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.

Cruise

Are you planning on going on a cruise? Well if this is your very first time, you may not be very sure what to expect. Having a few tips to help you out can be very helpful to you. So, here are some important cruise to keep in mind when you go on a cruise.

Tip #1 – Have a Carry On Bag – The first one of cruise that you’ll need to remember if you’re going on a cruise is to make sure that you have a carry on bag. Once you get on the ship, you’ll want to visit your cabin but you can’t expect your baggage to show up for awhile. So, it’s a good idea to have a carry on that has some clothes and a few essential toiletries on hand.

Tip #2 – Get a Map of the Ship – Cruise ships are huge. You don’t want to get lost and a map can definitely be a huge help to you. Make sure you have the map and take a bit to look it over so that you’ll be able to more easily get around the ship.

Tip #3 – Walk to Where You’re Going – When you are going to dinner or you are going to a show on board, you may want to walk wherever you are going. You’ll find that the elevators are probably going to be full and often many people are trying to wait for an elevator and they may not be in a great mood. So, just go ahead and take a stroll and get a bit of exercise walking to wherever you need to go.

Tip #4 – Keep the Noise Down at Night – If you are out late at night, make sure that you keep the noise down. You don’t want to go around slamming the doors of your cabin, since it can wake many people around you up. So, have some courtesy and shut your doors as quietly as possible to avoid encounters with grumpy cruise mates.

Tip #5 – Avoid Wearing Expensive Jewelry – When you are on a cruise ship, don’t go around wearing your most expensive jewelry so everyone can see it. Of course there will be some formal dinners where you will want to look great, but leave the most expensive jewelry at home. You may become the victim or a thief if you go around flaunting expensive jewelry.

Tip #6 – Tip Generously, is the last one of the cruise listed here; When you are out there on a cruise, make sure that you tip generously whenever possible. Most of the people on the ship make very little money except for by your tips. So, make sure that you are kind enough and generous to give a great tip.

Finally, make your cruise travel memorable and all that you want it to be by doing a lot of planning before you travel.

for Summer Vacation

Summer vacations are here. It is now time to venture out and enjoy some sunshine and warmth. You are full of excitement and looking forward to an adventure of a lifetime. You do not want to miss the opportunity of packing your baggage and hitting the travel route. Before proceeding and planning for a last minute vacation, you will be at an advantage if you follow some important summer .

Destination

You should decide on a suitable destination depending on your budget, the number of people traveling, and the number of days of travel.

Accommodation

Plan where you are staying well in advance. This will not only save you money but also ensure you get the kind of lodging you yearn for during your vacation.

Documentation and Money

Carry your travel documents like visa, identification papers, and passport if you are traveling outside the country. Do not forget to carry foreign currency, credit cards, and debit cards.

Clothing

Choose your travel clothing according to the weather at the destination. Browse the internet to get important on the type of clothing to be worn according to the kind of weather.

Mode of Travel

Overseas and far off destinations can easily be reached by air. If you are one with an adventurous streak, you can opt to travel by road also. Choose your vehicle according to the terrain you will be traveling through. Plan your air travel in advance to take advantage of discounted airfares and avoid last minute vacation hassles.

Insurance

Travel insurance can be easily obtained through a travel agent or any insurance company. Make sure that you are sufficiently insured to take care of any contingencies during your vacation.

Medicines

If you are on any medications, do not forget to carry them with you. You should also carry the prescriptions and your health related documents while on vacation. Keep with you the emergency contact details of your regular care givers.

Travel Accessories

What good is a vacation if you cannot relive them in the future? Carry with you an excellent camera or a video recorder to capture all your favorite moments. Do not forget to pack the necessary accessories of your recording devices. You should also remember to carry all the accessories of your mobile and other electronic devices.

Baggage

Carry with you only what is absolutely necessary. Talk to your travel agent or visit websites to plan the kind of baggage you have to carry. You can also get valuable by corresponding with someone like the travel adviser at the hotel you are booked at.

Home Security

Ensure that your abode is well protected from burglars. Inform your neighbors and the local home security, if any, about your absence. Provide them your travel contact numbers so that they can reach you in case of any incidents. Switch off power to all the electrical equipments to prevent fire due to short circuit or electrical voltage spikes.

Your summer vacation will be most enjoyable if you are able to relax without any interruptions or any nagging thoughts. Plan ahead and compare different destinations and travel plans to get the best out of your vacation. You and make the most of your summer travel if you follow these .