Travel Tips to Australia
The land down under features highly on many people’s bucket lists, with its beautiful beaches, adorable animals and laidback lifestyle. Plus, Aussies are a friendly bunch who love meeting new people – especially if those people have come from across the seas to visit our island home. So, on behalf of my fellow Australians, let me share my top five tips to make sure you have the best possible time in Australia.
Do not underestimate how vast Australia is!
Australia is a truly massive country – so big, in fact, that it is also a continent. Australia is the 6th largest country on earth, and only about 25% smaller than all of Europe. This is why many Australians can’t help but chuckle when visitors make plans to “do” Australia in a fortnight or to do a day trip to Brisbane from Sydney (almost 1000km each way). It’s important to be realistic about what you want to do and see in Australia, and often spending more time in one or two places is the way to go, so you don’t lose too much time in travel.
One thing that often surprises visitors to Australia is that while the road-trip is a pretty popular past-time, expect to see an awful lot of nothing. Most of Australia’s population is scattered around the very outer edges of the country, and especially the East Coast. Therefore, elsewhere is pretty barren.
For example, if driving between Adelaide and its ‘neighbouring’ capital city Perth, you could expect to drive about 2,500km in total – with 1,675km being nothing but desert. To put that in perspective, that’s like driving from Barcelona to Berlin (via France) – or New York to Orlando, Florida – and seeing nothing but red dirt, a few shrubs and maybe a camel, if you are lucky. Therefore, if you are going to drive, make sure you take proper precautions such as bringing plenty of water and telling people where you’re going and when you expect to arrive.
What To Wear in Dubai
The first thing that hits you when you enter the city of Dubai is the buildings. So many of them, so gleaming, so tall. So…futuristic. In this relatively new city, its as if Dubai was racing to win some contest on who can build the most luxury in the shortest amount of time. Concrete jungle is putting is mildly. I lost count of the skyscrapers at about one hundred. As we sped down the multi-lane motorway to the hotel, they seemed never-ending.
Of course, with luxury comes decadence. Many people who live here are wealthy, yet hard-working expats. And when they’re done working? They want to play. They want to shop. And they want the very best of all of it.
You wouldn’t think this level of extravagance would reside smack dab in the Middle Eastern desert. Dubai is like Las Vegas, only much more humid. When you walk down the street, women are dressed conservatively. You will generally not see anyone showing their knees, shoulders, and certainly not a hint of cleavage.
On the surface, Dubai may feel like a cosmopolitan playground, but you are still in a Muslim country. Reminders to cover up are posted in many public areas. My first day in Dubai, I was wearing a sleeveless blouse, and I was at the receiving end of several disapproving stares. Very uncomfortable!
Later on, the hotel concierge told me that in other areas, such as the beach, a hotel pool, or in a nightclub, the conservative rule flies out the window. Women can show as much skin as they feel comfortable when clubbing. No need for traditional cover-ups (although many women still wear them while they are sunbathing!) And if you have to go through the hotel lobby to get to the pool, you will need an easy cover-up such as a kaftan.
What to Wear on Safari
During a recent trip to Cape Town, South Africa, I was surprised at how many other tourists I encountered who had gone on safari. Most traveled in by plane from Kruger National Park, but others traveled from much further away. Every safari location has its own unique story to tell, and yet all have an underlying similarity: to witness big game in their natural habitat. Nowhere in the world but Africa can you have this experience.
While lunching in a café along Cape Town’s waterfront, we met a couple from Australia who had just flown in from their safari at Kruger National Park. The woman looked flush with a tired happiness, and the gentleman had a melancholy look in his eyes.
In this article, I’m going to cover just about everything one would need to know in regards to a Hawaii vacation. I’ll cover when is the best time to book a vacation, the best time of year is to go regarding weather and what to pack for Hawaii to take the guessing work out of what to bring, or what not to bring. The goal here is for you to have a perfect vacation getaway.
When considering what to pack for a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, there are two major things to think about; the activities you will be doing and what sort of climate you will be doing them in. Hawaii is not all flowered shirts and flip-flops. Far from it. Each of the islands has its own unique vibe, and what you do will dictate how you should pack.
If you plan on visiting one of Hawaii’s stunning dormant volcanoes, at 10,000 feet you are going to need to dress in layers! We went on an epic sunrise bike tour to Haleakala National Park in Maui, and at the crack of dawn at the summit, the temperatures were pretty chilly.
The Big Island has the widest array of climates with its desert stretches of road, temperate rainforests and the cool dry wonder of Mauna Kea. Maui has Haleakala Crater and Oahu has Diamond Head. In fact, the Hawaiian Islands put together encompass the vast majority of the planet’s climates. So, you should be prepared with a variety of clothing and gear options.
But before we dive into what to pack for Hawaii, let’s cover some other commonly asked questions.
Best Compact Binoculars
Binoculars are such an underrated travel accessory. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket but add so much value to a sporting event or sightseeing when traveling.
I remember using a pair binoculars at a Red Sox game and it totally changed my experience of seeing aspects of the game I love so much. I would have never thought to bring binoculars either; it was my old girlfriend at the time that had them. I love Fenway Park and had always wanted to see a game there. We scored tickets last minute when we were in Boston, and I was ecstatic soaking up the smells and sounds of the stadium. It was an iconic event for me. We didn’t get great seats, but I didn’t care, I was just happy to be there. I remember just as we were starting to get comfortable in our seats, my girlfriend whipped out a pair of compact binoculars. I actually didn’t even know she had them on her. For the next hour, I hogged these mini binoculars as I peered around the stadium watching everything from the players on the field to the details all around the stadium at far distances.
Years later, I got roped into spending the day with these photography students trying to capture photos of birds in the wild. My friend was the teacher of the class, and I owed him a favor after he helped me move into my apartment across town. He needed an extra set of hands hauling equipment, and I had nothing to do that weekend. Because the kids were using their cameras, I was asked to help spot birds using binoculars. I had no idea what I was doing, I didn’t know what I was supposed to look for, and would just randomly say “bird” and point to a direction which followed with a dozen or so clicks from these young students. I kept joking I was the dog in that Pixar Movie “UP” that would stop mid-sentence to yell “Squirrel.”
Anyways, that day I got to test about a dozen pairs of binoculars. The students would hand them to me to use to spot birds, and by the end of the day, I really noticed a difference between the different brands, weights, and distances. From what I found, the best compact binoculars have a few common traits, but design can be misleading. After that day, and knowing how great my experience was at Fenway, I heavily researched the best compact binoculars online as I wanted to get a pair for myself.
Here are a few quick yet essential takeaways when researching or shopping for binoculars: