Tag Archives: adventure

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.

 

 

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?

 

The Eiffel Tower 

France’s Eiffel Tower is one of the country’s top tourist spots and just taking a picture beside this astonishing Tower is the signature clue that you are in Paris, without even having to tell anyone!

Believe it or not, at 1050 feet, this structure was the world’s tallest building for over 40 years before it was overtaken by the Chrysler building in New York in 1930. Also, it was initially built as an entrance to the World Fair Exposition in 1889 to mark the 100th anniversary of the French revolution.

 

It took roughly two years and two months to complete this stunning structure, which was from 1887 to 1889. Three hundred steelworkers and well over 17000 metallic parts, 40 tons of paint, and 2.5 million rivets are what it took to birth the glamorous Eiffel Tower. 

An amazing fact about this great structure is that it moves while also being able to withstand the heaviest winds, and never sway more than 4.5 inches! In 1913, a renowned expert on aerodynamics named Eiffel published “The Resistance of the Air.” He and his team actually designed the Tower never to sway more than 4.5 inches and have heavy wind resistance.

 

Eiffel Tower is named right after the talented genius who brainstormed and designed this structure, Gustave Eiffel. France remains top of the list of most visited countries in the world.

Paris, the capital city of France is definitely on so many travellers’ must-visit list for a reason, the popular French cuisines, wine, croissants, cheese, baguette bread, historic monuments, friendly locals and so much more.

France is a globally loved nation, also famous for high-end fashion shows, skincare products, and designer perfumes. 

Popina fine-dining restaurant of Ebonylife place is back!

Exciting news for Lagosians as Ebonylife Place located in Victoria Island, Lagos, well known as the classy multi-purpose event venue has reopened it’s luxury dining restaurant, Popina.

Popina fine-dining restaurant is one of a kind and will continue to have the attention of gourmet lovers! It was temporarily shut down on 19th March 2020 to comply with covid 19 precautionary measures and ensure customer safety.

 

Now life is slowly returning to normal and having fewer covid-19 cases, Popina fine-dining is back to steal the show!

 

Famous visible artist, Gerald Chukwuma put together the incredible style and design of the posh restaurant. The interior has a touch of elegant foreign features and a fusion of colorful African culture. There is also an enchanting poolside terrace for those who prefer fresh air and the outdoors.

       

Gavin Blaauw who is the chief chef elaborated on the unique menu having a rich blend of French methods, Italian flavours, native ingredients, and a top-notch meal presentation. 

Now the tip of the iceberg which a lot of people do not know of yet is that there is a 50% discount on three-course meals ordered from the common menu! This offer kicked off on Saturday 22nd May 2021 and lasts for seven days. The final day for this offer will be 28th May 2021.

 

Who wouldn’t want to be present at this glamorous dining with delicious cuisines at just half the original prices? Make those reservations on time now!

 

To book and for enquiries, +2349139264355 and also connect to them via Instagram on @popina.lagos

 

Explore Kwara state

It’s a thing of pride to learn more about your country’s culture and natural wonders!  It’s totally better to be well informed than having foreigners tell you about what you have in your own home country. Nigeria has a handful of captivating spots that lots of us do not know of.

 

Kwara state is a well-visited tourist spot in Nigeria and I bet you didn’t know that! Be rest assured to expect every and anything in this scenic wonderland! There are lots of exciting activities to do and places to visit in Kwara state. Just keep it at the back of your mind, you are in for an adventure of a lifetime.

 

Here is a glimpse at some places to explore in Kwara:

 

(i) Owu Waterfall: This natural delight is one of the most outstanding natural wonders in Kwara state and Nigeria at large. It is the highest waterfall in West Africa at 120m above the water level, cascading 330 feet down an escarpment. Visiting this waterfall and getting to dip in the icy pool at the bottom is an amazing feeling. Health professionals insist waterfalls play a major role in reducing stress levels, depression, and anxiety. So if you are having a moody day or just want to relax and get away from it, Owu waterfall is the place to be!

(ii) Dada pottery: Found in the Dada district of Ilorin, Kwara state. Dada Pottery arguably has the largest cluster of potters in the state. It is a sight to behold, coming in close contact with professional potters and watching art being created first hand. The amount of potters present, their dedication, and professionalism makes watching them and even trying to mold up clay yourself such a delight!

 

(iii) Esie Museum: The oldest and first museum in Nigeria established in 1945, holds many cultural and artistic features that date way back in time. It’s one of the most popular museums in the country and making a stop at the Esie Museum is a great way to adventure and enrich your mind with knowledge at the same time. 

(v) Emirs Palace/Central Mosque: The Ilorin Central mosque is the second largest mosque in Nigeria and it has a capacity of about 20000 worshippers! It is located at the Emir’s palace, Oja Oba. Also, around Oja Oba is the popular Ilorin Gold Souk/market so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.

     

(vi) Unilorin  Zoological Garden: Kwara state has it all and that includes a zoological garden with an incredible zoo for wildlife lovers. 

 

(vii) Aso-oke Weave Centre: The beautiful Aso-oke material handwoven by professionals dates far back to ancient African history and it remains one of the most recognized African fabrics worldwide. This art of cloth weaving began centuries ago among the Yoruba tribe, however predominantly in Kwara state, Oyo state, and Osun state.

When you think of touring Nigeria, do not forget you can get a journey filled with pleasurable moments in Kwara!

 

Out of office and in for a staycation!

A few days ago was international workers day, a time to appreciate workers and their contributions to society and also a time for workers to reflect on their lives, careers, and happiness. The importance of mental and physical health to keep up great work ethics can never be over-emphasized. One of the best ways to keep the mind, body, and soul healthy is taking time off. Yes and that includes taking time off work.  

 

The purpose in life is definitely not just work. Being dedicated to your job is a beautiful thing, however, turning yourself into a workaholic with little or no time for yourself is not right.

Most times, life flies by so fast and we realize too late how much time we’ve missed. We can’t get back time and that’s why time needs to be well spent. Creating time to spend with your loved ones should always be a priority and setting aside special dates for a quick holiday or dinner outings makes life a splendid ordeal!

 

Most people do not have pictures together with their close family or friends, because we see them every day and at some point forget how important they are and how time is slipping away. Planning out a staycation once in a while and having precious memories to hold on to with our dear ones is priceless. Staycations are short-distance holiday destinations, usually within the same country you reside in for 1 or 2 nights.

 

Research has proven holiday getaways are the best spots to refresh and de-stress. The mental health benefits are endless and those who have tried this method of a break from work claim when returning to work they are filled with motivation, inspiration, creativity, and more focus for work duties. 

 

Subsequently, with more people understanding the importance of travel, a lot of establishments are now including vacation packages for their employees who meet set targets as a way to increase competition and motivation among staff. 

 

Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, states that visiting a foreign place and immersing yourself in their local environment increases your cognitive flexibility. 

As a worker, whether you are an employer or employee, it is necessary to set aside and save a certain amount of money from your monthly income for exploring new places with your loved ones. Make an annual holiday budget and keep to it. The truth is we should all aspire to be happy and make others happy! Do not allow life to pass you by as a worker, always work, save, travel, and repeat!