Alternative Travel Tips With Stuart Martin

As the sales team here at Ducard have wound down for Christmas and we are now just mainly doing monkey work around the office this week, I have been asked to do a guest blog for Ducard (big mistake if you ask me but they don’t know that yet).

I have been told I can write about anything and as I really don’t want to write about sales, as the sales side of things is what I do every day and I can’t really link Ducard with obscure Italian Psychotronic movies from the 70s, I figured as we have a number of travel clients and that once Christmas is over a lot of people are going to start thinking about holidays I would write an alternative guide to travel based on my experiences. Some will be good things and others will be bad experiences to try and avoid. Some of these may be way out of date now, there is no order to them and I would also like to point out that I have loved every country that is mentioned on this list and anything negative was just down to my stupidity, naivety or just bad luck.


  • When booking flights give the more unknown Airlines a chance airlines like Georgian Airways and Uzbekistan Airways are actually decent no-frills Airlines, however, if you are going long haul ignore that advice as you will probably regret going no frills.


  • When in Denpasar, Bali although it is hard as the drinks are so cheap, try not to wake up the next morning lying on a table surrounded by people on other tables having their breakfast (if there are any Aussies there having breakfast they will find your state to be absolutely hilarious and they have probably been in a similar situation themselves at some point) because after finding you asleep in their restaurant the owners were too polite to kick you out.


  • Don’t lean on 2000 year old tombs they may look solid and have stood for 2000 years but your added weight can collapse them, luckily for me where I was there are 2000-year-old tombs around every corner so the impact of me breaking it was not too great, but that is not an excuse for being a destructive idiot.


  • Romania, Georgia and Uzbekistan are cheap, lesser-known gems that should be visited.


  • Touching a Komodo dragon is not really a good idea but if you are going to touch one do it early in the morning when they are still warming up.


  • Watch out for flying cups of who knows what when Boca are playing River Plate.


  • Swimming in the Amazon River with Boto Dolphins around is bloody amazing.


  • If you are going to watch Alianza Lima play in Lima wearing an Alianza Lima shirt do some research and try not to get on a bus that is taking away fans from the main bus station to the ground. Being a dumb Gringo definitely saved me from being beaten up.


  • Don’t check into hotels as a lone traveller in Delhi that are owned by the Delhi Mafia it will end with a very expensive room with threats of violence.


  • India is an amazing country and you will most likely either love it or hate it. I loved it apart from my two-night stay in a particular hotel in Delhi.


  • If you happen to be chased by a Rhino if you can get up a tree or behind one or run in a zig-zag. If you are getting up a tree try not to slip and boot your mate behind you in the face; it really does not help.


  • Do not creep up on an Elephant while she is munching on grass, she will not like it and an angry Elephant is pretty scary


  • If you are held up at gun and knife point do not resist just let them rob you.


  • It is very easy to go on a 9-day session in Rio


  • Visit the Angkor Temples in Cambodia; they are absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, you cannot shoot AK 47s in Phnom Penh anymore so I have heard


  • Sitting in a village in Transylvania at 2 am drinking a beer and listening to Wolves howls echo around the mountains is magical.


  • There is a drink made in Abruzzo Italy called Centerba (100 hundred herbs) that is the kind of liqueur that if a bottle is opened the devil is sat in the corner laughing his ass off.


  • Not sure if this still goes on but in Budapest if a couple of beautiful women come up to you and your friend and recommend that we all go to a bar they know, be very weary it as it is a scam that will probably end with you losing a large amount of cash to a massively inflated bar bill or violence, and Hungarian bouncers fists really hurt.


  • In the Dominican Republic and Haiti, if an ice cream seller tells you one for two is good, but two for two is not good, listen to him as otherwise you will most likely end up with swamp fever and live in the toilet for a few days.


  • If you do end up with an upset stomach and you have a long bus journey ahead to get back to civilisation two pairs of pants, four carrier bags and some duct tape make a really good homemade nappy.


  • Contrary to what some people and guidebooks say both Lima and Johannesburg are brilliant cities and are worth staying for a while if you have time.


  • It is not a good idea to go looking for bears on your own in the forest around Brasov city centre after dark. Chances you will find one and that is actually very scary and very stupid especially if it chooses to circle you for a while.


  • Try not to accidentally elbow Polish waitresses in the face when putting your coat on.


  • Don’t take grinning selfies at Auschwitz and if you can’t understand why not, please don’t go there.


  • I don’t care what anyone says; Marseille is France’s best city.


  • In Varanasi, if you have just arrived and are looking for your friend, who you don’t know where they are staying, don’t worry a Dwarf may just show up and tell you he knows where you want to go, and he will know.


  • Bullet ants hurt and I REALLY DO MEAN THEY HURT.


  • If you are going to go travelling on the cheap don’t go with someone who is used to five-star luxury and has a short fuse you will end up babysitting them and they will leave you after a couple of weeks. However, them being out of their comfort zone and losing it on a daily basis will make them your most entertaining and favourite travel companion.


  • Don’t try to cycle 15 km back to your accommodation after drinking Romanian Berry Moonshine.


  • If you are hairy you may get mistaken for a Yeti in Nepal.


  • Indonesia, Romania, Japan, Turkey and Uzbekistan are places I would go back to without hesitation.


  • I have found out that my driving suits Italy and South Africa better than the UK.


  • Lagos Airport in Nigeria is the worse airport I have ever been to (this was back in 2002 so it may have changed now).


  • There is a massive multi-coloured bug that crawled up my toilet door when I was in the lowlands of Nepal that looked like a tank. I would love to know what it was.


  • If you are in a Peruvian club don’t bother trying to dance smooth, suave and sophisticated like the locals; you will never pull it off. Just dance like you are at a rave in the 1990s.


  • If the Peruvian lady you are with tries to apologise and reassure you it’s safe when there is a massive brawl outside the club you have been to just tell her don’t worry I’m English and we invented brawling outside of pubs and clubs.


  • Istanbul is probably my favourite city.


  • The South East of Turkey is amazing but there are conflicting views on whether it is safe to travel there at the moment.


  • Brazil is awesome. Spend time there.


  • There are plenty of other things I could mention but I am running out if time so this will have to do, who knows if this goes down well I may return next year for part two and/or an uncensored version.

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