Archive | December 2011

Should You Get Comprehensive Travel Insurance

When planning a trip overseas, most people spend a lot of time comparing plane fares, hotel rates and car rentals just to get the best deals. However, only a few people consider their needs for a comprehensive travel insurance that can make their trip to another country less stressful. Perhaps people tend to assume that everything will go well as planned. Yet, accidents and other unforeseen situations can happen and preparing for them is a smart thing to do.

These days, it is easier to get protection against unforeseen circumstances during holidays or business trips. It has even become easier to buy the coverage you need by using the internet. Most companies have plans that protect you from accidents, unplanned costs due to delayed or canceled flights, lost baggage and other emergencies.

Several options are possible such as single-trip, multi-trip, backpacker, business, and medical travel. To make the best choice, always read the fine print of the insurance policy that you are considering. Compare costs and features to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

Purchase the type of protection which suits your needs. For instance, if you go to various destinations quite frequently, consider a multi-trip type cover which is good for a year. If you are just going for a one month holiday in Europe, a single-trip cover should suffice. Whichever one you choose, make sure you are covered for lost baggage, flight delays and cancellations.

Comprehensive travel insurance premiums will vary depending on several factors that determine risks. Your age, is one factor and the security conditions in your destination is another. If the country you are visiting is frequently considered unsafe due to terrorists attacks, you may have to pay more to get the protection you need.

So do not leave an essential thing behind when planning for the perfect trip. Consider buying a comprehensive travel insurance that can protect you against the most common disasters. Shop for the right one to assure you of a pleasant and stress-free trip.

 

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Nine Argentina Travel Tips

Argentina flag

Argentina is a popular destination, but it is necessary to remember on any vacation that there might be cultural, geological and meteorological differences when travelling abroad that might potentially ruin your entire trip. Whilst in some places the differences may well be minor, in others you are able to deeply offend somebody by doing a thing you thought to be kosher by you.

Don’t let this happen to you, below are what I believe to be the most notable 9 Argentina travel tips. Follow the following pointers and you will be sure to leave an impression of courtesy as well as receive more hospitality from the residents.

1. A common sort of greeting in Argentina between friends is kissing one another’s cheeks, so don’t be caught off guard when someone makes a lunge toward your cheek. And return the favour from courtesy if and when they have.

2. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of main methods of transportation is underground shuttle, or by bus/trolley bus, or taxi. Their are 5 main public “subte” lines, labelled A to E and services operate from in the morning to late at night on a fixed-fare basis. Buses are generally very crowded yet are frequently the quickest means from one place to another.

3. Spanish is the official language of Argentina, while English is widely spoken – don’t have faith in everyone to speak English, you ought to leastwise get some basic Spanish down before living in Argentina.

4. More than 90 per cent of Argentina’s religious faith lies in the Roman Catholic church. Remember this as it comes with an impact on what is acceptable and what is not.

5. Argentina has 5 major airlines that allows you to render the big country smaller when travelling. Oddly enough, sometimes a flight will be faster and cheaper then say a bus or a taxi, so look into flying as a possible technique of transportation for those slightly longer endeavors.

6. You will get answers to the vast majority of your queries about Argentina tourism from the Argentina Tourist Information Center: Secretariat of Tourism, Tourist Information Centers: Av. Santa Fe 883, (C1059ABC) Buenos Aires, Tel. 4312-2232 or 0800-555-0016; Ezeiza International Airport and Jorge Newbery Airport; info@turismo.gov.ar.

7. The official currency of Argentina is the peso, bills are available in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. One pesos equals 100 cents. 2 pesos are blue, 5 pesos are green, 10 pesos are brown, 20 pesos are red, 50 pesos are grey, and 100 pesos are purple/violet.

8. Tips are certainly not compulsory in Argentina, though people still expect a tip in most situations – if that’s the case 10 percent of a typical bill as your tip will suffice in general.

9. The Argentina time zone is Argentina Standard Time, which is GMT -3 hours, and GMT -4 hours in the summer. So set your watches correctly!

And the best tip of all is to plan in advance, use caution and common sense, and most of all – have a good time!

Looking for the best places to travel in South America, more Argentina travel advice, an Argentina podcast, or details on Buenos Aires or Salta? Try the Indie Travel Podcast at http://indietravelpodcast.com.

Flamingos Partying

Photos cc. by quimpg and szeke.

Cheap accommodation, Salta

Having a party is lot’s of fun, but it is not usually cheap. Rooms need to be booked, food, drinks and over night rooms for the guests. Therefore, cheap accommodation in Salta might be the solution. It is best to book early to avoid disappointment. Good quality, rooms sell very quickly.

Happy, smiling guests should be the goal of any holiday company. Customer service is important to ensure customers return. Food and drinks should be fresh and delicious. Customers should go away and speak well of the hotel.

It is awful when the only thing standing between you staying in an amazing hotel is your budget. Some people have to save up months in advance before they can afford a holiday. However, there are ways of making a holiday more affordable. Looking on the Internet will help, especially looking for last minute bargains.

The most crucial matter in choosing your wedding dress is finding one that brings out your best features. It is essential that the right dress will completely flatter your figure. Getting the best dress will cost a bit more but, it will be worth it in the end.

When a hotel does not live up to its expectations, people speak badly of it. It is not easy to discover that the room you reserved is not what was advertised. It makes people angry and frustrated. Usually some compensation is paid to the people who were disappointed with their hotel.

Depending on what type of event it is, you may or may not serve alcohol. It is not usual to serve alcohol during the day, so holding an event during the day will save money. However, if you pay for the alcohol, you will face heavy bills. Alcohol is expensive, so always consider if you want it at the event. Also consider if there are children who are likely to be there. Sometimes it might be best to leave alcohol out of the event altogether. Alcohol can make some people aggressive and would be better without it.

If the event is in the early evening, it could still work out cheaper. Some people invite a select few to the afternoon event and others to the evening event. Booking a caterer is also an expense that some people do without. Caterers can be expensive, so it might be worth asking friends if they can help out. Budget accommodation in Salta should be booked early to avoid disappointment.

Also see:

  • Buenos Aires Weekly » Northwest of Argentina in pictures – #3 on the map > Salta : It is situated in the Lerma Valley, 1,152 meters above sea level, at the foothills of the Andes mountains. Nicknamed Salta la Linda ( Salta the Beautiful ), it has become a major tourist destination due to its old, colonial architecture and the natural scenery of the valleys westward. Attractions in the city proper include the 18th century Cabildo, the neo-classical style Cathedral, and the July 9th central square.
  • Salta’s mountaintop gondola | Travel Media Ninja – RIDE TO THE TOP of San Bernardo mountain and overlook the valley below. The gondola ride was about $5 and originates in San Martin park.
  • Dakar-style, Salta to Cachi (watch out for the wild donkeys around … – « Quebrada de Humahuaca Adventures in Northern Argentina Apasionado passionate English-Spanish Dictionary WordReference. The drive from Salta to Cachi in Northern Argentina definitely doesn’t lack descriptive adjectives; let’s start with hair-raising, mind-boggling, rustic, stunning, addictive, and rally, rally fun. Flying along the highway (sealed!! We really had no idea what we were in for) through the first patches of rain of the trip, dodging speeding trucks in low visibility, I thought I had drawn the short straw having to drive this part of the journey, from Purmamarca to Salta.

Find <a href=”http://indietravelpodcast.com/south-america/argentina/salta/things-to-do/”>things to do in Salta</a> and <a href=”http://indietravelpodcast.com/south-america/argentina/salta/accommodation/”>cheap accommodation in Salta</a> at Indie Travel Podcast (http://indietravelpodcast.com/).

 

Packing your toiletries kit

From the Packing section of the Indie Travel Podcast

A toiletries kit can make up a large percentage of your luggage, or it could be so small it’s barely noticeable. Purging your toiletries can be a great way to lighten your packing, but there are some things that you really shouldn’t be without.

As a general rule, choose things that are in containers smaller than 100ml so that you can carry your toiletries on the plane with you — this also encourages you to pack light! Keep the small bottles and refill them as you go; if you’re travelling with someone you can split the cost of a larger bottle of shampoo (or whatever) then decant it into your two separate bottles, leaving the large one behind.

1. Deodorant

deodorantRoll-on deodorant is a better option for travel

Choose a roll-on to avoid problems with aerosols on planes; spray deodorant usually comes in containers larger than 100ml anyway.

2. Soap and/or shampoo

There are many options when it comes to soap. Lush makes a shampoo soap that’s suitable for washing your hair and body, or you could just use regular shampoo as a body wash. We use Head & Shoulders two-in-one and use a Lush container to carry around a medium-sized soap. We also have a small collection of hotel-sized soaps, just in case.

3. Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss

It’s a good idea to get a plastic cover for your toothbrush head to keep it separate from the other things in the toiletries case. Check that the toothpaste is 100ml or less as most tubes are just a little over — most supermarkets have at least one smaller option. Dental floss doubles as minty-fresh string.

 

100ml toothpasteMake sure your toothpaste is 100ml or smaller

4. Comb, hair gel, hair ties

You’ll know what your hair needs, but I discovered that a comb works just as well as a brush while taking up a fraction of the space. I don’t use the gel that often, but it is necessary in humid environments, or will be until frizz becomes cool. Boys, feel free to leave out the hairties.

5. Nail clippers and tweezers

You might not use them every day, but you’ll be surprised at how useful they are. Cutting your nails with paper scissors is not fun. Believe me.

6. Moisturiser and sunscreen

How much you need these will depend on your destination, but it’s worth having a small container of both. When travelling in the South Pacific, you should use sunscreen everyday as the hole in the ozone layer makes the sun more vicious than you might be used to.

7. Razor, shaving gel

Generally a razor with replaceable cartridges is a better idea than disposable ones that lose their edge and rust up with alarming alacrity. When it comes to lubricant, a gel will go further than foam, or you could try the tiny bottles of shaving oil that King of Shaves make.

Razor and gelChoose a razor with a replaceable cartridge

8. Contact lenses, solution, eyedrops

If you are not blessed with perfect vision, contact lenses, solution and eyedrops should go in the case too. Consider getting daily lenses if you don’t wear contacts that often, as they are easier to transport and don’t weigh very much: less than the bottle of solution that you won’t need if you chooses dailies.

9. (Girls only): Makeup

Actually, you don’t need makeup at all. If you wear it at home, start to cut down a bit before your trip… You’re gorgeous enough without it. Plus, you can save a lot of time in the mornings if you cut makeup out of the equation.

However, it is nice to be able to get a bit dressed up, and two or three items can make all the difference: a lip liner, an eyeliner and mascara. Use lip balm under the lip liner to make it look more like lipstick. Do not pack foundation or powder. Similarly, avoid nail polish as it constantly needs to be touched up.

How big your toiletries case is depends on how ruthless you are. We tried to cut down by buying a tiny case that could only hold the essentials, but ended up with an extra plastic bag of shampoo and hairgel secreted in another section of the backpack that we tried to ignore. In the end we bowed to the inevitable and decided to use a larger bag that fits everything, even full-size shampoo bottles (not that we have any of those…). Find a solution that suits you and don’t skimp on the necessities: those around you will thank you.

 

Packing: what to put in your toiletries kit by Linda Martin was originally published on the award-winning Indie Travel Podcast (iTunes). See more of their South America stories.

Good drinking in South America

Yum! Some of the drinks of South America are simply, tongue-tingling wonderful.

Some, like this Quara wine from Argentina is nothing to write home about – althoug it’s an sxcellent table wine – but others are stunning.

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If you travel in Argentina you might find yourself faced with a fernet and coke. Bitter, fizzy, delicious!

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All in all, exploring te drinks of South America makes for as good a travel theme as you can hope to find.

Solo travel in Potosi, Bolivia

After spending two days in Sucre, it was on to Potosí, the infamous silver mining town of Bolivia. This time, the overland journey was a bearable two hours. From warm and sunny Sucre, the change in weather and environment in Potosí was vast, probably due to its elevation at over 4000m. The air cold and thin, the town not much more than a cluster of low-rise buildings beneath the shadow of the mountains. Dust lingered everywhere.

TIP: Apparently protests against the government are fairly common in Bolivia. If you are there and find yourself in the middle of one, you may find it hard to get in and out of any main cities. Try to hire a private taxi if you get stuck as they may know secondary roads out of the city. Sure, you will pay more, but trust me, you really don’t want to spend an unknown number of days in a place like Potosí. It gets slightly depressing after two days.

Luckily the road to Uyuni, the next destination, was open, as it wasn’t considered a major city. I felt relieved. Escape at last — salt flats, here I come!

For more on solo travel in Potosi, Bolivia, click here. 

You might also like:

  • Poetas toman el mundo – Cost Rica | – Cada ciudad presenta un afiche especial para celebrar un día dedicado a los cambios que puede propiciar la poesía. Un nuevo fantasma recorre Europa y el mundo: el fantasma de la poesía. Esa es la aspiración de los organizadores de Cien mil poetas por el cambio , una iniciativa que pretende dar un mensaje entorno al poder de la evocación poética en un mundo caótico y convulso.
  • Arq. Christian Dávila C. – Casa Nostra Ristorante | Diseño Bolivia – El proyecto consistió en reciclar una estructura funcional de vivienda de una, de dos casas pareadas que datan de los años 50, en la avenida principal de Calacoto de la zona sur de la ciudad de La Paz, para convertirla en un restaurante de comida italiana. Éstas, como la mayoría de las casas de esta avenida son parte de un proceso, en el que viviendas construidas entre los años 40 y 70 dejan de ser viviendas para ser alquiladas y pasar a funcionar como establecimientos comerciales de diversos rubros, improvisando y forzando adaptaciones a estructuras diseñadas para ser habitadas por familias. Esto culmina con la venta de los predios a desarrolladores inmobiliarios de edificios en altura habitacionales y/o comerciales que están transformando la imagen urbana y sobre todo la vida que se desarrolla sobre esta avenida y otras calles y áreas de la zona sur paceña.
  • Atlas Rider » Post Topic » Twisty Roads, City Labyrinth and a Dog Bite – Updates via RSS Subscribe by Email Search AtlasRider (Press enter) Ridden  76793. 314 miles & counting AtlasRider on Twitter Counter. I rode to Guanajuato, Mexico today from San Luis Potosi.