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Welcome to Khublai Travel Guru Blog!

Whether you’re a backpacker heading to Europe, a digital nomad living in Thailand, or planning your tropical honeymoon, you will find all the tips, tricks, hacks and guides you need here. From country-specific guides to packing tips, we’ve got all your travel bases covered.

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Travel Essentials

Almost everyone needs to be prepared to travel at some point or another. Most travelers tend to be very organized about things to carry, essentials they require, and methods to pack. Infrequent travelers need to think carefully about which essentials they need to take depending on the location or the geography of the place they visit. Most families prefer going to resorts, holiday destinations, vacation spots, and children-friendly places. Even though these places might be relatively comfortable as against hiking, trekking, and camping, travel essentials and things to carry are still a necessity.

It is imperative to be prepared with knowledge of localities, travel documents, passports, nearest hospitals, medical aid available and insurance before moving out of your town. Whether domestic or international, most people like being safe when going on a holiday or business trip.  Booking necessary transportation, ensuring the health and sanitary conditions of the place you’re visiting, and availability of drinking water are absolute must-haves. Let us look at some of the things that experienced travelers always carry on them.

Toiletries: Most people traveling to resorts and holiday homes tend to believe that the hotel, resort, or holiday home would have all the toiletries they require. This is not always true. Many products available are of general qualities that don’t meet the daily skin and hair requirements that are needed in specific climatic conditions. Ensure to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, personal hygiene items, sunscreen, combs, deodorants, moisturizers, and lip balm. Many times, the products available are not of exceptional quality and might end up damaging your skin and hair.

Medicines: Any experienced traveler will stress the importance of carrying your medications. Ensure that you bring your prescriptions while traveling so that drugs can be refilled in case of emergencies. Carry medicines that are useful on a daily basis for ailments like stomach ache, flu, body pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and cold. One of the medicines to keep with you at all times is Dihydrocodeine. It is an analgesic used to alleviate the pain of medium to severe sciatica, joint pain, bone pain, arthritis (for cold conditions), and nerve pain. While Dihydrocodeine might not be used regularly, it is a beneficial medicine to keep at all times.

First Aid Kit: First aid kits are part of the few travel essentials apart from warm or summery clothing that you should always keep with you. Carry Band-Aids, hand wash, antiseptic liquid, cotton balls, medical grade gauze, pain relaxant, muscle relaxant, and flu medicine. Ensure that all the products are within the expiry period so that you do not have to face any adverse reactions. To the first aid kit, add some heat packs, motion sickness pills, thermometers, insect repellant, mosquito repellant, eye drops, and any prescription medicines specific to your condition.

Travel Documents: Experienced and infrequent travelers must keep their travel documents prepared well in advance. If traveling internationally, carry your original passport plus color photocopies, visas with photocopies, medical insurance papers, and travel insurance papers. If you are planning to go sightseeing in crowded places, it is advisable to keep photocopies of all your essential identity documents instead of the originals in case of theft. Also, do not carry your laptop when traveling to crowded places. Keep your original documents and laptop in your hotel room or with your travel desk for safe keeping. In case of emergencies, the photocopies should suffice for identification.

Carry-on Bags: Carry-on bags like backpacks, haversacks, and containers should have small first aid kits and medicines. A small bottle or packet each of sunscreen, perfume, toothpaste, toothbrush, and moisturizer should be able to fit in your carry-on bag. If not traveling to a crowded place for sightseeing, your carry-on kit should comfortably store your laptop, notebooks, camera, headphones, universal adapters, e-readers, and mobile phones. Use small to medium sized zip pouches to store any liquids. Always carry mineral water with a few sachets of mineral salts to avoid severe dehydration.

Clothing: When it comes to clothing, always pack as light as possible. Clothes, shoes, scarfs, bags, socks, and innerwear take up space. Travel with as many multi-utility garments as possible. Carry fewer pants and more t-shirts and tops so that you save on space while traveling. Ensure you check the weather conditions of the location you are visiting, and plan your clothing according to the prevailing weather condition.

Should You Stay in a Hostel or Airbnb?

When traveling on a budget, your options in most countries are to stay in a hostel or an Airbnb. Hotels are usually more expensive than either option. So, what’s the difference? Is one better than the other? They both have pros and cons we’ve compiled some to share with you:

  1. Airbnb’s can offer privacy (if you rent one bedroom in a flat, for example). In a hostel, you’re usually sharing a room with 6-8 other people sleeping above or beside you on bunk beds. If you’re looking for privacy, go for an Airbnb.
  2. There are more chances to make friends in a hostel. If you’re traveling solo, hostels are your biggest asset because you’re rooming with a bunch of people in a similar situation. You’ll quickly find yourself going out for dinner and on adventures with the people you meet.
  3. If you’re looking for a “local experience” in the place you’re staying, both a hostel and Airbnb can offer that. Hostels are staffed by people living in that city, and Airbnb’s are owned by locals. You can get great recommendations at both.

What do you think of staying in a hostel vs. Airbnb? Let us know!

What’s in Your Carry-on?

Choosing what to take in your carry-on and what to store in your luggage is crucial knowledge to any traveler. Not only are there airport restrictions, there’s the fact that when on a long flight, you’ll want certain things available on-hand.

We recommend selecting a medium-large size bag for carry-on, that fits within the airport size guidelines. Even if you don’t fill it up, you might need the space on the way home. Plus, with the amount of stored luggage that goes missing or gets lost on route, it can be handy to have extra space in your carry-on for backup necessities. We always pack a spare outfit in our carry-on; underwear, socks, pants, and a top. If your luggage never shows up in your destination, you’ll be happy you carried a spare.

We also always pack in-flight essentials for entertainment and purpose. A journal, a book, pens, and headphones for entertainment. Headphones, and possibly a tablet or laptop to get work done on the plane. Then, of course, lotion because airplane air dries out your skin, and a snack.

What are your must-haves in your carry-on?

How to Pick Your Honeymoon Destination

Honeymoons are the awesome conclusion to your wedding processions where you get to travel somewhere with your love. When it comes to choosing your honeymoon destination, there are a few things you must consider before settling on a location.

  1. Are you two beach bums? Or snow bunnies? Think about the weather and climate you feel most relaxed and happy in. People have honeymoons all over the world, and different climates offer different activities and adventures. What kind do you want to have?
  2. Length of Time. How long are you planning to be away? For some who have kids, pets, or job commitments, the length of honeymoon might only be a few days. For others, they can spend a week or more exploring and relaxing. You must consider how long you’re able to be away, and how many of those days you want to spend traveling on a long plane ride. This could influence if you travel far away or stay closer to home.
  3. There is a range of honeymoon destinations across all budgets. For honeymooners seeking a tropical beach getaway, you can’t go wrong in Central America. Where Costa Rica can get somewhat pricey, Honduras is notably cheaper and just as tropical. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland for your honeymoon, Colorado has some gorgeous ski-hill resorts perfect for two lovebirds. On the other hand, Alberta, Canada, has some amazing ski-hill resorts for half the price.
  4. Some people are happy to lounge on a beach at an all-inclusive resort with no stress or concerns. Those are beautiful honeymoons where all you do is enjoy each others company. However, some people want adventure and adrenaline on their honeymoon because that’s what they enjoy as a couple. Embrace the kind of couple you are and don’t try to be something you’re not just for the picture memories. If you like trekking, hiking, and being outdoors- then choose a honeymoon with lots of outdoors activities. It’s all about making this trip ideal for who you both are.

Your honeymoon is another celebration of your love and partnership. It should reflect who you are as a couple, and how you like to spend your vacation time. Some people are happy to spend a weekend away in a nearby city; others want to travel a whole country on a month-long spree. Regardless of the climate, budget, length of time, and activities, enjoying your time togetheris the most important thing to factor in. Where are you going on your honeymoon?

5 Must-See Things in Toronto, Canada

Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. It also has a wide array of walks of life; young families, university students, elderly, upper and lower class, etc. With so many cultures, backgrounds, and walks of life coming together, you can expect a plethora of interesting things to do. Here are 5 things you must check out when in Toronto:

  1. The CN Tower. Simply for a gorgeous view of the city skyline and the lake. You can explore the Ripley’s Aquarium at the base or do the adrenaline-sparking Edgewalk on the top of the tower. Then, have an exquisite steak and potatoes dinner at the 360 Restaurant Grill and Bar.
  2. Caribana Toronto. Every year, Toronto kicks off the end of summer with the Caribbean Carnival. From a massive parade with elaborate Caribbean outfits to nightclub events and concerts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the festival. If you’ll be in Toronto in August, you can’t miss it.
  3. Toronto’s Chinatown is one of the best in the world. You have a giant array of dining options; not limited to Chinese food. There are vendors selling East Asian cuisine, South Asian, and cuisine from different regions of China. It’s also the best place for affordable shopping. You can get everyday necessities and high-end fashion for a cheap price.
  4. Skating at Nathan Philip Square. If you’re lucky enough to be in Toronto in the winter, then you’ll know it gets cold here. So cold, that the city builds a few different outdoor skating rinks. NPS is the best rink because it’s located in the center of downtown and lit up by the lights of surrounding skyscrapers and buildings. You can rent skates for cheap at the rink and have a legendary hotdog from a street-meat vendor. What more could you ask for?
  5. Jazz Music at the Rex. The Rex is Toronto’s oldest and more beloved jazz club. While it might not look like anything more than a pub, it has hosted hundreds of popular jazz musicians. Eat some delicious pub fare and watch the show or sit on their outdoor patio and enjoy the breeze.

Toronto has so many fun and interesting things to do. We listed our top 5, but there are hundreds of other awesome places to see and cool things to do in Toronto. What do you recommend people check out in Toronto?

5 Tips for Packing Luggage

When planning a vacation or trip abroad, the last thing you want to do is forget something crucial to your stay. What you pack, how you organize things in the luggage, and how you unpack are all factors that can make or break how your things get used and treated on the trip. Follow our 3 tips to effectively packing your luggage.

  1. To fold or roll? Some people insist on rolling their clothes to save space, we prefer to fold flat and place in packing cubes. Packing cubes separate all your items by category so when it comes time to unpack, you know where everything is. When folding your clothing it becomes flat and you can fit more layers on top of them than if there were rolled into a bulky chunk.
  2. Heaviest Items at the Bottom. Assuming you have a luggage on wheels, it’s more efficient space-wise and health-wise for your back to be dragging a luggage that’s weight is centered at the bottom. It will make pulling the bag much easier, and your items above it won’t get too crushed. Now, once the luggage is on the plane it can get flipped upside down and all over. But if you can keep the heavier items (boots, books, etc.) in a packing cube in one section, your other things are less likely to be disturbed.
  3. Plastic Wrap Liquids. There are lots of packing-cube options for toiletries that tend to leak. Use a packing cube that is sealed and can’t be unbuttoned or unsnapped open. Then, place each liquid bottle inside a plastic bag. Even though the plastic wrap is protecting your other items from being spilled on, it’s still a pain to have to clean the packing cube after a leak. So, place items in a plastic bag that you can just throw out when dirty and replace.

For people traveling with a backpack or duffle bag, the tips are similar. However, with a backpack, it could be more efficient to roll clothing to save space based on the shape of the backpack. You should also try to disperse the weight evenly across your back so that it isn’t putting too much pressure on one spot.  And as always, wrap your liquids so they don’t spill on your stuff.

We’d love to hear all the other tips out there that we missed. What are your tips for packing luggage?