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Tips for Driving on the Other Side of the Road

Getting a rental car is easy enough, and it makes getting around simple. That is, if the place you’re visiting drives on the same side of the road you are used to. I experienced this myself when my family went to Australia – the first day was filled with close calls and nervous laughter! I want you to feel confident (or at least comfortable) driving on the other side of the road, so I compiled tips we used – and should have used – on our trip. 

  • Turn signal placement. 
  • Staying in the middle of the road
  • Can you turn on a red light? 
  • Which is the “fast lane”?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Turn Signal Placement

Turn signals, blinkers, indicators – whatever word you use for these, you know they’re important. They can be especially important if you are driving on the other side of the road as it lets others know to watch out for you! In the US (where I live), blinkers are on the left side of the steering wheel. This seems to be common in most cars that have the driver on the left side of the road, but be sure to double-check before you start driving. 

In cars where the driver is on the right side of the car, the blinker is typically on the right side as well. This is not always the case, so double check your car. We were not expecting this difference when we got our rental car in Australia and didn’t think to look. When it came time to turn, we repeatedly turned on our windshield wipers instead of our blinkers! It took a little time to get used to. One thing you won’t have to worry about is pedal placement. Every car I have ever been in has the clutch (if applicable) on the left, then the brake, and the gas on the right. 

car riding on highway through autumn forest
Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com

Staying in the Middle of the Road

This may seem simple, but it’s actually kind of difficult when you are used to seeing the road differently. In my case, I kept wanting to get myself on the left side of the lane, which put my passenger in the next lane over! I had to think back to driver’s ed to come up with this helpful tip to keep myself in one lane. When writing these descriptions, I am referring to the lines of the lane you are trying to stay in. 

If your diver is on the left side of the car: 

Keep the left line in the bottom left corner of your windshield. 

If your driver is on the right side of the car:

Keep the right line in the bottom right corner of your windshield. 

That’s it! This one trick made a HUGE difference in my driving, and in my comfort level on the road. If you want to test it out, pay attention to the corner of your windshield while you drive around. You will probably find the line of your lane hits that corner!

light city road traffic
Photo by Alexander Abero on Pexels.com

Can You Turn on a Red Light?

Here in the USA, many states allow you to turn right on a red light as long as there is nobody coming. This is a very convenient law in my opinion, but it is not common. Canada and the USA are two of the only countries in the world that allow you to turn on a red light, and even these countries have some exceptions. There are certain areas where this is not allowed, notably New York and Montréal. If you are used to turning on red, pay attention and try to remember to stop. If you are visiting the USA or Canada are not used to turning on red, be prepared to get honked at!

Which Lane is the “Fast Lane”?

In the USA, most traffic is supposed to stay on the right side of the road and the left side is the passing land (also referred to as the fast lane). As you might expect, countries who drive on the other side of the road have this same rule – but reversed. Most traffic should stay on the left side of the read and the right side is the passing lane. This is a pretty simple change when you think about it, but when you are driving habits tend to take over and you might get confused. When in doubt, stay away from oncoming traffic. This will keep you in the “slow lane”. 

I hope you learned something from this post and feel more confident about driving on the other side of the road! Now that you have the tips, you need to car! Check out my transportation guide to get you started!

Anna’s Pick of the Week

When going to a new place, I almost always get lost! Using the GPS on my phone is the easiest way to get back on the right track. I take this phone holder on my travels so I can see my directions while keeping my hands on the wheel. It’s so small, why wouldn’t I throw it in my bag?

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10 Things to Keep You Organized on Vacation

I have been on vacations where I jump from one hotel to the next, constantly packing and unpacking. Things get lost in the shuffle, or I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for because my bags are a mess. This can be stressful and may even be the reason some choose not to travel. Fear not! I have a list of 10 things I personally use to keep myself organized on vacation, and I’m sure they can help you too!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

1. Packing Cubes

I have used these packing cubes for about three trips now and I don’t know how I ever traveled without them! These cubes make it easy to pack before vacation and stay organized during! I typically use one for pants, one for shirts, one for pajamas and swimwear, and one for everything else. I only allow myself to pack as much as I can fit in the cubes, and nothing more. It has been a great way to limit myself and stop myself from over packing. During vacation, I just open up the cube I want, take my item out, zip it back up, and I’m done! No need to completely unpack, and therefore no need to re-pack!

2. Compact Laundry Bag

This laundry bag folds up into a built-in compartment half the size of your average cell phone. It’s easy to throw in your suitcase and provides an organized way to store your dirty clothes. If you plan on doing laundry during your trip, this is much easier to bring to the laundromat than a suitcase. Even when I don’t plan on doing laundry, this bag keeps me organized on vacation by keeping my clean and dirty clothes separate. Every traveler needs one of these.

3. Hanging Toiletries Bag

This bag is really a time saver. I organize the sections in a way that makes sense to me, then fold it up and throw it in my suitcase. When I get to my destination, I simply unfold it and hang it on a towel rack! Just like the packing cubes, I never really need to unpack with this toiletry bag. I use what I need, and put it back in the pocket I got it from. It really comes in handy when you are staying at a hotel with little or no counter space in the bathroom.

4. Jewelry Organizer

Ok, so this is not actually a jewelry organizer, but it gets the job done! This pill organizer is small and helps me keep my necklaces separate so they don’t get tangled. I also use it for small earnings. I put this and my larger jewelry into a compartment of the hanging toiletry bag so it’s all together.

5. Silicone Toiletry Jars

I use face wash and moisturizer that is too thick to be squeezed out of a normal travel-sized tube. These small jars are a much better alternative fore me. Although I still use typical travel tubes as well, these have made taking and using thicker products easier. Being made of silicone makes them easy to clean and I never worry about them breaking or spilling.

6. Backpack for Plane and Adventures

This backpack is comfy and not too big. This is the perfect size for an airplane carry-on and it has a built-in dry pack for adventures at your destination! The padding along the back makes it easy to wear all day if you need to. I use this bag regularly now, not just on travels. Any time I go hiking or kayaking I make sure to bring this backpack because it is sturdy and I know the dry bag works really well.

7. Small Travel Bag

Wherever you go, you need some sort of bag to carry necessities. Pickpockets can be a concern in many places, so I recommend wearing a cross-body bag as it is more difficult to take off. I have also worn these bags under my clothes so someone could not cut off the strap and take it. I used this kind of bag in both India and France, and it was perfect! The larger bag (though still small) can fit everything you need for a typical day. The main pocket also folds over and has a zipper on the end for added security. The smaller bag is really just a wallet when you open it. It has pockets for a phone, passport, cards, and money which is perfect if you ant to stay organized on vacation. If that is all you need, this bag is for you!

8. Thin Wallet

With a small purse comes a small wallet. I only bring the essentials: ID, debit card, a credit card, cash (both my currency and the currency of my destination), and a passport (if needed). I keep this wallet in a secure part of the travel purse, preferably in a pocket deeper in the purse or in a zipper pocket. Keeping everything together in this wallet helps me stay organized and sure that I have not lost anything important. At the airport I keep this in hand as it also spots for a phone and boarding tickets.

9. Backpack Organizer

During my last flight I was frustrated with how difficult it was to find anything in my backpack! I just found this backpack organizer which I got to help solve this problem the next time I travel. While I have not used it yet, I have high hopes! It also flattens and expands which makes it easy to store. Honestly, I am really excited about the water bottle holder on the inside. Maybe it’s just me being clumsy, but when I use the outside bottle holders on backpacks they always seem to tip over and fall out. I’m excited that this holder will keep bottles upright so I can put them in my backpack without worrying about spilling.

10. Hanging Clothes Organizer

This clothing organizer is great for a shorter trip or business trip. This clothes organizer fits perfectly into a carry-on suitcase and hangs in any closet. The downside of this organizer is the space it takes up. I personally couldn’t fit enough for more than a long weekend.

Anna’s Pick of the Week:

This may not help keep you organized on vacation and it looks goofy, but hear me out! Last year I went to Australia and it took over 24 hours to get there. My mom had bought this for me and I thought I would never use it but threw it in my carry on anyway because it’s small. This was honestly the BEST thing to help me sleep on the airplane! I put the tray table down, blew this up, and I was out! It’s shockingly comfortable and allowed me to rest my head without worrying I would end up on a stranger’s shoulder.

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A Day in Haridwar, India

Haridwar is a sacred city in India, so many of the activities here revolve around Hinduism. While you can participate in various activities without being Hindu, it is important to show respect for the culture. This can be done in several ways, but one you need to consider before leaving is the way you dress.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Image via Zulily
Image via Zulily

Dressing for Haridwar, India

People in India dress modestly, so you should do the same during your visit. One option is to wear long pants and a shirt (short sleeve or long sleeve, both are fine). I personally wore t-shirt dresses and thick (not-see through) leggings every day. I would also recommend wearing good walking or hiking shoes. My family all bought Keen waterproof hiking shoes before our trip because we knew we were going to do a lot of walking and we did not want anything from the streets seeping into our shoes.

Make sure you wear socks and bring a Buff or something similar that can cover your head. When going into temples, you are almost always required to take off your shoes, and occasionally you are required to cover your head. In Haridwar, we did not go in a temple that required us to cover our heads, but we did have to take off our shoes to enter a temple.

Maa Chandi Devi Temple

While there are several temples in Haridwar, the Maa Chandi Devi Temple is the most well-known. This temple stands high on a hill overlooking Haridwar, so it’s hard to miss. To get to the temple, you ride a cable car (gondola). The temple has shops and restrooms right outside of it. When you go inside the temple, you must take your shoes off and follow the rest of the line through. Sometimes people steal shoes outside of temples, so I recommend half of your party watches everyone’s shoes while the other half goes through the temple, and swap when the first group gets back. The temple goes in a semi-circle, and you follow the person in front of you. This is the only temple I personally went in where someone painted a small dot on my forehead which I thought was cool.

People working at the temple also asked for donations as you walked through. At first, we gave a little money to everyone who asked, but then a local informed us we only had to give money to one person. As we walked through the rest of the temple we told people we had already given money and they were fine with that.

Ganges River

The Ganges River is sacred to in Hinduism because it is thought to be the goddess Ganga (1). Hindus bathe in this river to rid themselves of their sins (1). I visited the Ganges River on New Year’ Eve which is a particularly crowded night on the river. On the walk there, be sure to pick up a flower boat as part of the ceremony. People along the river can walk you through the ceremony in which you put your feet in the river and release your boat. This is another time people use to steal shoes and pickpocket, so have half of your group participate while the other half watches. We had people come up to us asking us to sign something while other people came around trying to pickpocket while we were distracted. This is a common technique around the world, so keep your belongings safe.

Where to Stay

During our visit we wanted to stay right on the Ganges River, so we stayed at the Hotel Ganga Sadan. This hotel is close to the walking bridge and has great views of the river. If you wanted a more private experience stepping into the river, this hotel, and many others near it, provide that opportunity. Many hotels along the Ganges have an enclosed deck where you can step into the river. People from all across India come to Haridwar to step in the river and it’s a spiritual experience for them, which is why hotels provide this more intimate option for guests.

Haridwar is a great city, and I learned more about Indian culture here than anywhere else on my stay. If you enjoy learning about cultures and the way people in other countries live, Haridwar is definitely a place for you. Before going anywhere in India, you will need to know these tips.

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References

(1) https://www.quora.com/Why-is-river-ganga-considered-to-be-holy

(2) http://www.gangasadan.com/

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Places to Stay on Vacation Besides a Hotel

Yes, hotels are everywhere and super easy to book. However, they are also the same just about everywhere. You can stay at a hotel chain anywhere in the world and the rooms and experiences would be just about the same. I would rather stay somewhere that felt unique and represented the culture. Every location is different, but I have a few suggestions on places to stay besides a typical hotel room.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Boat

Have you ever thought about renting a night on a boat? Neither had I until I stayed on a boat in Sydney Harbor! This is possibly one of the most unique places to stay while taveling. We did not have keys to drive the boat (which was fine with us as we never intended on driving it). We simply rented it out just like any other hotel room or Air BNB and it acted as our room for two nights. I get very seasick so I was a bit worried about getting sick while on the boat, but that was not a problem at all. Being on a dock where boats have to travel slow kept the waves to a minimum.

Camping

If you really want to dive into the natural beauty of the landscape you’re visiting, there is no better way than to camp. Whether you are tent camping or renting a camper, you are sure to experience what makes your destination unique.

Haridwar, India

Cabin

If you want the outdoor feel without the commitment of packing around camping gear, renting a cabin is a great option. I have rented a cabin in the jungle of India and in the Australian outback, both of which gave me a new perspective on the destination. The sturdiness of a cabin can also make some feel safer if you are staying in an area with a lot of wild animals.

Other location-specific options

Depending on where you go, boat houses, tree houses, igloos, or even underwater hotels are amazing places to stay for an experience you will never forget! Get creative, and do some research about the different options available to you. If you are so lucky to have friends around the world, staying with then can give you a true cultural experience. I previously stayed with a friend in Chile, and it is an experience I will never forget.

Which of these options would you like to try out? Let me know in the comments!

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Is Disney’s MaxPass Worth it?

I am a HUGE Disney fan, and I specifically adore Disneyland in California. When MaxPass was introduced, my family was unsure about it. We had our FASTPASS routine down pat, and this was going to put a kink in our plan. The Disney Photo Pass was already available for purchase, so we didn’t see the benefit of having photos included in the MaxPass. We have visited a few times since Disney’s MaxPass system was launched and let me tell you: we were wrong. This system is a game changer in the best way. I’m going to go into detail about what the MaxPass is, how to use it, and why it really is a great deal.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

What is Disney’s MaxPass?

MaxPass is a ticket add-on you can purchase when you buy your park ticket. It currently costs $20 per person per day (1). When you sync up your park tickets with your Disneyland app you have access to all the features MaxPass has to offer. These include getting FASTPASSES for a shorter wait on the most popular attractions, and viewing photos taken by Disney employees during your time in the park. Photos include those taken on attractions, during special dining experiences, character meet-and-greets, and picture taken by Disney photographers at designated PhotoPass locations, including Magic Shots! These photos may take a couple of hours to go from a camera to the app, but once they are loaded you can easily download and share them!

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How to Use Disney’s MaxPass

Download Disneyland App

The Disneyland app is required to use a MaxPass, so you will need to download it and create an account. Once you have your tickets, open the Disneyland app and scan the tickets of everyone in your party. This will allow one account to make FASTPASS reservations for your entire group. This account is also where all of the photos from your trip will be located. If others in your party want access to photos and FASTPASSES, they will need to download the Disneyland app and sign into your same account. Multiple people can sign in to one account without any trouble.

FASTPASS

Disney create their FASTPASS system as a way to allow guests to hold their spot in line, thus creating a decrease in wait time for these guests. Previously, someone in your party would take all the park tickets to the ride you want a FASTPASS for and put them through a machine which popped out a FASTPASS ticket for each person. While you can still do this, MaxPass has made the process much quicker and easier.

Instead of walking across the park for a FASTPASS, you can request a FASTPASS on the Disneyland app from anywhere in the park! This means a lot less time running from one attraction to the next, and ultimately more time to enjoy other experiences Disney has to offer. You are only allowed to get a FASTPASS every so often, so make sure you make note of what time your next FASTPASS is available and get a new one as soon as you can. More details on the FASTPASS system and how to best use it will be coming in a later post. Subscribe to get email updates when a new post is published!

Attraction Photos

These are photos taken while you are on a ride. In the original Disneyland Park, photos are taken on Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. In Disney’s California Adventure, photos are taken on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, Radiator Springs Racers, and the Incredicoaster. These photos are typically sold individually, but they come with your MaxPass purchase! After these attractions, you are dropped off in a room where you can view the photos recently taken on the ride. Each photo had an 8-digit code at the bottom to make claiming your photo easier.

To claim your photos, simply open the Disneyland app and type in the 8-digit code under your photo. That’s it! Within a few hours your photo should be available on the app! One tip to keep in mind: the photos in the post-ride gallery change quickly, so when you find yourself, have someone take a quick photo of the code in case it disappears before you get a chance to type it in. If you don’t get the code in time, don’t worry! Just ask a cast member at the photo booth for the code. They are happy to help!

Other Park Photos

Popular photo spots in the park often have a Disney PhotoPass photographer ready to snap a picture of your group! When you are done taking pictures, open up your app and go to the photos section. There should be a bar code which the photographer scans to connect your photos with your account. After a couple of hours, the photos should be on the app and ready for download! These photographers are around the park, at special dining experiences, and at character meet-and-greets. All of these photos go right to your app with a quick scan of the bar code.

Why MaxPass is a Great Deal

Let’s say you have a family of four. In my experience, a three-day park-hopper is the ideal ticket to see and do everything Disneyland has to offer. At $20 per person per day, the MaxPass in this scenario would total to $240, not including any additional fees. A Disney PhotoPass is a disc of your photos and costs $99, but does not include attraction photos which are about $35 per print. These also do not go directly to your phone. Disney PhotoPass + One Week costs $78, which does allow you to download photos directly to your phone. The only downfall here is the photos are only available for 7 days, where the MaxPass keeps your photos available for 45 days. If you only wanted the MaxPass for photos, you could only purchase the MaxPass for one ticket which would significantly reduce the cost, and depending on how many days you are staying it could be the cheapest way to get all of your photos on your phone quickly.

MaxPass is the best option because of the FASTPASS feature. Time is money, especially at Disneyland. The time you save by using the MaxPass is really worth it. In all honesty, I would purchase the MaxPass even if it was just for the FASTPASS feature, it’s that useful!

So, is a MaxPass worth it? If you just want it for pictures, then no. Other options are cheaper depending on what you really want out of your Disney experience. Would I recommend getting Disney’s MaxPass? Absolutely!

What are your experiences with Disney’s MaxPass? What other questions do you have about the MaxPass? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Anna’s Pick of the Week

I have this backpack an I use it every time I visit Disneyland! While it is small, it fits much more than I had anticipated. While at the parks I have been asked by people of all ages where I got it. Well, now you know!

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References

(1) https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/photo-pass-service/