Traveling solo? Now you don’t have to dine alone

Traveling solo? Now you don’t have to dine alone

 

Solo travel gives you the opportunity to explore the world based on your own itinerary. The freedom to do whatever you like whenever you want often overshadows the fact that you don’t have a travel companion to share your experiences with. However, when it comes to activities that are usually done with friends or family, like dining, it can be comforting to have someone to accompany you.

Tokyo’s Moomin Cafe ensures that independent travelers embarking on Asia travel never have to eat a meal on their own again.

Anti-loneliness theme becomes a hit

In 2003, Japan’s Moomin Cafe started in Tokyo and has since opened in three more locations, including the newest one in Hong Kong. Often referred to as the anti-loneliness cafe, it offers guests without a dining companion a table to share with large plush animals called Moomins. The first cafe didn’t become popular until recently when the idea of anti-loneliness began to appeal to travelers and spread throughout the Internet. The cafe has started to attract people from around the world and has even begun establishing Moomin-themed coffee stands throughout Japan.

Moomins are friendly-looking characters created by Tove Jansson, an illustrator from Finland who published his family of hippo characters in a popular children’s series. The books were published in the 1940s and became famous in the 1990s, according to CNN.

“I thought if people can stay and sit with Moomin characters like Moominmamma and Moominpappa [parents in the Moomin family], it’d be more interesting,” Mickey Kera, who came up with the cafe concept told CNN.

Japan Trends noted that even hungry travelers who come for a meal with others can have a chance to dine with the stuffed creatures upon request. However, as they’re reserved for those who would otherwise have to enjoy their meal on their own, it’s recommended that you come in during the morning hours before the cafe starts to get busy and all the Moomins are paired up.

However, Cindy Wu, the cafe’s spokesperson explained that the cafe in Hong Kong is doing things a little differently in regard to who can sit with the Moomins.

“Unlike Japan’s anti-loneliness cafes, Moomin characters will be placed at various tables and joining a Moomin character will be up to luck,” said Wu.

A unique Finnish atmosphere

Along with the whimsical atmosphere created by the Moomins, the cafe is also home to a delicious menu. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with dishes including mouthwatering sandwiches and soups.

If you’re only interested in a drink, the menu also features a variety of coffee beverages complete with a Moomin character drawn into the foam and complementary cookies baked to resemble each member of the hippo family.

Another feature that sets the new Hong Kong location apart from the others is its focus on introducing its guests to Finland’s traditions and lifestyle. Although all three of the cafes are based off of the Finnish storybook characters, China’s location works to reflect the country’s traditions through its physical setting and rare Finnish cuisine.

According to CNN, the Tsim Tsa Tsui venue was built to replicate a Finnish house. The online travel source also noted that Moomin artwork and photographs of some of Finland’s most popular attractions are displayed throughout the cafe.

The menu features venison soup, Scandinavian salad and Finland’s traditional bread called Piirakka. The Moomin House Pancakes are unique to the Hong Kong cafe and have already received a lot of hype. The breakfast meal includes more that just a warm stack of miniature flapjacks, but your choice of chocolate mousse, custard pudding and jelly. What’s even better than the array of toppings is how they’re displayed on each plate, tucked inside a mini three-story ceramic Moomin house.

International Travel Tips for a Stress-free Trip Abroad

International Travel Tips for a Stress-free Trip Abroad

 

Traveling abroad is an exciting opportunity to experience new destinations and cultures, but exploring an unfamiliar country can be hectic. There’s a lot that can go wrong, from misplaced luggage at the airport to canceled hotel reservations, which is why careful planning is essential for keeping your international vacation stress-free. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or journeying outside the U.S. for the first time, consider these helpful international travel tips before you head off on your overseas adventure.

Research your destination

The first step to maximizing your international travel plans is to learn more about the specific locales you plan to visit. This can help you personalize your itinerary and get a feel for the must-see landmarks, tours and events in the area. Reading through online travel guides and destination spotlights can give you a strong idea of what to expect, though there are some general tips every international traveler should keep in mind:

  • Book your excursions ahead of time: Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase event tickets or guided tours of places you want to visit, as you never know if they will sell out. Buying in advance may also land you a promotional deal or discount that could be unavailable in person.
  • Bring an adaptor for your electronics: Some countries have different sized outlets that provide higher or lower voltages than is common in the U.S., per World Standards. To keep your cell phone and personal electronics charged (and safe), be sure to bring along the right adapter.
  • Check your public transportation options: Renting a car and paying for taxis can be expensive and stressful, so it’s important to investigate local transit services. Some destinations have limited availability, so be sure to check your options ahead of your trip.

Prioritize your health and security

Staying safe and healthy while you travel abroad is incredibly important for getting the most out of your vacation, but it can be difficult to tell which precautions are necessary. First, safeguarding your passport and travel documents is paramount, as losing them may leave you stranded in a foreign country or unable to pass certain security checkpoints. It’s also useful to pack urgent medications in your carry on, along with a first aid kit and a change of clothes, as this can protect your personal well-being if the airline loses your luggage in transit. Other important health and security tips include:

  • Print copies of your passport: One of the best ways to protect your passport is to print out extra copies, allowing you to leave your real identification in your hotel room and minimize the risk of accidental loss or theft. And if your passport is lost or stolen, obtaining a new one will be easier if you have all the relevant information in one place.
  • Touch base with your doctor and insurance provider: Most international travel destinations do not pose a risk to your health, but some countries do have heightened levels of infectious diseases. Ensuring you have the proper vaccinations and insurance coverage can protect you in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Register your trip with the U.S. embassy: International vacationers often register their travel plans with the U.S. Department of State through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This free service can help you get in contact with local embassy officials if your passport is stolen during your overseas journey.

Anticipate your expenses

Booking an international trip can be expensive, but front-end costs are just one part of the equation. Before you embark, it’s important to square away all the money-related concerns that could add unnecessary stress to your travels. Be sure to look up currency exchange rates and ATM fees for the destinations you’re visiting, as relying solely on your credit card could prevent you from purchasing food, tickets and souvenirs from local vendors. Here are some useful tips for managing your money while traveling abroad:

  • Inform your bank about your trip: Most banks utilize fraud detection systems that will automatically flag any purchases made outside your normal travel region. Having your debit card canceled mid-trip can significantly disrupt your plans, so don’t forget to call your bank before you leave for the airport.
  • Carry some local currency: While you may be tempted to rely on credit cards for additional travel expenses, it’s crucial to obtain at least some of the local currency for emergency situations. Additionally, some businesses at your destination may not accept credit cards as a form of payment, which would force you to run to the nearest ATM or currency exchange center.
  • Ask your credit card carrier about its foreign transaction fee: Nearly all credit card companies charge a foreign transaction fee for purchases made through overseas banks. These extra charges can add up quickly if you’re only using your credit card, as some carriers tack on an extra 3% per transaction.

Five ways to beat the heat on vacation

Five ways to beat the heat on vacation

As temperatures start rising, everyone is ready to get outside and enjoy the weather. When you’re on vacation, it can be easy to lose track of time, and the hot sun can be exhausting. To get the most out of your trip, consider these useful tips for beating the heat:

Look for indoor activities

One of the best ways to stay cool during your vacation is to dedicate equal time to outdoor and indoor activities. This can allow you to rest and cool off without preventing you from experiencing the natural and man-made sights you most want to see. Consider adding museums, shopping centers and historical landmarks to your itinerary.

Pack Sunscreen

Sunscreen is so important for your skin when you’re outside. Remember that sunscreen falls into the liquid category according to Transportation Security Authority regulations. This means you can only carry 3 oz or less in your carry-on; otherwise it needs to go in your checked luggage.

Take it easy

While you may be tempted to fill up your vacation with back-to-back excursions, it’s important to give yourself time to relax. Trying to pack too much into a single day can lead to overexertion, so be sure to look for opportunities to sit in the shade, lounge in a cafe or take a nap during the hottest part of the afternoon.

Bring along plenty of water

Staying hydrated is essential to maximizing your travel experiences, as a lack of water can lead to exhaustion, irritability and even heat stroke. The amount of water you should bring along depends on the specific activities you’ll be engaging in, though some health experts recommend consuming at least 2.7 liters per day.1

Find a breeze

Careful planning may reduce your exposure to hot and humid weather conditions, but some degree of heat is usually unavoidable during summer travel. If you start to feel overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to find a breezy locale to take a quick break, such as a shady waterfront, tree-lined park or a comfortable hilltop.

Keep your money safe while traveling

Keep your money safe while traveling

Planning a vacation involves a ton preparation. One of the most important things to plan out is your vacation finances. Having the money for your hotel, transportation, food and spending cash can easily make or break your trip. Once the trip is arranged, it’s still important to keep tabs on your currency and know what to expect while you’re traveling. 

Call in advance

Before you leave be sure and call your credit card companies and bank to let them know you will be traveling. This will help to ensure your bank won’t flag any of your vacation purchases as possible fraudulent activity, which would leave your credit card unusable until verifying those charges.

Know the fees

If you plan on using more than just cash while you’re traveling (and most people do) check out what fees may be associated with using your card internationally. This can help you figure out if it’s best to use your card or if you should consider converting your cash to foreign currency.

Separate your money

At home you most likely keep all your credit cards and cash in one place, like your wallet. When traveling separate out your money sources. Try keeping one credit card and some cash on you for day trips, and leaving the rest behind locked safely in your hotel room. This limits your risk of being left with no money if you experience theft or lose your wallet.

Stash it safely

To avoid possible pick-pockets or your wallet accidentally falling out of your back pocket unnoticed, keep your wallet in your front pocket. If it’s in a front pocket you’ll be more aware if it’s suddenly missing. Alternatively, you can try one of several kinds of money belts that allow you to hang your money around your neck and inside your shirt – safely tucked away.

Currency exchange

Know where you plan to convert your U.S. cash to foreign currency if you’re traveling internationally. You can convert your money at your home bank before you travel, at currency exchange stations periodically as you travel, or by using ATMs abroad. Taking into consideration fees associated with each option and the amount of time you’ll be traveling can help you decide what will work best for you.

Pack travel insurance

You’re investing your hard earned money into your vacation. Protect your trip investment with a Travel Guard travel insurance plan. Travel Guard’s 24/7 assistance services can go to work on your behalf re-booking flights and hotels, finding lost luggage, arranging emergency cash transfers, and more.

TRAVELLING TO KENYA??

THIS NOTICE IS ISSUED WITH EFFECT FROM 16TH JUNE 2021.

A. GENERAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENT

1. All passengers coming to Kenya must be in possession of a valid COVID-19 negative PCR

test certificate conducted within 96 hours before travel.

2. Operating crew are exempt from COVID-19 test when on a layover between flights. They

must adhere to COVID-19 protocols from airport to hotel/residence and back to airport.

3. All travelers (children) below the age of 5 years will be exempted from COVID-19 negative

PCR test to enter Kenya.

4. All travelers will be expected to fill the travelers’ locator form and submit before travel to

http://bit.ly/covid19moh and thereafter submit daily health information to jitenge platform for

14 consecutive days.

B. TRAVELLERS FROM THE FOLLOWING STATES AND TERRITORIES SHALL BE

REQUIRED TO UNDERGO MANDATORY QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS UPON ARRIVAL

INTO KENYA AT THEIR OWN COST:

1. Brunei

2.Thailand

3. Kuwait

4. Pakistan

5.Ireland

Travelers in item B above shall be required to:

1) Be in possession of a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test result conducted within 96 hours

before travel and not display any flu-like symptoms upon arrival.

2) Provide evidence of their booking for the quarantine locations 24hrs before boarding. The

list of facilities available for quarantine can be availed from info@kmpdc.go.ke.

C. THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS SHALL APPLY TO TRAVELLERS FROM UNITED

KINGDOM IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR NATIONALITY, RESIDENCY STATUS AND ROUTE OF

TRAVEL TO KENYA FROM 11th JUNE 2021.

1) Self-isolate for seven (7) days upon arrival and take a subsequent PCR test four (4) days

after arrival.

2) Submit daily health information including the results of their second PCR test on the jitenge

platform app for 14 consecutive days.

D. THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS SHALL APPLY TO TRAVELLERS FROM INDIA FROM

MIDNIGHT 7TH JUNE 2021.

1. All passenger flights between Kenya and India are suspended.

Only Kenyans and Indian Nationals who are residents in Kenya are allowed to travel from India

to Kenya provided that they possess a covid-19 PCR negative test result conducted within 96

hours before travel and submit to an antigen test on arrival. If antigen test is negative, travellers

shall self-quarantine for 14 days at home and if antigen test is positive, travellers shall isolate

while being monitored in a government facility for 14 days at their own cost.

E. TRAVELLERS FROM THE FOLLOWING APPROVED STATES AND TERRITORIES WILL

BE EXEMPT FROM QUARANTINE. LIST UPDATED ON 16/6/2021.

1. Afghanistan

2. Albania

3. Algeria

4. Andorra

5. Angola

6. Anguilla

7. Antigua and

Barbuda

8. Argentina

9. Armenia

10.Aruba

11.Australia

12.Austria

13.Azerbaijan

14.Bahamas

15.Bahrain

16.Bangladesh

17.Barbados

18.Belarus

19.Belgium

20.Belize

21.Benin

22.Bermuda

23.Bhutan

24.Bonaire, Saint

Eustatius and

Saba

25.Bosnia and

Herzegovina

26.Botswana

27.Brazil

28.British Virgin

Islands

29.Bulgaria

30.Burkina Faso

31.Burundi

32.Cabo Verde

33.Cambodia

34.Cameroon

35.Canada

36.Cayman Islands

37.Central African

Republic

38.Chad

39.Chile

40.China

41.Colombia

42.Commonwealth

of the Northern

Mariana Islands

43.Comoros

44.Congo

45.Costa Rica

46.Croatia

47.Cuba

48.Curaçao

49.Cyprus

50.Czech Republic

51.Democratic Republic

of Congo

52.Denmark

53.Djibouti

54.Dominica

55.Ecuador

56.Egypt

57.El Salvador

58.Equatorial Guinea

59.Eritrea

60.Estonia

61.Eswatini

62.Ethiopia

63.Faroe Islands

64.Fiji

65.Finland

66.France

67. French Guiana

68. French Polynesia

69.Gabon

70.Gambia

71.Georgia

72.Germany

73.Ghana

75.Greece

76.Greenland

77.Grenada

78.Guadeloupe

79.Guam

80.Guatemala

81.Guernsey

82.Guinea

83.Guinea

-Bissau

84.Guyana

85.Haiti

86.Holy See

87.Honduras

88.Hungary

89.Iceland

90.Indonesia

91.Iran (Islamic

Republic of)

92.Iraq

93.Isle of Man

94.Israel

95.Italy

96.Ivory Coast

97.Jamaica

98.Japan

99.Jersey

100. Jordan

101. Kazakhstan

102. Kosovo

103. Kyrgyzstan

104. Lao People’s

Democratic

Republic

105. Latvia

106. Lebanon

107. Lesotho

108. Liberia

109. Libya

110. Liechtenstein

111. Lithuania

112. Luxembourg

113. Madagascar

114. Malawi

115. Malaysia

116. Maldives

117. Mali

118. Malta

119. Martinique

120. Mauritania

121. Mauritius

122. Mayotte

123. Mexico

124. Monaco

125. Mongolia

126. Montenegro

127. Montserrat

128. Morocco

129. Mozambique

130. Myanmar

131. Namibia

132. Nepal

133. Netherlands

134. New Caledonia

135. New Zealand

136. Nicaragua

137. Niger

138. Nigeria

139. North

Macedonia

140. Norway

141. Occupied

Palestinian

territory

142. Oman

143. Panama

144. Papua New

Guinea

145. Paraguay

146. Peru

147. Philippines

148. Plurinational

State of Bolovia

149. Poland

150. Portugal

151. Puerto Rico

152. Qatar

153. Réunion

154. Republic of

Moldovia

155. Romania

156. Russian

Federation

157. Rwanda

158. Saint

Barthélemy

159. Saint Kitts and

Nevis

160. Saint Lucia

161. Saint Martin

162. Saint Pierre

and Miquelon

163. Saint Vincent

and the

Grenadines

164. San Marino

165. Sao Tome and

Principe

166. Saudi Arabia

167. Senegal

168. Serbia

169. Seychelles

170. Sierra Leone

171. Singapore

172. Slovakia

173. Slovenia

174. Somalia

175. South Africa

176. South Korea

177. South Sudan

178. Spain

179. Sri Lanka

180. Sudan

181. Suriname

182. Sweden

183. Switzerland

184. Syrian Arab

Republic

185. Tajikistan

186. Timor

-Leste

187. Trinidad and Tobago

Welcome to Kenya