Travel Safety

Subway Warning Sign

Today’s travel tip comes as a warning, no matter how delightful your hat maybe don’t try to fetch it if it falls on the subway tracks. A nice man with a long grabbing device will assist you with its return.

For more travel tips click here, and for more about our trip to Japan click here.

Avoiding Post-Vacation Blues

Avoiding Post-Vacation Blues: Advice from a Purple Hippo

When returning from an amazing vacation  there is always the fear that post-vacation blues will hit the newly returned traveler. To avoid this gloomy mood, I will be posting several tips that are sure to brighten your mood and keep you excited about your vacation, even after it has concluded.

One of the best ways to extend your vacation experience is to bring back customs that you learned while on your travels. For a tiny hippo, such as myself, discovering new flavors are a big part of traveling. When I return from a vacation I try to bring home some new flavor ideas to recreate in my own humble kitchen. Once I have mastered the new food techniques at home I like to share them at a special occasion with friends and family. The perfect occasion for trying new foods is, of course, the picnic!

Here is my homemade ploughman’s sandwich with a lovely picnic spread

While traveling in the United Kingdom I fell in love with the ploughman’s platter, and more specifically with ploughman’s sandwiches. These scrumptious sandwiches are made with a hearty bread, an aged cheese, butter (all sandwiches in the UK seem to have butter on them), and spicy and tangy chutney. The chutney is key to this sandwich, without it you just have a plain cheese sandwich.

Recreating foods that you enjoyed during your vacation and then making a bit of an event out of them, such as a picnic, is a great way to bring your trip home with you. This post-travel tip allows you to bring your vacation home with you while avoiding corny souvenirs that have no personal connection to you.

Follow the link to my spicy apple chutney to spread onto your own ploughman’s sandwiches and stay tuned for homemade scones with fresh clotted cream.

Click here to see more of my Travel Tips.

Travel Tip #9: How to get the Most Out of Every Day

Travel Tip #9: Advice from a Purple Hippo

Whether sightseeing in the country or city there are several things that you need to do in order to be able to appreciate your trip.

First, make sure to take lots of breaks, you are going to be walking for miles each day, so take it easy.

These umbrella like plants at Kew Gardens provide an excellent shady spot in which to take a quick break

Be sure to stay well hydrated, this is very important. If you overheat you will become very grumpy, so drink plenty of cool water.

The fountain in the Queen’s Garden at Kew Gardens is a great place to have some refreshing water

If you can catch a ride with a local, do so. Locals can give you a more authentic perspective into what daily life is really like at your destination.

This colorful camel was able to show me around the British Museum, a place he has called home for several years

Most importantly, be sure to relax, a stressed explorer is not a happy explorer. Be sure to smell the flowers and enjoy the experience, no matter what it brings.

Stop and smell the Azaleas, but be sure not to eat too many of them, people will notice

Hopefully these tips will help you make the most out of every day of your vacation. Be sure to enjoy yourself and take lots of breaks.

Click here to see more of my Travel Tips.

Travel Tip #8: Washing Up

Travel Tip #8: Advice from a Purple Hippo

Be sure to take a bath and do laundry regularly, no one likes a stinky tourist.

The busy traveler often has difficulties when looking for adequate facilities in which to take a bath in. Never fear, a little ingenuity can go along way. One can use a large sink or basin for sponge baths. A hose is just a portable shower, try it out.

Or you could go with my personal favorite… (note for safety reasons the technique that follows should only be used by properly trained tiny purple hippos)

 Just climb into your machine of choice with your favorite bath puff

Yes that’s right, I use a front-loading washing machine, preferably with a window door so that I can watch the world spin by.

Have a friend close the door for you, or devise a system of levers and pulleys so you can shut the door from the inside, I have yet to master that technique.

At this point the water will start to fill the drum of the machine, make sure that you have set the water temperature to warm. Hot will scald your delicate hippo hide and cold will leave you chattering and a much darker purple.

This is my favorite part, the gentle agitation of warm water with lavender-scented bubble bath.

Here comes the spin cycle. Wa wa wa weeeee!

Oh bother, *burp*

There you have it, just look around and you will find so many places to rid yourself of all that grime you have picked up in your travels.

Click here to see more of my Travel Tips.

Travel Tip #7: Five Rainy Day Ideas

Travel Tip #7: Advice from a Purple Hippo

Rainy days

While traveling you are likely to experience some dreary weather.

This bunny is grumpy, don’t be the grumpy bunny

Rainy days can make even the most joyful of travelers a little grumpy. But don’t worry, there is plenty to do while you wait out the weather!

Here are five rainy day activities that are sure to brighten your mood:

#1 Build yourself a fort or castle.

This is a great opportunity to do something useful with all the new architectural information that you picked up while viewing those historic castles, see Travel Tip #6.

#2 Play a game of Jenga.

Jenga

Play Jenga alone or with a group of friends, it’s always a good time.

Easy does it…

Careful, careful now!

Quick, somebody catch it!

Oh bother.

#3 Visit the local bar and join in the pub quiz.

Pub quizzes are great for learning about different cultures and making new buddies, be sure to try the crisps.

#4 Go to the local shops

#5 Go out for cream tea.

Never mind that there is no tea in the picture, there are more important things to consume!

View more of my Travel Tips.

Travel Tip #6: Don’t get Locked in the Castle

Travel Tip #6: Advice from a Purple Hippo

It is important to be aware of closing times when visiting historic locations.

Exterior ruins of Huntly Castle situated in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

One can easily become enthralled to the point of distraction when visiting fascinating castles.

Arrow loop in Huntly Castle

While this is usualy a good thing, it can lead to disaster if one is not aware of the castle’s closing hour.

They are serious when they say closing time is at 5:30

When a castle closes they lock the two means of entrance and escape that the entire place has to offer.

This bright window may appear to be a way out, but the fall is much too long

You may see what appears to be an exit.

A glimmer of hope

But it never is, you will quickly learn that castles were built as defense structures, making exiting them quite difficult.

These iron bars were easy for me to slip through, but I could not leave my camera crew behind

Once you understand that there is no means of escape, you must phone the local police and inform them that you seem to have gotten yourself locked in the castle and could they please come let you out. When phoning the police it is also helpful to know the name of your prison, which is why Travel Tip #5 is so important.

Waiting, sheepishly

Once you have phoned the police, wait about an hour until they send someone to extract you.