Review: Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack and how to choose a great backpack

backpack thumbA good backpack can make or break a trip. Drenching rain, language barriers, delayed flights — you can weather all with humor and go-get-’em attitude.

But a good backpack is the foundation upon which your trip rests. It holds your entire life in one place. It protects it. Sometimes you wear it so often it feels like another appendage.

That’s why it’s important to take some … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 25, 2015
Category: Backpacking, Travel Gear

Carpooling sites for travel in Europe

While frequent flyer miles can help alleviate the costs of flights to a destination in a game-changing way, the travel that happens once in a destination can really add up too. This is particularly true in an affluent place like Europe.

But, as a continent that has a fabulous infrastructure for public transit, it should come as no surprise that even those with their own personal cars find a way to contribute to the public’s transit needs.

Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | December 4, 2014
Category: Backpacking, Europe, Travel Tech

5 ways in which working travel is very different from the “gap year”

The other day a reader told me she had saved up for a gap-year of travel. She said that she hadn’t yet decided whether or not to do some remote contract work while traveling or not.

In my opinion, she was right to think decisively about the matter, because there are two very different types of travel she can experience. Traveling with a goal to work as you go is very different than taking a … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | November 6, 2014
Category: Backpacking, On The Road, Working Abroad

Native eye for the tourist guy: avoiding fashion no-nos

65055278_17b40a903cPhoto Credit: tarotastic

A couple of years ago, while riding my bicycle down Burma’s Irrawaddy valley, I somehow managed to destroy my khaki trousers. These were the only pair of pants I had with me at the time, so I stopped off in a town called Pakkoku and — faced with no other realistic clothing options — purchased a long, cotton lungi to cover my … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | October 11, 2014
Category: Asia, Backpacking, Destinations, Vagabonding Styles

Slumming the golden arches

Golden Arches, Barstow Station

Image credit

This month marks the beginning of student-travel season in Europe, which means that — at any given moment — continental McDonald’s restaurants will be filled with scores of American undergraduates. Quiz these young travelers, and they’ll give you a wide range of reasons for seeking out McDonald’s — … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | June 7, 2014
Category: Backpacking, Europe, Food and Drink, Travel Health, Vagabonding Advice

Post Salkantay trek, Peru

Well, I did it! Just barely, but I managed to “conquer” around 60 kilometers (37 miles) on one of the most challenging treks I’ve ever done. Four days and three nights of difficult uphill, painful downhill, sunburns, rain, aching muscles, and freezing nights in a tent was rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery that ends with a visit to Machu Picchu. If you … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | April 20, 2014
Category: Backpacking, Destinations, South America

Leaping without the pile in the back of the closet

Petrified, excited, invigorated, exhilarated, daunted…I felt them all in the weeks leading up to my first round the world journey. So many emotions, so little time. All the planning for this idea of taking a hiatus from the everyday was thrilling, yet frightening. From visa applications to inoculations (those weren’t fun) and new passport pages to hotel bookings the excitement continued to grow. But then it was six weeks before, one-month prior … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 12, 2014
Category: Backpacking, Notes from the collective travel mind

Rolf Potts on budget travel

Backpack on boat 2

Whenever anyone asks me why I still travel on a shoestring at the ripe old age of 38, I usually tell them about the time I learned how to play the bagpipes in Havana.

Granted, I could probably relate a more typical story about the joys of budget travel – some tidy parable of money saved and experiences gained – but when … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | April 5, 2014
Category: Backpacking, Rolf Potts, Vagabonding Advice

Preparing to hike the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

I am writing from my sleeping bag in the Lima airport, getting ready to go to “bed” for the night on the food court floor. Today starts my two week trip to Peru, and I have an early flight to Cusco in the morning. In some ways I feel prepared (for instance right now I have a sleeping bag, ear plugs, and eye mask, while I see other struggling to sleep/fight sleep at food court … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | March 23, 2014
Category: Adventure Travel, Backpacking, South America

Giving free travel talks—A great way to share knowledge and ignite travel dreams

Last weekend, on a sunny Saturday morning at a local Seattle-area library, I kicked off the first of several ninety-minute “Travel talks” I plan to give this year. The seminar-style presentations, which I call “Traveling The Best of Europe Independently & On A Budget” will be free, presented at assorted libraries in the Seattle metro area.

I began doing these talks several years ago after answering the umpteenth question about how to travel independently in … Read more »