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How to “Bow like a Japanese”: Lessons in Culture from an American Living in Japan

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There are the obvious cultural characteristics of Japan that everyone knows: trade your shoes for slippers indoors, bow, eat with chopsticks. But there are a few other differences I learned only once I’d lived in the country. The cultural differences weren’t profound, but were quite useful once I knew them. Perhaps even the most obvious of customs like indoor slippers and bowing are best understood through experience. For example, you’ll learn to watch out for those aptly named “bathroom slippers” as you fish one out of the squat...

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Pack Light and be Free: How to Travel the World with Just a Backpack and a Smile

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Drop the Suitcase and Get a Pack For some reason it never gets old watching someone dragging a roller suit case, or for that matter a regular suit case, around a country full of potholes, puddles, sand, dirt roads and stairs. Solution: USE A BACK PACK! Though they can be heavy at first you’ll get used to the weight and will be very thankful you’re not struggling every time you move from place to place. Take your time when you’re picking a pack, do thorough research and do not settle on the cheaper pack to save an extra buck. Money that...

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The Solo Traveler’s Guide to Exploring the Unknown

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The Art of Travelling Without Planning Step 1) Plan your trip, Step 2) Buy your plane ticket. As most solo travelers would agree, these two steps are both the least and most important aspects of traveling alone. To be fair, buying the ticket is the most important. Not because you necessarily need to have a ticket to get where you are going, but because once the ticket is bought there’s no backing out. This is the beginning of a new adventure, and in most cases a new outlook on life. In terms of travel, the word ‘plan’ tends to be used...

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What Were They Thinking? 25 Crazy Laws from Around the World

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One of civilized man’s greatest achievements was the rule of law. A unified list of codes for what is essentially “right” and “wrong” to do with the threat of punishment if your actions fall into the “wrong” category. Over the years, however, it seems lawmakers started shooting from the hip, resulting in some strange laws making their way into the books. Some obsolete, some unnecessary, some weird, here’s a list of 25 of the world’s craziest laws. 25 of the World’s Weirdest Laws 1....

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6 Ways Egypt Confuses the Heck Out of Travelers

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1. The Time Issue Egyptians are not known for being prompt. One of the most perplexing aspects of Arab cultures for Westerners is their sense of time. When you’re meeting someone out on the town and they say 8, expect to see them around 10. When someone tells you they’ll get back to you at 1, it can be at 2, or 3, or maybe even the next day. “Give me five minutes” means “I need a little time,” “Give me an hour” means “I need a lot of time,” and “I’ll get it to you tomorrow” means you should plan for next week. And if...

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Secrets to Happier and Healthier Travel Days: Don’t Try to See Everything

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Trying to squeeze in too much is a classic cause of traveler anxiety and undue stress.  Novice travelers are prone to cramming too many plans in too short a time frame. It’s easy to think “how often do I get to travel all the way to **insert place**, I need to make the most of it while I’m here!” True, it would be a waste to sit in your Paris hotel and watch seasons one through six of Lost, but it would be just as bad to rush through everything the city has to offer and not enjoy or really experience any of it. So find the middle...

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15 Travel Quotes to Help Keep Things in Perspective

15 Travel Quotes to Help Keep Things in Perspective

Seeing the way others live is the only way to truly understand and appreciate (or seek to change) your own life. Traveling to other countries allows you to witness first-hand where people in different cultures live, how they get to work, what they eat for dinner, how they socialize, and all the little idiosyncrasies of daily life that are so fascinating to foreigners. However, most travelers would agree that a certain point those picturesque beaches, brightly painted homes, and endless smokey mountains start to lose the jaw-dropping effect...

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10 Tips for Haggling in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (and most other markets)

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Istanbul, Turkey is home to one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The Grand Bazaar, first opened in 1461, currently receives around 250,000 – 500,000 visitors daily. The vast majority of these shoppers are tourists, and most of them end up paying too much for their souvenirs. The Grand Bazaar is home to hundreds of multilingual expert salesmen who are determined to sell you their wares. Many of these salesmen have an array of witty greetings and one-liners, and are in general pretty entertaining people. They all...

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An American’s Guide to Oktoberfest

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A great article from our friend Casey at CaseyFrolickingAbroad.com! Casey describes her experience at the 2011 Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Having spent the evening prior on a Brewery Tour of Munich, Kelley and I dragged our lifeless zombie bodies to Oktoberfest. Upon reporting for duty at the Oktoberfest Fairgrounds, we scouted out the scene.  After we assessed our combined knowledge of three German words and walking through two intimidating, clearly German tents we headed to the place most tourists head first, the Hafbrau house. We...

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Why Stock Investing is a Traveler’s Dream Job – And How You Can Learn to Work Part-Time

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The market used to be men in suits, shelves of ledgers, newspaper, yelling into the phone to buy or sell. It was a very elite club. Luckily the internet came along, and with it online trading platforms, news websites, streaming stock quotes and a host of other great tools for stock traders of all levels. The club today is much bigger – and you’re invited! Most people view the stock market as this mysterious risky machine where you put in your money and cross your fingers that it all doesn’t evaporate before your eyes. Especially...

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