TIPS AND TRICKS

How to safe money while travelling....
How to book affordable flights....
Where to find accomodation....
What to do in each country....

Just click on the  + and find more info to the topic. This section is constantly updated. So, from time to time come and have a look what is new.

If you have any specifis questions, contact us on correo@holamundo.ch

Accomodation

How to find your dream accomodation....

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Sometimes we just walk in an accomodation, have a look around and book in on the spot. But the longer the more we discovered that the really good deals are found online - and you might get great discounts.

Firstly, we always have a look on booking.com. Click on the link and book your dream accomodation. But first, make sure you have activated iGraal - like this you get a cashback on your booking.

Open your iGraal account with this link and get 10€ as a gift! And make us happy as we will also get a 5€ gift.

Another good choice is always AirBnB. We use AirBnB mainly when we want to have a more extraordinary location. Or do you not want to sleep in a tiny house or a treehouse once in a life? Or what about an iglu? Or a supercool chalet in the mountains? These special things you can find on AirBnB.

Sometimes, the best thing is just to look around in a new place. Like this you might have big discounts and find superbe accomodations. Just with the risk that sometimes you might end up in a real shithole as everything else is already taken. This is up to you how adventurous you want to be. We have experienced both sides already.


Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy for a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

Transport

How to find cheap flights....

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We search for cheap flights always on skyscanner. Only in very few cases we also check some low cost airlines directly. But most of the time skyscanner shows you the cheapest option anyway.

Play with your dates of flying. In general flying on tuesdays and booking a flight on thursdays is statistically the cheapest option. Not joking - there are statistics about everything. But we also discovered that flights tend to be cheaper on tuesdays.

Some airlines are not listed on skyscanner or might be cheaper if you go directly on the airline's website. This is the case for easyjet (flights around Europe), Vueling (flights to Spain and Portugal) and sometimes also AirAsia (flights in Asia).

We suggest you to open an account at iGraal. This is an App that gives you cashback for online shopping. Some airlines (i.e. Vueling) or online portals (i.e. skyscanner) are partners and you will get cashback on your booking. The system is super easy to use and you safe money! Just always make sure to activate your iGraal account before booking the flight.

Open your iGraal account with this link and get 10€ as a gift! And make us happy as we will also get a 5€ gift.


Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy for a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

Booking train tickets in Java / Indonesia

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As we do love train travels (which is in our opinion so much more comfortable than bus travels) of course a journey by train in Indonesia is a must. It is only possible on the island of Java. To find tickets it is advisable to book in advance. Otherwise you might end up having to take another train or being stuck in a place for a day. Anyway, if this is not an issue for you and you want to take the risk, you can also get the tickets at the stations 1 hour before the train leaves.

However, tickets can be bought online. Basically, there are 3 categories economi, bizniz, eksekutif with economi being the cheapest and eksekutif the most expensive. The official website of the train company is kereta api. You will find all information there but we made the experience that getting the tickets online is a problem when you have an international credit card. The platform does not except international credit cards. We highly suggest traveloka for booking the tickets. Simpy choose the language ("Indonesia English") and click on trains. When the result of your search is shown, you will find different prices  for each category on each train. Just always take the cheapest. You will not get a better place in a category by paying more. This is just the price policy of the train company which we honestly have no clue about.

Be aware that you can print out only the reservation online. With this piece of paper you have to be at the train station at least 1 hour before departure to get your final ticket. On your reservation there is a barcode. Simply scan this at the ticket booth and your final ticket will be printed. Or show the reservation at the service office. People are very friendly and helpful there what we have experienced.

Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy of you grant as a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

Health

Stay healthy while travelling....

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We are no doctors and no nurses. In the beginning we were really careful and took a lot of advise from swiss doctors. By the time, we realised that sometimes this just caused a lot of problems. Because, for us, it is not relevant to stay healthy during a trip - we want to stay healthy longterm and keep up a good immune system. So we tried out a lot of things and finally are very happy and healthy travelling doing the following:

  • Basic rule: sooner or later you will have to face a diarrhea (a lighter or a more unpleasant one). This is part of travelling - and when you look back, sometimes it is part of the fun (although not immediately.... ;-)). We never use any pills against it. Because diarrhea means, your body is not happy with what is inside. So let it out. Take a day or more of rest and drink a lot. We always have some hydrating powders with us to help the body. If you have high fever - go and see a doctor. This is possible nearly everywhere in the world. Just make sure you have a health insurance that covers your travels. 

    We spent a night in India because of diarrhea and it was terrible. But looking back, it was a part of the experience. It showed us a different aspect of India. We now know that we can survive it, it took away some anxiety. And in the meantime we can just laugh about what happened! So, do not worry. Even terrible things can turn out nicely.

  • We only carry a small homeopathic emergency pharmacy with us. This helps us about the major problems. Is something is more serious we go and seek a doctor.


  • We are vegans - that means we do not face a lot of dangers with food poisoning as many risks are in dairy products or fish/meat (salmonella). Still, it can happen. But then, drink a lot, give your body a rest.


  • We only have the most urgent vaccinations and try to avoid it where possible (not always the case, i.e. South Africa wants a certificate for yellow fever vaccination when you come from certain countries....)


  • We never eat raw salads and fruits when they are not pealed outside Europa. Exception: when we can clearly see that the fruit/salad is washed with filtered water). We only drink mineral water. With ice-cream we are extremley careful.


  • Be careful with fresh watermelon juice in Asia. Sometimes the fruit is kept fresh with ice cubes not made of drinking water......


  • We never take antibiotics (just when we have no other choice to survive :-)) - so our immune system is quite fit.


  • No alcohol for us - so gain, this helps our immune system. But drink lots of water and from time to time a fresh coconut (if possible). This helps you to stay hydrated and keeps germs away.


  • And what about Malaria? In Asia, we never use profylaxis. Normally, we take homopaethetic Uwemba Pills, which help your immune system and have a good protective effect for Malaria. In case we have symptoms, we will go directly to a local doctor. They know how to deal with this special illness better than western doctors. In Africa, we only use the prophylaxis when there is a realy high risk (we did not use it for Etosha/Namibia or anywhere in South Africa). And when we take some pills, only doxycicline which we buy in the country directly. It is effective, we did not have many side effects and it is cheap. We tried all the pills you can get in the western countries - no thank you, the side effect will kill you rather than malaria will.

    Our rule: we try everything not to be eaten by moscitoes and always carry our own mossy net with us.


  • And: we always clean our teeth with water from the tab, even in India and never had any problems. Do not be too afraid and you will be fine! Being scared will more likely make you ill!


  • We love hot water - and this helps your body immensely. Drink a glass of hot, freshly boilt water first thing each morning (even before brushing your teeth). This will remove all dead and a lot of ill cells from your body and keeps you healthy while travelling. Or you can also boost your system with some additional pure kurkuma with black pepper. If this is a bit difficult for you while travelling, drink the hot water and take one of the readily made kurkuma pills with black pepper. They are available with vegan capsules.



Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy for a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

Money

Great way to safe money while travelling....

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We found a convenient way of getting some cashback. By using iGraal, you can get a nice cashback in many shops online. Among theses shops are booking.com, skyscanner, Vueling.... ! So activate iGraal and get your cashback. It works, it's for free and we can highly recommend it. 


Open your iGraal account with this link and get 10€ as a gift! And make us happy as we will also get a 5€ gift. Win win for both!

But in general, you can safe money while travelling by:

  • avoiding tour groups and doing it on our own
  • not drinking alcohol and not partying too much ( we used to in the past till we realised that sometimes the expenses for beers were higher per day than our costs for accomodation......and we hear this often from travellers also)
  • taking the slow mode of transport and look for local transportation. Why do you want to book an expensive shaking speedboat from Bali to Lombok where you suffer inside a cramped boat with people being sick when you can enjoy the scenery on a super cheap ferry ride with fresh air and stunning views? The journey is part of travelling, isn't it?
  • looking for local alternatives for a taxi: like Uber, Grab (in Asia), Gojek (in Bali), rickshaws, bemos, chicken buses....
  • avoiding taking taxis at airports. Most of the times there are public buses/trains or we order Uber or prebook a transfer from our accomodation. If all of this is not possible we first walk out of the airport and have a look around outside the airport ground for a cheaper taxi. 
  • trying to travel light. Whenever possible we try to travel with hand luggage. That safes you a lot of cash flying with low cost carriers. When it is not possible sometimes we manage 1 big backpack and 2 pieces of hand luggage. This is still cheaper  and also easier to carry and you can safe taxis and walk instead to your accomodation from a bust stop :-). And remember: in most places you can buy a lot of things like at home - most of the times even cheaper.
  • going out for dinner (when it is vegan) but we try to avoid restaurants just made for tourists. Go and have a look where locals eat. In Asia we always have a look where many local families eat - at theses places food is generally safe and it is cheap.
  • enjoying the luxury to cook at our accomodation. Nothing is more exciting than visiting local markets and supermarkets. This is most of the times cheaper and healthier than eating out. We always have some fruits or snacks with us for a picnic in a nice place. 
  • buying one of the great unbreakable waterbottles which you can use again and again. Which is not only good for the environment (because you do not have to buy plastic bottles) but in more and more places all around the world you can fill your bottle with filtered water for free!
  • gin touch with other people, talk to them. This is part of the fun of travelling and you might end up sharing the taxi, the tour or even the accomodation! More fun and less money! Or some locals might invite you home. This experience is priceless!!!
  • being creative when travelling and you will find many more ways of saving money.



Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy for a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

Country tips

Namibia

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It is already been a while we have been to Namibia. But as it is one of our favourite countries and we get many, many requests where to go there, we would like to make a short list for you what not to miss in Namibia.

Many people just visit the famous dunes around Sesriem, the go to Swakopmund on the coast and finally Etosha.This sights are stunning. But, honestly, Namibia has so much more to offer. Here are our favourite things to do/visit and enjoy in Namibia:

  • first of all: be brave and adventurous and go on your own. Namibia is one of few places in the world where you can enjoy silence and being really alone. This is wonderful and a thing you can hardly enjoy anywhere else in the world. So, get your own vehicle and enjoy this pure luxury. We rented a small VW only which was perfect. But if you want to have it a bit more comfortable a 4X4 car with a tent on the roof costs a bit more but is highly recommended. Enjoy the freedom and flexibility with your own car. For us, this is the way to travel Namibia!
  • Spent a few days in Windhoek and look underneath the surface. Visit Evelyne Street in the township. Do not take any valuables there but you will be able to just walk through and talk to the people. This is an important part of Namibia nowadays. And Windhoek is great to stock up on supplies. Always take an extra 5 l of water with you in case you have a break down and nee to stay "on the pad" overnight. If you are a vegan, try to find an accomodation where you can cook yourself. Vegan restaurant options are limited. Althoug it is very touristy, but we always enjoy the craft market in Windhoek.
  • Drive to South Namibia. Around Keetmaanshoop you can make wonderful hikes in Baobab forests. This gives you a great taste of the beauty of the namibian landscape. Many inexpensive landscapes and stunning sunsets.
  • Well, sunsets in general are the thing to see in Namibia. Not a single day have we missed a sunset where-ever we were. And they are always out of this world!
  • We loved the Fish River Canyon. It is one of the biggest canyon in the world (number 2). It is magestic. There are different hikes. The most adventurous among you might want to hike for a couple of days through the canyon. The hike is 85 km long and you will need a medical certificate to do it. Find more infos about the hike here. We have not done it but might plan it for the future. It is supposed to be AMAZING, but tough. Not to be missed is a stop in Ai-Ais - there you can take a dip in the hot springs (and a pleasant campground is nearby from where you can make easy walks in to the canyon).
  • If Swakopmund is too touristy for you - why not Lüderitz. We loved this special place although it was terribly windy all the time. But less tourists, a very special wibe, great landscape and lots of things to do around the town: visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop, the sand dunes where diamonds can still be found, see wild desert horses, enjoy the wild ocean and visit one of the pubs. We preferred Lüderitz to Swakopmund. 
  • The most scenic drive and the most magical place to be for us is the Namib Desert. It is Nina's favourite place to be on earth. What a stunning beauty, what a landscape. There are no words to describe it. From Aus in the south take route C13 and later on keep "left" on route D707. Take enough water and food. There are a few farms where you might stay and eat. But there are also many campgrounds close to the farms where you can enjoy as much privacy as you want. We stayed at Koimasis Farm campground which we can only recommend. And 1 suggestion: do not stay there just overnight! Stay 2,3 or more days to wind down, enjoy peace and this amazing landscape. Take a hike, a guided drive around the region in whichever place you stay. The views and memories will stay with you forever. And also make a stop somewhere in the Namib Naukluft Nature Reserve - nature's beauty at its best!
  • Do visit the Sesriem National Park but be at the gate super early well before opening of the gates. Afterwards to park will be flooded with tourists. We walked up dune 45 in the dark (take good shoes, we walked barefoot and got nearly frozen feet) and enjoyed sunrise there. Magical! And with us were only few people. But take warm clothes, it gets cold. Be brave and hike around the Death Valley. Climb a dune and walk away from the main tourists. Just take enough water and cover yourself from the sun. It is perfectly safe.
  • Stay in the Tsauchab River Camp. They have wonderful campgrounds with private bathrooms. We had our own bathroom which was build around a tree. Amazing. They offer hikes in the nearby Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park. Highly recommended from our side!
  • By driving through make a stop at the famous Solitaire bakery. Great place for a break.
  • Visit Spitzkoppe - another magical place. And stay there for at least 2 nights. Also a great place to visit is the Erongo. They are both close by and great places for hiking. Especially Erongo is off the beaten path and offers stunning beauty.
  • A short visit in Swakopmund is good to stock up in the big supermarket before going north.
  • Palmwag is a great place to see the famous desert elefants - on our 2 visits we have never been lucky, but we saw many giraffes close by.
  • Take road C43 heading north to Opuwo and break up the journey in one of many camps which you can reach only by 4x4 from the main road. This is still undiscovered terrain and the landscape is slowly changing. 
  • Visit Epupa Falls, look out for crocodiles and simply relax on the Kunene River. You can also visit the Himba people. It is close to the angolan boarder and has a completely different feel of Namibia. It shows you the diverity of the country.
  • If you really want to get away from all tourists and look how the locals in the north live, spent a night in Oshakati. Just be careful and never carry any valuables. Another different side of Namibia, very interesting, very rewarding. 
  • Spent enough time in Etosha National Park. We enjoyed the park by driving through on our own. A night in each official campground is great. We stayed in our own tent, but there are many lodges, if you feel like having a proper bed. Either way, you will here lions roaring at night if you are lucky.
  • If you want to explore more off the beaten path corners in Namibia than it is time to head to the Caprivi. Here we stayed in the coolest camp ever, the Ngepi Camp which we can only highly recommend! Have a swim in the croc safe pool, enjoy a mokoro trip for sunset (and beeing observed by hippos and crocs around you), explore the region on foot, visit Pupa Falls or simply relax with a nice drink in the middle of nature.


Enjoy this amazing country and its lovely people!

Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy for a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

Indonesia

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This country has so many islands - it is hard to decide where to start. I (Nina) opted for Bali and Lombok in 2010 and this I cannot really recommend. 

So if your plans are to have a fancy ressort, lots of food, trendy people, endless artificial and some natural instagram spots and party: then go to Bali. It is in a way very nice - but not for us. If you are looking for something else than keep on reading this.

We wanted to explore the "real" Indonesia and especially the nature beauty of the country. And after spending 3 weeks around Bali's hotspots and Gili Trawangan in 2010, I was just glad to leave the country. Anyway I always had the feeling that Indonesia deserves a second chance. And this is so true. On our second visit, together we found the real beauty of Indonesia and it is a wonderful country to explore with some of the sweetest people in this world.

Here are our recommendations:

  • Do not miss at all Yogyakarta this vibrant city is much more than a getaway to Borobudur. So many things to explore: even staying for a week is not too much. As a base we can highly recommend Rumah Jawa Guesthouse Syariah. This guesthouse is actually a boutique hotel to the price of a guesthouse. Best is to be brave and rent a scooter to explore the surroundings and the city itself. Do not miss: Borobudur, Prambanan, Mount Merapi, Ratu Boku at sunset (from the restaurant where no entrance fee is charged), Water Palace, Kraton and, if you have time, some day trips to nearby beaches.
  • When in Java: travel by train. It is so easy and comfortable. For us a big highlight. See further up under "transport" how to book a ticket.
  • When visiting from december to january, do not miss the whale sharks in Probolinggo.
  • Mount Bromo is a wonderful experience but it is full of people. Try to avoid national/asian holidays and go there with your own transport. Scooter is a long drive but worth it. We do not recommend to stay in Cemoro Lawang or do the tour from Probolinggo. Base yourself in Malang and either take your scooter or book a tour there. Consider camping up in the National Park - this looked like a good option and you will be away from the crowds.
  • Go hiking in the area of Jember/Banyuwangi in East Java. Beautiful landscapes off the beaten path. And visit wonderful National Parks like Meru Betiri and Baluran with amazing beaches. For those two, tours can easily be found in Banyuwangi - or go with your own scooter. Here you can visit tea and coffe plantations, visit lonely beaches, walk through a savanna, climb vulcanos, see the blueflame at Mount Ijen, snorkel without crowds. And if you are a fun of dragonfruits - here you can pick them fresh from the trees!
  • Go hiking in Malang - we have not been there but met so many people who really enjoyed it.
  • Skip Bali - but if you want to get a touch of hindu Bali anyway, we recommend you to stay in Sudaji at the Omunity. This is rural Bali or at least what is left of it. Also Seraya in the southeast of Bali is an option when you stay at the Frangipani Inn. From here you can visit nice places with the scooter but you are not exposed to the mass tourism that is flooding the island. Prices here are fair compared to everywhere else in Bali. Still, it is not cheap. Give the rest a miss in Bali - you will find more authentic experiences for less money but at least same value elsewhere in Indonesia!  
  • Go to Lombok instead. Bt we do not recommend you to go to Sengiggi or Gili Trawangan/Meno/Air. With one exception. If you are around Sengiggi, a visit to Coco Beach (and the organic restaurant with many vegan options) is a must. It is a superchilled place on a stunning natural beach. The most beautiful islands can be found in the southwest with Gili Nangu, Gili Gede (highly recommend you to stay at Hula Hoop!), Gili Layar, Gili Asahan (check out the Eco Lodge!). On the mainland, the beaches around Kuta are very nice (good for surfing) and, if you want to explore waterfalls and do hiking, do not miss Senaru which is also the perfect starting point for a serious hike up to Mount Rinjani with many nice accomodations. The hike is stunning, takes 3 days but it is closed in rainy season. So check before you plan!
  • Pay a visit to Flores. Yes, Labuan Bajo is a trendy tourist center. It is expensive. But the beauty of the surrounding islands, the Komodo Nationalpark, is stunning. This is out of this world. If you want a take a tour to the Komodo National Park (which we can recommend), chose carefully. There are many awful agencies and it is a bit hard to find out which is reliable and safe. We collected some recommendations and were very happy with Red Whale. It is not the cheapest solution but offers high quality tours which are safe and nature conscious. Also rent a scooter and explore the inland highway. This is great fun and brings you close to the locals in seconds. This area is not developped when it comes to tourism. Although we have not been there, but Maumere is also on our list for snorkelling and vulcano hiking.
  • If you want to stay max. 30 days, you will not need a visa in advance. You will get a free visa on arrival. If you want to stay longer, you may apply for a 30 day visa in advance which is extandable. But to extend it, you will have to stay around a consulate for 3-5 days (i.e. in Denpasar). That means, you already lose time of your holiday. So we rather recommend to fly out of the country for a few hours only (or even days if you want). Flights to Kuala Lumpur are quick and a cheap options and by coming back you get a 30 day free visa again. This is cheaper and quicker! And Kuala Lumpur is always worth visiting. Our big tipp: make a visa run in KL and book yourself into an AirBnB. They are normally great appartments which have their own washing machine. Very helpful after 4 weeks in Indonesia. Or who does not like clean and dry stuff in the backpack after many days in the sand and in humidity?
  • be aware that there are many, many cases of dengue fever around the country on all islands. So, day and night, protect yourself against mossies. We always carry our own mossie net and apply spray always. Spray might be hard to find in rural Indonesia. Get enough when you are in tourist areas or from home. In the islands east of Bali, malaria also can be found. We did not protect us beforehand. But be aware of it and if you are feverish and show symptoms always go and seek medical advice. In our opinion, there is no need to take these horrible chemical anti malaria pills, but be careful and alert! If you stay away from civilisation for a while take some antimalaria pills with you in case you show symptoms and cannot seek a doctor immediately!


Many islands are still missing for us. On our lists are Kalimantan, Derawan (Borneo), Sumatra and the Moluccas. So far, we do not have a personal recommendation for this region.

Make sure you do not leave Indonesia without:

  • hike at least one vulcano
  • try tempeh and spicy jackfruit as a dish (instead of meat) in Yogya - even when you are not a vegan. It is so delicious.
  • no visit to Indonesia is complete without a fresh avocado juice - best with chocolate sauce
  • visit Borobudur and Prambanan - even though it is expensive, it is beautiful. 
  • rent a scooter. It is so fun and safe as driving is not aggressive.
  • go snorkeling or diving whenever possible. You will find turtles, mantas and sometimes even dugongs
  • get involved with the locals - they are sweet and always helpful
  • be careful with having a massage - many offers on the beach are of really low quality and the massage more feels like "rubbing oil on the skin". Chose carefully.
  • hike through the rainforests, watch wildlife and visit waterfalls. You will get wet and it is so much fun!
  • using grab car is the cheapest option when you need a private driver. Easy and hassle free. 
  • get you own local SIM card. You can find them at the airport or in malls. Very affordable and handy.
  • when you are vegan - just talk to the people in the restaurant. Most of the time, there were no vegan options but the cook veganised a meal for us. Even for breakfast, the cooked us vegan pancakes.
  • take lots of mossy spray - you will need it
  • enjoy the local coffee, or even better: kopi jahe (coffee with ginger)
  • learn some basic words - that helps you to get in touch with the locals easily: apakabar (how are you!), bai bai (good), terima kasih (thank you), sama pagi (good morning), saya nama Nina (my name is Nina), jalan jalan (walking), satu - dua - tiga (1 - 2 - 3: important to know when taking selfies with the locals), makan (eat), kelapa (coconut)
  • and again: travel by train
  • and finally: visit one of the hidden island gems around Lombok or Moluccas! This is beach paradies at its best.



Was this article helpful? Then we would be happy for a small coffee so that we can continue giving you a lot of nice content :-). TX!

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