Travel North: Cagayan, Tuguegarao, and Ilocos in 4 Days

To Far North and Beyond!

Warning – this trip is not for the faint of heart. It involved traveling via bus from Manila to Sta Ana, Cagayan for 16 hours. Although to us who dared, we were rewarded with beautiful-picture-perfect sights both on land and under the sea.

It was just after the summer season when we decided to embark on an almost instantaneous journey. We were twelve in the group and our destination was Palaui Island in Cagayan Province located at the far Northeast point of Luzon. Afterwards, have a short trip at Tuguegarao which is a four hour bus or van away, then swing by Pagudpud, Ilocos a 6-hour night bus away from Tuguegarao.
Jerolynda Resort is one short outrigger boat ride away from San Vicente Port. It can already be seen at the Port.
Jerolynda Resort is one short outrigger boat ride away from San Vicente Port. It can already be seen at the Port. | Source
Getting to Palaui

We were rushing out of the office as soon as the clock hit 5:30PM, we did not want to be late for our 7:15 Florida Liner bus ride from Sampaloc Manila to Gonzaga, Cagayan and knowing Manila, the state of heavy traffic is unpredictable.

We arrived after an hour and as it turned out, the bus was late, we already left the station almost 8PM. It was also a bad decision to take the Gonzaga bus since it goes straight to Aparri first before it takes a U-turn back towards Sta Ana. As I mentioned, the trip took us 16 hours. By the time we got off Gonzaga for a less than 30 minutes jeep ride to Sta Ana we were exhausted. We paid a little extra for the jeep to take us straight to San Vicente Pier to book the outrigger boat tour for Palaui the next day and to be able to reach our place to stay in for two days – Jerolynda Resort.

Trip Tip: For a shorter trip to Palaui, there is a flight from Manila to Tuguegarao, from there take the bus or van to Sta Ana (this would save around nine hours travel). There is also a Florida Bus that goes directly to Sta Ana (this would save around four hours travel) but only leaves at 3PM.
lunch of steamed crab
lunch of steamed crab | Source
our first view of the light house
our first view of the light house | Source
waterfalls at Palaui Island
waterfalls at Palaui Island | Source
clam at Palaui Marine Sanctuary
clam at Palaui Marine Sanctuary
colorful fish at the Marine Sanctuary
colorful fish at the Marine Sanctuary
soft and hard corals at the Marine Sanctuary
soft and hard corals at the Marine Sanctuary
crocodile island
crocodile island | Source
a small lobster at the beach of crocodile island
a small lobster at the beach of crocodile island
white crumbly stones at Crocodile Island
white crumbly stones at Crocodile Island | Source
Palaui Island

DAY 1

The dispatcher at San Vicente Pier was a nice guy. He helped us do market before going to Jerolynda Resort since one could not buy food at the resort and yes, there is also no food when touring Palaui. The fish was fresh and there were also live crabs on sale. These crabs were not the typical ones in the restaurant, their meat is color black and had a hard shell. When we ran out of supplies such as coffee and cheap rhum the next day, he also asked the boatman to bring some to us.

After a heavy meal of fish and crabs for lunch, we were off to our first stop in Palaui – the Cape Engaño Lighthouse. If weather permits, the outrigger boat can stop directly at Punta Verde. From there, we had to hike up for less than 20 minutes. It was a good thing that mother nature was kind to us, the waves were not bad. Considering we were experiencing heavy rains in Metro Manila, it was a sun-shiny day in Palaui. Although too sunny – it was a steaming hot way up the lighthouse. Thank goodness for the beautiful view! Everywhere it was full of grass, flowers, and trees at the side of the path. There were stairs for most of the way up. The lighthouse itself was already worn out. It still is beautiful though with some of its old stone walls in-tact.

The way down was a lot easier since the sun was already hidden. Our tour guide suggested that we visit the waterfall which was 10 minutes hike from Punta Verde. This time we passed through a path in a rain forest. The waterfall was comparably smaller then others I have seen, but after the hot climb at Cape Engaño we still bathed quickly in the cool gush of water.

DAY 2

We continued the tour the next day. Our first stop was the white sand beach of Anguib Cove. Most of the time there was spent snorkeling and taking pictures under water. There was not that much to see though – after around 30 minutes of swimming all we saw were a small sea cucumber, small silverfish, a dead sea urchin and lots of sea grass. The place was perfect for beach bumming and a picnic at one of the huts. Lunch was freshly bought fish, canned goods and rice which we asked to be cooked by the beach caretaker for the same price of 50P per meal for the cooking.

After the beach we were off to the Palaui Marine Sanctuary. The place was declared a marine sanctuary since 1994. It’s no wonder the corals are alive and at around eight feet there was a clam and colorful fish.

The last stop was Crocodile Island, named as such because of a crocodile shaped pile of white stones in the middle of the island. The stones looked like marble but crumbles easily when touched. We climbed up the stone to have a good view of the island.

Trip Tip:

Jerolynda Resort cost is 800P for 2 people, 100P extra bed, 1000P for 4 people. Those rooms are non-a/c, electricity was always fluctuating when we were there and they use salt water for bath. Only thing is there are only two choices for a resort near the port – the other one, Jotay Resort was fully booked.
Market cost for food was 70P per kilo for fish, 50P per kilo of crab, and 2 kilos for 70P of rice. The personnel at Jerolynda Resort would cook the meal for 50P cooking charge per meal. In our case, we had a serving of Rice (50P), Fish with Soup (50P), and steamed crab (50P). Total cost is 150P for cooking.
The tour guide for the twelve of us at Cape Engaño was one of the care takers of Palaui Island named Maya. Supposedly it is one guide for every 3 people, but since we arrived late, she was the only one there. Payment is 250P per tour guide.
Boat ride for the following locations is 3500P as of June 2012 – Cape Engaño, Anguib Beach, Crocodile Island, and Punta Verde. Contact dispatcher Nanding at 09359966744 or 09476340986
There is also another option to just choose one location at a time from San Vicente Port – Cape Engaño (45mins travel, 1800P), Anguib (25mins travel, 1500P), Siwangag (30mins travel, 1500P), Puzorubio (1hr travel, 1800P), Jerolynda Resort (ours was free since we stayed there, but if not staying there it is 10mins travel, 300P), Crocodile Island (5mins travel, 500P), Punta Verde (15mins travel, 750P), and Pugo Moro (5mins travel, 500P).

A full plate of Pancit Batil Patung
A full plate of Pancit Batil Patung | Source
the Tuguegarao Cathedral was built from 1761 to 1767 by the Dominican Priests during Spanish Period
the Tuguegarao Cathedral was built from 1761 to 1767 by the Dominican Priests during Spanish Period | Source
A classic kalesa – or a horse drawn carriage in Tuguegarao. The kalesa is a common transportation in the city
A classic kalesa – or a horse drawn carriage in Tuguegarao. The kalesa is a common transportation in the city | Source
Tuguegarao

DAY 3

We rented a van to bring us from San Vicente Pier to Tuguegarao for 4000P. Along the way we passed by Kilometer 642, which is the last kilometer marker of Luzon. We reached Tuguegarao around four hours later.

One of the must-do’s when there is to try their Pansit Batil Patung. We got a taste of this noodle treat at Jomar’s. The super special plate was good enough for two people at only 70P. After the heavy meal we went to Callao Cave in Tuguegarao, Peñablanca which is known for its seven chambers. There were 183 steps up to the cave. The caves still had the stalactite and stalagmite formations but they were no longer sparkling. According to our tour guide Callao Cave was already declared as a dead cave, nevertheless we got beautiful shots inside the cave. My favorite chamber was the Cathedral – the tourism of Cagayan made a church inside the cave. I can almost imagine a solemn wedding inside.

We stopped by the Central Mall to buy souvenirs then passed by Tuguegarao Cathedral built in 1761. We caught the bus for Ilocos at 7pm which turned out to be a longer trip than expected…

Trip Tip:

Operating Hours of Callao Cave – 8am to 6pm
Entrance fees to the Cave – 20P (12yrs old and older), 15P (Senior Citizen with ID), 10P (students with valid ID), 10P (below 12 years old)
Other things to to do in Peñablanca Tuguegarao we were supposed to do but was not able to 🙁 1) Sierra Cave – according to our tour guide in Callao Cave, Sierra Cave is still alive but to be able to have a tour there, a schedule must be done with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Also, he told us we needed to have rugged clothes on since we would get wet. 2) Pinacunauan River Boating for the Circadian flight of Bats but it rained in the afternoon and we were told that we would not be seeing the flight of bats with rain.
Souvenirs from Cagayan: 1) Alcala Candy – candy made from Carabao’s milk 40P (15pcs each pack), 2) Cagayan shirt near GMW bus station 180P, 3) Chicharon or crispy Carabao Meat also from the same place as the shirt 30P

My first visit to Makkah (Mecca), from Riyadh by saptco bus

When I reached Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to join my husband Fozail, my heartiest desire was to perform Umrah. The first thing in my mind was to visit the holy city of Mecca. By the grace of God, just after two months after my arrival here, I went for my first Umrah. That lucky day came in the Holy month of Ramadan.
Travelling from Riyadh to Mecca

On 21st Ramadan we (me and Fozail) left for Mecca by Saudi Public Transport Co. (SAPTCO) bus. (SAPTCO provide public transport across Saudi Arabia and some parts of neighboring countries.) We boarded the bus at about 4:30 pm.I was feeling very excited and continuously asking many questions to Fozail about Umrah as he had already performed one before.After about 15 minutes the bus started, the bus was not very comfortable, but not bad either.After about an hour later, there was an announcement in the bus regarding Maghrib prayer time and asking all the passengers to have our Iftaar and break the fast.As we were travelling, couldn’t hear Maghrib Azaan, the timing to break the fast was announced by the guide on the bus.The bus authorities had provided Iftaar in a box (some food items to eat as our Iftaar).

After travelling for some more time, the bus stopped at a refreshment point.There are several refreshment points on the highway between Riyadh, Jeddah and Mecca. A typical refreshment point will have some eateries, washrooms, gasoline service station and a mosque.We got down from the bus and offered our Maghrib prayers (evening prayers) and had some food. After spending about half an hour there, the bus resumed its journey towards Mecca.

SAPTCO Bus – a transport service available in Saudi Arabia, (Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company)
SAPTCO Bus – a transport service available in Saudi Arabia, (Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company)
The holy Kaba’ah
The holy Kaba’ah

After travelling 3 hours non-stop, the bus stopped again.This time for some more refreshment and Isha prayers (night prayers)!We had our dinner and performed Isha prayers.The bus halted for more than one and half hour before it started its journey again.

We reached the Meqaat (place for assuming ihram) at about 4 a.m.Meqaat area is divided into two large block – one each male and female.There were countless bathrooms and wash area in both the blocks.Here we take a bath and put on our Ihrams.Fozail told me that after getting ready with Ihram, I should wait for him outside the men’s block near a tree.So I was waiting for him but even after more than half an hour, he did not turn up.I was getting worried.I got confused and thought he might have forgotten the designated place and searching me somewhere else.I began to panic and was about to cry.Suddenly I saw him briskly walking towards me.Actually, there was the heavy rush in the men’s block and that’s why came late.

We offered two rakhat nafil prayers and proceeded toward the bus.There we came to know that all the passengers had already reached there.We were the only couple who came late… and it was very embarrassing in front of all the co-passengers.The bus began its last leg of the journey toward the holy city of Mecca.We reached our hotel at early morning as dawn was breaking.The movement, we entered our room, we entered our room, the sound of Fajr Azaan echoed… Allahu Akbar… from the centre of the Haram!

We missed our Sehri (eating something before dawn for the purpose of fast) that day.

I wanted to take some rest because I was very tired.But Fozail told me that we should proceed to Masjid-ul-Haram. From the hotel, it was just 10 minutes walk.We entered the Haram, and as soon as I saw the holy Khan-e-Kaaba, I quite forgot that only a short while ago I had been terribly tired.

Travelling Jamaica: Two White Girls on a Mini Bus

“Listen now what happened to us when we took a Jamaican mini bus………….What an experience this is for us, a trip into Kingston on a mini bus, It’s a little too adventurous for two white girls on a mini bus” by The Word. A popular video of people travelling on bus and taxi in Jamaica.

This video was a big hit in Jamaica in the 1980s. It was the Era when music videos were just getting to be popular. Jamaicans thought the video was hilarious, because we know how frustrating and fun public transportation can be. It must have been a real culture shock for the duet “The Word”.

Tourists are normally stuck in their air conditioned buses in Jamaica being transferred between Hotels, Attractions and Airport. They do not get to interact directly with the culture and different elements that make up the Jamaican and Rastafarian culture. The modern all-inclusive packages that are now offered seem to have dominated the market because the package also includes transportation for tourists visiting Jamaica.

We will be discussing how to travel by bus and taxi in Jamaica. Getting around in Jamaica does require some experience, wit and bravery. Even for me, who live here and have to travel Jamaica by public transportation, it is still a thrill. You never know what can happen.
What You Should Know Before Travelling Jamaica by Public Transportation

I just realized that this information also goes out to the upper class Jamaicans who have very little experience with public transportation but have to take it occasionally.

Be Yourself: Jamaicans can tell if you are from this part of town or not, whether you are rich, poor, ghetto or country. They can see your emotions. Jamaicans can tell the difference between a veteran tourist and someone that just migrated to the island. New Tourists stand out like a sore thumb. Remember to smile regularly.

Look Like You know Your Way: When you travel using Jamaican public transportation, it is best to look like you have a mission or a purpose. Try not to look lost. It is best to research your destination. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Consult with the driver or conductor.
The Players

Driver: This is the best person to ask questions and negotiate with. They can help to make your journey more comfortable. Feel free to ask the driver to slow down, if they are going too fast.

Conductor: The person that guards the entrance of the bus and coordinates seating. The conductor tries to jam pack as much people in the bus as possible and stores the luggage. He also collects the fares. They are normally crafty and cunning.

The Backup: This is the person that searches for passengers in the bus park and directs them to the bus that they are working with. The backup will use all sorts of tactics to get people to travel on a specific bus. They will coordinate with the conductor to jam pack the bus. They are paid by the driver on their ability to load a bus as quickly as possible.

The backup will normally be your first interaction when travelling, because they will come up to you and ask where you’re going and direct you accordingly. If they are more than one backups and buses going to your direction, get ready for a lot of attention.

Have Your Fare Ready: Make sure you have your correct fare ready before boarding the bus or taxi. There is a possible that it fell out your pocket before entering the bus. Try to use Jamaican currency when visiting Jamaica. American currency makes you look like a novice. Ask the driver the fare before boarding. Try to have the exact change, if possible.

Charter a Taxi Sometimes: If your journey is time sensitive or you have too many luggages its best to hire a chartered taxi. Make sure the vehicle is license to do charters. Agree on the fare before moving. Veteran tourists have enough experience to take unlicensed taxi’s. Not recommended for first time visitors to Jamaica.

Be Aware of Your Environment: Interact with the people in the bus park. Don’t be afraid of asking those at the Bus Park or bus stop about recommending a driver. Also watch and see who your driver is talking to (does he seem popular).

Travel Light and Prepared: Try to wear a backpack and have your hands free. Have snacks ready for long journeys.

How to Dress: Dressing like a hippie will make you look very cool, especially if you have dreadlocks. Try to look as natural and laid back as possible. Get ready to face very humid and hot conditions on the bus. There are a few large buses owned by the government that does have AC, but they are really slow but comfortable.
Getting Around in Jamaica

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Source
Mini Bus

The Mini Bus is fast, exciting and reliable. This is the bus to take if you’re late for work. It may have loud reggae music blasting. It will be jam packed, because it is very high in demand. If you like group conversations during your journey, you can bring up a conversation about conspiracy theories, religion or reggae music. If you like peace and serenity, this may not be the transport for you.
Taxi Cab

For a more personalized treatment and journey, getting around in Jamaica using a taxi cab is the best option. The taxi driver is a hilarious character that you have to deal with. It is very unlikely that they will be quiet. They will immediately switch to your accent or mannerism to engage you in conversation. If it is a charter, you can request AC, music or any other minor stops. This is a more customized journey.
Toyota Hiace Coaster

These are normally used for long distant journeys. These buses are normally used for tours or airport transfers. These buses are normally air conditioned and boring. Sometimes, the driver may spruce up the journey with a little private tour on the way to the hotel.

These coasters are also used as public transportation when getting around in Jamaica. These buses are used for the long routes like Montego Bay to Kingston. There is normally at least one tourist on these long journeys.
Every vehicle has their own name and character in Jamaica
Every vehicle has their own name and character in Jamaica
Country Bus

If you want to back pack in the rural areas of Jamaica, this is the bus to take in Jamaica. These buses are normally old. They are used because of the poor road infrastructure in the rural areas. These buses can handle the terrain easily. Country buses are used to transport farmers and distributors along with their produce to the market. These buses can carry large cargoes (even animals). The cargo is normally carried on the roof. Rural Jamaicans are very approachable and easy to talk to in the country.
Motor Bike

If you have ever been in Negril, you would have seen people taking bikes as taxi at the bus parks. This is because the roads are narrow in the rural areas. One passenger only (of course) and the rider may even provide a helmet to the passenger. You can even charter or rent a bike to and from your hotel. Small bikes like scooters and 90cc will be the preferred bikes.
Government Buses

These buses are normally used in the larger towns and in the city of Kingston. Only a veteran tourist will able to find and understand the movement of these buses in Jamaica. This is the bus used by the working Jamaica. It is the cheapest form of transportation and runs on a schedule. They do not use a backup man like other modes of transports. They are slow, because they stop at every bus stop. It is however air conditioned. It also has built in surveillance cameras. These buses also double as a school bus in the mornings and evening.
Why You Should Be Alert When Travelling in Jamaica

I am Just Going to give five bizarre mini bus experiences:

The other day my mini bus was stopped by the police and the driver did not have any license or documents. We had to unload the bus and seek another mode of transportation.
Took a mini bus to start a two hour journey. The rain started falling hard for an hour (caused a flash flood) and the bus got stranded for 6 hours. Made a lot of friends and hung out in some rural communities until the roads cleared.
Witnessed a sermon on a country bus by a pastor that had several people on the bus turning to Christ. People were praying and singing Christian songs. (This happens regularly in the rural areas). People were also speaking in tongues and calling out for JESUS.
Once I sat at the back of a mini bus that was going on a long journey, but I was just going down the road on a short journey. When I stopped the bus, the people in front did not want to unload the bus so I could get off. They thought it was too much hassle. The passengers asked me to Jump through the rear window. The lady in front of me shouted “me not moving a rass”. The driver and conductor agreed. So I had to jump through the rear window, which required some acrobatics. (they only asked me to do this because I was a young man with experience)
When I was younger around 7 years old, I was just starting to take public transport. I had to take different buses to get to school. I made one of the biggest mistakes you should never make on Jamaican public transportation. I fell asleep and missed my stop. I was taken 20 miles away from my home. I ended up in Montego Bay. After crying for a while, some nice people redirected me home.

Travelling Jamaica

Getting around in Jamaica by tour bus robs the tourist of the opportunity to interact with the people. The only culture that the tourist is exposed to is the employees at the hotel. These employees, even though nice have to follow hotel procedures when interacting with the guest. There are so many sub-cultures in Jamaica that tourist need to be exposed to, such as small town culture, Rastafarian culture, city culture and Country people culture.

Remember when travelling Jamaica using public transportation that the people are excited to hear a different accent. Jamaicans love a thrill and like to see when tourists explore the landscape.

11 Tips On How To Choose The Best Travel Accommodations

There are many things to consider when choosing your travel accommodations. The decision could make your trip fun or a disappointment. Choosing the right hotel is a must. Most travelers spend more time in airline ticket reservations and bargains but less time in choosing the right accommodations. Thus they may end up on the wrong side of the bed during their stay.

To get the most out of your hotel accommodations, remember to book as early as possible and make your dates more flexible. Hotels that specialize for business people will consider weekends as off season. Family vacationers could tap into these special packages during weekends. Primarily, you should choose your hotel based on name, amenities, features, price, packages and location.

Here are some considerations in choosing your best travel accommodations:

1. Accommodations should be family-friendly. Always ask if your hotel offers children activity areas with educational and fun activities supervised by duly-trained care-givers.

2. Your hotel should provide a swimming pool for children, daycare service, crib rental and child-proof electrical outlets.

3. Stay in a hotel that has electronic room-key cards and has a security viewer installed on their doors.

4. Make it a priority to choose a room on the upper floor.

5. If you’re the one who likes to spend more time in your hotel room and the balcony, you should ask for the available amenities and the conditions of the surrounding environment.

6. Depending on whether you’re on a private or business trip, ask your hotel about the availability of laundry service, hair dryers, coffee makers, newspapers, free meals, fax machine, bar, cable television, parking, shuttle service, internet connection, etc.

7. The hotel property layout and its location may speak more of its surrounding environment. Noisy locations such as construction on adjacent property, car traffic and noisy waterfalls are not specified on hotel flyers. So be sure to ask about it.

8. Beautifully landscaped surroundings with trees, flowers and inner courts also enhance your travel pleasure. Moreover, gift shops and restaurants all add up to a wonderful travel experience.

9. The location of your hotel with respect to main attraction is equally important. It could save you money on taxi and bus fare.

10. Make sure that the room service is provided 24 hours a day.

11. Check out the room itself. Is it brightly colored or classical? It sets the mood of your travel.

In order to get the most out of your travel, whether for business or family vacations, be sure to know everything about the hotel you are planning to check in to. Ask friends and relatives who have been there. Don’t just depend on the hotel’s webpage which is undoubtedly biased. Having to stay in a hotel which you don’t like could ruin your trip.

Bus Trip To Key West From Miami For Around $60

An average price of such a ride is around $60. For children the price is much cheaper. This bus tour route is designated in the way to feature the very best of the city. This includes sightseeing, attractions, shopping, dining opportunities etc. The bus tour from Miami to Key West is usually accompanied by live guides. You will be able to hear a few of history of each place you visit as well as many interesting stories. This means that the bus ride will be rather entertaining with many different facts and fun.

The Miami to Key West by bus can be either individual or combined. The best thing is that you can choose a package that will suit the best your needs.

This island is a beautiful and unique place to visit. The distance from Miami to Key West is about 160 miles and can be crossed by different means of transportation except the already mentioned one. Except hop-on hop-off buses there are as well public buses and shuttle buses. Public buses are the cheapest ones but with them the ride takes much longer as they stop various times until they reach the final destination and people often need to change bus lines.

There are around 160 miles from Miami to Key West. But let’s review how many miles are to the Keys from Miami are according to Wikipedia “the Keys is located at 129 miles (208 km) southwest (229.9 degrees) of Miami, Florida, (about 160 miles (260 km) by car) and 106 miles (171 km) north-northeast (21.2 degrees) of Havana, Cuba.”

If you decided to travel with a tour company for your vacations, it is very important for you to know how many miles from Miami to Key West are so that you can choose the best means of transportation. You will be able to opt for a car ride, bus, ferry, plane, etc.

Here is some more useful information about the island, the Key island is rather small in size and measures 4 x 2 miles. The island is bordered with Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico what is one of the main attractions for people doing the Key West tours.

Key West is among the most populated islands in the Florida Keys and has approx 25,000 permanent residents. Since we are talking about an island probably you have been asking yourself how you will be able to travel to an island by car or bus. Well, the route from Miami to Key West is actually connected by the Overseas Highway (US 1) as well as with 43 bridges. Taking all this into consideration we can get to the conclusion that the island is much closer to Cuba than to any other mayor city in Florida.

When talking about how many miles to Key West from Miami is there you will probably be surprised that crossing that distance is much faster by sea than by land. The truth is that a ferry ride will normally take around only 3 hours to to do the Key West tous while from the other side, a car ride will take around 3.5 hours and a bus ride minimum 4.5 hours. The truth is that only the people who were born on the island are true Conches. All the other residents are called “Key Westers”.

Cheap Travel To Russia And Some Important Things You Should Know… Make A Good Decision!

Russia might not be a good choice for most travelers who want to visit Europe. With its questionable peace and order situation particularly in the regions of Chechnya, the Communist rule impression still resides to most, and frigid climate throughout the country especially during the winter, Russia should be uninviting for most. But that was before. Now, although there are still shadows of the past Soviet, Russia is a place worth to be visited.

Travelers would not be disappointed with several historical sites that tell how rich Russia’s culture is. There are several museums, monuments, and untouched nature.

Cheap travel to Russia
Visiting Russia can be very expensive considering the distance of country. But with several online travel companies, the price tag is significantly lower that it was before.

To get affordable and cheap travel to Russia, all you have to do is to check the websites specializing on cheap tours. There are available travel tours and packages for group and family who decide to make a stop to Russia.

About Russia
While Moscow and St. Petersburg are the primary cities of the country, Russia has several side countries to discover. Be careful though when traveling. Make sure you know very well the places you are planning to visit.

You might have a little trouble communicating with locals especially if you are away on these two cities. But if you can understand the Russian language, you wont be having any problem.

Russia is a big country. In fact, it is the largest country in the world with a size twice as much as the United States. It spans from Europe to Asia and is divided into 11 time zones.

Climate has been the major issue of those who plan to travel Russia- that is if you will go to the Siberian region. Most people visit Russia when winter ends. It is usually for May- September. Unlike the usual impression, summer is perfect during these times.

Safety tips
When you decide to travel to Russia, learn as many things as possible. Know the language, the people, the culture, how to get around, and especially- know where the U.S. Embassy is located.

When you pack, pack light. Avoid carrying too much cash and expensive jewelry. Never show your wallets in public. Use money belt that can be worn around your neck. It is safer than wallet. Be vigilant when in crowded places like public markets, public transport, and tourist sites among others. Be aware of pickpockets at all times.

If you are going from point to point, do not hail on unmarked taxis and cars. Likewise, never share taxi to other people you do not know. If you are planning to travel by bus or train, take extra precaution.

If you are planning to drink on public places, make sure you have someone who remains sober. Any sign of intoxication might attract professional robbers and thieves.

Make sure other people back at home know your itineraries and contact numbers and numbers of your travel document such as your passport before leaving. If something wrong happens, they would know where to find you. Make enough photocopies of your plane tickets, passport, visa, and all your travel documents. Leave a copy at your home or to someone you know.

Check for travel warning and avoid the regions of Ingushetia, North Caucasus of Chechnya, eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krii, and Dagestan. These places could be dangerous for tourist.

Avoid drinking tap water. Instead drink bottled water. If there is no available bottled water, boil the water first before drinking.

All these could help you make it through your Russian trip safely.

Travel Vacation in Hawaii by Bus

When it comes to making travel arrangements in Hawaii your best bet would be to use a booking service that will enable you to travel easily and effectively in. I have managed to find such a company that will not only give you peace of mind when booking through them, but many package options to meet all your needs, whether financially or wanting to be treated like a celebrity.

The travel vacation packages that I am recommending you look at are all six days long and available on a daily basis. This includes five night’s accommodation, round-trip airport transfers, and sightseeing transportation to Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City tour, or Maui, or big Island tour. This and more is available to you.

Each tour bus has a level 2 semi-guided tour service which will help you identify all major tourist attractions and anything in between that you would like to know. It truly does make sense for you to be making use of a service like this as it is incredibly easy to travel anywhere by bus. This is definitely the most cost-effective way to travel.

The only other thing that you would need to purchase to make use of the travel vacation package deal in Hawaii would be an airline ticket to get there. It is also recommended that you try to book in advance as it will enable you to get the best price available to you for your airline ticket, and your travel vacation package in Hawaii. The best part of this travel vacation package is really not the planning of it, but just the enjoyment and experience of it all. It really does make it easier when all your travel arrangements and everything in between are all ready organized ahead of time.

Looking for packages online will ensure your needs and expectations traveling in Hawaii are met. I highly recommend that you sign a service that will offer you complete peace of mind when booking. It also makes sense that you find out how reputable a company really is, before you book, and also do a bit of homework by seeing what previous travelers that have made use of this type of service have to say about this company

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3203123

Roma Pass – Rome Museums and Travel Bus Card

Enjoy the beauty of Rome at your own leisure! The “Roma Pass” Tourist City Card offers a variety of services and discounts which make your visit in Rome much easier.

At a cost of only 23 Euros it offers services that worth over 40 Euros.

The “Roma Pass” lasts 3 days after being printed.

You will get:

free access to the city’s transportation network
free access to the first two museums and/or archeological sites visited
preferential access to all the visited sites and events in town.

You will be given a package including the Map of the City, Buses and Subways Timetables, the full List of Museums and Archeological Sites and the Program of all the Events in Town.

The new “Travel Health” service has recently being added, allowing tourists to access a dedicated Health Care service including First Aid Advice and direction to private and public structures accordingly with their needs and conditions.

You will find the “Roma Pass” at:

Rome Council Tourist Information Points ;
Rome Tourist Promotion Company ;
Complesso del Vittoriano;
All Museums and Sites participating;
Bioparco (Rome Zoological Garden);
Trambus in “Piazza dei Cinquecento”

Fill in the back of the card with your first and last name and enable the card upon your first transportation Journey or your first visit to a site/museum.

Always remember to show the card together with your ID in order to get discounts and preferential access.

With regards to the Transportation Network: the card is valid for three zones and for an unlimited number of journeys.

You will get free access to ATAC buses, metro lines A and B, Met.Ro trains, Rome – Ostia Lido, Rome – Viterbo (Rome – Sacrofano section), Rome – Pantano.

With regards to the Travel health MET : The card enable for a First Aid Health Assistance.

By calling the multilingual Medical Call Center (English, French or Spanish) – service available on a 24/7 basis – you will be given all the information needed and pointed to the adequate public and private facility depending on the pathology occurred.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2480495

An innovative WTM Africa 2017 promises to be extraordinary!

The leading travel trade show in southern Africa, WTM Africa 2017 promises to bring together travel trade, industry stakeholders, international media and important buyers with innovative new systems and events.
An innovative WTM Africa 2017 promises to be extraordinary!
“Over the past three years WTM Africa has seen visitor numbers grow, with a 23% increase in 2016, resulting in a 19% increase in travel professionals overall,” says Chardonnay Marchesi, General Manager of Africa Travel Week. “This growth alone has pushed us as a team to think on how we would innovate for WTM Africa 2017!”

Talking on innovation, the official organisers of WTM Africa, Reed Exhibitions, have taken trade, media and buyer feedback to enhance WTM Africa 2017 to present an even better exhibition than in previous years.

“We’re delighted to be hosting WTM Africa 2017 in April – a great month to visit Cape Town, where everybody wants to be naturally – as well as the ideal time to secure bookings ahead of the peak periods we see across the continent for travel,” furthers Marchesi.

In the lead up to WTM Africa 2017, the Reed Exhibitions team has been hard at work presenting buyer insights back to the local industry. “Our specialised focus on the African continent will bring the diversity and opportunity for the travel sector to the fore in 2017, with over 600 exhibitors and 5,000 attendees. In 2015, we estimated that a significant US $333m worth of business was conducted. While we are still calculating our figure for 2016, our in-depth research tells us that although a great deal of business is written on site, it doubles after six months and remains on this level for future projection.”

2017 will see an increased number of international and local buyers in attendance at WTM Africa says Marchesi. “We have tightened up our qualification criteria for buyers to ensure that we have the right people with purchasing authority at WTM Africa 2017. We are pushing for significant growth in buyers in attendance, with a 49% split from Europe and 11% from the USA, key target markets for South Africa’s tourism sector. Emerging markets will also be represented at WTM Africa 2017.”

In addition, WTM Africa’s ability to adapt to the fast pace of the travel sector and trade’s demand of an exhibition mean that new buyers are constantly being targeted, new sectors are constantly being added, and repeat buyers with buying power are being catered to simultaneously.

What this means is that WTM Africa 2017 will focus heavily on creating an ideal environment in which business deals can be brokered. For this reason, the following innovations have already been made ahead of 2017:

A host of international speakers from across the globe will focus on pertinent topics affecting the modern travel industry, as well as look to identify trends in the African travel market
New to WTM Africa in 2017, the Outbound Conference Theatre will invite travel agents to learn more about the international destinations that are right on our doorstep
Enhancements have been made to the Speed Networking programme, with each session extended to 90 minutes from 60 minutes in 2016.
The matchmaking and diary system has also been improved with the functionality to request meetings with fellow exhibitors and the ability to block out times in the diary.
Exhibitor workshops ahead of WTM 2017 will be conducted early in the year, while a White Glove Service means that training can also be done right in your office.

Members of the travel trade and its associated media excited about attending next year’s show in Cape Town are encouraged to register soon for WTM Africa 2017 by visiting www.wtmafrica.com and submitting their applications.

African air travel expected to take off

With the announcement of the new pan-African passport that will follow in 2018, African air travel spend is expected to rise with 24%. This new passport will enable African travellers to visit other countries on the continent without a visa.
Dino Gelmetti
Dino Gelmetti
The comprehensive survey by Sabre aimed to uncover the opportunities and challenges faced by African travellers today, in a bid to help airlines address these to support their own growth and provide travellers a better journey. Travellers from four countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt were surveyed, with those having flown in the past 24 months saying they would spend 24 percent more with the introduction of the passport (from $1,100 to $1,500 annually).

But despite a willingness among travellers to spend more on flights, travel in Africa still remains inaccessible to the majority, with only 23% of those surveyed having travelled abroad at all in the last two years.

Sabre’s traveller survey reveals significant growth opportunity for African airlines willing to address travellers’ current pain points.

When asked what prevents them from travelling more, the top reasons were:

32% said travel is too expensive.
31% said it is difficult obtaining VISAs.
30% said it is too difficult to book travel.
28% said there are no flights to their chosen destination.

Travellers also expressed a number of gripes about their current experiences when travelling:

27% said the check-in process takes too long.
22% said the check-in procedure is confusing.
20% don’t like the food on aircrafts.
19% think there is not enough to do at the airport.

“The results suggest that while travel is inaccessible to many and is difficult for those that do travel, there is a still a strong desire to travel more,” said Dino Gelmetti, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Airline Solutions, Sabre. “Additionally, most of the pain points can be addressed by airlines, and these tweaks could make all the difference to travellers.

“African carriers currently face tough competition from international rivals that control 88% of African airspace but, as demand for travel increases, African airlines have a real opportunity to win the lion’s share of bookings by addressing the pain points of travellers and going the extra mile to improve their experience.”

Like many other travellers globally, Africans also expressed a strong interest in experiencing a travel journey that was more personalised and tailored towards them. Respondents said that they would be willing to spend up to $104 per trip on an airline’s extra products and services – such as excess baggage, cabin class upgrades, and special food and beverage – if it improved and personalised their journey.

“Airlines globally currently pocket an average of just $16 per passenger on ancillaries, so the fact that African travellers are prepared to spend six times more than that represents a significant retail opportunity for carriers on the continent,” said Gelmetti. “Airlines will flourish if they invest in technology that can make sense of customer data and use it to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time. This technology, which empowers airlines to mirror the personalised shopping tactics already mastered by the online retail industry has been proven to increase ancillary revenue by an average of 10%, and is being used by some of the world’s most forward-thinking carriers.”

As further encouragement for African carriers, Sabre’s survey respondents stated a number of reasons why people would choose to fly with their local carrier over a foreign airline; the top three reasons were:

It offered cheaper tickets.
It offered the latest technology on board.
It offered greater comfort on board.