My first visit to Turkey was in 2010, at that point I was part of a tour group. The tour focused on the Western side of Turkey. During that time, most of my meals was taken cared of by the tour company. I didn’t get to choose the restaurant or budget. There was menus in Turkish and English. The tour company looked after the logistics of hotels and transportation. I just followed the leader and took lots of photos.
This time in 2014, I spent 2 months (cumulatively) in Turkey. I traveled alone, met fellow travelers along the way, some we simply connected in the hostel others we toured the location together. One travel friend met up with me in 5 different cities within Turkey, it was quite the experience of separation and reunion over the span of 2 weeks.
While on the road – alone – it can be challenging. Everyone is a stranger. And if your parents or guardians told you to not talk to stranger when you were a kid growing up and you want to keep following that adage – you’d be inadvertently on a silent retreat.
Sooner or later, you will HAVE to talk to a stranger… for directions, for help, to check into your new accommodation.
Then if you’re on a budget and staying in dorm rooms, there comes another level of interaction with strangers. No you’re not sharing a bed with them but you are paying to share a confined space with them. Your personal space is a little smaller. All your current personal belongings on display.
Personally I have never had the need to share a room with a complete stranger until I started my solo travels. Yes I was fortunate – I did not share a room with my brothers or cousins when we traveled. I tend to trust people by default – some times I trusted too much.
Some hostels, pensions or whatever they are called in your destination provide a locker for all or part of your belongings. Some do not.
Question: What happens when one of your roommate is intentionally waiting for the opportunity to steal from you? Continue reading
If you’re on a budget when traveling in Greece, then here are some quirks I’ve noticed and might save you some money.
Meal Time Savings
Pay attention to your bill at the end of a meal
Bread – Unlike North America, the bread basket is NOT free!
I have a habit of being curious and noticing oddities. At home or abroad.
When I notice oddities or something different than what I am used to, I cannot help but do minor comparisons.
Greek flag flying high above the White Tower of Thessaloniki, Greece
Here are some things I noticed while in Greece…
Money, Budgets, Financial Talk
Whenever someone talks about going on a trip / vacation / holiday / escape / getaway / journey / pilgrimage – whatever it is labeled as, the BURNING question in the back of everyone’s mind… HOW do they afford it?! How much did it cost!?!
If you’ve been reading along on my blog, I tend to talk about anything but money. It’s a cliche thing for a Canadian or a Chinese descendent or in the general global society to be up front about financial matters.
Well today, I feel like sharing and talking numbers – as one of my intention for this blog is to motivate more people to travel – solo or not. So I do not want people to use $$ as an excuse or reason for them to deter from traveling and exploring this beautiful world of ours. Continue reading
Over years of travel, I have noticed one thing, regardless of the rising popularity with credit cards and debit cards – Cash is KING.
Majority of small businesses around the world will only accept cash in exchange for services or goods. If credit cards are accepted, sometimes a 3% transaction fee would be added to cost of the item to help pay for the fees charged by banking institutions. Continue reading
Hawkers swarm tourists at the exit gate of Borobudur, Indonesia
Haggling and travel goes hand-in-hand in the mind of many travelers around the world. Many travel guides remind travelers to haggle. However, those of us who grew up and/or live in the western world may feel we are unfamiliar with this life skill. Unbeknownst to most, each time we look at a sale advertisement or compare prices between retailers we are, to some degree, haggling – bargaining – negotiating. The only thing missing is the face-to-face interaction.
In many countries, haggling is expected. I see haggling as fun, like a sport. I was born in Hong Kong, a locale known for haggling with hawkers, however as a kid I did not remember my mom or other family members haggle with hawkers when we shopped in the market. Honestly, I do not remember my first personal experience with haggling, however, when the occasion arises – I am READY! Continue reading