The internet and mobile phones have made staying in touch while travelling much easier than it has ever been before. Still, it can get costly to call home if you are using your regular mobile phone service while out of the country. Internet telephony offers relief: Services such as Skype or Net2Phone offer you the chance to call at cheap rates over the internet, using a rechargeable account.
SkypeSkype is the latest hype in internet telephony. It gives you a free instant messaging service on computers that have its software downloaded and free international pc to pc calls anywhere in the world between subscribers. These services are free. Paid services include a pc calling system that allows you to make cheap calls over the internet to fixed or mobile phones using the skype software or skype phone (skypeout). You can also get a virtual skype phone number attached to an answer machine, or calls forwarded to your selection of fixed or mobile numbers (skypein).
Sacred Earth Travel does not book international airfares - you will need to make those arrangements yourself. We can, however, help you make arrangements for your internal flights. Just ask! For your international air travel arrangements, the internet offers a myriad of options and websites where you can research the options that best suit your schedule. Here are just a couple of those options:
You can't do much about the fuel efficiency of aircraft, but if you need a holiday or if you're travelling on business, you can help reduce your personal contribution to global warming by making your flight CarbonNeutral. If you are concerned about the carbon emission of your text flight and wish to offset them in some way, visit the Carbon Neutral Company and use their carbon calculator to calculate the impact of your next flight and learn about ways to offset the emissions.
First of all - please remember that foreign countries have their own jurisdictions and sovereignty. Always be respectful of other cultures, customs and authorities. Leave anything that could be deemed illegal or dangerous at home - in this day and age we have to live with the consequences of heightened security risks and the paranoia this can produce in border officials. New regulations have been put into action concerning hand luggage on air planes, and these may change at any moment in line with current security alerts. Do check with your carrier before you board.
Every country has its regulations for visas which may differ depending on your citizenship. Always find out what is required and get your paperwork straight well in advance. The US Department of State offers an excellent resource with details of visa requirements for US citizens:
To apply for a passport or other passport related questions you can check here:
Visa information for travellers of all nationalities to our destinations:
The importance of adequate travel insurance cover can not be stressed enough. Hopefully of course everything will go according to plan with no glitches along the way - and often it does. But there are times when things don't work out as expected and then it is good to know you're not all on your own and that some of your losses can be salvaged. Every traveller has different needs regarding their insurance cover - that is why we partner with the World Travel Center insurance broker, which lets you compare a range of different insurance plans and choose the one most suitable to your needs. Find a travel insurance deal that suits you: World Travel Center.
Adventurous travellers might want to check out Nomad travel insurance - a company that specializes in insurance cover specifically aimed at independent and adventure travel.
When it comes to travel money it is not only the question of how to make it last longer and find the best deals that keep one tossing and turning at night - it is also the question of how to make money mobile - will there be easily available ATMs at your location? And if so - will they accept my card? What are the chances of credit card fraud in foreign countries? What would I do if my card was suddenly lost or stolen? What alternatives are there?
Well - countries and their banking systems all vary, so it is not easy to give a general answer. However, it is always best to cover yourself from as many angles as you can:
Take Some Cash
American Dollars are still the most widely accepted international currency, and many Latin American countries accept them as if they were their own - however, make sure your bills don't look as though they have just been washed with your trousers. In some countries only the crispest dollars are accepted, the minute they become stained or dogeared they become useless pieces of paper. Large denominations of dollars or even of the local currency are frowned on - they could be fakes and it may be hard to verify their authenticity. Don't be surprised if you find that you can't change your 100 dollar note. Bring plenty of small bills - you will also find that people are often reluctant to give change and pretend not to have any.
In many countires - including many European destinations, credit cards may not be accepted as general currency when you go on a shopping spree, but at least it should be possible to get cash from an ATM, as long as your card is a standard Visa, MasterCard or American Express card. American Express cards are least welcome as a form of payment since their merchant rates are very high, but for the traveller they offer some of the best benefits. Whatever card you may have, it is best to have one that is PIN protected. Although in the US it is not always common to sign the back of a credit card for fear the signature could be faked more easily if the card was lost or stolen, in Europe and other destinations unsigned credit cards will not be accepted.
Always protect your credit cards by registering them. Do not write your pin code on anything that you may be carrying with you while you travel - MEMORIZE your pin code! Also, write down the numbers of your credit cards and make two copies, one to leave at home or with a trusted person and one to take with you, but keep it in a safe place away from what you normally take with you on your day outings. Leave valuables at the hotel safe!
Although a relatively expensive option - you have to pay commission on the total amount and a fee as well as getting fairly mean rates for conversion into local currency, they are still an excellent option in many countries. You can often cash them at the hotel if there are no banks nearby. Street money changers will take them too, but it is not recommended to use their services. Always keep track of the check numbers that you have cashed and keep that record away from the checks themselves. In the event of loss you will be compensated for the checks that you have not yet cashed, which is a better deal than if you were to lose any other form of currency.
International Money Transfers
If all else fails and you really find yourself stuck you can also get money sent to you from almost anywhere to anywhere. Western Union offers such services, but it is well worth checking out the lesser known, but much more convenient and cheaper Xoom, which facilitates sending money via the computer, without the need to seek out a special western union office.
On this site almost all rates are quoted in US Dollars, UK Sterling and Euros - and we can accept payments by wire transfer in all three currencies. I realize this does not exhaust the vast variety of international currencies. If your local currency does not happen to be $,£ or €, you can use the universal currency converter courtesy of xe.com to calculate the rates of our trips.
The weather, the weather...always a factor X when planning your vacation. You will find general information regarding the typical weather patterns at our destinations within the destination guide pages. If you want to know what the weather-gods around the world are up to right now, you can check http://weather.yahoo.com
There is only bad or inappropriate gear. To make the most of your travel adventures get the right gear - there is nothing worse than being stranded somewhere in a leaky tent, or freezing in a crappy sleeping bag or being stuck in boots that cause blisters...the list of possible misadventures due to bad gear is simply inexhaustible. Nowadays technology had far advanced and outdoor gear is not just amazingly practical and high tech, but also comes in cool designs to satisfy even the most discerning outdoor geek.
|If you wish to immerse yourself more fully in another culture, there is no better way than to learn the language and stay for a while. There are numerous language schools in exciting locations all around the world.|
|At studyabroad.com you can find not only a wide selection of language courses all around the world, but also other programs that allow you to study at graduate or postgraduate level or volunteer in another country.|
|For those who want to work in another country but can't figure out how to make money while they are there - have you considered teaching English as a foreign language? Native English speakers are highly sought after all around the world. Teaching English is one of the easiest and most interesting jobs for longterm travellers who really want to get to know another country from the inside out. But - before you apply for the job, you must get qualified by passing your TEFL course. It is now possible to study for the TEFL examination on-line, as well as doing it the traditional way, on weekend courses. Not sure it would suit you? Why not try it out!|