Posts tagged "Safe"

Seoul by Subway: A Safe and Convenient Way to See South Korea3 min read

Namdaemun Market Seoul

A few years ago, my wife and I visited Seoul, South Korea on a trip that was very important to us. We were there to finalize the adoption of our son, who at the time had just turned a year old. Amid the hustle and bustle of those sometimes hectic and emotional days, we had some time to explore the city of his birth—and we did it all on Seoul’s top-notch mass transit system.

Whether you’re visiting Seoul on a special journey like we were or simply exploring a new culture, I highly recommend that you take the subway around town. It’s safe and healthy, since it gets you out and about instead of stuck in a cab. You’ll also get to mingle with locals and get a better feel for what Seoul is all about.

It’s a Simple and Easy, Even If You Don’t Speak Korean

The best part about Seoul’s subway system is that it’s completely accessible to English speakers. I had just a smattering of Korean—pretty much enough to say hello, thank you, and ask for the restroom—but that didn’t matter at all. All of the machines and signage in the subway system are both in Korean and English, so you should have any problems.

The Details:

  • Like most mass transit systems, you’ll purchase your fare first at a kiosk, which is in English and Korean.
  • You can by a single trip ticket or a reusable card for multiple trips.
  • Fares are cheap, ranging from 450 won for kids (less than $ 0.50) to 1350 won for adults (a little over a dollar).
  • All of the subway lines are color-coded with numbered stops, so it’s virtually impossible to get lost. And if you miss your stop, simply get off at the next one, cross the street, and go down to the other side to catch the train in the opposite direction.

And if you really do get lost, you’ll find that most residents of South Korea speak English very well. Of course, your politeness goes a long way, so the best tactic is to say hello first in Korean (Annyeong haseyo) and then ask if they speak English after they respond.

Expert Tip:

If all else fails, make sure you have a business card from your hotel with you. The concierge can provide one. Hand it to any cab driver and they’ll whisk you back to the hotel. It’s your get-out-of-jail-free card.

So, What Can You See by Subway?

Historical sites, art exhibits, delicious food, markets where you haggle for trinkets (and sometimes treasures) … they’re all accessible on the subway. Here are three of my favorites, but don’t be afraid the branch out:

Namdaeun Market: This market is one of the oldest continuously running markets in Seoul. It can be overwhelming, but definitely worth a visit. A lot of it is outdoors, with shops and stalls lining the streets. Duck into one and find aisles and aisles of different products. There’s lots of good food here, so plan your trip so that you’re there during lunch time. Try the galchi jorim (braised hairtail fish) at one of the vendors in Galchi Alley. Yes, I know it sounds adventurous, but it’s delicious and you won’t be disappointed. Station stop: Hoehyeon Station, Line 4 

Changdeok Palace: The Changdeok Palace, also known as Changdeokgung, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the five grand palaces in Seoul. The architecture of the palace will be interesting to any Western visitor, but my favorite part of the visit was the gardens behind the palace. There are lily ponds and hundreds of different types of plants and trees that I’ve never seen before, some of them more than 300 years old.  Station stop: Anguk Station, Line 3

Jamsil Baseball Stadium: Yes, we even caught a baseball game. Go Doosan Bears! Baseball is a big deal in South Korea, both for the game itself and the crowd atmosphere at the stadium. Korean fans from opposing teams will have cheer battles led by cheerleaders, and every team has their own cheer culture. Seoul’s Doosan Bears’ cheers involve waving white flags emblazed with the team logo and pounding together noise-making balloons. The sound is deafening – a can’t-miss! Station stop: Sports Complex Station, Line 2

Grab your South Korean guidebook and mark off a few of your own favorites. Many of the current guides will have all of the cultural sites you want to see listed and coded by their stop on the subway line. Happy exploring!

 

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Healthy Travel Blog

Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 16, 2017 at 18:18

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How to Have a Safe Night Out in Rome3 min read

Rome Nightlife

Whether you are studying abroad or just passing through, Rome is home to many tourist hotspots, from the Trevi Fountain to Vatican City. One popular attraction that always seems to reel people in is the exciting nightlife. From American bars to discotheques, there is a different local bar around every corner where you can dance and meet new people from all over the world. And while the city is as welcoming as they come, it is always important to stay alert while you’re breaking down your best dance moves.

Just as you would if you were going out in your hometown, it is important to always follow the buddy system. It may seem obvious to never leave a bar or club alone but once you are out you might forget the simplest of rules. In addition to that, you should really never be alone in any circumstance when you are out—going to the bathroom, getting a drink at the bar, or showcasing your moves on the dance floor. Always have a friend with you!

Another rule of thumb that doesn’t disappear when you are out in the beautiful city of Roma is to not accept drinks from a stranger. You might make some really interesting friends from Australia or India or even from the United States, but no matter if you just met them that night or a few days earlier, do not accept a drink unless you see the bartender make it and hand it right to you.

One part of going out in Rome that is especially tricky is finding a way home. The subway system stops running around 11:30 p.m. every night so if you are planning to be out later than that, make an action plan before going out. Thankfully, Rome has Uber and Lyft so if you have one or both of those apps already, you are pretty set for making it home. Rome also has a great taxi system; they are pretty much everywhere. If your group of friends walks out to a main street, chances are several taxis will pass by in a matter of minutes. Decide what your course of action will be before you go out, because you will probably need Euros for the taxi ride.

Since there are several bars within each piazza, you might find that you want to leave one bar and walk to another. It is important for your group to be aware of the streets you are taking to get to your next stop. Rome can be very confusing to maneuver by foot and one wrong turn can lead you down a darkened alley. Remember that if your phone is in airplane mode, you can still use the maps app to make sure you are on the right path. Doing a quick google search of all the bars or clubs within walking distance before going out will also help you see which places are safest.

With a little pre-planning, some street smarts and a reliable friend, a night out in Rome can be an experience of a lifetime.

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Healthy Travel Blog

Posted by Lustige Bilder - September 19, 2017 at 15:18

Categories: Travel   Tags: , , ,

The Zika Virus in 2017: Where Is It Safe to Travel?

Mosquito carrying Zika Virus

Since entering the public health spotlight during the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Zika virus has become a major concern for travelers everywhere. You’ve likely seen images of workers spraying pesticides and the devastating effects the virus can have on the youngest members of our society. But who’s at risk, where should you avoid traveling, and what precautions should you take? Whether you’re preparing for a senior week trip after graduation or booking your summer vacation, these are important questions to ask.

Here’s what you need to know about the Zika virus in 2017 to ensure your next trip, whether domestic or abroad, is a safe and healthy one.

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is an illness transmitted primarily through mosquito bites and sexual contact with an infected person. In healthy people, the symptoms of the infection are very mild and only last several days. You may have a fever, rash, or joint pain, but often those infected with Zika don’t show any symptoms at all.  For this reason, many people don’t even realize they’ve contracted the virus.

Though Zika’s effects are limited for most people, the virus can be extremely harmful to unborn babies. Pregnant women who contract the virus can pass it on to the fetus, leading to a condition called microcephaly and other severe birth defects. Infants with microcephaly have smaller-than-average heads and underdeveloped brains. They are likely to develop serious health problems, including seizures, developmental delay, hearing loss, and vision impairment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women should not travel to any area where Zika is present. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their doctors before they or their partners travel to these areas, as Zika can also be sexually transmitted.

Locations Where the Zika Virus Has Been Found

Below you can find the latest list of places where you could be at risk of contracting the Zika virus. The CDC updates this list of areas affected by the Zika virus frequently, so be sure to check the latest reports before traveling.

North America

Mexico and the United States (Florida and Texas)

Central America

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

The Pacific Islands

American Samoa, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga

South America

Currently includes: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela

Africa

Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda

Asia

Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Maldives, Singapore

The Caribbean

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a US territory, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Eustatius, Saint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands

How to Protect Yourself from the Zika Virus

The best way to ensure you don’t contract the Zika virus is to avoid traveling to places where it’s been found. However, this may not always be possible. If you or a family member must travel to an affected area, do your best to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent and mosquito nets. Also wear clothing that covers your entire body. Since Zika can also be transmitted between couples, you should use protection during sex to reduce the risk of transmitting it.

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Healthy Travel Blog

Posted by Lustige Bilder - March 24, 2017 at 15:21

Categories: Travel   Tags: , , , ,