Tag Archives: Travel

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.