The Ultimate Travel Guide for Australians Exploring the Wonders of India


Embarking on a journey from the sunbaked shores of Australia to the vibrant and diverse landscapes of India is an adventure of a lifetime. As you prepare to wander through ancient fortresses, navigate bustling markets, and indulge in the kaleidoscopic Indian cuisine, equipping yourself with the right knowledge and essentials becomes crucial. This comprehensive guide is tailored to help Australians immerse themselves in the Indian experience with ease and confidence.

1. Navigating Travel Documents and Currency Essentials:

  • Visa Requirements: A valid tourist visa is your golden ticket. An Indian e Visa offers a hassle-free online application process for Australians. 
  • Passport Protocols: Your passport should remain valid for a minimum of six months beyond your planned stay in India.
  • Financial Preparedness: Carry Indian Rupees for initial expenses. Remember to notify your bank of your travel to ensure seamless card transactions in a different country.

2. Health and Wellness in India:

  • Pre-Travel Vaccinations: Engage in a consultation with your healthcare provider to get recommended vaccinations, including shots for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, and Tetanus.
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Invest in robust travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, offering peace of mind as you explore.
  • Essential Medication Kit: Pack a well-stocked medical kit, including essentials like rehydration solutions, anti-diarrheal medicine, and any specific prescription medications.

3. Embracing Indian Culture with Sensitivity:

  • Understanding Indian Etiquette: Dive into understanding Indian customs and etiquette. This knowledge is invaluable in showing respect and avoiding cultural faux pas.
  • Modest and Respectful Attire: Indian culture appreciates modesty, especially at religious sites. Packing conservative clothing is both respectful and practical.

4. Effective Communication Strategies:

  • Staying Connected: A local SIM card can be a lifeline for easy communication and internet access.
  • Language Tips: While English is prevalent, grasping a few basic phrases in Hindi can enrich interactions and earn appreciation from locals.

5. Safety and Scam Awareness:

  • Steering Clear of Scams: Equip yourself with knowledge about common tourist scams to avoid falling prey to them.
  • Safeguarding Personal Belongings: In crowded areas, a sturdy bag and a watchful eye are essential to prevent pickpocketing.

6. Adapting to India’s Climate:

  • Seasonal Wardrobe Considerations: Dress for the season – lightweight, breathable fabrics for the heat, and warm layers for cooler weather.
  • Sun Protection is Key: In India’s often-intense sun, sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and UV-protection sunglasses are must-haves.

7. Power and Connectivity:

  • Electrical Essentials: India operates on 230V, 50Hz with plug types C, D, and M. Ensure you have suitable adapters for your electronic devices.

8. Food and Water Precautions:

  • Hydration Safety: Stick to bottled or purified water and avoid tap water to steer clear of health risks.
  • Savoring Indian Cuisine Wisely: Embrace the culinary adventure with caution – opt for freshly cooked meals and be wary of raw or uncooked dishes.

9. Exploring the Indian Terrain:

  • Transport Options Across India: Familiarize yourself with the varied transport options like the extensive train network, local buses, and the ubiquitous auto-rickshaws.
  • Guidance and Navigation: Carry a reliable map or make use of GPS-based applications to find your way through the maze of Indian streets.

How can Natvisa help?

Natvisa is a highly reliable and convenient platform that facilitates Australian visitors in obtaining their Indian e visa with utmost ease and efficiency. The platform offers a streamlined application process that enables users to submit their application form, pay the visa fee, and receive their e-Visa in their email inbox within a few days. 

The platform is backed by a team of dedicated professionals who are available round-the-clock to provide customers with prompt and efficient assistance. Natvisa also provides users with comprehensive guidance and resources, including a detailed guide on how to apply for an Indian e-Visa.

Read the detailed guide here:  


From Australia’s tranquil beaches to the energetic rhythm of India’s cities and the serene beauty of its countryside, this journey is a tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. With thoughtful preparation, you can delve into the heart of India’s vibrant culture, history, and natural beauty, ensuring an enriching and memorable expedition.

Fairbanks Festivals and Events: Not-to-Miss Celebrations Throughout the Year

Fairbanks sits at the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, the largest city in the state’s interior, and the gateway to the vast tundra that contains some of the most incredible landscapes and thrilling experiences the Last Frontier has to offer. Some of the best hiking, most remarkable wildlife, and most exciting back-country experiences can be found starting at Fairbanks.

But Fairbanks itself is far more than just a base for exploring the wide-open spaces of Alaska’s interior. The city boasts a rich cultural tapestry that makes it a wonderful place to visit in its own right and offers a vibrant calendar of events with something for everyone throughout the year.

From dazzling winter wonderlands at Christmas to spiritual summer Solstice celebrations, there are some amazing things to do whenever you arrive in Fairbanks. So if you’ve chosen to explore Alaska by boarding a cruise or setting off on a road trip and are looking for something cultural to add to your adventure, here are some of Fairbanks’ most exciting festivals and events to look forward to. 

Fairbanks Ice Art Festival

Fairbanks kicks off the year in grand style with its annual Ice Art Festival. Held every February, the festival transforms Fairbanks into a magical, mysterious, and thoroughly mesmerizing world of incredible sculptures made solely from ice and snow. The festival attracts ice sculptors and artists from around the world to work their magic, carving stunning works of art from blocks of ice and creating an enchanting and thoroughly astonishing frozen landscape. 

Midnight Sun Season

Alaska’s interior might conjure up images of long, dark nights and frozen wilderness, but during the summer this couldn’t be further from the truth. As the city sits within the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks enjoys extraordinarily long days during May, June, and July, and the sun doesn’t set for 70 consecutive days! As a result, the summer solstice is a phenomenon to behold – 24 hours of genuine sunshine, with midnight being as bright as midday. This remarkable celestial event is celebrated in Fairbanks with the Midnight Sun Festival, a street fair that combines exciting live music, local art, and food trucks, with a slightly more spiritual ambiance recognizing the importance of the solstice for various cultures. 

World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO)

The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO) is also known as the Alaska Native Games. This fascinating and incredible event showcases the traditional skills, games, and pastimes of the indigenous Alaskans, with some weird and wonderful events such as the one-foot high kick and the ear pull. It offers a unique twist on traditional sporting events and is a brilliant opportunity to learn more about Native Alaskan customs, culture, and sport. 

Golden Days

The history of Fairbanks is inextricably interlinked with the history of gold, as it was the discovery of gold near the city in 1902 that led to the Fairbanks Gold Rush. In fact, Fairbanks was largely built around the fervor for gold, so it is unsurprising that one of their biggest celebrations is in its honor. Fairbanks’ Golden Days is a week-long festival in July commemorating the first discovery of gold in the city, with parades, street fairs, and most excitingly of all a rubber duckie race own the Chena River!

Tanana Valley State Fair

In August Fairbanks celebrates everything agricultural with the Tanana Valley State Fair. With everything from hay rides and tractor races to live entertainment and nose-to-tail eating, it is a wonderful exposition of the local produce and industry of the region, and a delightfully family-friendly affair. 

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

Fairbanks has a pretty serious cultural side, and art lovers should make the effort to visit during the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in July. This wide-ranging event combines exhibitions, performances, and workshops across a variety of artistic disciplines, and is an incredible showcase of the creativity and ingenuity of the city and Alaska as a whole. 

The Yukon Quest

The Yukon Quest is known as the ‘toughest sled dog race in the world’, a gruelling challenge across 1,000 miles of rugged Alaskan and Canadian wilderness, pitting race teams against the elements. Starting in Fairbanks in February it is an extraordinary testament to the endurance of mushers and dogs, and the unbreakable bonds that join them together. 

Thanks to its diverse and unique calendar of festivals and events, Fairbanks is one of the most interesting cultural hubs in Alaska, and maybe even across the US. From ice art to Native Alaskan traditions, the cultural heritage of this fascinating state is proudly on show throughout the year in Fairbanks.

travel gift guide

All I Want for Christmas: 30 Travel Gifts for Adventurous Souls

All I Want for Christmas [2022]

If you’re nomadic like me, you’ll probably find that the people in your life have a hell of a time coming up with Christmas gift ideas for you. When you’re shopping for somebody who travels carry-on only, it can be a nightmare coming up with ideas as to what gifts to get them for Christmas or their birthday.

People who love to travel are partaking in one of the greatest pleasures in life, and while we may make lifelong memories, it can mean that we need to eschew the ‘stuff’ that others collect. Without a home base to put that stunning painting or scratch-off travel map in, gift ideas are often limited to what we can fit into a suitcase.

The below list of travel-inspired gifts are ones I own myself or ones I want to own. If you’ve got a traveler in your life, here are fifteen amazing gift ideas for them this Christmas.

supra georgia kakheti wine tour
Toasting from drinking horns while wine tasting in Georgia

30 Travel Gifts for Adventurous Souls

I’m gonna level with you here, folks. This post is going to contain affiliate links.

This means that if you buy any of the below (or buy something else on Amazon after clicking through one of the below), I’m going to make a little commission. This doesn’t impact how much you pay in the end, but I wanted you to know that I’m not being completely selfless here. Your gift to me this Christmas will be the gift of a cheeky little Amazon commission going into my bank.

However, I will stand by all of the below gifts as things I either already own or sorely wish to. I’ll even tell you which are which!

tinggly gift box
A Tinggly gift box is the perfect way to give the gift of a travel experience without a set date in mind.

Tinggly Experience Box

If there is one thing the traveler in your life will never say no to, it’s more money to fund their travels.

If folding up a crisp $100 bill in a Christmas card seems a bit too “I don’t know you well enough to spend even a second trying to figure out what you like” for you, a Tinggly Experience Box might be the trick. It’s the same as giving your traveling friend money, but it’s just travel-themed enough that they’ll feel like you really get them.

Incidentally, last year my father forewarned me that I was getting a Tinggly experience box for Christmas. He’s also told me how much he spent. He’s fun like that.

Your Tinggly Experience comes in a cute box and boasts a pretty massive list of experiences all over the world. This gives the traveler in your life the freedom to choose the adventure they’ll enjoy most, so you don’t have to!

There are experiences in 100+ countries and they have two years to use it, so it’s as easy as just taking out your credit card and letting them do the work. You don’t even need to know where in the world they are!

Buy a Tinggly Box

Lifestraw water bottle

Lifestraw Go Water Bottle

Personally, I hate buying endless plastic water bottles when I travel in places where you can’t drink the water. Having a water bottle with a filter is so handy while backpacking through Southeast Asia or South America, or when you live in a country like China or Vietnam, where tap water is completely undrinkable.

Personally, I’m a fan of the bite and suck straws on water bottles, because it actually encourages me to drink at least the bare minimum of water necessary to survive as a human.

Plus, Lifestraw gives back to the community! Through the company’s Follow the Liters program, every LifeStraw product sold provides a child in a developing country with access to clean, safe drinking water for an entire school year.

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A Unique Phone Case

Ask anybody to list off their most indispensable possessions, and after the wife, kids, and passport, you’re likely to land on their smartphone.

What might have been a bit of a frivolous luxury item a decade ago is now so essential that you’ll see people losing their minds when they’re in a signal dead zone or can’t find a charger.

With your phone being so essential to your day-to-day existence, it makes sense to protect it, and why protect it with a dull bit of hardware when you can have something that speaks to your personality?

The team at Carved produces gorgeous iPhone (and Samsung) cases alongside some truly beautiful wallets, chargers, and more. If your world-traveler is looking to step away from cookie-cutter cases and have something that speaks to their personality, Carved is what you’re looking for.

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Earbuds and/or Noise Cancelling Headphones

The practical benefits of owning noise-canceling headphones or earbuds are many.

Screaming baby on your red-eye flight? Drown them out with the dulcet tones of an all Michael Buble playlist.

A long, boring commute in a cramped train? Let the boys from the Adventure Zone nerd you to your happy place.

Chinese guy behind you on the bus shouting into his phone because he doesn’t understand how phones work? Who cares? You’re binging Schitt’s Creek in blissful silence.

When I first got a pair of Sennheiser PXC550 noise-canceling headphones back in 2017, I liked them so much I wrote a whole post masturbating over them.

More recently, I’ve come to appreciate that I won’t always want to carry a massive pair of headphones around like some obnoxious wannabe DJ. That’s where earbuds come in, and I’m especially fond of my new xFyro Aria Earbuds.

Noise-cancelling? Check

Up to 32 hours of life thanks to their charging case? Check

Touch controls to change tracks or increase volume? Check

Don’t look like Apple’s iButtplugs? Check

While they’re a bit pricier than the average earbuds, the extended battery life and touch controls make the xFyro ARIA a welcome addition to my travel electronics collection.

Buy xFyro Aria

Tropicfeel Shoes

My wife, Adventures Around Asia is obsessed with her Tropicfeel shoes. So much so that she backed them on Kickstarter and was upset when I got offered a free review pair.

Never fear, dear reader! I did not take their free shoes! It definitely had nothing to do with the fact my clown feet are too large for conventional shoes, I assure you.

Truthfully, I really dig Tropicfeel’s look, practically, and message. I’m bummed that my colossal appendage has once again meant I can’t have something I want.

Quick-drying and comfortable, Tropicfeel shoes are designed with travelers in mind. If you’ve ever peeled off your sweaty shoes after a long day of hiking or backpacking to the dismay of the gathered crowd, you’ll be pleased to know that these little miracles go a long way towards avoiding such awkward social moments.

Get a Pair!

sony bluetooth speaker

Sony Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker

My wife and I have been talking about getting a good travel speaker for a while now, and I have my sights on the Sony Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker.

Firstly, who doesn’t want to listen to music or a podcast in the shower? Personally, I’ve been binging Adventure Zone. But also, speakers really come in handy when you’re trying to watch a movie on your laptop in a hotel room, and your wife keeps complaining about the sound quality on your computer… Not that I have personal experience with this or anything.

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Carry-On Cocktail Kit

If you’re not taking advantage of the in-flight beverage service on your long haul flights, you’re basically leaving money on the table.

While I would never be one to advocate being that person who disrupts the entire flight by loudly offering to hold a crying baby through red-wine stained teeth, there’s something to be said for a cheeky beverage (or three) to help knock you out. Let’s be honest, there are never more than 2-3 movies worth watching on the in-flight entertainment.

If lukewarm beer or wine of dubious origin doesn’t scratch that itch, a carry-on cocktail kit is a great way to spice up your inebriation experience. While it’s only a single serving, there’s something oh-so-fancy about muddling your own Old Fashioned while the sucker next to you pretends to enjoy his can of Japanese beer.


Aero Press Coffee Maker

Growing up in Australia, I had no idea how spoiled I was when it came to coffee until my first visit to the United States.

“You’ll hate the coffee,” our LA Insider Tours guide warned me before I lifted the cup of molten slag to my lips, “All of you Aussies do”.

That’s because the coffee was one step above greywater. Deadset, how do Americans survive on that swill?

Yes, I’m aware that America has some terrific independent coffee shops. Hell, even Starbucks isn’t bad if you don’t mind paying overs for a mediocre latte.

If you’re traveling through Asia (aside from Vietnam), however, you’re going to be facing some hard times, daddy. Coffee culture just hasn’t reached Africa or Asia yet, and I don’t care if Ethiopia invented coffee culture.

For days where you need something that isn’t subpar, an Aeropress is a godsend. Our trusty little miracle worker got Richelle and I through Tanzania, China, rural Japan, and even a few days here in the US of A.

Cup of Joe?

Badass Beard Care Grooming Kit

If the traveler in your life doesn’t have a beard, they’re either female or broken. Either way, you can skip this portion.

If, however, they are in possession of a badass beard that would make Odin spontaneously ejaculate, they’re going to need a badass beard care kit.

When I first grew my beard, it was out of laziness, but I now realize that the care and maintenance of a beard is almost as much work as just shaving on the regular. Of course, shaving on the regular would mean looking like a thumb with teeth, so I’ve had to suck it up.

A Badass Beard Care Loaded Travel Kit comes with beard oil, beard balm (or wax), a comb, a brush, and scissors in a handy travel kit, and you best believe I upgraded mine so that my comb smelled of rich sandalwood.

If the man in your life has lumberjack aspirations and enough beardruff to make it a white Christmas, do him (and his furniture) a favor by buying him some beard oils and a good brush. It makes a world of difference.

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Universal Travel USB Adaptor

This one really doesn’t need a big, flowery description, does it?

You have electronics. Your electronics need power. Countries have different voltages and outlets.

A universal travel adapter fixes that problem.


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Wander Club Wanderchain

I once knew a girl who would trade sexual favors in exchange for the promise of Pandora charms. I hope she got help.

I definitely didn’t purposely go out of my way to perform sexual favors to get rings for my Wander Club Wanderchain from my wife last Christmas… but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the idea all the same.

A more gender-neutral and practical take on the Pandora model, Wander Club lets the traveler in your life collect rings for every country, US state, continent, and US national park that they visit. Clipped onto your bag or tucked into a pocket, your Wander Club “Wanderchain” is a kind of record of where you’ve been.

Wanderchain sounds like a spell a bard casts in Dungeons & Dragons. I’m not going to call mine a Wanderchain. I have just enough self-respect.

A percentage of the profits also go to feeding orphans abroad, so you get to feel good while also showing your fellow travelers where you’ve been in a less obnoxious way than a tedious browse through the pages of your well-loved passport.

Amazon Kindle

Look, I know what you’re going to say: “But Chris, a Kindle can never hope to capture the heart and soul of a book!”

In a perfect world, I’d carry my library of 400 novels around with me everywhere I went. I wouldn’t need an external HDD devoted solely to storing PDFs of every Dungeons & Dragons book ever published.

Until RyanAir starts allowing 1,500 kgs of carry-on, however, the “books are better” hill is not one I’m going to die on.

Yes, books are awesome. Do you know what else is awesome? Being able to read more than 1-2 of the fucking things on your trip.

What they lack in soul, a Kindle (or other off-brand eReader) lets you carry a massive library of books with you wherever you go. It can be read in the dark, so you don’t need to wear one of those obnoxious reading lamps on your head like a Welsh miner. It also fits in your pocket, but don’t sit on the thing. It will break. Bitter experience has taught me this.

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Portable Travel Hammock

I may never be the unshaven vagabond that can confidently hitch his hammock between trees in a park, but I cling to the notion that I might someday be that daring and carefree.

A few years ago I mentioned exactly two things two my Mum in the lead-up to Christmas:

  • I really liked the idea of a travel hammock
  • I wished my father told me he loved me more often.

Two days after Christmas, the man himself strolled into my room, presented me with a travel hammock, and told me he loved me.

I doubt your own experience with receiving a travel hammock can hope to measure up to that, but you should probably still ask for one.

Find It Here


A New Watch

I’ve long been of the opinion that watches are an outdated status symbol. Who needs to strap a timepiece to their wrists in an age where you have access to the amassed knowledge of mankind in a pocket-sized device that can also take photos and play Pokemon Go?

Those were the bitter ramblings of a man who had never owned a nice watch, friends.

For our wedding, my lovely wife presented me with this gorgeous Daniel Wellington watch that I wear even as I type this post. Do I need a watch while sitting at a laptop that tells the time while glancing occasionally at my phone that tells the time? No.

Do I like being able to hitch up my coat sleeve at a fancy restaurant that I have no business being in so that I can show off my expensive watch? You better fucking believe it.

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Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

If you’re anything like me, the inside of your suitcase resembles the inside of a human being. It’s a messy, sometimes sticky mess that you feel uncomfortable thrusting your bare hands into.

My Eagle Creek packing cubes have revolutionized the way that I pack. They’ve also allowed me to say something has revolutionized me, which is a nice little byproduct.

Seriously, though, life gets so much easier when you’re able to introduce a semblance of order to your backpack or suitcase. Now, rather than rifling through the contents of my bag like a filthy hobo, I’m able to be a filthy hobo who knows where to find socks or shirts.

It’s a game-changer, folks.

Find It Here

africa amini maasai lodge tanzania
Spot my sexy camera strap!

Camera Strap With Flavour

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of the camera straps that come with most DSLR cameras. Not only do they have zero personality, but they also really hurt your neck,

A few years ago the wife got me this sexy vintage strap for my DSLR, and I’ve been using it ever since. For the ladies, I know my wife loves this scarf neck strap, and she always gets compliments on it whenever she breaks out her camera.

Want to look like you use your camera more than once or twice a year? Get yourself a sexy neck strap.

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Portable Charger

Ask an irate boomer what upsets us Millennials more than anything, and they’ll probably say something about our phones running out of battery. Much original. Very humor. Wow.

Don’t give those assholes the satisfaction of minimizing our valid concerns about deep breath: the economy, climate change, the patriarchy, consent, worrying increases in white nationalism, science-hating, anti-vaxxing, Flat Earth believers, notions of gender and sexuality, and gun control. Make sure your phone is always charged so that you can use your valuable energy on putting the privileged shits in their place.

A portable charger is a pocket-sized way to stay connected at all times.

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Ba Na Hills
Using my backpack in Vietnam at Ba Na Hills!

Lightweight Packable Backpack

I can’t tell you how much this lightweight packable backpack has come in handy during my travels. I used to use this while going to the beach or the shops on my motorbike in Hoi An, or for a day hike in Japan,

The best part is that when you’re not using it, the backpack folds up small enough to fit in your pocket, meaning you’re not lugging around an empty backpack, or shoving a loose day back in your already full suitcase.

Every traveler should have one of these.

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Travel Insurance

It may not be a glamorous stocking stuffer, but making sure that special someone in your life doesn’t fall prey to their own idiocy is such a sweet way of showing that you care.

Don’t be like me and break your arm while scuba diving. This not only meant three very uncomfortable long-haul flights with a broken arm, but an expensive flight back to Australia to get surgery that travel insurance could have covered.

In Korean culture, it is commonplace to give people gifts of things that they need so that they can spend their money on things that they want. The gift of travel insurance not only ensures your loved one stays safe but lets them fritter their money away on more exciting things.

I use World Nomads whenever I travel these days. I’m not making that mistake again.

Get Protected

the layer sex blanket

The Layer

If you’re lucky enough to have a travel partner, you’re probably going to want to get busy on your trip, but who wants to stress about wet spots?

The Layer is a discreet way to indulge in a little slap and tickle on the road regardless of whether you’re going full-blown pornstar, if you or your partner is on their period, or if your tastes run a little more exotic in the bedroom.

Regardless, the Layer is an ultra absorbent, portable travel tool that you can throw down on any bed, get busy atop, and then tuck away for later washing.

Get Wet

Portable Luggage Scale

Before I owned a portable luggage scale, I would go to every flight check-in smelling of sour sweat and nerves. Had I done a good job of culling my wardrobe down? Were they going to look at my suspiciously bulging backpack and insist on weighing it?

With a portable luggage scale, you can weigh-in before you even head to the airport. This means you won’t ever have to be that annoying asshole holding up the check-in while you frantically tear apart your luggage trying to somehow make 27 kilograms miraculously become 23 kilograms.

Seriously, we don’t travel without ours.

Find It Here

tech pouch

Sterkmann Tech Pouch

What do you do with all those cords, earbuds, SIM cards, chargers, and more when you travel?

If the interior of my suitcase is like the savaged remains of a human body, then my backpack is a tangle of twisted cords not unlike the inside of a murdered robot.

Taking my electronics out of my bag at the airport is not so different from trying to untangle Christmas lights.

If you’re traveling with a lot of tech gear and want to keep it organized, a tech pouch is the solution for you! Seriously… I need this.

Find It Here

Cord Organiser or Cord Tacos

Want to organize your individual cords so the pocket gremlins don’t tie them in eight thousand knots for you?

If you’re the kind of person whose security check-in resembles an autopsy on C-3PO, a cord organizer or cord tacos will save you a lot of headaches and heartache.

Find It Here


Laptop-Friendly Backpack

I can’t think of a funny way to describe how important a good, laptop-friendly day pack is for the traveler in your life.

Whether it’s a slim and adorable Macbook or a chunky Acer Predator gaming laptop like mine, your traveler’s laptop is probably the most important thing to them after their passport. Having a backpack that can not only fit their laptop but also offer it a measure of protection is super helpful.

My favorite option right now is this gorgeous piece of work. It has the standard stuff you would expect from a backpack but also has additional goodies like phone and pen pockets, an external USB charging port, and an anti-theft rear pocket.

Find It Here

puffy down jacket
Richelle in her favourite jacket!

Packable Down Jacket

While I love having my custom-made coat while I travel, I’ll be honest… It’s not the easiest thing to fit in a suitcase. Seriously, my tailored jacket gets my wife’s engine revving like it’s the start of a NASCAR race, but it just isn’t practical to be that good-looking all of the time.

While I’ve been happy to sacrifice space for FASHION, this last year I’ve been pretty jealous of my wife’s black puffy packable jacket that she can roll right up and fit in a tiny corner of her suitcase. It’s nice enough looking to wear out to dinner, but she even used it when we hiked the Kumano Kodo in Japan!

It has come to my attention that they also make these packable puffy jackets for men, and I’m seriously considering asking for one on my Christmas list this year.

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11 in 1 Wallet Tool

Ever since my dear friend, Magro handed me a credit card-sized bottle opener, I have delighted in whipping the thing out in bars, restaurants, and at BBQs to coolly open people’s drinks for them. It’s especially fun when you do it while the staff member is struggling to unhook their bottle opener from their belt.

If you want to up your wallet game, however, an 11 in 1 wallet tool lets you be the platinum credit card owner of handyman stuff.

Opening a bottle of beer? Too easy

Can of beans? Done!

Need a screwdriver or wrench? You’ve got one!

Amputating a limb after you fall into a narrow canyon? You’ll have to ask James Franco.

Still, that’s a pretty good strike rate for something that definitely won’t have TSA poring over your wallet like it says “Made in Iraq”.

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VPN Subscription

If your loved one is heading to China, they’re going to need a VPN. That country’s overbearing government just isn’t going to let them Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or… uh… Pokemon Go about their experiences there.

Even if they aren’t going to a country that hates freedom of speech, a VPN is still a great way to stay connected while abroad. Being able to seamlessly tell your computer that you’re back home not only lets you watch Netflix or HBO on the go, but it also avoids annoying regional content blocks on your favorite news sites.

If your bank is as paranoid as mine is, a VPN also stops them from randomly blocking you from accessing your account.

My personal recommendation is ExpressVPN, who can handle regular VPN duties and the process of vaulting China’s Great Firewall.

Get Protected

Fire tv stick travel

Amazon Fire TV Stick

My wife Richelle’s folks got me one of these for Christmas last year and I’m never going back. All you need to do is plug your Fire Stick into an HDMI port on any tv, and you have instant access to all your favorite tv streaming services.

With the Fire Stick, we’re able to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Disney Plus, Hulu, Youtube and more from our tv in Tbilisi, and if we move all we have to do is take it with us and plug it into the tv at the next place.

It’s an introvert’s heaven.

The best part is Express VPN works with the Fire Stick so that you can watch US (or Australian) shows no matter where you are in the world. This has allowed us to binge Avatar, the Expanse, New Girl and so many other shows that aren’t on Georgian Netflix.

Suck it regional content blocks.

Find It Here

Scratch-Off Travel Map

While not a practical gift for somebody who travels full time, a scratch-off travel map has been on my Christmas wish list for so long that it might as well be a pony.

Someday, I’ll have a home of my own and I’ll be able to mount this on my wall and think about how cool I used to be when I still traveled.

Find It Here

pin map

World Map Pinboard

Not a fan of the scratch-off map? A world map pinboard is another cool option for those who aren’t traveling all the time. I love the pinboard idea because you can easily put pins in your map without worrying about destroying the wall or having pins fall out constantly.

Personally, I think this Artgeist Pinboard Map would look perfect in my living room right now… cough cough 

Find It Here

ultimate man's survival guide

The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide

What traveling man wouldn’t want this? This Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide is the go-to survival guide for anything you might encounter in the wilderness. From fighting a bear to setting a dislocated joint, every manly man traveler should have this on his Christmas list.

Plus… it looks great on the coffee table.

Find It Here

Airalo eSim

In 2019, I bought 11 different SIM cards. ELEVEN!

Granted, not everybody shares my crippling need for digital connection, but any long-term traveler will understand the frustration of trying to make do on dial-up speed hostel WiFi when you have a deadline looming.

Airalo eSims change all of that. Rather than buying plastic SIM cards at every airport, you can simply activate your eSim online and be ready to go the moment that you land.

While the service is only available to newer phones right now, the technology really is going to change the way people travel. No more expensive roaming charges. No more stupid local tourist SIMS with irritating passport and registration procedures.

Just sweet, sweet 4G.

Get connected

leather notebook portfolio cover

Lovely Leather

There’s just something fancy about sitting down at the airport, tucking your passport into a gorgeous leather passport wallet, and then taking out your leather bound notebook to scribble down some errant thought that amused you.

You probably have a living room that smells of rich mahogany.

As a serial notebook collector and a serial passport damager, I was beyond chuffed to received both a leather portfolio cover and a leather passport wallet for my birthday this year.

Sad story, I actually managed to lose my passport wallet already, as I left it at my last check-in counter and never saw it again. Thank God my passport wasn’t in it at the time!

Leather Neo has a huge variety of gorgeous leather goods for any itinerant traveler. From laptop covers to leather bags to iPad sleeves and more, there’s bound to be something here to tickle your fancy travel buddies.

Get Leather

Whatever travel-themed gift you choose for your loved one’s birthday, you can be sure that they will be delighted that you know them so well, and will appreciate the effort you have put in to find something that appeals to perfectly to their passions and interests.

Your Say

What is on your Christmas list this year?

If possible, try to make your response as acidic and scathing as possible. I’ve got a tone I’m trying to stick to.

Five Reasons Why I’m Loving Expat Life in Tbilisi, Georgia

How’d You End Up Living in Georgia?

Well shit, it’s been more than a while between drinks, hasn’t it?

The last time I set fingers to keyboard on this little corner of the internet, it was early 2020, COVID was not yet a glimmer in a bat’s eye, and Richelle and I were settling into the first of three months living in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Somehow, it’s now late 2022 and we’re still here! How on earth did that happen?

In case you haven’t guessed, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to the best laid plans of many, us included. Not only were we essentially trapped on foreign soil for a year, but my own country wouldn’t reopen its borders until late 2021. 

Not that we were complaining. What had started as a holiday destination had evolved into a place we were stuck and, quickly, into a place we now call home. 

Over the course of that almost-three-years, we’ve both undergone career changes, we’ve adopted two cats, had our (delayed) second wedding, made new friends, seen amazing places, and I even came out as bisexual.

To say that our life in Georgia has been eventful would be an understatement, but why are we still here? Borders have reopened, COVID-19 has simmered down, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has caused a huge cost of living spike here, so why did we just sign on to spend year #4 living in Tbilisi?

Let me tell you why I think Tbilisi, Georgia is one of the best places for expats, digital nomads, and immigrants to make their home.

Life is good in Georgia! Relaxing in a hammock in Adjara with a fruit platter and a good book.

1. Having a Home

In many ways, expat life in Georgia happened to us by accident. 

We’d been planning to spend a few months here, return to the US for our second wedding, and then base ourselves in Costa Rica or Mexico until the weddings of some of Richelle’s sorority sisters later in the year.

Then COVID happened, borders slammed shut, flights got expensive, and Tbilisi life was kind of… thrust upon us.

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, and deprived of our momentum, we’ve certainly accumulated our share of well-loved detritus in the intervening years. Early in our time here, we fostered an injured old cat who was on death’s door. Two and a half years on, she’s healthier than ever, and we somehow managed to adopt a kitten along the way.

With lockdown forcing us to remain indoors, we began to accumulate stuff: a Nintendo Switch, an Oculus VR headset, new PCs, a hammock, bookshelves and the books to fill them, an air fryer…

Somewhere along the way, our apartment on Chavchavadze in the city’s bougie Vake district became a home. A paintings on the wall, wall-mounted flat screen, “I might need a bigger bookshelf” kind of home.

But Why Tbilisi?

All of the accoutrements aside, what makes Georgia the place we can do this, rather than Portugal or Vietnam or Costa Rica?

There are two major factors that make Tbilisi an excellent place to put down roots: its visa policy and its tax policy. Both of these are incredibly conducive to a comfortable, long-term stay, and they’re really only the tip of the iceberg once you factor in additional stuff like access to health insurance, affordable property prices, and the option to get a limited form of residency.

On the visa front, Georgia offers a fantastic one year visa-free window upon arrival for a whopping 93 countries. This isn’t just a one and done thing, either, as it is automatically renewed when you depart the country and re-enter.

While some make use of the proximity of Armenia or Azerbaijan to do an old-fashioned visa run, we’ve simply used the imminent expiration of one visa-free window to make a trip back to Australia or the United States to see family. Hell, next month, we’ll renew our visa-free window as a by-product of our anniversary trip to Crete.

On the taxes front, Georgia offers an insanely generous tax rate of 1% for registered independent entrepreneurs. There are specifics that I won’t get into here, but compared to paying 24% to a government that does nothing for me (looking at you, Australia), I’m much happier paying 1% towards a country that took care of me during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on both visa policy and taxes, I’d suggest having a chat with my good friends, Tom & Janar, at ExpatHub.

Three people stand on a scenic lookout in Tbilisi. They are all wearing colourful clothing for Tbilisi Pride.
Attending Tbilisi Pride in 2022 with Richelle and our friend, Kelly

2. The Expat/Immigrant Scene

Speaking of good friends, Richelle and I have been loving Tbilisi’s expat scene.

Don’t get us wrong, we had some terrific friends in Hoi An, and I’ll forever miss my friends from living in Nanjing, but both cities suffered from having a largely transient population of backpackers and one year teachers, respectively.

Georgia’s excellent visa policy, tax rates, and general quality of life means that it is possible for people to really put down roots here. We have multiple friends who own their own homes here, with one pair of awesome friends even starting their own bar: the Tipsy Bee.

We know countless business owners selling everything from homemade bagels and hot sauces to microbrew beer and Georgian wine tours.

All of this means that there is an active, long-term social scene in the city. We’re inundated each week with invitations to day trips, trivia nights, and dinners, most of which my introverted ass has no choice but to turn down.

The carved stone head of a Georgian poet sits in a mountainous meadow.
The ominous Stone Heads of Sno.

3. Cost of Living

While the recent conflict in Ukraine has meant a flood of Russians trying to avoid getting embroiled in the conflict, and this has translated into a sharp rise in the cost of living (especially apartments), Tbilisi remains a far more affordable option for us than Sydney or Seattle.

While things such as rent are slowly reaching levels closer to what we’d be paying in the US, other areas remain far more affordable than life in either of our home countries. Dining out ranges from $20 – $40 USD for the two of us, but we can easily cook at home for considerably less. While not every ingredient we’d be used to back home is readily available here, it is relatively easy to order from US or UK Amazon and have whatever you need within a week.

Utilities are cheap (our summer electricity bill, with three air conditioners running 24/7, comes to $60 USD a month), we’re able to afford both a cleaner and an assistant, and we’ve been able to put money aside for creature comforts like a VR headset, new desktop PCs for both of us, a treadmill, bookshelves (and the books to fill them), an air fryer, and even a hammock out on our balcony.

Travel around the country is incredibly affordable, especially if you avail yourself of public transport or have a vehicle. For those (like me) who don’t drive, GoTrip has drivers for between $60 – $100 USD for the day, dependent on the distance driven.

All told, we’re enjoying a much better quality of life than we could back home. While it isn’t as cheap as Vietnam or Tanzania were, there really is no comparing the two as far as access to modern conveniences. Georgia wins this by a mile.

A spoonful of cheesy mashed potato being served from a tin bowl
Delicious, cheesy mashed potatoes are a Mestia specialty.

4. The Food & Wine

I’m not gonna lie, Georgia is going to be hell for your waistline. This is a country where the most famous dishes are made with cheese, bread, and meat. When you couple this down with cheap, amazing wine for as little as $4 a litre, you’ve got a recipe for weight gain.

Hell, when we landed in Tbilisi back in 2020, immigration gifted us each with a small bottle of Saperavi whose label specifically told us to invest in larger pants. COVID lockdowns definitely played a part, but our time in Georgia has seen be pack on an additional 7kgs/15lbs that I am now working off.

That isn’t to say that Georgian food is universally unhealthy, as there are plenty of lighter, vegetarian-friendly options. The cheese-filled khinkali, smoky lobiani, succulent mtsvadi, sweet churchkhela, heavenly khachapuri, and the wine are just too damned tempting!

What About Western Food?

For me, no matter how good a country’s food is, I need variety. We had this in Beijing, but it was sorely lacking in Arusha and Hoi An.

You’ll be pleased to know that most international cuisines are represented in cosmopolitan Tbilisi, be it a juicy burger, delicious Italian, authentic Hunan cuisine, or Mexican. While the more niche cuisines are underrepresented (we’ve only found one decent Korean restaurant, for example) and sushi is inexplicably cream-cheese-filled, there’s still enough variety to ensure we’re never bored on a night out.

As I mentioned earlier, you can also order from US or UK Amazon through services like KiwiPost and have your mail within a week, should you need something specific like Tim Tams or Old Bay.

The mountain monastery of Vardzia carved into the cliffs
The beautiful Vardzia Monastery complex has been one of my favourite discoveries in Georgia.

5. Travel Opportunities

While COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns made European travel difficult, one of the main draws of living in Tbilisi was the ease of access to Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. 

With the pandemic dying down thanks to vaccines, we’re finally able to avail ourselves of Tbilisi’s central location and affordable flights, and we’re off to Greece for our first European trip.

In the past two years, with international travel limited, we’ve instead traveled extensively around Europe. Whether it was a wine tour, a trip to the Black Sea to soak in the sun, touring historic sites in Tbilisi and across the country, venturing through the depths of the cave city of Vardzia, or a simple weekend away in wine country, we’ve explored the width and breadth of Georgia, but still have so much to see!

One of the best part about expat/immigrant life is being able to explore not only your base, but also the countries that surround it. We’re excited to have places like Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Egypt, Armenia etc. right on our doorstep.

And, as history has shown is necessary, we never travel without travel insurance.

Loving Life in Tbilisi

As you might be able to tell, we’re absolutely loving expat life in Tbilisi. Indeed, we’re in very real danger of having to change it from “expat life” to “immigrant life”, as we can definitely see this gorgeous, hospitable, amazing country becoming our forever home.

Assuming Putin doesn’t fuck it up for everyone…

I could come up with a million more reasons why we’re loving Georgia as our expat base, but these are the five that really make it feel like home to me. If you’d like to know more about life in Georgia, don’t hesitate to post a comment!

Why do Australians Enjoy Travelling to Turkey?

Are you wondering why Australians enjoy traveling to turkey? Turkey is an example of a rare jewel. The most popular tourist attractions in Turkey appeal to visitors with a wide range of interests, particularly those who are searching for an enlightening journey. A magnificent coastline, picturesque towns, and an unrivaled cultural heritage are all part of its appeal.

But before planning your vacation to Turkey, you should know about the visa details to enter Turkey.

Do Australians need a visa for Turkey?

Yes, Australians need to get a visa to go to Turkey. Visitors should apply for a visa before visiting the country even for brief visits to Turkey. However, the majority of Australian tourists and business travelers may apply for a Turkish visa online, as long as they satisfy all of the necessary conditions.

Australian passport holders who get an authorized Turkish eVisa will be able to remain in Turkey for up to 90 days. It is a permit that allows for numerous entries. Learn more about applying for a Turkish visa and all the requirements.


5 Reasons why Australians enjoy traveling to Turkey

It features a stunning coastline surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, ancient ruins to match Greece and Italy’s, wonderful cuisine, and friendly residents. Here are the following reasons:


1. The People

People from Turkey have a reputation for being among the kindest and most genuinely welcoming on the planet. If you walk into any store, you will almost certainly be offered free samples, tea, and conversation, with absolutely no pressure to purchase anything.

If you go to East Turkey, you will be astounded by the kindness and generosity of the people who live there. Because there are so few foreign visitors in this area, most people will not be able to communicate in English, but they will still want to chat with you.


2. The Beaches

Turkey’s location on the Mediterranean Sea, east of Greece, should come as no surprise to anyone looking for a relaxing beach vacation in the sun. In particular, the country’s southern coastline, which has been dubbed the Turquoise Coast, is home to not just beautiful beaches surrounded by calm turquoise seas excellent for swimming but also historical ruins and a variety of activities ranging from trekking to diving.

Here, the Blue Lagoon beach spreads out to form a natural lagoon with gorgeous crystal clear water where you may need to paddleboard or kayak or just relax on the beach. Try paragliding over the Blue Lagoon to get a true sense of how beautiful it is. This is one of the most popular things to do in Oludeniz, and the view of the Blue Lagoon and surrounding area from the air is just magnificent, as is the experience of flying over it.

If you’re searching for a charming beach town to spend some time in, Kas (pronounced “Kash”) is the place to go. It is located around halfway down the Turquoise Coast and has a laid-back attitude, with cobblestoned streets lined with vibrant cafés, excellent seaside restaurants, and a few unique pubs to enjoy. Do not miss out on taking a boat ride to view the underground city of Kekova while you are in Kas. Apart from seeing the Sunken City region, you’ll also get the opportunity to swim on several gorgeous beaches and roam through the ancient hamlet of Simena, which is famous for its byzantine castle and handmade ice cream.

Kas is home to a multitude of stunning beaches, with Kaputas Beach being one of the most picturesque. This is one of Turkey’s most stunning beaches, nestled between two cliffs and surrounded by turquoise water that sparkles in the sun. It’s a perfect place to spend your weekend.


3. The Climate

Turkey may not be recognized for its natural beauty. Still, a journey to the country’s northernmost region, near the Black Sea, will reveal lush green hills, lakes, and rivers that will delight any nature enthusiast.

The Ayder plateau may be found along the Black Sea, near the little town of Rize, and it is worth seeing. This region, which has been likened to the Swiss Alps by many, offers a different experience from the rest of Turkey, making it the ideal destination for anyone seeking leisure amid breathtaking natural settings.

Trabzon, as well as the adjoining settlement of Uzungol, is located only a few miles up the coast from Rize. This charming tiny hamlet on the shore of a lake surrounded by mountains will make you believe you’re in Switzerland rather than Turkey, and the scenery is breathtaking.

The little lakeside village of Egirdir, with its hilly background, is also an excellent choice for people seeking peace in a natural environment while still having access to a variety of hiking trails in the surrounding area.

If you’re looking for tall mountains, the Eastern Taurus mountain range, which includes Mount Nemrut, is the place to go. Unfortunately, it’s not the most convenient location to visit, and you’ll need to arrange your transportation to get here. Still, the peak, which contains the tomb of King Antiochus I of Commagene as well as two terraces of massive stone figures, is well worth the effort to get here.


4. The Food

Where should we begin when it comes to food? Turkish cuisine, especially Turkish kebabs, is well-known and appreciated across the globe. However, although kebabs are unquestionably one of the finest things to eat in Turkey, Turkish cuisine offers much more than that. Pides to gozleme to manti to kumpir, Turkish cuisine is incredibly diverse, and all of it is incredibly delicious.

No matter where you go in Turkey, you must indulge in a typical Turkish breakfast at least once while there.


5. The Unique Landscapes

There are certain landscapes in Turkey that are absolutely one-of-a-kind and unmatched.

Cappadocia is one example of this. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. To appreciate the beauty of these awe-inspiring landscapes, you must see them for yourself.

Walking about, you’ll be amazed by the natural beauty all around you, and witnessing hundreds of hot air balloons take off at daybreak is an experience you won’t soon forget. Cappadocia is not only one of the world’s most renowned hot air balloon destinations, but it is also one of the most affordable. In addition, the view of the region from above is spectacular. You can also read about the Hidden Treasures of Turkey.



In last, now you know why Australians love to travel to Turkey! You may find all of Turkey’s treasures here. This budget-friendly destination abounds with gorgeous beaches, mountains, shopping, and mouthwatering cuisine. In other words, whether you’re searching for a quick city break in Istanbul, a relaxing beach vacation on the southern coast, or a location to stay and experience it all, Turkey might be a perfect choice.