Travel Tips For Vagabond Travelers in America

A vagabond traveler needs not be the typical homeless wanderer relying on Shrubs, left-over and river water. Ideally defined as back-packers – vagabonds do not plan their trips and they keep moving place to place in search for excitement. So, if you are backpacker vagabond traveling to America then this article is rightly meant for you. Here are some basic tips (though funny they may sound) to be considered for a better experience throughout your nomadic trip.

Like memories of your trip? Ensure you have a journal. An online blog won’t be as good as pen & paper material. Read them after 20 years and you know what we mean. Vagabonds traveling through America can be as much a story (and not diary/journal). If you drink alcohol then always carry your own bottle/wine openers. Often you will found yourself stranded with a bottle of wine or beer and nothing to open. That would be such a bummer.

A vagabond traveler in America always carries pack of playing cards. It will help you kill boredom and make new friends. A roll of toilet paper is a versatile traveling requirement in so many ways and not just a wiper. Use plastic bottles for carrying stuff and not glass bottles. Glass bottles mean as much more weight to carry. They are handy for your salt, pepper, detergent powder and what not. Also, keep stocking sachets of ketchup, vinegar, tissues, salt and anything you get wherever and whenever you get them.

Another good idea to get interactive with locales of America during your vagabond trip will be to increase your own GK. Find out little facts about your own country and town which people like to ask. Buy calling cards smartly. There are several options available in market. Find the one which can have you call maximum number of minutes. A backpacker card like VIP, HI and others will help you save a lot of money when staying in hostels.

New York Travel Tips For The Elderly Tourists

With its numerous historical attractions, buildings, museums and vibrant culture New York attracts millions of tourists from various corners of the world. However, it is not necessarily youngsters and families who can enjoy a vacation in the thriving city. It has plenty of options to make the tour enjoyable as well as affordable for elderly visitors. Senior citizens visiting the city, alone or with family members, can enjoy the tour if they plan carefully. The nice public transportation system and affordable accommodation will come as pleasant surprise for them.

Transportation in NYC for elderly people

Fortunately, elderly people visiting various parts of New York do not have to face transportation problems much. If you are above 65 years, it is possible to avail reduced bus and subway fares in the city. A majority of city buses have wheelchair lifts with option to lower front entrance for easier access. Seniors may also sit behind driver.

Planning for seeing NYC attractions is important for senior visitors

The tourist attractions in and around New York are aplenty but senior visitors need to plan carefully. Attractions that need lots of walking or climbing stairs can make them feel fatigued soon. Keep in mind that places like Central Park and Times Square can be best explored by walking.

Senior visitors who do not like to walk yet want to cover the most iconic landmarks and places in the city, have two options. A bus ride will cover many spots or a boat tour around the Manhattan region should suffice for them. The Manhattan island cruise takes over 2 hours and covers Statue of Liberty, Roosevelt Island and Ellis Island. Availing the Bus network is economical, as it is. It is better to check bus routes online beforehand. Gray Line bus tours are quite popular and routes cover Statue of Liberty and other top sightseeing options in the city.

Affordable tourist attractions for seniors in NYC

A number of New York tourist attractions are affordable for senior visitors. It would be a good idea to visit the museums during daytime as seniors get free entry. Some attractions have special hours like Museum of Modern Art and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Bronx Zoo has an option to pay what you can afford for admission.

Elderly people planning to explore the city for a week should opt for New York City Pass. It helps save both money and time. It includes heavy discounts for attractions like the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art. The pass also entitles the buyers to opt for a Hayden Planetarium show and Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. Senior visitors with grandchildren can obtain better discounts for the companion.

Getting close to nature

For some elderly visitors, the grandiose edifices and buildings of NYC may seem less desirable than the natural attractions like parks and zoo. They should head to various parks in the city. The historic Richmond town, central park zoo and Queens Country Farm Museum are ideal for such visitors.

Military Travel – Useful TDY Travel Tips

If you have orders to travel TDY (temporary duty yonder), you have a choice to make it a smooth experience or a difficult time. From the moment you get to the airport, to the speed at which you are reimbursed for your out-of-pocket expenses after you return, a handful of tips can easily tip the scales in your direction. Why not avoid a bunch of frustration? Consider applying all the tips below, and you will enjoy your TDY. You’ll become a travel specialist fast!

Tips and Information

A. Make one number out of multiple similar expenses by adding accurately.

Look at all the different taxes on a hotel room receipt. Add them up, and make that number: “Hotel tax,” for example. Make it easy for the person reviewing your voucher to pay you.

B. Do everyone’s job to make a smooth road for you.

Don’t wait for DTS to contact you. After submitting, check on the progress of your voucher and take care of any problems fast. Be a “Nice squeaky wheel.” You can call anybody repeatedly about anything as long as you are nice. You’ll catch more bees with honey than with vinegar, and you’ll get a reputation for being a military travel professional.

C. Join every travel club and get every travel advantage card.

Current rules let service members keep miles and points. You don’t determine how you’ll travel; the government does. Because you’ll have so many cards, get something to carry all those cards in an organized fashion. If you start out organized, you’ll find the points and miles add up. You’ll enjoy that free flight or vacation down the road because you started out organized.

D. Keep your stuff neat in your hotel room.

It’s easier to see if someone has gone through it while you were gone. It is also easier to “drag bag” when you’re leaving a room because you are less likely to leave something behind. Military travel professionals don’t find themselves frantically calling the hotel from the airport to see if the maid found a watch in the room!

E. Don’t let your voucher sit there for five days on your return.

Complete your TDY by filing your voucher as soon as you get back. You’ll appreciate getting your money back sooner rather than later.

F. Scan your receipts.

If you fax them they may not be readable. Check all your expenses twice. Do everything you can to make it clear and easy to process your voucher. Your professional processing of your voucher will be appreciated.

Before you leave for the airport on TDY:

1. Make sure that your orders are finalized.

You will also need a vocal order (VOCO). Take off without it and you may not get your money back for some expenses. Yes, you are serving your country but that shouldn’t mean taking money out of your pocket to do it.

2. Make a TDY envelope for every trip.

Maintain an envelope with related Operations Order (OPORD). This envelope should also be home to your itinerary, orders, and receipts. Your life will be so much simpler if you keep all the papers from one trip in one envelope.

3. Does your travel card function?

Just before your travel date, buy some gum or a drink at a store and use it. Why be embarrassed on your trip? Make sure it works before you leave on military travel.

4. Pack early.

Look over your OPORD. Do you have everything? If you’re going to a school, check on the net to see if you can get the packing list for that school. It is possible that you won’t be able to get what you need where you are going – be prepared.

5. Print your boarding pass in advance.

This just saves you from one less potential problem. Why not put it in your pocket before you get to the airport? Be a prepared military traveller and perhaps wear something military like military rings to indicate your rank or profession.

6. Get to the airport two hours early, period.

Just carry something to read if you have extra time. The security process and the potential for problems with security means you’ll want the time to keep your sanity should anything go wrong.

Build travel habits early which will serve you well throughout your career. You will enjoy TDY if you do. You’ll live with less stress and more rest. Make the above tips into habits, and you will be a military travel professional. Have a great trip!

Travel Tips for Russia

Russia is becoming increasingly popular with tourists due to its rich cultural heritage and its popular cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you are planning or are going on a trip to Russia, then we suggest you consider some of the following travel tips.

Familiarise yourself with Russia

Do some reading around Russia before you visit it to find out a bit about the country. To give you some insight, Russia spans nine time zones and is the world’s largest country, with landscapes ranging from frozen tundras in Siberia and the endless wheat fields and pine forests of central Russia to the mountains and palm trees of the Caucasus in the South. The population was approximately around 140 million according to the last census with Central Russia, which includes Moscow, being the most densely populated area.


Be sure to check what to eat and what not to eat before you head to Russia. The country does not pose any serious health threats, with cases of food poisoning the most common problem. Most guidelines suggest avoiding buying kebabs at stands, especially at train stations, while tourists are also advised to be wary of dairy products. Tap water is safe to drink in Moscow after boiling, but tourists are advised to drink bottled water everywhere else; avoiding ice cubes and using bottled water to brush teeth is also recommended.


Russia is a spectacular country and so are its prices. The large cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are, like most famous European cities, very expensive. On the outskirts of the larger cities you will find cheaper restaurants and accommodation. Holidaymakers are advised to get their Russian Rubles before travelling, but there are ATMs from local banks like Sberbank and international ones such as HSBC and Citibank all over Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. When paying for something, retailers in Russia prefer to be paid in cash, but credit cards are generally accepted and travellers can still pay with traveller’s cheques.


Before jetting off to Russia you should be aware of some Russian etiquette. If you are on a business trip and are running late, there is no need to panic as this is considered normal, often due to the awful traffic in Moscow. If you are offered a drink, it is considered rude not to accept it, especially for men. Some travel guides also say that Russian men often only shake hands with a fellow male upon meeting, so women travelling with their husbands should be prepared to see that their husband’s hand is shaken and not theirs. Russians also like to dress up almost everywhere they go, so it might be worth packing some smart clothes for your trip.

African Travel Tips when visiting Malawi

Malawi is the ‘warm heart of Africa’, Malawi is a stable, safe African country known for its people with their welcoming smiles and friendly nature. The centre-piece of its tourism, though, is the enchanting Lake Malawi, Livingstone’s ‘Lake of Stars’. Boasting a rich diversity of wildlife, fish and bird life as well as flora, the country is ideal for nature lovers with its Lake Malawi Marine Park having been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Varied treasures including many unique species await bird watchers, anglers, outdoor and water sport enthusiasts and game viewers. Other ways to enjoy the country include sampling the local ‘chambo’ fish or a Malawi Gin and Tonic and buying souvenirs made by highly skilled craftsmen, such as chief’s chairs, floor mats, wooden masks, traditional cane items, baskets, carvings and raffia beach hats.




Tropical with wet and dry seasons. Dry season (Apr-Nov) is also a good time to visit. Warm months are mid-Aug to Nov, with October the hottest. Rains (Nov-Apr) are intermittent. In winter (dry season) there are high winds and some dust storms.


1 Malawi Kwacha = 100 Tambala. USD or Pounds Sterling traveller’s cheques are recommended. Credit cards are not commonly accepted, except in big hotels. Foreign exchange shortages can be a problem. The import of foreign currency is unlimited if declared. The export of foreign currency is allowed up to the amount declared upon arrival.


230 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are 3-pin square.


A yellow fever inoculation is an official requirement for travellers coming from an infected country or area. Visitors are advised to take pre-arrival precautions against malaria (risk exists throughout the year in the whole country), Hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. Other health concerns are meningitis (depending on time of year and area visited); insect-borne diseases; cholera (officially considered infected); bilharzia (some stretches of Lake Malawi: it is recommended that you don’t swim in stillwater pools or ponds in rivers below the plateaux or on the shores of Lake Malawi away from the sandy beaches of lake-side tourist resorts, Lake Malawi should not be used as a source of drinking water unless water has been boiled or filtered first); pollen (people with allergies or asthma may suffer discomfort from pollen etc.); poor medical facilities; unavailability of medicines; and HIV/AIDS.


Chichewa is the national language and widely spoken. English is the official language.


New Year’s Day (1 Jan); John Chilibwe Day (15 Jan); Martyr’s Day (3 Mar); Good Friday (9Apr); Easter Monday (12 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Freedom Day (14 Jun); Independance Day (16 Jul); Mother’s Day (9 Oct); Christmas Day (25 Dec); Boxing Day (26 Dec)


Wood and soapstone carvings; wood and cane furniture; pottery; beadwork; colourful fabrics; raffia items; instruments.


Over 99 percent of the population is African, with the largest group being Chewa. The main religious beliefs are traditional. Suits or jacket and tie are suitable for business meetings. Although the dress code is now more relaxed than used to be the case, visitors should take care not to offend local sensitivities.


GMT +2


Tipping is permitted.


Lake Malawi:

One of the world’s biological wonders and Africa’s third-largest lake, Lake Malawi forms an inland sea with a rich marine life surrounded by palm-fringed beaches and lively villages; sailing, waterskiing, scuba diving and game fishing for Tiger Fish and Lake Salmon can be done here; Lake Malawi Marine Park in the south has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site and protects a unique diversity of tropical fish (more than 400 species have been identified, most of which are unique to these waters), a renowned colony of otters and a rich birdlife.

Kasungu National Park:

Miombo woodland interspersed with sandy plains and wide rivers; ideal for game viewing and bird watching especially at Lifupa Dam; of particular interest is Kasungu’s famous elephants; Stone and Iron Age sites and rock paintings can be found.

Zomba Plateau:

Stands 900m above the city of Zomba covered in evergreen forest and verdant grassland; home to Blue Monkeys, rare montane forest birds and epiphytic orchids; ideal for fishing in the Mulunguzi Dam and hiking; the viewing points of Queen’s View and Emperor’s View allows visitors to take in the invigorating air; of interest in Zomba city are the traditional African market and botanical gardens.

Nyika National Park:

The Northern Highlands form the greatest wilderness area in Malawi; the Nyika Plateau holds Africa’s highest concentration of roan antelope, great herds of eland and other mountain game, which can be viewed from horseback; other activities include mountain biking, birding, trout fishing and hiking; alpine flowers, orchids and proteas cover the high meadows; nearby visit the Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve.

Liwonde National Park:

Malawi’s premier game area and habitat of the Big Five, this riverine park on the bank of the Shire River features many hippo, elephant, crocodile, lion, leopard and birds; a must-do is the leisurely boat safari upriver into Lake Malombe; the Park contains the only population of Lilian’s lovebird in Malawi.

Lengwe National Park:

Home to the attractive Nyala Antelope, buffalo, Livingstone’s Suni and birds like the Gorgeous Bush-strike, African Broadbill and Crested Guineafowl.


Also known as the ‘Garden City’ for its colourful flowering trees and wooded slopes of indigenous trees; visit the Kitu Botanical Gardens; Chinese Pagoda and Water Gardens; Capital Hill; National Library; Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary; New Market; Old Market; Old Town; and Asian Quarter.


Founded in 1876, this is the commercial capital of Malawi; surrounded by hills and mountains; visit the nearby Michiru Mountain Park; Thyolo tea district; Shire river and game parks; Majete and Mwabyi Game Reserves and curio shops.

Mount Mulanje:

An isolated massif containing 20 granite peaks, the highest of which soars to 3000m offers serious climbers several challenging routes; spectacular waterfalls, forests and tea plantations decorate the area; of botanical interest is the Mulanje cedar, believed to be unique to this area.

Viphya Plateau:

A must-do for bird watchers; the Luwawa Dam has established itself as an adventure centre, with canoeing, abseiling, rock climbing and more available.