If you want to see the world, have a little extra time, and aren’t fussy about the accommodations, consider ditching the cramped economy seats on a noisy airplane and travel by cargo ship instead.
Most travel bloggers say it’s not going to be faster or cheaper or more entertaining than a plane or cruise ship. And you might not want to try this right now, with cargo ships stacked up at ports and shipping at an all-time high-stress level. In 2020, as the pandemic hit, there were more than 400,000 seafarers (and presumably their handful of travelers) stranded at sea. The ship’s delays are your delays.
According to ABC News, the shipping company CMA CGM charges just over $100 per day to travel on one of their ships. Fares include meals (eaten with the crew), cabins with private bathrooms, and access to the ship’s library and recreational areas. You can take a short trip — as few as eight days on a Rickmers Group vessel — or spend months on board during an 83-day “around the world” adventure with a CMA CGM ship.
If you’re hoping for a budget-friendly cruise ship experience, though, you might want to think twice before booking passage on a cargo ship. Passenger space is always limited, so you’ll be one of just a handful of passengers or even all by yourself. According to Transitions Abroad, cargo ships usually don’t offer much in the way of planned activities, so you’ll need to make your own fun. Flexibility is also important — departure times and locations can and often do change. It’s a cargo ship first and a passenger vessel second, so seasoned cargo ship travelers say a sense of patience and a sense of humor are indispensable.
You won’t pay for luxury and you won’t get any, but if you’re an intrepid traveler who doesn’t care about frills and wants to see the world a little differently, cargo ship travel might be for you.
5 ideas for a dream retirement vacation
One of the best things about retirement is that you can use your free time to take the luxurious vacation you’ve always wanted at any time of year. If you’re ready to unwind and take a break from your routine, here are five vacation ideas that may inspire you.
1. Trip. Treat yourself to a complete change of scenery and discover another country’s culture, landscapes, and flavors.
2. Road trip. Travel from one end of your country or state to the other. Visit all the places you never got to see during your working years.
3. Festival. Go to a festival of your choice. Whether you’re passionate about music, classic cars, or art, let loose and enjoy yourself.
4. Cruise. Lounge on the sun deck, enjoy stress-free entertainment, and participate in excursions at the various ports of call.
5. Rental. Rent a cottage or villa in a picturesque location where you can practice various activities like hiking and swimming.
Don’t forget to ask about reduced rates for seniors to help you save some of your hard-earned money.
5 passport tips
If you intend to travel internationally, you’ll need a passport. Here are five valuable tips to avoid any travel headaches.
1. Inspect it
When you receive your new passport, ensure that all the information is correct. If everything looks good, sign it with a blue or black pen. If there’s an error, immediately report the mistake so the is¬sue can be fixed.
2. Store it
Keep your passport in a safe place. Ideally, it should be stored in a cool, dry place that’s not easy for others to access. You may also want to consider keeping your passport in a waterproof pouch.
3. Check it
Before planning a trip, make sure your passport isn’t damaged and that it’s still valid. You should also verify the expiry date. Some countries require your access to be good for several months after your departure date. Therefore, make sure your passport meets the entry and exit requirements for the country you want to visit.
4. Protect it
When you travel, keep your passport in a safe place and never leave it unattended. Additionally, don’t put any personal information in your passport absolutely necessary.
5. Report it
If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, report the issue to the relevant authorities immediately. Once you get home, visit your nearest government office to apply for a new one.
Remember, if you need help understanding the passport and visa requirements for your destination country, you can ask your tour company representative or travel agent for help.
How to prepare for a solo trip
Traveling alone can be an empowering experience. Here are a few tips to help you make your trip a success.
Define your itinerary
Determine the duration of your trip. This will allow you to create your itinerary as well as choose your modes of transportation and select accommodations. Once these details are sorted, you can set a budget, create a schedule and make reservations.
Do some research
Gather relevant information to make your trip as hassle-free as possible. For example, find out if you need certain vaccinations or a visa to cross over borders. Additionally, look up the country’s currency and exchange rate, review local laws and customs and write down the contact information for the American embassy in the country you’re visiting.
Make the necessary calls
Call your bank to tell them you’re going on a trip. This will prevent you from having your credit card declined or blocked while you’re abroad. Additionally, you can take this opportunity to inquire about bank fees for withdrawals and payments. You should also purchase travel insurance and research international phone and internet plans.
To book your trip, reach out to a travel agent in your area.
5 good reasons to book your cruise early
If you’ve been dreaming of going on a cruise, here are five good reasons to book your trip today.
You’ll guarantee your spot
Cruise ships fill up quickly, especially those sailing to well-known destinations. Therefore, if you book early, you’ll be sure to get a seat.
You can choose your cabin
Booking your cruise in advance allows you to select a cabin that meets your needs and budget. Splurge on a suite or opt for a more budget-friendly interior cabin.
You can lock in the date
If you book your cruise early, you can choose the dates that suit you best. This is especially important if you have to take time off work or want to go on a cruise for a special occasion like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
You can take advantage of low rates
If you avoid waiting till the last minute to book your cruise, you’ll get a better price. Additionally, you’ll have more time to shop around for the best deal.
You can make flexible payments
If you book your cruise early, you won’t get stuck paying for the entire trip in one lump sum. You’ll be able to make monthly installments instead, which will allow you to budget for your vacation.
To arrange your next cruise, contact your local travel agency.
Traveling for English-only speakers
Do you long to visit far-flung destinations, but hold off on your travel plans because you only speak English? There’s no need to abandon your dreams — with a little planning, the world is still wide open and waiting for you.
According to Berlitz, English is the language most widely spoken in the world, with nearly twice as many non-native speakers (about 753 million) as native speakers (379 million). It’s the default language in international business, technology, and tourism, and in many urban areas around the world or popular tourist destinations, English speakers get around just fine. If you’re a novice traveler or nervous about language barriers, consider visiting one of these countries where English travels well.
- Belize: English and Spanish are the official languages in this beautiful Caribbean nation. About 82 percent of citizens are fluent in English, according to Travel Off Path.
- Nigeria: More than 500 languages are spoken in this large and diverse West African country, according to Fodor’s, but the state language is English and travelers get around well in the largest city, Lagos.
- Sweden: About 86 percent of Swedes speak English and most speak it well, according to Thrillist.
- India: Only 12 percent of the population speaks English (which is one of the official languages), according to Thrillist, but in India, that’s about 166 million people. You’ll find English speakers everywhere, especially in big cities.
- Malta: About 89 percent of citizens speak English in this sunny Mediterranean country, which is known for its great food and architecture, according to Thrillist.
If you dream of visiting a country with lower English fluency, don’t let the language barrier hold you back — learn a few useful phrases and download a translator app, or try a tour with a guide who knows the area and speaks the language. People get around language barriers all the time, and you can, too.
Fishing gear checklist
Whether you’re going on a day trip or a week-long excursion, you need to pack the right fishing gear. Here’s a checklist of everything you need to be a master angler.
• Fishing rod and reel
• Boating license
• Map of the area
• Bathymetric map
• Fish chain
• Seat cushion
• Dip net
• Fishing rod case
• Fishing line
• Lures and bait
• Fishing license
• Pliers, scissors and a fishing knife
• Sleeping bag and pillow
• Garbage bags
• Fish sonar
Health and safety
• Cellphone or GPS system
• Sunscreen and after-sun lotion
• Water and food
• Bailer or water scoop
• Hand sanitizer
• Insect repellent and sting treatment
• Flashlight and batteries
• Buoyant heaving line
• Personal hygiene products
• First aid kit
Clothing and accessories
• Fishing boots or hip waders
• Warm, windproof sweater
• Hat with mosquito netting
• Socks and underwear
• Fishing shirts
• Shorts and pants
• T-shirts or tank tops
Please note this isn’t an exhaustive list. Feel free to modify it to meet your needs.