Business travel is very boring. But along the way, you need to find ways to keep it exciting. Haynes introduced me to FlightDiary which has helped me keep track of travel and analyze it. Day before, I took my 100th flight via Mumbai from a total of 170. Here is how my flight-diary looks now:
I’ve learned some fascinating & exemplary stories about discipline & honesty in Japan through Quora. When the time came to visit Tokyo, I felt that I should familiarize myself with some Japanese etiquette. And I must say that a few minutes of reading came in very handy during the trip. Here is what I’ll keep with me forever:
1. Respect everything
Handle everything with both hands, especially money. Most counters will have a tray next to the ledger where you are expected to place money & pick your change. I guess the practice of receiving business cards with both hands comes from here.
2. Avoid 4 & 9 in every way
The Japanese word for “four” sounds like the word for “death” whereas ‘nine’ is sometimes pronounced ‘ku’, which can mean suffering. Its a superstitious piss-off; I don’t know how many follow, but I would avoid a 4 piece gift or a sales offer with too many nines.
3. Go with the group
Generally, the Japanese believe in group decision making that is focused on the larger good. This avoid favorism and blocks in-ways in an integral group – possibly why Japan was never colonized. This could slow down the process, but that’s how it is.
4. Genuine customer focus
Here’s my story: I went to the information counter at HND airport around 7:25 asking for a bus to my destination. The lady said the next one is at 10am. I had read about one at 7:45 and asked her to check; when she realized there was one, she apologized at least thrice for the possible misguide. She then realized that there was very little time left and I possibly couldn’t make it to the bus stop after getting my bus & train tickets. She, in her kimono and modified geta, ran to help me with tickets and brought me all the way to the bus stop around 7:38am. That was perhaps one of the happiest moments of her life Continue reading 10 learnings from Japan→
After posting the itinerary for Bali and our experience, I have received a lot of emails with questions – primarily – around the budget, airlines, hotels, car rentals and general tips. I’ve put them as a FAQ below; hope this helps fellow travelers.
What was your budget?
Honestly, we were traveling on budget. We had planned about Rs.70,000 per head and wanted to make the most out of it. We did.
Is there a split?
This is naturally going to differ, but here is an idea.
Bali had for long been on our minds as a honeymoon destination and we finally managed to work out a decent itinerary after much planning.
Day 1: Arrival & Water sports
We landed at 00:00 and we a bit worried about getting to the Guest Villas in Kuta. But from the moment we touched down, Bali seemed very friendly and safe. It was only until we realized that our villa was a 4 min walk to the bustling Legian street which had everything upto Indian restaurants. Since water sports are subject to weather conditions, I had managed to check the tide schedule and confirmed it was a good day. Our driver drove us – free of cost – to his preferred vendor where we bargained our to the possible extent! Scuba diving & Jet Ski were really worth it. On the way back, we exchanged currency at the bank which had a pretty reasonable rate. I suggest don’t fall prey to the shady money exchanger shops that showcase a rate they don’t offer. Evening was for us to relax.
Day 2: Packed & headed north
Considering places of our interest were all around the island, and travelling to the north takes a good 3-4 hours, we checked-out without our luggage in the car. We intentionally skipped the early morning Mt Ubud tour, and instead caught a glimpse of it en route. A lot of temples, cat-pooh-chino tasting sessions and local food happened on the way. We booked a villa at the Mumbul Guest House in Lovina.
Day 3: No dolphin tour, headed back
We had booked a Dolphin tour early morning. At 5:00am, the boat captain informed us of bad weather and scared the s#!t out of us. We went back to bed. Post breakfast, we started off with the black sand beaches of Lovina beach Continue reading Bali – Vacation Notes & Experience→
Planning a trip there was quite a experience as I’ve already detailed here. But after much research, we finally had a plan for Bali and I want to share the detailed itinerary so you don’t have to go through the drill. We were traveling on budget – not the usual honeymoon splurge – so using the services of an agent was not going to help. I still checked with a couple and on hearing my budget (more on this here), they said I should look at another place as the airfares itself very quite expensive for Bali. But I was determined to work something out.
1. Keep copies of travel docs
Nothing is worse than losing your passport or tickets and getting stranded in foreign land. Always keep a copy of your passport in every piece of baggage. An extra copy of air ticket & visa won’t hurt if you recycle them when you return.
2. Distribute your currency
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; spread money across your bags and some in your wallet. Use a spare purse or a self-sealing bag to keep the currency of the port you’re leaving that you can move back in when you return.
3. Check local weather
Weather can be a real spoiler. Quite a few parts of Asia & Europe are infamous for random showers. Be prepared. A folding umbrella or a monkey cap – or at least, the right pair of shoes – can really save a day.
4. Know about your consulate
It is essential to know how your country is represented in places you are visiting. It could be an embassy, a consulate or served by the diplomatic mission of another country. Fortunately, I have never had to use this information. But this is the first place and your last resort if shit hits the roof.
5. Download offline maps on your device
Avoid messy paper maps by downloading local road & public transport information on your smartphone, tablet or pad. If Google doesn’t let you, use Maps (-) on Android to save maps offline. And then if you have a local SIM, Continue reading 10 international air travel tips→