasizing about the flavour I would get when my gaze snagged on a yellow wrapper in a refreshment kiosk with the word CROISSANT on it. Of course, it was too pricey for me so I saved up a week worth of my lunch money until I was able to buy one.

I still remember the feeling I had biting into the baked flaky outer crust to crash into soft buttery insides filled with rich melted chocolate. It was more than just croissants; it was the taste of discipline, longing, and yumminess. 

It tasted like victory, and my food obsession grew even stronger from then.

Years later while I watched an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ where a sister had a craving and flew to the country of origin to sate it, my mind drifted back to croissants. Although Austrian in origin, croissants are most popular as one of the top delicacies to try out in Paris and are paired with a variety of foods from whipped cream to fruits like strawberries.

It might be because the name sounds so exotic saying it out loud feels like you are immediately teleported mentally to a quaint cafe at a corner in Paris feeling a gentle breeze flutter the scarf around your neck while you take in the scenery with warm croissants between your fingers, but this pastry is a must-have.

 

I’m no ‘Emily in Paris’ but the lure of croissants, romance and a healthy dose of curiosity puts Paris as my next travel destination. 

What food are you willing to travel the globe for?

The state of Travel in Nigeria

The year 2020 is guaranteed to be documented in history books, repurposed as verses in songs from albums, be made into stories with morals because the year has been a lot to handle both locally and internationally.

From the Australian bushfires to the worldwide pandemic outbreak of Coronavirus that sent the globe on lockdown, stock market crash, notable celebrity deaths, The Black Lives Matter Protest, and something closer to the home of Nigerians, The #EndSARS protest. 

It has been a year fraught with one catastrophic occurrence to the other.

It has also been the year where travel and tourism worldwide have suffered the most. The Coronavirus pandemic resulted in a complete shutdown of flight services, and other travel restrictions when reopened which according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) put estimated losses at 5.5 Trillion Dollars.

What is happening to Travel in Nigeria?

A recent turn of events that has taken the country to the limelight globally on Social Media with the hashtag #EndSARS and #EndSWAT circles around protests to eradicate police brutality on youths. 

It is a call to the government to be held accountable for the actions of the appointed tactical force officials that have left many honest earning Nigerians with lighter pockets after an encounter with them, and brutalized on countless occasions. An outcry for change.

Q

This has led to peaceful protests across the country in various states like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Delta, with the citizen showing a unified front.

The protesters gathering at various road points nationwide has led to a stall in economic activities such as deliveries of goods and movement via vehicles as a result of blocked roads and streets. 

Traffic in densely populated cities such as Lagos has increased drastically making venturing outdoors a matter of high priority. With the number of blockages on major roads, both by the government and protesters, travel across Nigeria has been put into question.

Is this the end of Travel in Nigeria?

The month of October still dwindles by and my favorite quote as a response to this question about travel in Nigeria is “I can only Travel when I am alive.” 

One can only make decisions, take actions, and live life to the fullest when they aren’t brutalized to death.

Let’s work together to be able to travel with smiles etched on our faces soon as we navigate this speed bump.

Next stop — Bole Festival

Let’s play a game named: Live, Ditch, and Travel. 

In this game, you are given three states in a country. From these states, you select one you would like to live in, another you would rather ditch, and one you would love to travel to.

Are you ready? 

Let’s pick three renowned states in Nigeria; Port Harcourt, Lagos, and Abuja. 

Before you make your selection, I’ll tell you mine. But, because nothing can top the scale of excitement when it comes to exploring new things, I’ll give one fact about the state I would travel to.

After a 10-Hour Road Trip to Port Harcourt, the state was still unknown with her own cultural system, social preference, tourist sites, and local delicacies to explore.

I was excited to see what Port Harcourt had up its sleeves and one discovery that would take me back there anytime is actually what the state is most popular for.

There are certain things that are regarded as facts in life like how you’ll die if you didn’t breathe or the knowledge that the sun is scorching. This is one of them: the best Bole is found in Port Harcourt.

Hear me out, prior to my experiencing the orgasmic taste of Port Harcourt’s bole and fish combination, I was largely indifferent to it. 

Bole is a ripe or semi-ripe plantain that has been roasted on a metal mesh suspended over hot charcoal until it is well cooked on the inside and tan on the outside. Growing up, in Benin city, bole was sold by food merchants on the roadside with toasted groundnut. Although it is a nice combination, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. 

Ripe and un-ripe plantain, all you need for bole.

In Port Harcourt, Bole is like a standalone meal and sold in restaurants as part of the menu. It is usually served with spicy tomato and pepper sauce fried in palm oil giving it a unique taste loaded with spices alongside juicy and savory roasted fish. Together, the sweetness of the bole, the juiciness of the roasted fish, and the spiciness of the tomato sauce balance one another to give a sublime taste.

Bole – stand alone meal at Portharcourt restaurants

I can’t tell if it is because the tomato sauce is made with palm oil or this taste can only be unlocked in Port Harcourt because Bole anywhere else doesn’t taste like the variety I had in Port Harcourt.

Port Harcourt’s Bole and Fish delicacy are so popular there is a festival called The Bole Festival- a food celebration created in 2016 in dedication to this delicacy. 

There is no better hangout than one crowned with food. 

To celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the land, The Bole Festival is unrivaled in its scenic arrangement where people of all ages and social classes are joined for a day in laughter and sampling of culture through food. 

Bole Festival 2016

The best bonds are created over food and shared experiences, and it is an experience to have once in your lifetime. Even better with a group of friends to point out all you miss on this unforgettable trip.

That been said, I would Live in Abuja (why not? The delights here also need a movie creation of its own), Ditch Lagos (No offense to this state that never sleeps), and Travel to Port Hartcourt.

What State would you Live in, Ditch, or Travel to? 

Road trip to Portharcourt

The furthest I ever traveled growing up was to my hometown in Edo State which was roughly a four-hour drive spent with my face pressed to the windowpane of my dad’s Honda Civic. In excitement, as we zoomed past thick clusters of trees, I must have reenacted an adventure story where I would get lost in the woods a thousand times.

That got old fast, and subsequent years were spent with me sleeping away the travel time and wondering if travel would ever be as exciting as the first time the idea was announced to me.

I was deployed for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC-a mandatory one-year national program after tertiary education) to Port Harcourt, the rumored most happening state in Nigeria after Lagos and Abuja, I was so excited I wanted to resume camp for my Youth Service that second.

Photo credit – PH Drones‏ @drones_ph

I had the playlist I would listen to all through the 10-hour bus trip planned out; my matching outfit was guaranteed to tell the world I had spent the better part of my teenage years in Lagos State, and the sunglasses (you can’t go on a trip without sunglasses) were set in the pocket of my carrier bag.

I was off to explore a whole new life; my name could have been changed to Dora.

To say the least, the actual trip was much different from the trip in my imaginations, and that led to me creating a checklist I religiously follow when embarking on a long trip.

Let’s flashback for a second. The most cost-effective means of travel in Nigeria is by bus. However, if you can afford flight tickets and know your travel mission is time-sensitive, by all means, take a flight; but if you are ready for an adventure, please, travel by bus.

You think you have seen all Nigeria has to offer until you travel by bus.

Most of my fun memories were derived from countless hours spent on bus trips I took frequently on my way to and from my University which was located in another state. Among these memories was the discovery of new playlists, eavesdropping on beliefs so queer I forgot I wasn’t a part of the conversation, passengers becoming the experts at driving when you hit that traffic jam to Neverland, or sampling delicacies from roadside merchants.

Sampling delicacies by the roadside is for the brave-hearted, if your stomach walls are not thick or too sensitive stay away from them.

Fish and Boli, a Portharcourt delicacy

Port Harcourt was the first 10-11 hour trip I had ever braved, and despite the contrast in intriguing sceneries, as the hours flew by, I realized my legs were made to endure shorter trips, and ten hours was a lot of time my playlist wasn’t ready for. From then my travel checklist became more realistic.

One, you cannot take a ten hour trip in ill-fitting clothes. Your soul will never forgive you in another ten hours after that.

Two, power banks are as essential as air.

Three, drinking water before a 10-hour trip is the apple Adam and Eve ate in the garden of Eden- the bane of all long trips.

Four, trust that no restroom stops along the way would have the essentials, go with your own tissue paper. 

And, my favorite, carry along water and drinks you would consume with you from home. Sometimes the prices merchants call for them are ridiculous.

That being said, I staggered out of the bus ten hours later rumpled, humbled by a dead phone, but excited to see what other lessons Port Harcourt had in store for me.

Falling in love

Once upon a time, I sojourned to a land unknown, to study a course stumbled into by serendipity and while studying found my voice, today the rest is history in the making. I enrolled in Tourism development as part of a double major course and found myself in a class of 5, the only female, 1 Briton, 2 Vietnamese and  lastly from Phuket.

L-R : 2 Vietnamese, Tutor, myself – Nigerian , Phuket – Thailand, Briton

They all had dreams,  plans and 2 of them had a Tourism related job back home. Class was fun and very interactive as there was no where to hide in the midst of a crowd of five. At the beginning, I had fuzzy pictures in my head of what I wanted to do with the course or greater still trying to figure out what am doing in the class .

One day, just like waking up from a deep sleep, it became crystal clear thus Travel begins at home (Project TBAH) was born and I started embracing,  my deep – rooted love for going out, follow – follow (following parents on trips, market runs, barbershop, mechanic workshop  etc)  and travelling .

Memories came flooding back of  trips I made legally and illegally all fresh and green . One day,  while still in Primary school on a PE (Physical Education) uniform wearing day.  PE uniform was dirty from school  and on getting home, refused to change it, played some more , climbed trees and part of lunch spilled on the front. Later In the evening,  Mom was speaking with my Uncle about an errand to my cousins house, before she concluded with him, I quickly went outside and sneaked into the boot of the car (see below the car type,very roomy boot ) Panel van (as we used to call it then )


Took a good position and balanced well.  He pulled out of the compound and no one noticed I was missing. Midway to my cousins, I startled my Uncle by jumping from the boot to the back seat. Luckily for us both he had a lot of shock absorber so he did not crash the car. I moved on to the front seat and chatted with him all the way oblivious of the storm brewing back home.

Back home, it was getting dark and a search party was looking for me everywhere, including under the beds. Eventually someone suggested I probably followed my Uncle but Mom was double sure I did not as she saw him drive out.  After a call to my cousins  land line phone, everyone breathe a sigh of relief as they now know my where about.

On getting back, I got the beating of my life for :

  • Going out looking this dirty !
  • Hiding in the boot and startling my Uncle : which Mom said could have caused an accident.

Did i stop doing follow follow ? No but I sure never hide in the boot ever again !

What is in a name : My fruity trip

The thought of going somewhere new or old or just anywhere is always super exciting, exhilarating and fun.

I know, I am gushing over the words , but I really can not help it, travel does this to me.

Mango is my favorite fruit and I am always happy when it is in season, sometimes I process it into juice or smoothie all depending on my mood.

Today I stumbled on the South African airline called Mango. This sounded like melody to my ears, just rolling the name of the Airline on my tongue not the fruit ( the picture in my mind : words paint pictures in our mind ) I could literally feel the taste and breathe in an exotic Island  at the mention of the airline.

Safe for constraints, I will head to South Africa right away to board one of their craft, hmnn, this can happen sooner than I think not minding the fact that the only African country I have visited is Cotonou.

This brings to mind that a name can create feelings or re- awaken memories that will attract people to your product or destination.

Hello World

Hello world, we are here !

Welcome and thank you for visiting this page, we really appreciate this gesture and promise you an awesome time as we explore the world together. Travel begins at home is not your regular travel blog, it is an experience we hope to create with everyone finding their voice and space in the whole wide world.

At travel begins at home, we believe since the world travel means “to move or go from one place to another”,  we will use the word “travel” without a restriction of distance covered. We also believe that “home is where the heart is” so wherever your heart feels at rest, a sense of belonging, welcome and relaxed, that is home.

Welcome home