Sunday, November 3, 2013

If you enjoy hiking and traveling and you have not yet conquered the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, then this is your call to action!
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a historical trail to the famed city. There are several ways to see Machu Picchu. You can take the lazy man’s way and catch a 2 hour train to the front gates. You can take the Lares trail which is a beginner-intermediate trail (5 days in length, one day spent in Aguas Calientes and 30 minute bus to Machu Picchu) OR you can take the true traveling experience adventure way.

THE INCA TRAIL! This is a 4 day intense trek through the Andes that allows you to actually go through the Sun Gate and end up inside Machu Picchu. You actually have to leave Machu Picchu and come back in to get a stamp on your passport.  
This is an advanced trail with more than 75% of the trail being on a steep incline. Not to mention you are hiking at an elevation of over 11,000 feet for most of the time. A lot of the tour companies are known for mistreating their porters and guides by having them carry too much weight or not properly feeding them. Do your research beforehand and find a trusted company. We personally can vouch for Peru Treks. They have a weight limit that they allow their porters to carry and provide them with food and a proper place to sleep. This was a major factor when deciding on a tour company.

Peru Treks provides you with world class meals that are prepared before you get to your destination. After a long day of hiking, you’ll be happy to end up at a campsite with a warm meal. As a trekker, you are responsible for our own personal belongings, sleeping bag and mattress mad. (Around 12-15lbs total). You have the option of hiring an additional porter to carry your stuff. Water is crucial and it is advised that you not drink the local Peruvian water, let alone the Inca Trail stream water. Local Peruvians also sell water along the way.

Things to keep in mind:
- Give yourself a full 3 days in Cuzco to accustom yourself to the elevation. The elevation is no joke. 
- Do the INCA TRAIL, not the LARES TRAIL. The Inca trail has more sites to see and you actually end up inside Machu Picchu rather than having to take a bus up. Also, it’s the Royal trail. The trail that the king would take.
-WATER. Drink loads of water. It is the only way to prevent and fight altitude sickness.
-Purchase altitude sickness pills from the local pharmacias in Cuzco, and start taking them the first morning of the hike. 
- Bring enough local money for the four days. You will most likely want to buy water, beer, shower on the third day, hot springs in Aguas Calientes and you will need to tip your guide and porters. We recommend that you bring at least 300 soles each for the 4 days. You don’t think you will need it but you do and it goes quick.
- Price per person for the trek is $490. This price includes the trail entrance fee, transportation to and from your hostel or accommodation in Cuzco, and all meals on trek. There is an additional fee to rent a sleeping bag and mattress pad.
- Book your trek at least 6 months out. It sells out and you will be stuck into doing the Lares Trail. 
Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping hikers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

If you enjoy hiking and traveling and you have not yet conquered the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, then this is your call to action!

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a historical trail to the famed city. There are several ways to see Machu Picchu. You can take the lazy man’s way and catch a 2 hour train to the front gates. You can take the Lares trail which is a beginner-intermediate trail (5 days in length, one day spent in Aguas Calientes and 30 minute bus to Machu Picchu) OR you can take the true traveling experience adventure way.


THE INCA TRAIL! This is a 4 day intense trek through the Andes that allows you to actually go through the Sun Gate and end up inside Machu Picchu. You actually have to leave Machu Picchu and come back in to get a stamp on your passport.  

This is an advanced trail with more than 75% of the trail being on a steep incline. Not to mention you are hiking at an elevation of over 11,000 feet for most of the time. A lot of the tour companies are known for mistreating their porters and guides by having them carry too much weight or not properly feeding them. Do your research beforehand and find a trusted company. We personally can vouch for Peru Treks. They have a weight limit that they allow their porters to carry and provide them with food and a proper place to sleep. This was a major factor when deciding on a tour company.

Peru Treks provides you with world class meals that are prepared before you get to your destination. After a long day of hiking, you’ll be happy to end up at a campsite with a warm meal. As a trekker, you are responsible for our own personal belongings, sleeping bag and mattress mad. (Around 12-15lbs total). You have the option of hiring an additional porter to carry your stuff. Water is crucial and it is advised that you not drink the local Peruvian water, let alone the Inca Trail stream water. Local Peruvians also sell water along the way.




Things to keep in mind:

- Give yourself a full 3 days in Cuzco to accustom yourself to the elevation. The elevation is no joke.

- Do the INCA TRAIL, not the LARES TRAIL. The Inca trail has more sites to see and you actually end up inside Machu Picchu rather than having to take a bus up. Also, it’s the Royal trail. The trail that the king would take.

-WATER. Drink loads of water. It is the only way to prevent and fight altitude sickness.

-Purchase altitude sickness pills from the local pharmacias in Cuzco, and start taking them the first morning of the hike.

- Bring enough local money for the four days. You will most likely want to buy water, beer, shower on the third day, hot springs in Aguas Calientes and you will need to tip your guide and porters. We recommend that you bring at least 300 soles each for the 4 days. You don’t think you will need it but you do and it goes quick.

- Price per person for the trek is $490. This price includes the trail entrance fee, transportation to and from your hostel or accommodation in Cuzco, and all meals on trek. There is an additional fee to rent a sleeping bag and mattress pad.

- Book your trek at least 6 months out. It sells out and you will be stuck into doing the Lares Trail.

Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping hikers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

If you’ve already survived the Marrakech Markets, then perhaps you’re ready for a break from all the chaos. The Sahara Desert may be just the escape you’re looking for, and fortunately for you, it’s just around the corner. 

Most travelers don’t think about the serene Saharan Deserts of Morocco while planning a trip to Europe. However, considering it’s close proximity, every European bound traveler should consider it! If you’re planning a trip to Europe, consider making a quick trip south to the northern tip of Africa: Morocco. 

Morocco is a strange and culturally rich country located between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Physically located only a short boat trip away from Europe, it has a deep history of traveler and trade, especially across the Sahara Desert. 

There are dozens of tour options from Marrakech that will take you to Merzouga and beyond. Wait to book your tour until you arrive to Morocco. There are a lot of options and some companies are better than others. Waiting until you can see their buses, meet their drivers, and talk to the reps will give you a great peace of mind. Morocco is a wild and exciting place, and your trip to the Sahara Desert will be everything you dream of and more. 

You can do a one day trip or a week long trip and everything in between. You will likely meet some of the Taureg people and other desert nomads. You will take a camel across sand dunes and maybe if you’re lucky, even end up near the Algerian border. 
Since Europe is home to many budget travel flight companies, cheap fares to Marrakech can be found daily. For U.S. Citizens, visas are not required if your stay will be less than 90 days. All you need is your valid U.S. Passport. Remember, if you need a passport quickly, go with a trusted passport expediter like Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport has been helping U.S. Citizens travel across the Sahara Desert for over ten years, and securing passports in as little as 24 hours.

If you’ve already survived the Marrakech Markets, then perhaps you’re ready for a break from all the chaos. The Sahara Desert may be just the escape you’re looking for, and fortunately for you, it’s just around the corner.


Most travelers don’t think about the serene Saharan Deserts of Morocco while planning a trip to Europe. However, considering it’s close proximity, every European bound traveler should consider it! If you’re planning a trip to Europe, consider making a quick trip south to the northern tip of Africa: Morocco.


Morocco is a strange and culturally rich country located between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Physically located only a short boat trip away from Europe, it has a deep history of traveler and trade, especially across the Sahara Desert.


There are dozens of tour options from Marrakech that will take you to Merzouga and beyond. Wait to book your tour until you arrive to Morocco. There are a lot of options and some companies are better than others. Waiting until you can see their buses, meet their drivers, and talk to the reps will give you a great peace of mind. Morocco is a wild and exciting place, and your trip to the Sahara Desert will be everything you dream of and more.


You can do a one day trip or a week long trip and everything in between. You will likely meet some of the Taureg people and other desert nomads. You will take a camel across sand dunes and maybe if you’re lucky, even end up near the Algerian border.



Since Europe is home to many budget travel flight companies, cheap fares to Marrakech can be found daily. For U.S. Citizens, visas are not required if your stay will be less than 90 days. All you need is your valid U.S. Passport. Remember, if you need a passport quickly, go with a trusted passport expediter like Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport has been helping U.S. Citizens travel across the Sahara Desert for over ten years, and securing passports in as little as 24 hours.

Travel New Zealand’s Best Kept Secert
New Zealand is a complicated place. It’s a tiny country, far away from most of the world, and yet in it’s tiny body it contains some of the most dramatic and incredible landscapes the world has to offer. While much of New Zealand is easy to cover as a casual traveler, there is a place that is often only covered by the most clever of travelers and most commonly, the locals.

Northland

Sure, The Abel Tasman and the South Island get’s its fair share of publicity, but the area known as Northland is a hidden gem for travelers and locals. It’s conveniently located in the North Island, just north of Auckland, where you’re likely to fly into as its the main airport of New Zealand. Northland is an area that has hundreds of miles of empty coastline, and yet it’s thin enough that one can drive from one coast to the other in an hour. 

The beauty of Northland comes after spending a few days road tripping back and forth from coast to coast. If you arrive to a beach with even one other person there, you will feel it’s too crowded and head off to another isolated beach. You can drive to the east coast for a sunrise and then head an hour or two west and enjoy the sunset later in the day. It’s beach after empty beach, and the locals, if you are fortunate to even come across any, will treat you with such kindness that you will wonder why you ever need to leave. Once you finally make it to the northernmost tip of Northland, you’ll find yourself at Cape Reinga, a place where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see the currents collide between the two bodies of water.

New Zealand is the country that everyone dreams of, and yet, it doesn’t have to be the place of your dreams. It’s accessible, and if you plan it right, flights can be surprisingly affordable. Once you’re there, find some other adventuring travelers and rent a camper. Then, head north into Northland. Even if that’s all you see, you won’t feel like you missed anything. 
U.S. Citizens will need a valid U.S. Passport, but no visa is required for stays of 90 days or less. This is great news for you! So grab your passport, and head on south to Northland! If you need a passport, contact Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport is a U.S. State Department-registered expediter that has been getting Americans to travel throughout New Zealand for over ten years. They can get you your passport in as little as 24 hours if necessary.

Travel New Zealand’s Best Kept Secert

New Zealand is a complicated place. It’s a tiny country, far away from most of the world, and yet in it’s tiny body it contains some of the most dramatic and incredible landscapes the world has to offer. While much of New Zealand is easy to cover as a casual traveler, there is a place that is often only covered by the most clever of travelers and most commonly, the locals.


Northland

Sure, The Abel Tasman and the South Island get’s its fair share of publicity, but the area known as Northland is a hidden gem for travelers and locals. It’s conveniently located in the North Island, just north of Auckland, where you’re likely to fly into as its the main airport of New Zealand. Northland is an area that has hundreds of miles of empty coastline, and yet it’s thin enough that one can drive from one coast to the other in an hour.


The beauty of Northland comes after spending a few days road tripping back and forth from coast to coast. If you arrive to a beach with even one other person there, you will feel it’s too crowded and head off to another isolated beach. You can drive to the east coast for a sunrise and then head an hour or two west and enjoy the sunset later in the day. It’s beach after empty beach, and the locals, if you are fortunate to even come across any, will treat you with such kindness that you will wonder why you ever need to leave. Once you finally make it to the northernmost tip of Northland, you’ll find yourself at Cape Reinga, a place where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see the currents collide between the two bodies of water.


New Zealand is the country that everyone dreams of, and yet, it doesn’t have to be the place of your dreams. It’s accessible, and if you plan it right, flights can be surprisingly affordable. Once you’re there, find some other adventuring travelers and rent a camper. Then, head north into Northland. Even if that’s all you see, you won’t feel like you missed anything.


U.S. Citizens will need a valid U.S. Passport, but no visa is required for stays of 90 days or less. This is great news for you! So grab your passport, and head on south to Northland! If you need a passport, contact Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport is a U.S. State Department-registered expediter that has been getting Americans to travel throughout New Zealand for over ten years. They can get you your passport in as little as 24 hours if necessary.


Most travelers don’t think about the wild markets of Morocco while planning a trip to Europe. However, considering it’s close proximity, every European bound traveler should consider it! If you’re planning a trip to Europe, consider making a quick trip south to the northern tip of Africa: Morocco.

Morocco is a strange and culturally rich country located between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Physically located only a short boat trip away from Europe, it has a deep history of traveler and trade. 

Since Europe is home to many budget travel flight companies, cheap fares to Marrakech can be found daily. For U.S. Citizens, visas are not required if your stay will be less than 90 days. All you need is your valid U.S. Passport. Remember, if you need a passport quickly, go with a trusted passport expediter like Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport has been helping U.S. Citizens survive the Marrakech Markets for over ten years, and securing passports in as little as 24 hours.


Once in Marrakech, you’ll likely head straight to the Medina, also known as the Old Town. Be prepared to have all of your senses overwhelmed. Moroccan culture thrives on bartering, so don’t be intimidated to flex your haggling skills.

Remember, you are a guest here so you do not have home field advantage. The merchants are charming, clever, and just plain good at getting you to want whatever it is they have to sell. Remember these few tricks to help you survive the Marrakesh Market. 

Tips to Surviving the Marrakech Markets
Bartering 
Be prepared to haggle. Let yourself enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about being insulting with a low price. No matter how seemingly shocked the merchant will act, it’s all part of the game. Enjoy it! 

Day one will most likely be your worst day.
 That’s ok. You are getting the feel for the atmosphere and the culture. The first day will be overwhelming, so don’t buy anything unless you absolutely need it. Most travelers end up wasting a lot of money that first day. Be smart, take it easy. Soak it all in first.

Tuck away the big bills.
 This means you might need to stop off at a bank and break your bills to get smaller change. If you tell them you only have 50 Dirham’s, and you pull out 100 Dirham’s…. Well you just shot yourself in the foot. Make them think you are on a budget (even if you’re not).

Go into it with a price in mind.
Know what you want to spend beforehand. Chances are your number is still higher than the value. 

Use Your Language Skills
The Moroccans are brilliant with their knowledge of languages. Explain where you are from, they will want to communicate with you as much as you want to barter with them.

Need an escape? 
Throw out an extremely low price or ask for something you know they don’t carry. This gives you the option to get closer to see if you like something, but then an escape route when it’s not what you were looking for.

Watch out for motorcycles.
You’ll be amazed at how fast the motorcycles and carts can come whizzing past you in a tight little alley. One wrong move on the narrow streets and you will become a motorcycle tire’s best friend.

You won’t always win.
There will always be that item that you will either pay too much for or you will never get the price you are asking.  Don’t fret. You are not the first person to say no, and you are not the first person to get ripped off. If you really liked it, then it will be worth it in the end.

Be strong. Chin up…. and smile.
 Most of all they love a friendly face and they want to have fun with you. The worse case scenario is you fall for their charm and end up helping the local Moroccan economy.


Most travelers don’t think about the wild markets of Morocco while planning a trip to Europe. However, considering it’s close proximity, every European bound traveler should consider it! If you’re planning a trip to Europe, consider making a quick trip south to the northern tip of Africa: Morocco.


Morocco is a strange and culturally rich country located between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Physically located only a short boat trip away from Europe, it has a deep history of traveler and trade.


Since Europe is home to many budget travel flight companies, cheap fares to Marrakech can be found daily. For U.S. Citizens, visas are not required if your stay will be less than 90 days. All you need is your valid U.S. Passport. Remember, if you need a passport quickly, go with a trusted passport expediter like Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport has been helping U.S. Citizens survive the Marrakech Markets for over ten years, and securing passports in as little as 24 hours.

image


Once in Marrakech, you’ll likely head straight to the Medina, also known as the Old Town. Be prepared to have all of your senses overwhelmed. Moroccan culture thrives on bartering, so don’t be intimidated to flex your haggling skills.



Remember, you are a guest here so you do not have home field advantage. The merchants are charming, clever, and just plain good at getting you to want whatever it is they have to sell. Remember these few tricks to help you survive the Marrakesh Market.

image

Tips to Surviving the Marrakech Markets

Bartering


Be prepared to haggle. Let yourself enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about being insulting with a low price. No matter how seemingly shocked the merchant will act, it’s all part of the game. Enjoy it!

Day one will most likely be your worst day.


That’s ok. You are getting the feel for the atmosphere and the culture. The first day will be overwhelming, so don’t buy anything unless you absolutely need it. Most travelers end up wasting a lot of money that first day. Be smart, take it easy. Soak it all in first.

Tuck away the big bills.


This means you might need to stop off at a bank and break your bills to get smaller change. If you tell them you only have 50 Dirham’s, and you pull out 100 Dirham’s…. Well you just shot yourself in the foot. Make them think you are on a budget (even if you’re not).

Go into it with a price in mind.


Know what you want to spend beforehand. Chances are your number is still higher than the value.

Use Your Language Skills


The Moroccans are brilliant with their knowledge of languages. Explain where you are from, they will want to communicate with you as much as you want to barter with them.

Need an escape?


Throw out an extremely low price or ask for something you know they don’t carry. This gives you the option to get closer to see if you like something, but then an escape route when it’s not what you were looking for.

Watch out for motorcycles.


You’ll be amazed at how fast the motorcycles and carts can come whizzing past you in a tight little alley. One wrong move on the narrow streets and you will become a motorcycle tire’s best friend.

You won’t always win.


There will always be that item that you will either pay too much for or you will never get the price you are asking.  Don’t fret. You are not the first person to say no, and you are not the first person to get ripped off. If you really liked it, then it will be worth it in the end.

Be strong. Chin up…. and smile.


Most of all they love a friendly face and they want to have fun with you. The worse case scenario is you fall for their charm and end up helping the local Moroccan economy.


Learn to Cook Overseas

One of the best parts of traveling is being able to eat and indulge in the local cuisine. But now you can also learn how to cook the foods you love so much. Thai restaurants are popping up all over the US, and if you have a trip planned to Thailand you too can cook these delicious Thai dishes.

Head to Thailand and learn from the best.

If you’re one of the millions of budding cooks around the world who would like to make your own Thai food, then a cooking class is for you. Learn directly from professional Thai cooks who will teach you about the flavours, ingredients and techniques in cooking Thai food. You’ll get to taste the food as you go. And finally, at the end of your class, you’ll get an apron and certificate to take home with you.

Thai cuisine has always stressed a delicate balance between the four different tastes: sour, salty, sweet and, last but not least, spicy hot! Thai food is very versatile and adaptable to suit almost any palate.

Thai cooking courses are a great way to learn to cook what you love, meet people during the class and a great way to have fun in Thailand. 

Qualified Thai chefs teach the secrets of preparing Thai food. Lessons take place in a stylish fully-equipped Thai kitchen, where classes are hands-on and of a small size - never more than ten. Instructors emphasize the importance of traditional Thai technique, innovative use of ingredients and aesthetic presentation. You’ll learn about the seasonality of Thai food, a range of dishes that includes starters, salads, curries, noodle dishes and deserts.

“There is no better way to learn Thai cooking once you are in Thailand and taking a Thai cooking class, taught by qualified Thai personnel. The Cooking Courses are an ideal home-style learning environment. Thinking of taking a class will wrap up your journey to Thailand wonderfully!” -Fellow Traveler

Most countries will offer cooking classes. Ask your hotel or the locals in the area to direct you to the best class. 

Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been foodies for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

Learn to Cook Overseas

One of the best parts of traveling is being able to eat and indulge in the local cuisine. But now you can also learn how to cook the foods you love so much. Thai restaurants are popping up all over the US, and if you have a trip planned to Thailand you too can cook these delicious Thai dishes.


Head to Thailand and learn from the best.


If you’re one of the millions of budding cooks around the world who would like to make your own Thai food, then a cooking class is for you. Learn directly from professional Thai cooks who will teach you about the flavours, ingredients and techniques in cooking Thai food. You’ll get to taste the food as you go. And finally, at the end of your class, you’ll get an apron and certificate to take home with you.


Thai cuisine has always stressed a delicate balance between the four different tastes: sour, salty, sweet and, last but not least, spicy hot! Thai food is very versatile and adaptable to suit almost any palate.


Thai cooking courses are a great way to learn to cook what you love, meet people during the class and a great way to have fun in Thailand.


Qualified Thai chefs teach the secrets of preparing Thai food. Lessons take place in a stylish fully-equipped Thai kitchen, where classes are hands-on and of a small size - never more than ten. Instructors emphasize the importance of traditional Thai technique, innovative use of ingredients and aesthetic presentation. You’ll learn about the seasonality of Thai food, a range of dishes that includes starters, salads, curries, noodle dishes and deserts.


“There is no better way to learn Thai cooking once you are in Thailand and taking a Thai cooking class, taught by qualified Thai personnel. The Cooking Courses are an ideal home-style learning environment. Thinking of taking a class will wrap up your journey to Thailand wonderfully!” -Fellow Traveler



Most countries will offer cooking classes. Ask your hotel or the locals in the area to direct you to the best class.


Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been foodies for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

Short Layover in Dubai
For travelers heading from the West to the East, you’ll likely be flying over the Middle East. Many travelers end up with a short layover in Dubai, which can be turned into quite a fun little adventure!

Dubai is located in The United Arab Emirates, an oil-wealthy nation of the Middle East. It’s primary draw for tourists is in the shopping, boasting over 70 malls including the largest mall in the world. If you have a short layover, you may as well make it an adventure.

Head from the airport into the city. You can easily see most of the major sights of Dubai in an afternoon. You can check out the Burj Khalifa, which is currently the world’s tallest building. You can also find the Burj Al Arab, which claims to be the world’s only seven star hotel in the world. If you’re more interested in the culture, Dubai is the home of a rich Arab and Bedouin culture. You can visit many souqs, or open-air markets that host an authentic Middle East experience.

One thing every traveler passing through Dubai should see is the indoor ski runs. Yes, that’s right. You can ski indoors, in a mall, in the middle of a desert. They even claim to have a black diamond run, though we can confidently report firsthand that it’s not quite a black diamond worthy of the Rockies.

Whether you spend your time wandering the malls, skiing, or soaking up the sun in the open air markets, Dubai can be a worthwhile layover for any type of traveler.

Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

Short Layover in Dubai

For travelers heading from the West to the East, you’ll likely be flying over the Middle East. Many travelers end up with a short layover in Dubai, which can be turned into quite a fun little adventure!



Dubai is located in The United Arab Emirates, an oil-wealthy nation of the Middle East. It’s primary draw for tourists is in the shopping, boasting over 70 malls including the largest mall in the world. If you have a short layover, you may as well make it an adventure.



Head from the airport into the city. You can easily see most of the major sights of Dubai in an afternoon. You can check out the Burj Khalifa, which is currently the world’s tallest building. You can also find the Burj Al Arab, which claims to be the world’s only seven star hotel in the world. If you’re more interested in the culture, Dubai is the home of a rich Arab and Bedouin culture. You can visit many souqs, or open-air markets that host an authentic Middle East experience.



One thing every traveler passing through Dubai should see is the indoor ski runs. Yes, that’s right. You can ski indoors, in a mall, in the middle of a desert. They even claim to have a black diamond run, though we can confidently report firsthand that it’s not quite a black diamond worthy of the Rockies.



Whether you spend your time wandering the malls, skiing, or soaking up the sun in the open air markets, Dubai can be a worthwhile layover for any type of traveler.


Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.


How to be a Healthy Traveler

Some people fear that by taking the open road and traveling they will not get enough exercise or be able to eat healthy to maintain a sufficient diet. Vegetarians and Vegans fear that they won’t find any meat-free options. Truth is, the world is changing and so are the healthy options that are becoming more and more available. 

Food-
Whether it be a veggie burger, veggie sandwich, or salad… Veggie is on the menu! Is the food as good as the US? That is for your to decide as you travel around and experience the local menus. 

In order to be healthy, you may have to hit up the local market and cook up a feast rather than eat out. You can also grab on-the-go snacks to tide you over in case you get desperate. 

Fitness- 
Yes, you don’t have access to your local gym but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some daily fitness in. First, you will be walking everywhere. When you arrive to a new city prepare to walk the streets. This is a great calorie burner. Check out the local parks, you can do some yoga in the park, plyometrics on the jungle gyms or go for a little jog. You can also purchase stretch bands that have thousands of exercises online that you can do from your hotel room. 

Download workout videos before you leave on your trip. If you are bringing your computer or tablet you can download some workout videos that will keep you occupied and your heart pumping. 

Relax-
Stress is a huge factor in weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle. Take this time away from your job and away from the daily chaos to relax and distress. Maybe start meditating and learn to enjoy nature. 

Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping healthy travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

How to be a Healthy Traveler

Some people fear that by taking the open road and traveling they will not get enough exercise or be able to eat healthy to maintain a sufficient diet. Vegetarians and Vegans fear that they won’t find any meat-free options. Truth is, the world is changing and so are the healthy options that are becoming more and more available.


Food-

Whether it be a veggie burger, veggie sandwich, or salad… Veggie is on the menu! Is the food as good as the US? That is for your to decide as you travel around and experience the local menus.


In order to be healthy, you may have to hit up the local market and cook up a feast rather than eat out. You can also grab on-the-go snacks to tide you over in case you get desperate.




image

Fitness-

Yes, you don’t have access to your local gym but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some daily fitness in. First, you will be walking everywhere. When you arrive to a new city prepare to walk the streets. This is a great calorie burner. Check out the local parks, you can do some yoga in the park, plyometrics on the jungle gyms or go for a little jog. You can also purchase stretch bands that have thousands of exercises online that you can do from your hotel room.


Download workout videos before you leave on your trip. If you are bringing your computer or tablet you can download some workout videos that will keep you occupied and your heart pumping.



Relax-

Stress is a huge factor in weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle. Take this time away from your job and away from the daily chaos to relax and distress. Maybe start meditating and learn to enjoy nature.



Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping healthy travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.



Traveling Southeast Asia is as easy or as hard as you wish to make it. There are many well established backpacker trails that seem to indicate a well-trodden path through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. But there are also many who choose to travel the path less taken. One such route is by motorbike.

Buying a Motorbike in SE Asia

Many countries have limitations that do not allow motorbikes to be imported across borders. So, if you buy a motorbike in Thailand, you may not be able to bring it to Vietnam unless you have a special license and paperwork. So, the easier option is to buy a motorbike in a country and sell it when you get to the border. It’s a lot easier than it seems.  

Thailand has an incredible infrastructure for tourists and travelers. There are buses, trains, and ferries that can take you across the country with ease. It’s also relatively easy to buy a motorbike in Thailand. Also, the roads are quite safe and well-maintained. Motorbikes are usually clutchless, with a manual transmission. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, it may take some getting used to, but for anyone with experience on a bike, it will quickly make sense. 

Laos is a bit more undiscovered, though motorbikes are just as easy to get. They may be slightly higher priced than in Thailand, but overall they are easy and cheap to obtain. One can expect to get a used motorbike for $200-$500. It’s also not that hard to sell your bike for the approximate price you paid, though don’t expect to make money on it.

Cambodia is similar to Laos and Thailand. There’s essentially one major artery through Cambodia, and it’s quite an interesting journey. You can see a great deal of the country by motorbike, and most of Cambodia is composed of small isolated villages. Expect to speak no English in the countryside. Most of your communication will be hand gestures and smiles, but the Cambodian people are incredibly friendly and hospitable. 

Vietnam is a country on its own. You will have the greatest difficulty importing a motorbike into Vietnam. You’re best bet is to ride through the other countries and sell your bike before arriving to Vietnam. Many riders are able to pay their way through though, so that may be an option. Expect to have your paperwork thoroughly checked.

Riding in SE Asia can be overwhelming, but the average speed is about 40km/hr. That’s not a fast pace, so keep your head up and eyes alert and you’ll be fine. Just make sure to have good insurance, just in case.

Visa Requirements
For U.S. Citizens, visas are available upon entry for each country except Vietnam. You will need to apply for a Vietnamese visa ahead of time, though the process is simple. You will need to ensure that your U.S. Passport is valid, as it is required for travel overseas. If you need a passport quickly, contact a trusted passport expediter like Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport has been helping travelers wander SE Asia for over ten years, securing passports within 24 hours if necessary.

Traveling Southeast Asia is as easy or as hard as you wish to make it. There are many well established backpacker trails that seem to indicate a well-trodden path through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. But there are also many who choose to travel the path less taken. One such route is by motorbike.


Buying a Motorbike in SE Asia

Many countries have limitations that do not allow motorbikes to be imported across borders. So, if you buy a motorbike in Thailand, you may not be able to bring it to Vietnam unless you have a special license and paperwork. So, the easier option is to buy a motorbike in a country and sell it when you get to the border. It’s a lot easier than it seems.  


Thailand has an incredible infrastructure for tourists and travelers. There are buses, trains, and ferries that can take you across the country with ease. It’s also relatively easy to buy a motorbike in Thailand. Also, the roads are quite safe and well-maintained. Motorbikes are usually clutchless, with a manual transmission. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, it may take some getting used to, but for anyone with experience on a bike, it will quickly make sense.


Laos is a bit more undiscovered, though motorbikes are just as easy to get. They may be slightly higher priced than in Thailand, but overall they are easy and cheap to obtain. One can expect to get a used motorbike for $200-$500. It’s also not that hard to sell your bike for the approximate price you paid, though don’t expect to make money on it.


Cambodia is similar to Laos and Thailand. There’s essentially one major artery through Cambodia, and it’s quite an interesting journey. You can see a great deal of the country by motorbike, and most of Cambodia is composed of small isolated villages. Expect to speak no English in the countryside. Most of your communication will be hand gestures and smiles, but the Cambodian people are incredibly friendly and hospitable.


Vietnam is a country on its own. You will have the greatest difficulty importing a motorbike into Vietnam. You’re best bet is to ride through the other countries and sell your bike before arriving to Vietnam. Many riders are able to pay their way through though, so that may be an option. Expect to have your paperwork thoroughly checked.



Riding in SE Asia can be overwhelming, but the average speed is about 40km/hr. That’s not a fast pace, so keep your head up and eyes alert and you’ll be fine. Just make sure to have good insurance, just in case.



Visa Requirements

For U.S. Citizens, visas are available upon entry for each country except Vietnam. You will need to apply for a Vietnamese visa ahead of time, though the process is simple. You will need to ensure that your U.S. Passport is valid, as it is required for travel overseas. If you need a passport quickly, contact a trusted passport expediter like Fastport Passport. Fastport Passport has been helping travelers wander SE Asia for over ten years, securing passports within 24 hours if necessary.

Long Term Travel Style Guide

Just because you are traveling long term or even living out of a backpack doesn’t mean your style has to go out the window. There are many ways to keep your trendy look even when you are hundreds of miles from your closet. 

Accessorize- You will be bombarded on the streets of whatever destination you go to with accessories. Use this to your advantage. It’s amazing what adding a necklace, bracelet or even a flower in your hair can do for your look. Keep a small plastic baggy in your backpack of colorful accessories to add to your outfit.

Alternate Options- Mix and Match. By simply switching a tank top to a different bottom can make a whole new outfit. Match jeans to a tank top, take that same tank top and wear it with that fabulous skirt you have rolled away in the corner of your backpack. 

Up Do’s- There are many ways that you can pull your hair back that makes a casual outfit look more like a fancy outfit. The Audrey Hepburn bun, the classic french braid, or even a simple twist can add glam to any casual outfit. 

Shoes- The last thing you want is to pack too many shoes. They are the heaviest. Pack your necessities: running shoes, flip flops and a pair of ballet flats. Skinny jeans, tank, scarf and ballet flats and you are ready for a night out in the town.

Add Color- You can wear the same outfit over and over. Add a new color each time you wear it. Maybe it’s a red scarf, blue earrings, or a bright yellow bangle. By just adding a glimpse of color can give the illusion that you are wearing a whole new outfit. 

Shop Cheap- Choose inexpensive go-to stores while traveling.  H&M, Zara, etc. They are everywhere and they are cheap. You can swap out tank tops, add a new skirt and even pick up some cheap jewelry. It’s a good way to mix up the wardrobe without breaking the budget.

Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping fashionista travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

Long Term Travel Style Guide


Just because you are traveling long term or even living out of a backpack doesn’t mean your style has to go out the window. There are many ways to keep your trendy look even when you are hundreds of miles from your closet.


Accessorize- You will be bombarded on the streets of whatever destination you go to with accessories. Use this to your advantage. It’s amazing what adding a necklace, bracelet or even a flower in your hair can do for your look. Keep a small plastic baggy in your backpack of colorful accessories to add to your outfit.


Alternate Options- Mix and Match. By simply switching a tank top to a different bottom can make a whole new outfit. Match jeans to a tank top, take that same tank top and wear it with that fabulous skirt you have rolled away in the corner of your backpack.


Up Do’s- There are many ways that you can pull your hair back that makes a casual outfit look more like a fancy outfit. The Audrey Hepburn bun, the classic french braid, or even a simple twist can add glam to any casual outfit.


Shoes- The last thing you want is to pack too many shoes. They are the heaviest. Pack your necessities: running shoes, flip flops and a pair of ballet flats. Skinny jeans, tank, scarf and ballet flats and you are ready for a night out in the town.


Add Color- You can wear the same outfit over and over. Add a new color each time you wear it. Maybe it’s a red scarf, blue earrings, or a bright yellow bangle. By just adding a glimpse of color can give the illusion that you are wearing a whole new outfit.


Shop Cheap- Choose inexpensive go-to stores while traveling.  H&M, Zara, etc. They are everywhere and they are cheap. You can swap out tank tops, add a new skirt and even pick up some cheap jewelry. It’s a good way to mix up the wardrobe without breaking the budget.


Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping fashionista travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.




How to Tip Overseas
Photo Credit:  mienmagazine.com

Every country is different and it’s important to know the standards on tipping when you are traveling. 

TIPPING GUIDE:

Asia/the Pacific: Special care must be taken to ensure that your well-meaning gesture is not taken as insulting. If you are unsure, it is best not to tip. If possible, observe the locals and follow their lead.

Europe: Many hotels and restaurants add a service charge to the bill. In most cases, an additional tip is unnecessary. If no service charge is added to your bill, 10% is the general rule for restaurant service, and $1 per bag for a hotel porter.

Middle East/Africa: While your tip will not be seen as insulting, it may be unnecessary. Once again, the best bet is to do as the locals do.

Central/South America: Many hotels and restaurants add a service charge to the bill, and an additional tip is unnecessary. If not, 10% is the general rule for restaurant service, and the equivalent of $1 per bag for a porter.

This list is by country, and then waiter/waitress, porter, and taxi driver categories.
Argentina
W/W: 10%
P: $1
TD: Round up taxi fare or small tip
Australia
W/W: 10% in fine restaurants only
P: $2 per bag
TD: Round up
Austria
W/W: 5% plus service charge
P: $1 to $2 per bag
TD: Round up
Bahamas
W/W: 10%
P: $1 per bag
TD: 10% (15% actual per local FTer
Belgium
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Brazil
W/W: 10% to 15%
P: $1 per bag
TD: 10%
Brunei
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Canada
W/W: 15% ranges from 10%-20% per local FTers
P: $1 to $2 per bag
TD: 10%
Cayman Islands
W/W: 15% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: 10%
Chile
W/W: 10% in addition to service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: None
China
W/W: 3% in major cities (according to local FTers; 0%)
P: $1 to $2 (according to local FTers, none)
TD: None
Colombia
W/W: 10%
P: 75 cents per bag
TD: None
Costa Rica
W/W: None
P: $1 per bag
TD: 10%
Czech Republic
W/W: 5% to 10%
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Denmark
W/W: None
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Ecuador
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: 75 cents per bag
TD: None
Egypt
W/W: 5% to 10% plus service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Estonia
W/W: 10-15% for restaurants (in pubs toss spare change into big shared bowl for waitresses)
P: ?
TD: ?
Fiji
W/W: None
P: None
TD: Round up
Finland
W/W: None
P: None
TD: If you pay by credit card – none. If you pay with cash – none if you don’t want to, but rounding up is acceptable to avoid hassling with coins.
France
W/W: 5% to 10%
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Germany
W/W: 5% to 10% or round up plus euro or two per some FTers
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Greece
W/W: 5% to 10% plus service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Hong Kong
W/W: 10% plus service charge if svg charge no need to add 10% per local FTer or round up
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Hungary
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: None
TD: Round up
India
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag (according to local FTers 50cents/bag)
TD: Round up
Indonesia
W/W: 10%
P: 50 cents
TD: Round up
Ireland
W/W: 10% to 15%
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Israel
W/W: 12% to 15% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: 12% to 15% (according to local FTers, tips included in fares; could tip but not 12-15%)
Italy
W/W: 10% plus service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Japan
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Malaysia
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Mexico
W/W: 10% to 15%
P: $1
TD: 50 cents
Morocco
W/W: Leave loose change
P: 50 cents per bag
TD: Round up
Netherlands
W/W: 5% to 10%
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
New Zealand
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Norway
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Oman
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Peru
W/W: Up to 10% for special service
P: 75cents per bag
TD: None
Philippines
W/W: 10%
P: 50 cents to $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Poland
W/W: 10%
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Portugal
W/W: 10% to 15% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Romania
W/W: Round up bill
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Russia
W/W: 10% to 15%
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Samoa
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Saudi Arabia
W/W: 10% to 15%
P: $1 to $2 per bag
TD: 10%
Singapore
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
South Africa
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: 50 cents
TD: 10%
South Korea
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Spain
W/W: 7% to 10% plus service charges
P: $1 per bag
TD: 10%
Sweden
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Switzerland
W/W: Round up
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
Taiwan
W/W: 10% if no service charge (none according to local FTer)
P: $1 per bag
TD: None
Tanzania
W/W: 10%
P: None
TD: None
Thailand
W/W: None see post # 32 in this thread for update by local FTer
P: None see post # 32 in this thread for update by local FTer
TD: None see post # 32 in this thread for update by local FTer
Turkey
W/W: Round up
P: $1 per bag
TD: Round up
United Arab Emirates
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
United Kingdom
W/W: 10% if no service charge
P: $1 per bag
TD: 15% (according to local FTers 10% or round up to nearest pound)
USA
W/W: 15% to 20%
P: $1 to $2 per bag
TD: 10% to 15%
Venezula
W/W: 10%
P: 75 cents per bag
TD: 10%
Vietnam
W/W: None
P: None
TD: None
Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping fellow travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.

How to Tip Overseas


Photo Credit:  mienmagazine.com


Every country is different and it’s important to know the standards on tipping when you are traveling.



TIPPING GUIDE:



Asia/the Pacific: Special care must be taken to ensure that your well-meaning gesture is not taken as insulting. If you are unsure, it is best not to tip. If possible, observe the locals and follow their lead.


Europe: Many hotels and restaurants add a service charge to the bill. In most cases, an additional tip is unnecessary. If no service charge is added to your bill, 10% is the general rule for restaurant service, and $1 per bag for a hotel porter.

Middle East/Africa: While your tip will not be seen as insulting, it may be unnecessary. Once again, the best bet is to do as the locals do.


Central/South America: Many hotels and restaurants add a service charge to the bill, and an additional tip is unnecessary. If not, 10% is the general rule for restaurant service, and the equivalent of $1 per bag for a porter.


This list is by country, and then waiter/waitress, porter, and taxi driver categories.

Argentina

W/W: 10%

P: $1

TD: Round up taxi fare or small tip

Australia

W/W: 10% in fine restaurants only

P: $2 per bag

TD: Round up

Austria

W/W: 5% plus service charge

P: $1 to $2 per bag

TD: Round up

Bahamas

W/W: 10%

P: $1 per bag

TD: 10% (15% actual per local FTer

Belgium

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Brazil

W/W: 10% to 15%

P: $1 per bag

TD: 10%

Brunei

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Canada

W/W: 15% ranges from 10%-20% per local FTers

P: $1 to $2 per bag

TD: 10%

Cayman Islands

W/W: 15% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: 10%

Chile

W/W: 10% in addition to service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: None

China

W/W: 3% in major cities (according to local FTers; 0%)

P: $1 to $2 (according to local FTers, none)

TD: None

Colombia

W/W: 10%

P: 75 cents per bag

TD: None

Costa Rica

W/W: None

P: $1 per bag

TD: 10%

Czech Republic

W/W: 5% to 10%

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Denmark

W/W: None

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Ecuador

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: 75 cents per bag

TD: None

Egypt

W/W: 5% to 10% plus service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Estonia

W/W: 10-15% for restaurants (in pubs toss spare change into big shared bowl for waitresses)

P: ?

TD: ?

Fiji

W/W: None

P: None

TD: Round up

Finland

W/W: None

P: None

TD: If you pay by credit card – none. If you pay with cash – none if you don’t want to, but rounding up is acceptable to avoid hassling with coins.

France

W/W: 5% to 10%

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Germany

W/W: 5% to 10% or round up plus euro or two per some FTers

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Greece

W/W: 5% to 10% plus service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Hong Kong

W/W: 10% plus service charge if svg charge no need to add 10% per local FTer or round up

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Hungary

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: None

TD: Round up

India

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag (according to local FTers 50cents/bag)

TD: Round up

Indonesia

W/W: 10%

P: 50 cents

TD: Round up

Ireland

W/W: 10% to 15%

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Israel

W/W: 12% to 15% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: 12% to 15% (according to local FTers, tips included in fares; could tip but not 12-15%)

Italy

W/W: 10% plus service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Japan

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Malaysia

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Mexico

W/W: 10% to 15%

P: $1

TD: 50 cents

Morocco

W/W: Leave loose change

P: 50 cents per bag

TD: Round up

Netherlands

W/W: 5% to 10%

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

New Zealand

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Norway

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Oman

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Peru

W/W: Up to 10% for special service

P: 75cents per bag

TD: None

Philippines

W/W: 10%

P: 50 cents to $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Poland

W/W: 10%

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Portugal

W/W: 10% to 15% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Romania

W/W: Round up bill

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Russia

W/W: 10% to 15%

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Samoa

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Saudi Arabia

W/W: 10% to 15%

P: $1 to $2 per bag

TD: 10%

Singapore

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

South Africa

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: 50 cents

TD: 10%

South Korea

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Spain

W/W: 7% to 10% plus service charges

P: $1 per bag

TD: 10%

Sweden

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Switzerland

W/W: Round up

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

Taiwan

W/W: 10% if no service charge (none according to local FTer)

P: $1 per bag

TD: None

Tanzania

W/W: 10%

P: None

TD: None

Thailand

W/W: None see post # 32 in this thread for update by local FTer

P: None see post # 32 in this thread for update by local FTer

TD: None see post # 32 in this thread for update by local FTer

Turkey

W/W: Round up

P: $1 per bag

TD: Round up

United Arab Emirates

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

United Kingdom

W/W: 10% if no service charge

P: $1 per bag

TD: 15% (according to local FTers 10% or round up to nearest pound)

USA

W/W: 15% to 20%

P: $1 to $2 per bag

TD: 10% to 15%

Venezula

W/W: 10%

P: 75 cents per bag

TD: 10%

Vietnam

W/W: None

P: None

TD: None

Remember to get your passport when heading overseas. If you need a passport within 24 hours, Fastport Passport can help you out. They’ve been helping fellow travelers for over ten years, so you can trust them to help you make your trip happen.