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travel

Tips For Smarter Travel in Canada

Considering a trip up north to take in Canada’s stunning natural landscapes, vibrant multicultural cities, and friendly local culture?

As the world’s second-largest country spanning six time zones, Canada offers tremendous scope for adventure – snow-capped rocky peaks towering above turquoise lakes, vast forests rich with wildlife, and cosmopolitan cities with a laidback vibe.

So, how do you maximise those drool-worthy Instagram selfies without ending up managing a hectic holiday?

As vast as Canada is, planning travel in the Great White North takes a bit more forethought than a domestic getaway.

So, read on for savvy tips to make the most of your Canadian holiday.

Don’t Get Stopped at Customs

Before trekking up to the Great White North, make sure your documents are in order, including:

Passports

Only driver’s licenses or valid passports are accepted at land and sea points of entry between Canada and the US. Indian passports must have adequate remaining validity of usually at least 6 months beyond the intended stay in Canada. Check current passport expiry rules on the Government of Canada website before booking tickets.

Visas

You will need a visa to travel to Canada. Make sure you have completed the application for the appropriate visa category. Examples include a tourist visa, work visa, or student visa. Provide detailed and accurate information on the application.

eTA

When travelling by air to Canada or even transiting through a Canadian airport, Indian citizens must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) prior to departure. The eTA for travel to Canada serves as an electronic document similar to a visitor visa. Applications only take a few minutes online. So, you must have an approved, valid eTA before attempting to check in and board any flight heading to a Canadian destination. Air carriers will deny boarding if a passenger has not secured this mandatory entry requirement pre-travel.

COVID Requirements

Canada currently requires all passengers flying in from India to provide a negative COVID-19 molecular test result from within 72 hours of departure. Check official government websites for the latest test reporting rules and health screening measures in effect at the time of travel.

Insurance: Dull But Essential

Consider policies covering emergency medical costs, smashed gear from extreme sports, and logistics if unexpectedly iced in by freak blizzards. Use options like:

Health Insurance with Travel Benefits

While Canada has an excellent public healthcare system, services do not come free for Indian nationals. Purchasing comprehensive travel insurance for Canada that includes emergency medical coverage can help safeguard you from unexpectedly high hospital or doctor bills during your trip. Review policy terms to ensure adequate coverage for adventure activities you may have planned as well, such as skiing, rock climbing or kayaking.

Overseas Travel Insurance

Look into international travel insurance options in your home country that include trip cancellation, lost baggage and emergency assistance services. If crossing multiple countries en route to/from Canada, an international policy spanning all locations may be less hassle than securing separate coverage for each destination. Make sure you confirm the territorial limits match the entire length of your upcoming travels.

Use Tech Tools Wisely

Navigating the world’s second-largest country, spanning six time zones, requires next-level travel savvy. These tools simplify logistics:

Download savvy apps

Transit apps like Google Maps, Moovit, Transit and Trippr integrate schedules from regional transportation agencies. Airlines also offer handy electronic boarding and flight status updates via mobile apps.

Buy local SIM cards

Purchase local SIM cards granting affordable data/calling rates, available at Canadian providers like Lucky, Public and Chatr Mobile.

Backup digital photos

Having cloud storage and external hard drives can safeguard your priceless moments captured during your trip against device failures or losses.

Frosty Fun

Summers in Canada are great for relaxing by the lake and eating a lot, but winters offer just as many amazing things to do.

Layer like a local

Rather than shiver in thin layers, take wardrobe cues from savvy locals. Thermals, heavy parkas, thick socks and snow boots equip you to revel in winter’s wonderland comfortably.

Try snow sports

Dog sledging, ice skating, snowshoeing and downhill skiing/boarding deliver extra dose of winter magic. Many outdoor survival companies offer winter gear rentals and starter lessons for newbies. Glide like an Olympian along the Rideau Canal Skateway’s frozen expanse!.

Travel Light, Travel Easy

Loading down your luggage cart with heavy suitcases full of non-essentials can turn a fun vacation into an exhausting haul. Instead, embrace the art of minimalist packing – especially for shorter trips – and reap the rewards like easier mobility, less risk of bag fees, and flexibility if plans change.

Stick to key devices like phones, tablets or lightweight laptops. Heavy photography gear and bulky electronics add unnecessary weight and could attract thieves. For must-have valuables, use secure bags and in-room safes.

Get in on that Local Flavour

You may have already researched the top attractions and sights for your international vacation spot. But taking time to get better acquainted with your destination before departure allows for smarter packing, efficient planning, and a smoother overall travel experience.

Beyond main tourism hubs, read up on local history, cultural customs and etiquette, average weather and climate conditions at that time of year. This helps determine optimal items to bring for comfort while avoiding overpacking.

Map out locations you hope to visit and get to know the transportation options available (bus, train, trams, cycle, etc.) to find the best ways to navigate the area. Having a loose itinerary prevents wasting precious time on long trips.

Conclusion

As you can see, Canada promises endless travel adventures. Follow these insider tips for smarter insurance, packing, navigation and more – then get ready to lose yourself in this staggeringly beautiful, culturally vibrant, and geographically vast nation.

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Lifestyletravel

10 cheap places to travel on a budget

Want to travel the world this summer at a low cost? Find low prices of drinks and food at places such as Vietnam or Japan

Picking out places to visit for the upcoming summer may come with its challenges, especially for those on a budget.

However, according to Post Office, a British-based mail and financial services company, there are opportunities to explore destinations around the globe without straining your finances. Countries such as Vietnam, South Africa and Japan present enticing options where in-country costs remain relatively low.

10 cheap places to travel on a budget

Post Office released the Holiday Money Report for 2024. In its report, it shares cheap hotspots to visit on your next adventure.

Post Office based its recommendations on costs of tourist essentials, like drinks and meals, instead of the price of traveling by plane or accommodations.

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos offers a rich blend of modern amenities and ancient sites, catering to diverse traveler interests. For example, visit Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa, one of the oldest Christian churches in the world, according to Hotels.com.

Per the U.S. Department of State, when you visit Cyprus, make sure to only enter and exit the Republic of Cyprus, not the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, for your safety. Paphos is in the Republic of Cyprus.

Marmaris, Turkey

Marmaris, situated at the meeting point of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas in Turkey, is celebrated for its nightlife, beaches and clear waters. During summer, it offers ferry services to Greece, including trips to Rhodes, per Mares Travel Agency.

According to the U.S. Department of State, exercise caution when visiting Turkey. There is a small possibility of terrorist attacks and wrongful detaining of U.S. citizens. Furthermore, do not visit the Sirnak province, Hakkari province or anywhere near the Syrian border.

Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Kuta is known for its stunning coastline, a popular spot for surfing. There are also cultural spots such as Buddhist temples and theater or conservation centers, according to Hotels.com.

Per the U.S. Department of State, exercise caution when visiting Indonesia. There is a risk of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and violent demonstrations. Also, stay away from the Central Papua and Highland Papua provinces.

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

Sunny Beach, found on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, attracts individuals with its beaches and is great for watersports, nightlife and amusement parks, per Tripadvisor.

According to the U.S. Department of State, you can exercise normal precautions in Bulgaria.

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Sharm el-Sheikh is a resort town in the Sinai Peninsula. Beyond resorts, there are also great luxury restaurants and nightclubs to visit. Also, due to its location on the coast, snorkeling around the coral reefs is popular, according to Britannica.

Per the U.S. Department of State, “The Department of State Travel Advisory warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Sinai Peninsula (with the exception of travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air) and the Western Desert.”

Algarve, Portugal

Algarve, located in southern Portugal, is known for cliff beaches and seafood. One of the popular places to visit this summer in Algarve is Lagos, per Lonely Planet.

According to the U.S. Department of State, you can exercise normal precautions in Portugal.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is full of ancient culture while still showcasing modern attractions. For example, you could visit Asakusa, a Buddhist temple, or Tokyo’s Disneyland, according to Hotels.com.

Per the U.S. Department of State, you can exercise normal precautions in Japan.

Mombasa, Kenya

Mombasa, located near the Indian Ocean, has a lot of beachfront hotels and is a great place for watersports! Some of the top places to visit include the Fort Jesus Museum or Haller Park, per Tripadvisor.

According to the U.S. Department of State, parts of Kenya have a risk of terrorism, kidnapping, violent demonstrations or crime. Therefore, when visiting, one should exercise increased caution. Make sure to stay away from the Kenya-Somalia border counties.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a beautiful location where one can find wildlife and a variety of plants. There are also great places to visit to learn more about the heritage, eat delicious food or to hike. For example, you could visit Lion’s Head Peak or Greenmarket Square, according to Hotels.com.

Per the U.S. Department of State, exercise increased caution in South Africa because of crime and civil unrest.

Tourists in Cape Town using GPS apps sometimes get directed through high-crime residential areas. Make sure to stay updated on the current events in the area, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An has diverse scenes from rice farms to beaches. Travelers can go shopping around the town or spend time hiking around farms. For a historical trip, stop by the Japanese Bridge or take a cooking class. For shopping, visit unique stores such as Cocobox to find jams or Reaching Out for tea sets and jewelry, according to Vietnam Tourism.

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Lifestyletravel

10 Tips How to Not Look Like a Tourist in Italy

As they say, “When in Rome…” But what does it mean to “do as the Romans do”? Quite literally, the phrase means that it is advisable to follow the customs and conventions of the area you are visiting.

When visiting a new place, considering the culture is just as important as the climate. I got to tour Italy as a chaperone on a high school trip a couple of years ago. I gained some insights, but no one could confuse me for a local. For the inside scoop on how to act like an Italian, we went to an expert.

Introducing Steve Perillo, CEO, President, and third-generation family owner of Perillo Tours, America’s leading tour company to Italy. Steve’s such an expert on Italy that he can tell you the average temperature on a given day in any region. Here are more than a few tips for acting like a local in Italy, according to Steve.

10 Best Ways To Avoid Looking Like a Tourist in Italy

1. Dress Nicely

Italian women as well as men tend to dress much less casually than we do in the States. Let’s just say that wearing shorts is a good way to advertise that you’re a tourist. So are flip-flops. Steve suggests that you wear clothes that fit the occasion” and making sure you present yourself neatly. “Italians take a lot of pride in their appearance and usually follow the dress code for any kind of public outing. Even when going shopping, Italians dress nicely,” he says.

2. Keep Your Shoes On

In some cultures, it’s appropriate to take your shoes off when entering one’s home. Steve says in Italy, it comes down to personal preference: “Some Italians find it rude to take off one’s shoes in front of others. Some, though not many, expect you to take them off.” Be attentive to what others are doing with their shoes, and when in doubt, ask.

3. Shoulders And Knees Must Be Covered In Church

Largely Catholic, Italy has an inordinate amount of ornate churches that you can tour. However, it is important to keep in mind that while these churches are attractions, they are still considered holy places. Show respect by dressing conservatively. Don’t wear sunglasses. If you wear sandals or flip-flops, they may not let you into a church.

4. Don’t Call During Pisolino

If you need to call on someone between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., think again. You may interrupt their “pisolino.”

“Pisolino refers to a nap that most Italians take after their mid-day meal each day, also known as a siesta,” Steve says. He advises that if you must call during these hours, you “first apologize for disturbing the household at this time.”

5. Punctuality Is Not A Priority

You may be used to being on time down to the minute, or even showing up early, but Italians don’t answer to clocks as much as Americans do. Steve says, “It is acceptable to arrive 15 to 30 minutes after the designated time. If you complain, you will look like a tourist”

6. Italians Don’t Wait In Line

“Unlike Americans, Italians don’t really believe in standing in lines,” says Steve. “The unspoken rule is whoever is the most aggressive and gets to the front first, goes first. Lines are simply not respected.”

7. Fare La Bella Figura

As you may have gathered, impressions mean something in Italy. Fare la bella figura literally translates as “to make a beautiful figure,” but it means “to make a good impression.” We always want to look nice on vacation anyway, so leave the messy bun and yoga pants at home and get your bella figura on!

8. Familiarize Yourself With Campanilismo

Steve explains, “The best way to describe campanilismo is a strong sense of pride for one’s local area. Sometimes people will even define themselves right down to the particular quarter of the city they live in. Italians are more proud of being Toscano (from Tuscany) or Romano (from Rome) than being Italian, so try to avoid doing that.” Even speaking Italian but with a different regional accent may be frowned upon.

9. Do Your Shopping Before Sunday

Prior to 2012, “all stores, except supermarkets, were always closed on Sundays in order to give workers time to spend with their family and go to church,” Steve says. More stores are open on Sundays now, but don’t count on it!

10. Only Carry Essentials

If you don’t need it, don’t bring it — especially your passport. Backpacks are very handy and comfortable to use, but they can be unsafe because you will look like a tourist if you wear one. You can wear a shoulder bag or fanny packs like many Italians do to carry valuables and documents, or, alternatively, if you are afraid of being pickpocketed, you can use a money belt.

Steve offers these tips to visitors to avoid being pickpocketed in touristy areas:

  • Always keep your hand on your bag that’s hanging on your shoulder or keep your bag in front of you.
  • Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket.
  • Use a cheap luggage lock that you can use to lock the zippers on your backpack or purse in busy areas.
  • At restaurants and cafés, leave your purse in your lap instead of hanging it off of your chair, and don’t leave your phone on the table if dining outside.
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Healthtravel

Tips for staying healthy while travelling abroad

Stay physically active and get enough sleep while you travel

In the midst of the excitement of travelling abroad, it’s essential to prioritize your health to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Whether you’re embarking on a vacation, business trip, or backpacking adventure, here are some expert tips to help you stay healthy while exploring foreign lands.

Consult a Travel Medicine Specialist: Before jetting off, consider scheduling a consultation with a travel medicine specialist. These professionals can provide personalized advice based on your destination, itinerary, and individual health concerns. They can recommend necessary vaccinations, medications, and precautions to minimize health risks during your trip.

Stay Up-to-Date on Vaccinations: Ensure you’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations recommended for travellers. This includes vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, and tetanus. Additionally, consider getting vaccinated against diseases prevalent in specific regions, such as yellow fever or Japanese encephalitis.

Pack a Travel Health Kit: Prepare a travel health kit containing essential medical supplies such as over-the-counter medications, adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, and hand sanitizer. Include any prescription medications you’ll need during your trip, along with copies of your prescriptions and medical records.

Practice Safe Eating and Drinking Habits: To avoid foodborne illnesses and waterborne diseases, be cautious about what you eat and drink while abroad. Stick to bottled or boiled water and avoid consuming raw or undercooked foods, especially in areas with poor sanitation. Opt for freshly prepared meals from reputable establishments whenever possible.

Protect Against Insect-Borne Diseases: Insect-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus can pose a risk in certain regions. Protect yourself by using insect repellent containing DEET, wearing long-sleeved clothing and pants, and sleeping under mosquito nets, especially in tropical and subtropical areas.

Practice good hygiene: This will help prevent the spread of germs and infections. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating or handling food. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when handwashing facilities are unavailable, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Protect Yourself from the Sun: Protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Seek shade during peak sun hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Get Sufficient Rest and Exercise: Traveling can be physically and mentally demanding, so prioritize getting enough rest and exercise to maintain your overall well-being. Aim for regular sleep patterns, even if adjusting to new time zones, and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to stay energized and healthy.

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries while travelling. Be cautious when exploring unfamiliar areas, especially at night, and avoid risky activities or situations that could jeopardize your safety.

Purchase Travel Insurance: Consider investing in travel insurance to provide financial protection in case of medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or unforeseen events. Review the policy coverage carefully to ensure it meets your needs and includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverage if necessary.

If you follow these tips and take proactive measures to safeguard your health, you can enjoy a safe and fulfilling travel experience abroad. Remember to stay informed, stay prepared, and prioritize your well-being wherever your adventures take you.

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