World travelers are an interesting bunch. They seem to share a thirst for new knowledge, unique ways of doing things, and unknown tidbits that make trips more exciting and memorable. Every country and region has its magical locations that are off the beaten path and rarely visited by first-time tourists. These are the hidden gems the experienced seek out. Kagoshima, in Southern Japan, is a perfect example.
It retains much of the old culture yet is not usually on the standard tourist maps, which makes it all the more alluring. Others enjoy special train journeys as part of their larger trips, like the one from London to Glasgow. Other valuable knowledge nuggets include knowing which rail passes are the best and how to save on shipping souvenirs home as soon as you purchase them. Here are a few of the most useful hints, hacks, and helpful suggestions for those who often take to the open roads, skies, seas, or rails.
How to Travel from London to Glasgow
There are several ways to get to Glasgow from London, with train travel being the most rewarding and comfortable. Unless time is short and you feel the need to hop on a plane, why not travel by train from London to Glasgow and enjoy a super-scenic, five-hour excursion. The route is far superior to what you’d experience by car or bus because the rails are located in many less populated areas. Time the journey so you can eat a full meal during the train ride and take in the gorgeous scenery at the same time. The express trains make no stops, but others spend a few minutes picking up passengers in Liverpool and a few other towns. The stops are short, but you’ll have enough time to jump off and snap a few in-station photos.
Best Kept Secret in Japan: Kagoshima
Kagoshima is one of the world’s most beautiful, friendly, relaxing cities. Situated near a massive bay and a semi-active volcano, the air is crisp, the evening skies spectacularly clear, and the weather perfect. Proud to be Japan’s southernmost major city, Kagoshima offers numerous natural hot springs in which you can soak away a lifetime of stress and luxuriate in the country’s most famous hideaways. To top off your Kagoshima tour, spend at least one night in a traditional bed-and-breakfast.
Rail discount passes for tourists are the bargain of a lifetime. The three best of the lot are JR (Japan Rail) Pass, Inrail, and Eurail. If you plan to be in India, Europe, or Japan for more than a few days, the pass is worth getting. For longer trips, the passes are almost like getting free transportation. JR Pass, like the others, gets you free or discounted tickets on in-city and nationwide train and bus travel. Keep in mind that you’ll save the most by purchasing the passes online before you enter the country where you’ll be traveling.
Shop at Shippers Stores
Souvenirs are vacation essentials, everyone wants to be able to have something to remind them of an incredible trip, but when you also aim to pack a successful suitcase there is not always room to bring home a ton of treasures. In Asia, Europe, South America, India, and the United States, buy your souvenirs at stores that offer free or discounted shipping. That way, you can send your purchases directly home and avoid using up valuable luggage space on your return journey.
Be sure to follow local laws about payment of duty on certain items and to ask store owners about the policies before making a major purchase. Many so-called “shipper stores” offer duty-free purchases, lower-than-market pricing on common souvenirs, and free shipping. You can’t go wrong getting gifts and keepsakes for friends and family from these merchants. Plus, you won’t have to cram a bunch of gifts into your suitcases when it’s time to leave.