TRAVEL HEALTH BLOG

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05/May/2019

Motorhomes and Campervans open up a whole new world filled with adventure, allowing travellers to explore on their own schedule while avoiding expensive hotel costs. Are you considering an adventure on four wheels but don’t know where to start? Well, start here…

Motorhome holidays are becoming more and more popular with British families who are now beginning to choose this type of holiday over more the traditional all-inclusive package deals. Motorhomes are pretty well-equipped these days, with cookers, beds, storage, washing facilities and electricity all as standard features. With campsites available in even the most remote places, suddenly you’re not tied down to other people’s opening hours, but free to go your own way and save money at the same time.

After hiring your vehicle (even better if you have your own!), the only real outlays are the minimal campsite charges, petrol and food, so you can put the leftover cash towards future trips or simply treat yourself to extra activities or experiences while you’re away.

It is important to bear in mind that depending on the size of your chosen campervan, you may need to apply for a category C driving license if your vehicle is larger than 3.5 tonnes in weight. Those who passed their test prior to 1997 are covered. But if you haven’t ventured out in a large vehicle before it can take some getting used too.

 

  1. Do your research for getting a campervan.

Make sure you look around and don’t buy the first campervan you see. After seeing some online, you’ll know what’s a reasonable price and what’s not. Consider buying a 4×4 wheel drive especially if you’re planning to see more and go off-road.

  1. Make sure you have all the necessary gear.

What do you need to pack for living in a campervan? It’s not as simple as just putting a mattress in the back of your car. You will need to consider equipment for cooking, sleeping and living in general. For example, it’s useful to have a gas cooker to make breakfast and dinner. But you also need plates, cutlery and other cookware. Sometimes, you may camp somewhere remote and just want to read a book or play a game of cards with your travel mates. Then it’s useful to have decent light. Below is a list of travel essentials for your trip:

Sleeping gear:

  • Mattress
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillows

Food & Cooking:

  • Gas cooker & fuel
  • Aluminium foil
  • Plates, bowls, cups and cutlery
  • Camping cookware kit
  • Plastic bags
  • Food & beverage cooler
  • Tupperware
  • Water Jug
  • Water bottles

Next to sleeping items, cookware and clothing, there are also other necessities which may be useful to take with you. Think about everything you plan on doing while on the road; hiking, showering, swimming, reading a book, playing cards before bedtime, charging your phone etc.

Other necessities:

  • Universal travel adaptor
  • Battery pack
  • Torch
  • Lantern
  • Matches
  • Spare batteries
  • Towels
  • Books
  • Music
  • Mosquito Repellant
  • First Aid Kit
  • Swimwear

  • Do some planning but stay flexible

There is probably a lot you will want to see when travelling in your campervan. So, beforehand, make a list of the destinations which you want to prioritise and create a route for yourself. Don’t make your schedule too tight, however, as you still want to have a little freedom – your plans are likely to change every single day. Embrace that. You probably won’t see some of the places that you planned to visit, but you’ll end up seeing others which you didn’t expect to. And those unexpected spots are often the most memorable.

  • Plan long drives during daylight hours

Be sure to get to your destination for that day before it gets dark. Driving in the dark is never really fun, especially when you’re not familiar with the route or are driving somewhere remote without streetlights.

  • Always take enough water with you

There isn’t always a supermarket at the end of the road so be sure to always have enough water stored away. You never know if your campervan is going to break down leaving you stranded somewhere without help. On that note, also remember to:

  • Always let someone know where you are

Occasionally, you may forget however it is really important that a friend or loved one knows roughly where in the world you are, so in the rare case you go missing, get lost or find yourself stranded somewhere, they have hope of tracking you down. This is especially important when you’re travelling somewhere remote. Just send a quick daily text to a relative so they know where you are and that you’re safe and sound.

  • Enjoy!

Don’t stress but relax and have fun. Don’t try to do too much or expect too much, just embrace it. Take the views in and enjoy the freedom you have at that moment in time. You want to remember this road trip for the rest of your life!


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16/Apr/2019

If there’s one thing to be said for Vietnam, it’s the county that really has everything. Stunning and diverse cities, villages, mountains, rivers and beaches all wrapped up in a 3000km long stretch of coastland for you to explore. But the appeal goes deeper than that; it’s the experiences you can enjoy that make Vietnam truly unique. Young or old, backpacker or family of four, you’ll find an almost inexhaustible list of things to do while in Vietnam. We’ve put a few of our favourites together to give you a taste of this enchanting destination.

1. Set off on a Ha Long Bay Cruise

Let’s start off with one of the most well-known things to do in Vietnam: Ha Long Bay. Despite the fact it’s a top tourist draw, it’s also a spectacularly impressive place. The bay – whose name means ‘descending dragon’ – is made up of emerald waters and 1,600 towering limestone karsts rising from its turquoise waters, speckled with greenery. As a result, it’s on every visitor’s list – and hundreds of boats offer cruise trips every single day. Rather than a quick day trip, book a multi-day cruise so you have time to explore the outcrops at your leisure. Watching the sunrise and set across the bay will be an unforgettable experience.

2. Light a lantern in Hoi An.

Historic Hoi An is a rainbow of colour with string lanterns hanging all around the town. This is accentuated ten-fold every year during Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and the lantern festival. Celebrations aren’t limited to lanterns and light either – food stalls and singing groups bring the whole town to a joyous life. Make sure you don’t miss the hundreds of lanterns making their way down the river during the festival. For a small price, you can board a sampan boat and take a closer look and even light one yourself, watching as it floats peacefully away.

3. Hike the hills in Sapa

Sapa is a town located in northwestern Vietnam. Set on a 1,650m high mountain ridge, the town boasts fabulous views of the Hoang Lien Mountains and a colourful market attended by hill tribes from the surrounding villages every Saturday. It’s a town well known to adventure seekers as a base for thrill-seeking activities. As well as this, it is famous for its beautiful rice terraces, but that’s not all there is to this stunning area. Dig deeper and you’ll find some stunning hidden gems. There are hikes leading to waterfalls and landscapes you wouldn’t expect to see in Vietnam. Some people even arrange to stay with a local family for an original insight into local mountain life.

4. Visit the coffee making heartland.

Buon Ma Thuot is the regional capital of the central highlands of Vietnam, a gorgeous area of thundering waterfalls and the traditional villages of the local Ede people. It is also the heart of Vietnam’s thriving coffee industry. You’ll probably come across ‘weasel’ coffee during your visit, which may claim is the best in the world. While many believe its unique taste is excellent, it is worth noting that recent investigations have found unethical animal welfare practices on coffee farms across the region.

5. Take a motorcycle tour in Da Lat.

Cruising around Vietnam on a motorbike is one of the best ways to take in the beautiful landscapes, vivid mountain passes, interesting relics and meet friendly new people. Da Lat is an alternative Vietnam, the weather is spring-like instead of tropical hot, the town is dotted with elegant French-colonial villas rather than stark architecture and the surrounding farms cultivate strawberries, coffee and flowers in place of the usual rice. Exploring on a motorbike is a unique experience and gives you a feel for everyday Vietnamese life, plus, the tour guides will fill your experience with hidden gems you wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. Some of these include the Elephant falls, Paradise Lake and Truc Lam Mediation Centre.


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16/Apr/2019

Travelling solo for the first time can be exciting and daunting for anyone. It’s normal to have a number of questions before setting off: Will I be safe? What will happen if I get lost? Who will take scenic photos of me staring off into the distance at sunset? Fortunately, we’ve put together some key points including safety advice and embracing your own company, so you can relax and focus on roaming the planet…

Get organised

Good research, planning and organization before you set off is key. If you’re safe in the knowledge that the start of your trip is mapped out, your confidence will soon begin to grow. Ensure your first night’s stay at the very least, is arranged in advance. Arriving at an unfamiliar airport will be a lot less daunting if you know that you have somewhere to go for the night. Don’t be afraid to plan out your first couple of days too as this will give you more time to ground yourself. Your big adventure can still have plenty of spontaneity, but the initial planning will at least give you some comforting breathing space, to begin with.

Smile and look confident…even if you’re not

Learning to look confident while exploring your destination can go a long way in keeping you safe and, in turn, help build your confidence at the same time. Walk tall and purposefully. Avoid walking down the road with a guidebook in hand as this won’t help you to blend in. If you find yourself lost, keep walking until you get to a safe space, like a café, where you can stop to look at a map. Asking in shops or stopping locals for directions is also a great way of gaining self-esteem and source useful tips at the same time. Take some time to learn a few phases (or more) of the language before you set off which will also make getting around even easier.

Embrace your own company

As a solo traveller, it’s normal to experience loneliness, but this can easily be controlled or avoided. Keep yourself busy exploring, keep your mind fixed on the exciting place you’re visiting, rather than the fact you’re on your own. Pack your days with activities, to avoid walking around aimlessly as this is when loneliness and boredom can often creep in.

Loneliness tends to emerge at night. It can be tempting to have an early dinner and retreat to your room. Instead, go to the theatre, a local entertainment venue or watch the world go by in a local bar.

Group tours are a great way to meet other fellow travellers. Sign up so you have people around you to chat, share stories and travel tips with. A sudden human interaction boost can make the world of difference when you’re on your own.

Don’t take risks

The risks may be low but when you’re travelling solo it’s always wise to stay cautious. Leave flashy jewellery at home and try and dress as similarly to the locals as possible. Blending in will do you huge favours in preventing the wrong kind of attention.

It’s also a wise idea to put together a list of important phone numbers written on paper – not your phone – including the nearest British embassy, local emergency services and your hotel. This becomes more important the further off the beaten track you go.

Stay in well-lit areas at night and plan to arrive at your destination in the daylight or plan transport in advance – and most importantly, trust your intuition, if a situation doesn’t feel right, leave.

The biggest confidence booster of all will be looking back at the end of your trip and realizing that you did it! It may seem daunting at first but travelling solo only needs a couple of days before it feels like you’ve done it forever.  It opens up a world of opportunities to make new friends, discover your own strengths and most importantly, see the world!

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