Nick's Travel Bug http://nickstravelbug.com Live Vicariously Through Yourself Thu, 23 Apr 2015 02:10:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 How to Buy Tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympics http://nickstravelbug.com/brazil/rio-2016-olympics-tickets/ http://nickstravelbug.com/brazil/rio-2016-olympics-tickets/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 23:00:48 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5914 After going through the ticket buying process 4 years ago for the 2012 London Olympics, I thought I’d offer some insight on getting into the draw for the Rio 2016 Olympics tickets. The first round of the ticket draw opened last week, but only for Brazilian citizens at this point. Each country has a specific … Read More

How to Buy Tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympics is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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After going through the ticket buying process 4 years ago for the 2012 London Olympics, I thought I’d offer some insight on getting into the draw for the Rio 2016 Olympics tickets. The first round of the ticket draw opened last week, but only for Brazilian citizens at this point. Each country has a specific ticket reseller and you can check the list here. For U.S. citizens, the reseller is CoSport and Individual Ticket Requests open up on April 23, 2015 and run through May 4, 2015. Sign up for their mailing list to get updates.

Buying Your Tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympics

1) Before you put your ticket order in, do some serious event planning. Events are grouped around certain venues or certain parts of town. You don’t want to be trying to get across in the short amount of time between events, especially with the huge crowds of people who will be in town. Try and pick 2-3 events per day that in the same venue or general area. Here is the link for the ticket program with event schedules and venue information.

2) Put in for a lot more events than you think because it is a lottery for tickets and you’re not guaranteed any of the tickets you put in for. For example, when I was planning for the London Olympics I placed an order for 10 events ranging from swimming to cycling to judo. When the confirmations came, I only got 2 out of the 10 and they were 2 of my ‘filler’ events. Now fencing and badminton were both fun to watch, but they definitely weren’t my first choices. So keep that in mind and order several more events than you plan to go to.

3) You probably have a better chance at getting tickets for events if you go up a price tier or 2 for your favorite sports. Everyone (including myself) was vying for the cheapest event tickets, which for London were around 20 pounds a piece and I think there will be similar pricing for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

4) It was surprisingly tough (almost impossible) to show up and buy event tickets in London. The Olympic Committee really cracked down on ticket scalpers during all the events. There was a waitlist for any unclaimed tickets at the ticket office, but there was a long list and only a handful of tickets. There wasn’t an official ticket exchange that you could take part in, so you’re out of luck unless you happen to run into someone with extras. I expect things will be the same for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

5) If you want to save some money, plan on being in Brazil for the preliminary events during the first week and a half. Ticket prices go up for each round so unless you plan on spending a fortune for finals tickets for your favorite event, try to visit earlier on.

I hope this provides some insight for the process of getting your Rio 2016 Olympics tickets. Are you planning on going down to Brazil for the Olympics next summer? If so, I’ll see you there!

How to Buy Tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympics is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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6 Tips for Managing Your Money on the Road http://nickstravelbug.com/travel-advice/managing-your-money-on-the-road/ http://nickstravelbug.com/travel-advice/managing-your-money-on-the-road/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:42:10 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5882 Managing your money on the road can be challenging sometimes. On one hand, you definitely don’t want to run out or pay extra fees that can be avoided. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend significant amounts of time on your trip budgeting and tracking. I’m going to show you several ways you can … Read More

6 Tips for Managing Your Money on the Road is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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Managing your money on the road can be challenging sometimes. On one hand, you definitely don’t want to run out or pay extra fees that can be avoided. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend significant amounts of time on your trip budgeting and tracking. I’m going to show you several ways you can have the best of both worlds and help you make your hard-earned money go as far as possible.

1) Open a Charles Schwab Investor Checking Account specifically for your travels

This is my #1 tip that I tell everyone. The reason I love this account so much is that you get reimbursed for ATM fees anywhere in the world, no foreign transaction fees when using your debit card, no minimum deposits to open the account, and no monthly maintenance fees. That means that you can take out small amounts of money every few days with no penalty rather than taking out a huge amount all at once. Most debit and credit cards charge 2-3% of each purchase as a foreign transaction fee. You might not think it’s much each time, but those fees add up over time. At the end of every month you’ll see a credit to your account for any ATM fees you get charged, anywhere in the world.

Also, this account should be separate from your main bank account at home. If someone should get ahold of your card or information, you don’t want to be totally stuck with no money.

2) Apply for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees

Probably the 2 best travel cards you can get are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclays Arrival Plus World cards. Both give you a really good signup bonus (40,000-50,000 miles depending on when you sign up) and don’t charge foreign transaction fees. Plus, these both have chips embedded in them so you can use them with the special ATM machines they have in Europe and the UK (and will have in the US starting this Fall).

Note: To get the signup bonuses, you must spend $3,000-$4,000 in the first 90 days you have the card. It’s not worth getting the miles bonus if you don’t spend and pay off those amounts in that time period. Wait until you have a significant purchase to make, or you can pay normal expenses like rent and just pay them off like you normally would.

3) Go to local ATMs rather than exchanging money at the airport

The exchange you’ll get at one of the money changers at the airport is never going to be very good. You’re better off going into town and going to a local ATM. If for some reason you have to get money at the airport, find a bank ATM. You’ll get a better exchange rate and, if you have the Charles Schwab card I mentioned above, you’ll get reimbursed for the fees.

4) Try and stick to a rough daily budget, but only calculate the average for the week

The way to figure out a daily budget is to take your total budget for the trip, subtract out plane tickets and other up-front expenses, divide that amount by the total number of days you’re planning on traveling, then knock a couple dollars off that in case unexpected expenses come up (and trust me, they will). This will give you a pretty good daily budget number. Also keep in mind that this number may shift up or down depending on what part of the world you’re traveling in. For example, your daily budget will be significantly lower while traveling in Southeast Asia versus traveling around Western Europe.

When tracking your spending, don’t do it every day. First, you’ll drive yourself nuts. Second, you want to be spending your time out exploring and doing cool things in the place you’re visiting. My recommendation is to track your bank account once a week. Since you’re using a separate bank account for your travels (as mentioned above) anything running through that account should be related to your trip. Take the ending balance from the previous less the current balance and divide by 7 days. Doing this averages things out as there will be days you spend more and days you spend less. If I have a big night out one day, then I might try and balance it out a bit the next day. As long as your weekly average is roughly in line with your original daily budget then you’re going to be in good shape.

5) Keep an extra credit card (and an extra ATM card if possible) stashed somewhere in your luggage

It’s good to have an extra card or 2 in case of emergency. Whether you lose the card(s) you have on you, they fall in the ocean (been there), or get stolen for some reason, it’s good to have backups you can rely on. You don’t want to be in the middle of your trip and totally stuck because you can’t access your money. Keep your extra cards in a ziploc bag and stashed somewhere in your luggage so you can easily access them if need be.

6) Keep your passport and extra money in a money belt while you’re in transit

While you’re in transit between destinations, you don’t want to be an easy target for a pick-pocketer. When you’re not checking in at the airport or showing your passport on a train keep it, along with extra money you are carrying, in a money belt around your waste. Keep enough money for the day in your pocket in a money clip, so if you lose only that it’s not the end of the world.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be constantly worrying about your finances while you’re traveling. You want to be enjoying the destination you’re in. These tips for managing your money on the road will help you stretch your money further, be able to travel longer, and create more adventures along the way!

Do you have some more tips for managing your money on the road? Leave them in the comment section below and let’s have a discussion around best practices.

6 Tips for Managing Your Money on the Road is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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The Museum of the Weird in Austin http://nickstravelbug.com/usa/museum-of-the-weird/ http://nickstravelbug.com/usa/museum-of-the-weird/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:32:36 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5839 A three-eyed two-faced cow? An elephant man? An ice man? These are some of the star attractions at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas. The city’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and there’s no better place to experience that than at this museum. It’s also fun to play tourist in your own town once … Read More

The Museum of the Weird in Austin is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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A three-eyed two-faced cow? An elephant man? An ice man?

These are some of the star attractions at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas. The city’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and there’s no better place to experience that than at this museum. It’s also fun to play tourist in your own town once in a while.

The Elephant Man at the Museum of the Weird

First up was the ‘Elephant Man’. Born with some severe deformities, Joseph Carey Merrick was exhibited as a human curiosity (a.k.a. a freak) at shows and carnivals around England. Doctors and scientists could never really explain the cause of Merrick’s condition and he passed away at the young age of 27.

Three-Eyed Two-Faced Cow at the Museum of the Weird

The next interesting item was this three-eyed two-faced cow, supposedly born alive, and lived for a full 2 weeks on a farm in Pennsylvania. It’s pretty strange, as you can probably tell.

Two-Headed Chicken at the Museum of the Weird

Next is a two-headed chicken. What do you think, is it real?

Here are a few other weird things from the museum, including a zombie and a skeleton pirate.

Zombie Man at the Museum of the Weird

 

Skeleton Pirate at the Museum of the Weird

Lastly, there was a sword swallower who put on a show for us. If it wasn’t impressive enough that he swallowed what was probably an 18-inch sword, he also started juggling while it was down his throat. I don’t really understand the physics of the whole thing, but it’s fun to watch.

Sword Swallower Juggling at the Museum of the Weird

Whether or not this is all real (you be the judge), the Museum of the Weird in Austin is an entertaining way to spend an hour of your afternoon.

Have you been to anything similarly weird or strange? Let’s hear some good stories in the comments below.

The Museum of the Weird in Austin is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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Help Save the Rhinos in Africa with #JustOneRhino http://nickstravelbug.com/causes/help-save-rhinos-in-africa/ http://nickstravelbug.com/causes/help-save-rhinos-in-africa/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 01:00:32 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5809 Rhinos are being killed at an alarming rate of one EVERY 7 HOURS! In fact, in 2014 alone more than 1,000 South African rhinos were poached and that number has only been rising over the past several years. A tipping point has been reached where rhinos in Africa are being poached at a rate faster than … Read More

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Rhinos are being killed at an alarming rate of one EVERY 7 HOURS!

In fact, in 2014 alone more than 1,000 South African rhinos were poached and that number has only been rising over the past several years. A tipping point has been reached where rhinos in Africa are being poached at a rate faster than they can breed and repopulate. If something drastic isn’t done soon, rhinos could be extinct in as little as 10 years.

You might wonder why the rhinos are becoming endangered. It is a common (but mistaken) belief in some Asian countries that rhino horns have healing and aphrodisiac properties. As this craze has gone mainstream, the value of the horns has shot up to upwards of $30,000 per pound on the black market!

Rhinos in Africa horn cut off

Photo by Beverly Joubert

Rhinos Without Borders Project

South Africa holds more than 80% of the no more than 26,000 rhinos left in existence, a large share of them living in Kruger National Park. This year the Rhinos Without Borders project is raising money to translocate 100 rhinos from their current location in South Africa to new secret locations in neighboring Botswana, as Botswana has the lowest poaching rate on the continent. The country’s government has a zero-tolerance policy on poaching and has implemented a “shoot to kill” policy when poachers are found and apprehended. In addition, Botswana has vastly more remote areas that are tough for poachers to reach.

Rhinos in Africa 1

Photo courtesy Susan Portnoy – The Insatiable Traveler

The process to translocate a single rhino costs approximately $45,000. You might wonder why the cost is so high for each rhino, but it’s a very lengthy process. Once a rhino has been selected for transfer, a crew comes in and sedates it. A blood sample and other information about the rhino is collected and analyzed to ensure that the creature is strong enough to make the trip. If successful, the rhinos undergo a 6-week quarantine period before being airlifted to the new secret locations in Botswana. Upon arrival, teams again check their health and set the rhinos off into the wild.

Rhinos in Africa 2

Photo by Beverly Joubert

How You Can Help

Through the organizations Travelers Building Change (founded by Jeremy Scott Foster) and Green Travel Media (founded by Bret Love), myself, along with over 120 other bloggers, are attempting to raise enough money to save #JustOneRhino and move it to a new home in Botswana. 100% of all directly go directly to the project.

DONATE HERE

What’s in it for you? Good question.

In addition to helping to ensure the continued survival of rhinos in Africa for years to come, over 20 sponsors are giving away more than $30,000 worth of travel prizes to donors. Some of the prizes include:

International Expeditions: 10-day Galapagos Voyage for one. Value $5,298.

Adventure Life: South Africa Big Five Safari: Kruger & KwaZulu-Natal + Swag Bag for 2 people. Value $5,000.

Cobblers Cove Hotel, Barbados: Seven nights bed and breakfast in a Garden View suite. Value $5,187.

 Yemana Island Hideaway & Spa, Nicaragua: 10 nights’ stay & wellness package for two people at Yemaya Island Hideaway and Spa on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Value $5,241.
  • Vouchers for 2 people at Bali Jiwa Villain in Bali, Indonesia. Value $1,000.
  • (2) Vouchers for 2 people at The Scent Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. Total Value $3,000 ($1,500 for each 2-person package).
  • Vouchers for 2 people at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Koh Kong, Cambodia. Value $900.
  • Vouchers for 2 people at Flower Island, Palawan, Philippines. Value $900.

Plus other prizes including travel gear, hotel stays, and more.

JustOneRhino Sponsor Graphic
Help save the rhinos in Africa and donate here. Remember, no donation is too small. Even if you aren’t able to donate, you can still support the project by sharing this with your family and friends and by using the hashtag #JustOneRhino on social media.

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Visiting the World’s Largest Cat Museum http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/worlds-largest-cat-museum/ http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/worlds-largest-cat-museum/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 00:47:40 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5766 One of the more interesting things I’ve seen on my travels is the world’s largest Cat Museum. That’s right: a museum solely dedicated to cats. Whether or not you think that would be somewhat creepy, you’re right. The museum is located in Kuching, the capital of the Sarawak region of Malaysia. You might wonder what would … Read More

Visiting the World’s Largest Cat Museum is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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One of the more interesting things I’ve seen on my travels is the world’s largest Cat Museum. That’s right: a museum solely dedicated to cats. Whether or not you think that would be somewhat creepy, you’re right. The museum is located in Kuching, the capital of the Sarawak region of Malaysia.

You might wonder what would cause a city to build a cat museum. The name of the city is thought to come from the Malay word ‘kucing’ meaning cat. This fact also explains why there are random statues of cats located throughout the city.

Cat Statue Kuching Malaysia

 

On to the museum!

Things started out fairly normal, or as normal as one could hope for at a cat museum. Some more statues of cats, including some of cats as servants. There were even some porcelain dolls of cats.

Cat Servants

Cat Museum Statue 1 Cat Museum Statue 2

Cat Museum Porcelain Dolls

 

However, the further through the museum I went, the stranger things got. There were several cat paintings that I thought were pretty amusing to say the least.

Cat Museum Painting 2

 

Cat Museum Painting 1

 

Cat Chef Painting

 

It was next that things got flat-out weird. There was an area filled with what looked like cats that had been stuffed. However, the faces looked out-of-place. I happened to see someone who worked for the museum and asked her the reason for the deformed appearances. She told me that most of those cats had been run over in the street, and then their owners had brought them in to donate to the museum. They attempted to make them look as “normal” as possible, but you can tell the skin is stretched across the face on some. See what you think.

Cat Museum Stuffed 4 Cat Museum Stuffed 2 Cat Museum Stuffed 5 Cat Museum Stuffed 3 Cat Museum Stuffed 1 Cat Museum Stuffed 6

After being sufficiently freaked out by the stuffed cats, I continued wandering to see what other things I could find. Of course, there was a Hello Kitty display.

Cat Museum Hello Kitty Display Cat Museum Hello Kitty Case

I appreciated the Garfield display as I used to be a big Garfield fan as a kid.

Cat Museum Garfield

 

Just in case you aren’t giggling enough already, here are a few more cat statues from the museum.

Cat Museum Statue 4 Cat Museum Statue 5 Cat Museum Statue 6

I sincerely hope you find this as amusing as I did. If you happen to be in Kuching on the Bornean side of Malaysia, you should definitely pay a visit to the Cat Museum and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

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