It is a huge monument, a construction that can be clearly identified from space but for many, the real cost of the Great Wall of China has remained hidden.

Building walls

It seems odd to think that even in the 21st Century, we still think of walls a means of protecting land, property and people – the exact reasons why the Great Wall of China was built.

A wall denotes a boundary, an obstacle over which no one is authorised to enter unless they have permission to do so.

The Great Wall of China stands as a testament to a time long past, to the skills of labourers and a dynasty that wanted to protect its wealth. But do we know the true cost of the Great Wall of China?

More than money

It took hundreds of years to complete with extensions added by dynasty heads over the centuries.

Extending over 4,000 miles over some of the most mountainous, inhospitable terrain, it is estimated over a million labourers lost their lives over the course of the building. Where the foundations have been exposed, archaeologists have found remains, thought to be of those who died creating this amazing man-made monument.

There are parts of it that are sadly crumbling and not accessible for the majority of the public. Small villages live in the shadow of parts of the wall, a world away from the well-kept steps that we see so often in traveller’s photos.

Why was the Great Wall of China built?

It was built to protect. It was also a sign of dominance, wealth and power, the main reasons why other cultures and people built huge monuments.

It is a show on engineering, a construction that is lasting the test of time. A tourist trap today, it is no longer needed as a protector of the interior of China.

A walk in history

And by exploring its history further with NCC Home Learning, you can find out more about the ancient civilisation that built this wall.

You can begin to understand how parts of this now defunct dynasty are still evident today in the culture of the fastest growing population on earth and why these types of creations and concepts were just as much about the display of wealth as they were about power and dominance.

Travel is a rewarding experience, particularly when it’s to someplace truly exotic. And since there is a first time for everything, every traveler has to start somewhere i.e. go on their first big trip to a faraway destination. It’s a daunting task to say the least, but even the most cautious and inexperienced adventurer can master the art of extended travel.

With that said, we know everyone appreciates some good advice whenever possible. To this end, consider these three things every first-time world traveler should consider:

Renter’s Insurance

Extended travel puts your apartment back home at risk. In fact, many would-be burglars like to scour social media to find posts on international travel plans. This informs the criminal of which apartment to target. But there’s an easy and affordable way to buy yourself peace of mind when you’re on the road. And you don’t need to stop bragging on social media during your epic trips.

Renter’s insurance will allow you to leave your stuff behind without a worry. It’s affordable, responsible and it’ll save you in an emergency. And it’s easy to get online quotes for renters insurance to find the best prices. That way in the event your belongings are stolen – or even if they are damaged due to a fire started by your downstairs neighbor or an overflowing bathtub in the unit above yours.

Travel Documents

The internet is full of horror stories concerning travel documents. Passengers are denied boarding for international trips when they haven’t procured the right visas or medical records. The lesson — Always do a little research to find out which documents you need to bring with you for your trip.

Here’s an example. Many Americans are shocked to find out that a visa is required for a visit to China. The visa must be processed at a Chinese consulate office, and it takes up to four days to process. However, China also offers passengers a 72-hour visa-free transit. However, you’ll have to qualify. You must fly in and out of an approved airport in transit for a stay of three days or less. This means you have to fly from country A to country B (China) and on to country C. You could fly from Vancouver to Beijing to Seattle, but you’re not qualified flying from Seattle to Beijing to Los Angeles.

Some countries require proof of vaccinations while others need your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your stay. Airlines expect you to know the requirements and will deny you boarding if you do not meet them.

Local Customs and Expectations

It goes without saying that you’ll experience a different way of life by visiting different cultures. But you should always check with reliable sources on the internet about local customs and expectations. For example, hiking in North America is an exercise in fresh air, tranquility, and solitude, whereas hiking across the Zanzibar archipelago a lesson in exotic getaways with a touch of history interwoven throughout.

Not understanding local cultures could also land you in trouble. For example, spitting is illegal in Singapore. You could find yourself in hot water with the locals and the police for doing something you thought to be innocent. The U.S. Department of State has great breakdowns of unexpected local laws and customs to keep you informed the next time you leave the country. Obey and respect these guidelines to have a trouble-free visit.

Do you dream of taking off on a motorcycle and heading off on a round-the-world trip? The wind in your hair, new sights on the horizon and the freedom to go and do just as you please?! Well, we can help you make your dream a reality with our guide on how to travel the world on a motorcycle and avoid common pitfalls or stressful situations.

Rethink your packing!

Do you think you’ve packed light? Think again! Have a look at your packing, and get rid of at least half of what you’ve planned to take. The key is to adopt a minimal lifestyle and reduce bulk which will be a hindrance while travelling on a motorcycle. Outfits that you can mix and match and layer over each other for cooler weather are a great choice. But most importantly – will you take Marmite with you? Here’s our article on Brits’ most important packing choices!

Carry only rare spare parts with you

Do a bit of research to discover which spare parts are easily found in the areas you’ll be travelling in. Only take with you the rarer spare parts that are likely to need replacing, to save you the hassle and extra time in locating rare parts in far-flung locations. There’s a lot more detail on what to take from tools to tyres and quick fix-it solutions here.

Plan to ride only during daylight

Travel safely by sticking to this vital rule – only ride during daylight. Nighttime riding accounts for 27% of motorcycle fatalities, due to reduced visibility and other factors such as hidden obstacles in the road or drunk drivers. Stay safe and reduce the risk of an accident by planning ahead and travelling whilst it’s still light out. Make sure that you’re covered by motor trade insurance such as One Sure offers, for your protection and peace of mind.

Plan to stop

Motorcycle riding is exciting, but it can also take its toll on you if you don’t plan in adequate rest times. You don’t want to rush by all the amazing sights anyway, so make sure that you have worked out when and where you will rest. Take frequent breaks on long travel days, and have a full rest day every few days to recharge your batteries and refresh yourself.

Carry the right currency for the countries you’ll be travelling in

You’ll want to have the right currency for each country you travel in. Be warned: Don’t change your money at airport currency exchanges as they tend to have the worst rates and will stick a big fee on top too. If you’re withdrawing money from an ATM, take out the sum that you will need in one transaction if possible to save on multiple withdrawal fees. Click here to get more info on exchanging currency abroad.

So there you have it, some easy and useful tips to kick-start your motorcycle trip around the world! If you follow this advice you’ll be well on your way to making unforgettable memories and avoiding stress on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.