Ethiopia Adventure

In November 2010 my husband and I travelled around Ethiopia for three weeks by public bus with a private guide. Travel (especially bus travel) is a real adventure and not for the faint hearted as there is long travel days (even longer if the bus breaks down) on poorly maintained roads. But it is an excellent way to get up close and personal and experience the life and culture of the locals.

Addis Ababa
We arrived at the airport at 3.30am. We had not booked any accommodation due to our early arrival so we stayed at the airport till about 7am. A taxi agreed to take us into the city for USD$10. We went to the Ras Hotel where we had to wait till 9am to see if they had a room.
Travel Tip: We stayed at the Ras Hotel 3 times due to its central location. The price includes breakfast which is awful but lunch and dinner are good.

Bahir Dar
We stayed at the Ghion Hotel on Lake Tana and did a boat cruise to the islands to see the painted churches. The Blue Nile Falls area is pretty but not worth the long bumpy ride to get there. Since damming the river, the waterfalls are certainly nothing like the posters show.
Travel Tip: Check if a guide is included with your Lake Tana boat cruise. There was 9 of us on our boat. No guide accompanied us on the boat except for our private guide Samson. The first island we visited Samson acted as intrepreter otherwise we would have not understood what we were looking at. The second island we visited the church guide spoke English.

Gonder
The abandoned castles are very interesting and it is worth hiring the guides inside the gate.
Travel Tip: We stayed at the Belgez Pension which was cheap, clean and quiet but the rooms were very small and cramped. They do your washing for a very small fee – give to the cleaners in the morning.

Simien Mountains
We did a one day 4WD day trip with another traveller and our guide Samson.
Travel Tip: We would have liked to have stayed overnight even though we are not trekkers, as the scenery is stunning.

Lalibela
We spent 2 nights in Lalibela exploring the amazing rock churches.
Travel Tip: Keep your entrance ticket handy as they will be checked at each church entrance.

Arba Minch
Arba Minch is a overnight bus stop between Addis Ababa and Jinka.
Travel Tip: Spend an extra night on one of the stopovers and do the lake tour.

Jinka
We hired a 4WD locally to tour the main 3 tribes in the area (Mersi, Hamer and Karo tribes). We shared this cost with 3 other travellers who were on the bus and stayed at the same accommodation as us.
Travel Tip: Buy your bus ticket to Addis Ababa early (at least 1 day in advance) so you can obtain a better seat number otherwise you will find yourself stuck at the back of the bus on the 2 day journey. Buy good ear plugs so that you can block out the noise of the loud music videos playing.

Transport
We used a variety of transport that included: public bus, minivan, 4WD and boat.
Travel Tip: If you find that quite a few of you are heading in the same direction, it will be more economical and comfortable to rent a minivan and driver like we did from Bahar Dar to Gondar (7 people).

Tour Guide
We used the services of a private guide. This was the first time we have hired a guide for the entire trip through a new country. The guide proved invaluable in keeping the touts away (worth the money alone), dealing with local tour operators and obtaining hotels.
Travel Tip: Use a private guide’s extensive knowledge and experience to enjoy Ethiopia through the eyes of a local.

– Documents to be Carried While Traveling

While traveling outside US, documentation is an important part of your trip. Outside US and even in other States, you and your luggage are recognized by your documents. Carrying proper travel related documents and identity proofs could help you avoid unnecessary jitters.

The best international is to carry original copy of some documents and keep one or two photocopies of the other in case of emergency. You should also leave a copy of your documents with some friends, which they can fax to you if you loose yours. Ask your travel agent or friends who have gone to those destinations about the necessary for documents.

Vacations and Business

Whether you are on fun, business or a personal trip, the important documents required while traveling outside US are: Passport, Visa, Driving License, Medical Certificates and Insurance documents. A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer.

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. The Passport Services Office provides information and services to American citizens about how to obtain, replace or change a passport. To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to passport acceptance facilities with your two photographs, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as driver’s license and apply for the passport. You can seek for documents from your friends and acquaintances that have traveled to those destinations.

Airline and Visa Requirements

Most countries require a visa before you can travel there. You can board on aircraft only if you have a valid visa and return air ticket for the destination. Few countries allow free passage to US Citizens. However, it is mandatory to carry a valid identification proof with you in these countries to avoid legal complications and prove your identity in case of emergency. It is the responsibility of travelers to obtain Visa, where required, from the appropriate embassy or nearest consulate of the country you are planning to visit. Certain countries have proper validation requirements for Visa applications take some time before approving your visa. It is therefore necessary to obtain the visa well in advance to avoid last minute problems.

Luggage Documentation Tips

If you are carrying valuable and electronic items, good is to keep a copy of the invoice, insurance and troubleshooting manuals with you while you are traveling. While invoice and insurance are needed to prove your ownership, a manual will help the technicians if some problem occurs in it. These documents will also help you to avail international warranty and service facilities wherever applicable.

Travel insurance tips

Most countries require the foreign tourists covered up with insurance before they enter the country. However, insurance during travel is a critical issue due to legal differences between two countries. Contact your insurance company to find if the present insurance covers the foreign trips or not. Even your travel agent can help you with important travel insurance tips.

Business – How to Pack For A Business Trip

Use these business pointers to create and plan a stress-free business packing travel plan.

Ladies:

  • When you are putting together your clothes for business, experiment with one color instead of all your favorites. This makes it simple for you to combine and present an ideal business persona for your meetings. With a one color-scheme, you will not need to pack multiple pieces of clothing.
  • If you’d like to add a bit of color, you can include a colored shirt or scarf you like (maybe it is your favorite, or it gives you that ‘extra OOMPH’ that you need for self-confidence – or to compliment your look).

Tips on packing shoes: As much as shoes are something that some women say they can’t ‘live without,’ pack no more than two or three sets. Make certain you have a set of flats and only one set of high heels in your luggage. If you wear high heels all day and evening long, then during your company trip, when what you want (need) most is to shine, you may be experiencing painful leg and back discomfort.

In addition to sensible shoes, women who travel may want to pack makeup. On a business trip and with makeup – Less is better. Makeup during a business trip really should be minimal so that you present an experienced, knowledgeable and professional look. Foundation, powder, mascara, lip gloss, eye liner, and eye shadow, are a few of the things that you need to consider in packing. Less is more – mascara and lip gloss can go a long way in making a professional looking presentation.

All Travelers:

  • Frequent business travelers should make it a habit of packing their bags as soon as they return from a business trip. This way, when they have to travel on short notice, the stress and worry of packing is diminished.
  • Frequent travelers on business really should try to use regional airports instead of major air-ports. Local and small airports are less congested, and then there are fewer security hurdles.
  • When you are on company business, choose the most direct routes instead of the least expensive routes. The least expensive travel arrangements usually make for the longest distance, and this also means you will likely have to use your precious time for traveling and staying in hotels.
  • So, instead of saving money, your cost may actually go up, with the less expensive, less traveled route, Because you’ll make up for the cost with longer flights and maybe even an extra day stay at a hotel – which means more money all the way around (food, cab or car rental,.. ). Consequently, it’s always best to go on a direct flight route to save time and expense, even if you have to fly first class.
  • If you’re able to fly mid-week, you will be happier because you may be able to save money on trip expenses. Traveling on a Monday or Tuesday normally costs more. Take these into account when you are paying your own personal air flight to help you cut your costs.
  • Also think about the distance from your hotel room to where you are meeting. Have a look on the internet on a map so you see exactly where you’ll be meeting, compared to where you are going to be staying. In case you do not know the local or surrounding area, you might want to stay near a company or civic facility in which your company is holding their business.
  • Business travelers understand how to make the most of the resources offered to travelers specifically on business. Find hotels that focus on the travelling business person. These hotels won’t have amenities for families and neither are they attempting to attract buses of adolescents in route to a camp. When you need to pay attention to business details and not the kids running in the hallway, this will help you find appropriate (and professional) lodging.
  • Packing vital electronic things is likewise one of several business . In case you are traveling overseas, make certain you are aware of the telecommunications requirements of the country. Make certain you pack a couple of USB memory sticks. You will never know if they may require them.
  • Never pack your laptop inside your luggage. Your laptop may be a pivotal element of your trip. Inside a flight terminal in an unexpected emergency situation, your wireless laptop may be used to adjust reservations so that you can prevent all those long lines for getting your next flight out. You’ll be able to arrange accommodations by automobile or snag just one of the few remaining rooms in hotels in the city straight from the convenience of the seats in the airport terminal.
  • If you plan well, then you can normally just walk to your meeting or hotel, while the people around you are stressed – simply because you knew the way to balance technology plus the need to help yourself out of a situation that could have been a problem.
  • But one way to use your laptop computer to help yourself if there is a situation where the airport terminal is shut all the way down would be the limited electric power of laptop computers. To see your electric battery go lifeless just when you wanted it by far the most is a lot like watching your tire go flat on the freeway because you drove over glass on your way to the meeting.
  • What few people know is that you have open electric-powered outlets in air terminals which are there for cleanup crews. Once you are at the airport – discover exactly where those outlets are. Normally you can find these outlets just underneath the windows that look over the landing strips. If you can secure a seat close to these outlets, it is possible to replenish your laptop computer and maintain your lifeline to everyone you need to.

Using these simple business , you can better understand what to bring. Make sure that packing for your next business trip is hassle-free.