11 Reasons Why Travel Makes You a Happier Person

1. FIND YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE BY DEALING WITH UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS

There comes a time when everyone must deal with an unexpected situation when they’re on the road. Even if you plan your trip to the letter, things can take a surprise turn. Whatever happens, there is a way around the problem and knowing that you can deal with these situations is a big boost to self-confidence and therefore your happiness.

2. HAPPINESS IS INFECTIOUS

When locals are happy, smiling and friendly, it has an immediate knock-on effect. I found the people of Cambodia and Laos to be notably friendly and cheerful, despite the relative poorness of these countries and the former in particular having a very recent traumatic history. When faced with those big beaming smiles, it’s hard to be annoyed at the hassling you might experience at busy sites like Angkor Wat; putting that knee-jerk irritation to one side instantly lifts your mood and is a good habit to take home.

 

3. BEING AWAY MAKES YOU APPRECIATE FAMILY AND HOME

Being away from things we often take for granted — family, close friends, home — makes us appreciate them more. Calling home isn’t a chore, but something to look forward to: no one enjoys listening to your envy-inducing travel stories more than your parents, so it’s the perfect excuse to wax lyrical about whatever place with which you’ve just fallen in love.

 

4. YOU MAKE NEW FRIENDS

It’s much easier to make new friends on the road than it is at home, where people are less inclined to chat to strangers on a bus or strike up conversation in a bar (at least, that’s true of London). When people are away from home, there seem to be less boundaries to cross and making friends becomes much easier, whether it’s a local curious to know where you’ve come from or a fellow travelers keen to have someone with whom to enjoy a coffee or share a taxi. Social interactions make us happier and increasing our social circle means that we’re talking more and meeting different, interesting people, which hopefully means we’re learning more, too.

5. DETOX FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media can be used for both good and bad, but it’s healthy for everyone to have a break from the internet every once in a while. Wi-fi is so prevalent that it’s hard to turn off and you can quite often find yourself tuning out whatever amazing place you’re in with your face in your phone, checking Twitter, scrolling through your Facebook feed, checking your emails… stop. Turn it off. Better yet, find somewhere with no reception and no wi-fi so that you don’t have a choice. It’s liberating and allows you to better enjoy the ‘here and now’, which nicely ties into the following point.

6. GETTING SOME ‘YOU’ TIME

Traveling gives us breathing space that is often lost in our usual day-to-day existence. Having a moment to take advantage of peace and quiet and to simply ‘be’ allows us to let go of stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment — a key focus of meditation and a practice you can take home with you. If you’re traveling with a partner, it’s a chance to spend time with only each other for company, which is a thought that probably shouldn’t fill you with dread.

7. EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION

Whether it’s learning a new skill such as cooking Thai food or learning a new language, travel presents ways in which we can further our knowledge and education. Learning makes our brains more active, which psychologists have found increases our level of happiness – particularly when learning something we find enjoyable.

 

8. GET A VITAMIN D BOOST

Whilst it’s a bit of myth that you need to be on a sun-lounger for twelve hours to feel the full effects of vitamin D (20 minutes of exposure to sunlight is enough), there’s no doubt that in the same way that the cold and dark of winter makes us unhappy (feeling the effects of seasonal affective disorder or SAD), sunshine and warmth generally put us in a much better mood. A beach break is a great way to relax and enjoy the health benefits of a warm climate. Admittedly, this is more of a short-term boost, but a healthy glow makes everyone feels better and lasts for a few weeks after your trip is over.

9. YOU’RE MORE INTERESTING

You don’t need to be a ‘travel bore’ to have a few interesting stories to tell. Traveling throws up a lot of bizarre, funny and sometimes serious situations that relating back to people will make you — at least — feel interesting. Making someone laugh is an easy way to instantly bump up your self-esteem, so hold on to those embarrassing memories — no matter how much they might make you cringe.

10. NEW EXPERIENCES GIVE US MOMENTS TO REMEMBER

For most people, traveling is about the new experiences. I will always remember that moment of awe when I stood watching the sunlight leak out over the rainforest around the ancient temple of Borobudur in Java at sunrise, the sky turned a striking shade of violet: it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. Recalling memories of happiness can sustain a feeling of contentment long after the moment has passed, and new experiences are memories that can stick with you forever.

 

11. THE EFFECTS OF TRAVELING AREN’T JUST SHORT-TERM

Aside from making you happier in the short-term, traveling can make you a much more contented, happy and relaxed person in the long run, too. Of course, most travel enthusiasts are constantly planning their next trip, but when we’re at home or past a point of being able to jet off whenever we like, past travels leave us with the memories and personal skills – such as confidence, broad-mindedness, friends and a more worldly perspective — that make people happy. And that’s why travel makes you a happier person.

Article via CNN, I agree with EVERY SINGLE POINT!!!

Cheers,

Hello965

Kayak Adventure in Oman

After my previous adventure trip with @Husaak and his team, I decided to experience another adventure with them. This time, I decided to go on a Kayak Adventure!!!!

Oman Kayaking Hello965

Now, this adventure kind of started early this time.. from the AIRPORT. Lately, I’ve been cautious with taking personal documents with me when flying – so I either take my passport or my ID, I never carry both. Finally, when I reached to immigration, only to realize I had no identification on me. No Civil ID and no passport. The rest was history.

On the bright side, I some how made it to my flight “5 minutes before departure.. literally!” I buckled up, and the flight took off!!!

Off to oMan

Thank you again and again to all who helped me make it to that flight.

Flight: Oman Air (Direct) – Two flights per day from Kuwait to Muscat

Another option: (1 stop): Flydubai

I will keep this post short and sweet, here we go…

Off to oMan

leaving to the pick-up point

 

The trip started from a pick-up by the organizing guide/team from a pre-set pick-up point and drive for an hour and 30 minutes or so to the destination where we picked-up our Kayaks.

Trip Guide: Wenayan Al Wenayan

Off to oMan

when it all started..

We took off and started Kayaking until we reached our camp base. I will let the photos tell you about the two nights we spent there..

This trip had tents for you to sleep in during the night (Unlike my last trip to the waterfall hike). A funny incident happened one of the two nights when the wind was too strong, and the tent fell on us! Haha, it was funny we ended up sleeping outdoors – the best decision. I recommend you to always choose to sleep outdoors if you get the option its just beautiful.

Off to oMan

This trip was especially great because of the company; so much laughter.

We kayaked our way back to put back the kayaks in the storages, and drive back to Muscat.

Finally, the Kayak trip ended with a light meal near Souq Mutrah in Muscat.

Off to oMan

….. my trip didn’t end. I booked a massage at the Chedi for some me time haha. Yes, now it ended:)

A special thank you for Ali Husain for starting all of this.

Photo credits: Wenayan W.

Photo credits: Wenayan W.

Cheers,

Hello965

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.794 million, and its cultural, economic, and political center. Wikipedia

Dialing from Kuwait City to Viennal: 00 43 1 X

Flight: Flight -> VIE (Vienna Airport)
– Turkish
– Emirates
– Qatar
 Sleep:
– We stayed at apartments at Am Belvedere
– Melia Vienna
– Palais Coburg Residenz
– Park Hyatt Vienna
– Small Luxury Hotel Das Tyrol
– Hotel Altstadt Vienna
– Hotel Am Stephansplatz
– Boutique Hotel Stadthalle
– Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom
Walk around, visit & hang out:
 
Walk around the 1. district (city center), it’s very nice, lovely buildings, all in walking distance. Easter time is usually also tourist time, so make sure to explore the smaller  alleys (tourists are concentrated on Stephansplatz, Kaernterstrasse/Oper, Graben and Kohlmarkt – the rest is fine)
 
2. Schoenbrunn Palace – the Emperors Castle a little further away from the center (Metro line U4 to “Schoenbrunn”)
3. Hofburg – Emperor’s Castle in the city center
4. Belevedere – Prince Eugen’s castle (close to the city center) – there are often art exhibitions and I think the permanent exhibition has quite a bit of Klimt – www.beleverede.at
5. Naschmarkt (near Karlsplatz/Oper) – food market with some small restaurants, it’s worth strolling through and just relax with a coffee or a cold drink. It’s usually the best, but also the most crowded during on Saturday and Sunday. While going there make sure to pass by the “Wiener Sezession” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Secession).
6. Check out Kunsthistorisches Museum Travelers’ Choice™ 2014 Winner Attractions by TripAdvisor.
Vienna
7. State Opera House (Vienna’s internationally renowned opera offers nearly 300 performances each year.)
8. Leopold Museum in the Museumsquartier (http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/en)
 
Restaurants & Cafes
  • Yummy ice cream – Tuchlauben Eiscafé – Tuchlauben 15, 1010 Wien
  • Palmenhaus – http://www.palmenhaus.at/ – old greenhouse in a park between the Opera and the Hofburg – either good for coffee in the afternoon or a cocktail o in the evening – they have food as well but i never tried their restaurant.

  • The Viennese Cafes:
    • Cafe Diglas – Wollzeile 10, 1010 Wien – old school
      Cafe Prueckel – Stubenring 24, 1010 Wien – 50s interior
      Cafe Griensteidl – Michaelerplatz 3, 1010 Wien – old school, writers, painters, famous doctors and philosophers in the early 20s century chilled there before they left Austria in the 30s because of Hitler.
      Cafe Schwarzenberg – Kaernterring 17/Schwarzenbergplatz, 1010 Wien
      Cafe Landtmann – Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 4 (right next to the Burgtheater, more old people, but the terrace & the patisseries are nice!)
      Kleines Cafe – Franziskanerplatz 3, 1010 Wien – this is so small and cute, but on a very cute and calm little square very close to Stephansplatz
      Cafe Stein – Waehringerstrasse 6, 1090 Wien – students and younger folks
      Cafe Florianihof – Florianigasse 45, 1080 Wien (a little further away)
  • Plachutta (Wollzeile 38 – www.plachutta.at) might be worth calling and booking. They are very famous for a dish called “Tafelspitz”, very typical, veryyyyy good. And the Schnitzel as well of course.

 

Shopping:
Julius Meinl am Graben (Graben 19, 1. district)  THE old school most amazing deli-food store in the country. Definitely worth a visit and to get some of the Viennese delicacies!
Clothes – you’ll find most of the intl brands on Kaernterstrasse, (high street), Graben, Kohlmarkt (high end), more high street fashion on Mariahilferstrasse.
Cheers,
Hello965
PS. I couldn’t find my Vienna images, so all photos are googled. Sorry!

Why modern hotel names are often short, vague and misspelled?

An article I found interesting on CNN, is the reason modern hotel names are short, misspelled and vague.

cnn

Marketing experts say brands of the 21st century need to have handles that resonate in the online world. Spelling is often sacrificed in the quest of social media and texting brevity and an easily trademarked name.

Milan has Moxy, while much of Europe is painted Blu.

Jaz in the City is playing in Amsterdam come September.

EVEN increases the odds of a good night’s sleep, while Tune is in harmony with scaled-down budgets.

And then there’s the vibrant Vib and a new venue, Venu, soon arriving in Dubai.

These statements begin to make sense once you realize that they’re all the names of modern hotel brands.

According to Chekitan S. Dev, a professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, hotels traditionally have been named after an owner or a place.

But more recently, he says, “the naming process has evolved from an off-the-cuff process into something far more systematic.”

Psychologists say the millennial psychographic is made up of independent-minded, adventurous individuals in search of new experiences.

Hospitality brands are crafting their marketing strategies accordingly.

“Hotel companies are lazering in on consumer needs by using psychographic data in a big way,” says Matthew Von Ertfelda, Marriott’s vice president for insight, strategy and innovation.

The explosion of social media also has a starring role in the name game.

Brands of the 21st century need to have handles that resonate in the global, online world, say the pros.

“Thanks to social media, millennials are the first global generation,” says Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti, academic chair of New York University’s School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

For social media purposes, the number of characters in a name counts.

Spelling is often sacrificed in the quest for brevity.

But another reason for purposeful misspellings may be legal.

Spelling is often set into an uncommon form to retain meaning while being trademarkable.

“The odder the name, the less likely someone has already captured it,” says Cornell professor Dev.

Blu and Red

Radisson Blu was introduced in 2009. Instead of using blue or bleu, the company opted for a trademarkable spelling.

Color is also key to hotel operator Carlson Rezidor, which is hueing (sic) toward Red and Blu.

Blu came about in 2009, after airline SAS withdrew from a partnership with Radisson.

After the split, Radisson SAS, a collection of European design hotels, needed a new name.

“We wanted to replace SAS with an equally short name,” says Rose Anderson, vice president of branding for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

“We liked using blue from the old SAS logo, because it brought in the heritage of the former brand.

“At the same time, we were looking for a word with positive worldwide connotations … and blue is the world’s favorite color.”

So blue or bleu became Blu, a trademarkable spelling.

Carlson Rezidor recently announced a new Red brand that will, according to Anderson, “build on the Blu concept and further leverage Radisson’s brand awareness.”

The letter that started it all

You can’t explore the hospitality industry’s desire to appeal to the millennial mindset without nodding to W Hotels by Starwood.

The brand now seems to have been ahead of its time with hotels that opened in pre-social media 1998.

“Starwood was the first hotel company to look directly at the customer as it evolved a new brand,” says Paul James, global brand leader of W Hotels Worldwide, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection.

W’s target customer was a fashionable, high-energy individual — someone who’d now likely be described as having a millennial psychographic.

Starwood defined the brand by adding its “Whatever, Whenever” tagline to the simple W logo.

Cornell’s Dev says Starwood further imbued the brand with meaning by using words like witty, warm and welcoming in its advertising and marketing material.

More than 15 years later, the W Hotel brand has more than 70 properties open or in development worldwide.

_________________________________________________________

Interesting, isn’t it?

Cheers,

Hello965

Hello965 in Cuba

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 9.26.27 PM

  • VISA Process:

Kuwaiti (and GCC) nationals need a visa to Cuba. Each national need to contact the Cuban Embassy in their country or the visa services office to inquire about the requirements.

In Kuwait, this is what you’ll need:

– A photocopy of your passport (The passport itself is not needed)

– A personal photo (sometimes not required)

– Hotel + Flight reservations

– Application Form to be filled in the embassy itself

Hello965 Cuba

I fell in love with this lady! <3

 

  • Duration of my stay: 7 days (3 nights in Havana, one night in Trenidad de Cuba and 2 nights in Varadero)

 

  • FLIGHT

I choose the faster route the cheapest route, but you really have MANY options. As I mentioned in my previous post about Cuba. To add to it, you could always go through the Bahamas, Cayman Islands or else.

My Route was as follows: Kuwait – Abudhabi – Frankfurt – Havana and return via Istanbul (around 23 hours? more or less)

*** One big issue with this flight I took, my bags never made it to Havana via Frankfurt.

I was flying on Condor – A Thomas Cook Group flight, and had a very tight transit time (55 minutes). Unfortunately, I dealt with an impolite Condor representative, where she had confirmed 3 times that my bags were on board and 3 times dismissed me to “take care of other travelers”. The only reason I’m writing this, is because I was left with no bags for 4 days in Havana with not even a compensation from Condor.

FYI – shopping in Havana is VERY overpriced. I spent a fortune (i’m not exaggerating) just to buy shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush & paste, body gel and t-shirts for the days we have no clothes.   S

ANYWHO,

Hello965 in Cuba

1. Havana:

Stay: I stayed at a penthouse via Casa Particular. This is a tricky situation, if you’re comfortable staying at one of those, go for it at your own risk. Otherwise, stick to Hotel Saratoga in Old Town Havana, Nacional Hotel or read about the houses/rooms rented via the locals such as Casa de Miriam Y Sinai.

Activities:

– Museo Revolucion
– Plaza Vieja
– East of Havana, go on top of the hill
– Eat ice cream at the famous Coppelia Ice Cream parlour for the true Habanero experience (Yes, this is part of activities and an activity you must do)

hello965 havana
– Plaza San Francisco
– 50’s car ride/ tour

hello965 cuba
– Visit a Cigar Factory
– See Casa Fuster
– Drive on, or walk on the Malecon Street
– Plaza de las Armas

Hello965 Cuba

Cigar Factory Visit

 

Food:

– Rio Mar

– Vistamar (1st Av and 22 strt)

– Litoral (on Al Malecon)

– El Templete

– Restaurante Dona Eutimia

– A coffee/bakery/pastry shop next to Dona Eutimia, is a place called Bambini .. very cute!!

– La Fontana

Night:

– Tropicana show; touristy and commercial but definitely a nice experience for a first time visit to Cuba

– Up & down

– Saratoga Hotel Rooftop Bar

– 304 O’Reilly

– Casa de La Musica (All salsa, live band)

Hello965 in Cuba

2. Trinidad de Cuba (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Stay: For the first time ever, and since it’s a one night stay, I decided to book in a hostel. It’s called Dr Suarez & Sra Addys. The owners the same day of booking dropped me an email expressing their excitement to have us at their home. I loved loved my stay at this place, couldn’t have asked for a better experience in Trinidad!

The hostel has two rooms, each room fits two persons max. However, we needed an extra room, so the owners arranged for our friend to stay at the opposite house/hostel. If you need more rooms, just ask them and they’ll organize it.

Another option which I was looking at before booking with Dr Suarez is a hotel called Iberostar, which is the best recommended in Trinidad.

Activities:

– Valle de Los Ingenios Tour (RECOMMENDED!), I booked my tour via Havana Tour Company. This tour is about 19th-century sugar and slave trade! SUPER interesting.

hello965 trinidad

– Walk around the town, it’s a very small place, so just walk around and explore yourself

– Check out Plaza Mayor

– Train trip to the Valley of the Sugar Mills

– Hiking the Escambray mountains

– Checkout Galeria Pincelada Colonial

 – At night, checkout Casa de La Musica (All salsa, live band), it is similar to the one in Havana, but this is outdoors and beautiful atmosphere

Food:

Since my trip to Trinidad was super short, the place I got to try was:

1- San Jose

Actually, there was another restaurant that I absolutely hated, so won’t even bother to write it down.

 

3. Varadero

Stay: Melia Varadero Hotel is where I stayed, and where I recommend

Hello965 Varadero

Things to do:

– Go on a Catamaran to Cayo Blanco Island

– Varadero is all about the beach, so just relax and enjoy your hotel’s facilities and massages

– For the night, a place called La Rumba was recommended to us

hello965 catamaran

 Other destinations I stumbled upon that look interesting, you could look into more:

Cayo Largo & Cayo Coco – I read that these islands have two of the most beautiful beaches! – Not accessible via car

Useful websites other than this amazing post ofcourse;

I used these websites to book my hotels:

www.hotelscombined.com

www.Otel.com

www.casaparticular.com

www.hotelsclick.com

Hello965 in Cuba

Final words:

– I recommend you to hire a driver & rent a car for the whole period in Cuba. The driver most of the time act as a tour guide, where he’ll recommend the best places to see, reserve for restaurants when needed and take care of things.

– The way it works in Cuba from my personal experience, hiring a driver, and renting a car are two different activities (some websites combine both in one). I, contacted a driver, who in return recommended me the websites to rent a car from.

– Renting a car is tricky. If you do reserve a car online, and the car reservation is CONFIRMED, that’s not the end! You must pay the car full amount ONLINE for the reservation to be confirmed. I didn’t pay online because I wasn’t aware of this, so when I reached, I didn’t have a car. (Thanks Rafael for organizing a car for me!)

– Entering Cuba is not a big hassle. However, those of you feeling uncomfortable waiting, there’s a VIP service fo  25 CUC. Where an employee escorts you from the minute you leave the plane, passes you through VIP and Diplomats lane, and off to the luggage.

At the exit/Leaving Cuba – you’ll need to pay 25 CUC at the airpot, so just make sure you have the 25 CUC at hand on your way to the airport.

– In terms of safety, I haven’t encountered any dangerous situation or felt unsafe at any point. Caution is always good, so just keep your shiny and expensive stuff at home. Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere! You will be surprised by the visible police presence in Cuba.

– Heads up, Havana is not cheap. The minute they know you’re a tourist, they’ll automatically charge you much higher than original price/cost.

– WiFi & Internet: Almost all hotels have at least 1 or 2 computers to go on the internet for foreigners. Otherwise they’d charge you for an internet card to use for your laptop/phone. Having said that, Cuba’s internet is very slow, and some applications are blocked such as “Snapchat”.

Best time/weather to see Cuba: March, April October and November are the months with the nicest weather and less rain. Peak Season is December / January/ February.

– MONEY EXCHANGE – You can ONLY exchange money INSIDE Cuba. To exchange, you need to get Euros with you, and exchange either at the airport when you first get in, or in any hotel in Havana. I, for instance, exchanged at both Melia Cohiba and Nacional Hotel. Also, make sure you don’t get out of Cuba with their currency (CUC) because you will not be able to exchange it outside of Cuba.

– Cigars: For Cigar purchases, you are only allowed 50 pieces ‘per bag’ (carry-on VS. suitcase). More than 50 pieces, you’ll be asked present receipts of your purchases.

– Finally, don’t expect to eat delicious food. All food is spiced with only salt, pepper and lemon. So don’t have any expectations. (get your own spice if you could)

hello965 classic

***  Always remember, you could email us on info@hello965.com to plan all of this for you.

Cheers!

Hello965