Gestures That Are Offensive in Other Countries

Travelling through foreign countries can be an uplifting experience. Getting to know different cultures, societies, religions, ways of life, etc. through real life interaction with locals will teach you more about that country than you could possibly learn from books. This comes with its own challenges, though. If you’re visiting a non English speaking country and dare to straddle off the beaten tourist track (where the real deal is), you will likely be faced with situations when communication gets tricky. You have just come to that country and don’t speak a word in their language and neither do any of the locals speak English. In cases like that, using body language and the many seemingly universal gestures can become invaluable.

Tricky thing is, that some gestures have completely different meaning in other countries from what you may be used to. Not only could your intended message get lost in translation, you could actually end up offending or otherwise causing an unintentional, but inappropriate and unfortunate circumstance for yourself. Some gestures simply have different meaning in one part of the world than in another. Let’s take a look at some of the most common gestures we use in North America that are offensive in other countries. This is the list of top gestures most commonly misunderstood abroad along with the list of countries where their meaning is different from that of North America.

Peace Sign in Australia and England

Japanese Girls Making a Victory Gesture that Can Be Offensive in Other Countries, Photo: Chalky Lives, Wikipedia
Japanese Girls Making a Victory Gesture that Can Be Offensive in Other Countries, Photo: Chalky Lives, Wikipedia

Holding up one’s index and middle fingers to create a “V” shape is typically a sign of “peace” in North America, but this common gesture can have quite a different meaning in Australia and England. While this “V” sign stands for “Victory” in England provided your palm faces outwards, it takes a meaning of “up yours” in Australia when pulled with the palm facing inwards.

Showing Palms in Greece

Moutza Gesture is Highly Offensive and Insulting in Greece, Photo: NikoSilver, Wikipedia
Moutza Gesture is Highly Offensive and Insulting in Greece, Photo: NikoSilver, Wikipedia

The “talk to the hand” gesture is used in North America to signal an oncoming vehicle or a person to stop, but in Greece it’s best to keep your palms to yourself. The gesture has been perceived as highly insulting in Greece since the time of Byzantine Empire when shackled criminals were tainted by people who’d smear their faces with excrements (known as Moutza).

Thumbs Up in Thailand

Thumbs Up Gesture is Common in the West, But Could Cause Offense in Other Countries, Photo: CarbonNYC, Flickr
Thumbs Up Gesture is Common in the West, But Could Cause Offense in Other Countries, Photo: CarbonNYC, Flickr

A thumbs-up as a sign of approval is a gesture that many people instinctively use, especially if language barrier prevents you from expressing your approval verbally. In Thailand, however this gestures is a sign of mockery and condemnation. It’s akin to one child sticking a tongue out at another. However since Thailand is a very popular country among travellers and many travellers use thumbs-up instinctively, the Thais already grew to accept the fact that foreigners readily use this gesture without meaning any offense so it’s unlikely to cause any offense, however people who use it are still seen as clueless foreigners.

Beckoning Gesture in Philippines

Beckoning Gesture Can Cause Serious Offense in Some Countries, Photo: Symic, Flickr
Beckoning Gesture Can Cause Serious Offense in Some Countries, Photo: Symic, Flickr

Performing a curling finger motion with one’s index finger as a “come here” sign is perceived as derogatory in many South East Asian countries. This gesture is commonly used for dogs in the Philippines so when used for a person, you would be implying that you see them as something inferior. What’s worse, this gesture could get you arrested and to prevent you from using it again, the authorities could break your finger.

Touching Top of the Head in Sri Lanka

Touching People on Top of Their Heads is an Invasive Gesture in Buddhist Countries, Photo: Tsuki-chama, Flickr
Touching People on Top of Their Heads is an Invasive Gesture in Buddhist Countries, Photo: Tsuki-chama, Flickr

If you pat a child in North American on top of their head with an open palm, you would be showing fondness, but this is not how it’s perceived across South Asia. Predominantly Buddhist countries, such as Sri Lanka perceive top of the head as the most sacred part of the body (feet are the dirtiest) and touching it is seen as highly invasive.

A-OK in France

OK Gesture is OK in North America but Can Cause Offense in Other Countries, Photo: Awesome Joolie, Flickr
OK Gesture is OK in North America but Can Cause Offense in Other Countries, Photo: Awesome Joolie, Flickr

Forming a circle with your forefinger and thumb in North America means that something is “amazing” or “OK-ed” but the gesture has a completely different meaning in France. Since making of the circle forms a zero, this gesture typically means that something or someone is worthless. It’s definitely not a good way to compliment your host on a meal.

Fig Sign in Turkey

Fig Sign Gesture Can Cause Offense in Some Countries, Photo: Jeremykemp, Wikipedia
Fig Sign Gesture Can Cause Offense in Some Countries, Photo: Jeremykemp, Wikipedia

A hand gesture which involved a formation of a fist with the thumb tucked under the index finger is used by children when playing “Got Your Nose”. The fig sign gesture otherwise doesn’t have much meaning to it, but you wouldn’t want to use it in Turkey where it’s an equivalent to the offensive middle finger gesture in North America.

Handing Things with One Hand in Japan

To Avoid Offending a Receiver, Always Pass Items with Both Hands in Japan, Photo: James Callan, Flickr
To Avoid Offending a Receiver, Always Pass Items with Both Hands in Japan, Photo: James Callan, Flickr

Most Westerners probably don’t pay much attention to whether they’ve used your both hands when handing people things, or only one. We also typically don’t pay much attention to how hands are used when people are handing objects to us, but when visiting Japan, it would pay off to ensure you refrain from one-handed giving. Whether you’re giving someone your business card or passing them your camera to take a picture, make sure you use both hands to hand the item over. The use of both hands signifies sincerity, whereas one-handed presentations are often perceived as dismissive.

Crossing Fingers in Vietnam

Crossed Fingers Gesture is a Sign of Good Luck Wishing, But Can Be Offensive in Other Countries, Photo: JoséMa Orsini, Flickr
Crossed Fingers Gesture is a Sign of Good Luck Wishing, But Can Be Offensive in Other Countries, Photo: JoséMa Orsini, Flickr

When westerners cross their index and middle fingers at someone, it’s usually to wish them good luck. This gesture however takes an offensive sub-tone in Vietnam where the crossed fingers are seen as a gesture simulating the look of female sexual organs.

Bull Horns in Italy

Bull Horns Gesture Is Great to Rock and Roll, But Can Cause Offense in Italy, Photo: notsogoodphotography, Flickr
Bull Horns Gesture Is Great to Rock and Roll, But Can Cause Offense in Italy, Photo: notsogoodphotography, Flickr

Fans of Heavy Metal often raise their fists with pinkie and index fingers extended upwards to rock and roll to the tunes of their favourite genre. This bull horns gesture could make for uncomfortable situations when used in Italy, though, especially if used in presence of a man. Italians have long used the bull horn gesture to mock men who are known to have been cheated on by their wives. The Cuckold gesture is also used at football referees after making calls the fans do not agree with.

Eating with Left Hand in Malaysia

Putting Food in Your Mouth with Left Hand is a No No in Muslim Countries, Photo: abbyladybug, Flickr
Putting Food in Your Mouth with Left Hand is a No No in Muslim Countries, Photo: abbyladybug, Flickr

Most westerner pay little regard to what hand they use when they are putting food in their mouth, but in Malaysia as well as most other predominantly Muslim countries, left hand is reserved for uses you don’t want to think about while eating.

I hope this list helps you understand what some of the most common gestures mean in other countries where they could be perceived as offensive. If you know of other innocent gestures that are offensive in other countries that are not mentioned on this list, please share your expertise in the comments.

Top 10 Destinations for Singles

It is more than common to see secluded retreats for couples, honeymoon packages for newlyweds, or all inclusive vacations for families, but what about singles? While it is true that many vacation hot spots cater to couples or families, single guys or girls are still left with plenty of amazing choices for great getaways. This list of Top 10 Destinations for singles may be out of the ordinary as it aims to introduce you to the spots for singles that are not as obvious, but it covers it all. Popular sun destination can cater to singles as much as they do to couples, families or elderly, but there are some hidden gems out there that just scream to let you know that if you are single and pay them a visit, you’re in for one hell of a sexy ride.

10 – Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, Spain - Top Destination for Singles #10, Photo: Eduardo Pitt, Wikipedia
Ibiza, Spain - Top Destination for Singles #10, Photo: Eduardo Pitt, Wikipedia

While many North Americans may not know much about it, Ibiza is the party island of Europe and as such a magnet for European singles. I have once heard someone refer to Ibiza as “The Island of Sun-Soaked Debauchery” or “The Gomorrah of the Mediterranean”.
Ibiza is the place where you can let out your inner idiot and no one will judge you, not even if you get drunk out of your mind or start indulging in excessive sexual behavior. Party on Ibiza never stops, night bars attract some of world’s top DJs and regardless of whether you’re male or female, gay or straight, finding temporary loving on Ibiza is never too hard.

9 – Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland - Top Destination for Singles #9, Photo: bitzcelt, Flickr
Dublin, Ireland - Top Destination for Singles #9, Photo: bitzcelt, Flickr

Falling love with Irish charm is as easy as one, two, three. It starts with irresistible Irish accent and stays with you as you pop in to check out any of the many pubs lining what would seem as every single street in every town. Irish people have long had the reputation for being some of the friendliest in the world so strangers are always welcomed with a smile and open embrace.

It is no coincidence that Europe’s biggest matchmaking festival for singles is hosted in an Irish town. Lisdoonvarna has a 150 years long tradition of matchmaking and even though traditions have changed over the years, as a single, you can indulge in Irish style boozing and let the romance develop spontaneously.

8 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Top Destination for Singles #8, Photo: saracino, Flickr
Amsterdam, Netherlands - Top Destination for Singles #8, Photo: saracino, Flickr

Amsterdam is notorious among singles for its lax approach to prostitution and drugs. What more could you as a single traveller want to ask for? Single bachelors visiting Amsterdam get to enjoy the best a life has to offer without much effort. Whether it’s a little shag before a puff, or a little puff before a shag, or the two at the same time, Amsterdam has all it takes to see it delivered.

While Amsterdam is a heaven for pleasure seeking men, it also attracts crowds of single women who strangely, take pleasure at observing the people let loose and go wild. Afterall, watching an otherwise shy man walk into and out of brothels without a wink or second guess, accompanied by lingerie clad sexy women is quite a sight to behold. However, if streets full of sex shops and cannabis cafes are not quite your thang, you can still find romance by taking a stroll along one many bridged canals dotting this beautiful city.

7 – Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska - Top Destination for Singles #7, Photo: Sam Glover, Wikipedia
Juneau, Alaska - Top Destination for Singles #7, Photo: Sam Glover, Wikipedia

Unlike Amsterdam (listed above), Juneau has long been a magnet for women looking to hook up with men. There were stories that in Alaska males heavily outnumber females so each time a subject of this mysterious US state came up, lonely ladies listened twice as fast as anyone could speak.

The urban myth was slightly busted after the results of the 2008 US census were published. Based on the results, there are 109 men to 100 women in Alaska, which is a little bit less than single women would have hoped for, however given the average opposite ratios of just about every other region in America or the rest of the western world for that matter, single ladies who dare the cold and wander up north will soon find themselves surrounded by the world where single men outnumber single women.

6 – Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland - Top Destination for Singles #6, Photo: Bjørn Giesenbauer, Wikipedia
Reykjavik, Iceland - Top Destination for Singles #6, Photo: Bjørn Giesenbauer, Wikipedia

Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik is the proof that those who search for top destination for singles in the tropical regions are missing out on the finest spots. Yes, Iceland is way up north but since it’s an island, it is surrounded by an oceans the warm currents of which keep the temperatures rather moderate throughout the year.

Being a nation of Vikings, the ratio of sexy, long legged women is ridiculously high and if that weren’t enough, their reputation for being “easy” is well known around the world. As someone who’d been to Iceland and got a chance to enjoy this openmindedness of beautiful Icelandic women, I can confirm that even though they don’t see themselves as easy, they certainly are very open about sex and don’t allow anything to get in their way of enjoying simple pleasures in life. Getting laid on a first date in Iceland is nothing unusual so if you’re a single person looking to get romantic with all that comes with it, Iceland is a perfect choice. Nevermind the breathtaking scenery.

5 – Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan - Top Destination for Singles #5, Photo: itstonyhaha, Flickr
Tokyo, Japan - Top Destination for Singles #5, Photo: itstonyhaha, Flickr

I know, I know – what the hell was I thinking to include Tokyo in the list of top destinations for singles, right? Well, I realize that that’s what many of you are thinking, but if you look at sheer numbers and density of love hotels in Tokyo, you will instantly understand that this Asian metropolis is a Mecca for singles.

Tokyo’s love hotels are built to facilitate a few hours of privacy for any two people seeking to have a little time for themselves and everybody knows what this time will be used for. Love hotels are easily identifiable by large illuminated hearts at the entrance and are abundant in proximity to subway stations, highways and at city’s outskirts.

Since the purpose of love hotels is clear, they are made to require as little human to human interaction as possible. You either deal with machines after a credit card payment, or you have someone behind a frosted pane of glass who can’t see any more than the tips of your hands dealing with you. To accelerate your enjoyment, some love hotels are equipped with rotating beds, ceiling mirrors, karaoke machines and… as you could expect from a country like Japan… BDSM gear.

4 – Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo - Top Singles Destination #4, Photo: Hampus Cullin, Wikipedia
Monte Carlo - Top Singles Destination #4, Photo: Hampus Cullin, Wikipedia

OK, yes – Monte Carlo is not for single travellers on a budget, but imagine the rush of always interacting with people who are ridiculously rich. Being single in the city of money has its perks and visiting a casino or any of the high end night clubs could get you hooked up with a wealthy (and lonely) European businessman.

While Las Vegas could be a place for single ladies to hook up with rich men, Monte Carlo could be a place for single men to hook up with wealthy women. It may be an adventure that requires thicker pockets, but once you submerge yourself into this world of fine liquor, best cigars and gambling alongside world’s billionaires, the universe full of older women who need attention of younger men will emerge before your eyes and make it up to you.

3 – Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya, Thailand - Top Destination for Singles #3, Photo: Ian Roland, Flickr
Pattaya, Thailand - Top Destination for Singles #3, Photo: Ian Roland, Flickr

Thailand may no longer be an exotic destination, due to excessive popularity among tourists, but it’s still a heaven on Earth for singles (though mostly men) of both sexual orientations. Pattaya is THE spot for straight males, while Phuket will please those with homosexual tendencies or those seeking an adventure with a ladyboy.

All single men should try Thailand as the best therapy for being single. Even if you may not be perceived as particularly attractive, you will get more attention than you could bargain from in Thailand. And it will come from slender, young women with tight bodies. It’s the time when, regardless of your age, appearance, social status or whatever other disabilities you may be suffering form, you get to be the one rejecting them, not the other way around.

2 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada - Top Destination for Singles #2, Photo: Lasvegaslover, Wikipedia
Las Vegas, Nevada - Top Destination for Singles #2, Photo: Lasvegaslover, Wikipedia

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Can there be anything more I need to say when introducing Vegas as top destination for singles? Moreover, while in Vegas, you can count on it that there will be a bachelor or bachelorette party somewhere nearby and there would have to be the devil in it if you returned out of one of those without some wild stories of outrageous sexual debauchery.

Don’t be surprised if you sober up after a wild night in Vegas finding a tiger in your bathroom. The Hangover may be a movie, but partying in Vegas is nothing short of insane so expect the unexpected.

1 – Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba - Top Destination for Singles #1, Photo: deVos, Flickr
Havana, Cuba - Top Destination for Singles #1, Photo: deVos, Flickr

Was there any doubt about that? Not only are Cuban girls drop dead gorgeous, they are also friendly and approachable. To top it up, Cuba is in perfect proximity to North American making for an easily accessible destination for us who live there (albeit slightly tricky for US citizens), and it offers true, unwesternized experience with raw eroticism and sexuality.

Aside from gorgeous women, Cuba will also astound single visitors with its beautiful beaches, world’s finest cigars and exquisite rum – all for ridiculous prices (unless you don’t know where to look and fall for overpriced tourist traps). Cuba as a destination for singles truly delivers.

BONUS #1 – Hedonism, Jamaica

Hedonism Resorts, Jamaica - Top Destination for Singles, Photo: NICK LINK aka FULL MAG, Flickr
Hedonism Resorts, Jamaica - Top Destination for Singles, Photo: NICK LINK aka FULL MAG, Flickr

This goes without saying. Hedonism resorts of Jamaica are specifically aimed at singles looking to set their sexual nature go aloose. If naked swim parties in the pool at midnight don’t get you, then discos that are off limits to couples will. Hedonism is all about hooking up and enjoying the pleasures of life without regret or hold-backs.

BONUS #2 – Single Cruise

Singles Cruise - Top Destination for Singles, Photo: Taylor.McBride, Flickr
Singles Cruise - Top Destination for Singles, Photo: Taylor.McBride, Flickr

I’ve never tried a Single Cruise so I can’t comment on how enjoyable that really is for a single traveller. Because of limited availability of people of the opposite sex, I tend to have mixed feelings about their deliverability.

For one, if you don’t find a person you seem to click with that would not have already been picked up and claimed by somebody else, you will be stuck on a friggin boat watching others enjoy their time while you have no one to go at it with until the cruise brings you back on land. Secondly, if you do find someone you like but they don’t reciprocate your feelings (even if they’re single), you’re gonna end up feeling hurt instead of pleased, which could have the opposite effect from that which you seek.

Perhaps I would leave the comments on single cruises for people who tried one and can offer hands on experience. It’s difficult for me to offer reasonable commentary having not had that seemingly essential firsthand experience.

What do you think? Did I hit or miss with my top 10 list of best destinations for singles? Yes, I did try to step away from the most obvious (not necessarily the best) options, while still leaving some approved good spots for singles on the list. If you think something should have been included in the list, please mention it in the comments.

 

 

Yet generic medications are still of high quality and provide patients with the same potency canadian pharmacy no prescription required In other words, customers who purchase their medications through a generic pharmacy online canadian prescription drug store online generic pharmacy can also provide customers with enhanced accessibility to affordable drugs.

Top 10 Dark Tourism Destinations

In bad taste or not, Thanatourism – aka Dark Tourism to the destinations associated with death or suffering is here to stay. I personally believe that I am not in position to judge other people’s travel choices as well as the motivations behind them, so let me put the prejudice behind and get right down to introducing some of the world’s most popular Dark Tourism Destinations. As with all To 10 Lists, this Top 10 List of Dark Tourism Destinations may not match what you would put in your own, personal list of top 10s. This is because different people perceive different things as “the best there is”. If you believe some other macabre destination should have made it to the list, please provide brief information about it in a comment.

Below is the list of 10 Dark Tourism Destinations that get a sizeable share of visitors solely because they are associated with death, disaster, poverty or suffering.

10 – Dharavi Slum, Mumbai, India

Dark Tourism Destination #10 - Dharavi Slum in Mumbai, Photo: Kounosu, Wikipedia
Dark Tourism Destination #10 - Dharavi Slum in Mumbai, Photo: Kounosu, Wikipedia

Immortalized by the Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire movie, Mumbai’s Dharavi Slum is not only the largest slum in India, but in entire Asia. Home to almost 1 Million people, Dharavi Slum greets visitors with stomach turning odor, presence of piling garbage and human waste and endless displays of poverty, disease and depressing living conditions.

It is difficult to predict whether sudden influx of money from Thanatourism delivers any realistic improvements to this Dark Tourism Destination, but reports say that much of the revenue goes directly to the community which is now more than excited to showcase their God-awful standards of living. Good business sense dictates that in order for them to keep this easy revenue coming, they will have to ensure that people within continue looking poor and sick and both odor and garbage remain as stringent and in visitors’ face as ever. But as it goes in impoverished communities, loan sharks will make sure that regardless of how much Dark Tourism revenue the slums generate, the poor will get poorer while the rich get richer.

9 – Cu Chi Tunnels, Saigon, Vietnam

Dark Tourism Destination #9 - Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, Photo: Niels Aage Jensen, Wikipedia
Dark Tourism Destination #9 - Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, Photo: Niels Aage Jensen, Wikipedia

A 75-mile-long underground tunnel system located below Cu Chi district of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was used by Viet Cong freedom fighters to run military campaigns against occupying US forces. In 1968, Cu Chi Tunnels served as the base from where Viet Cong launched Tet Offensive which ultimately aided in humiliating withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam.

Back then, Cu Chi Tunnels were full of deadly spiders and wandering scorpions, offering little space with unbearable humidity and had many passages wired with booty traps. Today, the site is a popular Dark Tourism Destination and a prime example of how former warfare can be turned into a lucrative tourist attraction.

Popular, easy to access corridors have been widened to accommodate inquisitive tourists and a firing range has been set up to offer more authentic experience for those with trigger happy fingers. For $1, you get to fire a shot from an AK-47 rifle that was used during the Vietnam War and munch on a simple food guerrilla fighters used to live on.

8 – Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dark Tourism Destination #8 - Toul Sleng Killing Fields in Cambodia, Photo: Steve L, Flickr
Dark Tourism Destination #8 - Toul Sleng Killing Fields in Cambodia, Photo: Steve L, Flickr

Visitors to Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh will not be able to avoid aggressive tuk tuk drivers who will accost them on every steps with offers to take them to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, or as it is commonly referred to by locals – The Killing Fields. This former high school was turned into a Security Prison 21 (S-21) in 1975 by the ruthless Khmer Rouge regime to torture and execute unwanted individuals.

The most shocking part of the visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is that despite unspeakable atrocities done to the prisoners, locals, many of whom lived during the Khmer Rouge regime seem to be more than excited to have it in their capital as it attracts hundreds of tourists every day. Instead of trying to forget what the Strychnine Hill (the meaning of Tuol Sleng in English) represents, Cambodians are excited to have this Dark Tourism Attraction in their capital and won’t hesitate to tell visitors about the piles of skulls and bones that can be found there, for as long as they get the tourists to pay them for transport to the site.

7 – Devil’s Island, French Guiana

Dark Tourism Destination #7 - Devil's Island in French Guiana, Photo: rustinpc, Flickr
Dark Tourism Destination #7 - Devil's Island in French Guiana, Photo: rustinpc, Flickr

Set up by French Emperor Napoleon III in 1852, the smallest and northernmost island of the Iles du Salut archipelago north of French Guiana housed the most notorious penal colony in the world until 1952. Vast majority of convicts sent to the disease infested Devil’s Island never made it out of the ghastly, inhospitable environment it provided.

Nowadays, Devil’s Island is one of the prime tourist attractions in French Guiana and one of the most popular Dark Tourism Destinations among the tourists seeking macabre tours. A visitor can enjoy access to the cells in which inmates died, the headquarters from where the prison was run or the cemetery with graves of people whose lives were claimed by the island.

6 – London Dungeon, UK

Dark Tourism Destination #6 - London Dungeon, Photo: Martin, Flickr
Dark Tourism Destination #6 - London Dungeon, Photo: Martin, Flickr

London Dungeon would be precisely what Dark Tourism is all about. It is an exhibit of macabre events from medieval history that offers believable glimpses into torture, plaque, serial killing and more.

Although London Dungeon started as a museum of macabre history, the visit now includes interactive, actor led experiences, rides and special effects.

5 – The Zone of Alienation in Chernobyl, Ukraine

Dark Tourism Destination #5 - Zone of Alienation in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Photo: gpjt, Flickr
Dark Tourism Destination #5 - Zone of Alienation in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Photo: gpjt, Flickr

This 30 km wide area around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster that occurred on April 26, 1986 is as chilling today as it was after the explosion. Abandoned buildings, shattered glass and vegetation overgrown amusement park remind a visitor that even after more than two decades, normal life cannot resume in the area.

As it goes with other Dark Tourism Destinations, Chernobyl disaster site was also turned into a tourist attraction generating revenue since 2002. Daily tours from Kiev start from $150 inclusive of transportation and food. Levels of radioactivity on roads open for tours are nowadays low and are continuously monitored so the visit is considered safer than a 2 hour flight in a plane, which exposes human bodies to more radioactivity than the Zone of Alienation.

4 – Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland

Dark Tourism Destination #4 - Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland, Photo: angelo celedon, Wikipedia
Dark Tourism Destination #4 - Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland, Photo: angelo celedon, Wikipedia

The largest of all Nazi concentration camps, Auschwitz (or Oswiecim as it is called in Polish) is believed to have served as an extermination camp for more than one million people, most of which were Jews. Majority were killed in camp’s gas chambers, while others died of disease or starvation. Set up by the architect of the holocaust Heinrich Himmler, Auschwitz was also the site where evil “Angel of Death” doctor Josef Mengele performed his experiments on live people.

Due to its notoriety, Auschwitz is one of the most visited Dark Tourism Destinations in the world today. The popularity of the site is so huge, the access is only granted to organized tour groups during peak hours of the peak season. Tours are of course a source of massive revenue.

3 – The River Kwai Bridge, Thailand

Dark Tourism Destination #3 - River Kwai Bridge in Thailand, Photo: Ahoerstemeier, Wikipedia
Dark Tourism Destination #3 - River Kwai Bridge in Thailand, Photo: Ahoerstemeier, Wikipedia

While most of WWII fights took place in Europe, other parts of the world were also heavily involved. Much of South East Asia was under Japanese occupation between 1942 and 1943 and plans were to also invade India. To accomplish the goal, Japanese troops stationed in Burma (today’s Myanmar) needed more support but since no convenient infrastructure was available, the decision has been made to build a railway that would connect Kanchanabury in Siam (today’s Thailand) with West Burma’s Moulmein.

The quarter of a million people, both Asians as well as the prisoners of war from the Allied (Commonwealth, American and Dutch) nations were forced into labor to get the construction underway. Camps were built in both Burma and Siam starting the railway from opposite ends to meet in the center. Due to food shortages, workers suffered from malnutrition. Medical supplies and sanitary facilities were either nonexistent or insufficient giving malnourished and overworked people little chance to battle off malaria, cholera or the tropical ulcer which were common in these areas.

Construction of the 416 km long Siam – Burma railway (the Death Railway) took 16 months, during which an estimated hundred thousand workers, of which approximately 13,000 were the prisoners of war died. Their bodies were buried alongside the tracks wherever they’d dropped.

Travellers wishing to get the glimpse of what conditions the Death Railway workers lived and died in can visit one of the three museums that contain graphic photographs and tools used by the prisoners to build the railway. A cemetery with the remains of about 7,000 workers is only a short drive away. It is also possible to hop on a train and take a ride on the Death Railway the construction of which claimed so many lives. To have memorable pictures, most Dark Tourism visitors do not pass on the opportunity to walk along the River Kwai Bridge with the infamous river after which it is named in the background.

2 – Ground Zero, New York City, USA

Dark Tourism Destination #2 - The World Trade Centre Ground Zero Site, Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Domain
Dark Tourism Destination #2 - The World Trade Centre Ground Zero Site, Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Domain

The 9/11 attacks in which two planes flew into the World Trade Centre buildings in New York City, claiming lives of nearly 3,000 people, count as the most notorious modern history attacks in the world.

Needless to say, macabre site of such worldwide significance draws attention of many Dark Tourism enthusiasts and counts as one of the most important Dark Tourism Destinations in the world. This top 10 list would not be complete without the WTC site on it.

1 – Pont de l’Alma Road Tunnel, Paris, France

Dark Tourism Destination #1 - Alma Bridge Tunnel with Flame of Liberty on Top, Photo: enric archivell, Flickr
Dark Tourism Destination #1 - Alma Bridge Tunnel with Flame of Liberty on Top, Photo: enric archivell, Flickr

Pont de l’Alma is a road tunnel near the bridge of the same name in Paris, France where Princess Diana of Wales died on August 31, 1997. Princess’ boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed and their driver Henri Paul who was an acting head of security at the Ritz Hotel (owned by Dodi Al-Fayed’s father Mohamed) also died in the accident.

The Flame of Liberty, which is an exact replica of the Statue of Liberty’s flame sits above the entrance to the tunnel and is considered the unofficial memorial to Princess Diana.

Dark Tourism Conclusion

Travel to sites of tragedy and atrocity could serve as the means of learning from the past to avoid similar disasters from occurring in the future. The fact that these Dark Tourism Destinations exist is a testament to shortcomings we as human beings are exposed to.

Even through the previous sounds as a nice closing sentence, it is important to realize that Dark Tourism is nothing new. The fascination with death and suffering has been with us since humans came to be. Fights of Roman Gladiators drew such crowds of spectators, whole Coliseums were built to accommodate them. Burnings of witches during Spanish inquisition times saw whole villages gather round to watch the people burn in agony. Thomas Cook, founder of successful travel agency bearing his name made a killing organizing tours for inquisitive British travellers to the American Civil War battlefields.

Like it or not, Dark Tourism has been here since the dawn of men and will stay for as long as we exist.

 

 

generic pharmacy online, that does not need to be the case rx canada store generic pharmacy online can provide a number of advantages over purchasing medications viagra pills online Since generic drug stores supply customers with non-brand-name medications

Thanatourism – Definition of Dark Tourism

Derived from Greek word Thanatos (meaning Death), Thanatourism, aka Dark Tourism has grown to become a popular and profitable travel niche. By definition, Thanatourism is all about traveling to places that were once (or still are) associated with pain, suffering, horrible living conditions, natural and manmade disasters or death. Oddly enough, people who live in the areas known for being the top Thanatourism destinations enjoy the popularity (and money) dark past (or present) of the area generates.

Photo: Auschwitz Site of Former Nazi Concentration Camp is Now a Popular Dark Tourism Destination, Photo: Saforrest, Wikipedia
Photo: Auschwitz Site of Former Nazi Concentration Camp is Now a Popular Dark Tourism Destination, Photo: Saforrest, Wikipedia

Studies of human nature confirm that people find death and suffering irresistibly attracting. While hypocrites would choose to stand in denial, one doesn’t need to be a genius to notice how everybody on a bus turns their head if there is a deadly accident at the intersection the bus is passing by. And as much as a sight of a person who was just attacked by a shark would turn your stomach upside down, if you are on a beach and everybody starts gathering around to see what happened, you will not be the only one who would resist the urge to get a glimpse of a deadly encounter.

There are books dedicated to deeds of mass murderers, websites about medieval torture devices, even dedicated gore portals that report on the less pleasing events taking place around the world on a daily basis. Yes, it’s in bad taste and potentially morally questionable, but if there was no interest in macabre from general public, none of it would exist. In other words, it’s due to this insatiable desire to see death and suffering from up close that resources covering the macabre events of our past and present continue popping out.

And it is the same insatiable desire to see death and suffering from up close that gave birth to the Thanatourism travel niche. People will pay money to stand in a room where others were tortured and killed. You can almost hear the screams of those who suffered through the last moments of their lives as you step inside.

The power of money seems to be a strong enough force to make descendants of the sufferers to build up stalls selling memorabilia related to the dark events associated with the place. In most Thanatourism areas, you will get approached by taxi drivers who will be more than excited to tell you about and take you to the places of their dark past or present. Everybody wants money and if exploitation of their own suffering and/or death of their predecessors can easily generate it, then so be it. And this is precisely why Thanatourism is such a booming industry.

I am not here to judge anybody and hope none of Vacation Ideas readers will either. Turning a blind eye to the dark events of the past, or choosing to ignore them will not erase them from history. Thanatourism aka Dark Tourism is here to stay as fascination with death continues, so will the popularity of this potentially questionable travel niche. If on the other hand you would like to visit some of the most interesting Thanatourism spots, check out the Top 10 Dark Tourism Destinations.

 

 

generic pharmacy online, that does not need to be the case rx canada store generic pharmacy online can provide a number of advantages over purchasing medications order viagra online Since generic drug stores supply customers with non-brand-name medications

Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World

I was reading an article about Dubai and learned that this Middle Eastern city is the 8th most visited city in the world. I was kind of surprised, but at the same time wasn’t really. It prompted me to initiate the research on which were the other most visited cities in the world as once you know who #8 is, you want to know the rest of the list. The findings were, for the most part, not surprising. The biggest surprise in my mind was the placement of Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey on the #7 spot. Really? Istanbul beating Rome? Anyway, without further ado, below is the list of Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World including number of visitors a city receives per year.

Paris – France

Paris is the most visited city in the world with estimated 15.6 million visitors a year

Paris one of the first cities that come to mind of every traveler when talking about visiting Europe. Consider the most “chic” city in the world, Paris is full of stunning architecture, old churches, romantic cafes, spectacular monuments, art galleries and much, much more. Famous sites such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame are a must visit for every traveler. And let’s not forget my personal favorite – the catacombs.

Paris - The Most Visited City in the World, Photo: agaw.dilim, Flickr
Paris - The Most Visited City in the World, Photo: agaw.dilim, Flickr

London – United Kingdom

London is the 2nd most visited city in the world with estimated 14.8 million visitors a year

Someone once said that when you get tired of London, you got tired of life. Life in London simply never ends. With sights like London Eye, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden, Soho, Piccadilly Circus, etc this city can’t possibly be a bore.

London - 2nd Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Anirudh Koul, Flickr
London - 2nd Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Anirudh Koul, Flickr

Bangkok – Thailand

Bangkok is the 3rd most visited city in the world with estimated 10.84 million visitors a year

Bangkok is a city where ancient world meets modern lifestyle. Scattered among skyscrapers are breathtaking Buddhist temples housing statues of Buddha offering quiet refuge from the hassle of the life outside. Iconic Khao San Road is perhaps the most notorious backpackers street in the world.

Bangkok - 3rd Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Stuck in Customs, Flickr
Bangkok - 3rd Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Stuck in Customs, Flickr

Singapore – Singapore

Singapore is the 4th most visited city in the world with estimated 10.1 million visitors a year

Singapore is on its way to becoming a tropical tourist hub that embodies the best of Paris, London and New York all in one. After separating from Malaysia and embarking on the path of independence in 1965, Singapore has been a textbook perfect example of a successful city.

Singapore - 4th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Merlion444, Wikipedia
Singapore - 4th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Merlion444, Wikipedia

New York City – United States of America

New York City is the 5th most visited city in the world with estimated 9.5 million visitors a year

The City that Never Sleeps has a personality of its own. Life cannot be complete without at least one visit to the Big Apple. It’s a mindboggling experience and it really doesn’t matter how much time you spend in New York, there is always something new and exciting to discover.

New York City - 5th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Stuck in Customs, Flickr
New York City - 5th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Stuck in Customs, Flickr

Hong Kong – China

Hong Kong is the 6th most visited city in the world with estimated 7.94 million visitors a year

When it comes to “East Meets West”, Hong Kong is the city. Vibrant and cosmopolitan, Honk Kong is considered one of the safest large cities in the world and the city with the best public transport in the world.

Hong Kong - The 6th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Sprengben, Flickr
Hong Kong - The 6th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Sprengben, Flickr

Istanbul – Turkey

Istanbul is the 7th most visited city in the world with estimated 7.05 million visitors a year

Formerly known as Constantinople, Istanbul was once the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Voted the 2010 Capital of the European Culture, Istanbul is home to some of world’s finest architectural gems, such as Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul - 7th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Oberazzi, Flickr
Istanbul - 7th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Oberazzi, Flickr

Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Dubai is the 8th most visited city in the world with estimated 6.9 million visitors a year

Built out of nothing and into the business hub of the Middle East in just a few decades, Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building (Burj Dubai), world’s most expensive hotel (Burj al Arab), world’s largest man made islands (Palm Islands), the indoor ski slope built in the middle of a desert and much, much more.

Dubai - 8th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Michael Foley Photography, Flickr
Dubai - 8th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Michael Foley Photography, Flickr

Shanghai – China

Shanghai is the 9th most visited city in the world with estimated 6.66 million visitors a year

Being the largest city in China, Shanghai is a bull on steroids that’s become East China’s international hub. Chinese traditions get intertwined with Western customs in a blend that will make the memories of your stay unforgettable.

Shanghai - 9th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: le niners, Flickr
Shanghai - 9th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: le niners, Flickr

Rome – Italy

Rome is the 10th most visited city in the world with estimated 6.12 million visitors a year

Rome personalizes thousands of years of human history. Roman Coliseum, The Forum, the Fontana di Trevi, the Pantheon – I could go on forever. And let’s not forget Vatican City and great Italian wine.

Rome - 10th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Storm Crypt, Flickr
Rome - 10th Most Visited City in the World, Photo: Storm Crypt, Flickr

Visiting a place that’s on the Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the World has both its advantages and disadvantage. The fact that so many foreigners travel to these locations means that there truly must be something worthwhile to see. But at the same time it also means that there will be thousands upon thousands of tourists there, making it rather overrun. They each still count as must visit before you die cities. I definitely have each one of them on my personal “my visit” list.

Alaska Cruise Deals End in 2010 as Cruise Lines Cut Back

Alaska is one of those travel destinations that everyone wants to visit in their lifetime. You know what – now is the best time to take an Alaska Cruise. I don’t think there’s ever been a better time for Alaska Cruise since cruise line companies started sailing to these parts of the world. Prices for a 7 day cruise on a luxury ship dropped to just a little bit over $300 per person, including high season (July and August). But historically lowest prices on Alaska Cruises are not the only reason for a perfect last minute adventure. As it turns out, all major cruise line companies announced this year that they are cutting back or completely discontinuing their Alaska schedules as of 2010.

Holland America Cruise Ship SS Zaandam Sailing in Sitka, Alaska. Photo: controltheweb, Flickr
Holland America Cruise Ship SS Zaandam Sailing in Sitka, Alaska. Photo: controltheweb, Flickr

Five Major Cruise Lines Cut Back Alaska Cruises

Following cruise ship operators have announced this year that they will cut back on Alaska schedules in 2010:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Princess Cruises
  • Holland America
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines

Global economic slow down forced cruise line operators to lower their prices significantly, but after state of Alaska announced that they will be changing Cruise Liners a $50 per-passenger fee, the decisions to discontinue Alaska cruises were made and ships that sail in Alaskan waters will be redirected to serve in more profitable European waters come 2010.

Vancouver Facing $38-million Loss

Because many Alaska cruises start their itineraries from Vancouver, the largest city in Canadian British Columbia is facing a 9% drop in number of tourists visiting the city, which will result in $38-million in lost tourism revenue per year.

Alaska Bound Cruise Ship Leaving Vancouver, Photo: Patrick Doheny, Flickr
Alaska Bound Cruise Ship Leaving Vancouver, Photo: Patrick Doheny, Flickr

Now Is the Time for Cheap Last Minute Alaska Cruise

Cruise vacation prices are at a long term low right now. That makes for a perfect opportunity to take a cruise vacation. And since there may be fewer ships serving Alaska in 2010, the competition won’t be as tough and cruise line operators will be able to give their prices a bump, if you hesitate, you will miss out on an opportunity to cruise to Alaska for cheap. Look at sample prices as of this very moment:

Name of the ship: Celebrity Millennium
Operator: Celebrity Cruises
Cruise duration: 7 days
Itinerary: Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier, Seward
Prices from: 439.00 CAD per person, plus tax

Name of the ship: Norwegian Sun
Operator: Norwegian Cruise Line NCL
Cruise duration: 7 days
Itinerary: Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and back
Prices from: $399 US per person, plus tax

Name of the ship: Carnival Spirit
Operator: Carnival Cruises
Cruise duration: 7 days
Itinerary: Anchorage (Whittier), Cruise Prince William Sound, Cruise College Fjord, Sitka, Juneau, Cruise Lynn Canal, Skagway, Ketchikan, Cruise Inside Passage, Vancouver
Prices from: $309 US per person, plus tax

Sample prices are based on double occupancy in an interior stateroom.

Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska as Seen from Holland America Westerdam Cruise Ship, Photo: dbaron, Flickr
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska as Seen from Holland America Westerdam Cruise Ship, Photo: dbaron, Flickr

Go book your Alaska cruise now for July or August. Those are the best month to sail to Alaska and prices are right. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that. If you compared 2009 prices with same cruises in 2008, you’d see four digit numbers. This is the best time to go on a cruise and seeing how cruise line operators are cutting back on Alaska itineraries, there is no reason to hesitate.

Furthermore – Alaska cruise is better in summer than the Caribbean one. Summer if a hurricane season in the tropics so you’d be taking chances with your cruise, plus if you are to go to Alaska, you wouldn’t want to do it in the middle of winter when it gets so cold you won’t be able to hold a camera in your hands. Timing is perfect; the price is the best it’s been in years. Take Alaska cruise, I’m sure you won’t regret it. You can laugh at your co-worker who decides to wait later, after prices sky rocket back up to their normal level.

Haggling Tips for Best Price on Vacations

During times of economic and financial crisis travelling on vacations can seem luxurious. At times like these we need to make sure we get the best deal. But how? Haggling is how it’s done. Haggling is often the best way to get a cut price deal for anything, not just vacations. Read on to to learn about best performing tricks and haggling tips for best price on your vacation.

Haggling Tip #1 – Talk

When haggling for best price, speaking is the key. Don’t let the person you are talking to take control of the conversation. If it’s you who talks first and them who answer to you, chances of negotiating a better deal increase. Keep in mind that fewer people travel during recession so vacation providers, especially when it comes to All Inclusive Vacations will likely be willing to negotiate as their sales are lower than normal.

While verbal haggling may seem outdated, it is as valid today as it’s been for centuries. Albeit nowadays it’s becoming a dying skill but it’s still deep within us and can easily be done. This is how it’s done:

Haggling Can Get You The Best Price for Your Ultimate Vacation, Photo: muha... Flickr
Haggling Can Get You The Best Price for Your Ultimate Vacation, Photo: muha... Flickr

How to Haggle for Best Price on Vacation – Practical Tip

Assume for one second you want to stay at Scottsdale Princess Resort and you’re also interested in The Sanctuary nearby. Both cost US$250 a night. Do some research and work out the price that’s lower than regular rate, but not unreasonable. Once you got that down, pick up the phone and get ready to haggle your best price. You can do it easily by telling them that the other hotel has offered you a price which is much better than what they are offering (the one you have worked out in your mind as well priced, but reasonable). It’s easy and doesn’t take special acting skills to manage.

Once you have suggested that a competitor is able to offer you a better rate than a place you are calling, the most common response will be an attempt to match the price. Or a person you are speaking with might put you on hold to speak with their supervisors and see if they are able to offer yet better price to gain you as a customer. The key is to remain reasonable. Don’t call a top class hotel and try to get a price of a cheap hole in the ground. Haggling ends the moment reason is abandoned.

Car Rental Haggling Tips

Haggling for a car to rent works in a similar way. Start up your internet and do a search for the cheapest rates available in your area. Try all the big companies, such as Avis, Thrifty, Budget, National, Discount Car, Enterprise, Hertz, etc and see what specials they’re currently running. You can find their websites by typing their name along with “car rental” plus your location in the search engine.

Next look up some independent car rental places that are not part of any big company. Yellow Pages would be your friend on this one. You may be surprised how many “Joe’s Car Rental” places you might find in your area. These do not get the exposure and recognition of large car rental chains and as such will likely have more reasonable prices. Call them and find out with them what they have to offer on the type of car you need. The call big guys and tell them that Joe’s Car Rental only charges this much for that car and they will also drop the car in your driveway for free.

Car Rental Counter, Photo: mrkathika, Flickr
Car Rental Counter, Photo: mrkathika, Flickr

Success here hinges firmly on the power of persuasion and your ability to speak well, however anyone can do it. You won’t have direct face to face encounter, you can do whatever you want on the phone. And if it doesn’t sound like it’s working out, just tell them you got to go and will call them later. Hang up and move on. Remember, this little bit of haggling can land you the best price. And the best price saves you money you work so hard for. It’s worth it every bit of the way.

One more thing – it helps if you can get someone with authority to make decisions on the other end of the phone line though.

Airline Haggling Tips

Of all the haggling efforts, trying to get a significant drop in price from the Airline operators is more challenging, but not impossible. As a general rule, booking early is the key to cheap flights although sell offs can save you more.

I think the best way to haggle for the best price is to engage in a cheerful and warming conversation with the person on the other end of phone line. If you end up with a moody and uncooperative telephonist, it’s best to hang up and call the same number again in a few minutes. Phone number for reservations usually lead to call centers with several operators. If one gives you hart time, simply hang up and call again. You will likely reach a different operator so try with them. If it doesn’t work out, hang up and call again. Keep trying until you get a person who sounds like they are in a good mood, happy and content and ready to listen. They are the one to talk to and haggle with.

If it sounds like the call center you are reaching with this number is an overseas operation, it’s best to give up and try a different airliner. The operators in some thirst world countries which are outsourced by the airliner have no experience and always fail to give a deal. They are generally very difficult to talk to, not very friendly and fail to understand that you are potential customer who doesn’t have to spend their money with them, but can give their business to somebody else.

Once you got right person on the line, try small talk to engage in friendly and courteous conversation. Compliment the agent and remember to thank them for speaking to you when you’re done. But that’s all when you’re done. First you need to get yourself the best price possible. Do it this way:

Ask questions such as “Is there a way to get a cheaper fare?” or “If I travelled at a different time or date, would it get me a cheaper fare?” A good one, probably the best is “If you were to fly to (your destination here), how would you go about getting yourself a plane ticket?”

I save myself money using above mentioned haggling tips all the time. it’s really not that difficult. Have the confidence to haggle and you’ll breeze through the recession without once feeling its bite. Think of the amazing places you’ll visit – drum up the motivation then pick up the phone and talk yourself into the deal you deserve.

All Inclusive Vacations – Get Best Deals in 2009

When it comes to All Inclusive Vacations, 2009 is the year. This year will offer some of the best deals any of us have seen in our lifetime. Global economical crisis is responsible for drop in public’s spending on leisure and travel which in turn resulted in drop in prices for all inclusive vacations. Each sector of multi billion dollar a year travel industry had to take steps at keeping the business going and in an economically challenging year such as 2009, the way to do it was by offering all time best deals on all inclusive vacations. 2009 is a good year to take that trip you have always wanted to.

To Keep Their Business Going, All Inclusive Vacations Providers Are Offering Excellent Deals on their Packages to Balance Out Tight Global Economy
To Keep Their Business Going, All Inclusive Vacations Providers Are Offering Excellent Deals on their Packages to Balance Out Tight Global Economy

The savings for all inclusive vacations are remarkable. It actually involves entire travel industry. Luxury cruise lines offer all inclusive cruises for under $75 per day per person. Hotels are coming with their own incentives – some hotels in Las Vegas are offering rates as low as $25 per night. Parks, ski resorts, airlines – they all have adjusted their prices making 2009 the year of best deals.

An important factor to keep in mind is that even though the world is going through an economic recession, many people as much money as they did before. It doesn’t mean that you should go berserk on spending, however if you were considering an all inclusive vacation and somehow never got around to taking one, 2009 could be a great year to do is as you are certainly likely to score the best deal ever.

Occupancy is down which means that as a traveller you’re gonna get luxury for less. Five star Arizona hotel that charged $300 per room last year, now offers the room for $250 with complimentary spa treatment and a dinner for two. Luxury is on sale right now, all inclusive resorts are offering the best deals ever. 2009 could really save you on your vacation. Just exercise sound thinking. Only take vacation if you could take it if the world wasn’t going through recession. Even though prices are nice and low with best deals on all inclusive vacations, getting yourself in debt just so you can take advantage of it may not be the best idea ever. On the other hand if you’ve got some savings and can take an all inclusive without getting yourself in financial trouble – 2009 is your year.

Travel Checklist for Perfect Holiday, Camping, Backpacking

This useful Travel Checklist contains pre-trip and while you’re away tips to help you make sure you have everything you need to enjoy your hassle free, perfect vacation. Whether you’re traveling to enjoy nice holiday in the sun, or going camping, backpacking, hitch-hiking or looking at an extraordinary adventure beyond borders of your home country, this travel checklist is a quick way to make sure you’re not forgetting anything important.

Without further ado, here’s your Travel Checklist for Perfect Vacation:

Essential Travel Items Checklist

  • Passport – ain’t going no where without one
  • Foreign Currency – Credit Cards often work fine, but you do want to have some local currency as well
  • Alarm Clock – if your plane leaves early, don’t rely on wake-up calls
  • Swiss Army Knife – preferably one with tweezers and scissors, but pack this in your check-in luggage not your carry-on
  • Plastic Bottle – to carry water around. Was without one in Cuba – bad idea!
  • Pocket Flashlight – easily the most used item on my travels
  • Digital Camera – you have got to be kidding me if you would leave without one. Make sure you have enough batteries and big enough memory card
  • Ziploc Plastic Bags – so you can store your used underwear and shampoo/soap/toothpaste in the same bag as the rest of your clothes safely
  • Rain Poncho – doesn’t take much space and helps a lot in bad weather

Toiletries Travel Checklist

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste – dental floss is also very handy
  • Shampoo
  • Soap – get your own soap box too
  • Deodorant Stick
  • Body Moisturizer/Lotion
  • Shaving Gear
  • Towel – nothing can beat your own cozy one

Medical and Personal Supplies Travel Checklist

  • Contact Lenses and Contact Lens Solution, or Glasses – copy of prescription will come in handy should you lose them
  • Sunglasses – hat and umbrella also come in handy
  • Sunscreen with at least 30 SPF
  • Insect Repellent – make sure it contains DEET
  • Latex Condoms
  • Medic-Alert Tags – it’s smart to get them if you suffer from allergies or medical conditions. Canadians can get them from MedicAlert.ca)
  • Your Personal Medications in original bottles and enough to get you through chronic conditions
  • Insect Sting Rescue Kit – emergency allergy kits
  • Malaria Pills – if you’re visiting areas with malaria prevalence, pills require prescription from a doctor
  • Hand Sanitizer – Purel ®, Microsan ®, One Step ®, or similar
  • Medicinal Charcoal – you’ll eat lots of dodgy food during your travels

If You’re a Female

  • Feminine Products – tampons, sanitary napkins
  • Vagina Infection Medication – if you’re susceptible

Taking Care of Your Body Pre-Travel Checklist

  • Physical Check Up – if you’re traveling long term
  • Dental Check Up
  • Eye Check Up – if your vision is not the greatest or have other vision problems
  • Consult Travellers’ Health Clinic in your area to learn about health risks in your travel destination and what vaccines are recommended

Personal Secret Travel Checklist Items

  • Oil of Oregano – saved my behind on countless occasions. Sports massive anti bacterial properties yet it’s a natural product so you can’t develop resistance to it. Also gives your immunity an instant boost. I can’t even begin to express how many times it saved me from getting sick. Make sure you get the 100% organic one, preferably from Greece, since that’s where best wild Oregano grows
  • Ear Plugs – once I spent a night sharing the room in a hostel with a guy who snored like he was paid for it. Ear plugs saved my night.

My personal travel checklist also includes my laptop. If you don’t have one, you can still enjoy the vacation, camping, backpacking just the same. If you’re taking a longer trip, do get up to date with 21st century and get yourself a laptop. Also make sure you open an online journal so you can upload pictures and boast about your adventures as they happen. It’ll keep you going and will give you more steam to enjoy your travel.

One thing I don’t need on my travel checklist but you may is a comb. I’d rather have hair and have to carry a comb than have no hair and not have to carry one, but since latter is my case, I’m spared from worrying about that part.

Hepatitis B – Information for Travellers

Hepatitis B – Information for Travellers

Hepatitis B is far more serious viral infection that Hepatitis A. Like its less dangerous brother, Hepatitis B attacks the liver but Hep B can cause serious complications that could lead to death. While risks of contracting Hepatitis B by travellers are not high, it is a serious illness and everyone who likes to travel to different parts of the world should take precautions to avoid infection.

How is Hepatitis B Transmitted

Hepatitis B is transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids, which is pretty much the same as with any STD. You can contract Hepatitis B by having unprotected vaginal or anal as well as oral sex with an infected person. That goes for both heterosexual and homosexual contact. You can also contract it by sharing needles used for injection of drugs. Prevention is always the best key to staying illness free during one’s vacation or holiday.

I myself travel a lot but I don’t concern myself with Hepatitis B, because I do not engage in unprotected sex with strangers and I don’t do drugs other than smoking weed. Use of condoms significantly reduces chances of contracting hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Hepatitis B – Map of Prevalence

Hepatitis B is most prevalent in Southeast Asia, parts of the Middle East, the South and Western Pacific, Central South America and most of Africa. Northern and Western Europe as well as most of Eastern Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico have the lowest Hepatitis B infection rates. Canada is generally considered safe, but the map somehow shows northern parts of the country having high prevalence, so we’re gonna consider it the reason to play it safe in those areas. Otherwise Canada is safe. The detailed map of prevalence is below:

Hepatitis B - Map of Prevalence, Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers' Health Yellow Book
Hepatitis B - Map of Prevalence, Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers' Health Yellow Book

Hepatitis B Symptoms

30% of people infected with Hepatitis B experience no symptoms and the younger the age, the higher a chance of no symptoms.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice

Hepatitis B Vaccination for Travellers

Hepatitis B vaccination is given as a series of 3 injections over 6 month period. As such, it is recommended to go for the new vaccination that provides combined protection against both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B and is also taken over the period of 6 months. Since you’d have to go through the same procedure anyway, it’s smarter to take this combined vaccination and it’ll give you protection against both strains of Hepatitis for the period of 20 years. You wouldn’t have to worry about getting Hepatitis A shot by itself.

You can get more information about Hepatitis A on the Hepatitis A – Information for Travellers with Map of Prevalence page, however it is much better to get a Twinrix ™ vaccination instead and gain protection against both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B at the same time. Read the paragraph below for more information:

Hepatitis A and B Combined Vaccination for Travellers

New vaccination called Twinrix ™ is now available and is a recommended since it offers long lasting protection against both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Twinrix ™ vaccination is taken the same way you would take Hepatitis B vaccination – over the period of 6 months. You’d get your first shot, then a month later your second and then the last one in 6 months. That’s it – you’re protected against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B for 20 years.

Keep in mind – Hepatitis A is far easier to contract. All you need to do is eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water. Hep A virus dies in high temperatures so if you cook your food, you won’t get it, but it’s still the easiest to contract Hepatitis. However Hepatitis A is not as damaging to liver and will not kill you. On the other hand, contracting Hepatitis B is not as easy. If you don’t engage in unprotected sex while you’re travelling, or if you don’t take illegal drugs that require injection into your vein, the chances of contracting Hepatitis B are low. However if you do get infected, you could get yourself cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer or complete failure of liver that could lead to death. Hepatitis B is no joke. I highly recommend getting Hepatitis A and B vaccination as described in this paragraph. It offers rather strong and reliable protection for 20 years. It’ll give you peace of mind and could save your life. Do it!

Related Reading:
Hepatitis A – Information for Travellers with Map of Prevalence
Avoid Holiday Illness – Tips on NOT Getting Sick on Vacation
Medical Advice Disclaimer