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Recommendations for Backpacks and Travel Insurance [08 Jun 2013|09:28pm]


Backpackers! Literally, what are your favorite (not too egregiously expensive) backpacks for (potential) round-the-world trips?

(Info: I am a short woman, not physically active enough to lug a lot of lbs.)

If you don't have anything to recommend, did you have any particularly BAD experiences with any backpacks (I would appreciate company name and model name, if you can remember).

Also: does anyone have any recommendations for good travel insurance (covering medical + trip cancellation/interruption) company for a year-long round-the-world trip?

Alternatively, does anyone know of any insurance policies I can get JUST for insuring the loss or theft of my high-value electronic items? (Aside from not bringing them altogether, but I find having a laptop is essential when trying to book hostels, find hosts, get flights, etc.)

5 comments|post comment

two european cities, 3-4 days each [25 May 2012|02:58pm]

My husband and I are going to take a trip to two European cities for a week in September.

Right now we're thinking Paris and Budapest.

We've already been to Spain together twice so ruling that country out. I'm interested in northern Europe (Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen...) but I think it's just a bit too expensive for us.

Which two cities would you go to? Amsterdam? Berlin?
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Thailand Island Hopping [16 May 2012|05:29pm]
It's that time again! This time, i will be taking my few days of r&r and going south Thailand for some fun in the sun and on the beach. I'm short on time (i'm getting 10 days, hoping for 12) but it seems it will be more cost friendly to fly into Bangkok and then take the overnight train to Surat Thani, then the ferry to Koh Sumai. If we're able to get in early enough, might be able to make a small pit stop somewhere and see the sights (i'm sure my mate will want to go back to Khao San Road, as he fell in love with that place... i'm thinking i want to try someplace different, but i'm sure i'll get sucked in with pleading eyes...)

I'm pretty set on the Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao route. Seems like the safe bet this time of year, and it may not be too busy when we get there (end of June). Was wondering if anyone had any advice or good stories to share? Things i should see or do? Places i should or should not go? I'm still trying to figure out if i want to stay closer to the action in Chaweng or Lamai and then head outward for peace and quiet, or if we should stay a little farther away from the noise and head in if we want some fun...
Any thoughts?
Because of how my company sets up travel, i can't make any reservations, which may be a good thing, it may be a little annoying once we're in and jet lagged, but i'm looking forward to finding a place somewhere on the beach that hopefully isn't too expensive. Does anyone know how hard it would be to find an inexpensive spot on the beach, or are most cheaper places inland?
Thanks again!
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Solo female traveler has 2 weeks this summer, where to go? [21 Mar 2012|09:51am]

I've been racking my vacation days and now I have about two weeks, and I want to travel somewhere. Husband just started new job so he doesn't have much vacation these days so it'll just be me.

So, for two weeks (anytime between end of May to July/August/whenever this summer, but I only have 2 weeks - aka 10 weekday vacation days to spend)

I'm 28/F/Asian female, and I'll be leaving from DFW

What I like:
Gorgeous natural scenery
Interesting historical attractions, museums, buildings (castles, ruins, etc)
Tasty/unique local eats (local restaurants, street food, etc) - I can try anything
I usually prefer smaller towns/cities but I do like some of the bigger cities as well

Other requirements that are nice to have:
Can travel on a budget if possible
Safe/easy for a solo female traveler to visit (important!)
Not TOO far of a plane ride (since I only have 2 weeks)
Easy to get around (plenty of public transit or easy walking, don't have to rent a car, etc)
I'll probably stay in mostly hostels
Decent weather during this period

NOT interested in:
Partying, drinking, nightlife, clubbing, yadda yadda...

I've already been to:

Many places across the US/Canada (San Fran, NYC, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, DC, LA, New Orleans, National Parks in Utah/Arizona/Montana/Wyoming, Philly, Orlando, Santa Ynez Valley in CA)
Western Europe - I did this as a two month solo trip, so I've traveled alone before - (London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Rothenburg, Rhine River Valley, Munich, Dresden, Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Lake Geneva, Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen Vallley, Lake Bled, Ljubljana, Cinque Terre)
China - Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Ljiang, Dali
Thailand - Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket area (Karon, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay, Koh Racha)
Indonesia - Bali (Nusa Lembongan, Ubud, Sanur)
South Korea

(I've bolded my favorite places, if that makes suggestions a little easier.)

Some Ideas:
Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver)
Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czech, Romania?)
Benelux (Amsterdam, Brussels, etc)
Spain/Portugal? Maybe ferry to Morroco?
Japan? (Prob too expensive? Far?)
Costa Rica/Belize/Nicaragua (not sure how safe this is for a solo female?)
Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia (maybe too far to fly?)

Any other ideas?

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[21 Mar 2012|12:18am]

A friend and I are looking at backpacking through Europe sometime during August with the help of the Interail. We're looking at 22 days, with 10 days that we can catch the train. 

Roughly how much money do you think would be needed to fund ourselves? The plan is to camp out on the roadsides or somewhere equally free, and we'll be cooking most of our meals. There will be pit stops in hostels to freshen up, but that's about it. 
Also, has anyone had road-side jobs whilst travelling. Something like busking? Any advice or tips?

Thanks guys :)
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Thailand is a GO! [23 Feb 2012|06:17pm]
Thanks to all the great advice i got on and off this site, here is what i have planned:

Bangkok to Chiang Mai to Bangkok.

Leave 3 march, arrive 4 march. (probably the most stressful part of my trip. i won't get my ticket until the day before. ugh)
stay in bangkok until 6 march. (if i get tired of it, i'll leave earlier, but i figured there would be a lot to see for 2 days.)
catch trains 7th march and spend a few hours in ayutthaya (TEMPLES!) and lopburi (MONKEYS!).
catch overnight train in lopburi (night of the 7th) to chiang mai.
spend 8 and 9th in chiang mai.
spend 10-12 in pai.
back to chiang mai on 13, then catch overnight train (night of the 13th) back to bangkok.
spend 14th in bangkok
leave 15th

I wanted to go to some beaches, but with only 10 days, i don't want to spend most of my time traveling and i have distant relatives in chiang mai that i would like to see. Also, pai sounds interesting, and like my kind of town (hippies? relaxing? people going for a few days and staying for a few years?!!! i'm all about that!)

i'm taking a small backpack with a few items... few change of clothes, cosmetics, small laptop, phone, (mostly for alarm, don't think i'll be getting service) and camera. I've lived out of a duffle bag the last 4 years of my life, and most of my life has been spent getting up on a moments notice and moving, so packing was a piece of cake. i'm bringing a few hundreds and i will have my card just in case. i'm usually pretty thrifty (read=cheap), so i won't spend much, i'm not much of a souvinier person, but i want to get some things for the guys i work with... pictures and experience are more than enough for me!

something that will eat up some cash is lodging. i've spent the last 8 months in a tent with 8 other females, 3 minute "combat"
showers (often cold), and an outdoor toilet in freezing weather... there is no way i'm going to rough it now. Plus, i will be
traveling with my boyfriend, so yeah... private bedrooms with a bathroom is a must, and in pai, i was checking out the tree houses
and then saw the cottages with the bathtub and was sold! so most of my funds will probably go to lodging, but that's no big deal. All of it under 1800 baht, with the stay in chiang mai probably being the cheapest.

So... anything else anybody might want to add? i've come a long way since my first question and i just can't wait to step off the plane into a new change of scenery...
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Finally Thailand! [06 Feb 2012|07:47pm]
Hello, Loves!
After many years of being a far away dream, i will finally be traveling to Thailand at the end of the month for 10 days. I will be going with a mate who has never been as well. I'm planning on flying in to Bangkok and traveling to Chang Mai for sure, and down south to find some beaches... since i can only be there 10 days, i want to see as much as possible, but i need this more for relaxation than anything else (i've been deployed for almost a year.)
Does anybody have any good advice or experiences? Any good traveling websites and/or things i definitely shouldn't miss? I've already scoured most of the entries and made little notes, just wanted to know if anyone had anything more to add.
5 comments|post comment

[22 Jan 2012|10:47pm]

Also I was wondering: where is the best place to spend 4th of July in the US out of LA and San Francisco? Does anyone have any handy hints for travelling between the two?

Thanks so much
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[22 Jan 2012|10:45pm]


I am in desperate need of travel insurance recommendations. I have read about ten million PDS's and none seem to cover what I need.

My poor grandmother was last November diagnosed with breast cancer. Prognosis is excellent and hopefully she will be completely fine. However, I would like cover for cancellation costs etc if something does happen to her while I am away. It's very difficult to find as it's a pre-existing medical condition of a relative. Some options don't expressly exclude it (which I think is my only hope haha) but are extremely expensive. She's also 88 which makes it hard because some only cover for relatives under 85 years old.

Any tips would be ETERNALLY APPRECIATED :)
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Planning a trip to Canada and North America [06 Jan 2012|10:46am]

[ mood | curious ]

Hullo all,

I'm planning my first trip to North America this year! I'm travelling from London and flying to Vancouver, Canada for three days, crossing into the United States and visiting Seattle, Washington for 2 days, before continuing onwards to Portland, Oregon (where I'll be staying with friends for about a week or so). I was thinking around early May or so: just when it's getting warm, but avoiding the tourist period that usually starts around June.

From there I'm a little undecided: do I return to Canada and fly back to London (maybe via another Canadian city for a few days....Toronto? Montreal? Halifax? Any suggestions? I speak French so interacting with Quebecois will be no issue)? Or do I continue south into Californa, see LA and San Francisco, and fly back to London from there? How far is it to go from Portland to California? Should I fly, or is car-hire just as good? Decisions, decisions.

My specific questions are these:
1) as a Commonwealth citizen, I don't see any issues arriving in Canada visa-wise (Australians appear to be granted automatic entry to Canada for six months, I assume on a tourist-visa), but if I duck south into the USA and then return to Canada, will this sort of tourist visa cover me for multiple entries? Or will I need to go through the whole gamut again?

2) the most pressing one: Australians are part of the American Visa Waiver Program (I have a biometric passport), but the process still seems confusing. I'm planning to leave Vancouver on an Amtrak Cascades train, and have been informed there's an Immigration/Customs office at Vancouver station. What can I expect? What sort of paperwork is involved? Do I get a VWP at the border before I leave Canada? Otherwise, how do I apply for a VWP? I hear horror stories that foreigners flying into the USA get retina-scanned, finger-printed, interviewed, and very much treated like they're an undesirable person before even being allowed leave to enter the country....what is it like crossing into the USA from the Canadian border? If I decide to fly out of the United States (instead of returning via Canada), would - for example - flying back to London from LA or San Fran be much of an issue on a VWP?

Really appreciate any info regarding my first trip to North America!

Thanks in advance,

4 comments|post comment

Trains in England [29 Aug 2011|12:09pm]

I'm a bit confused about the trains in London. It seems there are a bunch of company's that now offer tickets, and the prices are incredibly expensive. Is there anything I should know when trying to book a ticket from London to Newcastle?
5 comments|post comment

New Zealand [25 Aug 2011|12:15pm]

Hi Everyone,

I'm planning to travel to New Zealand from January 2nd to 8th (only a week!).

What are some fun things you suggest I do besides bungee jumping?
7 comments|post comment

Istanbul [25 Aug 2011|12:45am]

[ mood | awake ]

Hi all- I am headed to Istanbul for a couple of days next week. Can anyone recommend any hostels?...or have any general recommendations (restaurants/shops etc)?

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Belfast for a week [13 Jun 2011|08:17pm]

Iam going to Belfast for just over a week in early Oct and was wondering what I should see and do(daytrips as well)? I dont want to miss anything important :)

Thank you

5 comments|post comment

Traveling solo in Peru? [12 Jun 2011|01:17pm]

I'm looking to go to Peru at the end of August. I am in my mid 20s, female, and would be traveling solo. I've traveled throughout Western Europe before, many portions by myself, but have gotten mixed reviews about how safe this would be in Peru.

Thoughts from ladies who have also done it?

1 comment|post comment

Kenya [20 May 2011|10:57am]

What is your favorite national park in Kenya and why?
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Travelling alone in Latin America [17 May 2011|08:52pm]

Hi everyone!
Next semester I'm going to be studying abroad in USA and I thought as long as I've travelled to another continent, I might go to Latin America after the semester is finished, since I don't know when else I'd have the opportunity. I'm very probably going to be doing it alone and I don't speak Spanish at all, so I don't know if I can pull it off. I would love to hear about your experiences there, suggestions for places that I must visit as well as any advice you might have for a lonely traveller. I'm expecting it to take 3 weeks at least, have any of you had experince travelling alone for that long? I was thinking I might make use of couch surfing to meet some people who could show me the ropes at least.
Anyway, thank you so much for your time!
1 comment|post comment

[08 May 2011|08:43am]

Does anyone have experience in Costa Rica? Im flying into San Jose on the 17th and then going to a place called Pacha Mama at Nosara beach. Any experience riding the bus? I guess my big worry is I dont speak spanish.
2 comments|post comment

TIPS [23 Apr 2011|10:39am]

I want to hear everyone's tips for living/studying in the following places. Barring that, any experiences visiting the following places (write a novel in the comments, I don't mind) would be great as well. Cheap tips, vegetarian tips, tips for how to enjoy yourself in you don't drink alcohol, things that surprised you, things you wish you had known, things I should watch out for, things nobody tells you, ANY RECOMMENDATIONS for any of the following:

- India (summer)

- Amsterdam, the Netherlands (fall)

- Copenhagen, Denmark (springtime)

Travel Excursions:
- Croatia
- Turkey
- Morocco
- Israel


P.S. Favorite travel blogs?
3 comments|post comment

Mexico or Puerto Rico? [23 Mar 2011|10:22pm]
Ok, so I have a free plane ticket to use. Among all the destinations, I'm trying to decide between Mexico and Puerto Rico. I think I'd really like to visit Mexico City, but my husband wants to go to the Isla Mujeres area. And neither of us has been to Puerto Rico.

A few conflicting questions. We'll probably end up spending a few days in Isla Mujeres, and a few days in Mexico City, if we go that route. Is there anything else in the Cancun area that is underdeveleoped that we should consider instead of Isla Mujeres? Any specific recommendations for hotels, things to see, etc (in Mexico City/Isla Mujeres/other)? We dislike touristy Mexico, and are reasonably outdoorsy/adventurous.

Secondly, is Puerto Rico really amazing? Would anyone suggest we go there instead? Please make a case for it if you do- I really just don't know much about it, and haven't heard a ton of good things.

Thanks in advance for your help!
5 comments|post comment

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