Lost in Transaction

One of the most startling travel epiphanies I've had in recent years came on a trip to Burma, when I was counting out small change so I could buy a packet of toilet tissues. The Burmese kyat had recently suffered a jag of devaluation, and when I'd tallied up my toilet-tissue money, I noticed that it consisted of twelve small denomination bills. Given that Burmese tissues came in packets of ten, it occurred to me that it would be more economical to just wipe my ass in kyat and pocket the difference. Though this Burma experience was an unusually vivid… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | February 7, 2015
Category: Asia, Money Management

Trip Report: how we did Oman for $570 in airfare and accommodations for two

When I first became interested in traveling, airfare and accommodations were the two most daunting expenses. Both such expenses can add up quite quickly.  For example, these days $420 may not seem like enough to pay for airfare and accommodations for two people visiting the Middle East. But when you are willing to combine a few "travel-hacking" strategies to make it happen, it's absolutely possible to do a trip like this. Perhaps the best way to tell you how is simply to lay out the exact costs my husband and I had for airfare and accommodations for our recent trip… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | February 5, 2015
Category: Destinations, On The Road

Vagabonding Field Report: Ao Nang, Thailand

Many people head to southern Thailand for beaches, islands, and the relaxed vibe of coastal life. Ao Nang is a bit more relaxed than larger cities like Phuket but still has a vibrant tourist draw and is an easy jumping-off point for many activities like rock climbing, island tours, beach lounging, hiking, and diving. Cost of living: [caption id="attachment_22950" align="aligncenter" width="300"] A cost breakdown for the month using our budgeting app.[/caption] If you're trying to save cash and are settling down for a while, a monthly rental can be found here for about 9,000 baht if you're willing to stay… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | February 4, 2015
Category: Asia, General, Vagabonding Field Reports

Solo travel when you’re not traveling solo

Traveling slowly with my husband across Southeast Asia has been a great way to leave our jobs and lives in Canada behind to explore the world on a small budget. It also means we spend a lot of time together. Every meal, every walk, every bus ride to a new city, is together. Where once we saw each other only in the evenings and on weekends, we now see each other all the time. Where we once had schedules and habitual activities alone, there was now a much more shared and aligned schedule. This is fine, really, but we don’t… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 18, 2015
Category: Asia, Family Travel, General, Solo Travel

Field Report: Port Lincoln, Australia

Cost per day? We camped at the Big 4 campsite which was a fantastic campsite, but you can pay through the nose in peak season. We paid $40 a night but were reasonably central. There are various other sites but if you want to enjoy a drink or just a short stroll into town then you could find yourself too far out to walk. The campsite also had great kitchen and BBQ facilities, so cooking was cheap, however part of the appeal of Port Lincoln is its various bars and restaurants, as well as its entertainment. I would say $100… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | January 16, 2015
Category: Oceania, Vagabonding Field Reports

What the frugal foodie eats in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Stroll past the dozens of stalls serving food to the fascinated tourists excitedly pointing at giant, steaming woks of noodles, dried sticks of skewered insects and whirring blenders filled with local fruits, and you'll find the experience to be an exquisite assault on the senses. Bright lights above each stall harshly illuminate the menus, which are rarely also in English. If the menu can even be seen through the steam and smoke from the never-ending cooking, the blended smells will only confound customers looking for something recognizable for dinner. Although the intense variety of culinary choices attracts some foreigners to… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 13, 2015
Category: Asia, Food and Drink, General

New Years Eve vs. St. Stephen’s Day for fireworks in Budapest

If you’re like my husband and I, you can’t help but do a little bit of research or at least some Google-Image searching when you’re about to embark on a trip you’re particularly excited about. For instance we spent New Years Eve in Budapest, Hungary this year and made sure to get a hotel right on the river (using our IHG rewards points for a free room with an incredible view.) This was, we believed, where the New Years Eve fireworks would go off. Why did we think this? Because that's where the St. Stephen's Day fireworks had been the… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | January 8, 2015
Category: Europe

What adults can learn when traveling with their parents

[caption id="attachment_22666" align="aligncenter" width="500"] My dad returning to Yosemite Valley, a place he knew well as a teenager in the 60's.[/caption] While not everyone grew up in a traditional family structure, this article can apply to anyone who has a loving relationship with a family member who was part of your upbringing. For me, that was my parents, but I recognize that some people were raised by foster families, the parents of your childhood friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or siblings. This article still applies no matter who was an integral part of your childhood or who you consider a parent… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | December 21, 2014
Category: Family Travel, North America

Korea’s no-man’s land

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Korea (Historical Image Archive) via Compfight cc Just behind the video-projection screen in the basement of the Cass ‘N’ Rock sports bar in Pusan, Korea, there hangs a large red flag that reads: “If the South Would’ve Won, We Would’ve Had it Made.” Never mind that this is a Confederate battle flag. Never mind that this slogan is written in English. Never mind that the flag also bears the visage of Hank Williams Jr. At the Cass ‘N’ Rock — where Korean university students gather to drink beer, eat dried squid and watch soccer games on… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | December 19, 2014
Category: Asia, Destinations

Pros and Cons of Off-Peak Europe Travel

American Airlines has some great off-peak prices for award tickets to Europe. Rather than the usual price of 60,000 miles, during off-peak a roundtrip ticket would only cost 40,000 miles. And you can get that amount of miles simply by getting the AAdvantage credit card's 50,000 mile bonus. (Learn more about these off-peak prices here.) So when is "off-peak" for Europe? According to American Airlines, off-peak for Europe is anytime between October 15 and May 15. Other airlines may have different off-peak dates. But basically off-peak exists during the colder, winter months. (US Airway's off-peak dates for Europe are extremely… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | December 18, 2014
Category: Europe, Images from the road