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Festival Tips

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Top music festival tips to see you through the summer season

Music lovers have plenty to smile about over the summer months. Now, more than ever before, amazing festivals are taking place in all corners of the country. There’s nothing quite like soaking up the chilled out vibes, singing along to your favourite tunes and spending an exciting few days with your best pals.

While fun and games are pretty much guaranteed, attending festivals also goes hand in hand with experiencing some inevitable discomforts. We’ve compiled a list of top ten festival tips to ensure you are as prepared as possible and get the most from your festival weekend.

1. Beware of the sun and insects

Remember to pack plenty of sun cream and insect repellent. Bad sun burn or lots of nasty, itchy bites are a sure fire way to ruin your festival experience. Reapply as necessary to keep your skin safe and the bugs at bay.

2. Plan your schedule

Get your hands on the line-up schedule before you go and decide which bands you want to prioritise seeing. You really don’t want to miss out on your favourite act because of lack of planning. Factor in resting time between the different sets – you’re sure to get tired being on your feet all day.

3. Drink lots of water

Many festivals have free water refilling stations so make sure you carry a bottle around with you at all times. Staying hydrated greatly reduces your risk of getting sunstroke and feeling unwell. If you’re not too sure about the quality of water, just use some purification tablets.

4. Pack festival essentials

Facilities at music festivals are few and far between so make sure you bring the right toiletries. Dry shampoo, hand sanitizer and plenty of baby wipes are a given.  Other useful items include an eye mask, ear plugs and a torch. And don’t forget the toilet roll!

5. Be sensible with alcohol

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in the sun makes for a dangerous combination. Not only does it greatly increase the risk of accidents, it can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea – definitely not what you want! Pace yourself and drink water in between alcoholic beverages.

6. Buy decent camping equipment

If you’re camping, make sure your tent is waterproof before you set off. There’s nothing worse than waking up in a pool of water! While you’re at it, pack a decent sleeping mat, pillow and sleeping bag. Getting a decent night’s sleep helps you to feel energised during the day and properly enjoy the music.

7. Charge your devices

Can’t live without your smart phone? Fear not! Investing in a mobile power bank will allow you to charge your device multiple times over the weekend. You’ll still be able to keep in contact with your mates and take as many photos as you like.

8. Pack sensible clothing

You might want to embrace festival boho chic but remember, you will be lying in a field in the middle of the night. Plenty of layers and a change of clothes are definitely advised. Wellies and big comfy socks will keep your feet warm and dry if it rains.

9. Eat healthily

On a tight budget? Bring snacks with you that won’t go off. Cereal bars, crackers and nuts are fantastic for keeping you going in between acts. If you’re buying food onsite be wary of anything that looks undercooked or has been sitting in the sun for too long. Getting food poisoning at a music festival is enough to put you off for life!

10. Mind your stuff

Festivals are a great place to make new friends but you still need to be wary of your belongings at all times – not everyone’s intentions may be the same. Leave valuables like fancy cameras or laptops at home and hide your money and phone in your tent when you sleep.

So there you have it, some top tips to see you through the festival season. The most important piece of advice – have fun! Festivals are amazing opportunities to meet fellow music lovers, get up close and personal with your favourite bands and even discover some new ones. A little preparation goes a long way towards ensuring you have an incredible time!

Holidays in Ireland

Holidays in Ireland

travel after coronavirusDiscover top tips to stay healthy on holidays in Ireland

Staycations are officially in! As a nation we’re starting to appreciate the wealth of beauty and culture on our doorsteps in Ireland and spending more time exploring our magnificent country. From the stunning Wild Atlantic Way to the breath-taking Giant’s Causeway and all the fun-filled cities and picturesque towns in between, there are a lot of gorgeous areas to be more than proud of.

While getting out and about is a huge part of enjoying your getaway it’s important not to underestimate the Irish summer. The sun’s rays are as strong as anywhere else in Europe and the risk of illness is just as high. Here are our top ten tips for holidays in Ireland to enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Beware of the sun

Always wear sun cream when exposed to the sun, even if it appears overcast outside. You really don’t want to be rocking the lobster look! Sun burn greatly increases the risk of melanoma, the most fatal kind of skin cancer.

Stay hydrated

Whether you’re hiking in the Wicklow Mountains or bopping along at a music festival, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This will help your heart and muscles to work efficiently, as well as reducing the risk of sunstroke.

Avoid insect bites

Pick up a decent repellent to avoid nasty bug bites. Believe us, you don’t want to spend the summer being irritated by itchy bites. TMB have a variety of high-quality repellents and bug bands to keep insects at bay.

Be careful when swimming

Sadly about a third of all drownings in Ireland are alcohol related so never drink if you intend on swimming. Having alcohol in your system when you enter cold water can lead to serious issues such as disorientation, difficult breathing and hypothermia – not to be taken lightly.

Protect your phone

If you’re heading to the beach or an outdoor pool, invest in a decent waterproof case for your smart phone. This will keep it totally dry, while still allowing you to make calls, use your apps and take those all-important sun-soaked selfies.

Avoid food poisoning

Enjoying a barbeque or picnic is one of the best things about the summer months but make sure you cook food thoroughly through to avoid food poisoning. Bacteria like salmonella, e.coli and listeria grow much faster at warmer temperatures so store perishable foods in a cooler bag or box.

Don’t drink too much

If you’ve got tickets for any of the fantastic Irish festivals this year, pace yourself when it comes to drinking. Don’t waste your money on an experience you’re only going to forget. Consuming large amounts of alcohol in the sun is a dangerous mix and puts you at a much greater risk of accidents or illness.

Be prepared

It’s Ireland so don’t be surprised if you experience a freak shower or sudden change in weather. Always bring a jacket with you just in case it turns chilly or rains. If you’re camping, make sure you bring a spare change of clothes and plenty of dry socks.

Entertain children

Sunday drives are a staple component of many Irish childhoods. Give your kids some child-safe headphones so they can enjoy music and games in the backseat. Travelshop.ie have a great selection of products to make travelling with children nice and easy, like tasty travel pops that prevent car sickness. Always keep a first aid kit in your car in case someone has an accident.

Mind your feet

Off on a hiking trip? Invest in a decent pair of boots in the right size and make sure you wear these in well before any big excursions. The last thing you want is your exciting day out ruined because of painful arches or blistered heels.

Gorgeous scenery, friendly locals and plenty of craic – holidaying in Ireland is an experience not to be missed! Whether you’re camping in Cork, swimming in Sligo or walking in Wexford, these top tips will ensure you stay healthy on your adventures.

Peru travel tips

Peru travel tipsnad-hemnani-8xpklKrfsG4-unsplashDiscover the best Peru travel tips

Peru is a breath-taking country, famous for its majestic ruins, stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage. With its changeable climate and diverse landscapes, it’s definitely advisable to be as prepared as possible before jetting off to this gorgeous destination. Here, Nicola Connolly from www.bestofperutravel.com shares her Peru travel tips and advice about how to stay healthy and happy on your adventure.

Staying safe in Peru

The majority of places you will encounter on your travels in Peru will be full of tourists and heavily monitored by the tourist police. Like anywhere else in the world, it’s best to use your common sense at all times and avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. Always take licensed taxis, don’t wander about by yourself at night and avoid flashing expensive gadgets or jewellery.

Best time to visit

In my opinion the best time to visit Machu Picchu and Cusco is undoubtedly in April and May or September and October. The weather conditions during these months are ideal – not too hot or too cold – and you avoid the hordes of travellers that flock to the ruins between June and August. Head to Lima during the city’s summer season, between December and April, when you can make the most of the beautiful Pacific beaches.

Visas and passports

It’s pretty easy to get a visa on arrival for Peru as an EU citizen but make sure to check your specific requirements before getting on the plane. Your passport should be valid for six months and have at least two free pages in the visa section. Remember to hold onto the tourist card you receive when you enter the country. You’ll have to pay a whopping 18% sales tax on accommodation and a fine on leaving if you lose it!

Vaccinations

It is recommended that all travellers visiting Peru are vaccinated against tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid. Those heading into rural areas should also get a tuberculosis immunisation, while trekkers require hepatitis B and rabies vaccinations. Avoid mosquito bites and the risk of malaria by using a high-quality insect repellent and taking antimalarial medication.

Money and banking

Fake money is a problem in Peru so make sure you never exchange cash on the street. Stick to reputable banks, such as Banco de Credito del Peru, Scotiabank and BBVA Banco Continental on Avenue del Sol in Cusco. Many hotels take US dollars although traveller’s cheques are less readily accepted. Make sure you keep smaller quantities of the local currency, nuevo sol, on you to pay for snacks, water and souvenirs.

Packing tips

Being comfortable in Peru is all about layering. The temperature can change dramatically between day and night so it’s important that you’re prepared. I would advise investing in some zip off trousers that can be transformed into shorts, as well as a decent waterproof jacket and high-quality hiking boots. Other items to add to your packing list include a hat, scarf, gloves, ear plugs and sunscreen.

There’s plenty to smile about in awe-inspiring Peru. If the colourful cities and exquisite beaches don’t do it for you, then the dramatic Inca ruins and lush Amazon rainforest most certainly will. Follow these top tips and enjoy a truly once-in-a-lifetime Peruvian adventure.

Book an appointment at a TMB clinic to speak with a qualified professional about the vaccinations you require for travelling in Peru. You can also get expert advice about antimalarial medication, insect repellent and other travel essentials.

For more information about Peru and specialist travel tips please visit www.bestofperutravel.com.

How to prepare for Kilimanjaro

How to prepare for Kilimanjaro

yoad-shejtman-S8IflvEHBFk-unsplashFind out how to prepare for Kilimanjaro

Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, which stands at 19,341 feet tall, is Africa’s highest mountain and one of its most beautiful sights. Over 40,000 people choose to climb this spectacular peak each year, keen to experience Tanzania’s stunning scenery and embark on a momentous personal challenge. Ian Taylor from www.iantaylortrekking.com is a Kilimanjaro specialist and has countless climbs under his belt. Here he discusses how to prepare for Kilimanjaro and stay safe on your trek.

Getting ready for your climb

The key to success on Kilimanjaro is excellent preparation and physical conditioning prior to your trip, as well as experience using your gear in a wilderness environment. You should never try to hike Kilimanjaro, or any other monumental peak, without preparation. You need to be able to walk 44.2 miles at high and extreme altitude, sometimes with 50% less oxygen in your blood scream and 50% less oxygen going to your muscles when you need it. You start hiking from 7,382 feet, covering about 16,500 feet on your way to the summit. This serious climb puts an extraordinary toll on your body so it’s essential that you are at your optimum levels of fitness and health. Increase your workout schedule in the months prior to your climb, making sure to get out in your local hills and mountains for lengthy walks.

What to pack

Don’t be fooled – Kilimanjaro is not for tourists. This is a serious mountain, an intense climb, which needs to be respected. You must be as prepared as possible, with the right gear and prior training to ensure you reach the summit. Your feet need to be taken care of on your trek. Buy a good-quality pair of hiking boots and wear these in well before you leave for Africa. I would also recommend packing a decent down jacket, a fleece, thermal underwear, good sunglasses and a headlamp.

Tips for ascending Kilimanjaro

Give yourself the time to prepare and understand the risks of climbing at a high altitude. Going too high too fast can be very dangerous. Less than 50% of people actually make it to the summit as they choose to go on five day cheaper climbs, not giving their bodies enough time to adjust properly. The key is the spend eight days on the mountain to give yourself the best chance of completing your climb. This will be more expensive due to the high cost of entering Kilimanjaro National Park but you need to consider what your ultimate goal is. You have travelled all the way to Tanzania to embark on this adventure. Why not pay a little more and give yourself the best possible chance of conquering your goals?

Adhere to this expert advice and there’s no reason why you can’t reach Kilimanjaro’s summit and have a life-changing experience. Preparation is key so make sure you spend time researching the route and sourcing all of the packing essentials. And remember, have an amazing time!

Those travelling to Tanzania are strongly advised to book an appointment at a TMB clinic and speak with a qualified professional about the different vaccinations they may require. All travellers really should consider cover against tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid. Those travelling directly from Europe to Tanzania do not need to show evidence of cover against yellow fever at immigration but the vaccine against yellow fever is recommended for some travellers. This all needs to be talked through. Those who are trekking in rural areas also need to consider getting diphtheria, meningococcal meningitis and cholera vaccinations.

For more information about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and to get expert trekking advice, please visit www.iantaylortrekking.com.

Tips for women travelling alone

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Find out some top tips for women travelling alone

More and more women are biting the bullet and embarking on exciting solo adventures across the globe. While solo travel has a host of benefits for all kind of travellers some extra precautions are necessary to take as a woman on your own. Here are our top tips for women travelling alone…

Be cautious

It’s pretty obvious but having a good dose of common sense really does go a long way. Be wary of who you meet and the situations you find yourself in. If a situation feels off, make an excuse and get out of there as quickly as you can. It’s really important as a solo traveller to trust your instincts and never take any chances.

Research your destination

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Research your destination extensively in advance so you understand local politics, customs and religion. This will help to minimise culture shock when you arrive and improve your overall experience. Check out YouTube videos to get a real insight into everyday life and read solo female travel blogs before you go.

Dress appropriately

In an ideal world, we could wear whatever we wanted without any negative repercussions. Sadly this isn’t the case and female travellers may receive unwanted attention if they dress inappropriately. When in doubt, copy the style of local women and always make sure that your clothing does not offend religious beliefs.

Plan in advance

Greatly reduce the stress of jetting off on your own by booking your accommodation and transport in advance. You’ll feel a lot more confident knowing exactly where you’re going to be and how you’re getting there. Keep your friends and family informed about your hostel or hotel address so they can reach you at all times.

Treat yourself

If you’re having an off day, take some time out from your itinerary to do something just for you. Pampering sessions on the road will keep you feeling your best and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. Chill out with a book, sample the local wine, get your nails done – whatever tickles your fancy!

Register with your embassy

Register with your embassy in the different countries you are visiting on your trip. In the unlikely event of a crisis, the embassy will be able to contact you and prioritise your well-being. Take photocopies of your passport, travel insurance and accommodation bookings in case any of these get lost or stolen.

Stay healthy

Remain in tip top shape by eating sensibly and staying hydrated. Make sure you pack a decent first aid kit and bring any special medication you need. Research the different vaccinations you may require for your destination and seek advice about how to avoid nasty illnesses when you’re away.

Befriend hotel staff

It’s natural to feel lonely from time to time when travelling solo. Make an effort to get to know the staff at your hostel or hotel to increase your sense of homeliness and security. Ask for advice about staying safe and let them know where you are going to and how long you expect to be.

Stay connected

The world is getting smaller everyday thanks to competitive flight fares and increased connectivity.  Just because you’re travelling solo doesn’t mean you are totally on your own. Make the most of Skype, Viber and WhatsApp to keep in touch with loved ones at home.

Solo travel has a host of wonderful benefits for women. Not only does it work wonders for your self-confidence, it also allows you to experience new cultures and ways of living. Take a little time to plan your trip properly and trust your intuition when you’re away to ensure you have the best time possible.

What to pack

What to pack

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Discover what to pack on your exotic holiday

You’ve booked your dream getaway, all visas and travel insurance have been sorted and you’ve made that all-important appointment to get your vaccinations. What’s left? Packing, of course. The prospect can be a little daunting but a little preparation goes a long way. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of what to pack to ensure you enjoy a safe and healthy adventure overseas.

Insect repellent

If you’re backpacking across Southeast Asia, Central America, South America or Africa, a high quality insect repellent is essential. You definitely don’t want to spend your time scratching nasty bites or suffering from any unpleasant side effects like fever, headaches and swollen lymph nodes. Preventing insect bites also greatly reduces the risk of malaria. An insect repellent containing DEET is strongly recommended to keep all those pesky bugs at bay.

Travel towel

If you hate the thought of lugging a bulky, damp towel from A to B then a microfibre travel towel is the way to go. This can be folded to a fraction of the size of a regular cotton towel, saving space in your backpack or suitcase. It will also dry much quicker and reduce the likelihood of odours and mildew occurring.

Luggage labels and luggage scales

Don’t make your time at the airport any more stressful than it has to be. There’s no need to worry about your baggage going missing if it’s properly labelled with secure leather tags. Luggage scales are also a great asset. These allow you to weigh your bag before the check-in desk so you can make sure it is within the allowance and you avoid any excess baggage charges.

Universal plug adaptor

If your biggest nightmare is not being able to charge your Kindle or use your hair straighteners overseas then a universal adapter is of the utmost importance. It’s worth investing in one which works in most countries so you know you’re sorted if your itinerary changes last-minute.

Sun cream

You’d be surprised how many people think they can get away without packing sunscreen for their holiday and end up looking pretty red-faced, literally! Our delicate skin is highly susceptible to the harmful rays of the sun and it’s vital that you take measures to protect it at all times. Pack a good-quality sunscreen and avoid painful sunburn ruining your holiday.

Mosquito net

There’s no need to endure an uncomfortable and sleepless night in a mosquito-riden hostel. Having your own sturdy mosquito net means that you are always protected no matter where you are. Again, avoiding mosquito bites greatly reduces your risk of contracting malaria in countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Portable phone charger

Charge your smart phone on the go with a mobile power bank. This will make your life a whole lot easier if you’re incorporating long bus or train journeys into your trip. Nowadays you can get compact light-weight chargers that easily fit into your pocket or handbag. Listen to your favourite tunes, get snap happy and stay connected with people at home.

So there you have it, essential items that will make your life a whole lot easier on your travels. Cover the basics and the rest will follow. Make sure to check out Travelshop.ie for some great offers on insect repellents, mosquito nets, travel accessories and gadgets. You’ll thank yourself for it on your trip.

Ways to prevent altitude sickness

Ways to prevent altitude sickness

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Find out the very best ways to prevent altitude sickness in Peru

When you think of Cusco and Machu Picchu chances are you get swept up in a daydream of lush rainforests, ancient ruins and stunning landscapes. And you aren’t wrong! This beautiful area of Peru is one of South America’s hottest tourist destinations, and for good reason. Sadly, many don’t get to experience all it has to offer due to difficulty adjusting to the high elevation. Here Peru expert Nicola Connolly from www.bestofperutravel.com outlines the best ways to prevent altitude sickness to ensure you have an amazing Peruvian adventure.

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness, a condition caused by lack of oxygen in high altitudes, can affect anyone travelling to Cusco, Peru (11,150 feet). No one is safe from this illness – it is not uncommon to see fit young people bowled over from ascending too quickly. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, a poor appetite, dizziness and the inability to sleep. These usually show up between 12 and 24 hours after reaching Cusco.

Relax when you arrive

It’s important to acclimatise in stages to give your body time to adjust to its new environment. Head to the beautiful Sacred Valley (9500 feet) first and be wowed by the breath-taking Inca sites, isolated weaving villages and vibrant markets. You may be excited to reach the summit and see the sights but remember, your health comes first. Spend your initial days in Cusco relaxing and soaking up the unique culture. Strenuous activity can exasperate symptoms and cause you to be become ill.

 ‘Climb high, sleep low’

Even the most experienced of trekkers follow the ‘climb high, sleep low’ mantra. If you’re eager to progress quickly and cover more than 1,000 feet in a day, make sure that you sleep at a lower altitude. Your body will thank you for it!

Stay hydrated

Low humidity at a high altitude makes the air dry so it’s more important than ever to keep your body hydrated. Drink lots of water before you arrive to prepare yourself for what’s to come and even more when you’re in Cusco. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as these cause dehydration and subsequent headaches and nausea. You really don’t want to throw a hangover into the mix!

Have coca leaves

Peruvians swear by coca tea as an antidote to thin air. This natural remedy is readily available in hotel receptions and offers almost immediate relief to dizziness for many. Have iced tea with the leaves to take with you on day trips or, if you feel like getting into the spirit of things, chew them like a local.

Buy portable oxygen cans

A few puffs of oxygen can work wonders. Portable oxygen cans only cost about €13 each and easily fit in your backpack. Having one on hand if you’re feeling dizzy or have a headache is advisable.

Don’t worry

Cusco is a massive tourist destination and the locals are well used to dealing with altitude sick tourists. If you do fall ill, rest assured that the medical facilities are top-class and you will be well looked after. For your peace of mind, all hotels have tanks of oxygen and many 5* resorts even pump oxygen into bedrooms to help you to sleep.

There’s no need to let your fear of altitude sickness put you off experiencing one of the world’s most incredible sites. Even with crowds of tourists, Machu Picchu retains its sense of mystery and magnificence, making it well worth the effort. Follow these top tips to reduce your risk of altitude sickness and have the trip of a lifetime.

Those travelling to Peru are strongly advised to book an appointment at a TMB clinic and speak with a qualified professional about the different vaccinations they may require. All travellers must get tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations, while those who plan on trekking also need hepatitis B and rabies vaccinations.

For more information about Peru and some expert travel tips please visit www.bestofperutravel.com.

Ways To Prevent Skin Cancer

Ways To Prevent Skin Cancer

ways to prevent skin cancer

Discover the best ways to prevent skin cancer and stay safe in the sun

Doctors have recently reported that incidences of skin cancer are, sadly, on the rise. Over 90% of these cases are a result of damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It’s these harmful rays that also cause wrinkles, sagging and discolouration of the skin – the aging symptoms we’re all so keen to avoid. We thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of ways to prevent skin cancer to ensure you can enjoy some sunshine without risking your health.

Damaging effects of the sun

Here in Ireland we’re understandably sun chasers. It rains for most of the year so when the sun does finally break through for a day or two we’re all out in our shorts and t-shirts, ready to catch some much-needed rays. While the sun has undeniable mood-lifting benefits and prompts our bodies to create Vitamin D, it can also be extremely dangerous, especially for pale and sensitive skin. We only actually need 20 minutes of sun per day to stay healthy. Anything beyond that is merely damaging our body and increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Dr Graham Fry, Medical Director of TMB, warns against being too complacent about the sun’s harmful effects. “We all get very excited when the weather finally picks up in the summer  months and try to embrace it as much as we can before it disappears again,” he says. “What we forget is that the sun is still harmful and that there’s still a need to protect ourselves, even on home ground.”

Examine your skin

The earlier you detect skin abnormalities the greater your chance of fighting against skin cancer. Put a reminder in your diary to examine your skin from head to toe each month. Pay particular attention to any moles or growths. If there has been a change in the size, colour or texture of these seek medical advice at once.

Avoid tanning beds

Looking tanned may be fashionable but using tanning beds is just plain silly. Did you know that more people actually contract skin cancer from tanning beds than lung cancer from smoking? It’s pretty shocking stuff. Opt for fake tan instead and keep your skin as safe as possible.

Wear sun cream

It’s pretty obvious but wearing sun cream greatly reduces the risk of skin cancer and aging. Choose one with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply every day. Even when the sun is not shining bright its rays are still targeting your skin and causing damage. Apply half an hour before you go into the sun and reapply every two hours or straight away after swimming.

Wear protective clothing

Cover up with protective clothing when you’re out and about. A broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses will help to protect your scalp, face and eyes when you’re out and about. Be wary of swimming costumes that might not give proper coverage.

Monitor time spent in the sun

It’s important to keep account of how long your skin has been exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Seek the shade, particularly when the sun is at its highest between 10am and 4pm. Play sports or do outdoor activities in the early morning or at dusk to keep your skin protected.

Don’t burn

The risk of melanoma, the most fatal kind of skin cancer, is greatly increased if your skin burns. If you notice your skin turning pink or feeling hot, go inside immediately. Be extra careful around water, snow and sand surfaces as these reflect up to 80% of the sun’s rays, drastically increasing your chances of getting burnt.

Prevention is better than cure. Take the necessary measures to protect your skin and your risk of cancer will be greatly reduced. It’s true that the sunshine helps our bodies to create Vitamin D but this can also be obtained from supplements and a a healthy balanced diet. When in doubt, pay a visit to your GP to find out all the facts and have a skin assessment. You’ll thank yourself for it!

To find out more information about skin cancer please visit www.skincancer.org or www.cancer.ie.

Safari Travel Tips

Safari Travel Tips

safari

Discover our top safari travel tips to ensure you have an amazing African adventure

Going on safari in Africa is an amazing experience, quite unlike any other kind of holiday. Taking in breath-taking landscapes, getting up close and personal with stunning wildlife, embracing new and exciting cultures – it truly is once-in-a-lifetime stuff! Whether you’re a first-timer or old hat, you definitely need to be extra prepared when it comes to planning your safari adventure. Here are our top tips for going on safari in Africa…

Research regions

First things first – where are you going to go? Africa is a big continent, with different regions boasting unique and diverse wildlife. People generally choose between East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda), South Africa and Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia and Zambia). Spend some time researching what animals you would most like to observe and which national parks are best for these. The time of year should also influence your decision. While Kenya is best visited from late July to August, when the climate is coolest and migration is underway, Tanzania is better suited to September safaris.

Research wildlife

If your knowledge of African wildlife is limited to childhood viewings of ‘The Lion King’ it may well be time to dust off the encyclopaedia  and spend time researching the species you are likely to encounter on your trip. Understanding animal habits and traits will undoubtedly improve your overall safari experience, not to mention enhance your safety overseas. It is important to remember that these creatures are in the wild and will defend themselves against tourists if necessary. Respect their terrain and they are much more likely to respect you in return.

Book travel insurance

It goes without saying, booking travel insurance is an essential prerequisite to going on safari. Things can go wrong, no matter what preparations you make or how reputable your tour operator is. Make sure that your policy accounts for all possible outcomes, including trip cancellation, a medical emergency and luggage loss. Also check if your current health plan covers medical reimbursements for overseas care.

Get vaccinations

Africa is a beautiful continent, sadly home to some nasty illnesses such as yellow fever, rabies and poliomyelitis. Make sure you get all of your required vaccinations before travelling to greatly minimise the risk of falling ill. The last thing you want is to have to cut your long-awaiting safari trip short due to a stint in a foreign hospital. Because you will be exploring rural areas, additional vaccinations such as diphtheria, meningococcal meningitis and tuberculosis will also be necessary. Make sure you also take precautions against mosquito bites and malaria.

Take in your surroundings

When you think of safari, the first thing that pops into your head is probably ‘The Big Five’, right?! While spotting lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalos is undoubtedly an incredible experience, it’s important to appreciate the little things too. The landscapes and nature in Africa are out of this world and reason enough to venture into the wild. Don’t fall into the trap of simply ticking things off your list. Taking the time to acknowledge the diverse vegetation and smaller species, such as insects and birds, will lead to a much more enriched safari experience.

Pack sensibly

There’s no need for fancy attire on safari so leave those heels or expensive suit at home. Pack sensibly, making sure that all clothing is comfortable and suitable for the climate. Layers that can be easily removed are ideal as African temperatures tend to vary a lot between day and night. Clothing in earth tones is advised so you remain inconspicuous among the wild animals. You definitely don’t want to be distracted by blisters on safari so remember to break in new shoes before you go.

If those top tips don’t have you safari ready, then we don’t know what will. Spending time researching your destination and the wildlife that call it home will greatly enhance your safari experience. Take precautions against illnesses and pack appropriately to ensure you have the most comfortable getaway possible.

Those going on safari or a holiday in Africa are strongly advised to seek medical assistance at a TMB clinic before travelling. Book an appointment to speak with a qualified consultant who will offer advice how to stay safe while you’re away and information about all of the required vaccinations.

Travelling With Children

Travelling With Children

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Discover our top tips for travelling with children

There’s no doubt about it – travelling with children can often be a tiresome or stressful experience. Your little ones may become cranky on the move or bore easily in a new environment. With a little preparation, however, there’s no reason why your family can’t embark on its own exciting adventure overseas. Check out these top family travel tips to ensure your next getaway is as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible.

Plan ahead

Spend time researching destinations that will suit all members of your family. There’s no point trying to be spontaneous with your little ones in tow. It makes a lot more sense to book ahead and ensure your accommodation is child-friendly and safe. While you’re at it, organise all airport transfers and transport. It’s a well-known fact that children act up when they’re confined to small spaces so limit journey time as much as you can.

Bring toys

OK, so you’ve in an exotic destination with stunning landscapes and unique wildlife…chances are your children are still more interested in the latest Barbie or computer game. While you want to encourage kids to appreciate the culture around them, having some toys to keep them occupied isn’t always a bad idea. A camera is a wonderful prop as it encourages them to observe their surroundings and capture what interests them.

Research your destination

Celebrate your children’s curiosity by researching your holiday destination with them before you jet off. They’re a lot more likely to behave and take in their surroundings abroad if they have already established an interest in them. Identify local wildlife, cook signature dishes, explore the region on a map and watch films about the country in question.

Stay healthy

The last thing you want is a poorly child on your hands while you’re away from home. To stay healthy, ensure that your family eats a balanced diet and remains hydrated in hot temperatures. Visit a travel health clinic before you set off and get all of the recommended vaccinations. If antimalarial medication is required ask about a syrup form which is easier for children to swallow.

Pack suitable clothing

Spend time researching your destination’s climate and pack weather-appropriate clothing for your children. Comfy kids are happy kids! Make sure that new clothing fits properly and all shoes have been worn in before you go.

Choose fun activities

You’d probably love nothing more than to check out the local art gallery or relax with a glass of wine in a lush vineyard, right? For the whole family to have an amazing time, you really need to consider activities that will keep everyone entertained. Indulge your own inner child and lots more laughs are guaranteed. Head to the zoo, go on a boat ride or visit a theme park. Remember, they won’t stay this age forever!

So there you have it, our top tips for travelling with children. Plan ahead, pack carefully and organise fun excursions to guarantee you all have the best trip imaginable. You’ll want to do it all over again as soon as you return home!

Travelshop.ie have a wide selection of travel accessories especially designed for children to make your getaway as hassle-free as possible. Check out the children’s folding pillows, child-safe headphones and travel pops.

Those travelling with young children are strongly advised to book an appointment at a TMB clinic to ensure that their health requirements are being met. A number of vaccinations may be required depending on the destination. Speaking with a TMB consultant ensures that you and your family will remain healthy and happy overseas.

What vaccinations do I need for backpacking Southeast Asia?

What vaccinations do I need for backpacking Southeast Asia?

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Get advice about what vaccinations you require for your backpacking Southeast Asia trip

Southeast Asia has been dubbed backpacker heaven for decades thanks to its low prices, high temperatures and unique cultures, and its popularity isn’t declining any time soon. With eleven vibrant countries to explore and a lot of ground to cover, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are our favourite five places you really can’t miss on your backpacking Southeast Asia adventure and details of the vaccinations you need before setting off.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is a small picturesque city that packs a big punch and is a favourite with backpackers of all ages and backgrounds. With its peaceful atmosphere, quaint harbour, incredible restaurants and general good vibes, it’s not hard to see why. Head here to get exquisite tailor-made clothes at a fraction of the price back home. Return time and time again on account of the friendly locals who go out of their way to lend a helping hand. There are also some stunning beaches nearby when you feel like catching some rays. All travellers heading to Vietnam should get tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations to ensure they are stay safe while they’re away.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

No trip to Southeast Asia is complete without explorations of the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat. Be transported to another world as you wander through ancient Khmer temples which perfectly embody creativity and spirituality. Despite the crowds of likeminded backpackers, it’s easy to find peace among the ruins and get a sense of what life was like thousands of years ago. Stay safe in Cambodia by getting your tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations before you go. Those going into rural areas are recommended to also get vaccinations for diphtheria, meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis and Japanese B Encephalitis.

Mount Kimabalu, Malaysia

For an adventure you’ll never forget, climb majestic Mount Kimabalu. Deemed Southeast Asia’s tallest mountain, this peak makes for a challenging but rewarding trek. The fascinating flora and fauna in the area, including over 326 bird species and over 600 varieties of ferns, are reason enough to venture into its environs. Sooth your aching muscles in the geothermally heated Poring Hot Springs after you reach the summit. You require the same vaccinations for Malaysia as Vietnam and Cambodia – just make sure to also get hepatitis B if you’re planning a Mount Kimabalu trek.

Lake Inle, Myanmar

Taking a boat trip across Lake Inle is an unforgettable experience and one you should definitely add to your backpacking bucket list. It’s hard to tell where the lake meets the sky as everything is blue as far as the eye can see. Watch the local fishermen catch fish with their artistic technique and float by stilt-house villages, vibrant markets, Buddhist temples and floating gardens. Along with tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid, it’s recommended that travellers to Inle Lake get hepatitis B and rabies vaccinations to ensure their safety.

Palawan, The Philippines

For the ultimate beach getaway, soak up the sun on the beautiful island of Palawan. What makes Palawan so special is its relative underdevelopment in comparison to other popular South East Asian islands like Phuket and Bali. Enjoy golden beaches, lush green mountains, unique rock formations, charming locals and incredible seafood. Make sure you get your tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations before you go.

Inspired to embark on your own Southeast Asia trip? This stunning subcontinent boasts vibrant cultures, gorgeous scenery, mouth-watering cuisine and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Wherever you end up going, you’ll sure to have an absolute blast. Take the necessary precautions before you travel to ensure you have the best time possible.

Those travelling to South East Asia are strongly advised to book an appointment at a local TMB clinic to find out which vaccinations they require and to get the best advice about how to travel safely.

If you’re a student take advantage of TMB’s fantastic student summer offer. Receive a special student travel package from only €115 which includes a 10% discount on recommended vaccines, consultation with a TMB doctor, Malaria prescription where recommended and a voucher for Travelshop.ie. Simply present your Student Travel Leapcard to avail of this great deal.

Gap Year Travel

Gap Year Travel

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Consider these gap year travel ideas if you fancy a break from reality

Filling out university application forms without really knowing what you want to do with your life? Or maybe you’re fed up with the monotonous 9 to 5? A gap year could be just what you need! No matter what age you are, sometimes the very best thing to do, both personally and professionally, is to take time out from your everyday life. Here are some gap year travel ideas to inspire you.

Volunteer

Be more than just a traveller and help to create a positive change in disadvantaged areas around the world. Whether you’re interested in conservation or humanitarian work, teaching or construction, you can be guaranteed that there’s a life-changing project crying out for an extra pair of hands. Volunteering allows you to settle into a community and really get to know the culture and locals, which won’t be as easy if you restrict yourself to the tourist trail. You’ll meet a lot of like-minded people and make some life-long friends. Plus, a volunteering stint looks great on your CV. Win-win!

Before jumping into your volunteering mission, make sure you do a lot of research so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Consider if social or environmental work is more up your street and what country caters for this. There are many different projects to choose between, from saving turtles in Costa Rica to working with an NGO in India. You’re investing a lot of your time and energy so choose one that you think you’ll find most enjoyable. Reading reviews from previous volunteers is a great way of getting an insight into volunteering life and making sure the company is legitimate.

Intern

Gain some incredible work experience and improve your skillset while you’re away. Internships abroad are a fantastic way of breaking up your travel time and helping you to stand out from the sea of job applicants when you return home. Combining travelling with an internship shows future employers that you are serious about your career and willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone to advance it. It’ll also help you to build up a network of international contacts which may come in very handy further down the road.

Internships abroad are usually unpaid although accommodation and food costs may be covered. Read your contract thoroughly before signing and get a second opinion if you have any doubts about the conditions of employment. You don’t want to be taken advantage of, particularly in a foreign country where you may not speak the language or have a decent support network. If you cannot find the kind of internship you are looking for, create opportunities for yourself. Approach foreign companies that you would like to work for with your CV and see if there are any intern positions opening up. You never know what might happen!

Backpack

The most popular gap year option is, without a doubt, backpacking. Nothing quite beats the excitement of exploring vibrant cultures, making new friends and enjoying life on the road. Competitive flight and accommodation options are making places like South East Asia, Central America and South America more accessible than ever before. It’s not just students who should consider taking the plunge. Backpacking has a host of benefits for travellers of all ages, professions and backgrounds.

Think carefully about where you want to go and how much this will cost before committing to a trip. Countries like Nepal and Peru are notoriously cheap to travel around but you must also factor in additional spending in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Make sure you also have all of the recommended vaccinations and medication before travelling to avoid becoming ill while you’re away. A little preparation will guarantee you the trip of a lifetime!

The benefits of taking a gap year are clear so perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and embark on your own personal adventure? Whether you choose to volunteer, intern or backpack, you’ll get a new perspective on things and return more focused on what you want to do in life.

Those thinking of taking a gap year are advised to book an appointment at a local TMB Clinic to find out which vaccinations they require for their destination of choice. Speaking with a TMB consultant also means that you receive the best advice about staying healthy and safe when you’re overseas.

Business Travel Tips

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Find out our top business travel tips to make sure you feel your best when you’re on a work trip

Travelling for business is a whole other ball game than doing so for pleasure. Sure, you might be jetting off to exotic locations but trying to keep on top of your workload in a strange environment can really take it out of you. Not to mention the evils of jet lag! Our top business travel tips will help you to prepare for your trip and feel your best when you’re away.

Eat healthily

It may sound pretty obvious, but take all the necessary measures to ensure your health is in tip top shape before you set off. It’s easy to rely on convenience food and caffeinated drinks when you’re on the move but these do nothing for your productivity levels. Drink lots of water, get your five a day and bring your vitamins!

Get vaccinations

Take the same precautions when travelling for business as you would on a trip with friends or family. Research your destination extensively and make sure you have the recommended vaccinations and medication. It’s also advisable to pack a small first aid kit with essentials such as disinfectant, painkillers and hydration sachets. Believe us, there’s nothing worse than getting sick when you’re in a foreign country and trying to make a good impression.

Work away from home

Have a few hours to spare in between meetings? Make the most of down time by catching up on your workload. Take advantage of the free wifi at airports and hotels and stay connected with your office colleagues. Delegate tasks to ensure you are not facing an unsurmountable workload when you return home.

Be nice to staff

You might be feeling a bit worn out or stressed but remember, kindness goes a long way. Smile at everyone you meet, from the airport’s security staff to your hotel receptionist. Not only will it make your whole trip more enjoyable, you might even be treated to some free upgrades.

Visit tourist attractions

Try to do at least one cultural thing on your business trip and get a sense of the country’s customs outside of the boardroom. Treat yourself to some traditional cuisine, strike up a conversation with a local or take a few hours to visit the number one tourist attraction. This will make your trip much more memorable and give you something to talk about when you’re back in the office.

Beat jet lag

Flying affects different people in different ways. If you travel for business a lot and constantly have to deal with changing time zones, it’s important to figure out what sleeping and eating patterns work best for you. Our top tips – stay hydrated on your flight and get as much sleep as you normally would. Avoid alcohol and opt for calming camomile tea or soothing warm milk instead.

Pack light

Travelling can be stressful so don’t add an overweight suitcase into the mix. If you’re just away for a few days, take hand luggage and only pack the basics. You won’t have to wait for your bag at your destination airport or be laden down with luggage for the duration of your stay. Look at your itinerary and choose suitable clothing for the weather and each day’s activities.

So there you have it, our top tips for business travellers. No matter how long you’re away for, stick by these to ensure your journey is as seamless as possible.

Business travellers are advised to book an appointment at a TMB Clinic to find out more about vaccinations they may require and to get the best advice about how to stay healthy while overseas. TMB Clinics have a range of special services for corporate travellers, including education seminars, pre-departure medical screening and post-exposure medical screening.

Backpacking Central America

Backpacking Central Americaphilipp-kammerer-6Mxb_mZ_Q8E-unsplash (2)Discover the best things to do while backpacking Central America, where it’s safe to travel and when to go

When you think of a backpacking Central America holiday what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Like us, do you find yourself daydreaming of turquoise waters, lush jungles, gorgeous wildlife, impressive Mayan ruins and lively markets? This beautiful subcontinent consists of seven countries, all boasting a unique history, culture and array of tourist hotspots. There’s a lot to love but what makes our backpacking Central America bucket list? Read on…

The Bay Islands in Honduras

Enjoy the slower pace of life on the stunning Bay Islands, located off Honduras’ northern coast. With the second largest barrier reef in the world, this is THE place to go to get your diving and snorkelling fix. Have your own ‘Finding Nemo’ adventure underwater with some of the most beautiful fish, coral and sea life you’ll ever see. Utila’s wide range of hostels and low-cost accommodation make it a firm favourite with backpackers, while families and those on a higher budget can take advantage of Roatan’s upmarket hotels and guesthouses. We’d recommend visiting during the summer months when you have the best chance of spotting beautiful whale sharks in Utila.

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

Lose sense of reality and experience what has been described as the most amazing lake in the world. Lake Atitlan is seriously stunning and will leave you feeling breathless at its sheer vastness and beauty. Green hills and impressive volcanoes are scattered in the landscape making it postcard picture perfect. Soak up the indigenous culture and try some of the local cuisine in one of the Mayan villages surrounding the lake itself. There are also plenty of vibrant markets where you can pick up cheap textiles and crafts to remember your trip by. The best time to travel is between December and January when the vegetation is beautifully lush after the rainy season and you can get exceptional clear views of the lake.

León in Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s León is culture vulture heaven – a bohemian city of crumbling churches, impressive art collections, cosmopolitan restaurants and stunning colonial architecture. You won’t be able to avoid the city’s violent history as you encounter bullet holes and revolutionary murals adorning building walls at every turn. The atmosphere is lively with music and dance performances taking you into the early hours. Explore León Cathedral, the biggest in Central America, and take advantage of the rooftop views of the sprawling city and smoking volcanoes in the distance. Visit between November and May to make the most of the dry season.

Panama City in Panama

Travel to Central America’s most cosmopolitan city for a break like no other. While the time away wandering down cobblestoned streets and taking in the awe-inspiring colonial architecture. Visit the world-famous Panama canal, sip on delicious local coffee and wear an obligatory Panama hat. You definitely won’t be stuck for things to do! Take day trips from the city to the surrounding golden beaches and lush rainforests when you want a break from it all. Panama is the most Americanised of all the Central American countries, making it your ideal starting point if you’re feeling a bit nervous. We’d definitely recommend planning your trip for mid-February when you can experience the extravagance of Carnaval and be wowed by the colourful floats and entertainers that take to the streets.

Arenal National Park in Costa Rica

Make a trip to Arenal National Park in Costa Rica and prepare to have your mind blown! The incredible Arenal Volanco looms in the distance as you wind through quaint towns and take in the amazing scenery on the route leading to the Park. There are many easy-to-navigate trails which bring you through former lava fields and rainforests. Pick a spot for a picnic and take in the gorgeous views. Arenal is also a birdwatcher’s dream with over 850 bird species being identified within its borders. To make the most of your trip, consider one of the many exceptional guided tours on offer. When’s the best time to visit? Mid-December to April when there is plenty of sunshine and the Park looks even more incredible than usual.

Safety in Central America

If those five dream destinations don’t inspire you to pack your bags, we don’t know what will! You may have read some concerning reports of crime in Central America in general but it’s important to remember that these are the exception and not the rule. Stay in the recommended tourist areas to ensure you have the best trip possible.

So there you have it, our top picks for places to visit in Central America. For more ideas to add to your Central American bucket list check out blog posts from Viva Tropical and Indie Traveller. Whether you’re after an action-packed or relaxing getaway, this incredible subcontinent really does have something for everyone.

Those travelling to Central America are strongly advised to book an appointment at a local TMB Clinic to find out which vaccinations they require and get the best health and safety travelling tips. Illnesses such as typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies are rife in countries like Belize and El Salvador so it’s best to take all the necessary precautions before you travel.

Tips For Solo Travellers

Tips For Solo Travellers

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Planning a trip alone? Our tips for solo travellers should help you get prepared for your adventure.

After months of hemming and hawing you’ve finally decided to go for it and embark on your first solo trip. Exciting times ahead! Whether it’s for a weekend or a year, travelling solo takes courage and you need to be as prepared as possible. These tips for solo travellers will get you ready for your adventure and help you feel at ease.

Plan your trip:

Travellers are told time and time again that it’s best not to organise a trip too much and simply see where the wind takes you. While you may want to adjust your itinerary slightly depending on who you meet or where takes your fancy, it is definitely advisable to plan ahead as a solo traveller. Sorting out your accommodation and transport for the first stint of your journey will help to ease your mind before you set off. You can relax in the knowledge that, at the very least, you will be able to get from A to B and have a roof over your head. This leaves you with plenty of time to focus on the important stuff when your trip kicks off – meeting new people, embracing the local culture and making everyone at home mad with jealousy.

Meet other travellers:

Solo travel is fantastic because it gives you total independence – you can develop an itinerary that suits your interests and incorporates your dream destinations without having to consult anyone else.  The downside of this is that many solo travellers experience, at one time or another, feelings of loneliness. This doesn’t have to be the case. Make an effort to meet like-minded people while you travel and you’ll be too busy having fun to think about what everyone is up to back home. Staying in hostels is a sure-fire way to meet fellow solo travellers. If you’d like to mingle with locals join a Couchsurfing meetup group and discover hotspots off the beaten track. Eat With A Local is also a great website to check out if you want to indulge in some local cuisine while making new friends overseas.

Discover new hobbies:

Remember that book you kept putting down because of a work assignment or that photography project that never took off due to time constraints? Now’s your chance! Travelling solo gives you the opportunity to relinquish old interests and discover new ones. Outside of the 9-5 routine you’ll have plenty of time to focus on yourself and the things that make you happy. Signing up to group activities is effectively killing two birds with one stone – you meet fellow travellers while also focusing on your favourite pastime. Befriend a fellow foodie on that Italian cookery course, be pushed to your limits on that Peruvian trek or get your creative juices flowing on an Indian artists’ retreat.  The options really are endless!

Focus on the practicalities:

Minimise the chance of something going wrong by taking all of the necessary precautions before you go. Make sure you have all of the vaccinations you require for your destination of choice. Nasty illnesses such as diphtheria, rabies and typhoid are more commonplace than you’d think and your chances of catching these are much, much higher if you don’t get your vaccinations.  You really don’t want to find yourself in a foreign hospital bed feeling entirely alone. While you’re at it, get yourself decent travel insurance that covers all of the length of your trip, countries you will be visiting and any specific activities you might end up doing. This is an absolute must for solo travellers who do not have a support system at hand.

Stay connected:

Imagine what it was like for solo travellers before the age of the smart phone, tablet and widespread wifi. These days it’s easy to stay connected with friends and family all around the globe. Record your trip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so loved ones at home can have a real insight into your everyday life on the road. Make the most of apps such as Backpackr, GonnaGo and Travlrapp to make new friends in the different countries you visit. And there’s nothing like the good old-fashioned blog to let you cement your journey in cyberspace.

Whether you’re making for the tropical islands of Thailand or interrailing your way across Europe, these useful tips will help to take the edge off your upcoming solo adventure. As clichéd as it sounds, travelling on your own will work wonders for your self-confidence and, with a little preparation, you’re sure to have an incredible time. Just don’t forget your selfie stick!

Solo travellers are advised to book an appointment at a TMB Clinic to find out more about vaccinations they may require and to get the best tips about how to travel safely.

Backpacking Tips

Backpacking Tips

Packing Tips for Travelling Abroad

Backpacking tips to get the most from your trip

It’s easy to get side-tracked when planning your first backpacking trip by thinking of nothing more than amazing beaches, vibrant cities and mouth-watering cuisine. Organising visas, travel insurance and vaccinations might seem like a hassle but this is necessary to ensure you have the best trip possible. Here are some backpacking tips you should consider before setting off on your journey.

Travel insurance

Yes, you really do need it! Travel insurance is essential for backpackers who will find themselves in an array of completely different environments. You definitely don’t want to end up covering the costs if your bag disappears from that overnight bus, your flight is cancelled or the local food has some unpleasant consequences on your health. At the very least, having travel insurance gives you, and your loved ones at home, peace of mind. There are several excellent price comparison sites online which allow you to easily see which policy is best suited to your trip and budget.

Vaccinations

Prevention is better than cure. Research the countries you will be visiting and make sure you get the recommended vaccinations. Developing countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Mexico and Brazil are home to some nasty diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever or malaria. Getting jabs before you leave means that you’re a lot less likely to have your cut your trip short because of an illness. Being laid up in a foreign hospital where you don’t speak the language is not fun.

Tourist Visas

Thought you could just rock up and charm your way through security? Not always the case. You’ll need to look into the visa requirements for the places you want to backpack through. In some countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, you can get a visa on arrival. Others, like Myanmar and China, require a trip to the embassy before you arrive. While you’re at it, make sure you have cash in the correct currency to pay for your visa and that your passport is in date.

Backpacking Budget

Check out travel blogs to get a sense of how much it costs to backpack around your destinations of choice. You don’t want to have to cut your trip short or beg off your parents because of some careless planning. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck in South East Asia or South America but it’s also important to factor in unexpected costs. Your phone charger might break, a must-do activity might be more expensive than anticipated and you may insist on ordering shots for the whole hostel when you’ve had a few too many.

Packing your backpack

Less really is more. Backpacking is tiring and it’s a whole lot tougher if you’re dragging around more weight than you need. It’s not uncommon for backpackers to ditch perfectly good clothing or unread books at the start of their journey, all because their shoulders ache and their backs can’t quite take it anymore. Just bring the basics! It’s easy to pick up toiletries and cheap clothing on the well-worn backpacking trail. There really is no need for that can of hairspray or extra pair of shoes. Check out blog posts from Hostelbookers and Nomadic Matt for more advice on how to pack your backpack.

There’s a lot to cover but getting these practicalities sorted means you can enjoy your trip and really get the most out of it. Travelling can be daunting but being well prepared will definitely help you to feel more secure and confident.

Vaccinations Cambodia

Vaccinations Cambodia

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What vaccinations will I need for Cambodia?

Cambodia is a country steeped in amazing history and gorgeous scenery, however, there are certain health risks to those who choose to travel there.

Prior to setting off to explore this amazing country, travellers should make sure they are properly vaccinated against any infections or diseases that have the potential to ruin their trip.

There are three different vaccinations that medical professionals strongly recommend for visitors to Cambodia to get. Find out more about these vaccinations below.

Tetanus Vaccination

One of the main characteristics of tetanus is severe and painful muscular contractions. These contractions occur particularly in the jaw and are one of the reasons that tetanus has become known as “lock jaw”. The bacteria that causes tetanus enters the body through deep wounds or cuts.  It then begins to attack the central nervous system. Tetanus can prove fatal in some cases so visitors to Cambodia should make the effort to protect against it. Another important thing to note about tetanus is that recovering from the disease does not prevent further attacks so patients will need active vaccination.

Hepatitis A Vaccination

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that attacks the liver and is usually contracted through exposure to contaminated water and food. It is particularly prevalent in areas where there is poor sanitation, which is the case in many areas of Cambodia. Some of the symptoms of hepatitis a include tiredness, upset stomach, muscle pain, fever and a jaundiced look to the skin and eyes. Although sufferers normally recover after a few weeks, some people can have symptoms for up to six months. If you want to make sure you don’t suffer from any of these unpleasant symptoms on your Cambodian getaway, go and get vaccinated.

Typhoid Vaccination

The cause of this infection is a bacterium called S. typhi which can be picked up by eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water. Like many other illnesses, countries without proper sanitation are at a higher risk of contracting typhoid. Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and headaches are some of the main symptoms of typhoid. If left untreated, these symptoms can get worse with some patients developing life threatening complications.  Vaccination is the best way to prevent against catching the infection.

Other vaccinations needed for Cambodia

Travellers considering heading off the beaten track in Cambodia should also consider vaccinating themselves against some other nasty diseases.

Those planning to head trekking are advised to vaccinate themselves against hepatitis B and rabies while anyone visiting more rural areas should vaccinate themselves against diphtheria and meningococcal meningitis. These more “off-the-beaten-track” locations tend to have less sanitation and can be far removed from any medical assistance so getting the correct vaccinations is crucial.

Although Cambodia is a safe place to visit, it is also advised that travellers check the Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website to make sure there are currently no major issues or events occurring that could impact on their trip.

Vaccinations India

Vaccinations India  
Taj Mahal

What vaccinations do I need for India?

India is a very popular destination amongst those seeking adventure and is bursting full of amazing things to see and do. However, travelling to India does carry some health risks. Before setting off, travellers should make sure they are protected against any health hazards that could potentially ruin their trip.

Although there are no compulsory vaccinations required for entry to India, there are some that are strongly recommended. Find out what these vaccinations are below.

Tetanus Vaccination

The bacteria that causes tetanus is mainly found in soil, animal faces and dust. The bacteria enters the body through cuts or wounds and begins to release a toxin that affects nerves, muscles and motor neurons. This subsequently results in painful muscle spasms, particularly in the jaw. Other symptoms also include fever, sweating, increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Catching and surviving tetanus does not mean a person is immune from contracting it again so active immunization is needed.

Hepatitis A Vaccination

The hepatitis A virus attacks the liver leading to inflammation. It can cause sufferers to develop flu like symptoms as well as stomach pain. Jaundice is also a common symptom and is the reason why the disease is known to many as Yellow Jaundice. As India can have poor sanitation in certain areas, travellers are at a higher risk of catching the hepatitis A virus there through contaminated food and water. Although it is a short-term infection, the symptoms of hepatitis A can be unpleasant so getting vaccinated is crucial.

Typhoid Vaccination

Typhoid is contracted from eating contaminated food and water and the often poor sanitation systems in India puts travellers to the country at risk. The classic symptoms of Typhoid are fever, poor appetite, headaches, body aches and diarrhoea, although, some people may present with no symptoms at all. Some patients continue to be carriers of the disease after they have been cured and are often responsible for new outbreaks. Thanks to antibiotics, the mortality rate of Typhoid is low.

Poliomyelitis Vaccination

This is a viral infection that is spread most frequently through the faecal-oral route. The virus then multiplies in the intestine and can cause symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat, headaches and muscle pains. Severe cases may also lead to paralysis which can be permanent. It is important to note that 90-95% of those infected show no symptoms at all yet these people are still capable of passing the infection on to others. There is currently no cure for polio and it can only be prevented through vaccination.

Other vaccinations required for India

Aside from the above mentioned vaccinations, those venturing to more rural areas, or those who are planning on going trekking, should also consider protecting themselves against a number of other diseases.

More rural parts of India will pose even more threat to travellers’ health so they should consider immunizing themselves against Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, Meningococcal Meningitis and Japanese B Encephalitis.

Anybody considering taking on India’s fantastic trekking routes should also take the time to protect themselves against hepatitis B and rabies.

It is recommended that travellers to these types of areas attend the clinic to get their vaccines earlier than the suggested four to six weeks prior to departure to ensure there is enough time to finish the immunization courses.

TMB also suggest anyone planning a trip to India to consult the Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website to check the country’s safety status.

India is a magical destination and most travellers should not run in to any problems once they take the suggestions made above on-board.

Vaccinations Brazil

Vaccinations Brazil

brazil Want to know what vaccinations you need for Brazil?

Make sure your trip isn’t ruined by any nasty illness and get the vaccinations you need to protect against any potential health risks.

Brazil is a vast country with many different health and safety factors at play across its different regions. Whether you’re travelling to vibrant Rio or the magical Amazon rainforest, you will need to take the time to vaccinate yourself against any potentially harmful diseases.

Check out Tropical Medical Bureau’s list of recommended vaccinations for Brazil below.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

This vaccination is required for Brazil as it has previously caused epidemics in the Americas. Categorized as an acute viral haemorrhagic disease, Yellow Fever can be potentially fatal if left untreated. The virus itself is spread by mosquitoes and there are an estimated 200,000 cases every year. The word “yellow” in the name refers to the yellow jaundiced appearance that can affect some patients. There is an incubation period of three to six weeks and symptoms range from muscle pain and nausea to a slow pulse and a high fever.

Hepatitis A Vaccination

This a viral liver disease that has an estimated 1.4 million cases every year. Although the disease can kill, most patients recover after a few months of unpleasant illness. Hepatitis A is normally contracted through ingesting contaminated food or water and can also be picked up through direct contact with an infected person. Travellers to areas of Brazil without proper sanitation facilities are at the most risk as faecal matter may cause contamination of water and food. The symptoms of hepatitis A commonly present like flu and patients can also develop jaundice.

Tetanus Vaccination

There are around 1 million cases of tetanus around the world every year and the disease can be lethal in those who have not been immunised. The disease is picked up through cuts or puncture wounds and affects the nervous system, this then leads to painful muscle contractions. In particular, these muscles spasms occur in the jaw which has led to tetanus becoming commonly known as “lockjaw”.  Having and recovering from tetanus does not prevent from further attacks and patients will need to receive active vaccination.

Typhoid Vaccination

This is a bacterial disease that is caught through the consumption of contaminated food or drink. It can take up to three weeks for symptoms to develop after the disease has been caught. These symptoms can range from fever, diarrhoea, and constipation to headaches and a slowing heart rate.  Typhoid is typically treated with antibiotics, however, even after somebody has recovered, they may still pass the disease on to others.

Other vaccinations required for Brazil 

There are other vaccinations that may be needed for Brazil depending on which areas you are planning to travel to. If you are planning on trekking, you may need to be protected against hepatitis B and rabies, while anybody heading to more rural areas may need a vaccination for Tuberculosis, Meningococcal Meningitis and Diphtheria.

Visitors to Brazil should remember that it is a large country with varying levels of medical care which can be less than ideal outside of the main tourist areas. To help combat this, TMB offer a 24/7 emergency help line for registered patients which can prove vital for anyone travelling in rural areas.

It is also advised that anyone visiting Brazil takes the time to inform themselves of the country’s political and safety situation by logging on to the Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website.

Most travellers to Brazil should not experience any problems with their health providing they take any necessary measures advised by a medical professional.

 

Vaccinations Thailand

Vaccinations Thailand

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Wondering what vaccinations you need for Thailand?

If you are planning to travel to Thailand, it is important to make yourself aware of the health risks and vaccinations you may require before you leave. Even though there are no compulsory vaccines for entry to Thailand from Ireland, it is still highly recommended that travellers get certain vaccinations approximately four to six weeks before they leave. These are the vaccinations needed for Thailand that are recommended by the Tropical Medical Bureau.

Tetanus vaccination:

The bacteria that causes tetanus is found in soil and animal faeces and gains entry to humans through cuts in the skin. The initial signs and symptoms include muscle spasms (particularly of the jaw muscles), neck pain, and sore throat. These symptoms may then progress to difficulty eating or swallowing, body spasms, rapid heart rate, fluctuating blood pressure and excessive secretions. Up to 50% of patients can die from this condition so it is important to protect against it wherever possible by receiving a Tetanus vaccination, prior to your trip to Thailand.

Typhoid vaccination:

The typhoid vaccination protects against a bacterial disease that is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Insects may also transfer the disease by carrying contaminated material to food that is eaten by humans. The incubation period for typhoid is in the region of 10 to 14 days after infection and its main symptoms are severe headaches and fever. Patients may also develop diarrhoea and constipation. Typhoid is very contagious and if treatment is not commenced early, some patients may perforate their intestinal wall.

Hepatitis A vaccination:

Hepatitis is most commonly known as Yellow Jaundice in Ireland due to the yellow discolouration it causes in patients. It is caused by a small RNA virus which is easily transferred through water and filtration systems due to its size. Aside from water, the disease is mainly transmitted through contaminated fingers and food. Once inside the body, the virus invades liver cells causing flu like symptoms to develop. Although hepatitis A is not life-threatening, infected persons can feel its effects for up to six months and may be off work for up to two months – protect yourself before you travel to Thailand by receiving a Hepatitis A vaccination.

Rabies vaccination:

The rabies vaccination is not recommended for all travellers to Thailand, however, those planning on trekking or staying for longer periods should seek to protect themselves against it. The main way it is contracted is through the bite of a warm-blooded animal. In many patients, no symptoms occur until the final days of the disease when they may experience fever, headaches and numbness.

Hepatitis B vaccination:

Like the rabies vaccination, the hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for travellers who are planning to stay in Thailand longer, or those who are going trekking. It is believed that hepatitis B is about 100 times more infectious to humans than HIV. It is usually contracted through contact with body fluids but insects can also play a part in transmission of the disease. At the beginning stages, patients develop flu-like symptoms such as headaches and joint pain. The majority of people do recover, although, they will be long-term carriers of the disease with the potential to infect others.

Other vaccinations for Thailand

Aside from the diseases mentioned above, anyone wishing to travel to more rural areas may also need to vaccinate themselves against tuberculosis, meningococcal meningitis, Japanese B encephalitis and malaria.

Most travellers will have a fantastic time on their holiday to Thailand and experience all of the incredible things the country has to offer. However, remembering that sickness and infection can occur is important and making sure you’re vaccinated could be the difference between having the holiday of a lifetime or one you would rather forget.

Travellers should also make sure they the check safety and political status of the country they are planning to travel to. The Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website are two great sources for this kind of information.