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Tips Travel Tips

Driving in Africa: Useful Tips to Know

Are you looking to driving in Africa? A self-drive safari offers a great way to explore some of the African countries by yourself. With the increased availability of maps and travel guides including the GPS Navigator, today it is easier to explore several destinations on a self-drive in Africa. However before renting out a car from an agency, here are some things that you should know.

  • it’s better to Book well in advance

When traveling to Africa particularly Uganda –its better you book your car rental in time to avoid being overcharged when you arrive at the airport, during low seasons some companies tend to cut-off price and during peak seasons they run out of vehicle due to very many bookings so, It is vital you book your car well in advance rather than arriving at the airport and risking higher prices, or even worse, no car at all. If this is done well you cut any extra cost that may ruin your safari.

  • Don’t get trapped into extras when you arrive

This goes to booking in time, this last-minute booking may put you into extra charges, if you get at the airport don’t get talked into any extras that are not needed during your booking, before confirming your car hire booking its better you untick any extra you don’t need –so if this is done prior to your safari you will avoid being trapped into extras when picking your car as your tired and impatient after a long flight and check-in.

  • Comparing like for like

Before confirming with any car hire travel agencies, you should communicate very well with the agent so as to get clear information about the car, size, and the number of doors, air conditioners, and the type of fuel. At times it’s not easy to make a perfect comparison between offers on different websites because few car hire companies guarantee the exact model you will get when you arrive at the airport. So research the full details of the contract and terms and conditions before you confirm the booking if this is done well your safari will be memorable.

  • Second driver charges

It is very better to inform your travel agent that you will be sharing the car, although most companies ensure only one person, you may find you have to pay a heavy premium for a second driver. So in case of compensation caused by the second driver without the notice of the travel agencies you may have to pay the damages caused. So consult with your agent to clarify if a second driver is allowed to avoid extra costs.

  • Fuel

When placing your booking, don’t accept to pay full tank in advance before your arrival, this service is often offered at the pickup desk. It’s advised to fuel it as soon as you leave the airport. Most companies offer unlimited mileage so you should be assured of it in the deal when you book, or that additional mileage charges are reasonable and will not bump up your bill too much.

  • Damage

Ounce you receive yourself drive car make sure that you check carefully any damage on it to avoid paying uncaused damages. You should report any damage found to the travel agent and he should note them before you leave and if possible ask for a copy of the pre-existing damages and keep them and you can also take photographs of the car just in case before you start your journey.

  • Speeding Fines

Always ask for the traffic rules and speed limits as traffic rules differ from country to country, so to avoid extra costs you must obey with the laws governing the road.

  • Pay in advance

If you have confirmed with your car travel agency its better you pay in advance to avoid disappointment or extra charges when you arrive at the airport.

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Safari Advice Tips

Best Time to Visit Gorillas in DR Congo

Planning to take part in gorilla safari adventure in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but you do not know when it is favorable or the best time to travel?

When you think of a safari to any destination in Africa, first you need to be aware of when to get to that dream destination and so it is a case with gorilla trekking safaris in the DR Congo. For beginners, gorilla treks in the DRC are conducted in the Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park. The two parks offer refuge to distinct gorilla species with mountain gorillas thriving only in Virunga and the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Trips to see these unique creatures can be done at any time of the year however, regardless of this fact, you to put into consideration two important seasons-the dry and wet season.

Depending on what your travel interests are, the dry season is usually regarded as the most ideal season for one to explore more about these Great Apes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This season comes with favorable weather conditions and the ground is normally kept relatively drier making it a bit easier for one to hike through the park’s dense vegetation and steep slopes while in search for these amazing creatures.

The dry season equally is experienced twice a year with the first phase that starts from June to September while the second one begins from December to February. The advantage with trekking gorillas during this season is that, weather conditions are favorable as it comes with low rainfall amount received compared to the rainy season. However, the fact that DR Congo lies astride equator and given the kind of habitat where these creatures thrive, you have to expect rains at any time of the day. As well, note that the northern part of the Virunga National Park experiences its dry spell from December to February then when you to the south, the dry season is experienced between April and October.

On the other hand, the wet season which is also best known as the low season, is good for gorilla trekking given the advantage that it has. In the northern side of the Virunga National Park, the wet or rainy season is experienced from April to October while the southern part experiences it from late November to early March.

However, the DR Congo generally experiences its rainy season from October to November while the long wet season begins from Mid-March to late May. December features as the busiest month of the year when it comes to safaris in the Virunga National Park. For any plans to explore what this magical country has to offer for its visitors, please note that most visitors prefer visiting from June to September and then February as they are characterized by low rainfall amount. During this period or even other seasons, you are encouraged to secure your permit early enough to avoid last minute struggle that may result into disappointments as there is high demand for gorilla permits.

The wet season is characterized by heavy rainfall amount and dense vegetation cover and in the Virunga National Park it is experienced from March to May and October to November. The ground normally becomes muddy, slippery and this makes it a bit challenging for one to hike through the steep slopes and thick vegetation while in search for these creatures. Whether you plan to trek gorillas during wet or dry season, there is need for you to pack appropriately for your adventure. In your packing list, consider the following items a must-water proof hiking boots that are light weight, water proof daypack, gardening gloves, rain jacket or poncho, camera with no flashlight, walking stick (this one can be got at the park headquarters or lodge), insect repellent, sweater, a valid gorilla permit, long sleeved shirt or t-shirt, hat, sun glasses, first aid kit, snacks, bottled water a mention but a few.

In conclusion, if you have any plans to pay a visit to DRC for a safari this coming holiday, take note of both the dry and wet season as each comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

 

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Tips

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

Saving money on travel can be difficult. You can find cheap prices during the off-season, but you may be visiting your destination when the weather is less than ideal. Some attractions might even be closed for the winter. Luckily, there are other money-saving travel strategies. These include waiting for promotional prices from airlines and resorts, using rewards points from a credit card or frequent flier program, and purchasing package tours or group tours that are cheaper, overall, compared to getting separate air tickets and hotel rooms.

It is possible to find sites on the internet where you can search for the best price on airfares and hotels. However, applying a few additional strategies can make it possible to assure yourself that you are getting a good deal every time that you make a travel-related purchase. Here are some ideals for saving money on your next trip:

Use rewards points from your credit card in addition to frequent flier miles

If you are a frequent traveller, the best money-saving strategy can be to collect rewards points from a travel credit card such as the American Express Gold Card or a credit card that is associated with a specific airline. You can then use whatever rewards that you earn to supplement the frequent flier miles you are awarded from flying. Save enough and you can enjoy a free flight or free upgrade a couple of times per year. Even if you are not a frequent flier, you can still use a travel rewards credit card to save money while flying. If you have a good credit history, you can apply for a card that has an introductory bonus offer. With such an offer, if you pass a certain spending threshold in the first two or three months of card ownership, you can get a block of bonus points that can be used to get a free flight or free upgrade.

Find a good package vacation

Finding a great deal on a package vacation is arguably the easiest way to save when traveling. Packages include airfare and hotel (and occasionally car rental as well). The advantage of vacation packages is that they come with deeply discounted hotel rooms. Many airfare plus hotel packages have prices that are not much more than the cost of a standard airplane ticket. The disadvantage of packages is that you can’t travel around a country or region on them because you are tied to a single hotel in one location.

‘Round the world airfares

These unique airfare deals are offered by some air ticket consolidators and also by airline alliances such as Oneworld, Star Alliance, and Sky Team. For not much more than the cost of a trans-ocean flight, you can travel around the globe, stopping in four or five or more cities along the way.“Circle fares” are a related type of airfare package that offer several flights to connected destinations within a specific region (such as East Asia, Europe, or South America). These fares are ideal for people who want to tour a region without being tied to one destination.

Discount sites or regional specialty sites

Discounts ticket brokers can occasionally have good deals. However, it might actually be better to find a site that specializes in a specific region. Such sites are generally able to offer the best deals to travelers because they have lower fees and charge a lower commission to the hotels and airlines that list with them. A prime example of this type of site is Agoda, a hotel booking portal for hotels in East and Southeast Asia. On Agoda, quoted prices are a few percentage points cheaper than on major booking sites, and Agoda’s low commission also attracts a number of budget-priced hotels, so budget travellers can easily book a room at a smaller guesthouse or hostel.

Use social media to find the latest promotions

Many airlines and hotels offer promotional prices, but it can be difficult to keep up with the latest offers. Some specially priced fares or hotel rooms are sold out even before you hear about the sale. The best way to keep up with flight deals is to follow your favorite airlines on Twitter. Some airlines even have special accounts where they only tweet about deals (@JetBlueCheeps, from American low-cost-carrier JetBlue, is probably the best known of these deal-specific Twitter accounts). Some airlines even have Twitter-only sales, so it can really pay to keep up with what these airlines are tweeting, even if you have to sift through non-deal-related tweets from time to time.

Josh Lew has travelled widely in Asia and the Americas. He has contributed to popular travel sites like Gadling and Brave New Traveler and currently writes a weekly travel column for MNN. His work has also appeared on the websites of CNN and Forbes Magazine.

Do you have any insights about finding cheap prices on airfares and hotel rooms? Please Share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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Tips

Tips On How To Beat And Avoid Jet Lag

When traveling to a new time zone, our circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night. This experience is known as jet lag.

Some simple behavioral adjustments before, during and after arrival at your destination can help minimise some of the side effects of jet lag.

TREATMENT

  • Select a flight that allows early evening arrival and stay up until 10 p.m. local time. (If you must sleep during the day, take a short nap in the early afternoon, but no longer than two hours. Set an alarm to be sure not to over sleep.)
  • Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for a westward trip.
  • Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime. Both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.
  • Upon arrival at a destination, avoid heavy meals (a snack—not chocolate—is okay).
  • Avoid napping as soon as you arrive at your destination. Even if you are tired after a long flight, try to stay active until the correct time to sleep; this will help your body adjust more quickly.
  • Avoid any heavy exercise close to bedtime. (Light exercise earlier in the day is fine.)
  • Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
  • Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. (Staying indoors worsens jet lag.)
  • If you take medication at specific times of the day, such as oral contraceptives or insulin, consult your GP or pharmacist before travelling. They will advise you when to take your medication after you arrive at your destination

Source: National Sleep Foundation