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Month: December 2016

Accommodation: Hotels Vs. Airbnb Vs. Couch Surfing – Which one is best?

Accommodation: Hotels Vs. Airbnb Vs. Couch Surfing – Which one is best?

So you have a big trip coming up and are unsure of what’s right for you? With the advent of new accommodation options a whole new world of possibilities has opened up. New destinations with previously limited accommodation options are now more accessible and within anyone’s budget. Lets’ look at the pros and cons of each so you can decide for yourself what is right for you in your next destination.

 

HOTELS

The classic and in my opinion, still the best option out there if you have the money. Nothing beats a nice comfortable hotel room.

 

Accommodation - hotel options and logos

Pros:

  • Privacy – If it’s peace and quiet you are after then hotels are for you. Granted you get the odd experience with noisy people humping in the next room, or being put facing a busy street, but for the most part, hotels offer the best in comfort and convenience.
  • Breakfast/room service – Sometimes food is really hard to find when traveling. If you come in late, don’t feel like hitting the restaurants or are a busy professional, eating at the hotel is a good options (although quality varies from place to place).
  • House Keeping – Unless you live with your mom or have a very accommodating spouse, all of us spend our lives cleaning and doing laundry. It sure is nice to have a freshly made bed and clean towels to come back to.
  • Front Desk/Concierge – We take this for granted when staying at hotels, but it’s really nice when checking in and out, and if any problems arise, to have someone there to address issues right away.
  • Safety – This is my number one concern anywhere I go. I try to live my life as worry free as possible, but having somewhere safe to sleep is a blessing. Many hotels have security, card key systems, safes and dead bolts. They all equate to a safe place for me and my belongings.

 

Cons:

  • Expensive – Of course there are all kinds of hotels/motels in all budgets, but there is no debating that hotels take up the majority the travel budget. The more remote the location the more expensive the options are and it is based on the socio-economic situation in that location.
  • Impersonal and sterile – Most hotels do a good job of decorating their room with the intention of comfort and convenience, but they lack character and personalization. Most are set up to optimize profit and little offer the creature comforts of home.
  • Hard to meet people – I have a saying…”The more expensive the hotel, the harder it is to meet people,” (I know, I’m such a poet!). Let’s face it, if you stay at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, I seriously doubt you will be invited by Sheikh Mohammed to come and hang out for dinner. I’ve met some amazing friendly people staying in hostels and dive hotels, and absolutely no one at the high class establishments… It’s a trade off.
  • Scarce in some places – The more remote the place, the harder it is to find hotels AND the more expensive it is. It’s always a good idea to look at the other two options before making a decision.

 

Tips: 

Unsure of how to book a hotel for the best price and in the best location? Look at: 10 tips for booking the ultimate hotel room

 

 

AIRBNB

AirBnb is a relatively new concept where people list their homes on a website database for people to rent. Options include a full house/apartment, a private room or shared accommodation.

Airbnb - Hit the Path

Pros:

  • Can be cheaper than a hotel –  If you are a single traveler and willing to share a room you can find accommodation in some places for as low as $5 a night. If all you need is a bed for the night it’s a good option.
  • More amenities – The great thing about AirBnb is the possibility of renting out a whole house or apartment. This means a kitchen and a full size bathroom and laundry facilities. If you are after that ‘home away from home’ experience, this is for you!
  • Live like a local – A lot of hotels are in commercial or industrial areas and you don’t get to experience the life of a local. Airbnb offers the opportunity to live the urban or suburban life and everything that comes with it. Local eateries, people watching, it’s all there and offers a far more personal experience.
  • Discounts on longer stays – This is why I love Airbnb. Most hosts offer a considerable discount for weekly and monthly guests and it can be less than half the per-night value. It’s definitely the best option for long term stays.
  • Meet new people – If you are staying in a home with a host

 

Cons:

  • Legalities – A lot of apartment buildings and gated communities don’t allow “subleasing”, but people do it anyway. Hosts will often ask guests to keep their identity a secret, or pretend they are family members in order to sneak them into the building. This is the last thing you want to deal with after paying good money for accommodation.
  • Security – The main problem I have with AirBnb is the security issue. You have no idea who has access to the apartment and who can just come in whenever they please. Also previous guests can make copies of keys and come back whenever they please for whatever reason. This worries me a lot.
  • Ads are Misleading – After looking at booking.com for a hotel I decided to switch over to Airbnb and low and behold the local hostels/hotels are advertising a ‘private room’. Yea, they fail to mention that the private room is situated in a very busy motel/hostel. Nice try and it happens everywhere.
  • Check In Problems – Since there is no 24/7 concierge desk and you are dealing with private people, you really have to coordinate your times well. If you are coming in early or late this can be a problem. Another common problem I find in the tourist areas is that most of the hosts live in the city and have the key to a house 3 hours away! This is very inconvenient is you are booking last minute and this method of reservation requires a little bit of planning and forethought.
  • Hosts can be greedy –  Like any marketplace website where people can name their own price for their goods and services (such as Ebay), people can get greedy and prices get way over-inflated. It’s always a good idea to e-mail hosts first and make them an offer, all they can do is say no.

Tips:

The AirBnb website charges a lot of money. In a typical transaction they charge the guest an additional 6-12% service fee, and then the hosts typically get hit with a processing fee to cover credit card transactions etc. To avoid this you can do a little snooping and contact the host privately on Facebook or LinkedIn. A lot of people will mention names of their house/bed and breakfast in the ad. For example, ‘Mountain luxury retreat’. If you do a quick search for this + the location, you might even find a webpage and can make a direct booking/reservation.

 

COUCHSURFING

A relatively new online platform linking budget travelers with generous hosts around the world. This accommodation is free and can range from a couch to a single bedroom or maybe a whole apartment if you have a busy and generous host. It also offers an opportunity for travelers to meet up with locals for meals and sightseeing. In theory it’s great, in practice, well…decide for yourself…

 

Couchsurfing - Hit the path

 

Pros:

  • It’s Free! Yay! – This is the ultimate in budget travel and popular with younger generations. You might be asked to help out with household chores or offer language help in exchange, but ultimately, it’s free.
  • Free tour guide – A lot of locals on CS are interested in meeting new people, making new friends and showing them the best their city has to offer. This includes tourist attractions and great local food. This information is invaluable when traveling.
  • Invitation to local events – This is something you don’t get in a hotel, an invitation to a local wedding or festival. If you want to really live like a local, this is the way to do it!
  • Home cooking and family life – They say the best local and traditional food is made in people’s homes. A lot of hosts live with their families or nearby, and are usually happy to invite you for a family dinner. This is also a great way to get a firsthand account of familial structure, social interactions and local culture. There is a reason international travel hosts on TV always visit a local host family for a real first-hand account of food and customs.

 

Cons:

  • Safety –  This has been a huge concern since the beginning and rapes and crimes do happen. Misunderstandings, cultural mishaps and assault are a far too common occurrence for my comfort level.
  • Unmet expectations –  There are a lot of people on CS that use it for the explicit purpose of a free hook up. Women get chosen more often over men for the explicit purpose of a possible sexual encounter.
  • People are unreliable –  they cancel last minute and you MUST have a back up host or plan. Unfortunately this is human nature and has been a real problem. Always bring enough money to cover a hotel if need be and if you get a free couch for the night then great, you save a few dollars. but never be left with no other options.
  • popularity –  cities such as Paris and NYC are extremely hard to find a host in. You are competing with many other hopefuls and if you do find a host in an expensive and popular city, consider yourself very lucky!
  • False Advertising – What people offer might not necessarily be what you get when you arrive. (i.e people lying about sleeping arrangements). There have been a few accounts where people have been asked to share a bed with the host, or even taken to a hotel room! sleazy…
  • Privacy and Rules – You are in somebody else’s house and must follow their rules. This includes what times you can come and go from the property, if there is a curfew, and what is expected of you as a guest. Always talk with your host first and come to an pre-arranged agreement.

 

Tips:

See my post on CouchSurfing for a true and accurate account of the pros and cons of free accommodation.

 

 

Here are the three major accommodation options available both domestically and internationally. Some you may have heard of and some you may not, all have good and bad points about them and all offer a different depth of cultural integration and comfort. Pick what’s right for you and your needs, and if something doesn’t feel right at any time, then have a plan B and bounce!

Be safe and happy travels.

 

Couch Surfing – Is it really worth it to be a guest or host?

Couch Surfing – Is it really worth it to be a guest or host?

couch surfing

 

Couch Surfing…It’s the latest craze, and the promise of traveling the world for very little money is appealing to all. Accommodation is a huge expense on any trip and unless you have family or friends to stay with, you will undoubtedly be spending a small fortune on a bed for the night. Couch surfing is an online community linking travelers with people willing to take them into their home for free in exchange for company, language help and the promise of cultural enlightenment with a new friend.

The program is not without problems and here we will examine the pros and cons of being a guest and a host, and you can see for yourself if the Couch Surfing community is really something you would like to be involved in.

Being A Host

Pros:

  • Meeting new people. I think this is the number one reason why anyone would open up their home to a stranger.
  • If you can’t afford to travel or don’t have the time, hosting international guests is the next best way to get a cultural experience.
  • Patriotism. Some people are proud of their heritage and want to show their country off to the world.
  • Being a nice person. Knowing how expensive travel is and trying to pay it forward.

Cons:

  • Having strangers in your home is a HUGE risk.
  • It’s not free for hosts. Guests use electricity, water, do laundry and then you have to figure out the food situation.
  • It’s a huge time expense. Most people expect you to spend time with them and show them around.
  • They are using your house and belongings and damage does occur.
  • There have been a few reported incidences of theft.
  • Some guests have no intention or interacting and have even invited other people back to the hosts home.

 

Being A Guest

Pros:

  • A free place to crash! what could be better?
  • Meeting new people and making new friends.
  • Free tour guide and first hand knowledge of the city and culture.
  • If you are lucky your host might offer free dinner or breakfast.
  • Language help if you are into learning the hosts language.
  • Invitation to local festivals/weddings/family functions etc.

Cons:

  • Safety. This has been a huge concern since the beginning and rapes and assaults do happen.
  • Unmet expectations. There are a lot of people on CS that use it for the explicit purpose of a free hook up.
  • People are unreliable, they cancel last minute and you must have a back up host or plan.
  • popular cities such as Paris and NYC are extremely hard to find a host in.
  • Discrimination, women are chosen over men by hosts of both genders.
  • What people offer might not necessarily be what you get when you arrive. (i.e people lying about sleeping arrangements).
  • You are in somebody else’s house and must follow their rules.
  • You might be asked to help out with household chores or pay for things that were not originally agreed upon.

 

 

 Tips, Observations and Concerns:

 

  • At the time I’m writing this there is no host or guest verification processes. Yes you can get ‘verified’ by the Couch Surfing site, but this is just a way for CS to make $20. In the past week I have opened 5 profiles in 5 major cities and have been inundated with requests to host and come and stay as a guest with no verification and nobody knowing if I was even a real person or not. This is extremely scary and my advice to that is, do as much research as you can about people before agreeing to meet. Reviews can also be fabricated by friends and family, so don’t base your opinions solely on those.
  • You might not be the only one they are hosting at that time. You might be in a house with 3 other couch surfers. I must be getting old, but to me that’s just weird. May as well go stay in a hostel if that’s your thing.
  • I hate to be judgmental, but I really worry about the mental sanity of people who have tons of references and make CS into a permanent lifestyle. What’s their motive for doing all this for free? Are they so lonely that they need to open their house to complete strangers and act like a taxi driver/tour guide? no disrespect, but it just seems like really odd behavior.
  • Unfortunately a lot of men use Couch Surfing as a way to get free sex. They prey upon the vulnerability of women being in a strange country in a strange house and use that for their own sexual gratification. Don’t believe me? check this opportunist out then: How to seduce naughty couch surfing girls.
  • For the aforementioned reasons, if you are a single man with no verification or references, you will have a really hard time finding a host. Men usually prefer women for the possibility of a ‘hook up’, and the women will choose other women for security and safety reasons. I’m not sure what the gay/lesbian scene is like on CS, but I’m sure it’s the same across the board.
  • Crime is real my friends. There have been countless reports of rape, stabbing, assault, theft etc resulting from CouchSurfing. People are under the misguided assumption that because CS is a legit website, and these people who join have agreed to abide by the terms of service, that it’s safe and it’s just not. If fact it’s the perfect breeding ground for problems. Strangers + vulnerability + unmet expectations + the possibility of alcohol = absolute disaster. Now I’m not saying everyone is like this. There have been countless wonderful examples of human kindness and generosity, but your safety should be your number one concern.
  • Don’t expect reciprocity. Just because you host someone doesn’t mean you will be hosted back someday. A lot of these travelers live in remote areas of the world, live with family and/or simply are not interested in hosting for whatever reason. If you agree to host, take it for what it is, and don’t expect a new best friend, a place to stay or even to stay in touch. Some do and some don’t.
  • Be wary of scams! Six times now I have been asked to buy expensive electronics (laptops, GoPros, PS4’s etc.), and told I would receive payment as soon as I arrive. Really? Ummm NO.
  • Expectations. Nothing is free in this world right? and this goes for CouchSurfing. You will often be expected to help out with household chores, provide food/drinks, give language help or whatever it may be. Now this might be perfectly fine for some people, but if you really can’t be bothered, your better off paying the $50 and staying in a hotel.
  • Along with worrying about the motive of some of the hosts, I seriously wonder about the motive of some of the guests. I’ve received requests from people offering to buy me dinner and drinks in exchange for crashing on my couch. Now I’m no math expert, but if they can afford to buy me a $50 dinner they can afford a hotel.
  • On a positive note, If you use CS as a place for just hanging out and meeting locals it’s fantastic! Chances are these people have experience with foreign guests and cultures, know where all the good tourists spots are and the best places to eat. That kind of knowledge is invaluable and it’s free! Make use of it and meet up with locals wherever you go.
  • Host availability is solely dependent on location. You might have a real hard time finding a place in Paris or New York City, and no trouble at all in countries that have been a little bit cut off from the tourist track as of late, such as Iran, Egypt and Turkey. Most of these people are longing for tourists and interaction from foreigners.
  • Before traveling, look at the Couch Surfing community at the place you are going. CS is totally accepted in America and Europe, but some countries, especially in the middle East and Asia, operate on a whole different dynamic. Some Arabic cultures don’t allow outside guests in their homes and having an unmarried/unrelated male or female in your house is totally forbidden. To some people, a person who travels alone and is unmarried is seen as loose or slutty. Also remember that some cultures haven’t caught up with the women’s liberation movement and by accepting an invitation to stay. you just might be getting more than you bargained for!
  • Before agreeing to stay with someone, you really need to sit down with them and come up with a plan. Some hosts will expect you to be with them 24/7, and others will hand you the keys and walk away. You really need to be on the same page as far as what’s expected or it can cause a lot of animosity and unmet expectations. Communication is king. Let people know of your plans and find someone who is on the same page.
  • Some people are just unreliable and don’t care about anyone else’s situation. They will cancel the day you arrive, leave you standed at the airport or train station, come up with a million excuses for their behavior and there is nothing you can do about it. You are not paying for a room and there is no contract or obligation to carry out the intended agreement. If you are like me and expect to have an itinerary and a place to stay when you arrive, have a plan B. Urgh! Being stuck in a foreign country with nobody you know and nowhere to stay makes me want to cringe!

 

So this has been my experience with couch Surfing so far. A good option for some, a not so good option for others. I would love to hear your experiences and if I have left any points out, please feel free to add them below. 🙂

Don’t Let Terrorism Stop You From Living Your Life

Don’t Let Terrorism Stop You From Living Your Life

terrorism - hit the path

It seems like a weekly occurrence these days huh, A very small minority ruining it for everybody else. Innocent people getting hurt and killed by extremists hiding behind the guise of political and religious agendas as an excuse to gain attention, fame, “glory”, and recognition in the name of their twisted doctrine. Terrorism is far from a new concept, it’s been occurring for thousands of years and with the advent of 24 hour media, internet “privacy” technologies and cheap ubiquitous transportation, the fear of terror is harder to contain than ever before.

This is an important post that I wanted to share with you, my readers. It’s empowering, motivating, and more importantly, a message to all the monsters of this world that you will NEVER win! You will never take our freedom that our forefathers and mothers  fought so hard for, and you and your medieval thinking will never stop us from living the life that WE THE PEOPLE cherish and WILL forever preserve.

 

Continue to Live Your Life

terrorism - hit the pathYup that’s right. Continue to live your life. Travel is one thing that we should all enjoy, and unfortunately it’s the one thing that terrorism easily targets. Remember these extremists cowards want you to be afraid. They want you to be afraid to step out your door and they want you constantly be in a state of fear and uncertainty. By altering your routine and limiting your exposure to life experiences, you are allowing them to gain control of your life! Take it back, stand up and say that I will not be a victim to this!

Keep your travel plans, go to that outdoor concert, festival, or event. Eat at the restaurants you want and resolve yourself to keep on enjoying your life.

 

Practice common sense 

Now I’m not asking you walk down the streets of Pakistan wearing hot shorts and a tank top. There’s a difference between living your life with dignity and putting yourself deliberately in harms way. It’s important to be respect local customs, be educated on previous events and assess your risks before embarking anywhere. The reality is that nowhere is 100% ‘safe’ to visit, or even live for that matter, but here are 10 things you can do to limit your exposure to risk:

  • Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings
  • Respect the customs and culture of the countries you visit
  • Dress appropriately for where you are
  • Report anyone acting suspicious to authorities
  • Don’t congregate around crowded areas
  • Sit in quiet, high security parts of the airport
  • Be careful and aware around tourist attractions
  • Know where local police and fire stations are
  • Don’t be too trusting and don’t give anyone your personal detail
  • check out the State Department website before you consider leaving the US.

 

Keep an open mind

The news is a wonderful tool that we are all grateful for, but it also does a really good job of providing us with a live, 24-hour stream of the worlds worst depravity. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fear machine, but take a step back and educate yourself beyond the negativity. Yes the news is real but its only a minute part of the whole world’s population and situation. Everybody else is miles away just trying to survive from day to day and do whatever they can find a little bit of happiness. Travel had helped me tremendously with learning to be open minded. I never go on what other people say, I’ve always been the type to want to go and see how things are for myself within reason, and I’ve never been disappointed. To me it’s the everyday individuals that make a country memorable, not some delusional idiot with a gun.

 

Understand that these mentally unstable people are NOT representative of their country or religionhave fun hit the path

If you take one thing from my website, please let it be that the majority of people around the world are honest, wonderful, kind, hard working people that will bend over backwards to welcome tourists into their community. Every traveler you meet will have countless stories of the kindness local people have provided on their adventures. Everything from free food, a place to stay for the night, an invitation to spend time with their family, or just someone to talk to and provide language help, it’s all there and it comes from a place of kindness and generosity. Don’t let the cruel depravity of a select few ruin your impression of a whole country or it’s majority population.

 

 

Que Sera Sera (Whatever will be will be)

Resolve yourself to the fact right now that none of us will live forever and NOTHING is guaranteed in life. Now you can sit and home and wrap yourself in cotton wool and never put yourself out into the world, but then you may as well be dead already, because what kind of quality of life is that? Life is a journey of risk taking, choice making and a commitment to continual education.

I don’t embrace death, but I’m not afraid of it either. I know that if I die due to terrorism, I was out living my life and doing something that I really enjoyed. I’m grateful for every day, and every day from this point on is a blessing.

Now get out there, travel and start living your dreams!

god speed and god bless.

sarah sorge - hit the path

How To Survive Saudi Arabian Airlines

How To Survive Saudi Arabian Airlines

saudi arabian airlines

Hi all!

This is a guest post from my friend Kat Collins who is currently working as an engineer in Kuwait and has flown Saudi Airlines a few times to come and see her family back in Los Angeles. There wasn’t much information online about Saudia so I thought this would be a good place to
start for those considering those cheap air tickets they always offer. Is it worth it or not? well, see for yourself….

You fell for the affordable ticket price and the promise of a short layover at King Abdulaziz Airport…Oh boy! Well, let’s see what you are in for and if flying Saudi is a good option for you!

 

Saudi Airports

king abdulaziz airport - Saudi AirlinesSaudia has 3 main Airports. Their largest hub is King Adulaziz in Jeddah, and then there’s King Khalid in Riyadh and King Fahd in Dammam. I have only been to King Adulaziz in Jeddah so i’ll give you a rundown of the layout and what it’s like. First of all this is the most bare bones basic airport I’ve ever been in. There is very little amenities and very little space and consists of a duty free shop that’s mostly perfumes, a Baskin Robbins and 3 small cafes serving sodas, sandwiches and coffee. There is no tobacco or alcohol sales and no smoking rooms! The layout is open with only 3-4 terminals. When you arrive the men will be shuffled in one line and women will be taken through a private room and patted down by female attendants.

There is a prayer room, but people use it to sleep in at night. The toilets are very inadequate and there’s only one facility for hundreds of passengers. It might not be a problem at some times of the day but at others its a nightmare with people waiting a long time and floors covered in paper, water and urine. I have heard rumors that there is going to be a big airport renovation project starting soon and I really hope that it’s completed and contains more amenities to cater for the increasing number of Saudia passengers.

Also, there is no gangway/tunnel walk though onto the planes. You are picked up downstairs by a bus and ferried to the plane where you have to walk up stairs to board. It’s old school and dated. I felt like a 1960’s housewife on vacation for the first time.

 

Safety

Before writing this article I looked extensively at Saudia’s accident track record in comparison to other popular airlines and it’s actually quite good. The accidents reported in the last 20 years have been very minor and have resulted in very few casualties. There was one huge accident over India in 1996, but it really wasn’t Saudi’s fault and they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everything else since then has been small technical difficulties that happen to all airlines at one time or another. They are at the bottom of the list for the JACDEC Airlines safety ranking, but in all fairness, so are some of the well known American Airlines so….Take that for what it is. I never felt unsafe or in danger at any time.

I’m not an expert on aviation but in my opinion the pilots are quite good. On several occasions the landings were so smooth I didn’t even realize we had landed yet, and that’s always a positive indication of a skilled well-trained pilot.

 

 

The Fleet

Nice enough but most are a little dated. They use the Boeing 777 fleet for their long hauls and an Airbus 330/A320 for their short hauls around the middle east. 777’s have only 2 engines compared to 4 engines on the 747’s. The seating is 3 x 3 x 3 with first and business class up front but on the same level. Also, don’t bother trying to get a pre-allocated seat, every time I get moved to another seat anyway.

Another feature that might be an eye opener to western travelers is the prayer area at the back of the plane. That’s right, a whole area allocated for prayer time. Out of respect for other religions don’t walk through there, especially with shoes on. They also play a special travel prayer wishing everyone a safe flight and make an announcement when going over the top of Mecca.Boeing 777

Plane bathrooms were always clean and maintained on long hauls. Paper, Soap and even cologne was provided for free. Short hauls are packed with people and I never bother going to the toilet then, I know it’s going to be crowded and smelly.
king abdulaziz airport - Saudi Airlines  saudi arabia

 

The In-Flight Services

I was actually quite surprised by the vast collection of movies, music, games and entertainment on the 777’s. The movie selection contained everything from American classics to Chinese kung fu and Bollywood, to a huge selection of Arabic movies, Quran readings and modern and classical music. They also offer games like space invaders and solitaire, and in-flight WIFI for a price, but I don’t know if it is working.

They hand out a care package filled with an eye mask, ear plugs (u will need these), socks and a toothbrush/toothpaste. This is a really nice touch considering most airlines only offer this to their business class passengers. You will also get the customary wet towels and head phone set.

 

The Food And Drink

This is going to be a bummer to some people but there is absolutely no alcohol...AT ALL! If you are like me and usually use airline alcohol as a free sleeping aid forget it and bring sleeping pills instead.

As for the food, it was quite decent but nowhere near as good as the Asian airlines. If you like chicken and rice, then you’re in luck! I had that at least 4 times in one form or another. This is served with a salad, bread and some kind of cake or dessert. It’s all halal and perfectly edible. Nothing caused me any intestinal issues.

Breakfast is usually a cheese plate,  omelette, waffles or Ful Medames, and here’s something us westerners haven’t seen since 9/11…Real metal cutlery! On long flights a drink and snack table is set up in the very back of the plane and I was quite surprised at how regular and professional the meals service was. I was never hungry and you even get fed dinner on a short 2-hour flight. That doesn’t happen in America anymore…

 

saudi arabian airlines - food service

 

The Cabin Crew

I’ve saved the worst for last and unfortunately this issue takes away all the positives for me, and it stops me from ever booking another flight with Saudi Airlines again. The flight attendants are horrid, lazy, selfish wench’s that make everyone’s flight an absolute mystery. I wish this was an exaggeration and these issues only happened to me, but after reading many online reviews, it’s unfortunately a very common complaint and it’s seriously something Saudia needs to take action against if it wishes to complete with the top airlines in the middle east.

So this is what happens on the long haul flights. The flight attendants get knowledge ahead of time how many seats have been purchased, and then they come in and take over WHOLE ROWS! I’m not kidding. On every long haul flight they take most of  rows in the middle of the plane while the paying customers are squashed in like sardines all around the edges. It’s unbelievable and I’ve never seen anything like it on any airline.  Not only is this inappropriate and unprofessional, the cabin crew turn away paying passengers when they ask if they can lay down on the center rows and sleep. So we are all made to sleep sitting up in a single seat, while they recline in the lap of luxury on a whole row.

The ironic thing was these flight attendants weren’t even on duty, they were just getting a free trip to Los Angeles and Dubai on my dollar, that’s what upsets me the most. We’re just paying for an expensive shuttle service for Saudi Airline employees, and NOBODY cares about passenger comfort or satisfaction. This is why I’ve never bothered to complain directly, several other people have over the years and nothing has been done.

 

Final Words

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the really ugly. I’ve tried my best to provide you with a fair, unbiased and reasonable review, and it’s up to you if you decide to take the risk, or pay the extra few hundred and go with a more professional and customer service focused carrier. If you want my personal advice, Saudia is ok for short trips under 4 hours, but for long hauls, save yourself the abuse and book with someone else.

thanks for reading!

Kat Collins. xx

Saudi Air Flight Attendant
This selfish flight attendant turned away 2 paying customers who wanted to lie down and sleep, and then proceeded to sleep herself for 12 HOURS. I didn’t even know that was humanly possible!
Saudi Air Flight Attendant
Selfish Lazy flight attendants

10 Tips On How To Make The Most Out Of Any Trip

10 Tips On How To Make The Most Out Of Any Trip

beach hit the path 10 tips

Part of being a content, joyful, well adjusted and mentally sound human being is to try and find the happiness in whatever you are doing.  Some people are naturally gifted in this, and others (like me), have to make a conscious effort to stomp the negative thoughts and enjoy being present in the moment. It’s easier said then done, but since we only get one life, it’s important to make the most of every given opportunity. Remember next time you are complaining about having to go somewhere, some people never get the opportunity to travel at all!

Being an adult means having to do things we don’t normally want to do, and this goes double for travel! Having to go somewhere due to a work commitment or family obligation can be a real pain. Not only does it require a lot of effort and expelled energy, it also takes us away from the things we need to do at home and our normal obligations and daily routine which can cause stress to a lot of people.

Never fear! If you have the right attitude and know how almost anything can be fun and worthwhile. Now some of these options are time permitting and location specific, but follow as many of these 10 tips as you can to make the most boring obligation into a fun vacation you will remember for a lifetime!

 

Come with an open mind and positive attitude

This is so true. As we get older we get set in our ways and inhibit ourselves from enjoying activities that 10 years ago we would have jumped at. Don’t be this person…. Keep your mind open and young and ready to embrace every change and challenge that comes your way. Your mental attitude will 100% effect how you will interact with others and how you experience events. Make a conscious effort to live in the moment and make the best of any situation. remember it’s not going to last forever, so do your best to suck it up and focus on things that you will enjoy.

 

Post on social media

social mediaYup, there is one positive to social media after all. No matter how much you dread an upcoming trip, post about your experience on social media. No matter where you go or what you will be doing, guaranteed one of your friends (or maybe even a complete stranger), will be completely jealous! It doesn’t matter if your going to your aunt’s funeral in Baltimore, or being deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months, someone will be jealous.

It’s amazing how much a “wow that is so cool! i wanna see it one day” message from someone, will make you totally rethink your current situation, and allow you to appreciate where you are in life. Remember there are people in the world who would LOVE to have your bad days!

 

Do a tour of the city/area

When you fly into a destination and go about your business, you really don’t get to fully comprehend where you are in the world. Every time I fly somewhere to do a road trip, or arrive in a city, I always spend the first few hours driving around the whole vicinity. I usually start in downtown and circle outwards until reaching farm land. It’s so awesome to see the gradual change from urban to rural, and it really makes you get to know the city and the layout and appreciate it for what it is. Make note of the different styles of architecture and town planning, religious and social buildings and houses. Seeing the differences of how other people and cultures live, is truly something wonderful and educational. If you don’t have a car jump on public transport, or if it’s affordable, ask a taxi to take you around.

 

exotic food

Try the food

The second thing I always do is try the food. Not only am I usually starving at this point, but food is such a great way to experience a location.  I make
a real effort to source out a local specialty and give it a try. Even if you are only travelling a few towns over you will notice a slight regional variation of your favorite foods. Not only is it fun, but it also gives you ideas to mix up your usual routine diet at home. Diners and BBQ joints are usually a great place to start.

 

Talk to people

Like it or not, the world is full of people and part of being in the herd is interacting with others. When you are out and about strike up conversations with locals and other tourists. They usually have information on what to see and do and where to go. You will find that no matter what country you visit, 99% of people are nice, honest, hard working and very friendly. If I have asked for help or tried to talk to someone I am met with respect and kindness everywhere, even when there is a language and cultural barrier. Always have an open mind when interacting with others and give them the same courtesy as they give you. P.S the world is very small and you may even bump into someone you know or have mutual friends.

 

Do the top 5 tourist attractions

Before you go somewhere look on tripadviser  or google and see what the top 5 most popular attractions in that area are. You’ll be surprised at how many things there are to do even in small rural areas. Many times I’ve pulled into a one horse town and realized it was a major hub or gateway in years gone by. It’s so wonderful to know ahead what’s available and go and experience it. It might be something as simple as a local museum, but it’s something you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience, and all education is worth while.

Take photos 

When you tour the area and go to restaurants and local attractions take lots of photos. Post them on social media, show your friends and family, get people involved and make the most of it. If you go somewhere with a positive mindset and enjoy your time, looking back at the photos will keep that good feeling alive. I don’t just take pictures for my friends and blog readers, I take them for myself, so when I’m old I can look back and reminisce on the fun that I had in my younger days.

 

Buy something

perfume bottlesI’ve never been one to fall into the whole souvenir trap, but everywhere I go I like to get a small memento. This is purely for remembrance purposes and it means absolutely nothing to anybody but me. Personally I’m driven by my sense of smell and the ability scent has to trigger my memory, so if I go somewhere exotic or out of the ordinary I always by a local perfume and the smell instantly takes me back. For extra good feelings try to link your souvenir to your hobby. If your a quilter or knitter, buy a local fabric or yarn. If you like geology, collect an unusual rock or specimen, gardening, buy some seeds for local flower and vegetable varietals….you get the idea.

 

Book a nice hotel

It’s amazing how a little bit of personal luxury can turn a mundane, boring or unpleasant trip into an enjoyable vacation. Every time I go somewhere I’m not looking forward to, I book a nice hotel and it’s amazing the difference a big comfy bed, a nice shower and yummy breakfast can have on my morale. This is a particularly great option when visiting family. It gives you personal space, something to look forward to and a conflict resolution method….retreat! Also, If you are traveling on business, use points to change or upgrade your room/hotel and enjoy the luxury you work so hard for.

5 star hotel

Go on a date

Obviously this is not an option for everyone, but there is no greater morale booster then a potential new love interest. If you are free and single, use apps like Tinder and get an early jump on local prospects. Let’s face it, we all like romance and it’s one of the greatest motivators in life. Even if nothing becomes of it, meeting new people is always fun, and if you have a good attitude towards dating and don’t have any agendas or expectations, you will have a good time regardless.

If you are married or partnered, organize a dinner with an old college chum, work colleague or childhood friend. It’s always good to network and keep the lines of communication open with others, you might actually need them one day.

 

Wow that was a long post. It was super fun to write and I hope you can get some use out of the 10 tips to travel happiness. Here’s to a good life and good experiences!

sarah sorge hit the path

 

How To Do Laundry On The Road

How To Do Laundry On The Road

Ok so this might seem like an obvious life skill to some people, but there is actually a knack to doing laundry on the road. Most of us grew up in a world of technology, and the closest we come to washing clothes these days is pressing a few buttons on a washing machine. Doing laundry by hand is a laborious, boring, crappy process that really makes you appreciate what you have at home!

Whether you have to go to the trouble of hand washing on the road depends on where you are and how much you have. If you have a lot of clothes, try and find a laundromat,  if your in a cheap country and short on time, pay to have the hotel do it (although I’m always paranoid that someone will sniff my undies!), and if you have no other choice but to hand wash, then follow these simple instructions.

First of all, it’s always good to pack a small supply of laundry detergent powder in your suitcase in a ziplock bag. Secondly, I always wait until I’m in a nice hotel for a couple of days. Nicer hotels normally have bigger sinks and more space and furniture to hang things on, and make sure that you have enough time to let things dry. OK Here we go!

 

  1. Fill up the sink with warm water and drop in some detergent, or shampoo or soap. Put the clothes in groups, I usually do intimates first, then shirts, then pants. Let them soak for a few minutes in the soapy water.

 

doing laundry - hit the path

 

2. Agitate the clothes around and make yourself into a human washing machine! If you are dirty like me, the water should be turning brown. MMM.

 

doing laundry - hit the path

 

3. Rub extra soap on the heavily soiled areas such as crotches, underarms and feet bottoms. Then drain the water and rinse the clothes with fresh water. If you’re fancy you can use a bit of hair conditioner as a fabric softer. Wooo!

doing laundry - hit the path

4. Wring the clothes out of excess water as much as possible, and find a place to hang your intimates first. Hat racks are awesome for this, (It’s a panty tree!).

panty tree

5. That was easy, now here the hard tedious part. DRYING. I’ve tried many methods, and by far the best is to lie the clothes on top of dry towels, roll them up and then kneel on them to drain out the excess water. This will make them dry in half the time, I promise!

the clothes roll

6. Now you have to find somewhere for the larger items to dry. Utilize any space you can, but make sure the clothes aren’t touching and there is enough airflow.

doing laundry - hit the path doing laundry - hit the path doing laundry - hit the path

By morning everything should be dry. If it’s still wet in some places, put the hair dryer on it for a few minutes. Oh, and be careful putting wet clothes on varnished wood, it causes damage. Wow how nice is it to have fresh clothes! It’s such a luxury to be clean and smelling fresh!

You are welcome!

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