Friday, March 17, 2017

10 Essential Apps for Travelers

It’s the decade of the smartphone. Everything is available to our generation at the push of a button on our phone. But in a space that can often get very crowded, we select the best apps at your disposal for the frequent business traveler or adventure seeker. Whether it is hotel accommodation in Lagos, or maps and directions, commuting, and restaurants, there is an app for every need. Do not say we never did anything good for you.

Google Maps
The great thing about Google Maps is that it has the ability to be embedded on third party websites. Google Maps offers amazing satellite imagery, street maps, real-time traffic conditions, street view, route planning and GPS turn-by-turn navigation system in the mobile version. Google Maps is great for finding your way around a town or city you’ve never been and goes as far as showing you points of interest around the area such as hotels, restaurants, museums, parks, markets and other places of interests to tourists. In 2013, over 54% of smartphone users had used the app at least once. I particularly find myself using it every other day.

The Jumia Travel App allows you to search for and book hotels around you. With well over 200,000 hotels available users who book hotel rooms with the app get as much as 10% off. Available on the Play Store and App Store. With its new progressive web feature, the app lets users browse through its list of hotels even with slow data speed and 2G connectivity.

The app that disrupted the taxi industry, Uber allows you to summon, I like that word, cabs at the push of a button. But they arent just old-fashioned cabs, Uber provides an opportunity to ride in style and comfort. Drivers are trained in best practices and customer service that allows them to deliver extra on taking you to your destination.

Foursquare is an app that allows users to enter locations and destinations they visit, review and rate them, thereby allowing other users to browse through and review these places before they visit. Foursquare provides recommendations on where people can visit for various purposes when they are new in a city of location.

Google Translate
Salut, comment Allez-Vous? Exactly, the same thing I thought. Google Translate allows you to navigate and overcome the barriers of communication when you are in a new city. It might be awkward and a tad difficult when trying to communicate directly with strangers, but it can allow you read signs at airports, bus stops, parks, markets, museums and other public places.

With its new Video call feature, Whatsapp is increasing its usefulness for communication in the lives of everyone with a smartphone. For speaking to friends and family while away on your adventure, Whatsapp is an essential app for the Traveler. With its new Story feature, it is, even more, fun as you can share the exciting new places you are visiting.

Bonjournal is an app that allows you keep track of your memories and experiences on a travel. The simplistic travel app integrates with Foursquare to provide all the details of your travel destination as well as create notes and commentary while on your trip. It also records the history of all your travels making it easy for you to pull out data in future. Available on Apple devices.

Go My Way Africa is a ride sharing platform that allows travelers to find drivers who are heading towards the same destination and with a seat to spare and thus share a ride with them either free or at the cost the driver indicates. Drivers with seats to spare can also post trips for people who are going their way to join them. It is an amazing way to travel while saving costs.

XE Currency
New country? Different continent? Need to change your currency? Get live rates with the XE Currency app as well as locations where to change your money. It also has currency converter calculator to calculate rates if you are buying a product or paying for a service.

The homestay peer to peer network for people who want to rent homes for short stays or users who want to enlist their homes for rent.  It offers a great opportunity for people who want to live in historical homes on a short time basis, or network and do business outside the hotel environment while away from home. Many hotels these days even list on Airbnb.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hotels in Lagos with the Best Buffet

Foooood. Glorious Fooooood. Hot sausage and mustaaarrrdddd.

Those are lyrics from the song Food, Glorious Food from the official soundtrack of the Oliver Twist movies. If you love food as much as I think you do, then like the title suggests you want to know the hotels in Lagos that serve the most sumptuous and amazing buffets. This is important because it would help you inform your choice of selecting a hotel to stay in while on business in the city or while simply on a leisure trip.
The Tsogo Sun Group Hotel describes its buffet as generous and outstanding dining. Brunch comes with champagne. And I think the prices are decent too.
Breakfast Buffet  (Non-Resident) : N8000
Buffet Lunch      N9500
Dinner Buffet     N11000
Seafood Dinner                 N12000
Sunday Brunch  N12500

Radisson Blu Anchorage
The Radisson Blu Anchorage is one of the more popular destinations for brunch buffets for families and friends. I really can’t count the number of times I have double tapped on pictures proclaiming loudly how delicious brunch at Radisson was. It is especially pleasant because of the views of the Lagoon it offers.
Sunday Brunch Buffet N10,000

Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos
Intercontinental Hotel Lagos, offers great tasting meals its Ekaabo Restaurant. The restaurant offers 24-hour dining with a cuisine that includes Italian, Chinese, Indian and Nigerian.
N20,000 for two persons*
A persons review put the price at this, could not find the price from a verifiable source. I’m just wondering why it says N20,000 for two persons and not just N10,000.

Eko Hotels and Suites
Eko Hotels and suites have the most extensive and detailed buffet offering. You can find all of it here. Prices are per person but you would have to be part of a group of 40. Makes sense if you want to do a small wedding reception or birthday party.
Breakfast: 6am – 10am
Lunch: 12pm – 4pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10pm
Peep some of their Buffet offerings and the prices below. Like I said It is really extensive and detailed, this is just a scoop of some names and the prices without what each buffet contains.
Africana                               N6,200
Buffet Atlantic                   N7,500
Buffet Kuramo                  N7,200
Buffet Eko                           N8,900
Buffet Presidential          N8,900
Buffet Pacific                     N8,500
Continental-Nigerian      N7,500
African Nigerian Magic   N8,900
Viva Mexico                       N9,000

Protea Ikeja
Protea Ikeja like much of the Protea Hotels in Nigeria are currently being managed and taken over by BON Hotels, a South African Hospitality group. This hasn’t changed their offer of excellent dining and buffet. If you have business in the Ikeja axis, Protea is a great choice for the rooms and services as well as for the food.
Buffet Breakfast               N4,800.00           
Buffet Lunch                      N5,000.00           
Buffet Dinner                    N5,800.00           

Sheraton Lagos Hotel
Sheraton Lagos Hotel offers amazing buffet and dining at its Crock Pot Restaurant. You have to call to make a reservation and know the prices though. For those lodging, a buffet breakfast is available, in some cases it could come free depending on your room and if you booked during a promo.
Breakfast Buffet N4,900

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Meet Your Travel Goals in 2017

Pick a place.
Sometimes the problem is we are waiting to be rich enough to travel to the most exotic places all at once, or we have this fantasy of round the world trips all at once. In reality, it doesn’t really work that way. Just pick a place, a state you have never been to. Or a nearby country within the continent you have never been to. Start with the ones your country shares a border with. Once you have your mind set on where you want to go that is close and affordable, you are one step closer to meeting your 2017 travel goals.
Get a travel Buddy.
Traveling solo has its perks. But for a first-time adventurer, you might want to have someone to tag along with. This move has safety and economic advantages. You get to split the bills with someone as well as have someone look out for you as well on your adventure. A travel buddy also makes the trip twice the fun.
Research your destination.It is important for you to research your destination as the first part of planning your trip. Know what transportation options are available, know what the weather is like. Find out what the currency is and where to change if going outside the country. Know about points of interests that deserve a visit.
Use Social Media to find new friends in your destination.
As part of researching your destination, you could also use Social Media to look out for friends who are at your destination. Looking forward to meeting new people in your destination can be a motivation for traveling. Be careful though and make sure that these aren’t new persons you are only beginning to talk to, the older and more verified these people are the better. Also, do not meet them alone. Ever. Public places serve a good meeting point for meet ups.
Cheap HotelsSome of the heaviest cost for travelers are incurred on hotels and accommodation. Skip this barrier by searching for cheap hotels in Abuja, cheap hotels in Lagos, cheap hotels in Kaduna or wherever your destination is. As expensive as some of these cities could be, there are really decent hotels for the budget travel with top services that would give you a comfortable stay. Use the filter on the hotel booking portal to select cheapest first. You would be amazed by the results you would find.
Hotel booking portals like Jumia Travel have designed and created Nigeria Vacation Packages for different purposes that you can take advantage of. From Easter Family Holiday Packages to Couples Retreat, Resort Packages to Honeymoon Packages, from Weekend Getaways to Safari Packages. There is something you can take advantage of. Simply book, pack your bags and hop on your flight. Travel in 2017 can be amazing. I am excited by all the prospects.
Discount. Vouchers. Promos.
Look out for hotel and flight promos, hotels discounts codes and vouchers. This would help reduce cost and get you great deals on luxury services you may otherwise not have been able to afford.
Travel off Peak Period.
Peak period in Nigeria for travel is the 2nd week of December through the 1st week of January, the weekend of Easter, between July and September, as well as, every other weekend all year round really. To avoid the hike in prices on bus tickets, flight tickets, hotel rooms and food, it is best to travel during the periods out of the window listed above.
Travel Light
One of the biggest deterrents for many on making the trip they have always wanted to make is that they do not know how to travel light. And when faced with packing for a trip and not going at all, they would rather not go. If you want to achieve your 2017 travel goals, learn to travel light. Have a small bag that is a dedicated travel bag and endeavor not to pack anything beyond that and a small handbag for personal effects. He who travels light travels far. Some wise person said that.
Another way to achieve your travel goals is to collaborate with individuals and corporate bodies. Have an idea, look for people who are willing to work on it with you. From photographers to writers to environmentalists and NGO’s if there is something you can offer to these people on your trip, they would be no doubt willing to work with you and offset some of your bills as long as you are bringing something of value to them in return.
Travel with Expedition and Tour Groups.
There is a lot of travel and tourism small businesses organizing trips for Nigerians and foreigners within and outside the country. These groups visit some of the exotic tourist locations in Nigeria and around Africa from time to time. Among them are Social Prefect, The Village Pot Adventures, The DARE Experience, Irinajo, Naija Nomads, Unravelling Nigeria, Globe Jaunters and a couple of others. Trips are planned all year round for exciting places like Bauchi and its amazing Forest Reserve and natural green landscape, Kajuru Castle in Kaduna, Obudu Moutain Resort in Calabar, the ancient Olumo Rock, The epic Erin Ijesha Waterfall and so many similar places around the country. Going with a group helps you past the barrier of having to plan the trip and take care of the finer details of your adventure.