tips

Unplanned Highlights From Australia’s West Coast

One Week Itinerary for Australia's West Coast

Travel bloggers are notorious for telling you not to plan. I know.

We’re always like, “Just get lost! See what happens! Go with the flow!” And then we post 3,000 words on how much we love organizing our trips, the perfect day to book your flight (57 and 1/2 days in advance, in case you were wondering*), and the 37 apps you should download before you go. But aside from that, don’t plan a thing!

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Tips and Ideas for a Long Layover in Chicago

Tips for a Long Layover in Chicago

On our recent trip to Minneapolis, Simon and I did what any good travelers on a budget do: we looked for a cheaper airport to fly into. When you’re heading to the Twin Cities, that frequently means Chicago O’Hare.

After we found a good deal on flights, we decided to book the Megabus from Chicago to Minneapolis — and wound up with several hours to spend in the Windy City on both ends of our journey.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid in Queenstown

Five Mistakes to Avoid in Queenstown New Zealand -- Em Dashed

Queenstown, New Zealand is a place of much regret. The town is home to top-notch landscapes and a range of heart-racing activities — but it’s also home to the largest abundance of first world problems you’ll ever find in such a small area.

“Why did I have that seventh shot?” “What happened to all the cash I withdrew yesterday?” “What do you mean, I have to climb another hill?” For some backpackers, Queenstown can easily seem like a monster, lying in wait to chew you up and snatch away your hopes, your dreams, and most of your money.

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Traveling by Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in New Zealand

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in New Zealand -- Em Dashed

Long-time readers may remember that when I first started traveling New Zealand in 2010, I booked a pass with a hop-on hop-off bus company called Stray. I’ve talked about my experience with this bus before, albeit rather briefly, and tucked away in this post about sailing in Abel Tasman National Park.

Today, I want to expand a bit on why I chose this mode of transport, and why it might work well for you, too — despite any pre-conceived notions you may hold.

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A Foreigner’s Guide to Baking in the Netherlands

Baking in the Netherlands

There are a lot of challenges one must tackle when moving abroad. My life in the Netherlands comes with its own specific set, like trying not to get run over by bicycles, or eating a stroopwafel without half of it ending up in my hair.

Also on the list? Baking.

And no — I’m not talking about getting stoned. (Go on, get all those Dutch marijuana jokes out of your system right now. I’ll wait.)

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Strategic Bicycle Dodging, and Other Tips for Exploring Amsterdam

Some Tips for Exploring Amsterdam

Despite the assumptions of a good many people who know me (and, frankly, should know better), the fact that I live in the Netherlands does not actually mean I live in Amsterdam.

I don’t.

Actually, I live on the other side of the country from the Dutch capital city. How do you like that?

Of course, if you want to get nitpicky (and really, who am I to talk?), the “other side of the country” is only an hour and a half away by car, inevitable traffic notwithstanding. I visit Amsterdam fairly regularly; and while I’m hardly a local, I have learned a few lessons that — being a sympathetic fellow tourist — I’d like to share with you. (I think this is the small-town-influence kicking in. Enjoy it while it lasts).

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Hostel Backpacking: Do You Have What It Takes?

What Makes a Good Hostel Backpacker?

I’m not sure where I stand on the whole nature-nurture debate (or, for that matter, where anyone stands — the last time I heard anyone talk about that was eighth grade biology). So I can’t tell you if great backpackers are born or made, and I also can’t tell you if that matters.

What I can tell you is somehow, I’ve ended up with a few traits that have made it a hell of a lot easier for me; and if you share any of them, perhaps it’s time to accept your destiny — nay, embrace it — and get backpacking. (There are worst destinies to have, trust me.)

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