Travel Tips from the “Road Warrior”

No one is on the go more than Priscilla’s husband, Peter. Peter is a water engineer and he tirelessly travels all over Africa in an effort to make clean water accessible for all those who don’t have it. Spending more time traveling than even in his own home, Peter has put together a, invaluable list of those travel tips which he feels are the most helpful. Check them out below…some may come as a surprise!

  • Significant travel fatigue comes from noise, including airport noise. Plug your ears with silicone plugs, zone out and maximize a Zen-like state when traveling, including in the airport terminal
  • Keep a journal of what you wear, don’t wear, and wish you had to wear on 5 trips in a row. This will help you better pack for future trips. You can also do this for electronic gadgets and toiletries
  • Purchase a small, hand held scale to always make sure you’re under the airline weight restrictions for your bags
  • In your carry on bag or large suitcase/bag, store common things in separate small bags, of varying shapes such as a bag for:
    • electronics
    • plane food/snacks
    • toiletries
    • hotel energy food/powdered drinks
    • emergency kit (e.g, Imodium, ORS, Malarone)
    • dirty laundry (so not to smell up clean clothes)
    • dirty shoes (2 plastics/pair)
    • electronics just for airport (e.g., adapters, ear plugs)
    • travel documents (passport, WHO card, boarding pass
    • liquids (especially hand-sanitizer)
    • camera equipment
    • local currency and SIM card (if applicable).
  • You can use hotel room laundry bag or trash can plastic insert (if clean) as a spare bag for such things as dirty laundry
  •  If you really want to help the environment place and keep your do not disturb sign on the outside of your hotel door. You won’t receive unnecessary towels, etc.
  •  Use the hotel hair dryer to dry any underwear that you wash if you don’t have time for hand drying
  • Earmark the pages in your passport for
    • where your Visa is for you next arrival
    • the last exit stamp for the country you are entering (if applicable)
    • a used page with enough room for another stamp (so you don’t run out of fresh pages too fast)
    • these marked pages should be shown to the immigration officer to speed up that process.
  •  If you can obtain the immigration forms online and fill them out ahead of time, try this. It could save you time for this process
  •  If you can pack everything in carry on luggage this will save you more time; and it completely removes the risk of lost luggage
  •  Carry with you about ten $1 bills for tipping – before you have time to obtain local currency
  •  Consider bringing your own food/snacks on your flights so that you can eat what you know/trust/like, and so you can eat on YOUR schedule
  •  Research the type plane in which you will fly and select your preferred seat at the earliest possible time – it makes a difference! For example I stay away from bathroom areas, I avoid window seats on long flights, I grab exit rows if not a confined bulkhead.
  •  If you are going straight into a meeting upon arrival, then dress nice, this can make a difference; otherwise, only dress for comfort.
  • Dress for warm conditions on the flight but bring at least one lightweight item that will provide warmth if the cabin is uncomfortably cold
  •  If you are paying on your own for the taxi from the airport to your hotel research the distance and costs. You might pay exorbitant rates if you don’t!
  •  Research the weather conditions for when you land (not from where you depart) and make sure you will have the right clothing available
  •  Bring at least one combination lock to lock your valuables in your bag when you are not in your hotel room. I no longer can trust the safe in the hotel rooms
  •  Always keep your hands clean and NEVER put your hands to your mouth when traveling
  •  Don’t ever, ever get mad with officials; instead be firm but highly respectful. Humor is also a powerful tool to achieve what you want
  •  Drink A LOT of bottled water every day!
  • Bring energy bars and powdered drinks for when you are not eating the local food so to keep your body healthy
  •  Exercise within at least 2 hours of your arrival (or at least before you go to bed) to help you adjust to the new time zone. Running/walking the hotels stairs, even if just 5 floors, is great aerobic exercise.
  •  Pleasant travel can be significantly impacted by something YOU control – your state of mind. If you can remain in a Zen-like state, avoid feeling rushed, having patience with the people around you, being okay with delays and changes, savoring the time to read some pages of your book, zoning out the world around you, then you will better enjoy the hours of you travel

 

Thanks Peter!

Platypus Platy Bottle

 

Platypus Platy Bottle

The taste-free Platypus Platy™ bottle is a great option for your world adventures.
  • Perfect for long flights and transfers
  • Fill up before boarding and stay hydrated for your entire trip
  • Holds 70 fl. oz
  • 100% BPA free
  • Compact and flexible design can be flattened when empty and rolled up
  • Stands upright when full
  • Polypropylene screw cap allows quick and easy drinking
  • Best part is it costs less than $13!
  • Order online from  REI

“I’ve decided I’m not even going to attempt to top this trip, because its not possible.” Anne McCall

The challenge: to create a “best of the best” month-long adventure in Ecuador & Peru for seasoned world travelers Anne and Jer McCall.

The solution: a Galapagos cruise, historic cities, unique properties, hiking in Machu Picchu, pink dolphins in the Amazon, and a gorgeous beach on the Pacific coast!

Immerse yourself in the McCall’s descriptive and informative travel log. Anne has quite a way with words!

Galapagos

“We arrived in Ecuador on Thursday night. We got up the next morning and caught a 2 hour flight to the Galapagos island of St Cristobal. I was very surprised when we first arrived. This island has 20,000 people. It’s one of several that are inhabited. I guess I should have expected it, since I was flying into an airport. Anyway we got to the dock and there were sea lions everywhere. They were lying on the benches, you just sort of stepped over them. The town was about 6 blocks long, with the typical gift stores and eating places. Then we went by dingy to our Galapagos cruise boat, the Yacht La Pinta. It can accommodate 46 guests. We lucked out because its only about half full, so we can have more flexibility. It’s a great mix of people. 4 Americans, 2 Germans, one Spanish woman, several Australian families, and one English family. OK, so now here’s the part you aren’t going to believe. We get up at 7am…yes I said am….every morning.

Our first day we went on a hike…yes I said hike…and I did the whole thing!!! I’m quite proud of myself. We were still on still on St Cristobal, but on the other uninhabited side. Now this is what I thought the Galapagos would look like. It was volcanic and ash rock. We hiked about half way to the top of the island and got some beautiful pictures. We saw a red footed booby with a bright blue beak, sitting on her nest. Those can only be found here… When we got to the bottom and hit the beach, I could not get my clothes off quick enough to hit the water. It was wonderful. The sea lions were just laying on the sand with us. Then I took my snorkel and started looking around, and I almost ran into a turtle. A big turtle. He completely surprised me. I started grunting through my snorkel for Jer to look. I kept getting closer and closer to him, and he was letting me. Jer started physically pulling me back because they can bite. But it was remarkable experience. All the island and sea life is so comfortable around humans, they don’t see us as predators like everywhere else. [Read more...]

Summer Vibe in Cape Town

Start planning your escape to Cape Town next winter! While its cold and snowy here, what’s better than to be in one of the coolest cities in the world. Cape Town simply oozes a great summer vibe, with tons of energy, outdoor cafes, breathtaking sunsets, gorgeous coastlines, invigorating hiking, great shopping, trendy restaurants, open air concerts, wineries, and festivals!

A few of our favorite things to do in and around Cape Town in the summer:

  • Hiking up and around the top of Table Mountain – views in all directions – and staying up there for the sunset!
  • Having a picnic and jammin” with the crowd in a gorgeous setting at one of the summer concerts at Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • Enjoying drinks at one of the vibey bars with ocean views (a current personal favorite is WAFU in Mouille Point)
  • Dining with sand, candelabras, the ocean and movies playing in the old lobster shed and an all around relaxed and funky atmosphere at the Grand Cafe & Beach Granger
  • Enjoying South African wine… in the the winelands, at the beach, outdoor cafes, nice restaurants, on picnics….
  • Riding in the Cape Argus Cycling Tour (the world’s largest individually timed bike race) with its spectacular views
  • Visiting GS Giving Circle supported projects, the townships and meeting locals with James and his team at Uthando

 

Whether you visit for two days or two weeks, Cape Town offers an unending supply of culture and diversity. No visit to South Africa should miss Cape Town! Check out this slideshow for a glimpse of all there is to see and do in Cape Town.

3 Tips To Make Your Long Haul Flights More Comfortable

airlineseats Thanks to years of traveling back and forth from the states to Africa and other special places around the world, Priscilla has three simple yet extremely useful tips to make your long haul flights more comfortable. They are:

1. Get a great seat:

  • If there is an option for Economy Plus on the long haul, we feel it is worth it for the extra cost. You won’t have significantly more space, however, you won’t feel so lost in the masses as you are further forward in the plane with a bit more attention paid to you.
  • As soon as you make your reservation, try to get your seat assignment. SeatGuru can be a big help with this. We find a few rows behind bulkhead to be best. If you are traveling alone, try for the aisle seat in the middle section of the plane. Oftentimes, this increases the chances that the seat next to you will be empty and thus you can essentially stretch out in two seats.

2. Have an inflatable neck pillow:

  • These are easy to buy online or in the airport. The advantage to the inflatable neck pillow is that, once deflated, you can easily store it in your luggage taking up virtually no space. It makes a big difference in providing neck support when you relax or sleep on the flight.

3. Wax Ear Plugs and Noise Reduction headphones:

  • We recommend the wax earplugs for when you want to sleep and not watch any entertainment.
  • Noise reduction headphones are for entertainment (listening to music, watching the inflight movies, etc). We always have both. It has been found that one of the biggest impacts on jet lag is the noise from the plane. Trying to reduce that can make a big difference in how you feel upon arrival.

 

Barefoot Shoes by Merrill

A “must have” according to Priscilla! Featherlight, these shoes are perfect for walking in a city, going on a run, or heading out on safari. Easily stored and with lots of different styles to choose from, everyone should travel with a pair!

    • super light and flexible
    • smushes down for packing
    • variety of styles for men, women and children
    • technical design for both comfort and utility
      washable
    • great for running, trekking, walking and water sports

 

Learn more and find your perfect fit here. We love these shoes!

Hands On Fun Experience at the Eziko Cooking School!

One of the most rewarding things to do when traveling is to get insight into the local culture, and we find there is no better way to do this is than with an interactive experience with locals. Even better is when this experience helps support the local community! The Eziko cooking school in Langa (Cape Town) offers visitors such a unique opportunity.

  • Eziko (a Xhosa word meaning “at the hearth”) was established by a former Langa high school teacher who recognized a need in his community
  • The school teaches young adults cooking skills so they will be able to find employment and create their own businesses in the future
  • Visitors not only visit but get a cooking lesson in traditional African “home” cuisine and then enjoy the fruits of their labor! Hands on access to such foods and food preparation is very difficult for outsiders and this experience provides a very unique opportunity for cultural exchange and insight

 
Priscilla and several Global Sojourns clients experienced a cooking class at Eziko’s under the watchful eye of specialty guide Pam McOnie, one of our favorite local foodies and wine experts. They loved the hands on interaction! Pam was instrumental in helping to create the cooking classes available to visitors at Eziko. It’s a very interesting story actually. We highly recommend you visit Pam’s website to read more about it.

Our client, Karen Johnson, sums up the experience best:

“What a great way to end our trip! having an authentic experience of cooking and eating traditional foods was one of my favorite activities of the trip. Pam was so knowledgeable about the township and Eziko’s effect on local youth. Victor, founder of the school, gave us some fascinating history about hearth rituals along with samples of some special offerings. Then there was Victor’s mom, Mama Lindy, a remarkable person and wonderful instructor, who helped us to understand foods of the traditional hearth while we prepared a truly delicious meal. Long live samp and beans!”

Magical Elephant Experience on the Chobe River


Imagine these massive, proud elephants (the old and their babies) humbled by an inescapable daily need for tons of food; and a deep, crocodile infested river between them and their food source. Add to this the loving nature of them crossing, single file, together, with large bulls in front and submerged calves in back with only their trunks showing above the water. Finally, paint the picture with elephant greys, dark blue water/sky, snow-white clouds and a setting sun. Together you have a magical experience that after 30 years of watching elephants (probably in the thousands) I’ve never experienced. So I asked for my own boat to go out to the wading elephants so that I could just be near them, hear them, smell them and experience this wonderfully special moment which I’ll never forget.

-Peter Macy

Namibia – Breathtaking Desert Beauty

In Namibia, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Here you can:

  • Climb the highest sand dunes in the world
  • Descend to the floor of the deepest canyon in Africa
  • Immerse yourself in the past at one of the Africa’s richest rock art sites
  • Watch wildlife shimmer against one of the most spectacular pans on earth
  • Get up close to cheetahs
  • Track rhino on foot
  • Search for the elusive desert elephant
  • Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world, and…
  • Take time to listen to the silence and to your soul

 
The landscape is Namibia’s defining natural asset but Namibia is also home to vibrant cities where people are excited about the future, while remaining deeply connected to their rich, cultural past. A stable, democratic government and infrastructure allows guests to move confidently off the beaten path and explore those endless horizons that define a country and her people.

Conservation is a cornerstone of the Namibian experience with over 40% of its surface area under conservation management.  It has the largest free-roaming population of black rhinos and cheetahs in the world and is the only country with an expanding population of free-roaming lions.

Explore Namibia with an itinerary designed specifically for you. Or… join us in May 2013 as we explore Namibia by mountain bike, foot, sea kayak and 4×4 vehicles with specialist guides and full back-up support. This is Namibia, where you are sure to find adventure, and you may just find yourself.

Smartwool 1/4 Zip

The perfect item for variable weather packing. If there’s a chance of cool temps, this always goes in our bags!

  • 100% merino wool
  • Takes little space for its warmth
  • Wicks away perspiration
  • Keeps odors at bay- more uses before needing to wash it
  • Comfortable
  • Works on a hike as well as out to dinner
  • Available for men and women.

Men’s Olive Heather is currently on sale online at REI