Best way to Sterilize / Filter drinking water while traveling abroad

One often unforeseen costs of traveling is drinking water. Many people opt for buying bottled water, but the cost and inconvenience becomes a nuisance . The way I have gotten around this cost is using a Steripen, which can be purchased on Amazon.com. Its a Ultra Violet light pen that kills bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Ive used on tap water in Central America for a couple of months and currently (9/29/12) in South East Asia  with no illness due to drinking water in either location. As a side note, many of my travel mates have also used the pen with no issues. Its battery operated and all you need to do its swirl the UV wand in the water for about a minute depending on the size of your water bottle and its ready to drink.

Its never fun to wake up in the morning, realize your out of water and need to head to the store to buy a bottle, which you often want to drink the majority of before you leave the store. Simply hit the tap with your Nalgine and sterilize as much as you want in seconds. This will save you time and money, not to mention all the bottles you wont have to throw away.

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Travel alone or with a friend – Deciding the best option for you

It’s a big decision whether to travel alone or with a friend. Depending on your personality and travel goals, I have brought up a few points to consider, which will help you make a better and more informed decision for your upcoming adventure.

Benefits of traveling alone:

  • Create your own itinerary. You are the master of what you want to see and experience. You don’t have to compromise one activity for another which often happens when planning with someone. Just grab your bag and go do and see what YOU want.
  • You choose when you want to be alone. Then, when you feel like it, you can socialize at the hostel.
  • You will come away from the trip with a greater sense of accomplishment for concurring the adventure by yourself.
  • You can travel as cheaply or luxuriously as you see fit. You can decide if you want to splurge on nicer accommodations for a night. You can allow your budget to fluctuate and you don’t have to worry about your travel companion disagreeing.
  • Hurry Up! You don’t have to wait for anyone. No waiting for him or her to go to the bathroom, brush their teeth, floss and get caught up in a conversation with someone else when you just want to get on the road. It’s all in your hands.

Benefits of traveling with a friend or group:

  • Companionship in difficult situations. If you get stuck at bus stop and you’re uneasy about your surroundings, its nice to have someone you trust.
  • If you loose your bag or wallet, you have a friend who can support you.
  •  Its nice to have another pair of eyes watching your stuff if you need to go to the restroom or take a walk.
  • It’s cheaper. You can share rooms, taxis, food costs etc.
  • Often when I’m traveling, if I find something amazing, I enjoy sharing the moment or activity with a friend.

Choosing a Travel Partner

1. Analyze their personality.

When you’re with someone in their comfortable state of mind at home, they are one type of person. If you are able, picture them in a situation when they found themselves out of their element or comfort zone. Did they embrace the situation, or react in fear of the unknown? This is the type of person you are going to be traveling with. As the Italian poet Cesare Pavese said, “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky…”. You want to make sure your travel partner can adapt and will be accepting of new cultures, traditions and values.

2. Does their budget fit yours?

You might be great friends and get along perfectly, but if one person wants to got out every night  for a nice meal, while the other wants to stay at hostel and fry up a frozen hot dog, you may not be the best travel partners.

3. What type of activities are they interested in?

Are they type of person who simply wants to seek out 15 century churches or more of an adrenaline traveler looking to do activities like bungee jumping? Maybe a little of  both?

 

If you cant find anyone to travel with, I suggest checking out FindMeetGo to find likeminded people to travel with.

 

 

Best site for learning languages

As many travelers know, there’s nothing like learning a language in the host country while traveling or taking part in a language immersion homestead or school. Whether you choose a form of schooling or not, if you have the time, it’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases that will at least allow you to get transportation and find accommodations. Or, if you have a good understanding of a language, but want to spruce up your skills for a trip, I’ve found a few of the best sites for learning languages, which have been helpful to me:

Busuu.com

This site allows you to look over vocabulary, dialogue, writing and Bussu Talk, which enables you to have a real conversation with a native speaker. This allows the native speaker to learn English, while you correspond with them and learn their native language at the same time. I’ve used the free membership for a couple of trips in the past. I’ve mostly used it for vocabulary and dialogue, but the other services offered are very user friendly and will surely help you out whether you’re a beginner or advanced speaker.

BBC – Languages

This site has a several different links to learn languages including, French, Spanish, German, Italian and more. If you learn better with person to person interaction, Busuu.com has more social capabilities, but the BBC website has many creative ways to learn on your own.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is a very popular option for learning a language. I have not used the for purchase software, but I have used the free Demo where you can learn, practice and play games to aid in the learning process. If your purchase the program, you are also able to interact with others online. I thought the demo was great and very helpful, so if you have the money, Amazon sells the software. I have listed some popular selections below:

Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-3 Set

Rosetta Stone French Level 1-3 Set

Rosetta Stone Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1-3 Set

Rosetta Stone Portuguese (Brazil) Level 1-3 Set

Rosetta Stone Italian Level 1-3 Set

Rosetta Stone Japanese Level 1-3 Set

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ‒Nelson Mandela

If you have found other language learning venues, which have worked for you, please share!