Best 10 Christmas Gifts for a Traveller

Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers

I know that a plane ticket is the best present you can give to a travel junkie, but you can think differently this year. You can look for something other than what’s expected, and I am offering you here are a few things which will surprise them very much. I understand that you think it is hard to buy anything for some individual who loves traveling. Give me a chance to demonstrate to you my thoughts that will alter your opinion and continue to the pos of best Christmas gifts for travelers:

Tesalate Beach Travel towel

Tesalate beach towels are ultra compact, super absorbent, dry rapidly and are insatiably vibrant. Sand doesn’t stick to them, even when wet. This makes it the perfect travel trowel for any traveller that doesn’t have alot of room in their case and also perfect for someone always on the move with the quick drying.

Cork Globe

If your friend has trouble finding the next destination give him this awesome cork globe. He can choose the country he wants to visit on it, but that is not all.  He can also file every country he has ever been to on this globe. Persuade him that he does that with you, and I am sure you will have so much great time recalling encounters from each piece of the world.

cork-globe

The Travel Pillow

The TRTL in the name stays for “travel refreshed, travel light” and it is everything this outstandingly clever pad has to offer. Well, it isn’t technically a pad; it is a scarf with built-in neck reinforcement so a person can put around the neck. That neck support keeps the head and neck in a decent position during rest. The neck reinforcement is strong, safe and it won’t achieve any restorative issue. Think about every one of the explorers you know and which one will decline Trtl pillow? No one.

trtl pillow, travel gift

Flight 001 5-in-1 Adapter

Travelling all over the world has its pros and cons. One of the most common cons is the fact that there are differences from country to country, which means you can’t use the same power adapter everywhere. The splendid gadget called 5-in-1 connector is here to make a living during trip less requesting. The contraption contains 5 plugs that will change in accordance with any connection on the planet. Their arrangement is pretty cool because they are separated by color and they have an extraordinarily easy to storing system.

5in1-adapter traveller gift

Ounce Insulated Rambler

Ensure the travel lover in your life stays hydrated on the road with this insulated rambler. It features a double-wall vacuum insulation that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours. The 26-ounce bottle also comes in 12 different colors, so it will be easy to find an option that suits their style.

‘Powerbank Charger – Portable Charger

There’s nothing worse than having your phone die while you’re exploring a new location. This compact portable charger will help prevent that from happening. Not only is it small enough to fit inside your pocket but when fully charged, the high-speed charger can provide upto three full phone charges.

Scratch Map

Have a gift exchange coming up? This Scratch Map is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. And you will be more than happy if you help someone to discover more of this beautiful world

Duffel Bag

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when your suitcase was too heavy to check on a plane? Or you bought too many souvenirs and ran out of space? I have. That’s why these days I carry a packable duffel bag as a backup. You can also use it as a makeshift beach bag, laundry bag, or grocery bag too.

Portable luggage scales

Airline baggage fees are starting to get out of control. They want to charge you for EVERYTHING these days! To ensure you don’t get hit with paying extra, always weigh your luggage with a portable luggage scale before checking in.

Travel Piggy Bank

Looking for something different? Then check out this Travel Fund Piggy Bank. Made of wood, it is durable and even has a map of the world so you can eye up your next destination.


The Benefits of Traveling During Off-Peak Times

The Benefits of Traveling During Off-Peak Times

The winter holidays are here, and once again airports and major thoroughfares will be inundated with people heading home for the holidays. Aviation JobNet reports that airports may see a 4% to 6% increase in passengers during the months of November to December this year compared to the same period in 2018. With air travel becoming a cheaper and more popular option, you might have a lot to contend with if you’re looking to take a flight to a new destination this year. If you’re a seasoned traveler or just looking to avoid the Christmas rush in the coming weeks, then you might want to try moving your travels to the off-peak season. There are tons of benefits to finding the right timing for your vacation, so check out this short list of reasons why traveling during the off-peak might be right for you.

Cheaper Tickets

Traveling during off-peak times means that you have less competition for tickets, ergo, cheaper prices. Airlines can’t afford to have empty seats, so they offer them at lower prices to encourage more people to buy. According to Smarter Travel, some of the worst days to fly during the year are during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel window, as more people tend to travel during that period. It’s still possible to get cheaper fares during this window, but that depends on what days the holidays fall in relation to the weekends.

Fewer Crowds

With travel being such a popular activity lately, getting to the more popular destinations and sights can be a bit of a drag. Massive crowds and over-tourism has caused major environmental crises in places like Mallorca, as well as other dangerous situations. Traveling during the off-season means you don’t have to contend with long lines and huge crowds, and may even have the opportunity to check out activities and sights that you might not have considered otherwise.

Higher Chance of a Free Upgrade

There are a variety of factors that go into getting free upgrades on your flight, and one of those is traveling during the off-season. The off-season can mean anything from early morning flights or red-eyes, to flights during the middle of the week or on Saturdays. Travelbinger has a list of other factors that could realistically get you a free upgrade on a flight, including using your frequent flier miles, volunteering to give up your seat, and having flexible flight times and dates in case an upgrade on another flight is possible.

Easier to Get Accommodation

Finding accommodation is part and parcel of traveling, and if you travel during the off-peak season you have a higher chance of finding better accommodation. Eurostat found that the net occupancy rates of accommodation in the European Union increased by 0.8% during the 2018 summer season, up compared with the same period in 2017. With travel becoming more and more popular, it could be harder to find good accommodation during peak season. Traveling in the off months gives you a higher chance of finding better hotels and Airbnbs for cheaper.


onwards ticket choice

Benefits of Getting an Onward Flight Ticket

Benefits of Getting an Onward Flight Ticket from Onwardticket.com

Booking flights is a essential part of many people’s lifestyle today. But depending on your desired destination, you may be asked  to provide your Onward Flight Ticket/Proof of onward travel.

 When traveling to some countries, the boarding airline usually demands for some sort of valid proof of onward travel. This stands as a genuine evidence that you would leave the country upon the expiry of your visa term.

onwards journey

Essentially, it’s to ensure that you:

 Have the ability to pay for your departure out of  the country,

 Do not intend to stay illegally, as well as

 Plan to leave before the expiry of  your visa.

 Sometimes, this particular evidence comes in the form of the visa requirement. However , most countries usually pass this duty on to the airlines. This implies that you would need that evidence at the check-in counter, else the commercial airline won’t let you board your flight.

 The airlines are generally strict about this, and with valid reason from their point of view. If they fail to check and let you board the flight, they would be responsible for the cost of both fines and flying you back when the immigration authorities refuse to grant you entrance.

 They might let you on the flight if you buy a return ticket from them immediately – but don’t expect this to be a cost friendly deal, specifically for a ticket you never plan to use.

 If you are not quite sure with regards to your next destination, booking an onward or return ticket can be complex. For those who go backpacking, are on a mini budget or currently do not know where they’ll be next, this can be a very expensive and unnecessary investment as well.

The requirements for Onward flight could as well be quite inconvenient for long travel, though they ought not to be. At this point, the best option is to rent a Ticket with an Onward Ticketing Service such as onwardticket.

on a onwards travel journey

With onwardticket, you can conveniently get real, legitimate plane tickets in your name on the day of the flight and automatically terminate it within 24 or even 48 hours. All you spend for this service is a fee of $12. With this service, you can state when you desire to receive your ticket and for how long it ought to be valid.

 Furthermore, onwardticket.com stands as the best solution for digital nomads and perpetual travelers because all the onward tickets we provide come with the following attributes:

  • Legit and confirmed
  • Comes with a PNR under your name that you can show to the airlines/ immigration officials.
  • Highly convenient proof of onward travel or visa applications
  • Receive your ticket in 2 minutes (works 24/7)
  • We also have an option of “buy now, receive later”.

In all, if you do not want to worry about regular refunds, strict cancellation policies or paying heavily for huge flight tickets upfront, onwardticket.com comes as the best option for you as earlier highlighted.


7 Reasons To Visit Leh Ladakh

Going on trips with your buddies is always fun! Resting at an ideal beach, having fun and going on exciting road trips, staying in a place far away from the crowd or only chillaxing at lovely destinations! Sounds amazing… All these experiences bring you closer as well as it brings fun in your life! Here’s a list for your trip to do things in Leh Ladakh.

1. An Epic Road Trip

Leh Ladakh

(Image courtesy Flickr)

Travels with friends is very fun! You can enjoy the amazing view out of your windows. When heading towards Leh Ladakh, all you want is an open Thar or a bike to appreciate the vroom of engines and the thrilling power of speed. Make sure to Be SAFE so you can share your amazing stories with others. Manali to Leh and Leh to Srinagar are the ways to drive on for the most astounding excursion ever!

2. Be Zen in Leh Ladakh

Shanti Stupa

Shanti Stupa (Image courtesy Flickr)

Need a revive? Pack your bag and just getaway to Leh Ladakh NOW. You can take a visit, absorbing its exotic view just like the renowned temples or sanctuaries, or you could simply lose all sense of direction in its fragrance, smell of freshness, greenery and beside flawless life. It’s the best escape from that you probably are considering taking from your ordinary and tedious life. This vibe can’t feel anywhere else. Really WORTH IT!

3.Impeccable Romantic Run-Away Destination

Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake (Image courtesy Flickr)

Furtively planning to waltz in the Alps, Raj in a black tux and perhaps Simran in a flimsy chiffon sari, while music rings through the snowcapped crests? Do you remember the song Satrangi Re from Dil Se? It was shot in Ladakh, which makes this place a best romantic destination for movie lovers. Pangong Tso Lake should be on the bucket list for couple destination.

4. Ladakh offers Bliss

Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley (Image Courtesy Flickr)

With famously untrustworthy phone lines and without internet this and can be a real stress buster is a magnificent chance to relax your pressure nerves. You can cut out yourself from the world and most likely become a stone age man at the base camps, arranged at foot of Nubra Valley or Ladakh Range. Trust me, IT’S FUN!

5. A town named Batalik is must visit!

(Image courtesy Flickr)

This must be a purpose behind your visit! It’s an Indian Army Post and there you’ll be introduced with the Aryan Race which is a very rare race. So you should visit here for a different experience which you can share with the others who aren’t aware of this.

6. LOVE, FORGIVENESS and SIMPLICITY-VERY TENETS OF BUDDHISM

Likir Monastery

Likir Monastery (Image courtesy Flickr)

Decorated delightfully among the Himalayas and the Karakoram Mountain Ranges, with shades of red, green, dark and blue. In the event that you visit this spot at the hour of its famous festivals of Hemis, Dosmoche, Phyang and so forth., at that point it will be a treat to your eyes. You will surely feel yourself encompassed by a quality that is so amazing to really avoid away all the evil spirits.

7. An Adventurous excursion pursued by Lip-smacking Food! Thank heaven

Ladakh cuisine

Ladakh cuisine (Image courtesy Flickr)

Subsequent to trekking to awesome peaks of Nun-Kun, Stok Kangri or overcoming one of the mountains passes of Wari La, Kardung La; hot and yummy food await for you. In case you’re a Foodie, this outing is going to fulfil your taste buds with flavorful MOMOS AND THUKKPAS. Go have a bite of solitude on this planet.

Here’s our list to why we feel, a journey to Leh Ladakh is really Splendorous. If you also have experienced this mysterious spot, relieved your romance with your soulmate and have let go all the hindrances at this daring undertaking at that point, leave your remarks beneath and let us know the motivation behind why this mesmerising place enchanted you. Help others out and share this listicle for them to plan their next significant trip to Ladakh : D

Author Bio

Mannat Sharma is a 22-year-old boy, who one day realized how travelling to far off places and going on adventures could change perspective about life. That was the day when he started finding his hobby, passion and profession in it.

Website- https://spiritbohemian.com


How to guest post

So you’ve decided to do a guest post on Kevin’s Travel Diary.

Many thanks for reaching out.

I love guest posts and so do my readers.

I am open to any guest post as long as it is travel related. Stories, things to do, guides, reasons to visit, anything!. We, me and my readers love them all.

If you would like to do a guest post, the answer is yes, I’ll publish your guest post if it is anything travel related.

Your guest post once published will be sent out to my email list (50k+) Facebook & Twitter (15k)

Sorry in advance to this next part but I want to make it clear!. I receive around 15 emails a day just for guest posts.

I do have some guidelines. See here http://kevinstraveldiary.com/faq/ ;

Please read the following pages in this order and then it will explain how to guest post diy, login and post your post.

1) http://kevinstraveldiary.com/faq/
2)https://kevinstraveldiary.com/terms-and-conditions/
3) https://kevinstraveldiary.com/how-to-guest-post/

You will create the post yourself on my blog with the login details. If you would like me to login and post then it would cost $5 usd

Your guest post will then be sent out to my email list (50k+) Facebook & Twitter (15k)

If you’re looking to add a commercial link then of course as expected there is a charge. Now with the charge I am open to any sensible offer that you would like to offer me. The charge for commerical links buys me a coffee and a beer for the time and effort that goes into my website and of course helps with the running costs of the website.

Again read the links above and post your post. If you want me to post this post then there is the extra $5 as mentioned above.

I really do look forward to reading your articles and nothing makes me happier than publishing your articles on my blog.

If submitting a guest post also be sure to check my terms and conditions https://kevinstraveldiary.com/terms-and-conditions/

  • Decide if it’s a commercial link, if so then make a payment to kevinh86@hotmail.com for donated amount in usd via Paypal, per every two different links.
  • login using these detaills -Username: guestpost – Password: Guestpost123
  • Once loged in, click posts and add new
  • Create your post, if required you can use the template which will match the other guest posts. You are free as you wish.
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  • Send post for review

VERY IMPORTANT

All posts related to travel will be published.

If you submit a guest post with commercial links within the text and without paying a fee via paypal, by submitting the guest post you are handing over all rights to this post. I will remove the links and the bio and then post. To claim the post back will cost 50 usd.


WIN and Enjoy Most Thrilling Rides at Universal Studios Florida

WIN and Enjoy Most Thrilling Rides at Universal Studios Florida

When it comes to top rides that can make your adrenalin rush to new heights, it is one other than the thrilling rides at Universal Studios Florida. Even the most hardened thrill seekers will find themselves a tad challenged when they go for those rides.

Just let the Ocean-Florida team help you plan out your holiday and educate you on the best rides as well as land you with some fantastic deals. Thus, you not only make some neat savings but can pick on the most thrilling rides based on your preferences.  Top favorites include The Incredible Hulk, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Revenge of the Mummy, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Transformers: The Ride 3D and much more. You can count on Universal In Orlando  team for 24-hour services for any of your holidaying needs.

Stand a chance to win TWO tickets to Universal theme park Florida by entering this worldwide giveaway here –

Rafflecopter widget : a Rafflecopter giveaway


kevin hodgon iceland

A life Journey Going Nowhere - Now Travelling The World

I want you all to know me a little better. You all know “Kevin’s Travel Diary” but none of you really know Kevin (me 🙂 ) so I’m going to tell you lots about me, so you can learn who this guy is behind this travel blog. You already know about how my love for travelling began, but now we will go deeper into the life of me.

I’m going to take you on my journey of life.

So where to start? We know my name’s Kevin and travels my middle name 🙂 . I have travelled around 80 countries and I have this huge passion for travel. My first passion whilst travelling is to learn and understand about different cultures, the how and why everyone lives in different ways. I like to learn about the local way and understand the different ways of doing things. Culture is a strong part of people’s everyday life. By understanding different cultures it opens my eyes to different views, values, humour, hopes, fears and even loyalties. I find it stimulates my mind and forces myself to see and think in different ways, it helps me understand there is more than one way of doing something.

Time for me to really open up……

Now, a step back in time….. When I was at school I struggled to learn, I was never the type of person to sit still and listen to teachers, this was no fault of the teachers, perhaps it was more because I didn’t understand what and why I was being taught what I was. I was the terror that would disrupt the class, don’t get me wrong I wanted to learn, but I just couldn’t get to grips with the way I was being taught. Rather than being taught a different way, I was just told that I wasn’t worth the time and how I’m going nowhere in life. This, of course, set me up for my life failure, well it would have if I wasn’t as strong-minded as I was.

My behaviour got worse and worse at school, until, they couldn’t control me any longer. They would suspend me for weeks at a time. (I always knew I wanted to work as a hotel manager as I thought it would enable me to travel the world and stay in lots of different hotels). How wrong was I. Well kinda…..

Each time I was suspended I got myself a job in catering, I worked in a total of 9 different establishments before I found my first real job on weekends. I still had my troubled life at school and still getting sent home for weeks at a time. I very quickly worked out that every time I was sent home from school I could attend work and get paid. (I don’t condone or recommend you do this). This, of course, fuelled me more to get sent home from school so I could earn more money. Eventually, the school had enough of me and I left at 15, that was it, my destiny was to fail…. Not under my employers watch!!!. The owner of the hotel I worked for saw me as a project and took me under his wing. He knew I wanted to run a hotel, and it was his hotel, that he wanted me to run. For the next year, I worked school hours for £2.00 an hour and learning my education under my new employers. My education changed and I started to learn about business, rather than academics which I think slightly explains my grammar.

My 16th birthday came and I was free from the education system, I was quickly offered my first promotion at 16, I was to become a function supervisor looking after all the weddings. After a year I had saved enough money for my first holiday which was in Majorca. At the time, travelling at 17 years old was not allowed without the consent of parents. My parents were away at the time of booking so, a quick forged letter from my parents (sorry mum 😂) I was on my way to Majorca and the feeling of freedom was where my true love of travelling began.

About me
Kevin's Travel Diary

After my first holiday alone in Majorca I learnt the meaning of freedom, ok, it wasn’t quite backpacking S.E Asia (more of a 5 star resort) but the feeling of doing what I wanted, when I wanted had definitely won me over.

Still under the wing of the owner along with my first promotion, I learnt the necessary skills to further my carrer. Alot of hard work, every hour under the sun and around 6 managers later, I finally got the job I always dreamed of. Hard work finally paid off! Anything we desire is possible!

With the promotions came a huge paycheck which of course sent me packing on my next adventure. (Although back then my job paid my travels, I now get paid to travel) This time the adventure sent me to Tunisia, my first true experience of Africa and learning about a different culture. Again I never backpacked here, and I stayed in an all-inclusive resort, but I was never shy to get out and about and visit the local town and take in my new surroundings. I remember so clearly booking a tour from town to go on a jeep ride up the mountains to see a local village. I was more interested in the jeep ride, that was until I arrived at the local village. I was first greeted by a local and his camel, the local shoved something in my mouth and told me to stand still.

Ermmmmm……….

Camel kiss…..

A kiss that made me fall in love  😍😙

ok no…… not with the camel ……..

But with this strange culture of feeding camels. How cool would it be to own a camel? Well, that is almost the norm for a lot of locals in Tunisia. After exploring their village, trying homemade bread, and understanding a different way of living it was at this point that I fell in love with the culture and wanted to explore different ways of living. A love that has never left me, even down to this day.

It was soon after this holiday that my terror years past, I think it was due to my holiday, it opened my eyes to different beliefs, morals and of course ways of living. I had a lot of money coming in due to my promotion, and gaining a sense of sensibility from travelling alone at a young age, I decided to put my money to good use and buy my first home. Yep, 18 years of age and I managed to convince a mortgage company to loan me the money to buy my home. A home that I still call home today, a small 2 bedroom home that is a stones throw from the famous sand duned beach of Camber Sands.

After buying my home, I had enough money left to save for my travels, a new found passion that kept me on the straight and narrow. I was keen to take another trip and learn about other cultures around the world.

Next up was turkey, a new culture to explore….

On the bus journey to my hotel, I was surprised to see the locals smoking a bong, “what a bong?” I thought. “Yep, definitely a bong” I answered myself. Wow! Were they really smoking a bong and using drugs in the middle of the street? Was that aloud? Omg, how exciting! I quickly dropped my bag in the hotel and headed in the direction of these bong smokers. I never wanted to take drugs but I did want to learn about another culture, especially one that allows this in the middle of the street. After speaking with the locals, I learnt that it wasn’t a bong, it was, in fact, a Nargile aka shisha (hookah). Something that is part of the Turkish culture dating back to the 17th century. It became an important part of society and was used as a status symbol.

After joining the locals for a nargile or 2 I was then offered a traditional Turkish shave. I thought “why not”. I was a young man and the locals thought it would be funny to mess around shaving me with the largest knife you’d ever seen. (See picture) I think they were trying to scare me and have a laugh amongst themselves, the problem was, I wasn’t scared and found it rather amusing. 😅 Either way, it was a cool local experience and eventually I was given the true traditional shave. After my shave, I was then directed for a traditional Turkish bath, but I’ll save this story for another time 😁.

Over the next couple of years many holidays passed, (Spain, Greece, Morocco and Bulgaria to name a few) new cultures were learnt.

Then……

At a very young age (20) Along Came “Porsha” my first and only child. She is the little adventurer that pops up in some of my pictures every now and then. She too, like me, loves an adventure and has so far been to France, Belguim, Netherlands, Spain, the main 4 canary islands and India. It’s very hard to leave my little-loved one at home whilst I travel the world but she fully supports my travelling, and really enjoys receiving lots of postcards from everywhere I visit 🏝.

After my terror years pasted, I was left with a big hole that needed filling. That’s when travelling introduced me to some adrenaline sports. Stay tuned and next time I’ll share about my travels which fueled the adrenaline inside me, which later became my hobbies leading me to seek out …………..

camel kissing
kevin hodgon
High boat jump

From a young age, I learnt to scuba dive and have now dived over 200 times in more than 30 countries. My 2 favourite places have to be Mexico and the Maldives, closely followed by Egypt.

Fishing is another favourite of mine but I’ve only ever fished in England and Thailand.

A past time hobby of mine is go-karting, this was my first take on adrenaline and this hobby certainly was the start to me becoming a bit of an adrenaline junky.

The feeling of speed adrenaline….. Speeding around a track reaching up to 60mph certainty gets my heart pumping. When I was in Bulgaria I went down to a karting track and felt the “need for speed”. In fact, it was here that I learnt I was a natural and was asked by the circuit owner if I wanted to take part in a race later that evening. Of course, I did! I hung around with the track owner all day, helping out in return for preparing me for the race ahead. I entered the race and finished 3rd. After a great finish, I continued with this sport and went on to win many more races. I no longer kart as I have now found kitesurfing, a height adrenaline.

Kitesurfing, another hobby that came from my travels. This hobby started in Egypt, I didn’t learn to kitesurf in Egypt, I learnt to wakeboard. After I learnt to wakeboard it was something I wanted to keep doing. With no wakeboarding at home, I learnt to kitesurf instead, this was the sport that could fill my adrenaline needs. After lots of crashes, practice and many fails I learnt to jump! Hello, height adrenaline!!

Adrenaline has become a part of me now and I always try to seek different types of adrenaline during my travels. That maybe speed, height, nerve or even fear factor adrenaline, I just love the feeling.

Fear adrenaline is what lead me to hand feed wild Hyenas in Ethiopia. I watched a t.v show called “Planet Earth 2” and watched this crazy guy in Ethiopia hand feed wild Hyenas. I just imagined what the adrenaline would be like, next thing I knew I was on a flight and ready to feed these huge wild beasts. This was one experience that got my heart pumping with nerve adrenaline. I arrived at the slaughter, in pitch darkness and met the Hyena men. They started to call the Hyenas. I stood there watching in such amazement as they called me forward to hand-feed these animals. When I got closer, he asked me to kneel next to him, he held some meat above my head while the hyenas fed from his hand, just inches away from my face. I could feel the warm breath of the hyena, breathing down my neck and I can hardly express in words what I felt. But it was at this point that I felt the neck of a hyena rub against mine and for the first time I really appreciated the sheer power of these animals. I was then handed a piece of meat, my moment had come, the reason that led me here. I held out my hand and waited for the Hyena to come and feed from my hand. As it got closer, I feared for my life and dropped the meat, I realised how easy it would be for these wild animals to eat me instead. Hyenas are the second largest land predators in Africa and have the most powerful jaws. I built up my courage and attempted it again, this time with success, a wild hyena sneaked around the back of me and took the meat on offer.

The adrenaline from fear and nerves are definitely what lead me to these amazing locations.

One day I was speaking to my friend about my travels, and all the places I’d been. I then made a joke about wanting to visit Somalia. A joke that became very real. A few days later a lot of people asked if I was really going to Somalia. Going along with the joke I replied yes of course!. Before I knew it, I was going. This definitely ticks all the adrenaline boxes.

kart racing
hand feeding hyenas
kevin hodgon

It is true that my bizarre travels, to places like Somalia came around after a joke. I spent 5 days in notorious Somalia. oh, I might go to Somalia, then that joke became real as word got out. Now I have to go!. Oh while I’m there I’m going to meet pirates, another joke that word got out, so I had to make that become real too. Yes, it all started as a joke! A joke that I knew would get my heart pumping with adrenaline.

One of the most surreal and eye-opening experiences was walking across no-man’s land from Ethiopia to Somaliland. As you walk from border to border there are no guards that can assist you, you are all alone. Well, if it wasn’t for the 500 locals swamping you trying to assist you to the unknown. The unknown where you could get shot in the head or kidnapped quicker than you can sip your bottled water. From the ambush perfect swamps around Kismayo in the south, the warrens of Mogadishu, to the pirate dens of Bosaso on the Gulf of Aden. The whole country is a breeding ground for warlords, pirates, kidnappers, bomb makers, fanatical Islamist extremists, freelance gunmen, and idle, angry youths with no education and way too many bullets. What was I doing walking across this border? Unknown to me, but walking this border was the safe part of Somalia and in fact altho not reconsigned is different to Somalia.

Just imagine the feeling of sitting at the roadside with a man and almost half a million dollars. Ok, I didn’t count it but see the picture! A lot of money. Yep, I sat with the big boss man and enjoyed Somalian tea (the best tea ever) this man, who at the end of the day, leaves his money at the roadside covered with a small bit of tarpoling. Is this man crazy? No security, no guards! Wow, this was the start of an incredible experience.

It’s true that I went in search of pirates, I was taken to a remote bombed out, shot down, derelict fishing village in the middle of nowhere, no one around. The experience of seeing this alone was immense. This was it, the meeting point, to be kidnapped? to seak out what I came here to see (pirates).

I waited….

and waited….

and waited….

Maybe they were scared of me 😊after a long 3-hour wait, out came two guys with what I will describe as tea towels around their head. Only seeing their eyes as they walked towards me screaming no photos, no photos. They had their ak47s under their arms, bullets around their neck and the biggest machete I’ve ever seen.

I would like to say we had a nice chat, but that would be lying, I’d like to say I enjoyed meeting them, but that would be lying, I’d like to say I wasn’t scared, but that would be lying, especially when they ask me about what insurance I have, what house I live in, do I have family and wife. Netherless, I did it, I met some pirates, but the biggest question that still holds over me, were they really pirates. The answer to that is….. I don’t know, I do genuinely believe they were, they claimed to have kidnapped 4 people in total. If they weren’t, then still, I was brave enough to at least hunt out these pirates, live and tell the tail.

Mogadishu never failed to impress either, one day I’m on the beach playing football with the local kids, watching the fisherman walk past with their large sailfish catch on their heads. Then the next day I’m running for cover as a terrorist decided to blow up the market. I was metres away from the scariest experience I ever wish to encounter. Stood outside my guest house watching the locals go about their day and all of a sudden a big explosion happened before my eyes. As I stood there in disbelief, scared and confused my guards grabbed me back into my guest house for a swift exit to safety. (I don’t always condone doing the things I do) but in 20 years from now perhaps you too can enjoy climbing small mountains in Somaliland, swim in the Gulf of Aden in Puntland and enjoy luxurious beaches in Mogadishu. Somalia really does offer it all. 😀

So how about North Korea? How did that come around?. Well, I was at my girlfriend’s parent’s house for dinner after I got back from Somalia and her brother made a comment, “where next North Korea? Lol”. I went home that night and my brain got ticking with excitement. “North Korea” could I? Is that even possible? I quickly learnt that if you pick a big event in North Korea, entry is easy. I picked their Pynonngnag Marathon, I could claim that I can run 😊. Next thing I know I had organised for myself to join a tour heading for North Korea to run their marathon in just 8 weeks. Needless to say, he is banned from making comments again. I trained hard for 8 weeks but sadly 5 days before my trip I dislocated my hip. Oh no! Treatment in China made a 10k run doable and I finished in the top 100.

kevin hodgon
somalia
kevin hodgon

So North Korea came around after an evening with my girlfriends family. To my surprise and no doubt yours, North Korea is doable and very easy too. So my entrance into North Korea was aiming to run in their Pyongyang Marathon. After I booked the tickets training had to begin, I took my own approach for training which was going really well, that was until I dislocated my hip just 5 days before I was due to run. My tour of China before entering North Korea enabled me to learn about different treatments. A few treatments made a 10k run in North Korea doable and I finished within the top 100. North Korea is the most surreal country I’ve ever been to and by far the most interesting because of the strict regime. Whilst in North Korea there are a lot of “do’s” and “do not’s”, such as to listen to your guide, bow and show respect to the statues of their leader, and do not take any pictures of anything without your guides permission. A trip to North Korea will leave you amazed and not just for the huge architectural buildings that seem to be empty.

Running has now become a part of me and I’m hoping to take this new passion to as many countries as I can. My next par-taking in a Marathon is in Iraqi around October time. If you’re a keen runner then why not join me?

I’ve really enjoyed sharing a little about Kevin to all of you and I really hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit more behind this blogger.
When I first started this blog some of you will perhaps remember that it all started as a personal diary for myself (which it still is) and I would tell you all how my grammars not perfect and I do make spelling mistakes and how I’m a standard guy travelling the world on annual leave. I started a diary, and a dream to get paid to travel. A dream that I never thought would become real, until now.

As I travel more and more and get paid to visit amazing countries worldwide, I know others would also love to do the same. So I’ve started a private group on FB called “Forucksake lifestyle”. It’s going to be a community of like-minded travellers and those that want to travel, where you can find out exactly how I fund my adventures, find answers, recommendations and products to help you in your future travels.

north korea marathon
great wall of china
north korea group shot

So where next for Kevin’s Travel Diary? I have the answer for this one.

As above, I am starting a new group that will show you and teach you how to become a successful blogger and how you too could travel the world and get paid. Now, I’m not going to tell you I earn 250k or even 100k, I won’t even tell you I earn 50k and in fact far from it. But what I do earn is enough to enable me to travel for free and also offers of being paid to travel.

My blog may not be the most successful out there, earn the most money or have the prettiest pictures. But my blog is living proof how a normal guy can go from a terror child to getting paid to travel the world, and living a life I love.

If you would like to join my new group and learn all about blogging then head over to Travelling to Freedom where I will teach everything and even walk you through the first steps. Always wanted to blog but don’t know where to start? I’ll help you with that. Don’t know how to build a website? I’ll help you with that. Don’t know SEO? I’ll help you with that. Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know? I’ll help with all that too.


Méo

Street Art in Reunion Island

If you haven’t heard of Reunion Island ever in your life, I can’t blame you, we are far from being in the top 10 of travel destinations. Located in the Indian Ocean, right between Mauritius and Madagascar, Reunion Island is a little French paradise known for its beautiful landscape and its very rich/mixed culture. Nonetheless I’m not here to present the island through its sunny beaches and wild nature like any other travel blog would, but rather by taking a different approach : local street art.

In Reunion Island you can’t miss the street art, and if you ever set foot on the island you know what I’m talking about. From walking into the city, to lying at the beach to driving back home, you can always spot pictures/tags/graffiti somewhere.

The most popular drawings on the Island are definitely the Gouzou, painted by the famous artist Jace. Those little yellow anthropomorphic characters are everywhere and easy to spot : on walls, on bridges, on street signs, electricity boxes … Sometimes funny, sometimes political, the Gouzou became a real emblem of the Island since their first appearance in 1992. A great way to entertain your road trip is to search for them and take a few pictures (in a safe way of course, don’t leave your car in the middle of the road just to take a picture). And if you’re interested in them, I guess you’re lucky because you don’t even have to go to Reunion Island to see some Gouzous, Jace went all around the world to paint them : New York, Thailand, South Africa, France, Bali … more than 25 countries ! And he has a few art books, you can check out online.

Gouzou paperplane

Whether they are legally painted or not, Reunion Island has many street artists well known among art lovers and amateurs. To admire them you sometimes have to go off the road and wonder to places you never thought you would stop by, this is a great way to visit the Island ! It’s also a great way to have a road trip full of adventure : who would have known I would have to go down a tunnel and wait for a herd of goats to pass just to take some pictures ? From the artist Sept, to Gorg One, to Pandakroo, to Méo … you will never be bored, it can be a political statement but mostly it’s just a great way to enhance the landscape.

Not only a playground for locals, street artists from France have come to leave their footprint on Reunion Island. For those who know Jef Aerosol or Jerôme Mesnager, you will be happy to spot their art on the road.

Street art is not only a display of lines and colors to form a nice landscape but an invitation to think and criticize a specific subject. Whether to mock advertisements, raise awareness to discrimination, acceptance or even to protect nature, art can be a real statement in itself. Street art is a great way for Reunion Island’s artists to express themselves and lucky for us, the island is one big canvas.

About me : Hello, I’m Steven ! I’m a french student working for the online blog of aFabulousTrip, a smart travel search engine. I grew up in Reunion Island and this place will always have a special place in my heart, for its beauty and for all the incredible memories it gave me.


protect yourself from mosquitoes

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes while traveling

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes while traveling

You don’t want dodging mosquito bites to become a full time job whilst you are on summer vacation – and you certainly don’t want to expose yourself and your family to the risk of acquiring deadly diseases like malaria, the Zika virus, and West Nile virus, especially if you are traveling to one of the more exotic locations in the world. Follow our expert advice on how to protect yourself from mosquitoes while traveling, and your holiday will be all the better for it. Read on to find out more.

Wear insect repellent

Sometimes the obvious answer really is the right choice. By far the most effective way of preventing mosquito bites to you and your loved ones, is to apply an effective insect repellent to all areas of exposed skin. These repellents come in the form of sprays, lotions, gels and creams – many of the modern ones are also residue- and odor-free – so there are plenty of options there for those of you who want to avoid the messiness associated with these products. The most powerful repellents contain DEET as their active ingredient, however this substance is considered by some to be toxic to humans (as well as the environment) – fortunately there are now many alternative, ‘natural’ insect repellents out there on the market as well – with active ingredients ranging from citronella and eucalyptus oil, to picaridin. However, these repellents are not as potent or long lasting as DEET-containing products, so it is up to you to decide whether the trade off in protection is worth your while.

protect yourself from mosquitoes

Wear proper clothing

Another good buffer against mosquito bites is thick, sturdy clothing. When heading outside into mosquito-dense areas during your holiday, be sure then to don thick, long sleeved shirts and pants; try also to tuck your pants into your socks (which should be equally thick!), and your shirt into your pants. You can also purchase special fabrics that have already been treated with insect repellent – very useful if you don’t fancy applying the stuff to your skin – though they may not be the most fashionable threads around!

Use mosquito netting

This is absolutely vital if you are sleeping outside at night. Hang some mosquito netting around your tent or hammock. You can even spray it with insect repellent to give yourself an added layer of protection. And even if you are sleeping indoors, placing some mosquito netting around your bed will be a smart move. Because not only you are an easy target for mosquitoes when you’re sleeping but mosquitoes also have a way of finding their way into the house, even when all the windows are closed.

Avoid peak mosquito times

Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so try to avoid being outdoors during these periods of the day. Plan out your activities so you beat ‘mosquito peak hour’.

Wear light colored clothing

Did you know that mosquitoes are drawn to dark colored clothing? It’s true! This is thought to have something to do with the contrast between the shade of the dark clothes and the color of the horizon at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active – but whatever the reason, if you want to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes whilst on holiday, then wear lighter colored outfits. Your best bet is actually to wear neutral, or pastel, colored clothing – since very BRIGHT colors will attract wasps and other insects.

Don’t accessorize

As well as being drawn to dark colored clothing, mosquitoes are attracted to the sweet aroma of deodorants, perfumes, after shaves etc. So when you go on holiday this summer, be sure also to steer clear of the cosmetics! And you should be able to enjoy mosquito-free travels.

protect yourself from mosquitoes

Guest post, Author Bio

Karen Thompson is the main editor of InsectCop.net, a mosquito and insect control advice blog that focuses on helping people get rid of pests in and around their homes. We believe that to win the war against pests you must first win many smaller battles by eliminating them step by step. And on InsectCop we help you learn just how to do that!


Sri Lanka guide to visa travel

Sri Lanka Visa Guide – Things You Need to Know

Sri Lanka Visa Guide – Things You Need to Know

One of the things that worry travelers is the visa requirements for entry, but like all things good with Sri Lanka, the paperwork requirements are minimal, and the visa process is hassle-free. The Sri Lanka visa process is simple, and you can even finish the entire process online, get it done at their consulate in your country, or you can even choose to get your visa stamped on arrival at your port of entry. The costs are nominal, and the approval turnaround times are pretty fast.

visa travel in Sri Lanka

Apply online

Technically you are applying for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) rather than a Sri Lanka visa, and the visa itself is given at the airport. All it requires is a fully filled application form to be submitted on the ETA Sri Lanka website, which can be accessed at https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa. Choose your preferred language option, hit the Apply tab, fill up the online form, pay the required fees online, and you are done. Processing typically takes two business days, after which you will be notified whether your application was accepted or rejected. Accepted applicants are entitled to enter Sri Lanka within three months of the date of issue of the approval. There is no need to print out the emails you receive on completion. You just present your passport at the airport and they add the visa, no additional money required.

Types of Sri Lanka ETA Visa

There are four kinds of visas on offer by the Sri Lankan government currently through ETA. These are – ETA tourist visa with a double entry that is valid for 30 days; ETA business visa with multiple entries and a validity of 30 days; ETA single entry transit visa that allows a stay of up to seven days, and an ETA single entry transit visa with a validity of up to two days. Charges vary depending on the type and it is advisable to check their website for the latest charges.

Sri Lanka visa

How do you apply for a visa to Sri Lanka offline?

You can submit your visa application and payment at Colombo International Airport on arrival. Currently, a fee of USD 5 for a tourist visa and USD 10 for a business visa, in addition to the visa fee charges are levied when you apply for a visa on arrival. The visa-on-arrival does offer flexibility to the traveler but if it can be avoided, it is better to get a visa approval beforehand. This is just to avoid the long visa stamping queues at the airport.

You can choose to submit your visa application in person at the Sri Lanka Overseas Mission situated in your country at least two weeks prior to travel. If you come personally to their visa offices, please do not transfer money to the bank, but pay cash to the cashier and obtain a receipt.

You can also submit visa application by post at least five weeks prior to travel date. Please include passport, necessary documents, and proof of payment by way of a photocopy of the bank transfer. If the passport and documents are to be returned by mail, a self-addressed envelope with required stamps should be included with the application. Applications sent without a stamped return envelope will be retained until the applicant collects them personally.

Sri Lanka visa travels

Requirements for visa application

Duly completed visa application form with signature is necessary. Please clearly write applicant’s name, address, and telephone number. A valid passport with at least one unused visa page is required. The passport should be valid for six months from the date of your arrival in Sri Lanka. Along with your application, to include a copy of flight booking or cruise-ship reservation. A detailed travel itinerary in Sri Lanka is required to be submitted with the application form. If hotel reservations are not done, the names and addresses of planned visits/overnight stays will be enough.

Who does not require a Visa?

Nationals from Singapore, Maldives and Seychelles do not need a visa under the bilateral agreement. Anyone else is required to have a visa for entry into the country.

How to extend a short visit visa?

A visitor wishing to stay for more than 30 days in this lovely country may apply for an extension. The short visit visa may be extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and a further period of 90 days at the second instance. Please check their website for details on procedures and fees.

Sri Lanka travelling