The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

A lot of students decide to take a gap year so that they can relax at the end of their studies. In fact, regardless of whether you want to earn a living as soon as possible or not, a gap year is a good idea to recharge your batteries and be in a better position to promote yourself to a future recruiter.

You are in no state to build a professional career when you’re still recovering your stressful exams and lack of sleep. Whether you make it a year or a few months, though, there’s a need to plan your gap period. You can’t just spend it playing video games in your parents’ home. You need to create a meaningful time that will be beneficial for you, but also that will look good on your CV. Consider your gap year as an extension of your personality.

Do something amazing for others
If you decide to travel, why not add a social horizon to your travel plan and decide to volunteer? Volunteering abroad is not only a life-changing experience, but it teaches you a lot about yourself too. You could join a charity organization to travel the world and learn to provide support to other civilizations. Whether you end up helping children in Ireland or elephant in Africa, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the memory you’ll keep from the experience. Besides, every recruiter likes a candidate who has an interest in charities, as it shows you can find motivation elsewhere than in a financial reward. You value the result of your action and how it affects the direct audience.

Consider your financial future
You could take a break and evaluate different budget management strategies. For instance, you could get in touch with specialists to consider refinancing options for your student loan, such as which can help you to reduce your repayments. This will leave you with a better-looking budget after university. Additionally, if you’ve got some room left for investment, has plenty of good advice for students. Indeed, you can start placing a small amount of money which will build up your personal investment portfolio over time. The earlier you start investing, the higher your returns on small sums. On a CV, this is the ideal experience to show your financial acumen.

See the world
Finally, every recruiter likes to deal with a candidate who has experienced a variety of social situations and who can adapt to a new environment easily. Traveling the world on a gap year can help you to develop these skills. While you may not want to share photos of your travels, a list of the countries you’ve visited and the languages you’ve learned can make your CV outshine many others. After all, there is a lot to be said about independence, social skills, self-confidence and can-do attitude for those who backpack their way around the planet.

So, from volunteering to becoming a financial genius, what’s your way of making the most of your gap year?
Today's post is for our American readers!

There’s still plenty of time before Christmas to organize a memorable road trip around the States. The southern states, each have a history of strong social realization and awakening. On the one hand, the plantations of the past carry a deep history that still rings true in today’s world. On the other end, there is a world of renewal and discovery that unite the southern US states. Take the road and cross through the peculiar cultures and mindsets of southern America, by crossing from west to east and visiting Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. From an activist state to a multicultural and hard-working state, it’s a historic road trip to discover more about the human mind and maybe, uncover the human spirit and values that come from tolerance, respect and appreciation.

A taste of Alabama
Alabama is better known for its engagement in the Civil Rights movement, and more precisely in Birmingham where the social movement for acceptance and equality started. You can find permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Civil Rights Institute about the 1960s movement and some of the persistent issues. Whatever your origins, you will find it humbling and mind-opening to come close to the great men and women who have changed the rules in the country. After all these mind-blowing facts that stain the past of America, you might want to relax in a nice and friendly place, such as the Quality Inn & Suites Greenville in the famous Camellia city. You’ll soon find out that Alabama is a state of changes! Make sure to let their force to change for the better inspire you.

Mississippi, an old world with a rich history
Next door to Alabama, Mississippi offers a mixture of spectacular sights and sweet hospitality. However, you shouldn’t forget that this sense of welcoming was very different a few centuries ago, as portrayed by the eerie Windsor Ruins. Built in the late 19th century by a wealthy plantation owner; the mansion was destroyed by a fire that left only its Greek-inspired column, leaving the visitors to wonder what the mansion looked like in its time. But after this introspection in the past, dive into the once futuristic engineering of Mississippi: Head over to the Dunn’s Falls to appreciate the beginning of a new engineering intelligence.

What not to miss in Texas?
Texas has a very long history of multicultural influences. There was a long history of interculturalism and Mexican influences that you can still experience through the landscapes and the local flavors. Remember the positives about Texas from Houston to the typical Texan cuisine that mixes flavors and influences. In other words, Texas has proven itself an inspirational state that thrives in the union of many backgrounds.

Give yourself the gift of social awareness this Christmas, by discovering the worst and the best of humankind. Take a tour in a world of generosity, intelligence and open-mindedness during the darkest hours of the history.
There’s much to be discovered in any city. There’s the centre, the urban sprawl, the small towns, nature, and so on. You can easily lose yourself discovering all the different facets of a destination; that’s what makes travelling so much fun. However, to get to the heart of a country, you need to head to its biggest city. Some people will disagree with it, but if you’re in a place where most people live, the place that represents the past and the future, then you’ll never be too far from the heart of the country. Below, we take a look at the biggest cities in five of the world’s most iconic countries.

Rome, Italy

Italy is special throughout, but Rome? That’s something else entirely. With thousands of years of history under its belt, this is the home of one of history’s greatest civilisations. Around every corner, you’ll find monuments, buildings, and streets that date back thousands of years. Get lost wandering the historic centre, and you’ll be walking through some of the world’s most celebrated attractions. A joy from start to finish.

Tokyo, Japan


Tokyo: the biggest city in the world! Hypermodern, bigger than eyes can comprehend, and a joy to explore, the rise of Tokyo is nothing short of miraculous. You have to see it for yourself to really understand. If you’re planning on going, make sure you take some comfortable shoes and prepare to be wowed!

Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa is one of a kind, both in relation to the rest of the continent and the wider world. ITs biggest city is Johannesburg, an economic powerhouse which is home to around 11 million people. Book yourself into the Protea Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers, and you’ll have a host of terrific attractions waiting for you. There’s the Apartheid Museum, the Nelson Mandela Bridge, and of course plenty of nightlife. If you’re travelling in the hope of seeing what South Africa is all about, you could do a lot worse than getting intimate with its biggest city.

New York City, USA


Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston: all fine cities. But let’s be real here, nowhere in the United States - nowhere in the world - compares with the greatest city of all, New York City. A densely packed city, it represents the best of America: innovative, creative, always looking forward (though always with a respectful nod to the past), and just ever so slightly overwhelming. From Greenwich Village up to Harlem and beyond, you could spend years exploring the iconic streets and still never get bored. Bigger and better than ever, the future is going to be just as illustrious as the past for this city.

Paris, France

Of all European capital cities, none are revered quite as much as the biggest city in France, Paris. The lifestyle, the people, the history, the beauty of its buildings and quality of its culture...this is one city that oozes charm. Visit during spring and summer, and you’ll have no complaints exploring the historic streets.
Wouldn’t it be more fun to venture a little off the beaten path when you visit even the most famous places in the world? There are always places to explore in top tourist destinations for which the majority of visitors won’t think to search. If you need some inspiration as to where you should begin your adventure off the beaten path then here are some ideas.

Slovenia, Eastern Europe.
It’s baffling but fascinating that Slovenia is one of the less-common tourist destinations in Europe, despite it having just as much to offer in terms of both a stunning natural environment and a rich tapestry of culture. It’s a hidden gem in itself, so go wild when exploring this country; soak up the ancient castles and popular wine regions, but don’t be afraid to venture a little further and explore the alpine scenery.

The Philippines, Asia.
The Philippines is a beautiful country in the heart of the continent of Asia. It receives a fair share of visitors but there’s so much to see in this wonderful place that many don’t truly grasp the opportunity to fully experience this place. You could visit the Chocolate Hills or its many beautiful islands, but you could also be a little bit more of an adventurer and go kayaking around the Boracay beaches. Don’t be afraid to delve a little deeper and explore a little further than most people when you visit this fascinating country; there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Northern Territory, Australia.
Obviously, Australia isn’t off the beaten path in itself, but it might as well be, once you look past Sydney, Byron Bay, and other famous tourist destinations. This mammoth country is divided into several relatively huge states and the Northern Territory is definitely one of the most fascinating of the bunch if you’re a fan of awe-inspiring natural scenery. You should certainly venture off the beaten path (with an experienced tour guide, of course) so as to really soak up mother nature in all its glory. If you head on one of the Ayers Rock tours then you’ll see fantastic sacred sites such as Uluru (a gawp-inducing sandstone rock) and other natural spectacles situated in the heart of stunning desert landscapes. Australia’s cities are fascinating but its natural landmarks are on the next level.

Island of Sardinia, Italy.

Last, but not least, you should head to Italy. Of course, this country is one of the more popular European tourist destinations, and you may have visited it before. If you step outside of Venice, however, there’s a lot more to see in this beautiful place. The island of Sardinia is home to many famously rich and exotic beach resorts, but the island has another side to it. Head inland and you’ll see Sardinia’s local life; the capital city, Cagliari, is a hub of fascinating culture. Just north of the city, you’ll find the Barumini Nuraghe and many other ancient stone towers that form an intriguing part of the island’s great history. That’s really a lot more to this island than beautiful beaches.

People travel for so many different reasons. Whether it be to see family, see the world, or generally just gain some useful life experiences. Charity work all over the world can change lives, but make sure you prepare yourself - this is no ordinary vacation.


Time Management

When working is such a demanding environment takes a high level of time management skills. If you’re working with animals, you’ll need to make sure you’re allowing enough time to complete important tasks such as feeding or cleaning. If it’s with children giving medical aid, it’s so crucial that you’re seeing enough children a day to make a difference. There are hundreds of thousands of children across Africa needing urgent medical attention. If you’re administering medication, you’ll need to balance your time management with attention skills to make sure everything is done correctly.

Management Skills

After volunteering a few times, you may be offered the opportunity to return as a project manager. The role will require you to think on your feet, and have a good level of all the skills required to volunteer normally such as teamwork, communication skills and work ethic. Having a team of people under your management can be a daunting thought, and if you’ve never had to do something like this before, it might be worth taking some extra training from companies such as Training Connection. They can offer an invaluable into how to effectively manage a team of people, and keep everyone happy.

Communication Skills

It’s most likely that you’ll be travelling abroad to a country where there is going to be a huge language barrier. So learning how to easily communicate with people who are not native to your language is essential. You need to be able to use simple words, and even utilise technology to assist you. Google translate or other similar services can really help you overcome this barrier. Learning to communicate with your team is just as important. Being able to make friends with the people you’re most likely going to be with for a while, and talk to them as equals will make your time abroad a happier experience, and you’ll end up making friends for life.

There are so many other skills you’re going to need, but once you’re out there and in the thick of it, they should all come to your naturally. You’ll make great friends, see places you’ll never have seen before, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Not only for you, but for the people or animals you’re going to be helping.

The Alamo, football, BBQ - there’s so much that Texas is famous for. Texas is a wonderful state to visit, with great cities that are ideal for a short stay. Being a large state, you’ll want to plan your trip to Texas wisely to make the most of your time there. Here’s how you can take in the best of Texas for a trip to remember.
Your pick of the cities
Texas is home to some of the world’s most famous cities. Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio are all popular destinations that offer a true flavor of Texas. Put aside any stereotypes you have about cowboys and country, as a visit to one or more of these great cities will surprise you in unexpected ways. If you get the chance to stop off along the way be sure to explore some of Texas’ smaller cities.  Amarillo, Pasadena and Mount Pleasant are great options for passing through, with accommodation at hotels like the Super 8 hotel in Mount Pleasant, Texas offering great value to help your travel budget. With friendly locals there to welcome you wherever you are, it won’t be long before you fall in love with the Lone Star State.

Image: Pexels

What not to miss
Texas attractions are diverse and cover everything from hipster hotspots to sites where history was made. Depending on the type of traveler you are, you can join in the hustle and bustle of the city or relax and enjoy the laid-back vibes, particularly in the summertime when the weather really heats up. If you hit up Dallas, a selfie with Big Tex is essential and music fans of all genres will love Austin’s eclectic music scene. Sports fans can party with the Cowboys or Rangers and see true American sport at its best. It’s a thrill a minute in the Southwest so be prepared for an action-packed few days.

A taste of Texas
Ask anyone who’s been to Texas for a review and the common theme will be the food. Texas is renowned for its huge choice of food from authentic Texas BBQ to vegan delights, so it might be worth making a list of everything you want to try before you arrive. If you can time your visit alongside the State Fair of Texas in the fall, there’ll be even more tasty temptations to try and a fantastic atmosphere to go with it. Alongside the fantastic food scene are top bars and nightclubs that cater for all, showing you exactly how to party in the USA. Make sure you bring your appetite with you, you’ll need it for the foodie delights.

Image: Pexels

When discovering a great state like Texas, make sure you’re prepared with all the right travel essentials to ensure you get the most out of your stay. Bring your camera to capture those Insta-worthy sights and make memories to last a lifetime. A destination to tick off your bucket list, Texas is a place that will surprise you and definitely leave you wanting to go back for more.

We all hear occasionally about a place that is so amazing you just have to go there. Then when you do, you’ve already heard so much about it and seen so many pictures and videos that it feels less special. Everyone has their own example of a city that left them cold despite the hype. London? Paris? New York? Each of them has disappointed people in their thousands.

A part of the reason for this is quite simple. The more visitors that come into a city the less it retains its unique character - the things that make it special. You go abroad to soak up the culture of the place you’re in, but it feels like you might as well be watching it on a big screen.

In truth, to get that authentic feeling you don’t need to change your plans that much. By all means you should visit the countries you hear so much about, but just give the big tourist destinations a miss and get a more authentic experience.

France: Paris Is Passe - Nantes Is Not!

In truth, Paris is perfectly nice (Nice is nice too), but it has been built up by decades of hype into something it just can’t live up to. Whereas over in the west of France, unheralded, lies the true gem of Nantes. In many ways, places don’t get much more French than this.

A particular highlight is the Machines Of The Isle Of Nantes - a menagerie of mechanical animals including a 12-metre tall elephant which carries almost fifty people at a time for a 45-minute ride. A word of advice? Try this and the magnificent Sea Worlds Carousel before you visit the wonderful Gauttier-Debotte chocolatier. Your stomach will thank you.

Australia: Sydney’s Superb, But Perth Is Perfect

While Sydney gets most of the hype and Canberra is the capital, other parts of Australia can go unfairly unnoticed. Among those, Perth is one that really deserves more attention than it gets.


Round about half way through the walk around King’s Park (one of the world’s largest city parks, you’ll fall in love with the views. The sporty theme that runs through the streets will have you crying out for West Coast Eagles tickets and a chance to experience the madness of Aussie Rules football. Take a walk and sample the pub life down by Fremantle Harbour, and you’ll want to move here.

The UK: London’s Lovely, Edinburgh Is Epic

It may be heresy to say it, but once you’ve seen the major sights of London it can feel like the box is ticked. Unless you have unlimited funds, even a weekend of shopping can melt most credit cards - it’s not a cheap trip!

400 or so miles further North, you’ll find the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Not only is it kinder on your wallet, it’s easier on the eye too. A focal point is the Castle, of course, but Edinburgh is so compact that you can walk to most places. The iconic Royal Mile can take up a full day if you have it to spare, but the view from Arthur’s Seat is the one part of Edinburgh you cannot miss. With museums and eateries (and drinkeries!) to suit all tastes, Scotland’s jewel is a trip you’ll never forget.
Are you always looking for the best places to backpack, the best adventures to have, and sights you’ll never forget? There’s a good chance that Africa is a continent featuring prominently in your travel dreams. But it’s a big continent, so where are some of the areas most rich in adventure? Here, we’re going to look at the case for Kenya and why just about everyone should visit it once before they die.

A dip in the coast
The coastline of Kenya is easily one of its defining features. As historically important as it is beautiful, it’s no surprise that it’s quite so densely populated. The Mombasa coast, in particular, can be rather crowded and lively. But if you head just a little south, the still-popular but a good deal more tranquil Diani Beach is one of the must-visit spots of the country for those who want to feel the sand under their feet and the breeze that can be just what you need on a sweltering sub-Saharan afternoon.

Exploring the wilds
Kenya easily has the richest economy and populations of East Africa, making it a great tourist spot, but there’s a good chance you’re there mainly to see something a little wilder. To that end, safari trips to Kenya can put you in close proximity to some of the majestic beasts you’ve always wanted to see, including wild lions and elephants. Not to mention treks across the plains of Amboseli under the sight of Kilimanjaro, making for one of the most impressive horizons you will ever see in your life without question.

Island life
If you’ve always wanted to see a tropical island, then you might want a short trip off the coast of south Kenya to Lamu Island. It’s a mix of gorgeous island trees and some of the richest culture to be found in the country, with old Swahili settlements and traditional mosques from back in the day when it served as one of the biggest trading hubs in Africa. There’s plenty of bustle about the island, with the Maulidi festival turning it into party central if you’re lucky enough to catch it.

Under the surface
It’s not one of the first things that many people think about when visiting Africa, but the truth is that it’s also home to some of the most tranquil caves in the world as well. Take special care when you’re visiting places like the Mau Mau Caves and stick to the paths through the vegetation and along the dirt path. Your reward is finding a cascading waterfall into the cave. You can easily climb the shallow cave to get a great view of the rapids heading into the waterfall, as well.
Some of the finest coasts, local parties, wilderness, and caves await those who are willing to find them. Just make sure you take an experienced guide with you. There’s a lot of wildlife that can prove dangerous in Kenya and it’s not all that difficult to bump into them if you take the wrong turn.

When you’re travelling around the world, it can be hard to know what to take with you. Especially when backpacking, the last thing that you want is a heavy load to trundle around with you through your adventures. In countries where you know that the weather has a tendency to turn, over packing your bag to compensate for the change is par for the course. In reality, you don’t need as many clothes as you think that you will - have you ever been on a short holiday and come back with certain items that you never wore? You tend to stick to what you know, what works for you and what looks good. So what should you really be popping in your backpack?


Not only is swimwear good for swimming, but it’s something that can be worn in hot countries to keep you cool. To add to this, it’s extremely light to carry! Rather than wearing a bra while walking around, it’s more socially acceptable to put on a bikini top on. If travelling with children, there is a selection of beautiful girls swimwear online as well as options for boys to wear too. Remember to look for something that will cover their whole body or have a loose shirt available to put on top to avoid sunburn.

Light Clothing

Instead of taking up valuable room with big, bulky items, consider packing lots of lighter pieces of clothing. It works the same way as it would for bedding - the more layers that you have on, the warmer that you’ll be, and you’ll be able to take off layers if you want to get cool. Think of thin vest tops, t shirts and sweaters that you can put one on top of the other. It’s the best way to utilise the clothes that you will be bringing with you.

One Coat

Wear this on you rather than packing it away. It doesn’t have to be padded out for cold weather unless you’re going to somewhere that’s famous for it. The one thing that you need to ensure is that it is extremely waterproof and will be able to protect the clothing that you have got on underneath from any unexpected downpours. Especially in tropical countries, this is an essential need for you to have.


Unless you know that the shoes that you are taking with you are the comfiest ones ever and will cause you no damage whilst walking around - plus are suitable for any sorts of weather or terrain that you come across - you will need to pack more than one pair. If you can get your hands on them, look for shoes that are foldable or at least a bit malleable to be able to bend them into your bag. If you are thinking of buying shoes while you’re out travelling, you need to think about the demographic of the country that you’re visiting. For example, if you are a UK size 8 and go over to China, you’ll find that you’ll have a hard time finding a pair in your size.