Category Archives: International Travel

Do you want to see the greater world? Do you dream of going to beautiful places you see on TV and in movies or read in books? International travel is taking your travel life to whole new level. It costs more money and time and it involves prior planning, visa, deciding whether you want to go solo or with friends or family. There is a lot and rightfully, the payoff is also many times more. More fun, more exposure, experiencing new cultures and seeing a whole different landscape, people and much more.

International Travel Documentation: Passports, Visas, and Entry Requirements

Travel involves journeying to various geographical regions, each with its own unique landscapes, cultures, and experiences. However, before embarking on such adventures, travelers must secure the necessary documentation, which serves as a gateway to these new territories.

This comprehensive guide delves into the essential components of international travel documentation, with a primary focus on passports, visas, and entry requirements. Understanding these documents is crucial for any traveler, as they not only permit entry into different countries but also ensure compliance with international travel regulations.

This article aims to provide a detailed overview of these key travel documents, offering insights into their purpose, the process of obtaining them, and their role in facilitating smooth and lawful international travel.

Essential Travel Documentation

Ensuing international adventure requires essential travel documents universally recognized for traveling. These mainly include passports and visas. Additionally, individual countries often stipulate specific entry requirements, making them integral to the travel documentation.

Passports

As your primary travel document, a passport is your international identification document. All countries require a valid passport for entry, usually at least six months until expiration.

Passport types vary, including regular, diplomatic, and official passports, each serving a unique purpose. Application processes and costs can differ drastically from country to country, so it is recommended that you check with local government agencies for detailed instructions.

Visas

An endorsement or document from a foreign country allowing entry, departure, or stay for a predetermined amount of time is called a visa. Depending on why you are visiting, there are several types of visas:

  • A tourist visa is for individuals primarily interested in tourism-related activities such as sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, or experiencing the host country’s culture.
  • Business visas are provided to individuals for business meetings, consultations, conferences, or negotiations.
  • A student visa is issued to students who want to study or engage in research-related activities in the host country.
  • Transit visas are used for short stays while en route to a different country.
  • Work visas are issued to artists, athletes, nurses, or other specially defined work categories.

The visa application process, much like passports, largely varies from country to country. Visa fees are dependent on several factors: the type of visa, how urgently it is required, and the applicant’s nationality. Today, many nations have introduced the idea of “Visa on Arrival” or “E-Visas”, making the visa acquisition process more straightforward and accessible.

Entry Requirements

Countries also impose specific entry requirements in addition to passports and visas. These might involve proof of adequate finances, a return ticket, vaccination certificates (especially in the current pandemic context), and, sometimes, a letter of invitation from a resident of the host country.

Vigilance is necessary here, as these requirements often change based on diplomatic relations and global health environments. Therefore, it’s wise to stay updated about these changes through consular services, travel advisory websites, or global health organizations.

Special Considerations for International Travel

Several factors warrant attention when preparing for international travel to ensure a seamless and rewarding experience. These include:

  • Travel Advisories: Prior knowledge of any existing travel advisories concerning the destination country can significantly impact travel plans. Government websites frequently update such advisories and should be consulted before travel arrangements.
  • Customs Regulations and Import Restrictions: Familiarizing oneself with the destination country’s customs regulations and import restrictions can prevent unnecessary complications. It informs travelers about what they can bring into the country and what might be considered illegal or restricted.
  • Cultural Etiquette and Local Laws: Understanding and respecting local customs, cultural etiquette, and laws in the destination country can contribute to a smoother travel experience and foster mutual respect between visitors and locals.

Incorporating these considerations into travel plans can help ensure that international journeys are smooth and enjoyable.

Common Challenges in Obtaining Travel Documentation

While international travel presents an opportunity for exploration and adventure, navigating the accompanying paperwork can often prove challenging. Several issues can arise during the documentation acquisition process, namely:

  • Processing Delays: The time frame for document processing can greatly differ, leading to potential unexpected hold-ups.
  • Extensive Document Requirements: Travel documents often require a long list of supporting items for due completion and approval.
  • High Costs: Monetary obligations such as application fees associated with passports and visas may add significant costs to the overall travel budget.
  • Navigating Legal Terminology and Processes: The application process often engages intricate legal terminologies and complexities, which may be difficult for individuals unfamiliar with the domain.

Experience has taught seasoned travelers the importance of thorough preparation, patience, and organized documentation. A solid understanding of the legalities involved can significantly streamline this process.

Legal resources such as Lawrina can be of considerable assistance in this sphere. Lawrina can help understand and navigate the complexities of legal constraints and requirements by providing numerous legal document templates and an extensive range of educational guides. This reliable vendor can significantly simplify attaining the required travel documentation, easing the pathway to international travel.

Conclusion

Realizing your dream of exploring the world starts with understanding and acquiring the proper travel documentation, namely, passports and visas, and meeting the specific entry requirements of your dream destination. With a nuanced understanding of these requirements and a touch of patience, globe-trotters can set the stage for an unforgettable, hassle-free international journey.

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International Driving License: Understanding the Basics

An International Driving License (IDL) is a document that allows a driver to drive a motor vehicle in a foreign country legally. It is available as a supplement to the driver’s home country license and is valid for a certain period.

It is issued by an authorized body in the driver’s home country and is accepted in most countries around the world.

History of International Driving License

The IDL was first introduced in 1949 when the United Nations created the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.

International Driving License (IDL)

This convention provided uniform regulations for the recognition of driving licenses between different countries. Since then, the international driving license has become a requirement for many countries to be able to drive a motor vehicle legally in that country.

Advantages of Having an IDL

The main advantage of having an international drivers permit is that it allows drivers to drive in a foreign country legally. This can be especially useful for those traveling abroad for business or pleasure.

Japan

Furthermore, an international driving license can serve as a form of identification as many countries recognize it and can also help to prove a driver’s identity in case of a traffic violation.

Disadvantages of Having an IDL

Although there are many advantages to having an international driving license, there are some disadvantages as well. For example, an international driving license can be expensive, and the process of obtaining one can be lengthy.

Additionally, it is important to note that an IDL is only valid for the period-of-time stated on the license and in the country it was issued.

Mexico City

Countries that Require an International Driving License

An international driving license is required in many countries. Some of these countries include:

It is important to check the laws and regulations of the country you intend to visit before traveling, as some countries may require an international driving license even if you are only visiting for a short time.

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining IDL

To obtain an IDL, a driver must first be eligible. The eligibility criteria can vary depending on the country; however, in most cases, the driver must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid home country license, and have had no serious traffic offenses in the last three years.

Documents Required for Applying for an IDL

When applying for an IDL, certain documents must be provided. These documents may include a valid passport, a valid home country license, proof of residence, and a certificate of insurance. Ensuring that all the documents provided are valid and up-to-date is important.

Steps to Obtaining an International Driving License

The process of obtaining an IDL can vary depending on the country. Generally, the first step is to gather all the necessary documents and submit them to the relevant authorities. After the documents are approved, the applicant must then pass a written and practical driving test. Once the tests are completed, the applicant will be issued an international driving license.

Costs Associated With Obtaining an International Driving License

The costs associated with obtaining an IDL can vary depending on the country. Generally, the costs include the application fee, the testing fee, and the fee for the actual license. It is important to note that the applicant may also be required to pay for medical examinations and insurance in some countries.

Canada

Conclusion

An international driving license is a document that allows a driver to drive a motor vehicle in a foreign country legally. It is available as a supplement to the driver’s home country license and is valid for a certain period.

To obtain an IDL, the applicant must meet certain eligibility criteria and provide certain documents. Please note that the process of obtaining an IDL can vary from country to country, and its costs can also vary.

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How To Have A Great Time In Kolkata For 4 Days Trip

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. It’s known for its literature, arts, music, and culinary scenes, among other things.

If you’re planning a four-day trip, here’s an itinerary suggestion that will allow you to experience the best of what Kolkata has to offer:

Day 1: Historical and Cultural Sightseeing

Start your morning at the Victoria Memorial. This grand marble building, surrounded by lush gardens, houses an extensive collection of art and historical items.

Afterward, head to the Indian Museum, India’s largest and oldest museum, to witness its vast collection of artifacts.

Later, visit the Mother House, the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, where Mother Teresa lived and worked.

Spend your evening on Park Street, which has a number of restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs.

Don’t forget to dine at Peter Cat, famous for its Chelo Kebabs.

Day 2: Exploring Literature and Arts

Start your day with a visit to the Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of the famous poet Rabindranath Tagore, now turned into a museum.

Then, visit the Marble Palace, a 19th-century mansion known for its collection of art, sculptures, and antique furniture.

In the afternoon, head to College Street, home to the world’s second-largest second-hand book market, and visit the Coffee House, a gathering place for intellectuals and artists for decades.

Attend an evening performance at the Rabindra Sadan Cultural Center, known for hosting Bengali theatre and music.

Day 3: Cuisine and Shopping

Start your day with a visit to New Market, a bustling shopping area, where you can buy anything from spices to sarees.

Have lunch at 6 Ballygunge Place or Oh! Calcutta for authentic Bengali cuisine.

In the evening, visit the Gariahat Market for more shopping and local street food.

End your day at Princep Ghat, where you can enjoy a peaceful boat ride on the Hooghly River while witnessing a breathtaking sunset.

Day 4: Modern Kolkata and Farewell

Visit the Eco Tourism Park, a vast expanse of gardens, lakes, and recreational areas.

Afterward, head to Salt Lake City to see the more modern and planned part of Kolkata.

Visit Science City, one of the largest science museums in the Indian subcontinent.

End your day and your trip with a visit to Park Street again for some final shopping, food, and maybe even some live music.

Remember to try Kolkata’s famous sweets like Rasgulla, Sandesh, and Mishti Doi during your visit.

Rasgulla

And, if you’re in the city during the Durga Puja festival, you’re in for a vibrant and joyous celebration unlike any other.

Enjoy your trip!

Explore the Wonders of the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul

If you’re visiting Istanbul, Turkey, you must add the Basilica Cistern to your list of must-see attractions. This ancient underground water cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Sarayı or the Sunken Palace, is one of the most unique and impressive historical sites in the city.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history, architecture, and cultural significance of the Basilica Cistern.

Basilica Cistern tickets are essential to explore one of Istanbul’s most captivating underground wonders. This ancient water reservoir, built during the Roman period, boasts impressive Medusa heads and stunning lighting effects. With your Basilica Cistern tickets, you can wander around the dimly lit corridors and marvel at the grand architecture of this subterranean marvel.

There are plenty of exciting things to do near Basilica Cistern that will enrich your Istanbul experience. You can take a stroll through the beautiful gardens of Topkapi Palace or visit the Hagia Sophia Museum, a stunning example of Byzantine architecture.

Additionally, you can shop for souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar or indulge in Turkish cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

History of the Basilica Cistern

Built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, the Basilica Cistern was designed to store water for the city’s growing population. It’s estimated that the cistern could hold up to 80,000 cubic meters of water, which was delivered through aqueducts from as far away as the Belgrade Forest.

Over the centuries, the Basilica Cistern fell into disrepair and was forgotten until the 16th century, when Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi rediscovered it. The cistern was restored during Ottoman times and continued to provide water to the city until the 19th century. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction that draws visitors from around the world.

Architecture and Design of the Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern features a unique architectural design that blends Roman and Byzantine styles. The cistern is supported by 336 columns, each of which is 9 meters high and spaced 4.8 meters apart. The columns are arranged in 12 rows, with each row consisting of 28 columns. The roof of the cistern is made of brick and features vaulted ceilings that add to the cistern’s sense of grandeur.

One of the most striking features of the Basilica Cistern is the Medusa Heads, two marble pillars that are carved with the head of Medusa. The pillars are believed to have been taken from a Roman temple and reused in the cistern. One pillar is placed upside down, while the other is on its side, which adds to the mysterious and eerie atmosphere of the cistern.

Cultural Significance of the Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern has played an important role in Istanbul’s history and culture. In addition to providing water to the city, the cistern has been the site of several important events and ceremonies. For example, in 1914, the Ottoman Empire held a ceremony in the cistern to mark the start of the construction of the Baghdad Railway. The ceremony was attended by high-ranking Ottoman officials as well as German diplomats.

Today, the Basilica Cistern is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Visitors can explore the cistern’s unique architecture and learn about its history and cultural significance. The cistern is also used as a venue for special events, such as concerts and art exhibitions.

Conclusion

The Basilica Cistern is a truly unique and impressive historical site that offers visitors a glimpse into Istanbul’s rich history and culture. Its fascinating architecture, mysterious atmosphere, and cultural significance make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the city.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or just looking for an interesting place to visit, the Basilica Cistern is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Experience the Thrill of Safari World Bangkok

Welcome to Safari World Bangkok, a wildlife park and leisure complex that offers an unforgettable adventure for all ages. At Safari World Bangkok, we pride ourselves on providing an exceptional experience for our guests, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler.

Let us take you on a journey through our park, showcasing all the incredible attractions and activities that make Safari World Bangkok a must-see destination in Thailand.

If you’re planning a trip to Bangkok, don’t miss out on the chance to visit Safari World. There are plenty of things to do in Safari World Bangkok, such as watching the animal shows, going on a safari tour, and exploring the marine park.

With over 8,000 animals from around the world, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

The Safari Park

At Safari World Bangkok, the main attraction is our expansive Safari Park, which spans over 480 acres of land. This wildlife sanctuary is home to a diverse range of exotic animals, including zebras, giraffes, rhinos, and lions. Visitors have the opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, as they roam freely in open enclosures.

Hop on board our Safari Park Adventure Tour and explore the park at your leisure. This guided tour takes you on a 45-minute ride through the park, allowing you to get up close and personal with our amazing animals. You’ll have the chance to feed the giraffes and take photos with them too.

Marine Park

Our Marine Park is the second attraction of Safari World Bangkok, and it is just as exciting as our Safari Park. Covering an area of 200 acres, our Marine Park is home to a vast array of marine creatures, from dolphins to seals, and even a white tiger.

Catch our Dolphin Show, where our skilled trainers will showcase the incredible intelligence and agility of these friendly creatures. Take a stroll through our Bird Show and see some of the most colorful and exotic birds in the world.

Shopping and Dining

Safari World Bangkok also offers excellent shopping and dining experiences. Visit our souvenir shop to buy some unique gifts or mementos of your time here. Our gift shop has a range of souvenirs, from cute soft toys to traditional Thai handicrafts.

We have several dining options available, including the Jungle Cruise Restaurant and the Safari Terrace Restaurant. Indulge in our Thai and international cuisine while taking in the stunning views of our Safari Park.

Educational Experience

At Safari World Bangkok, we’re committed to providing an educational experience for our guests. We offer several educational programs, including animal feeding sessions and animal shows, where visitors can learn about the behaviors and lifestyles of the animals in our park.

Our animal shows are not just entertainment, but they also aim to educate visitors about the conservation of endangered species. You’ll learn about the efforts we make to protect and preserve these beautiful creatures.

How to Get There

Getting to Safari World Bangkok is easy. We offer free shuttle bus services from several points in Bangkok, including major hotels and shopping centers. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, which will take approximately 45 minutes from the city center.

Conclusion

Safari World Bangkok is a unique and exciting destination that offers an unforgettable adventure for all ages. With our Safari Park, Marine Park, dining, shopping, and educational programs, there is something for everyone here.

So why wait? Book your visit to Safari World Bangkok today and experience the thrill of a lifetime. We guarantee you’ll leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

Experience the Best of Dubai With The View at the Palm

We are thrilled to offer you an amazing guide to help you plan your visit to The View at the Palm, one of the most iconic attractions in Dubai. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all the essential information you need to know to have a fantastic experience at this stunning location.

Plan Your Visit in View at the Palm, the iconic observation deck located on the 52nd floor of the Palm Jumeirah Tower in Dubai.

Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the island and the Dubai skyline, indulge in the VIP experience, and attend exciting events throughout the year. Book your tickets today!

View at the Palm, the observation deck located on the 52nd floor of the Palm Jumeirah Tower in Dubai, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the Dubai Skyline.

Enjoy the VIP experience, attend exciting events throughout the year, and don’t miss out on this must-visit destination in Dubai.

About View at the Palm

Located on the 52nd floor of the iconic Palm Jumeirah Tower, which is also known as the eighth wonder of the world, the View at the Palm’s observation deck provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire Palm Jumeirah Island, the Arabian Gulf, and the Dubai skyline.

The observation deck is a stunning masterpiece of architecture and engineering, which offers a unique experience to visitors.

Getting There

View at the Palm is easily accessible from all parts of Dubai. You can take a taxi or a bus to reach The Palm Jumeirah Island.

Alternatively, you can also use the Dubai Metro, which has a station near The Palm Jumeirah Island. Once you reach the Palm Jumeirah Island, you can take the monorail to reach the Palm Jumeirah Tower, which is where The View at the Palm is located.

Tickets and Packages

View at the Palm offers different packages and tickets to cater to the needs of different visitors. The standard ticket price for adults is AED 100, while the ticket price for children between the ages of four and twelve is AED 50.

Children under the age of four can enter for free. The observation deck is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.

VIP Experience

If you are looking for a luxurious experience, you can opt for the VIP package, which includes a private tour guide, a dedicated elevator, and access to the VIP lounge. The VIP package also offers complimentary snacks and refreshments, along with a stunning view of the Dubai skyline.

Activities and Events

View at the Palm offers a range of activities and events throughout the year, which makes it a perfect destination for visitors of all ages.

From yoga sessions to live music performances, there is always something exciting happening at View at the Palm. You can also enjoy a delicious meal at the in-house restaurant, which offers a stunning view of the Dubai skyline.

Conclusion

We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan your visit to View at the Palm. With its stunning architecture, breathtaking views, and exciting activities, View at the Palm is a must-visit destination in Dubai. Don’t miss out on this unique experience and book your tickets today!

Don’t Make These Common Travel Mistakes

Booked your first air ticket? Congratulations, you are soon going to fly at 32,000 ft above the clouds.

Flying for the first time can be both fun and exciting. However, if you have any flying anxiety, before boarding a flight, seek professional help or enroll in an online flying course to ensure a seamless experience.

Mistakes happen and many first-time flyers make blunders that can affect their journey and overall travel experience.

Let’s find out what are the most common travel mistakes and how you can avoid them!

Forgetting to check passport Expiration

There is nothing quite like the stress that comes from booking a flight and learning your passport is expired.

Many first-time flyers often make a mistake of not checking their passport expiration date. Some countries like China and Brazil require 6 months of passport validity. This means such countries will deny you entry if your passport isn’t valid for at least 6 months after your last day of travel.

It’s better to check your passport’s expiration date and, if needed, update it to avoid any problems.

Overpacking

As a first-time flyer, it may be tempting to pack a lot of stuff to make the trip more pleasant.

However, this can make your journey difficult and can boost the chances of you getting charged with potential baggage fines.

It is advised to go through the baggage allowance policies of your airline.

Reaching late at the airport

At the airport, it is a common sight to see people arriving late and many of them end up missing their flight.

For instance, if your plane departs at 2:00 pm, that doesn’t mean you have to reach the airport 20 or 30 minutes before just to find a closed boarding gate or to watch your plane flying away from the terminal.

Procedures like getting the boarding pass, security checks, and reaching terminals can all take much longer than you believe.

So, if you’re a first-time flyer, reach the airport at least 2 to 3 hours before the scheduled departure so that you have spare time to board the flight.

Not opting for web check-in

Whether you are a rookie flyer or an experienced jet setter, web check-in should be your top priority.

By web check-in, you can:

  • avoid standing in a long queue
  • save your precious time
  • choose the desired seat on the plane
  • immediately go through the security checks and then to the boarding

Forgetting to carry in-flight entertainment

This is the most common mistake that first-time flyers make.

Whether it’s a long-haul journey or not, carrying in-flight entertainment like headphones, iPad, e-reader, or smartphone can be a lifesaver on your flight.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Makes the journey enjoyable and fun
  • Calm your flying jitters
  • Time passes quickly
  • Keep you distracted
  • Block unwanted noises

Let’s wrap up

In-advance planning, double-checking your luggage, arriving on time, and avoiding these potential mistakes can make your first flight comfortable.

Above all, don’t’ forget to communicate with your co-passengers and seek help from the crew if you feel uncomfortable.

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Top 10 Things You Need To Do In Malaga

Malaga in southern Spain is famous for its sunny weather and sandy beaches, but there’s more to Malaga than simply beach tourism.

Sitting on the Mediterranean coast in Andalusia, this multicultural city has everything: an incredible history, sumptuous cuisine, a thriving art scene, and deep cultural roots.

No matter what kind of traveler you are or what you look for in a holiday, you’ll find something that appeals to you in Malaga.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and suggestions, here are the top ten things you need to do in Malaga.

Malaga is famous for much more than the beach.

Explore Malaga’s History in Alcazaba

Alcazaba Fortress

Malaga is reportedly one of the oldest cities in Europe, with its history dating back to approximately 770 BC when it was founded by the Phoenicians.

Over the years, it was then inhabited by the Romans, Moors, and Christians, all of whom contributed to this city’s diverse, multifaceted history and monuments you can still see today.

Perhaps the best of these is Malaga’s Alcazaba fortress in the city centre. It backs onto a Roman Theatre and sits watch on a hill overlooking the sea.

Built in the 11th century by the Arabs inhabiting the city at the time, this beautiful fortress houses a series of stunning patios and gardens typical of Arab architecture. The building’s defensive nature combines with its palatial character in a visual wonder of marble columns, archways, fountains, and turrets.

You can notice the Moorish-Arabic influence in the architecture

A Roman Theatre dating back to the 1st century AD sits proudly next to this Arab building in a juxtaposition that perfectly reflects Malaga’s multicultural history and heritage.

Finally unearthed in 1951, it’s one of the last vestiges of Malaga’s Roman past and well worth a visit. Over half of its tiered seating remains today, along with its stage. Nowadays, it even occasionally hosts shows as it is so well preserved.

Dive into the City’s Art Scene & Visit Picasso Museum

Patio of the Buenavista Palace

Second only to Madrid in terms of the number of museums, Malaga has made quite the name for itself in the art world. In addition, Malaga is famous for being the birthplace of the widely celebrated painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso.

The Picasso Museum in this Andalusian city is housed in the 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista, which in itself is a building worth a visit.

Picasso Museum

The work displayed in this museum spans 80 years of Picasso’s art, while its library and archives contain a vast number of titles on Picasso. The museum also has a bookshop selling various books related to Picasso and art in general, as well as a café in a quaint, leafy courtyard if you fancy a break from your day of tourism.

Or if you would like to learn even more about Picasso, you can also head to the Picasso Birthplace Museum (Museo Casa Natal). Take a tour through the rooms of the home where this great painter was born and learn about his family life and Malaga’s influence on his works.

Experience the Importance of Religion in Malaga

Christmas Lights in Malaga

Spanish people are passionate by nature, and their passion applies to religion too. Here in southern Spain, Catholicism is deep-rooted, playing an integral part in the city’s fabric.

The most iconic religious building in Malaga is undoubtedly its cathedral: the Catedral de la Encarnación.

Construction on this Renaissance-Baroque building commenced in the 16th century, on the site of what was previously the city’s great mosque. Today, it forms an unmistakeable part of Malaga’s skyline.

Affectionately referred to by locals as “La Manquita” (or “the one-armed lady”), it gained its nickname thanks to its unfinished south tower. Some historians believe funds to finish the tower were instead donated to America in its fight for independence against Great Britain; others believe the money went towards construction of a new road to Vélez, a town in the east.

A visit to this religious building will take your breath away, thanks to its finely made stained glass windows, its intricate vaulted ceilings, and its imperious columns.

And if you choose to visit Malaga at Easter, you’ll be able to enjoy all the religious fervour of Holy Week in Spain, and Andalusia in particular, when the scent of incense wafts through the streets.

Easter Holiday Celebration 

Religious brotherhoods and associations dressed in robes parade through the streets, carrying ornate religious sculptures and floats (tronas) on their shoulders. They’re usually accompanied by traditional bands that fill the streets with a cacophony of sound in this incredible religious celebration.

Try Local Cuisine

Charcoal smoked sardine espeto

When you visit Malaga, make sure you try the local food. The most famous dish in Malaga is the Sardine espeto (skewer).
You can order Malaga’s espeto speciality at any of the restaurants found along the beachfront.

The sardines are skewered with a stake and then cooked on an open fire in an old fishing boat kept on the sand beside the restaurant. The smoky aroma of these fires will tempt you inside as you walk along the beach promenade.

The Mediterranean diet is lauded worldwide, and Malaga’s location means it can offer up prime land and sea products in its dishes.

Seafood Paella

While in Malaga, you should also give the tapas culture a try. Tapas are small portions of food that are devised to be shared by diners.

So pick a restaurant or tavern, order a few different dishes, and indulge in Malaga’s wonderful cuisine.

Explore Malaga’s Old Town Like a Local

Malaga’s old town is the perfect place for a stroll at any time of day. Its narrow streets are brimming with typical cafés, bustling bars where you can have churros for breakfast, and charming independent shops among big-name brands.

Among its picturesque streets, you’ll find the city’s main market, Mercado de Atarazanas, which should be on your list of things to see and do in Malaga.

The original building sited here was an Arabian shipyard. There is one remnant of this history still standing: the market’s main entrance archway. It has since been incorporated into the rest of the market’s structure, which includes an amazing stained glass window at the rear.

Open in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, locals flock here to buy fresh bread, vegetables, meat, fish, and more at amazing prices.

In addition to shopping here for food, many locals take the time to sit in one of the market’s bars for a caña (small beer) and a bite to eat before going on their way.

Hit the Shops in Malaga

With Spain having contributed many of the world’s famous fashion houses, it’s only natural that there are many shopping options in Malaga.

In Malaga’s old town, Calle Marqués de Larios and its neighboring streets are some of the most popular places for shopping. You’ll find a varied selection of shops here to suit all budgets.

Venturing a little further outside of the old town, you’ll find El Corte Inglés. This Spanish department store is a shopping symbol in every city in the country.

Close by are the Larios and Vialia shopping centres, which also have several restaurants. The latter also has a cinema and it’s combined with Malaga’s main railway station, Malaga María Zambrano.

From here, you can hop on a suburban (cercanías) train to Plaza Mayor, a large shopping complex on the outskirts of the city. The journey won’t take longer than 15 minutes and is well worth it for shopping fans.

At this shopping complex you’ll find all kinds of brand names, especially as Plaza Mayor has recently been extended with the addition of the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet that’s opened. Whether you shop at H&M, Zara, Adidas, or Ralph Lauren, you’ll find something to please you here.

Not only that, there are lots of restaurants to keep your taste buds happy too, and a cinema that often screens movies in the original English version.

Relax at some Arab Baths

Malaga is the perfect place for a spot of relaxation too. One way to explore its Arab heritage is with a visit to the Hammam Al Andalus in the city centre.

A visit to these Arab baths will allow you to enjoy a divine massage with oils, along with a range of herbal teas, a steam room, and various baths at different temperatures.

And that’s not to mention the stunning architecture of the place. Archways and vaulted ceilings leap over the baths and strategically placed candles throw warm, peaceful light along its corridors.

Try Something More Adventurous: El Caminito del Rey

When it comes to adding something more adventurous to your list of things to do in Malaga, you should consider checking out El Caminito del Rey – the King’s Pathway.

This is an 8 KM (5 miles), linear hiking route through mountains and gorges, and passing by reservoirs.

With its origins dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, this previously hazardous pathway has undergone several renovations to become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions today. It was initially built so workers could reach the hydroelectric power plants at each end of the route, as well as to transport materials, among other tasks involved in these plants.

The pathway itself is built into the side of the mountain, hanging vertiginously 100 metres above the ground and only a metre wide.

Along the way, you can sneak a peek at the ground or river below through glass floors if you dare, and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding landscape, before finally crossing the hanging bridge at the end.

Go Hiking in Montes de Malaga Natural Park

Photo by Marcos Cortes Troman CC BY-SA 4.0

Further inland, five kilometres north of the city, you’ll find Malaga’s green lung, Montes de Malaga Natural Park. Covering almost 5,000 hectares, it features mountains (some of whose peaks stretch up to 1,000 metres above sea level), the basin of the Guadalmedina River, and rolling valleys.

During your holiday to Malaga, you should take the time to go for a hike here as this area is rich in flora and fauna, and it offers several signposted walking routes and cycling options.

There are also places of archaeological value within the park, including a rock painting, as well as a visitor center that also acts as a museum that explains wine culture, and how bread and oil are made.

Once you’ve finished your hike, make sure you finish with the area’s traditional dish, the Plato de los Montes. This calorific bomb is a hearty dish containing pork loin in lard, a fried egg, and several other fried foods, which usually include potatoes, blood sausage, chorizo, and peppers.

Discover the Surrounding Region with a Cultural Day Trip

Lastly, if you’re visiting Malaga over the last weekend in August, make sure you head to the neighboring town of Frigiliana to enjoy its Three Cultures Festival.

Located to the east of Malaga, Frigiliana is one of Andalusia’s famous White Villages. Its Three Cultures Festival celebrates the Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations that have inhabited this village over the years and helped to build its traditions. It does so in a spectacle filled with lively music, dancing, culinary delights, art, fireworks, and more.

Over the course of four days, the streets are packed with people there to enjoy street performers, workshops, and storytellers, in addition to the official concerts arranged for the event.

One of the most popular aspects of this festival is its ‘Ruta de la Tapa’ (Tapas Route). This tour will take you on a gastronomic adventure around the town to try different tapas in several local establishments.

Malaga’s Attractions are Varied

An old bridge

Ultimately, there are so many things to see and do in Malaga that you’ll be hard-pressed to find the time to manage them all in one trip. That way, you’ll have the perfect excuse to return to this Mediterranean city in the future.

Author Bio

Rhian MacGillivray is a content writer, translator, and blogger (www.malagamama.com). When she’s not busy helping companies to communicate their message with content and translations, she can be found at the beach by her home in sunny southern Spain.

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Return To Nature: Krka National Park in Croatia

Are you a nature lover who wants to experience something unique and beautiful? Do you love waterfalls, long walks, or cycling in nature? If your answer is Yes, then it is time for Krka National Park in Croatia which is known for its series of 7 waterfalls.

If you are planning to visit Croatia, one of the places you must see is this national park.

One of the waterfalls

How To Get Here

Krka National Park is located in central Dalmatia. It consists of almost the entire course of the famous River Krka and the lower course of the river Cikola.

The northern part of national park Krka is near the town of Knin and the Dinara mountain, where the river springs. The southern part of the park, near the town of Sibenik, is where the river flows into the sea.

River Krka

Nearby are the towns of Skradin and Lozovac. There are at-least eight entrances into the Krka National Park located around the park’s various attractions.

Bike & Hike Friendly

You can visit the park by car, hiking trails, or bicycle routes. The roads to the park are well marked and connected to the main highways. Since the tourist locations are far from each other, some of them you can only visit by excursion boats.

Things To Do In Krka National Park

With a large number of sunny hours, unusual beauty of the waterfall, plenty of green areas, Krka makes for a real natural phenomenon. The National Park includes a large number of attractions that tourists visit, such as:

  • Hiking trails
  • Bike routes
  • Roman military camp
  • Waterfalls
  • Ethno Village
  • Monasteries
  • Medieval fortifications
  • Caves

Skradinski Buk

The first stop from Skradin is Skradinski Buk. You can get there by footpath, bicycle or excursion boat. This ride is in the ticket price and lasts about half an hour. The ship departs every 20 minutes. It is possible to take a dog with you to the National Park if it has protection. Also, you can visit Skradinski Buk on foot from Lozovac, but there is also a bus.

Skradinski Buk is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in this national park. It got the name Buk because of the big noise, created by the water that descends through the rocks. Visitors are also allowed to swim, but only in marked places.

The characteristic of this part of the National Park is a pedestrian, one-way path almost 2 km long. The trail is circular and leads through beautiful landscapes of water and greenery.

On this trail, there are plenty of places to rest. Also, there are beautiful viewpoints that are great for photography. This road leads us over many wooden bridges. There are many mills in this part. You can also visit an ethnic village that presents old crafts.

A large number of souvenir shops and there are also restaurants. The whole footpath is well marked. There are also educational boards with useful information.

From Skradinski Buk you can go further towards the Island Visovac, or a little further Roški slap. The price of these boat trips is additionally charged.

Island Visovac

On this island, there is a monastery with the church of Our Lady of Mercy and a museum. An island rich in greenery and gardens. First of all, it is a place of prayer. You need to be decently dressed when visiting the island.

Roski Slap

Another magnificent waterfall! You can visit it by boat from the island of Visovac and Skradinski Buk, but also by car. This part of the park is known for the rocks that line one another, which is why they were named Necklaces.

From the waterfall, the road leads to a lookout point that gives a beautiful view of the Necklaces.

Krka Monastery

Photo by Sonjabgd CCBYSA3.0

A special place is known as the home of the monks. It is an Orthodox monastery. You can come here by car or boat from Roški slap. The boat ride takes about 1 hour and is extra cost (not included in your park ticket). You can visit the church and the museum.

Manojlovack Slap

Represents the most beautiful viewpoint of the National park. It is also the highest waterfall in the Krka National Park. You can visit this waterfall by car to the parking lot, and then on foot to the viewpoint.

Burnum

Photo by Carole Raddato CCBYSA2.0

A characteristic of this part of the national park is the ancient Roman amphitheatre. It can be reached by car and continue with a walking tour. You can visit alone or accompanied by a guide. This amphitheatre shows the military past of this part of
the country.

Explore Skradin Town

Skradin town, Croatia

One of the entrances to the national park, as mentioned above, is Skradin. The small Mediterranean town is a great starting to visit the national park. During the season, it is very crowded due to tourists, and out of season, you will find a quiet place and a peaceful life of the locals.

With its narrow and long streets, it conquers this place. The colored tall houses, olive trees, old bicycles in front of the door make us peek into every corner. In the main street, there are many wineries. This area is known for its excellent local wine.

Besides to wineries, there are also restaurants, souvenir shops with handmade products. The donkey is an animal that represents the symbol of this area. Old stone steps lead to the landscape with a beautiful view of the marina and the river.

After this part of the city, we come to the promenade along the river. A large number of cafes and the port of boats during the season are the reason why you should walk through this part. Luxury ships sailing through this part of Europe come to Skradin for a break. They provide an unusual sight.

If we go to the other side of the promenade, we will come to a playground for children. There is also a part of the river where many swans have found their place. During the summer there is a small market, where you can buy local products such
as honey, olive oil, figs.

Note: It takes several days to tour the entire National Park. If this is your plan, the ideal solution is to find accommodation in Skradin. We offer hotel and apartment accommodation of various categories.

Plant & Animal World

Due to its pure nature, the National Park is home to various plants and animals. During the visit, we can see animals like turtles, frogs, lizards. There are more than 30 species of fish and over 200 species of birds. When we talk about plants, the most famous is the pyramidal bell that grows in the rocks and is purple.

It takes a lot of time to visit the whole national park! And after the tour, walking, feeling the freshness of the water on your skin, you will be full of impressions and thoughts.

Everyday lifestyle leaves us little time for us. The best thing today is to know how to plan your time and not forget your needs. That is the secret of love for travel.

Krka National Park is an ideal example of this and should be on your “must-see” list!

Tickets & Prices

You can buy tickets at the entrance to the National Park, at various marked places. If you want to save time, you can also buy tickets online (on the National Park’s website).

Ticket price depends on:

  • the location where you buy tickets
  • how old are you, and
  • whether you visit the park individually or in a group

An important factor that affects the price of the ticket is the period during the year when you visit the park. Prices are lower in the months outside the summer tourist season. During the winter, a large part of the national park is not open for visits.

Note: Children up to the age of seven have FREE admission.

Have you already visited this National Park? If so, what are your impressions?

Author Bio

Dragana Šuša is an economist in tourism and a freelance writer. Currently, lives and works in London. Many years of education and work in tourism she has dedicated to works with small and medium businesses. She works on the promotion and advertising of companies in tourism and hospitality through digital marketing. Her main goal is good textual content, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Social Media Optimization (SMO). You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Kyoto On A Budget: Japan Travel Tips

Japan is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. It is a country where you can find old traditions mixed with modern technology.

And depending on which city you choose to go to, you’ll find vast differences between each one of them. For instance, Tokyo might be the city surrounded by technology, but Kyoto is the city known for its old traditions and temples all around.

Spring time in Kyoto

Which is why if you decide to visit Kyoto, you will be stunned by all the amazing traditions this city has kept. From the old shinto shrines to temples to bamboo forests to even geishas. You will feel like you traveled back into the past and get a first hand look at just what Japan was like in the older days.

There is simply so many things to see and do. And it is because of these things that many people will often think that visiting Kyoto is a very expensive thing to do.

And to be honest…Sure there are some expensive things here in this city, but it isn’t as bad when compared to some of the other countries in the world.

Kyoto On A Budget: Travel Tips

Path to Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine

There are many things you can do here in this city for either a low cost or no cost at all. It is totally possible to save money when you are visiting Kyoto. Which is why in this post I’ll be detailing all the tips and tricks for you to visit Kyoto on a budget.

So let’s get started!

Finding Cheap Accommodations

As we know, one of the most expensive parts of a travel trip is the place we stay at.

So the first thing on our list of budget tips is on how to choose your accommodations wisely.

Good thing for you is that there are a variety of cheap accommodations in the city that you can choose from.

In this list, we’ll be starting with the most basic of places to stay at and then move slowly up to the more higher end price points.

Capsule Hotels

A capsule hotel is basically a hotel that rents out small cubicles. The size of the entire cubicle is not very big and can only probably fit 1 person max. Even though it is small, it is a popular choice for many people to stay in if all they really need is a bed to sleep on. So if you don’t mind small spaces, then this will be perfect for you.

Typical Price: $10 – $15 USD a night.

Hostels

This is something where a lot of people might be familiar with. They are basically communal places where you stay with a lot of people. One room might have many beds for a bunch of people to sleep in or depending on which hostel you decide to use, they may offer private rooms.

Typical Price: $10 – $50 USD a night.

AirBnB

This is one form of accommodation where I think everybody should be familiar with by now. It is incredibly popular in Japan as there are many houses available for you to choose from at affordable prices. Although it is a bit pricier than some of the other options, it is still cheaper than a hotel.

Typical Price: $20 – $50 USD a day

Hotels

Just like every other city in the world, there are many hotels for you to choose from in Kyoto. Although the price point tends to be on the higher end of things, it may be something you’ll consider.

Typical Price: $80 – $100 USD a night

Using Public Transportation

When you are going to be traveling around Kyoto, there are a few methods you can use.

Trains, Buses and Taxis are going to be your friend. Now depending on where you are going, you might not even need them.

I personally recommend that if the destination is less than 30 minutes away by foot, I would just walk to that destination instead. Or, if you don’t feel like walking, there are some bike shops around that’ll let you rent out a bike to ride.

But if the destination is a little bit far, I would try a Public Bus first as they are relatively cheap. However if the Public Bus is not able to reach your destination, then I would try a Taxi.

Do know that taxi’s are actually quite cheap here in Japan compared to some other parts of the world. They are great to use especially if you are late for something or you missed that last subway or bus home.

Furthermore, here are some tips that can help you make traveling around the city more easier for you.

Download Google Maps if you do not have it yet. This is literally a god send and can help you out if you ever get lost. Google Maps is also able to give you accurate recommendations for different modes of transportation when you are trying to figure out your journey. So overall, it is a must have app for travel.

Download CityMaps2Go app for your phone to plot your destinations. This is a great app to use especially if you don’t have wifi because it works offline and is able to help you identify where you want to go.

If you are going to be using the train system here in Japan, then I would highly suggest you download Navitime for Japan Travel as it can help you figure out where you are going.

Finding Food To Eat

Fried pork with onions

This is the part everybody is probably waiting for.

You’ll be happy to know that eating food in Kyoto is incredibly affordable and cheap. Plus, the food is at a real high quality as well so you know you are getting some good food.

However, you do have to know where to go before you go buy your food. Mainly because, not everything is cheap in Kyoto.

Restaurants

Tip: Try to go where the locals eat. Avoid the restaurants that are geared towards tourists and go find some hole in the wall restaurant where locals eat. This will guarantee you save some money as foods tend to be cheaper here.

Note: The only problem in this approach is that they probably won’t speak or understand English so you might need a translation software or do some hand signs. Perhaps, learn a few common Japanese words, numbers, and phrases.

Also please note that these places might be a bit hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. Typically you can find these places by going to any residential neighborhood and finding a place that can only sit 5 to 8 people only.

Street Food

Street food is another type of food you can buy for a very cheap price.

You can find street foods by going to any of the street markets here in the city. And once you are there, you’ll be able to enjoy an assortment of different and delicious tasting foods.

Some of the foods you can find are:

Tempura – This is basically a fried Japanese dish that can consist of mostly seafood and vegetables. The batter is light yet crispy and makes for a delicious bite. Also, it is usually less oily than the other regular fried foods you’ll find in other countries.

Takoyaki – Takoyaki is basically a fried octopus ball and can be found all throughout Japan. They basically take a piece of octopus and cover it in dough batter and cook it into a ball shape. After that they top it with a sweet sauce, bonito flakes, and also Japanese Mayonnaise.

Okonomiyaki – A common street food (as well as commonly served in many restaurants) you might run into while in Japan is one called Okonomiyaki. It is basically a savory pancake excepted it is pressed on a griddle with a very diverse amount of ingredients. You can find them topped with all kinds of toppings such as cabbage, bacon, egg, seaweed flakes, and much more.

Yakitori – Yakitori is another street food you might run into while in Japan. Basically it is a grilled chicken skewer that has been cooked over a hot charcoal fire. It is a pretty cheap dish that is highly popular in pubs where people sit down and enjoy it with a glass of beer.

Donburi – Another simple dish you can find in Japan is one called a Donburi. It is a very cheap and affordable dish that is also very filling. The name Donburi means rice bowl and it can consist of many different types things added together with the rice bowl. It is a common item that you can find almost anywhere in Japan, as there are even fast food chains that sell this delicious item.

Donburi – this one is a traditional rice bowl with eggs

The best thing about this is that most of the street foods you buy are only around $5 bucks or less. So you can eat quite a bit without having to break the bank.

Convenience Stores

Another place where you can find some cheap and affordable food is at convenience stores all over the country. These stores are on a whole different level than those you can find back in the States.

Plus, they don’t just stock food, but they have literally anything and everything you can ever want.

One of my favorite things to get at these stores are the Ramen bowls. You can get them for as little as $0.50 cents and they will fill you up just nicely. Plus you can grab a drink and a dessert and make it a full on meal. How great is that?

So if you are wanting to save some money, I highly suggest you visit the convenience stores located in the area. They are amazing!

Places To Shop At

To be honest, Kyoto isn’t really the city to be shopping in as there are not that many stores around. If you are wanting to shop, I would recommend taking the 1 hour train ride to the city of Osaka where you can find literally anything and everything you want.

However what Kyoto does have is something called “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, which is the number one place for you to go buy all your food ingredients.

That place is the famous NISHIKI MARKET.

Nishiki Market is popular with both locals and tourists as it offers you a glimpse into what a traditional Japanese shopping street looks like. This is the place to find all your traditional Japanese ingredients as well as fresh seafood. They also have takeaway food stalls and even restaurants selling all kinds of delicious and yummy foods at affordable prices.

Definitely recommend coming here if you are looking to try new foods.

Free Or Cheap Places To Go Visit

Did you know that you can visit a bunch of different attractions for either no cost or low cost price?

It’s true! There are literally a ton of things that you can do for either a low cost or no cost budget!

So lets see what you can see for FREE or very little entry fees:

Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine

This is probably the number one attraction of Kyoto. The famous gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The gates form a line and go all the way up the mountain of Southeast Kyoto. Definitely a must see attraction as it is something you’ll never find anywhere else.

Cost: Free

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most beautiful sights here in Kyto. It is favored by many people from all around the world for its beautiful bamboo. Walking along the path of these bamboo shoots will make it feel as if you are going through a different dimension. There are also some local temples nearby which you can visit as well.

Cost: Free

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. It is the head temple of the Tenryu sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and is ranked first among Kyoto’s top five Zen temples. It is also here where you can find a beautiful Zen garden that dates back to the 14th century. It is one of the most beautiful Zen gardens in all of Japan.

Cost: ¥500

Giouji Temple

This is a small and interesting temple that is located close to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and is known for its picturesque view of its moss garden, bamboo grove & maple trees.

Cost: ¥300

Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple is a unique temple because it is all Golden yellow. Heck, even the top two floors are covered in gold leaves. Although you are not able to enter this temple, it is still a beautiful sight to see.

Cost: ¥400

Nanzen-Ji Temple

Nanzen-ji temple is said to be one of the best temples in Northern Higashiyama district. It is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan as well as being the head temple of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism. It is a magical place where you’ll have to really visit it to understand everything it has to offer.

Cost: Free to explore

Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku no michi)

If you want to see something truly beautiful, then head to Philosophers Path. It is a 2km long walkway that follows a canal and is surrounded by hundreds of Cherry Blossom Trees. If you come during the right season, the trees will be in full bloom and full of color making the area extremely beautiful to walk along in.

Cost: Free

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a Buddhist temple that is unlike any you ever seen. It is one of the most celebrated temples in all of Japan. What makes this temple famous is that it has a wooden stage that juts out from its main hall.

This stage allows visitors to a nice view of the surrounding area. Not only that, but there is also a shrine here that is popular among women for it is said to be the shrine to the god of marriage. Definitely a must see temple.

Cost: ¥400

Gion Street

Gion Street is a famous geisha district that is filled with shops, restaurants and teahouses. It is here where you’ll be able to see many geiko’s and maiko’s roaming around trying to entertain people.

Cost: Free to roam

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a bit of things for you to see and do for either a low cost or for no cost at all. Hopefully this post was able to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money in Kyoto just to have fun.

So next time you plan a trip, you might want to consider traveling to Kyoto and enjoy all it has to offer.

Let me know how your trip goes!

Author Bio

Wayne is a part-time traveler and a firm believer that anybody is able to travel no matter how busy they are in work or life. He wants to show you how you can travel better and smarter like never before. So, if you want to check out his travel blog, you can do so by visiting Daily Tourist.

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How to Apply For US ESTA VISA: The Complete A-to-Z Guide

Note: At this time we strongly recommend against traveling anywhere in the world due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. To fight this pandemic it is important that all of us do our best, so the world can go back to normal with the least amount of human suffering.

That said, and assuming we are over Covid-19 by the end of the summer and your feet are itchy to travel. What should you do? Where should you travel to? What are some of the great deals?

If you are thinking of visiting the USA, how do to apply for a US travel visa or an ESTA? What travel documents would you need The steps and documents required will be determined by your country of citizenship.

Let us explain what is ESTA and how can you apply one.

How to Apply For A USA ESTA VISA

What is ESTA?

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (also known as ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It mainly applies to visitors who are coming to the US either by air or sea.

Is ESTA a Guaranteed Entry?

Travel authorization via ESTA does not mean that you are guaranteed entry to the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival.

The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions.

When Should I Apply for ESTA?

It is strongly encouraged that ESTA applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to your travel. But you can apply as soon as you begin preparing your travel plans. The US CBP’s website says that “In most cases, a response is received within seconds of submitting an application.”

Note: Passengers (including babies) without an ESTA will be denied entry into the US at the port of entry. There is a small fee for applying for ESTA application.

Do I need ESTA to visit US Territories?

Yes, ESTA is also needed for visits to territories such as Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Do I need ESTA if I am traveling from Canada or Mexico by car (land)?

No. ESTA is not needed when arriving by land from Canada or Mexico.

Note: The United States is very strict with its immigration policies and if you are caught entering the country illegally, you will be deported and jailed depending on your crime.

Is My Country Eligible?

As of November 2019, there are 39 countries in the US Visa Waiver Program. Visitors may stay for 90 days in the United States which also includes the time spent in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Islands in the Caribbean if the arrival was through the United States.

The ESTA is only required if arriving by air or cruise ship. It is not required if arriving overland or on local ferries such as between British Columbia (Vancouver and Victoria) and Washington State.

ESTA Eligible Countries

Listing alphabetically:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

How to Check Your ESTA Status?

You must know your ESTA status before you travel to the US by visiting the ESTA website. First, to know if your country is among the Visa waiver program countries (listed above), and second, to check the status of your application.

In case your country is not on the list of VWP countries, then you must apply for a US Travel visa through a US embassy in your country of residence. Please note applying for a US travel visa is a substantially lengthier process that may require an interview with a U.S. Consular Officer.

ESTA vs. US Travel Visa

At times, some people combine the two documents such as ESTA and US Travel Visa as one; forgetting that they are two different documents. If you are eligible for ESTA, then you must check your ESTA status online.

How Long Is ESTA Valid?

Each travel authorization under ESTA can be valid for up to 2 years. However, a Visa Waiver Program traveler must obtain a new ESTA authorization if they are issued a new passport, or change their name, gender or country of citizenship.

Entry under the Visa Waiver Program is only valid for a combined maximum stay in the US and its surrounding countries of 90 days. The admission period cannot be extended under the ESTA program. If a longer stay is intended, a proper US travel visa is required.

Third-Party ESTA Websites

Some websites offer to complete ESTA applications for a fee, often many times more than the required $14 USD fee charged by the US Government. Access and application through the official U.S. Government website are available to any visitors to the U.S. who qualify under the ESTA program.

Even if one of the third-party websites is used, passengers themselves still have to complete the same form.

Exercise caution though (if using a third party website) as concerns have been raised that third-party sites could be used for identity theft, credit card fraud, or the distribution of malware.

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Top 10 Coronavirus Free Destinations: Travel After Covid19

Note: Since this is an ongoing situation, we’ll be updating this article every day! Last updated: March 16, 2020.

If you are like me, you must be anxious about when this Coronavirus mess will end and when your life would get back to normal! Well, worry not because like everything in nature, nothing goes on forever and this too shall pass away!

Microscopic photo of Coronavirus. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus resemble a crown thus giving it that name.

At the time of this writing, the virus has spread to over 160 countries and territories. Therefore, for now, we strongly recommend that you maintain social distancing, stay put in your home, save some money, catch up on great books, finish those binge-worthy TV shows, and start that passion project of yours that you always wanted to do!

Note: Do Not Travel Right Now (even if you can, because you may not show any symptoms and therefore can carry the virus with you and infect the otherwise isolated population and other people at higher risk. Please use common sense and exercise patience.)

Summer 2020

Let’s say, coronavirus gets under control (maybe even completely gone) and we are all in the clear. Also, let’s say if you have been itching to get out of your town and you are ready to travel, the first thing to check would be any still-remaining effective travel restrictions.

Assuming most of the travel restrictions have now been lifted (let’s say by May 2020), below are our top 10 recommended destinations which are either Covid19 free or with only foreign cases (i.e. no community transmission reported).

Antarctica

We have traveled to 6 continents so far and Antarctica has been on our list for a long time now. Well, keep in mind though if you live in the northern hemisphere (US, Canada, Europe, etc.), your winter month is summer-time in Antarctica.

So, why not visit a place which has no permanent human settlement and no cases of Coronavirus!

Big Island, Hawaii

Although Hawaii (Oahu) has cases of Coronavirus, all of them except one were imported. There are no reported cases of Coronavirus cases in the islands of Kuai, Maui, and Big Island.

Madagascar

The isolated environment, which Madagascar hosts, makes for exotic flora and fauna. The biodiversity that is present here is unique, in comparison to anywhere else in the world. 

If you ever visit Madagascar, you will fall in love with the island’s plants and animals, which exist nowhere else in the world.

So far there has been no positive cases of Coronavirus here and therefore makes it a safe destination to visit.

Galapagos Islands

You may have heard of the Galapagos Islands from Charles Darwin’s voyage. It is a remote volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador. It’s considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife viewing.

The isolated terrain of Galapagos makes this island a heavenly shelter for a diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

Reunion Island

Just at 134 kilometers, southwest of Mauritius lies the magical destination, Reunion Islands. It abounds in volcanic scenery and the tropical climate makes it a beautiful getaway for travelers.

Furthermore, Reunion’s magnificent volcanic landscape makes it a paradise for hikers. With little to no crowd and the remoteness of this destination, nothing gets safer than this island in the Indian Ocean.

Mongolia

Well, if North Korea has open borders then they would have been severely impacted just like South Korea and since they are a closed border country, they seem to be doing fine at this time of the global pandemic.

But Why am I talking about North Korea! Because it’s not easy to go there and it may not be on your travel bucket list. But, Mongolia might be.

And if it gives you any reassurance then know that just a few weeks after the first coronavirus case was announced in China on December 31, 2019, Mongolia announced they would be closing the borders with China. They were the second country to do so, after North Korea.

They have had Covid19 cases but if it’s among the isolated, less crowded countries in Central Asia and therefore a safer place to visit compared to any other country in that region.

Alaska

Alaska announced its first case of Coronavirus on March 12 (much after the rest of the US). Furthermore, the case happened to a foreign tourist. So far, Alaska due to its remoteness and harsh winter condition has been safe from Covid19.

Greenland

Like Alaska, Greenland reported its first case of coronavirus on March 16 with a person with travel history. That said, in the western hemisphere, remote places like Alaska and Greenland are safer destinations as compared to densely populated cities of Europe and North America.

I wish we could say the same about Iceland. We’ll continue to monitor the situation in Iceland and update this blog if it seems to be a safer place to visit in 2020.

Nepal

Nepal has only reported one case of coronavirus (a student who traveled from Wuhan, China). Since then the student has recovered and there has been no additional cases of coronavirus reported in Nepal.

Given that there are active Covid19 cases in both neighboring India and Pakistan, I would wait a few more weeks to see how the situation progresses in South Asia. Also, note, like Nepal, Bhutan has only reported 1 case and there have been no cases reported from Bangladesh.

Islands of the Caribbean

Most of the tiny island countries in the Caribbean have been either coronavirus-free or with less than 5 cases at maximum. The hot and humid climate definitely helps this region.

However, we recommend flying instead of taking a cruise for now until everything settles down. The point is to minimize human contact. Both flights and cruise have their how risks but flights are shorter. Also, pick one destination instead of a multi-day cruise that visits several islands.

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3 Tips for Making the Most of Your Stay in Sydney

Sydney is one of the top destinations for world wanderers. What makes it so incredible is that there are hundreds of places to see and things to do. While the fun is guaranteed, you need to ensure you don’t waste your time in vain. That’s why you need to plan your stay thoroughly.

Note: If you are planning to visit Melbourne, know that Sydney is pretty close to Melbourne and if you have a few extra days, you can also check out Sydney. It’s especially worth your time and money if you are already planning a trip for some great events and the numerous festivals that Melbourne is famous for.

Plan Your Trip in Advance

In order to help you out, here are 3 tips for making the most of your stay in this marvelous city.

Sydney Opera House

Planning is the mother of both successful time-management and stress-management. Once, you book your airline tickets and set on your travel dates, next you must find a price-worthy hotel at a great location which gives you the most value for your money. We recommend Hotel in the Rocks as one such place with great views and great location.

Next, you should write down the top places you would like to visit and the things you would like to do. Since that also depends on your budget, you should take it into consideration your budget and how much time you have.

If you have no idea how to do this, you can simply google the top tourist attractions in Sydney. When the results pop up, you will find information on the price per each site or activity.

For example, if you want to take a guided tour inside the Sydney Opera house, you can search for “Sydney Opera House tour price” and you will easily find it. It’s the era of the internet and technology, so make the most of it.

Below is our suggestion of the top 7 attractions in Sydney.

Top 7 Must Visit Places in Sydney

To help you out with this, we have compiled a list of the top places every person should visit in Sydney. Let’s check it out.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge – You not only can visit it by standing next to it but you can also climb it. It’s a little pricey but the experience is enthralling. There are great guided tours that allow you to experience the enchanting view over the Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House.
  • Sydney Opera House – The best way to visit the Opera House is by taking a tour inside of it. But, you can also watch a show. You can choose which one you like more.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

  • Bondi Beach – If you are going on a summer holiday, you have to spend part of it on the beach. Although there are hundreds of beautiful beaches within the city boundaries, Bondi Beach is the most popular of all, so you mustn’t miss it.

Darling Harbour, Sydney

  • Darling Harbour – Being made of large pedestrian and recreational areas, Sydney Harbour is a great place to spend some quality time. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can find great food and drinks and enjoy the view.

A Koala at the Taronga Zoo

  • Taronga Zoo – If you want to see some local and exotic animals, you have to visit the famous Taronga Zoo. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon, especially if you are traveling with kids since there are a cafe and a food market.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

  • The Royal Botanic Gardens – When looking for a peaceful place within the city, you should look no further because the Royal Botanic Gardens offer exactly that. Located near the Sydney CBD, this place offers a wonderful nature with incredible flora and the peacefulness you are looking for.
  • The Rocks – Being one of the oldest neighborhoods in Sydney, the Rocks are an inevitable tourist spot. There are plenty of hotels, historic pubs, and cafes where you can experience part of the history of Australia.

Explore the City

Panoramic view of Sydney at night

While visiting the top tourist attractions and places in Sydney is a great way to explore the city, it’s actually just one part of the whole experience. In order to make the most of your stay in the city, you should explore it from end to end. You can do that in two ways.

Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour – Bus tours are a great way to see the city, its buildings, streets, public areas, parks, and sites without spending much of your time. Taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour saves you from the trouble to look for public transport lines and tickets.

Take a cruise – Apart from exploring the city from the ground, you can also explore it from the water. There are plenty of cruises including, dinner, lunch, and wine tasting cruises, you can take in order to enjoy your time while exploring.

You can also ride on a ferry to Manly Beach. This ride is affordable, yet will offer you the chance to see the harbor, the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House.

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Safe Hostel Travel: 14 Tips for Teens

Hostel traveling is one of the best ways to explore the world as a young person. These communities that dot every major city on the globe are hot spots for like-minded voyagers looking to visit faraway cultures and people.

However, life on the road doesn’t come without dangers to personal safety. In this article, we’ll highlight a few simple steps to ensure a fun and secure stay at a hostel, particularly if you are a teen traveler.

Find the Right Location

Finding the right location is one of the greatest ways to ensure safety while visiting a new city. Visiting a new destination (often abroad) is fun, but the cost of travel gets substantially high the further away you travel from your home.

Staying in Hostels is one effective way to budget your expenses but hostels are all about who will share the place with you, how far it is from the city center, public transportation, and what’s the cost when compared against Airbnb or Hotels.

Therefore, booking a hostel should be done carefully so that one doesn’t end up staying far from the places they want to explore. If you plan to drink, look for locations close to the nightlife of your city. It’s better to have a short journey back to bed in the nighttime.

Do Advance Research

There are several websites specifically dedicated to this form of travel, and each site posts helpful information such as they type of hostel, the type of community found there, and what to expect from a stay.

Make sure to find one that fits your personality, as this will mitigate culture shock and oftentimes depression.

Also, do some research about:

  • common travel scams in particular destinations you are planning to visit
  • the nearest embassy of your country
  • note down phone numbers for hospitals, ambulance, and police
  • shady neighborhoods to skip

Drink Responsibly

First thing first, find out the legal drinking age in the country you are visiting. And, do not drink in if you are not of age. Drinking is just one tiny way to have good times but traveling offers so much more. Be mindful, present and curious. Let your senses be overwhelmed by the new experiences (so you don’t feel like you are missing on anything).

Another tip is to drink responsibly (if you must) and if you are traveling in a group, then go to a bar with your group. Do not accept drinks from strangers no matter how friendly they appear.

Pack Light & Carefully

Take care when packing for your trip. Remember that most hostels sleep six to ten people in a single room, so the space you live in will be shared with strangers.

Therefore, all your personal items will be in a common space that is potentially open to thievery. Remember, the quickest way for a trip to be ruined is to lose something important.

One great strategy to minimize the threat of robbery is to be a packing minimalist. When gathering the items, carefully revise and prune the list of items that you will bring.

Expensive clothing shouldn’t be brought if it isn’t necessary, along with high-priced electronics that won’t be of use on the trip. Bringing fewer items will decrease your chances of getting something stolen abroad.

Bring a Lock

Inevitably, some valuables will have to be brought on your trip. Passports, money, and cell phones are part of every travelers’ arsenal when living in hostels. In order to keep these items protected, it is imperative that a lock and key is brought on your journey.

Almost every location will offer lockers to store your gear either for free or for a small fee. Using a locker will allow for important documents and information to be kept in a safe place while exploring the city’s sights or bars. Don’t hesitate to bring one!

Private Rooms

In addition to standard mixed-gender dorms, some locations will offer private rooms for booking. Private rooms are great options for additional privacy if you do not want to share living space with strangers.

Additionally, they can add another level of protection to personal items while visiting cities across the globe.

Specialty Hostels

Another option for female globetrotters is all-female dorms and hostels. While these hostels and rooms come fewer and further between, they can provide additional safety and security for women traveling abroad.

Be sure to look for these options if one has concerns about privacy or living with men.

Final Thoughts

Some additional precautionary tips to keep in mind are:

  • Ask the hostel staff for security advice or anything you should know about
  • Don’t open the hostel door for strangers
  • Make a copy of your Passport and email it to yourself
  • Hide some backup money somewhere safe. This is just in case you lose your wallet/purse
  • Plan to check-in at your hostel before dark for the first time
  • Don’t leave your hostel alone late at night (no matter how safe you feel)
  • Trust your gut “feeling” but also use your brain (it is better to be safe than sorry)

I hope these easy to follow steps help when planning your next trip! The world is a gift, and everyone should have the opportunity to see every part fearlessly.

Go forth and experience something new!

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Our 7 Days Kenya Safari and the Big Five Game

Africa marks our 6th continent. Since Kenya is one of the best destinations to go for a Safari, we picked it as our first country to explore in Africa. It has been on our bucket list for so long and at last, we were about to experience a new continent!

We were excited! Moreover, we were going to see the “Big Five” in the wild! We picked Australken Tours and Travel as our safari company and they thoroughly impressed us! In short, we highly recommend them! They are mid-budget-range, locally owned and operated, flexible, and very, very professional!

Magical Kenya

In Africa, the Big Five game animals are the Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant, and African Buffalo. The term “big five” was coined by big-game hunters in the colonial past, and it refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on “foot” but is now also widely used by safari tour operators.

That said, we were in for a surprise because on our 7 days safari we saw animals which we did not even know exists (such as the ones pictured below)!

Waterbuck mating

Our 7 Days Kenya Safari

We’ll first share what was on our safari itinerary plan which then follows our experiences!

Day 0: Get to Nairobi

We arrived in Kenya late evening. This is the day where you will mostly rest and meet your tour operators and discuss your final safari logistics and trip plan!

Nairobi traffic 

Day 1: Nairobi to Amboseli

Trip plan: Depart from Nairobi for Amboseli National Park. Check-in and have lunch at AA Amboseli Lodge. Later proceed for the evening game drive in search of gigantic elephants the park is famous for, with chances of seeing lions, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, hippos, and different species of birds not forgetting the views of Mt. Kilimanjaro on a clear day. Meal plan (Lunch & Dinner provided)

Our Experience: Jambo, Kenya!

Giraffe and Zebras are everywhere in Kenya! You don’t even have to go to a park!

We woke up early morning (partially because we were jet-lagged and also because we were super excited to begin our safari!) We ate breakfast at our hotel and met Zippy our tour operator. She introduced us to our safari guide/driver, Albanus who has been doing safari tours for the past 29 years!

Since we chose a private safari tour, it was just two of us and our safari driver/guide. After a warm introduction, we were picked from our Nairobi hotel and started our first day of Safari towards the Amboseli National Park.

It was a lovely, sunny day. The warmth of the sun was so energizing. As we started our drive south towards Amboseli, to add to our adventure, our vehicle broke down midway. While we waited for it to be fixed, we saw Giraffe, Zebras, Donkeys, and pretty wildflowers by the roadsides.

Our safari van was fixed in 2 hours and we took some cool photos and stretched a bit and talked about the culture, tribes, and wildlife in Kenya!

Highway to Mombasa

The drive to Amboseli along the Mombasa highway was spectacular. One thing that really stood out at first was the magnificent landscape of Kenya. Red soil, beautiful landscape, cattle grazing, almost everything along the road was something new and different for our eyes!

During our drive, we crossed multiple small towns. It was very interesting to see life in rural Kenya as we drove through these small towns. Many people waved and smiled as we passed through; such a great welcome.

Not to forget the Acacia tree with birds nest and butterflies humming around, it was truly a moment of bliss. Mid-January is the season for mangoes in Kenya, so we also grabbed a bag of mangoes from the street vendors.

Morning view from our AA Amboseli lodge 

Finally, we reached our lodge, quickly grabbed lunch, checked into our super cute tent and in the evening we headed out for our first game drive. We saw tons of Zebra very close to the park.

Next, we entered the park and caught a family of elephants grazing. We were surrounded by elephants and it was just so spectacular.

Amboseli is known for its huge Elephant population 

Oh, another fun story, while we were entering Amboseli National Park, a Maasai man came to sell us handicraft. We did not want to buy a souvenir on our first day so he proposed bartering since he loved our The Art of Travel wooden watch. We exchanged our wood watch for a Maasai women wood sculpture.

It was the first time in our travels that we have bartered. This was an amazing experience! He was happy and we were happy! What a day! With all these fond memories our Day one of African safari came to an end. What an adventure!

Day 2: Amboseli National Park

Trip plan: After breakfast, we spend the day exploring the park. We also walked to the observation hill for the scenic view of the park and picnic lunch. Meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided)

Our Experience: A spectacular view of Kilimanjaro

Glorious view of Mt. Kilimanjaro

With sounds of rain and thunder, we woke up early morning. The rain had stopped during sunrise and we caught glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro standing tall in all glory. We were very lucky.

After a quick breakfast at the camp, we started our day at the park. During our drive, we saw many new animals.

A Cheetah family 

Playful yellow baboon monkeys, a lonely wildebeest, happy family of hippos, family of 3 cheetah all out for their fresh meal hunt, happy flamingo and Pelicans in the swamp, sneaky fox, busy Pumba, cunning hyena, skeptical ostrich, sassy giraffe, curious buffalo, herds of elephants, impala, and gazelle all around the park. Not to forget hundreds of species of birds on the ground as well as flying.

Pink Flamingos 

We went to the observation point for lunch where we had 360-view of the park. We ended the day at Masai Mara village where we saw cultural welcome dance and learned how the community functions in the tour through the tiny village.

Maasai tribe of Amboseli 

Day 3: Drive to Lake Naivasha

Trip plan: After an early breakfast departs from Amboseli passing via the outskirts of Nairobi en route to the Great Rift Valley where we will have a stopover to admire the escarpment before we proceed Lake Naivasha where we will arrive in time for lunch at West beach camp. Later we will proceed for an hour’s boat ride with chances of seeing hippo and different species of birds. Meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided)

Our Experience: Everything happens for a reason

Early morning we started towards Lake Naivasha from Amboseli. Our van broke down again (Ugh!). So while our van was getting fixed we had some unforgettable moments interacting with the locals.

Our van broke it in front of a local handicraft store which was perfect for us to buy some souvenirs and check out local handicrafts. The lady at the shop was really sweet and she had some really cute collection. We bought a few souvenirs here (pictured below).

We moved along but the car needed more maintenance. We had to stop by a small town. While we were thinking about how unfortunate it is to have our car broken and possibly miss the activity planned for the day we spotted a beautiful Masai mother feeding her little baby girl.

A Maasai with her baby

I was watching her and the baby who was very friendly. The Maasai woman could not speak much English but she looked at us and smiled. I asked if I could take a picture with her and she was absolutely okay. After the photo and some interactions, she said “little money” and I was happy to give some money to the mother.

Next, we realized that there is a street market across the road selling shoes and all kinds of stuff. I was in much need of shoes since my only shoes broke on day 1 of safari (what a stroke of luck, right) so I bought a pair of safari type boots for 400 Kenyan shillings (i.e. $4 USD). It kind of looked somewhat tarnished but it did serve my desperate need since I was in my flip flops.

Shopping for shoes 

It also made me appreciate simple things in life and to be humble. I have nearly 50 pairs of shoes back home but all I needed was one.

Moving on to another mishap we were out of our camera’s SD card capacity in just 2 days. We underestimated how many pictures we would take and we needed an SD card which is really hard to find in small towns. Still, we inquired the guy who sold shoes if we can find an SD card anywhere. He directed us to the cyber cafe nearby.

We went to the cyber cafe but they did not have an SD card for sale. Turns out that the guy working there is a photographer himself. He offered us to loan his SD card but we were not coming back there. We asked if he could sell to us and buy a new one for himself.

He was really sweet (and helpful and honest). He agreed to sell his memory card for the price that is sold in the market rather than asking us for an insane amount since we were in high need of that. (Needless to say, we are friends now! When you travel with an open mind you make friends from all walks of life.)

By the time we did all our necessary shopping our van was ready. We were really happy that we used the time and found what we needed. Just when we hit the highway the van started acting up again. The radiator got so heated that smoke and water was coming out, the car stopped again for the third time absolutely In the middle of nowhere.

We had a deep sigh this time because now we are not only missing the boat ride at Lake Nakuru which was planned for the day but we are stuck absolutely out of nowhere. Our driver was thinking and figuring out what to do, what is the nearest town, etc.

Suddenly an old Maasai man who lived nearby came for help, then another young Maasai shepherd came to help. They all greeted us with a handshake and smile. The old man’s wife also came by and got some clean water for the car. They were curious.

The old man asked Salil to let him see things through the camera lens. He was so happy when he could see things far away up close through the zoom lens. It was a moment of joy.

Then all the men pushed the van if it could work after we put the clean water but it didn’t. Luckily since our van was not functioning as well from day 1 another van was on its way from Nairobi. We waited a while and it finally came to our rescue.

We got on the new van and started to contemplate that if our van did not break maybe we would not have such an authentic local experience and get to know how warm, nice, and helpful Kenyan people really are.

We stared towards Lake Naivasha and stopped by Great Rift Valley which was spectacular. Finally, late in the evening we reached our accommodation near Lake Lake Naivasha and ended the day with some really memorable experience and a delicious dinner.

At this time we were thinking that we have made the best of every situation thrown at us. We made lemonade when life gave us lemons for real.

We ended the day at West Beach Camp by the shores of Lake Naivasha! It was a gorgeous lodge and we were the only guests besides one another couple! Both the sunsets and sunrise in Kenya are spectacular.

Sunrise from West beach camp

Day 4: Lake Nakuru

Trip plan: After breakfast, we will depart from Lake Naivasha for Lake Nakuru National park where we will explore the park with a chance of seeing rhino, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, baboon, monkey, leopard among other wild not forgetting a visit to the baboon cliff for the scenic view of the park. We will also explore the shores of Lake Nakuru with the chances of seeing flamingos. Meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided)

Our Experience: Something unexpected

Morning view at West Beach Camp, Lake Naivasha

We woke up, ate breakfast and as planned we headed to Lake Nakuru national park which has the salty lake Called Nakuru. On the way there we saw a lot of wildlife!

As we were exploring Nakuru, out of nowhere, we saw a lone male lion. This was the first time we saw a lion. He was a big male taking a nap under a bush. After about 30 minutes of waiting, he did stand up to watch us. He did not seem bothered at all and we felt the thrill of seeing a huge lion so close.

Next, we saw a huge troop of olive baboon monkeys, the zeal of zebras, heads of buffalo running, mommy and baby white rhino chilling, Waterbuck, gazelle, pumbas playing, and dozens of birds.

It was unreal for us to see a lion, we were not even expecting. We had picnic lunch at baboon cliff where we got a good view of the park and salty lake. It was really peaceful up the hill.

Lake Nakuru

The water level is rising at the park and it’s flooding a lot of sections in the park. The view at Lake Nakuru was unreal; the trees were half under the water and dead, making them home for birds to stop by.

It was a lovely day at Nauru. The camp where we stayed had such amazing food we were relaxed and excited for Masai Mara.

A mother and baby Rhino at Nakuru

Day 5: Lake Naivasha and Maasai Mara

Trip plan: After breakfast, we will continue with our safari to the renowned Maasai Mara game reserve which is Kenya’s premier game reserve. It is the home of the “big five” – lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant, as well as cheetah, zebra, giraffe and vast herds of plains antelope and numerous other wildlife. We will arrive in time for lunch at Osero luxury Camp followed by afternoon game drive before you return to Osero luxury camp to wait for dinner followed by overnight. Meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided)

Our Experience: Hakuna Matata

We woke up early morning and headed to Lake Naivasha for a boat ride. We were supposed to do the boat ride on day 3 but we did manage to squeeze this on day 5.

 

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake, unlike Lake Nakuru which is a saltwater lake. We had a memorable boat ride where we spotted numerous birds singing, cruising, and sunbathing on the trees.

We also saw a lot of hippos here! They are mighty creatures and the babies look so cute!

The highlights of lake Naivasha were seeing green plants grow on the lake, the fishermen catching fish, hippos with their family and an eagle hunting fish from the water. These are some moments we will always remember.

After Lake Naivasha, we headed towards Masai Mara straight. It was a long drive but we could see so much of the country by land. Finally, after a long drive, we reached Masai Mara.

The moment we reached Masai Mara we could instantly feel how different it is from other parks we have been. Not just the size but the landscape. It was interesting and unique. Vast grassland, meadows, small hills around, different kinds of trees (like the sausage tree and fig trees) and scattered acacia trees it was all adding to its beauty.

It was late afternoon game drive we were spotting new animals we have never seen like Topi, Dik-Dik, and Steenbok.

Topi

We were driving and suddenly we spotted three young male lions sleeping and fooling around. They were muscular, strong, and powerful. We watched them take a nap and change bushes. It’s rare to see three male lions all together but we were lucky.

Two teenage lions

As it was about time to exit the park we spotted a family of Cheetah. A mother and 3 cubs chilling. This was the first time we saw cheetah so close. They are so lean and curious. They look adorable too.

With an amazing first game drive at Masai Mara, we headed to our lodge. On our way back just outside the park, we saw so many Pumba running around with their tail up. They are so cute to watch.

Jackal

There was also a Jackal running across the road. We followed him for a while and it ran away.

Our lodge was deep inside the park in the wooded area. We had dinner at the lodge where Maasai people danced for us. They asked Salil to join and so Salil did participate. We’ll share the Maasai dance video on YouTube.

Maasai welcome dance

At night we could hear Hyena howling. We also heard elephants and we woke up to birds chirping. What an experience!

Day 6: Maasai Mara

Trip plan: We will spend the whole day exploring the expansive Maasai Mara game reserve in search of Elephant, Zebra, Wildebeest, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard and other plains game with a visit to the Mara river where we might have a chance to see hippo and crocodile. We will return to Osero luxury camp to wait for dinner followed by overnight. Meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided)

Our Experience: A very special moment

It started with pretty heavy rain early morning in Masai Mara but our guide assured us that it will still be a great game drive because animals, unlike humans, are not bothered by the rain.

We were driving towards the park early morning and the rain started to slow down a bit. On our way, we spotted two Masai kids in school uniform trying to cross a stream and go school.

They were small and after the rain, the stream had got to the road. We asked our guide to stop and offer them a ride to school. They were very happy. We dropped them at their school and they smiled and said ‘Asante’ which means ‘Thank you’ in Swahili.

We had just started our game drive in Masai Mara and thankfully the rain had also stopped. As we were watching some game around the park our guide got a call from his friend. After the call, he said, “guys, sit down. I think we’ve got something.”

Usually, the guides have a radio where they share what animals are spotted or they call and let other guides know about any major game around.

Also until the very end of our safari, we realized that guides usually don’t tell you what you’re going to see next or what can be seen. It totally makes sense because until today we were never told what exactly we are seeing, so every time we saw something we were always pleasantly surprised.

We knew there is something coming up but honestly, we did not pay much attention to what it would be. During that drive, we were just admiring the beauty of the park and landscape.

Suddenly we were on a road where few vehicles were stopped. We then knew there’s got to be something here hence so many vehicles. Our guide said “here is a pride of lion sleeping on the road”.

Our jaws opened wide as we saw 13 lions 8 females and 5 cubs having their siesta time. It was such a wonderful surprise. We luckily got a good spot to admire these sleeping lions on the road. Some cubs were curious and looking at us. Some were going back and forth around the female lioness for milk.

We saw them pet each other, cuddle, nap, stretch, stand, and sleep again. It was just magical. Hard to comprehend in words.

An hour felt like a minute. That mother-child bond and love we encountered was one of the most special moments at Maasai Mara. Our heart was filled with joy.

As of the 6th day of our Safari, we have seen 4 of the big 5 and many other interesting and important members of Africa’s beautiful savannas. Now we were on a hunt for the big cat aka Leopard.

Leopards are very shy animals unlike cheetah and the hardest to spot among the big five. Since it rained all night the road was very muddy. We went on a hunt around a lot of places where we could spot leopards like the fig tree, sausage tree, and the famous acacia tree.

We saw a wildebeest leg handing on a tree. Most likely a leopard must have had its meal there. There were no signs of leopard around and in all honesty, we did not feel sad about that. Nature and animals have their own rule and we cannot challenge that.

This was not a zoo where one can always trace an animal. The wildlife here is part of the vast African Savanna where we humans are no one but visitors in their homeland. With that registered in our brain and with much respect for the wildlife we drove towards the Mara River where the great migration from Serengeti of Tanzania to Masai Mara of Kenya happens.

On the border of Tanzania (behind us) and Kenya (in front)

On the way, we stopped at the border of Kenya/Tanzania. Such an interesting place. We were also thinking about how all these animals cross borders and that nature is not bound by any county or borders.

We reached the Mara river and took a short hike around the river with a ranger. This was our first hike experience at the park. It was beautiful and remarkable to set our foot and walk through the land of some deadly predators.

The famous Mara river full of hippos and crocodiles

We spotted some hippos in the river and the guide gave us a lot of information about the wildlife there. After that, we started our way back to our camp. On the way back we spotted two Waterbucks mating putting in a show for everyone. We also saw a lot of African Ostriches.

By sunset, we made it back to our camp to enjoy the evening. We enjoyed our gorgeous tent, had a wonderful conversation with the Masai guard, and a very scrumptious dinner with our guide. It was a day filled with the most pleasant surprise of all.

Day 7: Maasai Mara to Nairobi

Trip plan: Early morning game drive followed by breakfast then we will depart from Maasai Mara as we continue with your journey passing via Narok town then proceed to Nairobi where we will be dropped to catch our homebound flight. Meal plan (Breakfast provided)

Our Experience: Farewell until we meet again

The last day of our Safari. Just the thought of this made me teary and sad. As I was contemplating over my cup of Kenyan tea about this entire Safari trip and all the beautiful encounters with all different species of wildlife.

With Maasai people

The breathtaking views of the African savannah, the gorgeous Acacia trees, the bushes, the insects, the birds, the view of Masai cattle grazing, the smiles of kids waving, the people, the food, the smell of the air, the red land, everything almost everything that we had experienced in these 6 days will be safely treasured as beautiful moments in Africa.

Our Osero luxury camp in Maasai Mara

We checked out from our camp and went for one last quick drive around the park to bid farewell to the beautiful land and then headed towards Nairobi. We reached Nairobi and wanted to meet our Facebook friend from Kenya at the local mall (we
have never met her in person) we were excited.

Our tour operator also came to say goodbye. She got us a beautiful souvenir. She was very apologetic about the vehicle incident but it was all unexpected and we had nothing but good memories out of the trip. We told her that we’ll be back for more!

The terrain inside the park is pretty rough and with rain gets very muddy. We have seen a lot of vehicles break down as well so it comes with the experience. Overall we had an amazing time and actually we did not miss any activities as planned so we were very happy with our overall adventure in Kenya!

With our friend Anita at Nairobi airport 

We finally met our friend and ate our last meal in Kenya together. We shared hugs, laugh, and wonderful conversations. Our friend offered to drop us to the airport, and we had more conversations in the car and such an amazing time overall in Kenya.

With all of this in our hearts, it was time to bid farewell to beautiful Kenya. The memories made in the continent of Africa will always be very dear to us. Back from the trip, we feel extremely rejuvenated, fulfilled, and grateful for all the experiences we had along the way.

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5 Wonders of the Middle East

The Middle East abounds with stunning scenery and glorious history. Plus, the architectural wonders and the vibrant culture, make the Middle East an exotic part of the world.

The rare beauty of the region will likely overwhelm you at first. Since there is an immeasurable amount of destinations that will captivate you, we list just a few places that characterize the Middle East.

You must start somewhere, so why not start with these 5 wonders of the Middle East!

The Dome of Rock, Israel

From amongst the quaint buildings of Jerusalem, the Golden Dome shines. The magnanimous dome radiates from the center of the holy city. Plus, the Golden Dome lies within the larger sacred site, Haram Al-Sharif.

Furthermore, the foundation stone, a highly revered artifact, is kept inside the dome.

This octagonal enigma is built in a splendid Byzantine style. It is befitting that a building with such religious important glows splendidly, truly demonstrating the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East.

Musandam Fjords, Oman

The Norwegian Fjords are acclaimed throughout the world for their unique charm. However, the Middle East has its own share of Fjord glory. In the Strait of Hormuz (Musandam, Oman), the rocky cliffs give way to the bright turquoise blue water.

Dhow trip in the fjords of Musandam, Oman By Robert Haandrikman    CC BY 2.0

There are numerous quaint villages perched on the rocky terrain of the Musandam Fjords. You can visit the nearby coastal towns; you can even go scuba diving and experience the diverse underwater wildlife. 

Luxor, Egypt

Mysterious wonders in Egypt beckon us to visit. When we travel to hot deserts with impressive ruins, we are awed by the history and energized by the sun.

Painted with ancient images, Luxor is a canvas. The ruins of buildings, stunning mosques, and holy temples are just some of the ancient portraits depicted here.

The landscape is an open-air museum that displays the rich past of the country. One of the ancient displays is the Karnak Temple, an intricately carved monument made from sandstone.

You can also visit the tombs of famous kings and queens in the valley. For example, the sheer magnificence of Tutankhamen’s tomb alone creates an unforgettable experience.

Sheik Zayed Mosque, UAE

When we talk about the Middle East we speak of wealth, culture, and religion. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) ticks all three boxes.

Recently constructed, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. It oozes with the opulence of enormous effort and care.

The gorgeous Persian design, integrated with a modern touch, makes for the incredibly rare beauty. Spectacular pools of water reflect the pearly interiors and glittering chandeliers.

Step into the heart of Islamic culture by visiting the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Petra, Jordan

The dry winds whisper into your ears the story of the long-gone city. Maybe we are getting too melodramatic, but Petra will do that to you. Golden pools of sands and a dangerous canyon define the ancient town of Petra.

Tombs and buildings carved into the sandstone predominate the landscape. Ages ago the Nabatean Kingdom inhabited Petra. Now only the “Pink” sandstone cliffs remain.

The rose-colored city overflows with stunning temples, such as Al Khazneh, as well as tombs and buildings. A visit to Petra will turn the pages of time and transport you to an older age in the exotic Middle East.

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A Look At The Top 5 Iconic Places In France

France is a country that grows on you. Once you set your foot here, you will be sorry for anyone who is not in France and is not in love. Your dreams come alive when you see some of these dreamy places.

Even the quaint olive branches in the window front of a house, add to the exquisite beauty of France. The science nerd can fall for the old school romantic. That is how irresistible the charm of France is.

There are a few places which define the tourism of France. Your trip would be incomplete without visiting them.

EIFFEL TOWER

“I ought to be jealous of the tower; she is more famous than I am.” ~ Gustave Eiffel

Proudly jutting out from the 7th arrondissement this monument is the most visited monument in the world. It was built in 1889 for being the entrance gate in World Fair. Now it is the epitome of tourism in France.

Gustave Eiffel brilliantly modernized the whole idea of France, with just a metal structure. The three levels of the tower, are used for Michelin restaurants (1st and 2nd levels).

The third level is 906 feet high, used as an observation deck. To climb the top of Eiffel tower is on the bucket list of many, but you need to stand in tiring queues for getting your hand on the pass. You can book online if you want to avoid the hassle.

PALACE OF VERSAILLES

“It was like the first time I visited Versailles. There was an eeriness like I’d been there before. I don’t know if I was Louis XIV or Marie Antoinette or a lowly housekeeper, but I lived there.” ~ Maurice Minnifield

Palace of Versailles Front By Michael Plasmeier CC BY 2.5

Louis XIV was an exalted ruler. He wanted to claim his absolute monarchy. That is why he renovated his hunting lodge in the quaint village of Versailles to a luxurious castle.

He used a baroque style with a classic French touch. There were apartments for King and Queen, Chapels, Royal Opera of Versailles. A genius manifestation was creating the Hall of mirrors.

Ornamental pieces of mirrors adorn the hall where the King used to summon his courtiers. Your eyes might hurt with the rays of light reflected from the mirrors. French gardens are set in the background with graceful fountains and lush shrubs.

MONT BLANC

“Mount Blanc is the monarch of mountains; They crowned him a long time ago On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow.” ~ Lord Byron

No verse ever written can reflect the beauty of Mont Blanc as aptly as these lines by Lord Byron. It crowns the French Alps in its magnificent glory.

At the height of 4808.73 m, it is blanketed by snow throughout the year. Chamonix is a cozy little village on your way to Mont Blanc. It is studded with charming restaurants that serve cheesy and fatty (fondue and raclette) meals to keep you warm.

Stroll through the snow-filled street and enjoy the tranquil landscape. The Valley offers opportunities for winter sports like skiing and adventure sports as well.

PROVENCE

“Look at those vines, he said. Nature is wearing her prettiest clothes.”. ~ Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence

Image Credit

Sprawled across an area from the Italian border to lower Rhone River. It was the place where the Romans first settled outside of the Alps. For ages, it has been the nest of artists. Everyone travels here to bask in the untainted charm of quaint old towns.

The rolling hills are home to villages. A colorful field of lavender, vibrant olive grooves are the backdrop of rustic living. While walking on the stone pathways, you can ogle the scenic beauty.

There are classy restaurants that serve you healthy and delicious cuisines. Staying here during your holiday in France will give you a glimpse of the past. The mystery of historical sites and bustle of open-air- markets all will take you on a joyful ride of Provence.

CÔTE D’ AZUR AND BIARRITZ

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is a story of the earth.” ~ Rachel Carson

Image Credit

The wild, untamed sea always acts as an unavoidable temptation. French Riviera or the Coast of Blue starts from the Italian border and ends in Saint-Tropez.

Nice, Cannes, Monaco all these cities scream of luxury. The hot summer sun and salty breezes attract the wealthy and privileged to spend their time in the vibrant sea coasts. It also has streets that are in vogue with chic boutique and apparel stores.

The Royals of France used to prefer Biarritz which is an elegant beach town near Grande Plage beach. Virgin of Rock is unfazed by the turbulent waves of Atlantic crashing on it.

The seaside palace turned resort offers exquisite views of the sea. You can lounge on the sunny beach or spend your time at the museum, lighthouse.

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5 Iconic Destinations in the United States

The United States is a carefully woven maze of magic that is exciting to discover. The salty breezes of beaches call to you. Whispering echoes invite you to view the heights of the Grand Canyon.

Colorado River, Grand Canyon

The warm sunshine in winter tempts you to go to the Rockies, to enjoy their favorite past time, skiing. Thrumming Jazz music on the streets makes you dance in tune with the energy of New Orleans.

Like a chariot adorned with sunshine, the Golden Gate Bridge awakens the romantic in you.

From the pristine beauty of Alaska to the eye-popping skyscrapers of New York, America is an incredibly diverse nation, which provides an impressive array of entertainment.

Yukon, Alaska

We have carefully selected the top iconic destinations that define tourism in America. They range from natural to architectural.

THE GRAND CANYON

“I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.” ~ John McCain

The majestic magnificence of the Grand Canyon is hard to describe in mere words. It would be a futile attempt to do justice to the 1.2 million acres of exotic beauty.

The Colorado River created this unique structure over the course of centuries. From the river to the rim you will find an ecosystem so rare that it is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

Imagine California Condors flying over the clear blue skies, while the Coyotes sing their song.

You may feel like an expert tracker while looking for wolves throughout the valley. However, you will have no difficulty finding tiny fluffy squirrels that are so cute you will want to take them home.

Your muscles will cramp, sweat will pour, but the epic moment of hiking Grand Canyon will be a lifelong memory. If you want to cool off during the hike, try swimming in the pools of the Mountain Valley.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

“In the wilderness, I sense the miracle of life, and behind it, our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” ~ Charles A. Lindbergh

Under the blanket of blue sky, Yellowstone National Park is full of every blessing of nature. It is the only place on Earth where you can view the highest number of colorful hot springs.

The highest lake in North America, Yellowstone Lake, is the namesake of the park.

Valleys scattered around the park are home to diverse wildlife. In these valleys, you can spy on grizzly bears and bison. Furthermore, the park occupies a vast area. Consequently, it is split into eight groups for easier access.

The Giant Prismatic Hot Spring looks like it belongs on Mars. The dark blue center fades into orange splashes along the edge. Plus, the beautiful Bridge Creek winds through the vegetation forming a natural bridge.

Gushing streams, graceful basins, roaring streams, and swelling waterfalls are in every corner of the park.

STATUE OF LIBERTY

“The first time I saw America was from my perch on the mast of a Spanish naval ship, where I could spot Statue of Liberty reaching proudly into the open endless American sky.” ~ Jose Andres

A token of freedom given by France to America stands proudly on Liberty Island. Gustave Eiffel, the man who built the Eiffel Tower, also built the Statue of Liberty.

This 305-feet-high statue depicts the Roman Goddess – Libertas. Piercing the skyline of Manhattan, it best symbolizes the character of America.

You need to take a ferry ride to reach Liberty Island from Jersey City. Once you enter the monument, it is free to look around and explore the American masterpiece.

The stairs wind up from the base of the statue to the crown. You must book a reservation ahead of time to have access to the top. This copper enigma is an emblem of peace and freedom for the entire country.

JOHN F.KENNEDY ASSASSINATION SITE

“Things do not happen; Things are made to happen.” ~ John F. Kennedy

America might be a young nation, but the history still runs deep. The assassination of John F. Kennedy occurred in Dealey Plaza in 1963.

The Sixth Floor Museum now stands on the site of the assassination. The museum displays the planning hub of the sniper, which was redesigned and displayed here.

The general aesthetic of Dallas is super-modern. However, Dealey Plaza is a reminder of that time when Mrs. Kennedy was drenched in red blood and the nation suffered a great tragedy.

HANAUMA BAY BEACH

“So that the monotonous fall of waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts, seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again…” ~ Virginia Woolf

Roads that are often traveled become beaten and boring. Hanauma Bay beach was beaten and boring once, until recently when it was declared a protected area. Every woman envies curves.

The elegant curving shoreline of Hanauma Bay beach in O’ahu Hawaii is no exception. Volcanic eruptions formed this ancient caldera, which eventually eroded to form the bay.

The turquoise blue water has a plethora of coral displayed across the ocean floor. If you do not harm marine life, you are allowed to snorkel in the bay.

The beach closes every Tuesday to replenish the ecosystem since it is a maritime natural preserve.

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Visa Free Travel: US Citizens vs. Green Card Holders

Updated: Feb 2020

Are you a US Permanent Resident and someone who loves to travel? If you have been wondering whether to take US Citizenship or not and whether it makes any difference in terms of how many countries you can travel “Visa Free”, then this blog post is for you.

Visa free travel is a big plus when it comes to traveling efficiently. Not having to deal with travel visa saves you money, planning-time, and paperwork. In short, fewer headaches and you can travel on short notice.

Let’s say you are getting a great airline deal or there is a wedding or it’s just that all of your friends are planning a trip, having a US Green Card vs. a US Passport are two totally different things.

Below is the list of countries that lets you enter visa free or provides you a visa on arrival (on the airport) based on your citizen or US permanent residence status.

US Citizens US Green Card
Canada Canada
Mexico Mexico
Guatemala Guatemala
Honduras Honduras
Belize Belize
Nicaragua Nicaragua
Costa Rica Costa Rica
Panama Panama
Bermuda Bermuda
Bahamas Bahamas
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico
American Samoa American Samoa
Guam Guam
Northern Mariana Islands Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands U.S. Virgin Islands
British Virgin Island British Virgin Island
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
Haiti Haiti
Jamaica Jamaica
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda
Turks and Caicos Turks and Caicos
Dominica Dominica
Aruba Aruba
Curacao Curacao
Bonaire Bonaire
St. Maarten St. Maarten
St. Eustatius St. Eustatius
Saba Saba
Albania Albania
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Georgia Georgia
Serbia Serbia
Montenegro Montenegro
Kosovo Kosovo
Taiwan Taiwan
Antartica Antartica
 
With a US Passport, you can also travel Visa Free to:
Andorra
Anguilla
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belgium
Bolivia
Botswana
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Chile
Comoros Islands
Cook Islands
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Ecuador
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guyana
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Jordan
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau
Macedonia
Malawi
Malaysia
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montserrat
Morocco
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niue
Norway
Oman
Palau
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Rwanda
Samoa
San Marino
Senegal
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Tanzania
Thailand
Timor Leste
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Lastly, I must mention that besides your Green Card status, your home country passport will also avail you some visa free travel benefits.

For example, if you are an Indian Citizen and a US Permanent Resident, besides the above-listed countries, you also get to visit over 50 countries based on your passport power.

Common Question

Question: Can I travel to [XYZ destination] with a Green Card only?

Answer: If you are wondering if you can travel to Canada or Mexico with a Green Card only, unfortunately the answer is you will still need your passport if you are traveling by air. If you are driving through, legally you only need your Green Card but it’s a good practice to carry your passport as well.

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Top 100 Places People Most Want to Travel

Have you ever wondered what are the top 100 places in the world that people most want to travel? Well, we did some research and here we present you a list of awesome destinations that you can turn into an epic bucket list.

These top 100 places are the most desired among travelers from around the globe. (Listed in no particular order for curiosity and surprise.)

In other words, below are the top 100 places to visit before you die. How many of these have you visited so far?

London

Paris

New York City

Singapore

Las Vegas

Los Angeles

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Bangkok

Bali

Sydney

Cairns

Vancouver

Galapagos Island

Madagascar

Jerusalem

Mecca

Jordan

Agra

Goa

Jaipur

Kerala

Rome

Vatican City

Venice

Switzerland

Hawaii

Bahamas

Bermuda

South Africa

Amazon River and Jungle

Egypt

Iceland

Costa Rica

Belize

Easter Island

Hong Kong

San Francisco

Toronto

Alaska

Grand Canyon

Dead Sea

South Beach, Miami

Tokyo

Madrid

Barcelona

Berlin

Bora Bora

Maldives

Amsterdam

Ibiza

New Zealand

Shanghai

Dubai

Beijing

Salt Flats, Bolivia

Kathmandu

Tibet

Melbourne

Buenos Aires

Mexico City

Cancun

Panamá

Rio de Janeiro

Mykonos

Santorini

Morocco

Istanbul

São Paulo

Seoul

Scotland

The Great Wall of China

Machu Picchu

Tahiti

Bhutan’s Tiger Nest Monastery

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Banff, Canada

Tanzania

 

Kenya

Vietnam

Phuket

Austria

Preikestolen, Norway

Niagara Falls

Stonehenge

Namibia

Tikal, Guatemala

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

Iguazu Falls, Brazil-Argentina

Yellowstone National Park

Dolomites, Italy

Khajuraho Temples, India

Patagonia, Argentina

Maasai Mara, Kenya

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Alhambra, Spain

Ice Cave, Skaftafell, Iceland

Gobi Desert

12 Apostles, Australia

Bagan, Myanmar

Mt. Everest Base Camp