Here is our Travel bag checklist

Consider this your tick-list for never forgetting anything from that cabin bag

There are certain things you need when you go away, whether it’s a simple vacation or a travel expedition, and when it comes to packing your carry-on luggage, it’s easy to forget a thing or two, simply because you’re too focused on what goes in your actual suitcase. This is a mistake, because one slip up here could mean you’re not going anywhere.

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This is your travel bag checklist, the things you should tick off as you pack, to help ensure a smooth onward journey to your destination. Feel free to add a few bespoke things to suit your personal circumstances, after all, we’re all different, and if you can’t travel without your favourite teddy-bear or some other comfort-style item, then by all means go for it!

Travel bag checklist 1 – Passport – Let’s face it, you’re not getting out of the country without it, so make sure this is your first item to pack. It’s always a good idea to carry a copy of your passport also, just in case the worst case scenario does happen and you lose your original document. This means you can replace it much easier because you have a copy of the passport number etc; having said that, it’s always better to just not lose it in the first place. When ticking off your travel bag checklist, this is the number one item.

travel bag checklist
image by Mike / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 2 – Visa – Check whether you need a visa for the destination(s) you’re visiting, and make sure you do this ahead of time because sometimes the process can be rather lengthy. You might not need one, but then again you might, and the ways to obtain your visa vary from country to country, depending on your country of origin also. If you need to buy your visa at the airport when you arrive, make sure you have the right money, in the correct currency, to save time and hassle. Sometimes you won’t be able to obtain change when you arrive, so save yourself the drama.

travel bag checklist
Image by Jon Rawlinson / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 3 – Money, money, money – How are you going to take your funds with you? You need to think about this before you even start to figure out your travel bag checklist. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash with you, so consider taking your debit card, remembering to let your bank know that you’re going to be using it overseas. Of course, you need to look into charges for this also. Many travel companies now have a pre-paid card which you top-up with cash before you go away and use at cashpoints, so simply look into this and figure out the best way for you. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to carry a little of the local currency for your destination, to get you through the first few days.

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Image by Kurtis Garbutt / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 4 – Travel insurance – Never attempt to travel without adequate travel insurance, it’s simply not worth the risk. Explore your options and find the best one for you, declare any pre-existing medical conditions, and purchase your policy, taking the paperwork with you. This is a travel bag checklist staple. If your country of origin and destination is part of the reciprocal EHIC programme, then apply online for your free EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), and take that with you too, although be mindful that this doesn’t replace the need for insurance separately.

travel bag checklist
image by State Farm / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 5 – Driving licence – If you’re planning on hiring a car whilst you’re away, take both the paper copy and the card. Even if you’re not thinking about hiring a vehicle, take it anyway, because you never know when you might need extra ID.

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Image by Arend / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 6 – Medications – If you are on any regular medications, make sure you head to your doctor’s surgery and obtain enough to last you for the duration of your trip. Store these in the labelled boxes, in your hand luggage. Certain medications or medical equipment may also need a letter from your doctor stating that you need it and why. On top of this, it’s always useful to take painkillers with you, because you never know when that mid-flight headache is going to kick in. This is another travel bag checklist staple you shouldn’t forget.

travel bag checklist
Image by Marko Javorac / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 7 – Gadgets and chargers – I doubt you’re going to forget your gadgets, e.g your phone, laptop, Kindle, iPad/tablet etc, but you might accidentally forget your chargers, so make these a priority to remember! It’s also a good idea to pack a universal travel adapter too, so you’re good to charge as soon as you arrive. If you’re worried about running out of battery, consider buying a back-up battery charger for your device; these can be bought online quite cheaply and really do save a lot of stress when your phone is about to die and you need battery. If you want to save space when you’re compiling your travel bag checklist, remember to download phrase books and guides to your iPad or Kindle, rather than taking heavy, conventional books.

travel bag checklist
Image by Brett Taylor / Flickr

Travel bag checklist 8 – Comfort items – If you’re prone to the fidgets when you travel, remember to take a few items to make your journey more comfortable. This could mean taking thick socks to avoid cold feet whilst flying, a hoody for when you get a bit chilly, a change of clothes, or simply sweets to avoid those irritating popping ears when taking off and landing. This is basically whatever works for you, but remember that you do have limited space and weight.

travel bag checklist
Image by juandazeng / Flickr

If you can tick these items off your travel bag checklist you should be good to go.

Cover Image by Moyan Brenn

Travel bag checklist – By Nicola Curtis

Thus concludes our Travel bag checklist. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

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Ireland packs so much into such a small space

City breaks have become the ‘in’ thing to do, and whether you decide to jump on a low-cost flight to a cultural European city, or you head to somewhere in your own country, one of the most popular city destinations in the world is of course Dublin.

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Packed with Guinness-laden fun, the famous ‘craic’, friendly locals, and beautiful scenery just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, Dublin is certainly a popular choice. The huge mistake many people make however, is not exploring the rest of Ireland whilst they’re there.

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We know that Ireland as a land-mass consists of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For this purpose, we’ll concentrate mainly on the Republic, purely because it is the largest part of the island; that’s not to say however that there isn’t plenty to do if you head north, because the rugged scenery here is certainly one to check out too.

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Around Clogher Head/Ireland – Image via

Famous for that frothy-topped drink you either love or hate, famous writers, such as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, and some of the most dramatic and wild landscapes you will ever set your eyes on, Ireland ticks many boxes – city life ticked, romance ticked, scenery ticked, outdoor activities ticked … I could go on.

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Dublin is of course located on the eastern coast of Ireland, very easily accessible, especially from the UK. The west coast, lapped by the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean, has some of the most breath-taking scenery you will find anywhere in the world. A camera is a definite must have here. You’ll find rolling hills, wild beaches, castles, mountains, and then the odd city popping up here and there. Dublin and Cork in particular are lively spots for a more modern take on this country.

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A good way to see everything Ireland has to offer is by hiring a car and taking off on your own bespoke road trip, or hiring a camper van and doing it all your own way. However you choose to explore Ireland, you need to tick a few boxes as you go.

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We mentioned that in the east of Ireland you will find Dublin, and a few days here is a must. Temple Bar is one of the most famous parts of the city, and this is where you will find that legendary ‘craic’ in abundance. If you’re wondering what the ‘craic’ is, well it’s basically good fun, good banter, with friendly people. What more could you want?

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Just outside of Dublin you will find beautiful countryside, including the famous Wicklow Hills. You can walk, hike, cycle here, all within a short distance to the city.

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Near Guinness Lake in Wicklow mountain Via

Of course, there’s more to Ireland than Dublin, and the west coast is where you will find some of the most rugged and wild scenes. Connemara is a beautiful place to visit, with varying different landscapes to take in, again great for outdoor activities. Sligo is situated on the western coast and you will again see wild scenes, especially during the winter months, when you would probably be advised to take an umbrella!

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Sligo via

The Ring of Kerry is perfect for those on a road trip, situated in the south-west of the country, in County Kerry quite typically, with plenty of small towns and villages to explore along the way, and scenes which look like they came out of a holiday brochure or on a postcard.

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Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland via

Alternatively, head to County Cork and kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle,

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or Country Clare and check out the stunning Cliffs of Moher.

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Cliffs of Moher via

Horn Head in County Donegal will give you a walk with a view, Glendalough is perfect for exploring in peace and quiet, in a remote mountain valley, or perhaps Killarney National Park will be your choice.

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Horn Head via
Horn Head from the Northern side
Horn Head from the Northern side

These are just a few select things to see and do when you visit Ireland, and quite frankly there’s too much to mention. If you can time your visit with St Patrick’s Day, on 17 March, you will certainly have more than a bit of ‘craic’, with fun celebrations across the whole nation, and Temple Bar is the place to be during this time if you’re visiting Dublin.

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Ballintoy harbour, County Antrim – Game of Thrones via

Of course, throughout the year you will find events happening, especially sporting, so check out the calendar to time your visit. Horse racing is huge business in Ireland, with many festivals on throughout the different months. If you fancy a flutter then this is your place.

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Whether you visit for a spot of traditional Irish dancing, to try Guinness in its homeland, you’re seeking peace and serenity in the beautiful countryside, or there’s simply something that pulls you to Ireland, one thing’s for sure – just because this island is small doesn’t mean it should be overlooked, in fact, this is one place that proves that size really doesn’t matter.

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Ireland – By Nicola Curtis

Thus concludes our Ireland post. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

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Lough Tay Co Wicklow via

Ireland cover Image – Burren at sunrise by Patryk Kosmider

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Our Top 6 Orlando Florida Things To Do

Many people have a common misconception about Orlando, mainly that it’s totally about Mickey Mouse and nothing else. I’m not going to lie, the big mouse is quite prevalent in this sun-drenched part of Florida, but if you are heading to Orlando Florida things to do are actually plentiful, other than being totally Disney-fied within an inch of your life.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Anna Fox / Flickr

If you’re heading to the fun-filled capital of the Sunshine State, then here’s a few things to do whilst you’re there, other than catching a tan of course. One tip – remember those comfortable shoes!

Orlando Florida Things To Do 1 – Swim with dolphins

Discovery Cove is not only a little slice of heavenly serenity within Orlando, but it is also where you can swim with dolphins. Again, look at ticket options because you can bundle this with SeaWorld and save money, but this park has the perk of being limited on how many people can enter on any particular day, so it’s never crowded, and it’s all-inclusive, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on food and drink throughout your visit. You can feed dolphins, touch rays, swim in beautifully warm waters, walk through the tropical section and feed birds, and you can tick swimming with dolphins off your bucket-list. This is a must do in my opinion.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Wendy Piersall / Flickr

Orlando Florida Things To Do 2 – Go to Boggy Creek

Florida is obviously famous for the Everglades, and whilst Miami has the major share, there is some of this famous set of water-ways which heads into the Orlando area. Boggy Creek is where you can head off on an air-boat ride, possibly seeing an alligator, although obviously this is never guaranteed, spotting native birds, and generally getting a thrill at the hands of nature. Look out for coupon deals to save money on this attraction before a certain time of the day too.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Brian Marshall / Flickr

Orlando Florida Things To Do 3 – Eat

Most things in the USA are big, but the portions in Orlando seem to be huge. You’ll find countless eateries where you can munch to your heart’s content, including the all you can eat buffet option at places like the Golden Corral. Fancy something sweet? Head to IHOP and work your way through the pancake and waffle menu. Orlando is a foodie’s dream.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Dana McMahan / Flickr

Orlando Florida Things To Do 4 – Shop

Whilst the dollar rate is not as good as it once used to be, it’s still pretty up there, and the cost of clothing in Orlando is cheaper than many other places, like the UK. This is why many people tend to take an empty suitcase, or buy one whilst they’re there, and stock up on clothing from big-named stores at a discount, such as Levis, Timberland, Gap, etc. There are many outlets on the outskirts of Orlando, including Lake Buena Vista Outlet, and Premium Outlets.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Rob Bixby / Flickr

Orlando Florida Things To Do 5 – Golf

There are many golf courses in Orlando, and many of them are top-notch. A great way to relax and catch the sun, away from the totally fast-paced life that seems to run around this busy area, heading to the green may be your activity of choice. Shingle Creek Golf Club is a great place to head, or perhaps Lake Orlando Golf Club. If you want upmarket surroundings then The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club could be for you. There are countless other options, it really all depends on where you’re basing yourself, because if you’re on International Drive, you don’t want to be heading all the way to Kissimmee for an hour’s golf fun – that drive is longer than it looks!

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Chad Sparkes / Flickr

Orlando Florida Things To Do 6 – Theme parks

Ok, Ok, we can’t not talk about them, but they’re not all about Mickey Mouse. If you have kids, or you’re simply a big kid at heart, then the sprawling Disney World is obviously going to be where you want to go, even for just a few days. Alternatively, or perhaps as well as, Universal Studios and the adjacent Islands of Adventure are a great choice, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter part of the latter. Fans of the films will love this. SeaWorld is ever-popular, or the relatively new Aquatica – a water-park with a difference. Even if you just head to the parks for a few days, look at your ticket options, because bundle deals will always save you money and time as opposed to queueing at the door.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Jeremy Keith / Flickr

These are just a few things you can enjoy whilst you’re in Orlando. One thing you could never really accuse this destination of being is boring, because there is so much to see and do, and because it is so sprawling, you’ll never be stood still for too long. Having said that, you may just need another vacation to get over it, and stock up on your depleted sleep reserves!

Orlando Florida Things To Do – By Nicola Curtis

Thus concludes our Orlando Florida Things To Do. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Orlando Florida Things To Do
Image by Chad Sparkes / Flickr

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Explore the Golden Triangle – Jaipur

The first time I heard about Jaipur was when I was like 7 or 8. I was watching Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray’s the ‘Golden Fort’ and in it, one of the main protagonists referred to a Fort in Jaipur – the Nahargarh Fort. It’s that moment I came to be familiar with the name Jaipur and of course about its magnificent Rajput Forts. Three decades later I am still wide-eyed about the city’s many architectural specimens and the fantastic stories of her kings and queens.

Some basic facts of Jaipur

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Amber Fort

But Jaipur, part of the famed golden triangle of India, isn’t some isolated beacon in the middle of a vast desert. The erstwhile princely states of Udaipur, Mewar, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur are all littered with powerful examples of architecture, finest collection of art and a legacy that still fills the hearts and minds of the people who live there. These were the lands of some of the mightiest kings and queens of India. The land brims with stories of their valiant struggle against a then emerging power, the Mughals and their ultimate surrender to the colonial rule in the sub-continent.

Jaipur, however, deserves a special mention. Widely recognized as the Pink city, Jaipur is the home of the Kachwaha clan of Rajputs. King Sawai Jai Singh II was deeply intrigued with mathematics and the science of structural designing. His ambition to build a stronger and more defendable city / capital led to a design that resulted in the construction of the first planned city of India. Jaipur is a remarkable city in its own rights.

Jaipur places to see

Jaipur, today, is a congregation of the old and the modern. Increasing population and the growing demands of urbanization has meant that the new city has outgrew the old design. Thus the original planned city housing the royal residence, the old market in Jaipur and some of the popular architectural attractions now form the core of the city. The modern city encircles that core area and extends beyond.

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Within the massive fortified walls of the old city lies such tourist attractions as the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and the City Palace (residence of the erstwhile ruling family of Jaipur), which has an excellent museum. The Hawa Mahal is an intricate design that served as a looking balcony for the queens and womenfolk of the palace. They peeped through one of the 953 honeycomb styled windows and observed the commoners, the festivities and processions that went past. The Hawa Mahal, designed out of red and pink sandstone is situated at the farthest corner of the royal palace and had connections leading to the women’s chambers.

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Another notable attraction of the city is the magnificent Jal Mahal, a marvel of 18th century structural design and a brainchild of the then king of Jaipur Sawai Madho Singh I. The palace served as a royal retreat for the ruling family, though the original idea of the water reservoir was to hold water for the dry months during which it served the purpose of irrigation.

Jaipur

The Amber fort is probably the best known of all the structural attractions of the city. The Amber Fort (the first picture above) or popularly known as Amer Fort in local dialect is an imposing structure sitting high on a hill that overlooks the old city and an adjacent Lake (the Maota Lake). The Amber Fort is dominated by the Jaigarh Fort which towers above and is built on the Aravalli hills. The two forts served as a formidable defense for the city and had underground passages that connected the two. The best way to reach the amber fort is on an elephant in typical Jaipur tradition.

How to reach Jaipur

Jaipur is well connected with major cities in Rajasthan as well as the Indian capital which is 260 KM away via an excellent road network. It takes about 6-7 hours depending on the traffic to reach Jaipur by road from New Delhi. By air it is a short hop from New Delhi and there are a large number of flights from the national capital as well as from other major metros of the country. By far the flight route is more comfortable, but if you want to see rural Rajasthan then you’ve got to take the cab. For less than $200 you can get a cab from New Delhi, which will take you through all the sights in Jaipur and then drop you back to New Delhi as a part of the Delhi Jaipur golden triangle tour. Trains can get a bit noisy and jam-packed, especially if you are traveling during the season, which is November to February.

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Places to stay in Jaipur

Jaipur has a good mix of luxury, family and budget bread & breakfast type accommodations. For as low as $20 a night to more than $1500+ a night the choices are simply vast. If you want a more authentic Rajput style of accommodation, then look for a higher budget. For a homely accommodation look for one of the many homestay accommodations around Bani Park.

The golden triangle – Jaipur – By Rajib Mukherjee

Thus concludes our Golden Triangle – Jaipur. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Jaipur
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The Incredible Iguazu Falls Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay Share across their 3 borders

There are few more thrilling sights in the world than a giant waterfall and there are few more thrilling waterfalls than the roaring beauty at Iguazu Falls Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay share on their triple border. If there is a more spectacular natural wonder on the planet then I have yet to see it.

Some Basic Iguazu Falls Facts

The basic Iguazu Falls facts are hugely impressive. For a start, there are up to 300 separate falls here, depending upon the time of year. It is the 6th biggest set of waterfalls on Earth, going by the volume of water that comes crashing down. In fact, the water rate here is 1,746 m3/s. In terms of the height of the falls, this varies between 60 and 82 metres (197 to 269 feet). Leaving aside the figures and the Iguazu Falls facts, this is a place to just stand and enjoy the force of nature in front of you. The places where you can stay here are Foz de Iguazu in Brazil, Puerto Iguazu in Argentina or Ciudad del Este in Paraguay

Iguazu falls Brazil

Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side) by AHLN / Flickr

Foz de Iguazu, Brazil

To see the side of the Iguazu Falls Brazil has to offer, you can stay in Foz de Iguazu. This is where you will see the best overview of the falls, although you won’t get as up close as you will on the Argentine side. The current economic situations of the countries also mean that – at the time of writing – Brazil is a fair bit more expensive than Argentina. The big attraction on this side of the falls is the Iguaçu National Park (Iguaçu is the name in Portuguese but many tourists just use Iguazu for both sides).  Here, you will see the incredible Devil’s Throat part of the falls, which is probably the best part overall. The town of Foz de Iguazu is nothing special but there are a few nice places to stay and you are unlikely to be here for more than a day or two anyway. You can then easily get a taxi across to Argentina for the next part of the trip.

Iguazu falls Brazil

Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side) by AHLN / Flickr

Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

The Argentine side was more popular with travellers when I went there, as there is more to do and it is also cheaper. On this side you can visit the Iguazu National Park and get up close to the falls. You get transported around in a cool, painted train and there is also the opportunity to go on a boat trip that takes you – gulp – under the falls. There is more to do on this side and you can easily spend a full day in the national park. The town is small but welcoming. As with just about everywhere in Argentina, you can eat well and have a good time here. A short stroll from the centre takes you to the spot where you see the triple border (spoiler alert: it isn’t really all that exiting). You should expect to spend most of your time at the falls around this town.

Iguazu falls Brazil

View of the Falls from the Argentine side by Ian Gampon / Flickr

Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

I never went to the Paraguayan side of the falls and I don’t know anyone else who did either. This is simply because it isn’t as well set up for tourism as the Iguazu Falls Brazil and Argentina sides. Indeed, this is said to be a reasonably unsafe city where tourists aren’t expected to visit. Having said that, it is also reported to be a thriving business in counterfeit goods. Lots of Argentines and Brazilians cross here every day to buy cheap clothes and electronics goods.

Getting In and Out

If you look at the map of Iguazu Falls you will see that it is pretty far from the big cities in Argentina and Brazil. This means that many travellers choose to head here by plane. There is an airport on either side of the border. For a longer and more adventurous trip you can get here by bus from just about anywhere in Brazil or Argentina. I travelled from Rio de Janeiro to Foz de Iguazu and it was almost a full day of travelling on a nice bus. I then left Puerto Iguazu to go to Tucuman on the bus, which was another long but reasonably comfortable trip.

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Sunset over Iguazu on the Brazilian side by SF Brit / Flickr

The Incredible Iguazu Falls Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay Share –  By Robert Bell

Thus concludes our article on Iguazu Falls Brazil. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Iguazu falls Brazil

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