Five years back, Nicholas Kruger booked an all-inclusive trip to Rome for him and his wife that included airport transfers and tickets to the Colosseum among other things.
But the hotel was poorly managed and the driver showed up an hour late to pick the couple up from the airport (and only after multiple phone calls). Not only that, but they hadn't pre-booked the Colosseum tickets as Nicholas had requested, so the couple had to wait in line and were left with less time to explore.
Needless to say, they weren't pleased with the outcome of their trip.
But when Nicholas returned to London and looked over reviews of the hotel on Trip Advisor, the results were surprising.
"The hotel had plenty of reviews from travelers who had only posted one review in their life, when we searched further, we came across reviews similar to our experience. Almost as if someone was posting fake reviews to boost the hotels ratings," Nicholas says.
So Nicholas decided to build his own website, OE Travel Blogs, to offer fellow travelers a place to find honest, first-hand accounts of their travel experiences. Here, he offers some tips for other would-be adventurers. Read on:
Why do you think overseas travel is so important?
I personally think it opens your eyes to new cultures and sights you will never forget. In the beginning, I didn't really have a passion to travel.
Coming from a small town in New Zealand, I pretty much had everything I wanted/needed - well, at least I thought I did. My sister had been living in the U.K. for 10 years and was pushing for me to visit - and boy am I glad I did.
It makes you appreciate where you come from. Not only that, you'll make some great friends along the way.
What's some basic advice for a first-time overseas traveler?
My personal advice would be to be prepared, do your research. Make sure you have travel insurancewould the first point. Learn some key phrases (in Spanish, French, Italian, etc.) and be humble. All too often, I see people fortunate to experience new cultures only to have disrespectful behavior.
Why is it important to purchase travel insurance?
Well, the pros far out weigh the cons. Let's just say you're flying from Brisbane to London via Dubai, and you check in your bags through to London. On arrival in London, your bags have not arrived. If you have travel insurance, you'll be pretty much covered. Same goes if your flight is delayed and you're stuck in an airport for an extra 24-48 hours; with travel insurance, you may be able to book a hotel.
What are some of great under-the-radar destinations?
Lots to choose from, but here are three:
Sardinia: Relax, unwind and explore. Island lifestyle yet so much to see and do, history, water sports and skiing/snow boarding in the winter months.
Lake Malawi (Malawi, Africa): One place I can't wait to visit again. So easy to spend a couple weeks watching the world go by; the people are so friendly and so much to see and do. Marrakesh:
Another highly recommended place. Wanderthe markets, experience the culture and food, and plenty of things to see and do.
Nicholas is a Kiwi lad from the lower north island of New Zealand with a varied professional background in sales, marketing and real estate. He moved to the U.K. in 2005 and caught the travel bug. His website is OE Travel Blogs.
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