The Favourites of Melvin Boecher

Melvin Boecher is a German travel blogger known as the founder and CEO of Travel Dudes, a popular travel website with more than 300,000 social media followers total.

What are three of your favourite countries, and why?

My three favourite destinations are actually even four! But I could and should make it five!

Cuba
I love Havana! Cuba, in general, is worth a trip, but the vibe in this city was enormous. The old and renovated part of the city is so colourful, and a must-see. But the other parts were even more interesting, as that is where you can see the real daily life. It’s not as shiny, but more lively. Kids playing baseball, men domino and women chatting, and all happening on the street.

Tanzania
Then I would add Tanzania as a great place to see wildlife. Especially the Southern part of the country was great, as we explored it on self-drive and it got us close to the people, but also to the wildlife without that you ‘shared’ a lion with 20 other jeeps.

Laos
Laos was my favourite country on our three month trip through Indochina. It’s not as well travelled as the destinations around, which got access to the sea, like Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. And I think that this exactly makes it so interesting. 
Laos is a bit tougher to travel, and the only beach days you can spend there is the sand of the Mekong river.

Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro are the cities to fill the list! There are many great cities out there, but can you top the scenery of those two?

What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?

There are more than three, and it’s hard to choose one. I’ve had a thrilling encounter with an elephant in Tanzania, slept with cockroaches in my hair in Thailand, swam with crocodiles and sharks in Australia. Also, I had an amazingly bad Delhi Belly in India, thought an older man was dying next to me in the plane, as it seems he was spitting blood, which turned out to be red wine.

What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?

I’m always very ashamed that people have to pay when using toilets in Germany. That’s the case in many restaurants unless you are a guest usually. Though at some places you even have to pay there. Not many know though that the staff only gets paid via the tip. That’s not good, and if you ask me, they should be paid by the bar/restaurant.

But on the other side, I’m happy to pay €0.50 for its use, if it’s then clean. And that brings me to a bad travel experience. We’ve been travelling through India, and we stopped in an internet cafe. I had to go to the bathroom -urgently- and this was the most horrible toilet I’ve ever seen. There were leftovers everywhere, even on the walls on a level where you wondered how it got there. I don’t go into more details.

Usually, a bad travel moment makes a good story afterwards, and I’ve got plenty more of those. But this one was so bad that it’s not a good travel story, and I don’t want another two of those to list three.

What are three of your best travel tips? 

It’s good to be prepared for a trip, but do not book all in advance, maybe the first 1-2 nights. From there on, try to stay spontaneous and flexible and see what happens. Get lost when you are in a new destination and wander around. Walk more than usual. You will then have experiences which you will never forget and to 95% in a positive way.

If your trip gets you to Germany, you should definitely visit Cologne. When in Cologne, you have to visit at least one traditional brewery. It’s a very unique experience. You get the beer served in 0.2 glasses, so rather small. That way it’s always fresh. When it’s close to empty, the Köbes (waiter) will serve you a new one without that you have asked for it. You have to put your beer coaster on top of the glass if you don’t want a new one. The beer coaster is also your receipt, as the Köbes will mark the amount of beers on it. So don’t throw it away. Oh, and the Köbes is a good one when he is a bit grumpy and makes jokes about his guests.

And the last one is the most important: Travel with a smile and have fun!
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