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Travel Tip #13

Make sure you have a basic first aid kit and essential medicines.

For some this might be a bit obvious, for others not so much. Depending on where you’re visiting, the accessibility to medicine might be greatly different to what you’re used to so make sure you have the essentials with you. You never know when something might happen so it’s best to have things at hand rather than having to go find somewhere that you can buy them from. 

Even if you don’t usually get headaches or other such ailments, it’s worth having the necessary items with you so that your holiday isn’t spoiled unnecessarily.

Recommended items to include:

  • Paracetamol/Ibuprofen
  • Plasters/Band-aids
  • Diarrhoea relief
  • Constipation relief
  • Indigestion tablets (if you’re prone to indigestion)
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Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland is the newest of the Disney resorts to open in the world. Initially delayed, it had its grand opening in the summer of 2016.

I have actually been to Shanghai Disneyland twice – once in the height of summer and once in winter – and recently purchased a season pass.

Summer

Personally, I would avoid going to Shanghai Disneyland in the summer. It gets very hot and humid in Shanghai and there is not a lot of shade at Shanghai Disney. If schools are out for summer, then you will find that the queues for rides are long. If you’re looking at going on the big rides such Tron or Soaring Over the Horizon then you are looking at between a 2 and 3 hour wait at least. However, if you’re able to stay late then you may be able to jump on a lot of rides in quick succession as families tend to leave after the fireworks. Bear in mind, you will have a long wait for a taxi, I’m talking around an hour, but there are plenty of taxis ready to go nearly anywhere in Shanghai.

Winter

We went on a weekday in November, when it has started becoming colder, and it was a much more enjoyable experience. The queues were much smaller and the walking around kept you warm.

Transport

Taxis are plentiful in Shanghai so you should be able to find one easily. Be mindful that Disney is not said the same in Mandarin as English so bring a back of translation or picture to help communicate with the driver. The taxi drop off is a little walk away from the park so be aware of that. There are security guards around who can point you in the right direction. There are toilets on the way to the park, too. At the end of the day there can be a wait to get a taxi back to your accommodation.
You could get an Uber to and from Disney, but I’ve been told that they drop off and pick up in really inconvenient locations.

There is a metro (subway) line that goes all the way to the actual Disney park, you may just have to swap lines a couple of times. However, the metro is really cheap so would save you money.

Fast Pass

Fast passes are available for some of the rides, especially the more popular ones, but these can often become unavailable quickly. In winter, we arrived at the park around 9.30am and the passes for the whole day had been given out for Soaring Over the Horizon. The fast passes are not next to the ride but in more central locations for the Land that they are in.

If you do decide to head to Disneyland, there is an app you can download which gives you the live wait times for the rides. The wifi in the park is a little unreliable so the app may not work very well.

Rides

I haven’t been able to go on all of the rides yet but I definitely recommend Tron. The riding position is as if you are actually on a lightcycle (motorbike). It doesn’t have any upside down moments so this may not be thrilling enough for adrenaline junkies but I’ve been on it 3 times and have loved it every time.
The river rapids ride is a game of chance. Of the two times I went on, the first time only our shoes got wet. The second time, we were soaked. They don’t sell ponchos in the shops around the ride, however they sell them in the line just before you’re close to getting on. Otherwise, bring your own.
I think the park is lacking in over the top rides but it does have a range of rides suited for a variety of tastes.
There are some rides that are, of course, catered to the young audience with Honey Pots (spinning cups) and a cute Dumbo ride. A couple of rides are okay to take even younger children on, including the Pirates of the Caribbean one, if you can hold them.

Things to Remember

Most importantly… the park is in China. It’s aimed at the Chinese audience so shows are in Mandarin. There are park maps and time guides available in English and many safety announcements are in English too.

Facilities

There is a range of food to eat catering to both western and eastern tastes. There are lots of vendors selling drinks and snacks, however some of the booths didn’t open until the afternoon. If you arrive in the morning it may take you a little longer to find somewhere to grab food from. I didn’t feel that the price was extortionate – definitely more expensive that local shops in China but certainly not bad for a theme park.
Merchandise shops are plentiful and carry nearly anything Disney themed that you would want. There is also one large Disney store before the gates of the park so even if you just head to Disneytown then you have a chance to see the huge range of goods on offer.
The toilets have both the normal squat toilets you would find in China, but further towards the back of the toilets you usually find the western sit down style.
Many of the rides were able to take disabled passengers, including Tron, which I thought was great. I would check on the official website for more information regarding this.

Disneytown

Outside of the actual park itself, is Disneytown which is free to roam around. This area is full of shops including a Lego store, a huge Disney store, restaurants (including a Cheesecake Factory), and some other shops.
This is also where you would go if you were planning on seeing the Lion King. Bear in mind that the Lion King, although it copies the Broadway show, is completely in Mandarin.

There is also a very large park near Disneytown which has a very large lake and lots of green spaces. It also has a good, although far away, view of the castle. When I went in the summer, anyone was free to go in – I’m not sure if that has changed. If you were planning on doing the park, please remember that you will spend around an hour walking all the way around it so take that into account when planning your day.

Well I hope this has been somewhat useful.
Feel free to send any questions this way and I can try and answer them for you.

 

Travel Tip #12

Download a currency conversion app.

When I go to buy a keepsake from another country, I’m always wondering whether it’s a decent price or not. Of course, different currencies have different values (if that makes sense), but I don’t want to end up spending all of my money on one item. So before we go anywhere, we make sure we have a currency conversion app downloaded, especially one that doesn’t require an internet connection.

There are many available, personally I always use XE (available as an online site or an app).

This way you can check how much you’re spending immediately rather than missing out on an item because you’re unsure of the cost OR spending all of your money on that one item because you don’t know the conversion.

Itinerary – Australia

Destinations: Melbourne, Sydney, Uluru, and Cairns.
Length of trip: 17 days
Start of Trip: Mid-January 2016
Group total: 2 persons
N.B – Please note that while I’m not a backpacker, I do try and save money whenever I can so the accommodation will not be luxury.

Safety tip: If you decide to drive in Australia, please be aware of animals crossing the roads. We were warned that it can be dangerous if you accidentally hit kangaroos or wallabies in the dark. Please be cautious.

TripHobo link: TripHobo Plan

Continue reading “Itinerary – Australia”

I’m so sorry for the absence, life has been getting in the way and I’ve busy planning for a mammoth trip – which gave me an idea.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a really thorough planner with holidays. I like to have (nearly) every day accounted for so that I know I’m not wasting any time. I thought that my itineraries may come in useful as inspiration to other traveler’s journeys.

Of course your trip may not be the same length of time or to all of the same places, but hopefully there may be something to help you. I shall post them individually.

Website – Memrise.com

memrise4

memrise
Memrise offers courses in languages, arts, math, science, and many more topics.

Memrise is a website that aims to help you memorise something. In this instance it is most relevant as a language learning tool. I would compare using Memrise to doing flashcards. However, it has the benefit of being able to test you on audio too. Memrise also aims to help you put the language into your longterm memory.

Continue reading “Website – Memrise.com”

Travel Tip #11

Check on health websites or with your doctor about whether you need vaccinations.

For some countries it is recommended that you get vaccinations to cover you from certain diseases. It is better to be safe than sorry, so check whether you need any for the country/countries you are hoping to travel to.

You need to know:

  • Whether you need to get vaccinations
  • Which ones are recommended
  • How many rounds of the vaccination you need in order to be protected (Is it just one injection or several?)
  • Over what duration of time the vaccinations need to be given (some vaccinations require weeks to ensure that you are fully protected)
  • How long the vaccination covers you for (months or years?)
  • Whether the vaccination fully covers you or whether it delays the disease and you still need to seek medical attention

There are many websites that can help with this information, but like with everything it is best to speak to a medical expert.

A note for British readers: Some of the vaccinations recommended for traveling are available free on the NHS. You can have them at chemists such as Boots but they can be very expensive and they may try to provide you with vaccinations that aren’t necessary.

Travel Tip #10

Check the national calendar for the country you are traveling to. 

Let me explain what I mean: Check if the country has national holidays on the days you are planning to travel. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Flights can be more expensive
  • Hotels will be more expensive
  • Shops and attractions may be closed
  • Events or popular areas may be very busy

For example: During National Holiday in China, which lasts around a week, flights are very expensive because a mass amount of people move from one place to another (within the country to visit family or to other countries for a vacation), and many businesses close for around a week.
Obviously there may be occasions where you are traveling hoping to take part in a traditional holiday, so just be prepared for what comes with this.

On the flip side of this, if you are traveling somewhere and hoping to celebrate a holiday, such as Christmas, then you may need to be aware that not all countries celebrate it and in order to celebrate you may need to search for establishments that will cater to this.

Travel Tip #9

Passport Requirements

Before you start traveling, check how long your passport is still valid for. Many countries require that you have a minimum of 6 months left on your passport but that may vary.

If you’re going to be traveling for a few months, and your passport doesn’t have a great length of time left, consider whether it is worth renewing your passport early to save the hassle of trying to visit consulates while abroad. It will also avoid complications with printed visas and carrying multiple passports.

I know some passports, including American passports, have allocated pages for visas and once these pages are full you need to apply for a new one. Some other countries require you have a minimum amount of pages free in your passport in order for them to grant a visa so have check yours before you travel.

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