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Category: Solo travellers

Climbing Machu Picchu - What to pack for the Inca Trail

What to pack for the Inca Trail

[ 0 ] November 3, 2011

Planning to hike the Inca Trail in Peru? Make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities by consulting our checklist.

From First Aid kits to flashlights, our essential guide will ensure you’re well equipped for Machu Picchu!

Climbing Machu Picchu - What to pack for the Inca Trail - Fabulous Travel Guide

Climbing Machu Picchu - What to pack for the Inca Trail

*Flashlight

Girls – if you need the toilet during the night you’ll want your hands free. Go for a head torch so you can keep your dignity. A wind-up torch is also useful as there won’t be many power points along the way.

*Wet wipes and hand sanitiser

There’s nowhere to have a shower after a tough day’s climb so be sure to pack wet wipes. Hand sanitiser is great, too – and a necessity if you wear contact lenses – as no water is required.

* First Aid kit

It’s always worth having a First Aid kit with you as you never know when you’ll need Asprin, Imodium or re-hydration powder. It’s also worth noting that tour guides aren’t allowed to administeri any type of drug including headache pills, antibiotics and altitude sickness pills. Make sure you pack blister plasters and bandages. We can’t stress this enough!

* Waterproof cover for backpacks and a poncho!

Make sure your backpack stays nice and dry in a waterproof case. There are usually rain showers along the way so a poncho is a good idea, too. However you can buy these from locals on the way.

* Sleeping bag and liner

You can hire sleeping bags for around $10USD. If you bing your own, make sure it’s waterproof with a thermal lining.

* Purification tablets

Clean water is limited so take purification tablets or a filter so you can drink fresh water on the trek. The last thing you need is a dodgy stomach.

* Watch or alarm clock

Tour guides usually wake you in the morning for breakfast but on the last day, when you race up up to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn, you’ll set your own alarm.

*Camera and spare memory card

Every day of the Inca Trail is awesome so you’ll be snapping away left, right and centre. Make sure you take a spare memory card – and battery – if you have it so you don’t have to be stingy!

* Plastic bags

Keep your clothes wrapped up in plastic bags – it will keep them nice and dry.

Next: What to wear for the Inca Trail>>

Need more travel advice for Peru? Follow us on Twitter and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook.

Travel money | Currency exchange rates | Fabulous travel guide

Debit card or prepaid card? Tips for travellers

[ 1 ] October 10, 2011

Looking for the best card to use abroad? Avoid bank charges, ATM fees and bad exchange rates by getting your hands on a prepaid card.

Read on for our top tips and advice on finding the right deal for you and start saving money for your big trip!

Travel money | Currency exchange rates | Fabulous travel guide

Save money abroad with our top tips and advice

* Choose a card with no ATM fees

Travelling to a remote corner of the world? Many places won’t accept card payments so it’s important to choose a card with no ATM fees as you’ll be withdrawing on a regular basis.

* Find out the exchange rate

Banks often charge a fee to convert money into local currency. If you’re using a Barclays debit card abroad you may be charged a 2.99% foreign exchange charge. Not good if you’re on a budget.

* Check you can use your card online/ in store

Going on a shopping spree? Need to pay for a last-minute flight? Check there are no foreign purchase fees when using your prepaid card online or in store.

* Keep up-to-date with the latest deals

Moneysupermarket.com is a fantastic website to use if you’re not sure where to start. Not only does it keep an updated list of the best cards to use, it has exclusive deals and offers that are perfect for travellers.

* Ask the right questions

Does it cost money to ‘load’ the card? What happens if you lose it? Are there charges if you stop using the card? All these are important things to consider so give the provider a call to clear things up.

Find out how to get the best deal on your trip and bag yourself a good exchange rate before you leave. Got a question? Get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!

Travelling to South Africa - Fabulous Travel Guide

Is South Africa safe? Tips for travellers

[ 0 ] October 7, 2011

South Africa has a reputation for being dangerous – but it’s important to have an open mind and remember that the majority of visitors have no trouble at all.

Robberies happen in every city, you just need to be sensible and air on the side of caution. Read on for our top tips and advice on staying safe. Chances are you’ll love every minute. We did!

Staying safe in South Africa - Travelling to South Africa - Fabulous Travel Guide

Travelling to South Africa - Fabulous Travel Guide

* Use the Baz Bus

Worried about travelling alone? The Baz Bus is a great way to get around as it’s door-to-door. No need to wait around in bus shelters late at night – simply book the bus and it will pick you up at your hostel.

* Don’t walk around at night

The divide between rich and poor is vast – yet they live in such close proximity to each other. One minute you’re walking past penthouse apartments and luxury villas, the next you’re in a township where kids run after you begging for food.

* Be careful at ATMs

You’re at your most vulnerable when withdrawing cash. Don’t let anyone ‘help’ you use ATMs (it’s normally a scam) or stand too close. Put your cash in a money belt under your clothes and head straight to your hostel.

* Girls, use your bra!

Just withdrawn lots of money? Discreetly tuck it into your bra. It may sound a little extreme but if someone’s robbing you, it’s the perfect hiding place. TOP TIP Always keep some cash on your person in case they’ve seen you at the ATM.

* Don’t give homeless kids money

Sadly there are many homeless children on the streets – but it’s important not to give them cash. If you want to help, buy them food or ask if there’s anything you can do for them. Lots of hostels encourage travellers to donate clothes so do as much as you can to help.

* Walk with purpose

Don’t stand in the street holding a map or wander round aimlessly taking photos. Do your best to fit in, walk with purpose and be firm if anyone tries to hassle you.

* Buy first-class train tickets

First-class train tickets are nothing like the ones in the UK but it’s worth spending a little extra to sit in a quieter cabin. You’ll still be hassled by plenty of interesting characters trying to sell you anything from blocks of cheese to DVDs.

* Don’t flaunt your camera/jewellery

Keep anything of value out of sight and don’t flaunt expensive jewellery and handbags. This attracts opportunists and you could be putting yourself at risk.

* Remember to have fun!

South Africans are some of the friendliest people we’ve come across so go with an open mind, soak up the culture and enjoy every minute. You’ll come away smiling.

Looking for the best places to visit in South Africa? Go diving with Great White sharks and spot lions at Scotchia Game Reserve.

How to save money on last-minute flights | Cheap flights | Fabulous travel guide

PROOF! Gap years DO help your education

[ 0 ] August 16, 2011
Planning a round-the-world trip? There’s never been a better time to take a year out! Teenagers on gap years can now earn Ucas points to help them secure places at university.

It’s thought activities such as whale watching, trekking and diving can be used to get a Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) – the equivalent to an A grade at AS level.

Gap year students can now earn Ucas points for trekking! Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) - Fabulous Travel Guide

Gap year students can now earn Ucas points for trekking!

Those who gain level 3 in the certificate will receive 70Ucas points – a valuable contribution to your overall score. So what you waiting for? Start planning that volunteering trip in South Africa or do your PADI diving certificate in Colombia guilt free!
NB. Students can also complete the CoPE without taking a year out. It’s aimed at anyone over the age of 16 and some study for it by doing voluntary work during their A-levels.

Need help planning your trip? Find out how to book a round the world ticket and check out our advice section for top tips and advice.

Travelling solo? 5 things to do before you leave | Fabulous travel guide

Advertising opportunities on Fabulous Travel Guide

[ 0 ] August 4, 2011

Thinking about advertising on Fabulous Travel Guide? We’re on the look out for companies to partner up with!

From advertorials to contextual links, we offer a wide variety of ads at seriously competitive prices. Remember, we’re more than happy to negotiate rates so feel free to get in touch.

Contact editor at alison.adey@yahoo.com.

* Advertorials/ Promotional features

Promote your client links, competition giveaways or special offers and it will remain in the archive forever! Features include two keyword links of your choice and 14 days on the homepage/rotator.

Recommended Travel Websites

Link under the image Recommended Travel Sites within the sidebar for 30 days.

Contextual Links

Links within a new feature (or existing feature) that directs users to your website.

Contextual Link Sentence

A contextual link of up to 100 characters (including spaces) at the end of a specific feature.

* Homepage ads<

Banner and text ads are available on the homepage for either 30-day, 60-day or 90-day contracts.

* Reviews and press

Need publicity? We’re more than happy to attend press events and review hostels so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For UK press releases please contact our features writer Vicki Forde at vicki_m_f@hotmail.com

Staying safe in South America - Tips for staying safe - Fabulous Travel Guide

Staying safe in South America

[ 0 ] July 7, 2011

South America is a fantastic place to travel around but you’ll need to have your wits about you if you’re travelling alone.

Read our top tips for staying safe while backpacking around Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

Staying safe in South America - Tips for staying safe - Fabulous Travel Guide

Staying safe in South America - Tips for staying safe - Fabulous Travel Guide

* Never travel at night

It’s always best to travel during the day – especially when crossing borders or arriving in busy bus terminals. This gives you time to find a hostel and get your bearings.

* Make sure your taxi is authorised

Look for the driver’s I.D and agree a price before you get in.  Lock the doors once you’re inside – it’s not unheard of for muggers to jump in next to you at traffic lights.

* Don’t carry an expensive handbag

Be wary about getting money out in public places and use an inexpensive bag that you can wear across the body so it’s not as easy to snatch. Take enough money for the day and leave your passport and wallet in the hostel.

* Be careful where you withdraw money

Where possible, withdraw cash from inside a bank. Cloning cards is a common occurance in some places so avoid using cashpoints in dodgy areas and don´t go near them at night.

*Don´t fight back

If you´re unlucky enough to be targeted by thieves, stay calm and cooperate. Never resist or fight back and give them everything they ask for. Don´t be clever by giving them the wrong pin number – it’s simply not worth it.

* Cover up

It’s fine to wear tiny shorts to the beach – but make sure you dress respectably in large towns and cities. Otherwise you’ll attract unwanted attention – not something to be doing when you’re travelling alone.

* Don’t leave valuables in your backpack

You’re usually asked to leave your backpack under the bus on long journeys so carry anything of value  (such as passport, wallet, credit card etc) with you. Don´t put your bag under the seat as it can be taken (or cut open) when you’re sleeping. The best thing to do is put your passport and cash in a money belt under your clothes.

*Trust your instincts

Look around you – if shops are boarded up and there’s not much street lighting, leave immediately. Even in broad daylight you are an easy target. Don’t wander into quiet areas on your own and if you ever feel vulnerable get straight in a taxi.

TOP TIP Some girls carry pepper spray with them for protection. It may seem a little extreme but if you’re getting hassled by anyone it will give you time to make a swift exit.

Planning a trip to South America? Find out how to bag cheap flights and  get tips on crossing borders safely. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for more updates!

Travelling solo? 5 things to do before you leave | Fabulous travel guide

Staying safe in Central America

[ 2 ] March 12, 2011

Central America is fantastic place to travel round but some areas, such as Panama City and Managua in Nicaragua, can be really dangerous.

So if you’re travelling alone, or arriving in big cities at night, you’ll need to have your wits about you. Follow these top tips for staying safe in Central America:

* Never travel at night

It’s always best to travel during the day – especially when crossing borders or arriving in busy bus terminals. This gives you time to find a hostel and get your bearings.

* Make sure your taxi is authorised

Look for the driver’s I.D and agree a price before you get in.  Lock the doors once you’re inside – it’s not unheard of for muggers to jump in next to you at traffic lights.

* Don’t carry an expensive handbag

Be wary about getting money out in public places and use an inexpensive bag that you can wear across the body so it’s not as easy to snatch. Take enough money for the day and leave your passport and wallet in the hostel.

* Be careful where you withdraw money

Where possible, withdraw cash from inside a bank. Cloning cards is a common occurance in some places so avoid using cashpoints in dodgy areas and don´t go near them at night.

*Don´t fight back

If you´re unlucky enough to be targeted by thieves, stay calm and cooperate. Never resist or fight back and give them everything they ask for. Don´t be clever by giving them the wrong pin number – it’s simply not worth it.

* Cover up

It’s fine to wear tiny shorts to the beach – but make sure you dress respectably in large towns and cities. Otherwise you’ll attract unwanted attention – not something to be doing when you’re travelling alone.

* Don’t leave valuables in your backpack

You’re usually asked to leave your backpack under the bus on long journeys so carry anything of value  (such as passport, wallet, credit card etc) with you. Don´t put your bag under the seat as it can be taken (or cut open) when you’re sleeping. The best thing to do is put your passport and cash in a money belt under your clothes.

*Trust your instincts

Look around you – if shops are boarded up and there’s not much street lighting, leave immediately. Even in broad daylight you are an easy target. Don’t wander into quiet areas on your own and if you ever feel vulnerable get straight in a taxi.

TOP TIP Some girls carry pepper spray with them for protection. It may seem a little extreme but if you’re getting hassled by anyone it will give you time to make a swift exit.

Planning a trip to Central America? Get tips on crossing borders safely and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Crossing borders in Central America - Tips and advice - Fabulous Travel Guide

How to cross borders in Central America

[ 6 ] March 4, 2011

Planning to travel through Central America? Crossing borders is fairly straight forward but occasionally tourists have trouble. Read these top tips for crossing borders safely:

* Avoid crossing borders at night

There’s usually a fair bit of walking to do between immigration offices so don’t leave yourself in a vulnerable position by arriving at night. You’re an easy target.

* Get stamped

Make sure you get stamped in and out of countries – this is really important as you could get refused entry/exit.

Crossing borders in Central America - Tips and advice for crossing borders - Fabulous Travel Guide

Crossing borders in Central America - Tips and advice - Fabulous Travel Guide

* Keep tourist cards and documents safe

It’s a good idea to buy a passport wallet so you can tuck away forms and tourist cards.

* Proof of onward travel

Read the latest entry requirements before travelling. Some countries, such as Costa Rica and Panama, require proof of onward travel. So print off flight documents or bus tickets ready to show them.

* Ask for receipts

There is usually a departure tax/entry fee when crossing borders in Central America. However, always ask for a receipt (see Spanish phrases) as tourists are often ripped off. It’s a good idea to carry extra cash in case of emergencies.

* Change your currency before you get to the border

You’ll get a better deal if you change your currency before you reach the border.  If you do need to change money, make sure you know the exchange rate before you start negotiating.

* Be wary of fraudsters

Don’t hand your passport over to anyone until you’re safely inside the immigration building. Some fraudsters try and get you to ‘buy’ a stamp outside and insist you give them your passport. Don’t!

* Don’t leave valuables in your backpack

If you take a bus over the border it will usually drop you off at immigration and drive through separately. Don’t leave any valuables in your backpack – keep them on your person at all times (a money belt is a good idea).

* Travel in a group

You’re less likely to get ripped off if you’re in a group. If you’re travelling solo don’t worry, there will always be other people crossing at the same time as you so try and stick with them.

* Don’t carry drugs!

This may seem like an obvious one but it’s surprising how many travellers get into trouble because they forget to check their pockets.

Planning a trip to Central America? Get more tips for travelling safely abroad and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Mexico City palace - Mexico City - Fabulous Travel Guide

How much Spanish do you need in Mexico?

[ 2 ] January 21, 2011

Mexico City is a difficult place to travel around if you don’t speak a word of Spanish. While locals are friendly, they talk quickly and have little patience for stammering tourists.

So if you’re thinking about visiting Mexico, or travelling about Central America, you might want to take a few Spanish lessons before you leave home. For now, check out the basics:

Mexico City palace - Mexico City - Fabulous Travel Guide

Mexico City palace - Mexico City - Fabulous Travel Guide

Hostels

Staff at hostels have limited English, if any, so always print off your confirmation email and any reference numers when you arrive.  Make sure you get a receipt to show you’ve paid. The following phrases also come in handy for these situations:

I have a reservation for two nights – Tengo una reservar para dos noches

How much is it per night? – Quanto cuesta por noche?

What time is checkout – A que hora hay que dejar libre la habitacion?

Can you call me a taxi – Me puede pedir un taxi

Food and restaurants

Ordering food at restaurants or on the street can be a nightmare if you don’t speak the language. There are no English menus (or pictures!), so make sure you learn the basics – especially if you’re vegetarian.

I would like – Quisiera

What would you reccomend – Que me recomienda?

I’m vegetarian – Estoy vegetariano

I’d like a table for two – Quisiera una mesa para dos

Chicken – pollo; Beef – carne de vaca; Bread – pan; Cheese – queso; Eggs – huevos; Baguette – bocadilla

Beer – cerveza; Wine – vino; Water – agua; Tea - te; Coffee – cafe

The Latin American Spanish phrasebook by Lonely Planet is brilliant for beginners and has loads of handy phrases. Try to get an idea of how words are pronounced by listening to Spanish audiobooks before you get out there. This will help you understand.

Looking for more advice about travelling in Mexico? Master the metro and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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