Always Wanderlust https://www.alwayswanderlust.com Travel, Photography, and Adventure Gear Mon, 15 Apr 2019 15:35:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/AWLogoRetinia-32x32.png Always Wanderlust https://www.alwayswanderlust.com 32 32 17 Best Things To Do in San Diego That Won’t Break Your Bank https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/things-to-do-in-san-diego/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/things-to-do-in-san-diego/#respond Mon, 15 Apr 2019 15:22:52 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=23404 With gorgeous year-round sunny weather, beautiful scenery, and so much to see and do, San Diego, is aptly nicknamed “America’s Finest City.” The only challenge you’ll encounter when deciding what to do in San Diego is how to narrow down your choices. This SoCal city has more to offer than just sunshine. That’s where this guide comes in. Exploring the many unique neighborhoods can be daunting. From the world-famous San Diego Zoo to the fantastic beaches, ultra-trendy clubs to the grand historical districts, there is bound to be something for everyone when visiting this Southern California town; and most of these can even be explored in just a day. I have compiled the 15 best things to do in San Diego that you can’t miss. Cost of Visiting San Diego People are always surprised when I tell them that a San Diego vacation does not have to break the bank.…Continue Reading

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With gorgeous year-round sunny weather, beautiful scenery, and so much to see and do, San Diego, is aptly nicknamed “America’s Finest City.” The only challenge you’ll encounter when deciding what to do in San Diego is how to narrow down your choices.

This SoCal city has more to offer than just sunshine. That’s where this guide comes in. Exploring the many unique neighborhoods can be daunting. From the world-famous San Diego Zoo to the fantastic beaches, ultra-trendy clubs to the grand historical districts, there is bound to be something for everyone when visiting this Southern California town; and most of these can even be explored in just a day. I have compiled the 15 best things to do in San Diego that you can’t miss.

Cost of Visiting San Diego

People are always surprised when I tell them that a San Diego vacation does not have to break the bank. There are plenty of free things to do in San Diego and budget hotels in addition to the upscale pleasures of the city as well as the luxury hotels in San Diego.

I wrote this guide to assist you in your planning and help you enjoy visiting this year-around sunny spot. Most places mentioned here, you can do for free and some not soo free. Obviously, eating out at restaurants and partying is going to cost a pretty penny so I’m very mindful about the picks of “best things to do in San Diego” so don’t fret, you can enjoy this town even if you don’t hail from posh Beverly Hills neighbourhood in L.A.

Best Money Saving Value

SoCal CityPASS – If you want to save tons of money then a Southern California CityPASS is something you have to get. You can easily save $150 off the face value of the listed inclusions. If you’re going to LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, or the San Diego Zoo, it’s a no brainer. This is especially true if you’re going with the family.

GetYourGuide San Diego – Unusual tours for down low prices. Whether you’re going to explore Balboa Park on a Segway or a Patriot Jet Boat thrill ride, GetYourGuide has you covered.

Cross Border Xpress San Diego – Get 30% off your first car rental in San Diego.

Viajemos – A great car portal with massive fleets of vehicles. Find economy cars, SUV, or a convertible to explore San Diego top down!

1 – Surf at the Beaches

Visiting the beach is undoubtedly one of the things to do in San Diego and best yet, it’s FREE. You might have discovered that the water is too chilly for beachy fun, but unless you see it in the wintertime, the water is perfect for wading, surfing, and swimming for most of the year. The best San Diego beaches feature prominently on most travelers’ itineraries because of its availability year-round.

Surf at San Diego's many beaches

Surf at San Diego’s many beaches

What you do at the beach depends on weather and personal taste, but these are the San Diego beaches I recommend you check out:

Coronado Municipal Beach

With calm water and a broad, flat stretch of sand, this is a fantastic beach for families with younger children.

La Jolla Shores Beach

The gentle waves make it an ideal place to learn how to surf, and there are lifeguards on duty until dusk.

Mission Beach

If you love water sports like water skiing, stand up paddle boarding and aqua cycles, this is the San Diego beach for you.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is the most significant stretch of sandy beach in PB and is one of the most popular beaches in San Diego. It’s a great spot for swimmers and surfers of all ages.

Del Mar Beach

There are baths, showers, and lifeguards at this family-friendly San Diego shore.
Moonlight Beach — you will find all you need at this shore, from picnic tables, fire rings, lifeguards, and restrooms to volleyball courts, a snack bar, and gear rentals.

2 – Go to Little Italy

Little Italy is the definitive place to go for delicious Italian food. A myriad of Italian restaurants and bakeries, wine bars, and boutique shops awaits. All along India street, you’ll find the finest restaurants like Assenti’s Pastas, breweries like Bolt Brewery, and wine bars like Davanti Enoteca. Yes, you’ll spend some money, but it’s money well spent!

3 – Check out Coronado

The dreamy town of Coronado is an island stronghold of hotels, resorts, beach-front restaurants. Make the short, two-mile travel over one of San Diego’s most recognizable structures, Coronado Bridge, or take the ferry to get there (which will cost money). The central business district, which occupies Orange Avenue, is full of shops, restaurants, and family-friendly hangouts.

4 – Play in LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California is a must-visit attraction for families with children ages 2-12. Older siblings and parents can get in on the fun, too. There are over 60 rides, 4-D movies, building actions. Kids particularly love mini trading figures with staff around the park, learning how-to drive-in kid-sized LEGO automobiles, the Dragon Coaster and Miniland USA using its LEGO skyscraper.

See castles made of LEGO blocks at LEGOLAND in San Diego

See castles made of LEGO blocks at LEGOLAND in San Diego

In the warmer months, LEGOLAND Water Park is a great place to cool off, and SEA LIFE® Aquarium is a good deal of fun year-round. In summer, mainly when the water parks are open every day, LEGO-loving families can and do spend multiple days here.

Tip: Grab your tickets ahead of time in SoCal CityPASS. Also, before planning a trip to LEGOLAND, it is essential to check their calendar since the park is closed on select Tuesdays and Wednesdays between September and February. The parks are also open on weekends or seasonally during the school year.

5 – Head Out to La Jolla Cove

Take in the luxury of this SoCal seaside village of La Jolla Cove, a fast 20-minute drive from downtown San Diego. Wind through Prospect Street to navigate shops like the iconic Warwick’s, the country’s oldest family-run bookstore, or dine with a sea view at high-end restaurants if you can afford it. Free things to do is taking pictures! La Jolla is the most-photographed place in San Diego.

6 – Check Out the San Diego Zoo

The Zoo is world-renowned, and it spans 100 acres of land while housing over 3,700 endangered and rare animals. Entry fee is $56 per adult at $46 per child – You can buy your tickets ahead of time at SoCal CityPASS .Spend the day at the zoo learning about various animals or watch shows and animal presentations. In the summer, Nighttime Zoo event series allows visitors to stay later well into the night. There are loads of restaurants throughout the park where parents can recuperate with a much-needed afternoon beer.

7 – Party in the Gaslamp District

The Gaslamp Di San Diego’s center of nightlife and the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown is where you will want to be if you’re looking to eat at restaurants, party & dance, or just people watching. You’ll find every flavor on any restaurants to suit every taste, all within walking distance of one another, and a plethora of dance clubs and bars.

Take a stroll along Fifth Avenue to take in the vibe of the Gaslamp Quarter and then enjoy a meal (or two) sitting in a sidewalk table as the denizens walk by. Then cap off the evening with a cool show at the House of Blues.

8 – Hit up SeaWorld San Diego

Families from around the world come to San Diego especially to see SeaWorld San Diego. Entrance Fee is going to cost $91, but there are special discounts available. In addition to its marine exhibits, SeaWorld San Diego also has a few thrilling rides such as the Manta roller coaster and Shipwreck Rapids. Plus, there is the famous Sesame Street Bay of Play for young kids, making it one of the greatest things to do in San Diego for families.

Go see amazing Orca whales at SeaWorld

Go see amazing Orca whales at SeaWorld

Highlights of SeaWorld San Diego comprise Turtle Reef, Penguin Encounter, sea lion feedings (guests can purchase a tray of fish and throw it to them), Otter Outlook, and various touch pools. The once-famous live orca shows are replaced by beautiful documentary movies of orcas in the wild on a three-story screen, and there are still live sea lion and dolphin shows.

9 – Straddle the Cliffs at Sunset Cliffs

With postcard-worthy sea cliffs and views, San Diego’s aptly named Sunset Cliffs neighborhood offers visitors with sweeping panoramic ocean views. It is the city’s most popular spot at sunset. Part of its neighborhood overlaps with Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which is a 68-acre reserve that is known for its sea caves, rock arch formations, and very steep cliffs. Blaze a path along the shore for a scenic walk or brave a stroll along the cliffs, while envying the sprawling mansions nearby.

10 – Explore the Old Town

Historical San Diego is not always evident, but a sure bet to take in the city’s past would be to pay a visit to Old Town State Historic Park. It may be overly touristy and contrived, but if you look hard enough, you will find authentic snippets of San Diego’s past.

Must do: There are several excellent restaurants in Old Town, but the Old Town Mexican Cafe with its homemade tortillas is among the most popular choices.

11 – Go Kayaking in Mission Bay

Visitors to San Diego who are interested in watersports might want to remain near or at least plan on visiting Mission Bay. The manmade bay offers calm water and waveless beaches for kids. Things to do at Mission Bay include stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, and kayaking. Boat rentals for fishing, water skiing, and leisure are available, but if you are hungry for thrills, you could also measure it up a notch by trying a water-powered jet pack.

Trails for walking, running, and biking circle the bay passing by several playgrounds and grassy areas that are excellent for picnics and play. There are RV parking and even a municipal campground. If you are coming to San Diego specifically to surf, sail, kayak, or paddleboard, you should be aware that a number of the Mission Bay hotels have water sports centers onsite (mostly Action Sports Rentals). Otherwise, you can try the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.

12 – Go to an Annual San Diego Event

Annual events big and small also bring massive traffic to San Diego. You have probably heard of most of these, and it is worth seeing what is happening in San Diego during your visit so that you can plan accordingly. Be aware that if you are attending a unique annual event in the city, it will help to prepare well in advance since the town can get crowded and tickets to local attractions can sell out.

These are just some of the San Diego events that draw people here from all over:

San Diego Comic-Con (July)

The San Diego County Fair (June – July)

Del Mar Racing Season (July — September)

KABOO (September)

13 – Watch the San Diego Symphony

Taking place takes place each summer is the Bayside Summer Nights, which is a quintessential San Diego event series showcasing the amazing San Diego Symphony. It takes place along the active Embarcadero (#17 below) on the east side of San Diego Bay.

The symphony features guest headliners, which previously have included legendary singers the likes of Tony Bennett and Diana Ross. The concert series kicks off during Independence Day weekend and continues through Labor Day.

14 – Watch a Sunset at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

A rocky natural reserve with scenic ocean views and landscapes that is great for a quick hike or multi-day of exploration. Torrey Pines is no secret and crowds flock here for a good reason. The reserve is open from dusk ’til dawn 365 days a year, and all cars must pay an admission fee, which ranges from $10-20 depending on the day.

Sunset at Torrey Pines

Sunset at Torrey Pines

It’s one of the cheapest things to do in San Diego that gives the most bang for the buck. If you’re into photography, this spot offers lots of opportunities for both the professional and budding photographer.

15 – Watch a Race at Del Mar Racetrack

The track is open starting Wednesday through Sunday and holds about eight to 12 races daily. The Del Mar Racetrack is a real draw for the high rollers and casual gamblers alike, so for the budget conscious travelers, this may not be the ideal place to be. However, lightning-fast horse races that can get your heart pumping might be worth all the losses accrued. There is a 30-minute interval between races to place your bets or refill your drinks.

16 – Explore the Embarcadero

San Diego’s walkable harbor-front is teeming with shops, exciting sights, and eateries, that looks across the bay to Coronado Island. A lot of the Embarcadero’s curiosities is floating on the water; the USS Midway and some legacy ships of to the Maritime Museum.

In November, the Embarcadero stages the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, while the San Diego Symphony Orchestra (# 14 above) plays the Bayside Summer Nights from late-June to the beginning of September.

17 – Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park with multiple parks, parks, play areas, and 17 museums. It is a true city treasure, and you will find many things to do in Balboa Park for nearly everyone.

Look out for the street entertainers and bike rentals. Plan to eat as you’re here since there are some wonderful restaurants in Balboa Park. Alfresco dining at the Japanese Friendship Garden for Japanese food favorites or Panama 66 with its craft cocktails are our favorite choices.

Check it out on a Segway Tour!

There you go, whether you have a week or a day in San Diego, you have your itinerary full of cool and fun things to do.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO SAN DIEGO?

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Argentina Travel Guide | By Car, Train, or Foot (How to Do it Right) https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/argentina-travel-guide/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/argentina-travel-guide/#respond Fri, 05 Apr 2019 18:49:40 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=23269 Argentina, which is officially known as the Argentine Republic, is a country on the South American continent. The whole land area of Argentina is approximately 2.7 million square kilometers, making it the 8th largest country in the world. Whether you choose to explore the country by car, bus, foot, or other ways you can imagine, Argentina is a massive task to cover. One of the highlights of traveling around South America for me was renting a car in Buenos Aires and road-tripping throughout Argentina. If there’s anywhere in the world you are going not to regret spending money on car rentals; it is here. You could technically get rental cars in the bordering Latin countries like Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay; but it’s more of a hassle, and you won’t find it as easy as Argentina. If driving isn’t your thing, then there are other ways to explore this beautiful country…Continue Reading

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Argentina, which is officially known as the Argentine Republic, is a country on the South American continent. The whole land area of Argentina is approximately 2.7 million square kilometers, making it the 8th largest country in the world. Whether you choose to explore the country by car, bus, foot, or other ways you can imagine, Argentina is a massive task to cover.

One of the highlights of traveling around South America for me was renting a car in Buenos Aires and road-tripping throughout Argentina. If there’s anywhere in the world you are going not to regret spending money on car rentals; it is here. You could technically get rental cars in the bordering Latin countries like Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay; but it’s more of a hassle, and you won’t find it as easy as Argentina. If driving isn’t your thing, then there are other ways to explore this beautiful country that we’ll also cover in this guide.

What You Need To Know Before You Go


Visa Requirements

If you are a tourist with US, Canada, or Australian citizenship, you do not need a visa to travel to Argentina but have to pay the $160 reciprocity fee.  That’s because Argentines are required to pay this fee to enter the countries mentioned above. Some countries have exemptions to travel to Argentina like Russia. My wife (who’s a Russian citizen) did not have to pay that fee while I had to. There is a 90 day limit of stay after which you have exit the country.

Internet

I found connectivity in Argentina lacking, and that pretty much goes for all the countries in South America. It’s simple enough to have WiFi hotspots in hotels and hostels, but they’re often slow. Much slower than their European counterparts. On the plus side, you can find that almost every restaurant or coffee shop offers free WiFi access to clients.

Crime

The Crime rate in Argentina is quite significant for petty theft. However, it’s relatively safe for backpackers and even solo female travelers. Taxi scams are common in major cities. Trust your instinct and be smart. Always make copies of your travel documents in case you lose them. Buy good travel insurance for a piece of mind! It’s important to take proper precaution when traveling to Argentina.

Power Adapters

The standard sockets used in Argentina are 220 and 240 volts. Use a plugin adapter when you’re traveling from a country with a different electrical outlet.

Food

Argentina is famous for its meat and barbecue, or Asada. Chimichurri is a green salsa that’s slightly tangy and is often served with steaks and meats. Empanadas are also famous; they are pastries filled with a sweet or savory filling then baked or deep-fried. The climate favors growing a variety of grapes, so wine is also good in Argentina.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier

Part of the Los Glaciares National Park, located in the province of Santa Cruz, the Glacier is one of the most famous destinations in Patagonia. The glacial field is the third largest freshwater reserve in the world.

You can easily get there by car or by bus, and it’s one you shouldn’t miss. I highly recommend you hike it and take a tour guide with you. Check out the Tour section of this guide my recommendations.

Capital Buenos Aires

The city of Buenos Aires has temperate weather and somewhat cool and dry in the winter. I was there during summer, and it was humid and hot like the Philippines, a tropical place. I also spent a winter there, and it was cool, which I preferred.

Airport

The Ezeiza International Airport, or Ministro Pistarini, is the primary international airport in Argentina. It lies 14 miles south-southwest of Buenos Aires. I found a good deal using some apps on my phone, and you can also see it on specific days.

Patagonia

In the summertime, you can expect warm days and a couple of rainy or cold days. The geographic diversity in Argentina can be attributed to the climate of the area, which may lead to extreme temperatures, rain, and sunlight. The best time to see Patagonia is from October to March. But, you can expect the weather in Patagonia to be erratic.

Iguazu National Park

foz de iguazu garganta del diabloA trip to Argentina is never complete without taking the time to drop by Iguazu National Park and Iguazu Falls. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Iguazu National Park covers a total land area of 550 square km (212 square miles). Founded in 1934, the park showcases the natural beauty of Argentina, particularly the subtropical jungle it covers.

In this park, you’ll find various species of fauna and flora. Iguazu waterfall divides the upper and lower parts of the river. The river also flows through Brazil although a large proportion of the river and falls belong to Argentina.

Cost of Travel


Argentina is not particularly cheap. You can expect to spend $50 a day on average if you’re backpacking and twice that if you’re doing it with some luxury. I rented a flat in Palermo for a month at almost $1200 and some change that included all fees.

Money Saving Tips

  • Travel off-season. Summer in Argentina, especially Buenos Aires is humid and hot. Winters are mild and much more pleasant.
  • Camp where you can. If you’re out in Patagonia the refugios are expensive and hostels even more. Pitch a tent if you have one with you.
  • Buy wine in grocery stores. Wine is great in Argentina! I bought gallons of box wine there, and the quality was terrific!
  • Couchsurfing is common and welcomed so do it when you can.
  • Domestic flights are expensive, so travel by car or bus whenever possible.
  • Take an overnight bus and save on a night’s worth of accommodation.
  • Carry cash into the country; it’s much cheaper than taking it out on the exchange or ATMs.

Recommended Places To Stay in Argentina


Buenos Aires

San Carlos de Bariloche

Mendoza

Puerto Iguazú

Ushuaia

Cafayate

How to Rent A Car in Argentina


How to rent a car in ArgentinaIt’s a good idea to book a vehicle in advance, particularly for those who have a car preference or if you’re traveling in high season. Be sure you hire from a reputable car hire firm; there are many horror stories online from small vehicle hire places.

You should always, inspect your rental car thoroughly before driving off to ensure that the rental company accurately notes all scratches and problems. It’s a fantastic idea to take photos of any bumps and scrapes also, to cover yourself.

There are long distances between destinations and even fewer gas stations in between. Check with the car rental company where you can fill up, and then ensure that you do, even if you still have half a tank. On the northern route, Tilcara has the only gas station around for miles, so don’t drive on past it.

There are lots of police checkpoints along the roads, especially when crossing between Salta and Jujuy provinces. Keep all of your paperwork close at hand in case.

Check your itinerary with the car hire company before leaving, especially during the rainy season. Also, during the Dakar Rally period, some roads and streets might be closed so plan accordingly.

It usually isn’t difficult to show up in the tiny towns without accommodation already booked, but if you are traveling in January and February, during Carnival period, it is essential to book ahead as the cities host highly popular festivals and resorts and hostels fill up very fast.

STEP 1

Plan your routes, making sure you understand how much you have to travel. This is vital because most rental agencies in Argentina do not offer unlimited miles or kilometer. In fact, the majority of rentals offer you a maximum of 200 kilometers every day. As a result, you could incur extra charges for going over the daily limit.

If you’re planning to do a lot of driving while in Argentina, make sure you lease a car that does not charge by the distance.

STEP 2

Compare prices online and then book together with the agency that provides you the best bargain. Based on where you intend to visit, there are numerous rental agencies in the country. One car rental company I recommend is Discover Car Hire, which will aggregate all your rental searches from all car rental companies. Another place to look is Economy Bookings, which will help you find cheap car rentals around the world.

STEP 3

Compare prices from a person when you arrive in your place to find out if you’re able to get a much better deal. If you discover a better price, do not be afraid to use that as leverage to get your rental service to coordinate with the price. It is not uncommon for tourists to ask for lower prices on car rentals. This is because leasing a vehicle in Argentina isn’t cheap, as it may average up to $60 a day.

STEP 4

Carry the right paperwork and documents with you at all times. Including a valid driver’s license, car registration and proof of insurance. Given the many checkpoints from Argentina, it is not unusual for the local police to stop motorists and inquire for various documents.

Exploring Argentina By Car Itineraries


Mendoza Itinerary

Mendoza is most famous for its acclaimed wineries surrounded by Andean peaks, but there’s plenty to do in the area that does not involve grapes. The city is a university town with lots of lively bars and restaurants attracting a younger audience.

During your visit to Mendoza, we suggest driving out to the famous wineries of Norton, Ruca Malen, and Trapiche for lunch and wine.

Then, drive to Aconcagua (22,840ft/6960m) the tallest mountain outside of Asia, and the maximum peak in the southern hemisphere.

For a mere US $1.30 1.30, can access the park up until the trailhead, which makes it possible for you about two hours of hiking.

In the end, when you’ve eaten, sipped, and improved your way around Mendoza, it’s time to relax. Drive to the Termas Cacheuta, about 90 minutes from town.

Lake District Itinerary

Patagonia’s Lake District is just that a district full of gorgeous lakes. It’s a remarkably scenic area, perfect for exploring by car.

There are many paths you can take, but here is our suggested itinerary: From Bariloche head to Circuito Chico then spend half a day in Limay River, then a day in Villa La Angostura, a day in San Martin de Los Andes, a day in Lake Lolog, and finally back to Bariloche.

Highlights of the road trip include:

  • Bariloche and the beautiful lakes.
  • Hikes around Lake Nahuel Huapi and Correntoso Lake in Villa La Angostura.
  • Lanin National Park.
  • San Martin de Los Andes.

Salta Itinerary

The vast assortment of places across this large area means there is a wide selection of routes, based on how much time you have. You can even choose to stick to the safer tarred highways, or throw caution to the wind and hit the gravel roads.

Go straight to Purmamarca on day 1 and spend the night there to soak in the breathtaking vistas of this unbelievable Cerro de Siete Colores. Get up early the next day and journey to the spellbinding Salinas Grandes, before backtracking northwards to Humahuaca, where you will spend your second night. Then head out to explore the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a valley famous for its brightly colored hills and long history predating the Inca Empire.

Highlights of this area include:

  • Museums, architecture, parks, plazas, and restaurants in Salta City.
  • Quebrada de las Conchas National Park on the drive from Salta to Cafayate.
  • The amazing wineries are surrounding Cafayate.
  • Quebrada de las Flechas.
  • The colorful mountains in Purmamarca.
  • The blindingly white Salinas Grandes.

Head to Tilcara where you can check out the Pucará de Tilcara pre-Incan ruins and the Painter’s Palette hills by the town of Maimara. Finally, head out to Cafayate on your way back. Stop along the way to see the weird and fantastic rock formations in the Quebrada de Cafayate.

Road To Cafayate

Road To Cafayate

Highlights like La Garganta del Diablo and El Anfiteatro are clearly signposted along the road. The town of Cafayate itself is a charming place set in the center of Salta’s high-altitude wineries; a place to indulge in some exquisite wine-tasting and enjoy some terrific hikes.

Patagonia Itinerary

One could argue that the Chilean side of Patagonia is the one to visit but don’t discount what the Argentian side has to offer. But don’t fret, renting a car will give you the freedom to explore both! You will have the freedom to stop and go as you please whilst enjoying the views. You should stop first at Bariloche then after exploring the small cozy town pack up for an easy 6-mile trek to Refugio Frey, where tasty empanadas and home-brewed beer awaits along with views of the Toncek Lagoon.

Note: if you want to drive your rental car over the border from Argentina into Chile, you’ll need written permission from the leasing company and the best insurance to do so. Speak to the car rental agent before trying to cross, or you’ll be turned away in case you don’t have the correct documents.

Many places in Argentina are desert, and you will often find yourself out in the middle of nowhere, which is great if you’re properly prepared. This means having a full tank of gas, first-aid kit, a spare tire, tools, a map, data plan on your telephone, a Spanish translation app or phrasebook, plus non-perishable food and plenty of drinking water.

Alternatives To Driving and Car Rental


While renting a vehicle in Argentina is a fantastic way to explore the country, it is not for everybody. There some are barriers that might make you uncomfortable. The street signs are written in Spanish may confuse you. Many streets in several areas are quite rough, especially in the rainy season. Some passes are long and winding, and there is a somewhat lax approach to road rules that local drivers follow which could be a bit daunting.

Train

The railroad network in Argentina spans a total of 47,000 kilometers and ranks 8th in the world. However, due to the expansion of roads in the country, there was a sharp decline of its construction.

Buses

Argentina has an extensive bus network. There are several comfort options for long-distance travel such as “cama” seats that recline to a bed position. Food is often served on board as well as wifi and booze. Fares vary, for example, from Buenos Aires to Mendoza it’s under $40 while a trip from Bariloche to El Calafate will net you over $100.

Guided Tours vs. Doing it Yourself


I used to be a proponent of doing it all yourself, but, the more I travel, the more I realize the value of doing tours. True, you do have the freedom to explore at your own pace without tours. You would in some occasions save money without having to pay for a tour but you get as much bang for your buck in the long run.

Moreover, what you gain in the liberty to travel at your own pace, you lose from the penetration a tour guide can provide you on local culture and history. If you are really interested in learning more about Argentina, a guided tour might be your best option.

There are a lot of day tours operating out of Buenos Aires and other cities. Guided tours and trips are a great alternative if you don’t have a lot of time in the location or if you wish to sit back and take in the scenery whilst learning from an expert local guide.

Recommended Tours

From El Calafate:

From Buenos Aires:

From Salta:

Other Tours:

 

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Port Townsend | Discovering Washington’s Beautiful Victorian Seaport https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/port-townsend-washington/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/port-townsend-washington/#comments Tue, 19 Mar 2019 15:33:51 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=23134 Port Townsend is a seaport town punctuated with beautiful Victorian Era mansions that sit in the Northeastern tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula’s amazing coastline. I often pass by the town on my way to Olympic National Park with only a gleaming thought to explore it but never got around to (until now). On what was to be an overcast rainy day,  my wife and I (accompanied by our pup Lucky), decided it was a good day to check it out. We’re currently headquartered in Bellevue, Washington and the drive to the remote town is about 2 hours.  You can reach it either way by taking the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry or driving south through Tacoma and then taking Highway 16 and 3 north. No matter which route you choose to take, the route is similar in the time spent getting there. However, you may prefer the little scenic ferry ride through the…Continue Reading

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Port Townsend is a seaport town punctuated with beautiful Victorian Era mansions that sit in the Northeastern tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula’s amazing coastline. I often pass by the town on my way to Olympic National Park with only a gleaming thought to explore it but never got around to (until now). On what was to be an overcast rainy day,  my wife and I (accompanied by our pup Lucky), decided it was a good day to check it out.

Port Townsend's historic district is a bustling arts community

Port Townsend’s historic district is a bustling arts community

We’re currently headquartered in Bellevue, Washington and the drive to the remote town is about 2 hours.  You can reach it either way by taking the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry or driving south through Tacoma and then taking Highway 16 and 3 north.

No matter which route you choose to take, the route is similar in the time spent getting there. However, you may prefer the little scenic ferry ride through the Puget Sound; which I recommend if you haven’t done so already.

Victorian Seaport and Arts Community

Right before the entrance on the outskirts of town, we were greeted by a sign that says Port Townsend is a Victorian Seaport and Arts Community. Following the route on East Sims Way road, eventually turned to Water Street as it meandered through the historic downtown.

Directly on the left stands a cliff with old Victorian Era architecture built on top. We can see the historic Bell Tower as we passed through blocks of colorful mom and pops cafes; eventually making left on Jefferson Street towards our eventual parking spot near the Bell Tower.

historic bell tower port townsend

The historic Bell Tower of Port Townsend

The Bell Tower offers some decent vistas of the town. We were there in winter and the leaves that would have obstructed the views were not present.

We then took the Haller Fountain Stairs nearby towards the city below. Here will be your first impressions of the impressive artistic feel to the town.

At first glimpse, one can definitely see why this small Seaport town of 10,000 people can claim to be an Arts Community. There are over 300 Victorian-style homes with window shops offering a variety of different colorful crafts with vintage cafes and restaurants on every corner.

From what we can see, Port Townsend is a dog-friendly town. There were visitors strolling with their dogs on the main street, port side, and some underground in the under town shops.

A Short History of Port Townsend

The downtown area is not huge by any measure. Back in the mid-1800s, the town was called the City of Dreams because planners speculated that Port Townsend would become the biggest harbor of the United States’ west coast. Many of the ornate Victorian buildings were built with the hopes that town would become a large international booming shipping port and a big city.

The planners developed the town as big as they can until the railroad came around and all rush came to Seattle instead but not without leaving behind awesome Victorian and Romanesque Revival buildings and architecture.

Jefferson County Courthouse in Port Townsend

The Jefferson County Courthouse in Port Townsend was built in 1892 in Romanesque Revival style.

The population started to decline in the late 1800s as the Northern Pacific Railroad failed to build connecting rails from nearby Tacoma. Today, Port Townsend stands as the entry point to the Puget Sound, earning it the current moniker as the “Key City.”

My wife, who’s from Saint Petersburg (Russia), mentioned there’s a “European feel” to the town. I’ve spent the larger part of my travel experience through Europe and can attest to this observation. The red-bricked Victorian buildings, colorful cafes, and boutique shops contribute to this feel.

Climate and Weather

Just about everyone knows that Seattle is one of the wettest city in the nation and although, Port Townsend is just literal across the pond, it receives only half as much rainfall. This is due to its unique geography; it lies in the rainshadow of the Olympic. This means warm dry summers and cool damp winters. If you’re a bit muddled with the weather in Seattle, do the drive or hop on a ferry across to the other side of the pond!

Things to do in Port Townsend

The town is surrounded by water so there are many places to launch your boat or yacht (if you have one). For the rest of us who are grounded, there are many state parks around or nearby the city, which includes the famed Fort Worden – where the 80s film “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed. There’s the old Fort Towsend State Park and if you venture further away, the majestic Olympic National Park.

Port Townsend: Hastings Building

The Hastings Building is one of the Victorian Era buildings you will see in the historic downtown.

Below is a short and but exhaustive list of things to see and do in Port Townsend:

Port Townsend Festivals

Owing to its moniker as an Arts Community, Port Townsend sees its fair share of festivals. There are several music festivals in the summer featuring jazz, blues, and classical music. There’s an international film festival in September and the Wooden Boats festival, which attracts visitors with over 300 wooden ships.

The Starrett Mansion

Port Towsend Starrett Mansion

Port Towsend Starrett Mansion

This beautiful Victorian house was built in 1889 which The National Historic Register recognizes as one of  3 pivotal historic landmark houses in Port Townsend. You can actually book a room in the house via Airbnb (Sign up and get up to $55 in credit!) – It has a queen bed with a private bathroom and a small private porch.

Fort Townsend State Park

This park is located 2 miles south of Port Townsend. It provides access to the shoreline of Port Townsend Bay. The views are a bit industrial on the beach. However, if you take the nature trail, you will be under cover of redwood canopy.

Chetzmoka Park

It’s a nice little park that offers sightings of native bird wildlife and well-maintained garden and landscape. A local favorite and a great place to have a picnic.

Jefferson Museum of Art & History

Historical museums with exhibits and offers walking tours in the summer. If you’re looking for information and Port Townsend’s history, the docent here is more than happy to give you a story or two.

Fort Worden State Park

Point Wilson Lighthouse is located in Fort Worden

Point Wilson Lighthouse is located in Fort Worden

This is the biggest State Park in town and was once an army base. It was used as a coastal defense system and you can still see machine guns and turrets from a bygone era.

There’s a nice lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula called Point Wilson that’s also worth visiting. It was once an Army fort so you can still see military buildings and barracks all around.

Northwest Maritime Center

A nice place if you’re interested in learning about boats. There are craftsmen working on restoring old wooden boats and the ambiance has a maritime feel to it.

Historic Fire Bell Tower

This bell tower sits above a cliff overlooking downtown. It’s very hard to miss. Built in the 1890s for volunteer firefighters to combat a fire.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

It’s an old historic lighthouse which guards the entrance to Admiralty Inlet – the waterway connecting Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Port Townsend’s Historic District

Port Townsend Historic District Shops

Port Townsend Historic District Shops

The historic district is no doubt the main draw in town. There are quaint shops, cafes, restaurants, and fine exemplary display of Victorian Era architecture. You can get lost wandering the main street in your thoughts; well, you can’t really physically get lost since it’s a very small town.

You can spend an entire day just window shopping, checking out the museum or learning about in sailing in the Maritime Center.

SEE ALL ACCOMMODATIONS

Dining Options


Doc’s Marina Grill

Excellent location right at the marina, Doc’s offers something for everyone. You can have burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips, salads, pasta, steaks, seafood, and even a few vegetarian selections.

Better Living Through Coffee

Better Living Through Coffee Port Townsend

Better Living Through Coffee Port Townsend

A cozy cafe with an awesome waterfront view. Their food is made onsite using organic local produce, local grass-fed beef, cage-free chickens & organic eggs, and wild caught Salmon.

Finistère

A fine restaurant offering fresh oysters and wine pairings. Most ingredients are locally sourced like dandelion greens and goat cheese.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO PORT TOWNSEND?

SEE MORE WASHINGTON DESTINATIONS

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How to Catch Mistake Fares & Save $190 (on Average) on Tickets https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/catch-mistake-fares/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/catch-mistake-fares/#respond Fri, 08 Mar 2019 01:04:05 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=23159 Do you want to know the secret to getting cheap flights and traveling around the world cheaply? Do you sometimes wonder how travel bloggers and Instagram influencers seem to always be jetting around the world without a source of income? A lot of them do it by finding mistake fares. Believe it or not, most of us travel bloggers do pay for our own airfare and most of us aren’t jet-setting around the world for free. Most of us use tools and apps very smartly to our advantage to land us the best airfare deals. Trust me, I’m using the same techniques and tools they’re using and I’ve flown my way around the world to over 53 countries. What the secret sauce? Mighty Travels Premium (MTP) Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s another affiliate or paid sponsored post for some common travel website that Skyscanner or Google ITA Matrix…Continue Reading

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Do you want to know the secret to getting cheap flights and traveling around the world cheaply? Do you sometimes wonder how travel bloggers and Instagram influencers seem to always be jetting around the world without a source of income? A lot of them do it by finding mistake fares.

Believe it or not, most of us travel bloggers do pay for our own airfare and most of us aren’t jet-setting around the world for free. Most of us use tools and apps very smartly to our advantage to land us the best airfare deals.

Trust me, I’m using the same techniques and tools they’re using and I’ve flown my way around the world to over 53 countries.

What the secret sauce?

Mighty Travels Premium (MTP)

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s another affiliate or paid sponsored post for some common travel website that Skyscanner or Google ITA Matrix already does for free.

But MTP is anything but and can land you deals like $100 ticket from SFO to Singapore!

So what makes Mighty Travels Premium a cut from the rest?

Mighty Travels Premium is a website that collects and analyzes airfare data from anywhere to everywhere and helps you figure out the best airfare deals anywhere worldwide.

How to Catch Mistake Fares & Save $190 on Average on Airline Tickets

Destinations like this is just a click away.

The service is driven by data and it crunches the information really good to provide you with the best deals possible. There is no “Buy Now” buttons urging you to purchase as soon as possible like other airfare deal websites.

Mighty Travels Premium takes no commission from any airline or booking agencies, it makes it only on the subscription service so there’s no incentive to pressure you to buy some fares that’s not always the best bang for the buck.

Never miss a good deal – Start your Free 30 Day Free Trial.

How does the service work?

When you sign up for MTP you will get access to the informative Dashboard. You can set your home airport at the get go but you can set a wider cluster of departure airports if you wanted to. For example, say you live in Los Angels but also interested in finding deals from San Francisco or San Diego.

Might Travels Premium: How to Catch Mistake Fares & Save $190 on Average on Airline Tickets

If you want, you can even target a wider zone of departure since the MTP has split the world in 11 different zones.

There is an extensive notification options that allows you to select what cabin classes you want like Economy, Premium Economy, Business, and First Class.

The dashboard’s search interface is intuitive and allows you to search through all awesome deals and the fares it found. The information crammed into the dashboard is pretty extensive. In just a few seconds it was able to find all ‘deals’ from the ‘US to Europe’ and also showed me prices (San Francisco was the cheapest) but all secondary airports showed up in the results too.

The dashboard also contain information about bags fees, carry-ons, mileage points that have been flown and earned, and even how much miles are available for redemption (if you choose not to buy a airline ticket).

Another nifty feature is the email or text alert. Every few days or so, I get an alert, only once, that highlights a deal that the service has found. I found this feature very useful and I’ve found excellent deals that I was able to book right away.

Mistake Fares

What are mistake fares? And what to do with them?

Occasionally MTP will send you deals that come with a remark ‘might get cancelled‘ or as a ‘Curated Alert‘. Sometimes you will find also find these deals in the Dashboard. However, mistake fares will only be around for a few days in the dashboard and won’t be bookable any longer until they disappear.

Why does it happen?

Airline companies typically have a price already in mind that they want to sell tickets for. It’s usually driven by a CPM model which is the same way MTP use to price deals. The problem is, some airline companies use outdated technology and fares can sometimes pop up at 70-99% below the targeted price level the airline company had in mind.

More often, these mistake fares are available just for a few minutes and only through some selected OTAs/ Booking engines in some specific country. MTP will send you an exact booking link that allows you to book mistake fares at the time of the curated alert.

Might Travel Premium: How to Catch Mistake Fares & Save $190 on Average on Airline Tickets

Flight first class through mistake fares.

Although, airlines are not obligated to honor the fare, they typically decide within two weeks if they plan to honor it. As a general rule of thumb, the higher a price and shorter the duration of when the mistake fare can be booked; the more likely the airline company will honor it.

There are no hard and fast to land mistake fares and you just have to be patient. It can take a few weeks or more. Allow at least two weeks to make plans such as hotel bookings. Some airlines may reimburse you for these expenses but often takes a lot of effort on your side.

Should you book mistake fares?

Yes. If you are flexible and have time to nurture a booking. Mistake fares can land you a first class cabin with economy prices. MTP can help you find and land these mistake fares.

Other Things You Need to Know about Mighty Travels Premium

MTP supports 196 currencies worldwide but just the English language so far.

The service charges $7.99 a month or $4.81 per month if you get a year’s subscription. The service easily pays for itself if you purchase just one ticket the entire year. The last deal it was able to find for me was easily $450 less than what I would have paid for not using the service.

If you catch one mistake fare and booked it, the service would have paid for itself 10 times over. This is why I highly recommend Mighty Travels Premium

Never miss a good deal again – Start your Free 30 Day Free Trial.

Things I liked:

– you get an email everyday for the first few days explaining how the service works

– once set the notification are hands free and works like a charm

– never short on deals – some of the routes are dirt cheap and I have to restrain myself from buying

– the nifty option to set a destination filter (Paris here I come!).

– option to filter out low quality airlines with a Skytrax ranking

– the deals have pricing information on average prices

Things I didn’t like:

– information can be overwhelming – seems like it was made for business than consumer

– some of the deals did not price out as I expected (MTP only provides help in booking deals but sometimes it takes a while to find the correct or working booking link).

Never miss a good deal again – Start your Free 30 Day Free Trial.

HAVE YOU BOOKED A MISTAKE FARE?

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How to Budget & Plan An RV Road Trip (w/ RV Trip Planner) https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/rv-trip-planner-budgeting/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/rv-trip-planner-budgeting/#respond Wed, 06 Mar 2019 23:42:37 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=23178 What’s better than traveling the United States from the comfort of an RV? Absolutely nothing. When you’re traveling in an RV, you control where you want to go and when you want to do it (literally – you’re in control of the RV)! Sound like fun? I thought you might think so – which is why I put together this guide on how to budget and plan for an RV road trip before you head out. We’re going to go over different fees to expect, how to properly plan your RV road trip, and some tips to make the most out of your adventure. Let’s dive in! Budgeting the Road Trip: RVing Costs Let’s say you’ve never gone RVing before. You’re unsure what to expect from the trip – but the money aspect is really concerning you. How much should you save? How much should you bring? Are there any…Continue Reading

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What’s better than traveling the United States from the comfort of an RV?

Absolutely nothing.

When you’re traveling in an RV, you control where you want to go and when you want to do it (literally – you’re in control of the RV)!

Sound like fun? I thought you might think so – which is why I put together this guide on how to budget and plan for an RV road trip before you head out.

We’re going to go over different fees to expect, how to properly plan your RV road trip, and some tips to make the most out of your adventure.

Let’s dive in!

Budgeting the Road Trip: RVing Costs

Let’s say you’ve never gone RVing before.

You’re unsure what to expect from the trip – but the money aspect is really concerning you.

How much should you save? How much should you bring? Are there any surprise fees that you’ll face?

We’re glad you’re asking yourselves these questions (we certainly did when we first started RVing).

If you purchased an RV for yourself, you know how much you owe per month for payments (unless you were able to pay it off).

If you’re looking to rent an RV, you can save yourself a lot of money! We have a guide on how to do it if you need more info.

Renting an RV can cost between $50-$200 per night depending on what size and type of RV you rent.

Now, let’s go over a few things that you’ll need to budget for (and some things you may not be thinking of).

Right off the bat, there are:

  • Campground fees
  • Gas costs
  • Food

These are the basic fees that you’ve probably thought of already.

What you may not have thought about, though, is whether you want to stay in a campground or boondock!

Boondocking (or staying “off-grid”) can save you money when it comes to campground fees, but you’ll need to have a few solar panels, a backup generator, a few extra RV batteries, and more (so… are you really saving money?).

Boondocking is perfect for those who are experienced campers that want to be secluded in nature.

I don’t recommend boondocking if you’ve never gone RVing before.

It can be dangerous and there is a multitude of things that can go wrong – that said, it can be a blast and you can see some amazing sights. Just be careful and do your research before you choose this route!

Other than those three costs, there are some other important fees that most people don’t take into consideration (unless they’ve lived or traveled in an RV before). Those fees are:

  • Indoor/outdoor activities
  • Souvenirs
  • Tolls
  • State parks

I can almost guarantee you that you’ll end up spending a bit more while you’re traveling than you may think – and it’s not because you’re spending frivolously!

Certain gas stations cost more, tolls can cost more (or less) depending on the route, size, or weight of your rig, and you’re going to want to go to a few state parks while traveling!

While I believe you should have a budget while you’re traveling, you shouldn’t feel bad for the occasional “splurge”.

Important: I highly recommend putting together an emergency fund for those wacky “how the heck did that just happen” moments.

Flat tires, engines that don’t start, someone gets sick (or hurt), food poisoning, your pet gets anxious and vomits, the list goes on and on.

Having money for emergency use only is incredibly important regardless of whether you’re traveling or not, but when you’re in an unfamiliar area it’s even better to have. (If you’re renting an RV, most rental companies have free roadside assistance for this kind of thing.)

RV Trip Planner & Itinerary

rv trip planner

With the budget out of the way, let’s talk about how to properly plan your RV road trip.

There are two ways you can do this and both are great options.

Let’s break it down:

1. RV Trip Wizard App

The RV Trip Wizard is one of my favorite ways to plan an RV trip – for so many reasons!

You’re able to choose from more than 17,000 campgrounds, see the cost of your trip, set driving times (and distances), and so much more.

Check out this video to see how the app works in action:

After watching that, it’s a no brainer as to why you’d want the RV trip planner app, right?

The one downfall is that the price of the app is $40. Which, in all honesty, isn’t an unreasonable price to ask for something this helpful.

However, I know what it’s like to be overly cautious with money while traveling at first, and there are free ways to plan your trip.

But, if you can afford it – I definitely recommend this app.

2. Roverpass

Roverpass allows you to look through more than 20,000 RV-friendly campground listings, lets you save your favorite ones, helps you organize your trip, and more!

They offer two ways to pay:

  • 30-day membership for $30
  • 12-month membership for $50

It’s a great way to plan your trip, but in my opinion, the RV Wizard app offers more and is a bit more functional.

Do a bit of research to see which RV trip planner app will work best for you, though! After all, you’re the one who will be using the app :)

Make a Solid Itinerary

I’m not saying you have to make an itinerary and follow it to a T… but, I am saying it’s better to have a plan laid out than to go somewhere without having any clue as to what you want to do.

I’m a plan-freak. I love making lists and checking things off. But, I also like being spontaneous and (let’s be honest) lazy while traveling.

I don’t want to do something every hour of every day… but I do want to know what I’m doing each day.

A simple itinerary for me would look a bit like this:

  • Pick up RV (if I’m renting one)
  • Drive to RV campground
  • Sign in & set up my site (pull out the slide outs, bring out the RV outdoor mat, etc)
  • Do some light grocery shopping
  • Relax for the rest of the day

That’s just an example for the first day, though. I think you get the gist of an itinerary to create one for yourself!

State parks, hikes, kayaking, going to the ocean, going to a museum, or just relaxing in your RV are perfect examples of things you can put on your itinerary while on vacation. You don’t have to do everything in one day (though you might want to).

Pro Tip: Be sure to factor in the driving, setting up, and breaking down aspects of RV camping (as I did in my itinerary example). That’ll set you back a few hours if you don’t plan for it! And driving/setting up your rig can be pretty tiring, so you may not want to do much on your arrival day.

Final Tips on RVing

rv trip planner: How to Budget & Plan An RV Road Trip

We’ve reached the end of the article!

By now, you should know how to budget and plan your perfect RV road trip. Forget some of what was mentioned in the beginning? No worries, here’s a quick summary:

  • You’re going to have unexpected costs on your RV road trip (and you’re going to need an emergency fund)
  • RV trip planner apps will be your best friend
  • Itineraries are key when planning a road trip and will save you a headache in the long run

I also have a few quick tips that weren’t mentioned in the article:

  • Don’t be ashamed if you have to take a break from driving for a while
  • Pack snacks for yourself while driving (even if you don’t have far to go)
  • Download audiobooks and podcast episodes to listen to while traveling
  • Bring the RV essentials with you on your trip
  • Take lots of pictures while you’re on vacation

The most important tip I have for you is this:

Have the time of your life! It’s not every day you get to travel the states in an RV!

Are you looking forward to planning your perfect RV road trip? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’ve already gone on a road trip, tell me how your trip was! Which or what RV trip planner app do you use? What would you recommend to RV newbies going for their first time?

 


rv trip planner: wandering rv authorAuthor Bio: Kayla Widmer is a former full-time RVer and blogs about RV travels with her husband Bill at The Wandering RV. She also shares mouth-watering recipes at her food blog, The Fantasy Kitchen.

 

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Unraveling the Roots of the Catalan Culture https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/catalan-culture/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/catalan-culture/#comments Tue, 12 Feb 2019 23:51:42 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22955 Where did the Catalans come from? Tracing the roots of any culture is a tough task, especially trying to represent a cultural group as accurately as possible without writing a novel on the topic. The history of Catalonia dates back to the middle ages, but don’t worry; I won’t bore you with a history lesson. All you need to know is that since the XIII Century (some claim it’s the XI Century when the first ruler emerged) Catalonia has had its own rights and parliament, which may explain why to this day the Catalan’s have such a strong cultural identity and desire to preserve it. Connection to Catalonia Now, why in the world would a Canadian (that’s me!) have any interest in the topic of Catalan culture, other than for the fact she’s living in Barcelona and is simply curious about its origins like the rest of us? I have…Continue Reading

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Where did the Catalans come from?

Tracing the roots of any culture is a tough task, especially trying to represent a cultural group as accurately as possible without writing a novel on the topic. The history of Catalonia dates back to the middle ages, but don’t worry; I won’t bore you with a history lesson. All you need to know is that since the XIII Century (some claim it’s the XI Century when the first ruler emerged) Catalonia has had its own rights and parliament, which may explain why to this day the Catalan’s have such a strong cultural identity and desire to preserve it.

Connection to Catalonia

Now, why in the world would a Canadian (that’s me!) have any interest in the topic of Catalan culture, other than for the fact she’s living in Barcelona and is simply curious about its origins like the rest of us? I have a few motives for why I am choosing to unravel the roots of the Catalan culture (or rather, scratch the surface). The first is the most obvious, and the same reason many have. That is to gain a more in-depth knowledge to understand and appreciate the unique culture of the Catalans to the fullest.

The second reason for my Catalan cultural exploration is more personal. From the first moment I experienced the vibrancy of this region, I felt an instant connection to it. Catalonia left a strong impression on me. There was always something unique about the way people gathered and celebrated local events. No matter how many times I watch a Correfoc (Public Pyrotechnic Display) or observe the Castellers (Human Towers), I am continually amazed at how the Catalans congregate in masses towards a common goal.

correfoc catalunya catalan culture

To an outsider, their traditions may seem like nothing more than some crazy Catalans gathering together. However, by tracing the roots of the Catalan culture, you begin to understand just how deep their cultural ties run and how these somewhat strange traditions are grounded with historical significance. Along with traditional ties that help understand their cultural identity, the language, arts, and cuisine of Catalonia also play a significant role.

Correfoc Fire Running Evening From Barcelona

Catalan Culture in Catalonia

I’ve never lived in a place with such a deeply rooted cultural history. Daily, individuals are standing up in support of the preservation of their culture even though the forces fighting against its survival are strong. I’ve often asked myself, from where this strong sense of identity exactly originated.

‘Was there one extremely crucial point in the development of the Catalan culture or were there a series of events which have made up the Catalan culture as we know it today’?

There are countless aspects of the topic that fascinate me, and it’s why I am choosing to shed light on this. The conflicting views of identity amongst the Catalan people (mostly regarding language and tradition) are in many people’s opinion, the main root of the ongoing dispute for independence. Economics, Taxes, Pride, and Dignity all play a role. However, I’ve chosen to touch on the broader aspects. These are the ones at the core of their being, and which connect the Catalan people to a common cause; that is their cultural identity.

Catalan People

The universal identity of the Catalan people can be characterized by innovation, creativity, hard-working nature, and quirky humor. Their unofficial national symbol says it all. Some places have eagles, Canada has the beaver and maple leaf. In Catalonia, well, they have a Burro (donkey). The burro stands to represent two main aspects of the Catalan identity. First, the symbol describes their dedicated nature and hard work ethic, and second, their cheeky poke at the Spanish, who use the bull as one of their symbols. It’s worth noting, the Catalan’s are quite light-hearted and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Silly symbols and shenanigans aside, Catalonia has been through a lot, well which part of the world hasn’t really. There is not one single event that shaped the cultural identity of Catalonia, instead, there are a series of events that came to define the culture we know today. Language and traditions have held strong. Even the typical food eaten in Catalonia tells a story about their rich past.

Historical tidbit: The Moors hadn’t fully made it to the North of Spain, and because of this, many of the advanced irrigation methods and technologies also never arrived in Catalonia. Many people say this is possibly why the Catalan’s are so resourceful and have a strong work ethic.

Catalan Language & Cultural Roots

It’s debatable whether Catalonia has ever been its own nation, but one fact is that the language has always existed alongside its people. We can trace the roots of the language to the colonization of Tarragona by the Romans. There are two converging theories on the language. One is that it began from a combination of a vulgar form of Latin spoken at the time, plus some Arabic. The second is that Catalan evolved from Provença and a mix of French that was spoken at the time. These two languages created Occitan which later supposedly developed into Catalan. Over 9 million people speak six main dialects (Valencian, Rousellanese, Northern Catalan, Central Catalan, Balearic, and Alguerse) of Catalan today.

To a foreigner, Catalan sounds like a mix of French, Spanish, and Italian. I often joke with Catalan friends that if you chop off the last letter of a Spanish word, you have Catalan. Well, let me tell you, I’ve learned that this isn’t the case. Catalan is its own language, not a dialect of Spanish at all.

Autonomy

I mentioned that Catalonia has come up against a lot over the years; the freedom of the language is no exception. During the war of Spanish succession (1701-1714), Catalonia lost its autonomy, and its constitution dissolved. This event resulted in a significant decline in the Catalan culture.

Historical Tidbit: During the Industrial Revolution, more money had been generated, a new class emerged, and the culture had a massive overhaul. Cultural institutions popped up, and events in the Catalan language took place everywhere. One such example is the Jocs Florals (The Floral games), where Catalan poets performed their works. The Floral games are still celebrated today although, payment to see the games are no longer made in flowers.

The Catalan language appeared to be strong and thriving once again, that was until the Franco dictatorship came into power in 1939.

How was language affected?

Well, as you’d expect, it was banned. You wouldn’t dare be caught speaking Catalan. Let’s just say; you’d get more than a slap on the wrist, your life could very well be at risk. Laws were so extreme that during the reign of Franco, newborns couldn’t even be given Catalan names. Luckily, following the end of Franco’s time in power, Catalonia returned to observe a higher level of freedom than before. Things began to flourish once again, the arts included.

Friendly Factoid: Around the XII Century, the first evidence of Catalan language was discovered in the “Homilies d’Organyà,” one of Catalonia’s historical texts.

Funny Phrases: There’s an old saying that goes something like “all fish in the Mediterranean speaks Catalan.” Some versions refer to Aragonese instead of Catalan. The common saying refers to when Aragon was a respectable empire and massive traders among the Mediterranean civilizations.  As one of my colleagues says, “Trading and making money is kind of a thing in our culture.” Even nowadays, Catalonia is the region in Spain with the most exports and imports.

Arts

Now, I won’t go too much into this, but I couldn’t mention Catalan culture without giving recognition to a great master of Catalan Modernism art, Antoni Gaudí. If you’re reading this, you most likely know who I’m speaking about right now. Short in height, bushy beard, unassuming and modest. Alright, well that’s maybe not the best way to describe him, but it paints an initial picture for you at least. Gaudí. was a true master of his craft, and not only that, he stood firmly for the preservation of the Catalan culture. He was also a solid protector of Catalan modernism.

casa battlo gaudi

If you have the chance to visit Barcelona, you must book a tour of Gaudí’s main masterpiece. Due to the popularity of the architectural wonder, it’s best to book skip-the-line Sagrada Familia tickets well in advance. Gaudí’s works aside, you can also visit the George Orwell square (commonly referred to as trippy square). After the Civil War, the famous writer came out with a work called  “Homage to Catalonia.” If you’re a fan of his writing, this is a must read!

Sagrada Familia Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

Catalan Traditions

There are more wacky traditions in Catalonia than I can keep track of, and I love them all! If you’ve never been to the region, get your butt here. Also, remember, that no matter what time of the year you come, there’s always something exciting happening. Without some knowledge of the most deeply rooted traditions, it’s difficult to understand the roots of the Catalan Culture fully. Let me share with you a snippet on the origins of the most significant of all the Catalan traditions.

Correfoc

correfoc celebrationFire, pitchforks, and dancing devils; this pretty much sums up what Correfoc is. The direct translation is “fire-run,”. Correfoc is one of the wackiest traditions I’ve ever experienced. The pyrotechnic spectacular is said to have originated out of the Ball de Diables (Devil Dances). The medieval theatrical performances were a re-creation of a duel between Evil and Good. Street theatre performances like this typically appeared during festival days that fell in the religious calendar. After the death of General Franco, much of the traditional folklore and heritage underwent another revival and consolidation.

Castellers

It’s the perfect display of trust, strength, oneness and the most unusual form of cultural manifestation across Europe. Well, at least that’s how I see it. If you’re not familiar with Castellers, it’s basically a massive human tower. Although impressive, comprising of up to 10 levels, on average 100-200 people, and up to 10 meters tall, what’s even more unique is what it represents.

The first documentation of the tradition of Castellers dates back to around 1801. Popular at nationalist celebrations, Castellers evolved from Ball de Valencians, a folk dance that typically ended once a human figure was raised. As years past, the final figure grew in importance. The taller you could make your figure, the more you would outdo the other groups. The final figures eventually became their own performance, and hence why we have Castellers today. Other theories on its origins are in circulation, but this one appears to hold the most weight.

What’s so fascinating about Castellers? If you’re asking this question, I’m guessing you haven’t yet witnessed the spectacular yourself. Let me say, the first time you watch them, you may even feel yourself sweating with a bit of anxiety. Even as a spectator, it’s a bit nerve-wracking, especially when the final tier is built. The tower is completed by a small child who climbs all the tiers until they arrive at the top. The tradition, which has received UNESCO Status in 2010, is a must see!

La Sardana

The most famous typical dance of Catalonia, La Sardana, links in with Catalan nationalism. I won’t get into that here, but know, dances like La Sardana, or music like the Catalan rumba, have strong roots in the Catalan culture.

Are you traveling to Spain in the Fall/Winter Season?

Check out the following festival days for an insight into the roots of the local culture.

  • September 11th: Every year, Catalonia celebrates, La Diada (National Day of Catalonia). On this day in 1714, the Catalan troops were defeated by the forces of King Philip V. Ever since, on September 11th, Catalan’s join together in support of their rights and freedom.
  • September 24th:  The week-long festival of La Merce, which celebrates the Patron Saint Lady of Merci) floods Barcelona with cultural vibrancy. You can watch, the Ball of the giants (Les Gegantes), Fire parades (Correfoc), and Castellers, all over the city.

Catalan Food

There’s no shortage of delicious Catalan specialties. Some examples include Escudella (typical soup), Botifarra (traditional sausage), and Calçots (bbq spring onions). Catalonia has no shortage of tasty treats. One of my favorites is called “pa amb tomàquet.” The literal translation is bread with tomato. The popular item is a staple here in Catalonia. You can eat it for breakfast, as a tapa or for merienda (mid-evening snack) with or without a slice of jamón, and/or cheese.

catalan traditional food

The Catalans themselves often joke that “pa amb tomàquet” came about as a way to save money by using the leftover bread from the day before. Considering Catalans are usually tight with their money (not my words, that’s coming straight from the lips of many locals), this would make sense. As merchants, the Catalan people were always managing money, skimping and saving wherever they could. Their clever ways of money management have carried through into today.

Barcelona: 4-Hour Foodies Market Tour

Preserving the Catalan Culture

Throughout history, there were many influential individuals and self-organized groups fighting against the preservation of the Catalan culture. Although there are still many opposing factors none are stronger than the opposition against the independence movement.

Politics aside, I’m not here to close off with a political debate. Frankly, not having lived here my whole life, my vision of the big picture is not as broad as someone who was born here. My aim in unraveling the roots of the Catalan Culture was to expand your knowledge of the importance and significance of it so that you could gain a deeper appreciation for the culture of this incredible region. Catalonia has been my adopted home for the past few years, and I adore it the same way I love my place of birth.

Maybe you haven’t ever visited Catalonia, are traveling through, an expat living here or you’re originally from Catalonia. Whatever your situation is, I’m sure we all can agree on one thing. There are many layers to the Catalan culture. It is the diversity and vibrancy of the culture of Catalonia that initially captivated me, and it is what continues to hold my attention. I do not doubt the strong sense of culture here, and after experiencing it, I now understand more about the universal driving forces behind why there is such a strong desire to preserve it.

HAVE YOU LEARNED ANYTHING NEW WITH CATALAN CULTURE?


Written By: Tanya Lesiuk

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Top 10 Best Backpacking Tents Of 2019 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-backpacking-tents/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-backpacking-tents/#comments Sun, 10 Feb 2019 17:24:02 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22893 What’s the best backpacking tent? Backpacking tents come in different style and technologies. Having the right one is a necessity but not all are created equal nor a perfect one size fit all. As many experienced adventurers know, having the right equipment is essential to any outdoor activities like backcountry backpacking or multiple-day hikes. Finding the right backpacking tent is never an easy job. There are so many options out there that you can get lost in the sea of brands and products. If you often find yourself in this kind of situations, then today is your lucky day. That’s because we’ve done all the possible research for you and have compared dozens of products from all of the top brands. We at Always Wanderlust have combined decades of backcountry and long-term backpacking experience. We’ve braved the elements. We’ve climbed mountains and we’re here to take the guesswork out of…Continue Reading

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What’s the best backpacking tent?

Backpacking tents come in different style and technologies. Having the right one is a necessity but not all are created equal nor a perfect one size fit all. As many experienced adventurers know, having the right equipment is essential to any outdoor activities like backcountry backpacking or multiple-day hikes.

Finding the right backpacking tent is never an easy job. There are so many options out there that you can get lost in the sea of brands and products. If you often find yourself in this kind of situations, then today is your lucky day. That’s because we’ve done all the possible research for you and have compared dozens of products from all of the top brands.

We at Always Wanderlust have combined decades of backcountry and long-term backpacking experience. We’ve braved the elements. We’ve climbed mountains and we’re here to take the guesswork out of choosing the best tent for you.

We’ve handpicked a few tents worth mentioning to make this top 10 list. You won’t have to worry about picking or searching for the right tent because we’ve already done the research for you.

Here are our picks for the Top 10 Tents for Backpacking or any Adventures for that matter.


Tarptent ProTrail | Best thru-hiking tent
ZPacks Duplex | Best Ultralight Tent
HyperLite Mountain Gear Echo II | Best Solo Ultralight
Marmot Tungsten | Best Budget Ultralight
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo | Best For Taller Individuals
NEMO Hornet 2 | Best All Rounder
Kelty Salida 2 | Best 2 Person Budget Tent
MSR Hubba Hubba NX | Best 3-4 Person Tent
Gossamer Gear The Two | Best Non-Freestanding
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 | Best 2 Person Ultralight
How to Choose a Backpacking Tent | Best For You


tarptent pro trail

Tarptent ProTrail (2 Person Backpacking Tent)

Tarptent is known for and very good at making durable and light backpacking tents. They use specialized materials like Silnylon (a blend of nylon and silicone) to make their tents. You can tell by the name of the company that they have made use of the humble tarp in order to come up with a minimal and functional tent with lots of space and little clutter.

Specifications

  • It has a minimum trail weight of 6lbs.
  • Size dimensions are 82 x 42 x 45 inches (L x W x H).
  • The internal height of the ceiling is 45 inches.
  • It is available in two sizes: 1-Person & 2-Person.

Main Features

This is a 3-season tent, meaning it can be used in hot, humid or cold weather. It has one door/vestibule and the walls are single-sheets. The best features of this tent are that its ultralight, very spacious and extremely durable.

The tent uses 30d Silnylon, which is a tough and durable silicone despite being extremely light. The high ceiling gives you plenty of room in the tent to do much more than just lie down in.

The internal mesh screen has a bit of tension to it which prevents moisture from finding its way in and ruining your gear. Although this tent is not freestanding and doesn’t come with poles, there aren’t many stakes needed to set it up. This leads to easier and hassle-free pitching.

SEE IT AT TARPTENT


ZPacks Duplex (1 to 4 Person Backpacking Tent)

ZPacks have done it again with one of their highly rated products, the ZPacks Duplex. This tent offers all superior qualities while being ultra-light and extremely functional. The tent is made from heavy-duty construction materials that make it stand up to just about anything. Whether you’re braving strong winds or heavy rains, this tent can handle it all. That’s because the Duplex is made of high-quality DCF fabric that is light, wear-resistant and waterproof. It also doesn’t sag down like the other tents in this range.

Specifications:

  • Its minimum trail weight is 1.3lbs (without poles).
  • It has size dimensions of 90 x 45 x 48 inches.
  • It comes in 4 sizes: 1P, 1P Tall, 2P and 3P.

Main Features

This too is a 3-season tent, and similar to the ProTrail has single-sheet walls. It has 2 doors/vestibules. The Duplex is the best choice for long-distance thru-hiking. It’s not all good though. There are some minor downsides to the Duplex. Because the fabric is ultra-light, it brings in some side effects, like being a little more expensive than your average tent. It also means you’re only going to get a single-wall tent, which isn’t great for handling condensation and moisture buildup.

The Duplex isn’t a freestanding tent, which means you’ll have to spend some extra time and effort setting it up. But despite these setbacks, this is still a perfectly viable choice for anyone looking to go backpacking on a weight limit.

SEE IT AT ZPACKS


hyperlite echo (best backpacking tents)

HyperLite Mountain Gear Echo II

HyperLite is best known for its range of ultralight backpacking tents and camping equipment. They make hundreds of different tents along with their countless product lines. But one of their most renowned and well-known product ranges is the shelter series. The Echo II provides immensely great value with great functionality. While most backpacking tents of this size will be tapered off to maintain balance, this isn’t the case with the Echo II. The tent is roomy enough for you to be able to feel most comfortable.

Specifications

  • It has a minimum trail weight of 1.8 pounds.
  • Size dimensions are 84 x 52/44 x 41 inches.
  • It comes in two sizes: 1P & 2P.

Main Features

This tent is a 3-season tent and has doubled walls and 2 doors. It is a freestanding tent so you won’t have to spend extra time keeping it upright. The great thing about the double-wall design of this tent is the amount of flexibility. The outer tarp and the inner insert can be used independently. You can remove the insert if you’re in hotter and humid climates. But if you’re camping out in the cold, the insert can come in handy to insulate you and keep out the cold.

It’s very stylish and sleek, which makes it stand out. It has great space-compartmentalization. The only thing that manages to stand out as a setback is the fact that the price is a little steep for what it offers.

SEE IT AT BACKCOUNTRY.COM


marmot tungsten

Marmot Tungsten (2 to 3 Person Ultralight Backpacking Tent)

The Marmot Tungsten 2P UL provides the best value for money in our book. It manages to balance great features at a decent price point. It’s made out of durable polyester rainfly. This material is very light and doesn’t sag. Setting up this tent is ridiculously easy and you can easily open and close the zipper doors without any hassle. It has a decent sized floor space which makes it easy for you to be able to fit inside.

Specifications

  • Its minimum trail weight is 3.25 pounds.
  • Size Dimensions: 88 x 54/46 x 42 inches (wider at the head, narrower at foot).
  • It comes in two sizes: 2P and 3P.

Main Features

If you’re on a budget and require most features and lots of interior space, then this is the best choice. It’s a 3-season tent with double walls, 2 doors and freestanding.

While there are some problems with the tent, like an uneven frame, it’s still a viable option. For backpackers on a budget, this provides the best middle ground for functionality and durability without burning a hole in the pocket.

SEE IT AT BACKCOUNTRY.COM


sixmoon lunar solo

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo (1 Person Backpacking Tent)

If you’re in the market for something new and unique, the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is the answer for you. At just $200, it’s cheap enough for just about anyone to get an ultra-light style for an affordable price. This tent has a unique shape when you have it pitched up. The only setback for having this kind of unique design is the fact that you can only fit one person into it. But even then, there’s plenty of space if you want to drag in a ton of gear. The floor space is pentagonal and the vestibule is large enough to hold your backpacks and gear.

Specifications

  • Minimum trail weight: 2lb 26oz
  • Size Dimensions: 88 x 54/46 x 42 inches (asymmetrical triangle-shaped top, the pentagonal shape at the base).
  • It is a 1-person tent. No more sizes are available.

Main Features

It is a 3-season tent with double walls, 1 door/vestibule. Although it is a non-freestanding tent, it only requires 1 pole to stand it upright.

The side door is easy to access and you can move in and out of the tent easily. It also opens up really wide so you can vent the air in hotter climates. And if you happen to be caught in the rain, the bathtub-style floor, and the wide side door will make the water drain out quickly.

This one too is a great choice for people on a budget looking for lightweight backpacking tents with enough interior space for one person.

SEE IT AT GARAGE GROWN GEAR


NEMO Hornet 2 (best backpacking tents)

NEMO Hornet 2 (2 Person Backpacking Tent)

Nemo is known for making high-quality lightweight tents for all kinds of purposes. The Nemo Hornet 2P is a great tent from one of their premier product lines. It has an igloo-like shape where there are a small narrow opening and a dome shape for the actual tent area. The one problem with this is that the dome shape is slanted inwards which limits your usable space. Despite that, you can fit two people comfortably. The slanted shape works great for colder climates where you would want to have less room to keep the heat contained.

Specifications

  • It has a minimum trail weight of 2 pounds.
  • Dimensions: 85 x 51/43 x 40 inches (wider at the head, narrower at foot).
  • 4 sizes are available: 1P, 2P, Elite 1P, and Elite 2P

Main Features

It is a 3-season tent with double walls, 2 doors and is ultralight. Setting the tent up can be a bit of a pain considering its an awkward design that sits somewhere between non-freestanding and freestanding (semi-freestanding).

You have to put up two poles to pitch it up because of that. It’s not the most ideal situation if you’re trying to put it up on anything other than a smooth surface. Barring that, you have a pretty decent ultralight tent that can work great for solo situations.

SEE IT AT REI


kelty salida

Kelty Salida 2 (2 Person 3 Season Backpacking Tent)

Maybe you’re on a pretty tight budget and spending several hundreds of dollars is not the most ideal situation. At a budget-friendly cost of just $150, this tent is a shoo-in for a great beginner tent. It’s simple enough that you don’t have to worry about all the technical aspects. All you have to do is set up the tent and enjoy your trip with comfort.

Specifications

  • Minimum trail weight is 3lb 14oz.
  • Dimensions: 88 x 54/46 x 42 inches (standard parabolic shape).
  • Available sizes: 1P & 2P

Main Features

It is a 3-season, double-walled tent, has 1 door/vestibule and is freestanding.

Setting up can be a little intimidating for some people but it’s the perfect primer to learning about everything involved in backpacking. While this tent is freestanding, you still have to set up the outer tarp with pegs in the ground. Despite that, the inner part of the tent is completely freestanding so setup is fairly minimal.

If you’re just starting out on your camping and backpacking trips, this is the perfect option for you. With a great balance of cost, convenience, and ease of setup, there aren’t many better options out there.

SEE IT AT AMAZON


msr hubba nx backpacking tents

MSR Hubba Hubba NX (1 – 4 Person Backpacking Tent)

If you’re looking for something a little more rugged, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX might just be the option for you. Remarkably designed from the ground up. Everything from the material to the fabric and the construction of the tent is decently constructed.

Specifications

  • Minimum trail weight: 3lb 7oz
  • Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 39 inches
  • Available sizes: 1P, 2P, 3P & 4P

Main Features

This 3-season tent has double walls, 2 doors and is freestanding.

The tent’s symmetrical design is complemented by its flower petal style tent fabric. It makes the inside roomy and comfortable. The fabric is fully waterproof and has a thick consistency to it. This means that anything from strong winds to heavy rains, and even snow, won’t bother you.

A side effect of such a fabric that the MSR Hubba Hubba NX weighs more than the average tent. But for the superior durability and comfort, it’s a small price to pay.

SEE IT AT AMAZON


backpacking tents

Gossamer Gear The Two (1 – 2 Person Ultralight Tent)

Gossamer Gear is known for making superb designs that work well for any occasion. They make all kinds of backpacking tents for all kinds of people and all kinds of situations. The Gossamer Gear II is no exception, it’s a well-built and solid tent with an exceptional design that makes it versatile enough to be used for just about any situation.

Specifications

  • Minimum trail weight: 1 lb 8.9 oz (with six stakes)
  • Size Dimensions: 88 x 36 x 46 inches
  • Available sizes: 1P & 2P

Main Features

It is a 3-season tent with double walls and 2 doors and is non-freestanding.

The Gossamer Gear The Two stays true to its roots by incorporating a standard triangular V-shaped design. While this does mean that you might have to spend time and effort setting it up, it has its benefits too. You get a solid well-built tent ready to tackle anything thrown at it. It has great storage, great ventilation, and above all, a very reliable design.

There isn’t much that can be said for other tents that are in the same category as the Gossamer Gear II. It’s a tried, tested and true tent that doesn’t fail you.

SEE IT AT GOSSAMER GEAR


big agnes tiger wall backpacking tents

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 (2 to 3 Person Ultralight Tent)

Big Agnes is no stranger to making high-quality tents that stand the test of time. Their line of ultralight tents is some of the most popular and in-demand products out there. The Tiger Wall UL2 is one of the company’s bestselling products and it’s not really hard to see why.

Built from the coattails of the Big Agnes Copper Spur and the Fly Creek design, the Tiger Wall UL2 takes it all to another level. It combines all the good elements from both these models and elevates it further. The Big Agnes takes the stylish appearance of the Copper Spur but reducing the weight of the tent at the same time. It borrows the intricate pole structure of the Fly Creek but manages to squeeze in more interior space than you could ever get.

Specifications

  • Minimum trail weight: 2lb 3oz
  • Size Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 39 inches (wider at the head, narrower at foot)
  • Available sizes: 2P & 3P

Main Features

It is a 3-season tent with double walls, 2 doors/vestibules and is semi-freestanding (you require some work to pinch it up straight, but not much).

SEE IT AT AMAZON


How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tents

Despite what you may have heard, buying a tent can be quite challenging if you have no prior experience. Even seasoned and veteran backpackers often have to debate over the kind of tent they will need to fulfill their requirements. Getting the right specifications, you need to have a balancing act and one that needs careful consideration. With that in mind, we’ve listed below some of the aspects that you need to keep in mind when shopping for a tent. This will also help you narrow down your choices from the above-mentioned candidates.

Weight

The last thing you need on a backpacking trip is to have more weight tugging on your shoulders. While most tents are light enough to not add a significant impact, that’s not always the case. There are many tents out there that are quite heavy and do not fare well for hiking and backpacking. Less weight also means that you have more room for other things like supplies, gear, utilities, food and extra pairs of clothes. Generally, you’ll find that backpacking tents are anywhere from normal weight to lightweight and even ultralight weight. The best thing to do here is to choose according to your total carrying capacity.

Capacity

The next aspect that’s crucial is the capacity of the tent. You don’t want to end up going through your trip enjoying yourself only to be cramped in a tent with 5 other people at night. At the same time, you don’t want to bring a big heavy tent if you’re going solo. Make sure to buy a tent according to your requirements. Buying multiple tents is also an option if you’re going with a big group. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Price

Obviously, you’re not going to buy something you can’t afford. Cheap backpacking tents don’t have to be bad. This is why you have to carefully consider the price of the tent that is on offer. It’s important to remember here that price doesn’t directly correlate to quality. You can find good-quality backpacking tents for cheap and similarly find average-quality tents with a not-so-average price tag. Make sure you’re getting the best value for money when making your purchase.

Protection

What good is a tent if it can’t shield you from the outside elements? That is why it’s crucial that you find out what kind of protection your tent can provide. Whether it’s water-proofing or netting to reduce inner humidity, make sure your tent is up to the task. Some cheap beginner backpacking tents out there offer little to no protection so choose carefully.

Assembly

No one wants to stand out in the cold for hours trying to find out how to assemble the tent. It’s an important factor to consider when buying a tent. Make sure that you know what kind of tent you want, whether it’s a freestanding tent, a semi-freestanding tent or a non-freestanding tent. These ranges vary in terms of difficulty of setup. A tent that needs minimal poles and pegging points will always be easier to set up. Similarly, a freestanding tent has the absolute minimum amount of setup needed.

Durability

If you regularly go on backpacking and camping trips, you need something that’s rugged and can survive at least a couple of trips. While no tent lasts for an eternity, anything that wears out in a few trips is less than ideal. Make sure that your tent is made from durable materials. Try to read up on the manufacturer’s return and warranty policy, just in case you get a defective product.

Vestibules and Doors

Having more than one person in the tent means that they will need to enter and exit at different times. If you have more than one door and vestibule, you can be sure that they can go about their business without disturbing you and vice versa.

Getting a tent with two vestibules is also beneficial when dealing with more than two people. The last thing you want is being huddled in the tent with another person only to have their equipment hit you while you’re asleep. By getting a tent with two vestibules, you can solve this problem. This way you can each have your belongings safely put away without having them in the tent taking up valuable space.

Design

It’s easy to spot a well-designed tent as opposed to a poorly designed one. When considering different designs, make sure that you pick something that will stay functional and practical. These days, a lot of tent manufacturers go for crazy-looking designs that don’t offer a lot of practicality. Try to get past how well designed it is on the outside and try to find out what it’s like on the inside.

It’s also important to make sure that everything functions well and doesn’t break or stop working when you least expect it to. When you’re in a camping ground miles away from civilization in the middle of the night, it can really come back to haunt you.

Season Rating

Despite what some people will have you believe, not all backpacking tents can brave the four seasons. Usually, you’re going to find tents built for 3 seasons or less, which are summer, spring and fall. Light winter can still be tolerated by a few tents but if you’re planning on going camping near the Rocky Mountains, you’ll need something more specialized. If rain is a concern, make sure you have waterproofing available on your preferred tent.

Floor

Aside from the tent’s exterior, you also need to pay attention to the way the floor is designed. A lot of times you may have a wide tent with a narrow floor that really limits your space and capacity. While you’re at it, you might also want to consider getting a tent that has a footprint which can help protect your floor from tearing through pointy rocks and uneven terrain. Getting a tent with a more layered floor will also help you keep warm against the cold ground.

Walls

Another overlooked aspect of buying a tent is the walls of the tent. Traditional tents come with single walls that may be thin fabric or padded with foam. But you can also get double-walled tents that provide a bit more protection. These tents come with two layers, an outer layer often called the tarp and an inner layer made of mesh lining. Double-walled backpacking tents are especially handy in situations where you have to deal with wet and damp conditions. Any condensation that forms on the inside of the tent is kept at bay with the inner mesh layer. These tents are also great at keeping your body heated, resulting in more warmth for colder climates.

Conclusion

By now you should have all the tools you need to pick out the tent that will work perfectly for your needs. At the end of the day, you can think of it as an investment. The more time and effort you put into it, the more output you get. It’s not all about getting something that’s the most expensive or the most feature-rich. Rather, you should get something that fits your needs perfectly and makes your trip feel memorable.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BACKPACKING TENT?

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How To Pick The Best Travel Backpack – For Any Kind Of Traveler https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-travel-backpacks/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-travel-backpacks/#comments Thu, 31 Jan 2019 09:16:43 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22557 What are the best backpacks for Traveling? We’re sure that all seasoned travelers will agree with us when we say that one-bagging it is the best way to go. It just takes the traveling experience to a whole other level because you’re going into it with the mindset of having the best time possible. Yes, the point is to allow yourself to be free from unnecessary inconveniences, so you can focus on whatever is important – living in the moment. This might seem like a grand thought that’s well beyond the concept of having just one bag, but honestly, it all goes back to this. Packing light forces you to cut down on what you’re told you can’t live without. It makes you rethink what you actually need. It might surprise you to find out that you don’t need that much at all to be happy and comfortable. For most…Continue Reading

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What are the best backpacks for Traveling?

We’re sure that all seasoned travelers will agree with us when we say that one-bagging it is the best way to go. It just takes the traveling experience to a whole other level because you’re going into it with the mindset of having the best time possible.

Yes, the point is to allow yourself to be free from unnecessary inconveniences, so you can focus on whatever is important – living in the moment. This might seem like a grand thought that’s well beyond the concept of having just one bag, but honestly, it all goes back to this.

best travel backpack

The Nomatic backpack can carry most items you would fit on a traditional carry-on luggage

Packing light forces you to cut down on what you’re told you can’t live without. It makes you rethink what you actually need. It might surprise you to find out that you don’t need that much at all to be happy and comfortable.

For most people who make the switch to one-bag traveling, they find out a lot about themselves. Stripping your stuff to the bare essentials does tend to do that.

It also makes one a more carefree traveler. In the most traditional sense, you really would have all your possessions on your back, with the whole world ready for your taking.

The best part? You’ll always be that person who has everything within reach. So no more digging around in suitcases and finding stuff in there that you didn’t even really need in the first place.

Plus, for the more active traveler, this allows you to location hop with ease without having much to repack.

Now, choosing the right backpack is not easy. Having to choose from all the available brands and models on the market right now can be quite confusing.

You’d have to factor in how durable it is, how much it’s going to cost you, and if it fits your style. At the end of the day, you’re looking for a bag that is best suited to YOU, and that’s a whole other journey that you’ll have to undertake.


Jump Straight to the Best Travel Backpacks of 2019

NOMATIC TRAVEL BACKPACK – OVERALL FAVORITE
OSPREY STRATOS – BEST BACKPACK FOR HIKING (MEN)
NORTH FACE WOMEN’S TERRA 40 – BEST BACKPACK FOR HIKING (WOMEN)
HYNES EAGLE 44L CARRY ON BACKPACK – BEST FOR JETSETTERS
LOWEPRO TACTIC CAMERA BACKPACK – BEST FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
REI CO-OP RUCKSACK – BEST FOR THOSE ON A BUDGET
PATAGONIA BLACK HOLE – BEST FOR THE ULTRALIGHT PACKER
KNOMO BEAUCHAMP BUSINESS – BEST FOR FASHIONISTAS
TLS MOTHER LODE WEEKENDER – BEST FOR HEAVIER PACKERS
THE BACKPACK (AWAY) – BEST FOR MINIMALISTS
OSPREY DAYLITE – BEST FOR URBAN TRAVEL


The Best Travel Backpacks fits your style of travel

First of all, let’s get one thing clear: it’s not very likely that you’ll find a bag that will suit ALL your travels. However, it is possible to find one that fits a unique scenario. For example, the bag that you’ll want to take to your trip to the Alps isn’t going to be the one that you want to take on your work trips.

Similarly, a bag that might be perfect for a photographer isn’t going to be the same as a surfer’s.

Before you start panicking, we can tell you that we’ve done your research for you. Below, we’ve broken down the factors that you should keep an eye out for when browsing around for the right bag for you. It really depends on what kind of traveler you are or what kind of traveling you will do most. Are you going on trips only weekends? Are going to hit the backcountry for some hiking excursions? Do you want to look stylish while you’re walking the streets of Paris? Are you more practical and take only the most basic items on your trip? These are important questions that we will have answers to in this detailed guide.

All you have to do is focus on the factors that are tailored to your needs. We’ve also tested out a couple of products on our travels as well, so we can let you know what we think about these specific bags.

Why should it be a backpack anyway?

Obviously, a backpack would give you better mobility and, ideally, it would be small enough to be your carry-on, so you won’t have to check it, and you won’t have to wait around the baggage carousel upon landing. We all know that takes a lot of time.

This also means no lugging around heavy rollers in the airport and never having to worry about airlines losing your baggage ever again.

By no means, we’re not telling you what kind of bag you should bring. It really all boils down to your preference. However, we’re going to highlight travel backpacks for the following reasons:

They’re hands-free

You’d be free to walk around without having to pull something behind you constantly. You’ll also never have to worry about damaging your luggage wheels if you ever find yourself walking through a not so ideal terrain.

They’re also noiseless. Imagine going down the cobblestone streets of Paris, making a racket with your roller bag. Not very romantic.

Plus, everything is easy to access. We all know that checking in for your flight or entering another country will make you reach for your passport and itineraries a couple of times. You’ll be free to reach for whatever you need without having the added hassle of minding all your stuff.

They’re lightweight and optimized for travel

We can’t say this about all travel backpacks, but we certainly can about the best ones. Some of these backpacks are made from the lightest materials and they’ve been designed specifically for travel – meaning, compartments, compartments, compartments!

They’re space savers

If you’re going to be moving around a lot by way of public transit like trains and buses, then having a backpack would take up much less room.

Having a backpack would be much for suited for the more adventurous traveler who always likes being on the go.

It’s also smart to think about others as much as you think about your own comfort. You don’t want to inconvenience anyone else by taking up more space than you should or hitting innocent bystanders with your roller bag.

They can look good anywhere

<sup>Travel Backpacks can be stylish</sup>

Travel Backpacks like the Knomo can be stylish and look good anywhere

Gone are the days when “travel backpack” means an unsightly mountaineer bag that looks like a log and screams “I’m staying at a hostel and I love patchouli.” We’ve all been there and, hopefully, we’ve all graduated from that.

These days, travel backpacks can look chic and stylish in an urban setting while having the flexibility to bring it on a hiking trip. That also means that the bag would be suited for both conditions – meaning, it can get wet, it’s splash-proof, etc.

If you go for a roller bag, then it would not be wise to bring that along to a trek. By the same token,  you’re going to look out of place if you bring something bulky and neon to a café for a quick coffee break.

Let’s talk dimensions and specs

Ideally, you want to have a bag that’s small enough to fit under the seat in front you in the plane. We understand that this poses a challenge for some people, but if you manage to do this, then you’re much better off.

Believe us; you can fit everything you need in one bag while staying well below 50L. It’s just a matter of finding the right lightweight bag that can accommodate all your stuff.

Make sure that the initial weight of the bag is not that significant. A heavier bag means less stuff you can pack. Also, make sure that it fits the airline’s required dimensions. There is a max legal carry on the rule that airlines will make you comply with.

Exceeding those dimensions means you’ll have to get your bag checked.

What does true volume mean?

The true volume of a backpack pertains to how much usable space it contains. This is where it can get quite tricky. Travel backpacks are measured in liters, but you can tell a lot about the usability of a bag just by looking at it.

You should also pay attention to the bag’s thickness and the flexibility of the material it’s made out of. A thin, strong material would allow for more stuff to go inside it, while having a bag lined with padding would protect your belongings if you’re carrying around something fragile like a camera or a laptop.

Match these specifications for your needs.

Look out for additional flex. If you’re trying to cram more stuff into a bag and filling it to the brim, you’re not going to have much like with this if the bag that you chose has no give.

How the bag was designed and how you plan to utilize this space are the two key factors in determining the usability of a travel backpack.

As a general rule, backpacks that have more of a square or rectangular shape hold more stuff than other shapes. It’s cool and utilitarian too if you’re going for that look. It’s very in nowadays.

Take note of the profile

Choosing a slimmer travel backpack is better for your back. If a pack is close to your back, then it will feel less heavy than it is.

We’re talking about a 40L bag, so that’s a lot of weight to be carrying around. That’s why it’s important to go for a more compact, slimmer form factor.

An added bonus to this is that you won’t be taking up too much space, making you less likely to bother other people. We’re sure you’ve experienced having your face or shoulder nicked as you’re waiting for everyone to board the plane.

Don’t be one of those people.

What’s better, top loader or panel loading?

Panel loading or clamshell packs would be our pick. It functions much like a suitcase while combining it with the versatility of a backpack.

So if you plan to be a regular tourist and you’ll just be staying at an Airbnb or hotel, then this is the better choice.

However, this wouldn’t be convenient if you plan to go on a trek or to camp out. A top loader pack would be better because you won’t have to open the whole bag up like a suitcase to get whatever you need.

Is it weather resistant?

The Osprey Stratos is a weather resistant backpack

Another thing that you have to consider when selecting your travel bag is if it can withstand different weather conditions – meaning, how good of a job will it do of keeping your stuff safe and dry?

In a lot of traveling scenarios, you and your bag will be exposed to different kinds of weather. Particularly, if you plan to visit places where it’s rainy like all over Asia, this is going to have to be one of your top priorities.

First of all, let’s establish that waterproof and water-resistant mean different thing. For the average traveler, you’d be perfectly fine with a water-resistant bag. That will protect your stuff from a brisk walk in the rain.

However, don’t expect that you can totally submerge this bag in water or that you can trek with this bag in the middle of a storm. That’s asking a bit too much.

If you plan to pack something that absolutely cannot get wet like, say, for example, your laptop or your tablet, then we advise that you get something like a Daka Pouch.

It’ll fit perfectly in your water-resistant bag for the extra protection that you need for those certain items.

Pay attention to the bag’s durability and the quality of its make

You’re going to have to rely on this pack for a couple of days, so you have to make sure that it’s not made out of flimsy materials.

There’s nothing worse than losing stuff from a broken zipper or a torn bag. It makes for a bitterer situation because all it had to take was bringing along a sturdier bag.

You shouldn’t feel bad about shelling out a lot of cash for a bag because it’s insurance for your other stuff and it will most likely last you a long time. You should also understand what you’re paying for here.

Bag manufacturers these days develop tech for better bags. Yes, research goes into the best kinds of materials for just about anything, travel bags included.

So you’re paying more for the tech and for the best-resourced materials. Those sorts of things will never come cheap.

Plus, the more durable the material is, the more items it can carry. It makes perfect sense. Here are some specific things you should check out when considering a travel backpack:

The Fabric

When you’re looking around for bags, you might see numbers like 250D, 500D, and so on. At least, bag manufacturers who are serious about making the best products will be transparent with this. What does the D stand for? Denier – which refers to the thickness and weight of the material.

To get a little technical, it’s the mass per 9,000 meters of thread. That means lightweight fabrics like cotton will have a lower denier.

So when it comes to backpacks, the higher it is, the more durable it’s going to be. However, that also means that it’s heavier.

One fabric that you should look out for is Rip-stop nylon. Although it’s close from being just regular nylon, “rip-stop” nylon does just that. Its special weave in the form of squares will prevent your bag from ripping any further should it be punctured.

A bag made from this kind of material can carry a lot of weight. If you’re planning to go where there are warnings about muggings and theft on the streets, this will also come in handy.

As a little info tidbit, the rip-stop nylon was invented during World War II to replace silk parachutes. Even to this day, it’s still being used.

We’re talking military grade here, so that should be good enough for the well-worn traveler.

If you’re going for something a little more stylish, then consider getting a leather bag. Leather is known to be pretty stretchy and durable, so you can stuff more items in with a little elbow grease.

But leather can be a bit too heavy if you’re planning to move around a lot. Plus, it needs special care. You’re going to have to wipe it with oils and it can’t really get wet.

Don’t get anything made from polypropylene and canvas. Those bags are cheaper for a reason. It’s because they’re easily damaged and won’t last very long.

Let’s talk function

Below, we’ve provided you with a questionnaire that you can use to narrow down your choices.

1  – Is it comfortable?

If a bag can carry and protect all your stuff, but it’s a strain on your back and shoulders, then you can’t really say that that’s the right one for you.

Always check the foam in the straps and how thick it is. If you can’t carry much weight, scout around for a bag that has load lifters or hip belts.

Some bag manufacturers offer different options for different body types. It’s a smart idea to pay attention to what the experts have deemed to be the best for your own specific body type.

2 – How well can you organize your stuff in it?

Check to see if it has compartments or if you would have to buy packing cubes for it. Either way is fine.

The point is that you have to be able to envision how you’re going to be using it. We’re all for being organized here, so throwing all your stuff in there without a thought won’t fly with us.

Also, take note of how easily items can be accessed.

3 – How secure is it?

There are anti-theft bags out there and we recommend that you focus on those if you’re paranoid about that. But you should take precaution with normal bags as well.

Are the zippers exposed? How easy is it to access the laptop compartment? Are there layers to the bag to hide fragile items?

4 – Does it look good on you?

Bags are fashion items too. Yes, its main point is utility, but you’re going to be seen with this thing. It’s important that it fits your overall style.

There are all sorts of bags for different aesthetics. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb.

What is the best travel backpack for you?

Now that we’ve got pretty much everything covered, let’s get into our top picks for the best travel backpacks.

Our Overall Favorite

Best Travel Backpacks | nomatic travel backpack

Nomatic 40L Travel Backpack

Features:

  • Can be carried backpack or duffel bag style
  • Made from high-quality waterproof materials
  • Customizable straps
  • Separate laundry bag for dirty clothes
  • A pocket for a water bottle
  • Compartment for socks and underwear
  • Compartment for shoes
  • A laptop compartment
  • RFID protection
  • Detachable waist straps
  • Fleece lined pocket for valuable items

See It On Nomatic

See It On Amazon

Best Backpack For Hiking (Men)

Best Travel Backpacks | osprey stratos

Osprey Stratos

Features:

  • Compression straps
  • Stretch mesh pockets
  • Ice tool loop
  • Raincover included
  • Hip belt pockets with zipper

See It On REI

See It On Amazon

Best Backpack For Hiking (Women)

Best Travel Backpacks | north face terra

North Face Women’s Terra 40L  Travel Backpack

Features:

  • Improved ventilation (vertical channel)
  • Padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • Soft air mesh lining for the hip belt
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • 8 pockets
  • Made from ripstop nylon and polyester

See It On REI

See It On Amazon

Best For Jetsetters

Best Travel Backpacks | hynes eagle

Hynes Eagle 44L (Airplane Carry-on Travel Backpack)

Features:

  • 4 carrying options in 1 carry-on backpack, back trolley panel for securely stacking on wheeled luggage
  • Dual hide-away contoured backpack straps, top, and side carry padded handles
  • Padded back panels with breathable mesh for added comfort
  • 1 adjustable sternum strap and removable waist strap for stabilization and maximum carry comfort
  • 4 exterior compression buckle straps help to pack more compact, upgraded shoulder straps buckle for long lasting and durability
  • 2 quicker access front zip pockets and 1 middle zip pocket with multiple slip pockets for better organize travel accessories, 1 side pocket is designed to keep beverage or water bottle
  • Added back laptop compartment is up for 17 inches laptop

See It On Amazon

Best For Photographers

Best Travel Backpacks | lowepro tactic

LowePro Tactic Camera Backpack

Features:

  • Fits two DSLRs
  • Four access points for a quick photo op
  • Laptop compartment
  • compartment for tripod cup and cinch straps
  • Never miss a critical mission thanks four access points: the molded, turret-loading top, quick-grab from both sides, and full, back entry for set-up and security
  • Create limitless set-ups with a robust, SlipLock compatible strap system
  • Get versatile with five modular accessories – water bottle pouch, accessory case, tripod cup and two cinch straps – all Slip Lock-compatible and included with the pack
  • ProTactic features ActivZone System technology to deliver targeted support at shoulder blades, lumbar and waist for comfort on the move.

See It On Amazon

Best For Those On A Budget

REI Co-Op Rucksack

Best Travel Backpacks | rei co-op rucksack

Features:

  • Made from rip-stop nylon
  • Ventilated mesh back
  • Full zip design
  • Hidden daisy chain
  • Side panels
  • Laptop compartment
  • Bottle compartment can hold two
  • Raincover included
  • Zippers can be locked

See It On REI

Best For The Ultralight Packer

Best Travel Backpacks | patagonia black hole pack

Patagonia Black Hole Cinch 30L Travel Backpack

Features:

  • Simple design
  • Made from rip-stop nylon
  • Micro daisy chain
  • Breathable mesh shoulder straps
  • Cavernous main compartment to hold books, or clothes for a weekend getaway
  • Back compartment features a padded pocket for your 15-inch laptop
  • Secondary compartment offers internal organization for electronics and other supplies

See It On REI

See It On Amazon

Best For Fashionistas

Knomo Beauchamp Business Backpack

Best Travel Backpacks | knomo beauchamp

Features:

  • Made from leather and nylon
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • RFID protection
  • Water-resistant fabric  
  • Multipurpose pockets
  • Protects up to 14″ laptop
  • Padded s-shape straps

See It On Amazon

Best For Heavier Packers

Best Travel Backpacks | tls motherlode

TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible 50L Travel Backpack

Features:

  • Expands for an extra 1.5”
  • Padded laptop compartment (can hold a 19” laptop)
  • Lockable rings on zippers for security
  • High visibility 210D orange nylon lining
  • Water bottle pocket; Secure TLS ID pocket for a luggage tag
  • 2 main compartments with many organizational compartments
  • Fold-down shelf for splitting the main compartment in half
  • Zippered mesh panel inside the main compartment
  • Snap-out, easily accessible zippered pocket that can be separated and keep on person
  • Front compartment features travel organizer
  • Padded air-mesh back panel; removable, adjustable sternum strap

See It On Amazon

Best For Minimalists

Best Travel Backpacks | the backpack - away

 

The Backpack – Away

Features:

  • Sleek and clean design
  • Middle zip compartment has a hidden zipper pocket
  • Laptop compartment
  • Expandable pocket for water bottle or umbrella
  • Padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • Leather top handle

See It On Away Travel

Best For Urban Travel

Best Travel Backpacks | osprey daylite plus

Osprey Daylite Plus

Features:

  • Mesh shoulder straps (can be tucked away)
  • Padded interior sleeve for laptop
  • Six organizer pockets
  • The back panel is mesh-covered for breathability
  • Would also work well on a light hike
  • Large panel loading main compartment provides accessibility to inside contents
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets provide additional storage options
  • The multi-function interior sleeve can be used for either an osprey hydraulics reservoir or tablet
  • Attaches to a variety of compatible Osprey Packs
  • Front panel shove-it pocket is great for stashing a light rain shell and other smaller items

See It On REI

See It On Amazon

 



 

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Travel Budget – Realistic Plan You Can Stick To https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-budget-how-to/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-budget-how-to/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2019 23:03:41 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22635 Everyone plans their year around their vacation. It’s that one much anticipated time when we can lay back, enjoy the scenery, and leave all the stress of work behind. So you ask yourself, What’s it going to be this year? Are we going to the white sand beaches of Bali? Are we going museum hopping in Paris? Is our ski trip to Aspen long overdue?” You could be anywhere in the planning stages of your dream trip. You could have just settled on a destination and booked your tickets and reservations. You could have just written down your list of top 10 places to go and are now saving up for when you can go. Whatever the case may be, one thing that you’re absolutely going to need is a travel budget. Why is that you ask? Well, it’s no surprise that a vacation can do a number on your…Continue Reading

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Everyone plans their year around their vacation. It’s that one much anticipated time when we can lay back, enjoy the scenery, and leave all the stress of work behind. So you ask yourself, What’s it going to be this year? Are we going to the white sand beaches of Bali? Are we going museum hopping in Paris? Is our ski trip to Aspen long overdue?”

You could be anywhere in the planning stages of your dream trip. You could have just settled on a destination and booked your tickets and reservations. You could have just written down your list of top 10 places to go and are now saving up for when you can go.

Robuer with wooden stilts in the fishing village of Tind

How about a trip to Norway? Definitely, need to budget for it!

Whatever the case may be, one thing that you’re absolutely going to need is a travel budget. Why is that you ask? Well, it’s no surprise that a vacation can do a number on your bank account.

So it’s important that you plan ahead to resist the temptation of overspending. You could go on your vacation and charge everything on your credit card and not give a second thought about it. You’ll only go back home and realize that you’ve racked up quite the credit card bill. That would be more on your plate to deal with.

Plus, you’ve been planning your whole year around this. You don’t want to bring along the anxiety of not knowing what you can and cannot spend. You have to plan your budget, so you can be free to fully enjoy your vacation.

Not having a travel budget can even make your vacation turn disastrous. No one wants their vacation to end with not just good memories, but a couple of regrets too. Everybody has experienced that one point or another and having a travel budget is one step you can take to avoid experiencing that ever again.

travel budget

You want to get your money’s worth. After all, you worked so hard for it. You want to set aside some funds and know exactly where they can go towards. This will lift the stress off your vacation time. Stress is something you should leave behind, not something you should carry along with you. That just defeats the purpose of going on vacation in the first place, right?

Exactly how can a travel budget help you?

If now’s the time you’re planning the vacation, you can use your travel budget to plan it more realistically. This will limit your choice or airlines, hotels, tours, the list goes on. Don’t let the “L” word scare you off. That just means that with a travel budget, you’ll be able to do more things and visit more places.

If now’s the time you’re saving for your vacation, you can use your travel budget to set your savings goal. You’ll know what you want to do and what you have to spend on it. So that means you’ll also know how much you have to save.

If everything is packed and all your accommodations are booked, you can use your travel budget to know how much you can spend spontaneously.

Obviously, you won’t be able to plan everything ahead. The cool thing about going on vacation is that a lot of things can take you by surprise. Maybe you’ll want to try out something you just newly discovered. Maybe you want to eat a swanky local restaurant that comes highly recommended on Yelp.

Having a travel budget can help you say yes or no to these spontaneous whims and help you get the best out of your time out of town.

The best part about all this is that it’s not at all hard to do. But before we get into the details of how to create a great travel budget, it has to be clear to you that a travel budget is just a mere guide. It’s not there to be followed to a tee.

You have to create your budget with some allowances. Remember, you’re going to be dealing in estimates and you might make a mistake or two along the way.

What you’re aiming for here is flexibility, not restrictiveness. With that being said, let’s get started!

7 questions to ask yourself when creating a realistic travel budget


How are you going to get there?

Normally, one of the biggest expenses that will blow a hole in your wallet is travel fees – how you’re going to get to your destination.

Now, these could vary depending on where you’re going and where you’re coming from. You could be going there by plane, by ship, by car, etc.

You’re going to have to do your research and weigh your options. If you’re planning to travel to multiple locations, you’re going to have to research how much it’s going to cost you to go to these places as well.

Important note: Before you get anxious about this, there are a couple of fares comparing sites that you should check out. These will help you out a lot. Sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, and GoEuro will do all the work for you. You could also get good deals if your book your flights using their services.

They will list all the flight to your destination from the cheapest to the most expensive. All you’ll have to do is select the one that fits your budget the best.

Where will you be staying?

Another big expense will be your accommodations. More research has to go into this. You have to look up lodging options to decide where you’ll be staying.

Different people have different preferences. Maybe you’d like to stay at a hotel with a pool. Maybe you’d like to stay at a hotel that’s the situation right in the thick of everything.

Maybe you’re a backpacker and you’d like to crash at a cool hostel. Do your research and find places that will fit your needs and your budget.

Important note: To get the most back out of your back, try to book a reservation at a place that offers at least one meal with your booking. Check out our Accommodations Page for the absolute best deals on hotels and hostels.

It could be a hotel that has an inclusive breakfast buffet for certain rooms or a hostel that has a kitchen that guests can use.

How are you going to be moving around?

The next thing you have to consider is what modes of transport you’re going to be using when you get to your destination.

Naturally, every location is different. If you frequent travel sites, a lot of them report that taxis in some places scam tourists who don’t know better. They ask for a lot more money if you’ve got that clueless “I’ve never been here before” look in your eye.

If you’re on a tighter budget, then perhaps the smarter way to move around is by bus or train, where the fares are always standard.

If you don’t plan to get everywhere on foot, then allotting a budget for moving around is a must.

Important note: It would be smart to search for public transport ticket options. Some cities offer a travel card that you can use on all of their public transportations. This would be way cheaper than having to pay for each individual trip.

If in your research you find out that booking taxis in advance would be cheaper than hailing them freely, then, by all means, do so.

Also, it’s important to get the locals’ perspective on how to get around. This will the lessen the chances of you being ripped off because taxis, for example, will back off if you know how much a trip to somewhere is going to cost.

What (and where) are you going to be eating?

It’s not very realistic for anyone to decide on every single place where they’re going to be eating at on their vacation. That’s just absurd.

What you aim to do here is to get a ballpark figure of how much your meals are going to cost you. Sniff around online where people give estimates to how much their meals at specific places cost.

Apps like Zomato and TripAdvisor will do that for you. People leave their reviews of the food too. Whether you’re the type who likes fine dining or hole in the wall places, these apps will come in handy.

If you’re hard-pressed for time, you can just follow this basic rule of thumb: you’ll be expected to spend 2 to 2.5 times the price of a one night’s stay at your hotel (or resort, hostel, etc.) on a day’s food expenses.

Important note: If you’re down for it, always eat at where the locals eat. These places are popular for a reason. Not only will you be getting more of a cultural experience, but you’ll also probably won’t spend as much as you would at, say, an international restaurant.

If you’re renting an Airbnb, try to cook some of your meals to save some money. This will give you the chance to check out the local markets and to save your money for fancier restaurants.

What activities will you be doing?

If you don’t have travel OCD and you don’t have to go into your vacation with a solid itinerary, that’s perfectly fine. All you need to have is a rough plan of what you’d like to do when you get there.

Let’s say your favorite band is passing by the place you’re visiting because they’re on tour and you want to go see the show, then factor in those ticket costs. Let’s say where you’re visiting offers a lot of water activities like boating and scuba diving and you want to try those out, then factor in those costs.

Just by knowing yourself and who you’ll be traveling with, you’ll have a vague idea of what you’re going to want to do. Make a list of your “must do’s” and research beforehand about how much they’re going to cost you.

Important note: Travel services offer to book major attraction tours in advance. Some of them even offer deals like special discounts and extra detours if you book earlier than when you arrive. This will help you avoid the traffic of tourists who are looking to get on these tours impulsively. Check out our recommended tour companies on our Travel Resources page for some awesome money saving deals.

Are you going to shop?

Most likely, the answer is yes. At the very least, you’ll pick up a few souvenirs to bring back home. This is something that you can’t really research, but you should set aside a budget for these costs.

Old Bazaar in Kruje, Albania

How can you resist to shop in bazaars like this

Think about your shopping habits. Is this something that you really enjoy and absolutely have to do when you’re on vacation? If yes, then allow a bigger budget for it.

Important note: If you plan to bring back souvenirs for friends and family, then it would be helpful to bring a list of these people with you.

By doing this, you’ll be able to check them off and reduce the risk of overspending. Also remember that if you end up buying a lot of stuff, you’re going to have to find room for them in your luggage.

Do you have money left over for emergencies?

If not, rethink your planned expenses. You should always have money set aside if anything goes awry. It would be foolish to just assume that everything is going to go smoothly.

In case something like a medical emergency arises or even stumbling upon a cool shop or restaurant, it would be smart to be prepared for it.

Important note: If you don’t have a clue about how much we’re talking here, a general rule is to set aside 2 to 3 days’ worth of daily expenses as an emergency budget per person.

For those who are looking to make a simple budget, how do you get started?


People who travel a lot have a sense of where they’re going to spend their money on and don’t even need to write all these down as for reference.

They usually have a ballpark number of how much they can spend in a day or even a week without going over their budget.

If you’re new to this, then all this planning can be a bit overwhelming. So how do you get started?

First, you’ll have to do research about the location you’re traveling to. You have to know what the approximate cost of living is going to be.

Personally, in order to do this, I check how much a night’s stay is at the average hostel. I do this even if I don’t plan on staying at a hostel for a number of reasons.

  1. There is always going to be a hostel anywhere in the world.
  2. Researching these hostels isn’t difficult at all. One site will list all the hostels in an area for you.
  3. They always update their pricing.
  4. You can get a ballpark idea of how much lodging is going to cost for the traveler on a budget because they base their pricing on this.
  5. The cost per stay at a hostel reflects its quality. You can then compare other accommodations to this level of pricing and quality.

Knowing the cost of living index would come in handy if you play to stay and live like a local for a while. So if you plan to stay somewhere for a relatively long time, then it would be smart for you to do this.

After you figure out how much the average hostel costs per night, multiply that by 3. That’s going to be your budget for one day.

To illustrate, let’s say the average hostel costs $25 a night. That would give me $75 as my daily budget. To break that down, I’d have:

  • $25 for my accommodations
  • $25 for my food
  • $25 for everything else

So if you plan to rent an apartment for a whole month, then you need to find one that would cost less than $25 to rent per night – less than (25×30) $750 per month. If you go over your food budget, then cut costs on your “everything else” budget to compensate.

Will this really work?

This is how I do my own budgeting and of course, I have my own level of comfort that I have to meet. But it may be different for you. You may be able to multiply the average hostel cost by 2 if you can get by on that.

Maybe your standard of living is higher than mine and you need to multiply it by 4. The trick here is to practice. Test out your “factor” by making a detailed budget of one vacation and compare it to the next. You could even do this by benchmarking values in your own area.

If you get good at this, you’ll be able to have an idea of what a good budget would look like for your next trip. This would be an advantage when your plans aren’t really solid and are likely to change on the fly.

Okay, so how do I put this in use?

Let’s stick to our hypothetical budget of $75 per day. What I do is I would take out a week’s worth of my budget at a time so I don’t incur a lot of ATM fees (I’ve learned my lesson).

So I would have $525, but I would only carry $75 with me on a daily basis. This helps me plan ahead. Let’s say I’m going out for drinks with some friends for the night, then I would cut back on food costs during the day.

If I reach the end of the week without even spending my entire budget, that would give me the chance to splurge on some treats.

What should have their own sections in my budget?

You can manage by allotting your food and “everything else” budget for little trinkets, cheap tickets, and snacks. However, if in the middle of the trip, you plan to take an expensive sailing trip, a class or go to a concert, then those shouldn’t be included in your daily budget.

Treat them as separate expenses, so you don’t have to scrimp on food and other essentials.

Traveling for longer periods

After you’ve figured out how much going to a specific location will cost you, check your overall costs and compute the average cost per day.

How can you tell if you’re budgeting like a champ or spending way too much? One way to do this is by comparing the time you can live on that budget in a high-cost destination versus a low-cost destination.

To give you an example, the same budget that you could manage on for 3 months in Europe could last you 6 months in Southeast Asia.

If you plan to travel the globe, plan your budget accordingly. That means you’ll be able to stay longer in low-cost destinations if that’s what you want.

Testing it out

  1. Figure out your factor

You can test your theory by creating a detailed budget for a specific destination. Once you have this, you can then divide the daily cost by the average hostel cost. Round it up it down to the nearest whole number and this is going to be your factor.

  1. Separate bigger items in your budget

Remember, do not include more expensive items in your daily budget. So, in theory, it could look something like this:

  • Location A, 7 days: $75 per day = $525
  • Location B, 14 days: $60 per day = $840
  • Location C, 21 days: $40 per day = $840
  • Airfare from home to A: $600
  • Cruise from A to B: $250
  • Concert ticket: $175

TOTAL OF: $3,230 for 42 days (6 weeks)

  1. Allow for some flexibility

You might find that you’d want to change things up a bit because you’re liking a place a lot more than you expected. For example, this is what your new schedule could look like:

  • Location A, 7 days: $75 per day = $525
  • Location B, 21 days: $60 per day = $1,260
  • Location C, 14days: $40 per day = $560

The average cost per day will make it out to $56 from your original plan of $53. That’s not much of a difference, but you will have to consider this if you’re on a tight budget. So there you go, you’re now armed with the right knowledge to plan your travel budget.

Here’s a very handy MS Office Template to Budget for Travel

DO YOU BUDGET FOR TRAVEL?

 

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RV Camping Essentials – With Printable Checklist! https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/rv-essentials-checklist/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/rv-essentials-checklist/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 18:58:41 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/camping-checklist-supplies-list-copy/ What To Take RV Camping? A camping trip can last days or weeks, and if you’ve never hit the road in an RV before, you might not know where to start. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend or the rest of your life, there a few things that you need to turn your caravan into a home and save some headaches along the way. Packing for any trip can seem extremely daunting, especially a camping trip. Whether you are new to the RV life, or you are just trying it out for a weekend, certain essentials can make the experience an incredible one. RV Checklist: 1 – RV Camping Essentials 2 – The Galley(Bed & Bath) 3 – Tools and Repair Essentials 4 – Kitchen Essentials 5 – Clothing Essentials 6 – Extras/Miscellaneous 7 – Pet RV CHECKLIST – PRINTABLE PDF RV Essentials and Tips You can’t just park your…Continue Reading

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What To Take RV Camping?

A camping trip can last days or weeks, and if you’ve never hit the road in an RV before, you might not know where to start. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend or the rest of your life, there a few things that you need to turn your caravan into a home and save some headaches along the way.

Packing for any trip can seem extremely daunting, especially a camping trip. Whether you are new to the RV life, or you are just trying it out for a weekend, certain essentials can make the experience an incredible one.


RV Checklist:

1 – RV Camping Essentials

2 – The Galley(Bed & Bath)

3 – Tools and Repair Essentials

4 – Kitchen Essentials

5 – Clothing Essentials

6 – Extras/Miscellaneous

7 – Pet

RV CHECKLIST – PRINTABLE PDF

RV Essentials and Tips

You can’t just park your RV anywhere. You have to plan this first.


Parking Spots & Leveling Blocks 

The first thing you will find, in an RV, is that you need to be able to fit into a variety of parking spots or more accurately, parking sizes. In massive parking lots or large sites, this is not so much a problem, but you are bound to have a tight squeeze or sharp corner somewhere along the way. Be sure you know how to maneuver the RV and which side the hookups are on. Backing up can be more difficult than it looks, especially if you are towing a camper trailer. Be patient and take your time, accounting for where the door will end up as well as where the power, water, and sewer lines will go, if applicable.

After that, you need to make sure the RV is level. If you’re not level, many things in your RV simply won’t work. Your fridge and your propane system can fail to operate if not level and will ultimately be damaged. Not to mention how hard it is to sleep in a bed when you keep rolling onto the floor. There’s a good chance that at some campgrounds, the ground is most likely going to be uneven. Having leveling blocks will make sure that fridge stays running, your food doesn’t spoil, and you won’t have other unpleasant surprises.

Utilities 

RVing isn’t always glamorous. If you’re staying in the RV for long periods of time, you’re going to have to know how to hook up the power, water and empty the sewer. If you are renting an RV, everything you need should be included and you will be shown how everything works when you get started. Before you leave, check all connections and make sure you have any additional attachments necessary. For example, if your RV is a 50 amp camper, it is pretty much essential to carry a 30 amp converter as many sites are not compatible with 50 amp. You do not want to arrive at a full hook-up site only to realize you cannot access it because you have the wrong connection.

For water, most hoses are standard. If you are new to RVing or plan to travel around a lot, it can be beneficial to have multiple lengths of water hose. As well, a water regulator is often required when hooking up to a municipal water source. A small attachment that goes on the end of the hose, it regulates water pressure going into the RV. This protects the RV plumbing from being damaged by high-pressure lines. A quick tip if you do not have regulator is to turn down the water tap at the source. Just be sure no one accidentally turns it back up and be aware of the pressure on your taps. You also have the option of simply filling the water tank and having access to running water wherever you are on the road.

The most important and unpleasant RV essential is the sewer hose. Or the sewer system in general. Manage it properly and you will have a smooth holiday with all the benefits of your own private bathroom. Pull the wrong valve and things can get messy very quickly. So first things first, check that you have all of the sewage hoses and fittings you need before you go. You probably want to get a pair of rubber gloves you can designate for just this purpose (something you will not have a problem throwing away).

Usually, there is an elbow-shaped pipe that attaches to the RV sewage tank. The hose attaches to this elbow and then gets put inside or attached to the sewage dump (often just a pipe sized hole in the ground). Every RV has a black water tank (from the toilet) and a grey water tank (from sinks and shower). Always open the black tank valve first and then the grey water tank. Also be sure to use enough water in your toilet so the black water tank has enough liquid in it. Do a practice run of this process before you go so you’re not running around trying to figure it out when it’s too late.

Overall, with utilities, the RV is versatile and can adapt to your purpose. If you are looking for a warm shelter for a wilderness camping trip, you may not require all the bells and whistles. If you like a few creature comforts or are heading out for a long road trip, set off with everything you need, and you will be a self-contained oasis. Everyone is different, and you will quickly find your comfort level in your RV, especially if you prepare in advance.

Pack a Mechanic 

Only kidding! Most RVs do not require you to be a mechanic to drive them, they are much like any other vehicle. Still having some mechanical knowledge and some basic tools can come in handy. This one probably seems pretty obvious, but RVs are more likely to run into emergency situations because of their size. Having an emergency kit along with jumper cables will help you be prepared just in case you find yourself stranded during the middle of your vacation. In the kit, you might also want to include a whistle, flashlight, tire pressure gauge, extension cords, and more.

The benefit of renting an RV is that they often come with roadside assistance so that you do not have to handle any mechanical problems. If you do not come equipped with a personal mechanic (or the equivalent) on the trip, seriously consider adding insurance that covers your RV so you have peace-of-mind no matter where you travel to.

Rent Your RV From Outdoorsy

Kitchen supplies 

One of the best parts of having an RV is being able to use the kitchen. From garbage bags to dishes to soap and towels to cleaning products. You’ll want versatile pots, pans, dishes, and utensils to suit your cooking needs. One pot meals work great in an RV. The top three items that RVers forget to pack are garbage bags, condiments and sauces, and a can opener. It really is the little things that make for an easy and relaxing trip.

rv checklist

RV Kitchen

There is usually a good amount of storage space in the kitchen so here is where you want to indulge. Pack your favorite meal options as well as some additional treats. If you take time to stock up at a grocery store and prepare with the food in mind that you will eat, you will save time and money and allow the trip to run smoothly. In the end, you’ll want to be as stocked for the road as you would be at your home. After all, an RV is your home away from home.

Campfire goodies 

What’s better than starting a campfire after a long day of travel? Many times people choose to cook their meals over a campfire and it can be the center of the evening after a long day of sightseeing. You can’t start a fire without firewood. You will also likely need an ax, some type of firestarter, and matches or a lighter. If you will be preparing food, you will need to pack a grill and utensils. You’ll also want a pot and pan, skewers, flame-resistant gloves, and cooking implements. Use one of the side storage cubbies as the go-to spot for campfire supplies so you can pull out the chairs, light the fire and start cooking.

Emergency Kit 

If you’re going to spend your days out and about in the outdoors, you’ll want to have a first-aid kit. You never know when you might take a tumble or get injured. If you’re pretty far out in the forest or desert, you might be pretty far from a doctor. Being prepared will help keep you safe and help buy you time in case of an emergency.

Since you will be on the road with an RV, you will want to bulk up your emergency kit a little bit. Pack extra flashlights as well as oil, windshield wiper fluid and coolant. Be sure to have pylons and flares, simple tools, as well as a spare tire and tire jack. Even with roadside assistance, you may have to help yourself, or at least properly protect yourself until help arrives. In that regard have a set of emergency phone numbers, a backup charger for your phone, as well as a detailed plan of where you are headed left with a friend or family member. These essentials ensure you can have peace of mind while you explore new horizons.

Food and Water 

Plan your recipes and meals before you leave so you know exactly what you need to bring. Packing food is always a good idea to reduce the overall costs of your trip. You’ll want plenty of water and items that won’t perish easily. Canned foods, meats, peanut butter, crackers, cereal, and other munchies will help keep you satisfied without going bad quickly.

Water could have a category of its own. You use it to drink, wash, bathe and flush the toilet yet it is often forgotten. The great thing about RVing is you have a built-in water tank. The difficulty can be in knowing where to find water. If you are not staying at a campsite with a freshwater hook-up, you might need to fill up before you go. It is also important to pay attention to where your water is coming from, make sure it is safe to drink before filling your water tanks.

As with any vacation or road trip, the main two issues are what are you going to eat and where you are going to sleep. In an RV, you have that covered and everything else is simpler because of it. Being able to stop, whenever you want or need, to eat, rest, or use the bathroom takes a lot of the stress out of a holiday and allows you to really relax and see the sights at your own pace.

Galley(Bed & Bath) Essentials


  • Outdoor rug
  • Picnic/beach blanket
  • Backpack(s)
  •  Fitness equipment
  •  Office supplies
  • Cards, games, crosswords, puzzles
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Suntan lotion
  • Mouse Traps
  • Toiletry kit
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Nail clippers
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Toilet Paper
  • Dental Floss
  • Scissors

Tools and Repair Essentials


RV Kitchen Essentials


  •  Roasting sticks – For m
  •  
  • Lump charcoal

Clothing Essentials


  •  Hiking pants or shorts
  •  Sunglasses
  •  I
  •  

Extras/Miscellaneous


  •  Cellphone or Smartphone

Pet


  • Favorite toy from home
  • Familiar blanket or bed from home
  • Extra collar
  • Dog tags
  • Sturdy leash and harness
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Medications or supplements
  • Motion sickness remedy
  • Rawhide or chew bone
  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Waste removal bags
  • Puppy pads
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Paper towels
  • Copy of health/vaccination papers
  • Paper towels

DOWNLOAD THE  CHECKLIST

GOING CAMPING WITHOUT AN RV? CHECKOUT THE CAMPING CHECKLIST!


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


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Best Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe | Nevada & California https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/lake-tahoe-photo-locations/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/lake-tahoe-photo-locations/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2018 23:43:04 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22361 Lake Tahoe In Any Season If there is ever a place one can call an all season photographer’s paradise, it would Lake Tahoe. Winter, spring, summer, or fall the seasons produce amazing photographic opportunities for every photographer at any level. Whether you’re scrambling up boulders on the Northern Shore or high up on some vista overlook; you’re always within a shutter click away from a postcard-perfect frame. I have been fortunate enough to have visited Lake Tahoe through different seasons in over a decade. I’ve spent an entire winter season in the North Eastern Tahoe City, skiing its surrounding slopes and then scrambling my way towards various locations to catch a sunset during Apres hour. I’ve scouted and photographed a lot of places in Lake Tahoe discovering hidden little gems that today is teeming with photographers that you have to compete with. Best Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe California Eagle Falls Emerald Bay State Park…Continue Reading

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Lake Tahoe In Any Season

If there is ever a place one can call an all season photographer’s paradise, it would Lake Tahoe. Winter, spring, summer, or fall the seasons produce amazing photographic opportunities for every photographer at any level. Whether you’re scrambling up boulders on the Northern Shore or high up on some vista overlook; you’re always within a shutter click away from a postcard-perfect frame.

I have been fortunate enough to have visited Lake Tahoe through different seasons in over a decade. I’ve spent an entire winter season in the North Eastern Tahoe City, skiing its surrounding slopes and then scrambling my way towards various locations to catch a sunset during Apres hour. I’ve scouted and photographed a lot of places in Lake Tahoe discovering hidden little gems that today is teeming with photographers that you have to compete with.

Best Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe



 

Blazing skies at Lake Tahoe's northern shore.

Blazing skies at Lake Tahoe’s northern shore in the State of Nevada

I have discovered many Lake Tahoe photo locations from random explorations and from research. Some famed spots like the Bonsai Rock are relatively difficult to find if you didn’t have any help from GPS coordinates. I found the Bonsai Rock from somebody posting it coordinates on Google Maps – now the location is reasonably famous amongst photographers, and you’ll see a swarm on weekends that it’s tough to miss.

I also use an app called Trover to collect a list of photographs and locations that I will talk about later. It’s a very useful app for discovering new locations as well as making a list of places that you eventually want to visit. There’s a budding community there of travelers who post photos that will give you a serious case of wanderlust.

At the end of this post is a compilation list of all the exact spots that I’ve mentioned here via a Trover embed. There are a thousand spots you can take great photos of Lake Tahoe – it is the largest Alpine Lake in North America, and as such, you’re never far away from a sunset reflection or an Alpenglow over its surrounding peaks. This list not meant to be a complete list of all photo locations but rather a guide of tried and true places that generate the best photos of Lake Tahoe.

Best Time to Photograph Lake Tahoe?

For me, winter is the definitive answer. The photo locations are less crowded, and I often find myself alone in solitude to ponder in the white landscape and enjoy the silence along the lake’s shore. That’s not to say, other seasons are bland. On the contrary, summer is also a great time to enjoy the lake and great for scouting other locations with long days at your disposal.

Bonsai Rock Winter

Bonsai Rock Winter

Spring brings about the lupine bloom that blanket the shores in some sections of the lake. Climate change has brought about some changes in Lake Tahoe’s shores, and these fields of lupine have popped in locations where beaches grew mainly due to lower lake levels. Fall is also a great time to shoot in Lake Tahoe when aspen trees create an interesting contrast to the Lake’s blue waters.

Photography Tips

Sunset, sunrises, midday, or midnight, Lake Tahoe, can be a photographer’s paradise! Ideally, you want to bring your whole arsenal and the kitchen sink. Superwide through telephoto you will find a place to utilize every focal point. Since you’re mostly shooting skies and water, you would want to bring along your favorite polarizer; it’s great for slowing the water’s motion as well as exposing the rocky bottom of the lake.

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Waters

You can cut glare using a polarizer filter to reveal the bottom of the lake.

Taken with a polarizing filter

Taken with a polarizing filter

You can bring a graduated neutral density filter with you, but if you know how to blend exposures via layers in Photoshop, then that’s the better option. That you need to stabilize when shooting during the golden hour. A good tripod is a must in these situations to hold your camera in place.

The Nevada side is great for sunsets and has lots and lots of exciting foreground – like the multitude of granite boulders that litter the shores. There is room for abstract and creativity here if the weather doesn’t permit for grand and wide landscapes. Use telephotos and isolate the boulders if you can.

Lake Tahoe, Stone Stack Sunset

Stone Stack Sunset

boulders

Boulder detail

California vs. Nevada

A sunset on the western shore

Sunset on the western shore

Lake Tahoe straddles two states, California and Nevada. As such I’ve divided this guide to reflect the subtle differences and the best times to shoot which locations. From experience, the California side is better at giving you the best sunrise photos since your shooting in the western shores. I’ve had many excellent sunset photos of Lake Tahoe on the eastern Nevada side.

That’s not to say you can’t get great sunset photos in California or vice versa, like photography compositions, some rules are meant to be broken. If you have the time, experiment and you might just land an excellent frame where you least expect it.

So, without further ado. Let get to the best photography locations in Lake Tahoe!

California (Western Side)


Eagle Falls

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eagle falls

Sunrise at Eagle Falls

Eagle Falls is tucked away in some man-made stares across the Eagle Falls Trailhead parking lot. An ideal sunrise location, set up camp long before dawn so you can get your spot set up because you’re likely going to be competing with other early bird photographers. Late spring is one of the best times to shoot this place due to the more significant flow of water and the position of the sun directly on the falls during this time.

During the summer the falls would have dried up and you’ll only get a trickle of water that may or may not be that interesting in composition.

Emerald Bay Overlook (Just before Eagle Falls)

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emerald bay

Emerald Bay

If you search for images on Google, you’ll most likely see a bunch of pictures of an island in an aquamarine bay. The island is called Fannette Island, and the bay is Emerald Bay. The Fannette Island has a European style stone castle that’s called the Tea House; It was built by the owner of Vikingsholm. What’s cool about this view, is that you can frame all of them on a classic postcard-perfect view.

This viewpoint is found right on a pull out stop off highway 89. If you can’t park your car on this shoulder, very likely since it’s a popular place, park across the street in the Eagle Falls Parking lot and walk across. This view is very close to the falls, and you can probably catch both once you capture a few frames of one.

Emerald Bay State Park

This is likely where you will end up parking during the busy season in Emerald Bay. You can get some good photos here once you have exhausted your options at Eagle Falls and the Emerald Bay Overlook. There’s a trail here that meanders all the way down to Vikingsholm, and from there you can catch an eye’s level view of Fannette Island. Because of its location, it’s ideally shot during sunrise or dawn. It’s also ideally located near South Lake Tahoe where you can find various accommodations for your trip.

Rubicon Bay

boat dock into the sunrise

Boat Dock Into The Sunrise

Always Wanderlust Daily Photo - Winter at West Shore

Winter at West Shore

Rubicon Bay is home to a popular marina and hosts a few beaches on the East Shore. This part is never short on man-made structures has boat houses and wood boat docks and moorage. If you explore this place at dawn, be prepared for some the craziest sunrises you’ll ever see!

If you’re an early bird, this spot along with Eagle Falls will give the best bang for your buck in getting that postcard-perfect photo. Beware, not all docks are public so make sure you read the warning signs before you walk long one.

Maggies Peak

Just like Mount Tallac, Maggies Peak is quite a hike. It’s a relatively moderate trail, not quite as difficult as Tallac but will break out a sweat or two. You can see Lake Tahoe with Cascade Lake juxtaposed above the tree line and beyond.

Lake Forrest Beach

Kings Beach Lake Tahoe

During late spring, a walk through Lake Forest Beach gives you opportunities to photograph a field of lupine. These purple colored wildflowers provide an excellent foreground to Lake Tahoe’s expansive background. These plants grow up to three feet tall with its bright purple flowers popping up against a golden hour backdrop is a thing to behold. However, if you’re not there in the spring, the beach also offers opportunities, like the one pictured above, for sunset landscapes.

South Lake Tahoe

Blooming mule's ears plant in the Desolation Wilderness.

Blooming mule’s ears

This area is by far the most densely populated part of Lake Tahoe. It’s sharing a border with Nevada, and several casino hotels make its mark along with the massive gondola of Heavenly Ski Resort. However, there are patches of forest lands and parks where you can easily escape and discover some unique photo opportunities.

The drive along Emerald Bay Blvd will undoubtedly turn up a few photography spots. There are also several groves of aspens in the area, making also ideal for fall photography. There’s a turnout towards the Mount Tallac Trail and the road leading to the trailhead is surrounded by forests. This spot has various wildflowers blooming during spring.

West Shore

Boat house during sunrise on the west shore

Boathouse sunrise

Lake Tahoe’s western shore is punctuated by boats, boat launches, and a multitude of man-made objects. That is in contrast to the more natural boulder lined shore of the Eastern Nevada side. If you want man-made subjects to provide contrasts in your composition this side is your best bet.

The only issue with this part of Lake Tahoe is the many privately owned shoreline. It can be difficult to find places to access the lake. Still, it’s worth it if you can find a spot where you can roam freely. Just be sure to wake up early because this side has epic sunrises.

Mount Tallac

Mount Tallac is the tallest mountain of the west shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s a moderate trail with up to 10 miles round trip and up to 3500ft in elevation gain depending on which route to take. It offers some of the best vistas of the Lake. It’s an oft-trodden trail that offers fantastic views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe itself.

There’s a backcountry campsite just below the peak and it’s a great place to get familiar with multi-day hiking.

Tahoe City Marina Lake Front

Lake Front Marina

Lake Front Marina

This place isn’t beautiful in the summer but come winter when the water freeze solid and snow blankets the shores, this place can match any other place in Lake Tahoe regarding beauty.

Nevada (Eastern Side)


Mount Rose Scenic Overlook

lake tahoe scenic overlook

Lake Tahoe Scenic Overlook

This overlook can be reached via highway 431 off Incline Village on the Nevada side. The road leads to Mount Rose Ski Resort, and you can see this overlook off the bottom of the road with a vast view of the lake. This is one of the best vistas in Lake Tahoe that is very easy to get to. No hiking required.

Hidden Beach

Secret Beach Sunset

Secret Beach Sunset

Hidden only by name. Hidden Beach is one of the best spots to take sunset photos of the North Shore. It’s just a few yards from Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park information center. It’s not easy to get to, but if you park at the information center. Take the trail south and scramble over a few boulders to get to this location.

Sand Harbor

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Sand Harbor is just teaming with boaters and beachgoers in the summer. If you don’t like people in your shots, you should avoid this place. However, in the winter it’s often devoid of visitors and presents various photographic opportunities. It has a sandy beach and several man-made structures if you would like man-made elements in your picture.

Creek Beach

best spots to photograph in lake tahoe

Creek Beach is found just south of Secret Cove. It is part of the trail that connects Chimney Beach and Secret Cove. So really, you will have your hands full and perhaps all day exploring this area. Hike up and down the trail to and from Chimney Beach. There is unlimited compositions you can come up with depending on the time of day, the weather, and the season.

There is a lot of exposed granite slabs that make the area great for superwide angle shots. If there’s a storm or overcast, come here anyway. You can get some really dramatic and surreal shots like this photo on the left.

Bonsai Rock

Bonsai Rock

Bonsai Rock

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Arguably the most photographed boulder in all of Lake Tahoe. Its moniker comes from the little trees that have sprung up from the pine cones trapped in the boulders cracks. It used to be difficult to find, but now it’s often crowded with people. Your best bet here is to shoot it during winter or weekdays, there are fewer photographers during those times.

Getting to this location, you can quickly figure why it’s famous. It’s the Bonsai Rock is, to be cliche about it, a very photogenic rock. It just so happens to frame perfectly an ideal sunset. You really can’t go wrong here, and lots of other photographers have the same idea too. But if it’s your first time in Lake Tahoe, you have to check this place out!

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Pine Cones And Sunset

Pine Cones And Sunset

This place is the defacto information center of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park which also encompasses Secret Cove, Chimney Beach, Sand Harbor, and the Bonsai Rock. A small parking lot with restrooms make this an ideal stop for families driving through the park. It also has a few spots where you can get unique photos. So while everyone is out crowding the Bonsai Rock, come to this place instead – you might just like it.

Carnelian Bay

Carnelian Bay is teeming with activities in the summer. If you’re lucky enough to find beach access, it’s one of the least photographed places in Lake Tahoe.

carnelian bay

Stand Up Paddle Board and Kayak

Secret Cove

Tahoe Blue secret cove

Tahoe Blue, Secret Cove

Secret Cove infamous for being a nudist beach, so don’t be surprised if you come across beachgoers sans swimming trunks. This cove offers some great photo opportunities just a little before the golden hour. The waters are clear and blue in most cases, and it truly showcases the coined term “Keep Tahoe Blue.”

Here you’ll find kayakers and stand up paddlers enjoying their sport during the summer and often make great subjects to juxtapose on Lake Tahoe’s spectacular landscape. Just be mindful of the bathers in the nude.

Chimney Beachchimney beach

Chimney Beach got its name after the left-over chimney from a house built during the Gold Rush. This beach is located next to Secret Cove and has some of the best areas to get creative compositions of Lake Tahoe. During years of drought, you’ll see boulders exposed along the shores, and you can use them as foreground interests in your photos. If you see high clouds on the skies above. Make your way here quick and wait for the fantastic Alpenglow that surely to happen.

East Shore Boulders

East Shore Boulders

East Shore Boulders

The East Shore has the most concentration of rocks and boulders along Lake Tahoe’s shore. It creates a distinctive scene and one of the best places to photograph a sunset with rocks or boulders in the foreground.

Flume Trail

The flume trail is both foot traffic and mountain bike trail. It has incredible views of Lake Tahoe once you get a little above the tree line. I’ve done this trail with a mountain bike a couple of times, and it’s quite a challenge (I’m not a biker). If mountain bikes aren’t your thing, just hike it up. It’s not a bad trail for hiking and offers unique views of the lake.

Crystal Bay

crystal bay

Crystal bay catamaran

This is the first bay you’ll come across if you’re driving from the California side towards Nevada in the north. The bay is enclosed in mostly privately owned beaches so there’s no easy way to get down. There are a  few road stops and if you have a telephoto lens, you should be able to catch some very interesting compositions of sailboats, catamarans, kayakers and so on.

There you go. What’s listed here is by no means an ultimate list. There are many places not listed here that are also great spots to photograph in Lake Tahoe. I hope you’ve found some clues and perhaps even some inspiration to explore this natural wonder. And I hope, you also do your part to Keep Tahoe Blue!

Below is the Trover List for all the beautiful spots to photograph in Lake Tahoe.

Best Spots To Photograph In Lake Tahoe – a photo list by Always Wanderlust (Adonis V.)

HAVE YOU BEEN TO LAKE TAHOE? WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHY SPOT?

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Camping Checklist – Printable Supplies Packing List https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/camping-checklist-supplies-list/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/camping-checklist-supplies-list/#respond Sun, 09 Dec 2018 21:35:30 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22144 What To Take Camping? A camping checklist is necessary to make your camping less tumultuous. Camping can make for a fun time. Camping can give you a chance to reflect on yourself and the wonders of nature. While camping you’ll discover trails and various hiking opportunities. Hiking is a great way to unwind, and at the end of your journey, a campfire can be incredibly relaxing. There is a lot to consider and plan when you want to go camping, and this article is going to help go over some of those things for you. Before you pack, use this handy checklist to help you plan and make sure carry all the essential items. This comprehensive list does have a lot of items that you probably don’t need and it’s ok not to bring everything and the kitchen sink. However, our motto here at Always Wanderlust is “It’s always better to…Continue Reading

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What To Take Camping?

A camping checklist is necessary to make your camping less tumultuous. Camping can make for a fun time. Camping can give you a chance to reflect on yourself and the wonders of nature. While camping you’ll discover trails and various hiking opportunities. Hiking is a great way to unwind, and at the end of your journey, a campfire can be incredibly relaxing. There is a lot to consider and plan when you want to go camping, and this article is going to help go over some of those things for you.

Before you pack, use this handy checklist to help you plan and make sure carry all the essential items. This comprehensive list does have a lot of items that you probably don’t need and it’s ok not to bring everything and the kitchen sink. However, our motto here at Always Wanderlust is “It’s always better to be prepared than not!”


Camping Checklist:

1 – Camping Tips

2 – Campsite Essentials

3 – Tools and Repair Essentials

4 – Kitchen Essentials

5 – Clothing Essentials

6 – Hygiene and Health Essentials

7 – Personal Items

8 – Luxury Items or Extras

9 – Pet

CAMPING CHECKLIST – PRINTABLE PDF

Camping Tips

Things to consider and learn before going camping.


If you have children or pets, over-packing is better than under-packing. Camping can be messy. Your kids may love playing around in the grass and dirt. As the day moves along, your children are going to get really messy. It is almost impossible to prevent, but luckily, you will not need to worry if you have extra clothes on hand. So it is important to be prepared.

It’s imperative that you pitch your tent before the sun goes down. Once things go dark, you will find it very hard to erect a tent, locate wood and cook a meal. Some people cannot see very well at night, and this makes setting up camp at night next to impossible. Don’t let this happen to you, and have a shelter set up before dark.

Camping Checklist - The Ultimate Necessities And Supplies List

Moonlit Night Under The Minarets

Make sure that your sleeping bag is right for the season and climate where you are camping. You are going to roast all night long in a sleeping bag designed for cold weather that you camp with during summer. On the flip side, bring a sleeping bag meant for summer camping will make you very cold during your winter camping trip. Hypothermia can be experienced, as well.

Don’t forget to include special pillows made just for camping on your adventure. Since standard pillows can pick up a lot of humidity, debris or even creepy-crawlers, leave them safely at home. They can mildew quickly after absorbing moisture. Camping pillows are made with a protective, moisture-proof coating to prevent these issues.

For Kids and Family

camping checklist with petKnow where your kids are at all times. You have to be sure they don’t wander off into the woods. Something could happen very quickly, so if you keep an eye on your kids, your supervision will help keep them safe. If you have pets, make sure you have them leashed at all times. You never know when a wild animal might wander into the campground and your dog might go off and chase it.

An orange peel may just be the natural answer to repelling mosquitoes when you’re out camping. If you neglected to pack mosquito spray, fear not. Rub the inner peel of an orange over your body as mosquitoes will refrain from biting you. This should effectively repel mosquitoes for hours.

Pack ready to eat foods in your camping gear, like trail mix and jerky. It’s likely that you’ll be so worn out at dinnertime that you will only feel like snacking and not cooking. They are also convenient because they keep well and don’t need to be refrigerated.

Don’t Forget The Duct Tape

Duct tape is a great fix-all for camping trips. Tents may get torn, in which case duct tape can provide a seal. A little duct tape can mean you can still sleep dry through a rainy night.

Before setting out on your camping adventure, make sure you can read a map and a compass. Even if you know the area well, getting lost is always a possibility. Also, this will help to avoid tragedy with friends or family.

Bring waterproof matches as part of your survival kit. Even though they are waterproof, you still want to have them sealed off from any liquid. Matches can be made waterproof by simply placing them in either nail polish or paraffin for a quick dip. You can store them in a prescription bottle or film canister.

Don’t Forget The TP

Toilet paper is one of the essential items that you need while camping. If you go camping at a location with no toilets, you will have to use the bathroom in the woods. To keep from having to use potentially dangerous leaves, you need to have toilet paper on hand. It would be wise to use is to bring along some baby wipes as well.

Ensure that your food is safe while camping. Place food in sealed containers so it does not come in contact with water. Also, carry ice packs so you can insulate and cool your food. Keep your raw food away from cooked foods. Wash your hands while preparing food and afterward, and keep any surfaces, utensils and cooking containers clean as well. Make sure your food is thoroughly cooked, and keep perishable foods cold.

When you are camping, layers of clothing are ideal. Weather can change on a dime. It can be chilly in the early morning, only to be followed up with a sweltering, humid and hot afternoon. Then it can turn cold again in the evenings. It is best to bring all types of clothing so that no matter what the weather is, you will be prepared.

Not So Essentials

If you are camping for several days or weeks, bring along some form of entertainment. Try to leave the electronics at home, enjoy the outdoors and only bring a radio or a book for those evenings sitting around the campfire. Speaking of campfires, you can source the firewood at the campsite instead of buying them.

You can find firewood at the campsite

You can find firewood at the campsite

Water purification tablets should be taken with you. Use these for emergency situations where you either run out of water or do not have the time or means to clean the water otherwise. Try the tablets at home so you know how they will taste beforehand. You will want to get a different type of tablet if you don’t like the way your water taste.

Build yourself a survival kit; keep it with you anywhere you go while camping. A survival kit should include items like a flare gun, matches that are waterproof, a knife and other items you think you may need. If you were to get lost or were put in an emergency situation, the survival kit will be of great help. Always keep it nearby and never leave it behind at the campsite.

Campsite Essentials

These are things you need to have when you go camping:


Nice to Have:


Tools and Repair Essentials

It’s always nice to have tools and gadgets available to help fix things. Having tools also make camping less of hassle when you’re cleaning up.


Kitchen Essentials

Why not bring the whole kitchen sink too? Ok, perhaps you don’t need some of the items here but it sure makes camping more fun when you have the most of the things you use in your own kitchen.


  •  Washbasin
  • Microfiber dish towel

Nice to Have:


Clothing Essentials

Outdoors clothing is obviously different than the clothing you wear for business or weddings. Go for practical and function over style – you don’t have to give up the “style” part as some outdoor clothes can indeed be stylish!


  •  Hiking pants or shorts

Emergency/Cold Weather:

It’s always good to have the following items no matter where you are since the weather can change drastically.


  •  I

Swimming/Warm Weather:


  •  S

Hygiene and Health Essentials

Maintaining proper hygiene while camping might be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.


Sun and Insect Protection:


Nice to Have:


  •  Portable 

Personal Items


  •  Cellphone or Smartphone

Luxury Items or Extras

You certainly don’t need the following items to have a fun camping trip. If you’re camping in a very remote place or for a very long time some of the items below might be required. Maybe you want to watch a movie before you go to sleep or perhaps even read a book.


Pet


  • Favorite toy from home
  • Familiar blanket or bed from home
  • Extra collar
  • Dog tags
  • Sturdy leash and harness
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Medications or supplements
  • Motion sickness remedy
  • Rawhide or chew bone
  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Waste removal bags
  • Puppy pads
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Paper towels
  • Copy of health/vaccination papers
  • Paper towels

READY FOR CAMPING?

DOWNLOAD THE  CHECKLIST

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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Travel and Sex – How to “Get it On” Safely https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-sex/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-sex/#respond Sat, 08 Dec 2018 21:00:56 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22182 Travel and sex. Getting busy under the sheets in some hostel dorms happens more often than you think. I’ve witnessed my fair share of dorm mates getting it on while I and other people are pretending not to notice. It’s one of the many reasons why I hate hostels.  I have over a dozen stories to tell in various hostels all around the world – but that’s for another day. Since we’re just humans, after all, getting horny is only part of it, and it also permeates to travel. It’s especially true when you travel alone, and the call for companionship starts to take hold. Most travelers come prepared when it comes to traveling. However, most don’t expect to get laid, so safe sex preparations are often overlooked. If you are likely to engage in sexual activities on your travels; come prepared and practice safe sex. This means preparing any…Continue Reading

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Travel and sex. Getting busy under the sheets in some hostel dorms happens more often than you think. I’ve witnessed my fair share of dorm mates getting it on while I and other people are pretending not to notice. It’s one of the many reasons why I hate hostels.  I have over a dozen stories to tell in various hostels all around the world – but that’s for another day. Since we’re just humans, after all, getting horny is only part of it, and it also permeates to travel. It’s especially true when you travel alone, and the call for companionship starts to take hold.

Most travelers come prepared when it comes to traveling. However, most don’t expect to get laid, so safe sex preparations are often overlooked. If you are likely to engage in sexual activities on your travels; come prepared and practice safe sex. This means preparing any means of contraception and having a solid plan to stay healthy during your travels.

This article will give you an overview of things to consider, plus information about common STIs, prevention, and treatments. Whether you intend to have sex or not when you are traveling, this article will benefit you.

Travel and Sex – How to “Get it On” Safely

Sexual Health Preparations Before Traveling

eggplant penisBefore your travels, it is a good idea to visit your GP or local sexual health clinic to find the right form of contraception for you. The proper contraception can take some time to figure out; and often comes with trial and error of different ways. Therefore, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible to try out different methods before settling for one. This is particularly important if you are traveling for an extended period and may not have access to facilities. Besides that, finding contraception overseas is an expensive affair.

Types of Contraceptives Available

There are some different contraceptive options available; some are more convenient than others. Contraceptive pills are the standard option but can easily be misplaced. Doses can easily be missed which can lead to complications. Also, some women do not react well to contraceptive pills and may experience irregular periods, depression, or other symptoms. If your body responds well to hormone-based contraceptives but often miss doses, there are other options available.

The “implant” is a fairly new but popular method of contraception. It goes under the skin of the arm. It works similarly to a contraceptive pill but doesn’t rely on you having to remember to take the pills. Your GP will be able to provide further details about the “implant” and discuss whether or not it is right for you. Some women do have complications with the implant and end up having to have it removed earlier than initially expected. On some occasions, your GP may suggest another form of contraception not based on hormones like a non-hormonal coil.

For those that do not wish to take pills or have devices implanted into their body. Condoms are always the best option. Condoms also protect against STIs which other methods of contraception will not. For safe sex, it is recommended that condoms are used in conjunction with another form of contraception such as the “the implant,” or contraceptive pills. Condoms are also fairly widely available when traveling; unlike other forms of contraception.

Protecting Yourself Against Infection

protection

STIs can come in a variety of forms, and some are virtually undetectable. Most hurt future fertility. Therefore, it’s always best to understand how to protect yourself against any sexually transmitted infection. Many people don’t know how quickly an STI can be transferred from one person to another. Sexual intercourse isn’t the only way an STI can spread.

Oral sex, anal sex, sharing sex toys, or any other genital contact can put an individual at risk of a sexually transmitted infection. Condoms are the safest way to protect against this type of disease and should be worn by anyone engaging in casual sex. Sexual contact without condoms shouldn’t be considered unless both partners have been tested for any sexually transmitted infections and are not having sex with anybody else.

STI Risks

Anyone who partakes in unprotected sex during travel can be at risk of catching some different STIs. These can include, genital warts, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes — nasty things to be sure. These STIs are treatable but can have lasting damage your health and fertility if not treated. In addition to these common STIs, unsafe sex can put you at risk of catching life-threatening diseases like HIV. To minimize the risk of catching such infections or diseases; condoms are always the most effective option.

Symptoms of STIs

Although some STIs are symptomless, you could still have it. Essential signs to look for include itching in the genital area or anus, rashes, or unusual discharges from the penis or vagina. If you have any of these symptoms, get checked at your local clinic, pronto! If you experience any of the symptoms during your travels, locate the nearest hospital and get tested ASAP.

Travel and Sex – How to “Get it On” Safely

 

Be aware that you might take a financial hit when seeking medical treatment overseas. It is, therefore, best to practice safe sex to avoid unnecessary procedures. Being tested before you travel should give you the reassurance and peace of mind. You certainly don’t want to pass it on to others. A full test will check for all types of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. It will include a blood test, along with collecting swab samples from the penis or vagina.

Treatments for STIs

If you do manage to get infected, and I hope you don’t. Most minor STIs are easily treated with a course of antibiotics. That’s all it usually takes to get rid of the infection altogether. Antibiotics, however, can be costly depending on where you are in the world. That’s why it’s good to have travel insurance to cover for medical expenses. Be that as it may, getting an STI is just nasty business so avoid it at all costs. Stay safe, and be sure to use condoms when engaging in any sexual activity. There is nothing worse than getting sick with an STI when traveling abroad.

The Final Word

Protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections or diseases during travel is essential. However, you should also ensure that you have an effective contraceptive plan to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancy is the worst at the best of times. This can additionally be magnified if it happens in a place away from home.

 

spermPregnancy requires a lot of medical care and attention. This can be a huge hassle and very costly when overseas. This can also put a damper in all your travel plans. Therefore, you should find a reliable contraceptive method before you set off on your travels. Always remember to have fun, but not at the expense of your health. Engaging in casual sex will very likely happen when meeting new people. But still exercise your due diligence; make sure you are adequately prepared to avoid any negative consequences.

Discuss the best method of contraception with your GP and familiarise yourself with ways to protect yourself. Your GP in your local sexual health clinic will provide you with the assistance that you require to put your mind at ease before your travels.

DO YOU PLAN ON DOING THE HORIZONTAL MAMBO?

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Ebu Bekr – Xhamia Ebu Beker (Mosque in Shkoder, Albania) https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/ebu-beker-mosque/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/ebu-beker-mosque/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 21:48:08 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22001 The Ebu Bekr Mosque – Shkoder, Albania  The Balkans, especially Albania, is a very interesting place. It’s one of the only European nations with a predominantly Muslim population. It’s not uncommon to see mosques with towering minarets with loudspeakers blasting away with afternoon prayers. The country boasts a solid mix of Turkish architecture and ancient medieval fortresses. Regardless of your faith or religion, there’s no denying the beauty of these mosques. The Ebu Bekr (sometimes spelled Beker) mosque is small but a dominating figure in the center of Tirana in the northwest of Albania. It has only two minarets as opposed to the usual four that accompany bigger mosques. It served as an important centerpiece in as the academic source of the city and attracted many Islamic scholars. Xhamia Ebu Bekr The Ebu Bekr mosque dates back around from the 18th century. It was fully renovated and refaced in 1995 with…Continue Reading

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The Ebu Bekr Mosque – Shkoder, Albania

 The Balkans, especially Albania, is a very interesting place. It’s one of the only European nations with a predominantly Muslim population. It’s not uncommon to see mosques with towering minarets with loudspeakers blasting away with afternoon prayers. The country boasts a solid mix of Turkish architecture and ancient medieval fortresses. Regardless of your faith or religion, there’s no denying the beauty of these mosques.

The Ebu Beker at sunset in Shkoder, Albania

The Ebu Bekr at sunset in Shkoder, Albania

The Ebu Bekr (sometimes spelled Beker) mosque is small but a dominating figure in the center of Tirana in the northwest of Albania. It has only two minarets as opposed to the usual four that accompany bigger mosques. It served as an important centerpiece in as the academic source of the city and attracted many Islamic scholars.

Xhamia Ebu Bekr

The Ebu Bekr mosque dates back around from the 18th century. It was fully renovated and refaced in 1995 with monetary donations of Saudi Arabia. Visitors are welcome to go inside and marvel at the awesome interior and enjoy the meditative ambiance. On the outside, the building is beautiful and the surrounding park is clean and serene – which is a stark contrast to the busy and noisy streets nearby.

Ebu Beker Mosque or Xhamia e Madhe in Shkoder, Albania

Ebu Bekr Mosque or Xhamia e Madhe in Shkoder, Albania

There are several run-down businesses nearby and looks a little seedy at night. My hostel is just around the corner and a walk to this part of town is just a few minutes. Tirana is not a big city and there’s really no much going on outside of the Rozafa Castle and the Lake. The Ebu Bekr Mosque, however, did give me a few awesome photos during sunset as pictured in the first photo above. If you’re in Shkkoder, Albania you might as well take your shoes off and wander inside. Tourists are allowed and the people there are very friendly.

Category Cityscape
Exposure Various, ISO 100
Camera Sony A7III
Lens Sony FE 24-240mm
Filter Polarizer
Location Tirana, Albania

Useful Information:

Hotels in Shkoder  – Get $20 when you use this link

Website

Get the best prices on Tours to Shkoder, Albania and beyond

Weather in Shkoder

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Best Gifts for Travelers – 37 Unique Gift Ideas https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-gifts-for-travelers/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-gifts-for-travelers/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 19:24:32 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21846 Gift Ideas For Someone Who Loves Traveling [updated December 2018] The Best Gifts for Travelers? It is difficult to find a perfect gift for that special jet-setter in your life. I’m here to provide some excellent gift ideas you can give to someone who’s got a severe case of wanderlust. Having been to over 53 countries, I know what items work and what doesn’t. I pack things that I use and can withstand the rigors of adventure travel. Packing light and using items with multiple purposes is my motto and I’m sure that bold adventurer in your life would also agree. This compilation of gift ideas is sure to make any journey comfortable and fun at the same time. Best of all, it won’t break the bank, so there’s more left money for that airline ticket! Travel Gift Guide: Awesome Gifts Under $50 Amazing Gifts Under $100 The Frequent Traveler…Continue Reading

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Gift Ideas For Someone Who Loves Traveling [updated December 2018]

The Best Gifts for Travelers? It is difficult to find a perfect gift for that special jet-setter in your life. I’m here to provide some excellent gift ideas you can give to someone who’s got a severe case of wanderlust.

Having been to over 53 countries, I know what items work and what doesn’t. I pack things that I use and can withstand the rigors of adventure travel. Packing light and using items with multiple purposes is my motto and I’m sure that bold adventurer in your life would also agree.

This compilation of gift ideas is sure to make any journey comfortable and fun at the same time. Best of all, it won’t break the bank, so there’s more left money for that airline ticket!


Travel Gift Guide:

  1. Awesome Gifts Under $50
  2. Amazing Gifts Under $100
  3. The Frequent Traveler
  4. Travel Gifts For Men
  5. Travel Gifts For Her
  6. Best Gifts For Adventurers
  7. Best Gifts For The Geeky Traveler
  8. Gifts For Travel Photographers

Gifts Under $50

Here are some gifts that definitely won’t break the bank! Gift ideas that are sure to be used by any traveler.


International Power Adapter Kit

Your jet-setter will be very happy with this item. No matter where he or she is in the world, you can be sure they are plugged in and recharged. The Ceptics 12 pack has all the sizes and adapters for practically all the known civilized world.

If your traveler is an Apple user, the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit fits the bill.

See It On Amazon

Carry On Cocktail Kit

Your favorite traveler complaining about underpowered in-flight drinks? Have them bring their bar to the flight! These practical kit will have them making their Bloody Marys in no time.

See It On Amazon

Pro Packing Cubes

Packing cubes help you organize and compress items in your luggage. This set will help you compress clothes, toiletries and everything in between.

See It On Amazon

Scratch the World Travel Map

A perfect gift for the humblebragger traveler. Now they can show off where they’ve been around the world or perhaps they can plan their next trip on this world map poster. It’s also a perfect gift to educate soon would be young explorers!

See It On Amazon

Espro Travel Coffee Press

This coffee press is design for people on the go who wants excellent tasting coffee. You can take it with you on extended backpacking or camping trips with a bag of coffee and brew your tasty coffee every day. It sure beats the nasty instant coffee you get at some hotels.

See It On Amazon

GOOLOO Quick Charge

This item is one of the most practical things I have during long road-trips. It saved my neck several times over when I forgot to turn off the car lights and drained my battery. I can charge your camera, smartphone, and even your laptop on top to being able to jump start your car. This is a must-have item for the traveler always on the road.

See It On Amazon

Matador Packable Adventure Travel Gearmatador packable

Matador gear offers the perfect under $50 gift for the adventurer. The brand boasts some of the most practical products from a packable tote bag to a packable lens base layer. Check it out!

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Gifts Under $100

For a little bit more and still under a hundred bucks, these gifts will keep on giving.


Packsafe Travel Backpack

The Pacsafe Metrosafe is an anti-theft travel backpack that a traveler can take as a piece of extra luggage. It’s made of cut-proof lightweight steel mesh meant to prevent pickpocketing and slashing. It also comes equipped with RFID blocking pocket that keeps credit cards and IDs safe.

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LuminAID PackLite Hero

The LuminAID is an awesome device, for around $70 you get a solar phone charger, camping lantern, and battery backup. It weighs less than 10 ounces and packs down to 1 inch thick so it can easily be packed and stored. It can be charged using solar power or USB.

See It On Amazon

JBL Waterproof Speakers

This portable speaker can connect up to three smartphones or tablets. What’s more, it has a speakerphone function that allows you to take calls and speak on the speaker. Its rugged design means it can take some abuse and you can easily clean it with running tap water.

See It On Amazon

Holy Stone HS160 RC Drone

Drones are definitely the thing nowadays. It seems everybody needs to have one or be left in the dust. The HS160 drone can take your selfies with a push of a button. It’s also under $90 and with Amazon’s coupon promo, it’s currently under $80. What a steal!

See It On Amazon

Moment Lenses

The biggest drawback to smartphone photography is the static focal lens. You can’t have a super-wide angle or long telephoto. That’s where Moment Lenses come in. They allow you to have interchangeable lenses on your phone just as you would with professional DSLRs.

See It On Amazon

Gifts For The Geeky Traveler

Do you have a geeky traveler in your life? These gadgets will surely impress even the pickiest geek.


Noise Cancelling Headphones

Cabin noise, city traffic, or office noise can be annoying. These headphones can help you filter out the noise so you can focus on what you want to hear. Enjoy your music, video, movies without the stuff you don’t want to hear. These items can be as low as $70 like the COWIN E7 Pro or a little bit more like the $300 Bose QuiteComfort Series.

See It On Amazon

Amazon Fire HD Tablet

The Amazon Fire lets your geeky traveler enjoy his or her favorite movies, kindle books, TV shows, music, and favorite apps all in a sleek little package. Prime members also get unlimited access to over a thousand books and magazines at no additional cost. Your geek explorer will love this item as I do!

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ANBERNIC Handheld Game Console

Geeky travelers will love this item! It can connect to any TV and has over 3,000 playable games from NEOGEO to Sega Genesis. Only a geek would know what I’m talking about. Now the geek can play their favorite classics anywhere in the world.

See It On Amazon

GlocalMe G3 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

This item is perfect for digital nomads. It allows you to be connected when WiFi isn’t available. Reasonable rates for global data without roaming charges. Connect multiple devices at the same time and take the internet with you everywhere.

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Gifts For The Frequent Traveler

Do you know a jet-setter who always on the road at any time of the year? Here are a few gift ideas to make their travels more comfortable.


Heated Travel Blanket

Best Gifts for Travelers

Do you have a frequent road-tripper in your life? How about a 12 volt heated blanket like the Car Cozy two person blanket? It’s great for long distance travel in cold climates. Don’t let your traveler be cold and frozen.

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Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Best Gifts for Travelers

Make those long-distance flights more comfortable for your jet-setter. A memory foam neck pillow will allow any traveler to sleep and rest comfortably on any flights, especially in economy class.

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Handheld Garment Steamer for Travel

Best Gifts for Travelers

Your frequent travel would appreciate this item. They can always look their best on the road no matter the occasion. This steamer eliminates germs, odors, and straightens wrinkles on their packed clothes. It’s incredibly portable and heats up in just 25 seconds.

See It On Amazon

Travel Gifts For Men

Here are fantastic gifts for the traveling man in your life.


Men’s Premium 20-Piece Necessities Travel Kit

Best Gifts for Travelers

Do you know a man who’s about to travel? This TSA compliant toiletries kit is ready to go. It comes complete with all the grooming and oral care essentials your man needs to stay on top of his adventures.

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RFID Blocking Slim Bifold Wallet

Best Gifts for Travelers

This wallet will protect information stored in RFID chips from unauthorized scans. It’s a perfect gift for any man who travels in third world countries.

See It On Amazon

GoPro Hero5

Best Gifts for Travelers

GoPro Hero5 is the best video camera for the traveler and adventurer. 4k Videos and 12 MP stills, over land or underwater, this item won’t disappoint. Any recipient receiving this gift will be jumping in joy.

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Snow Boots Waterproof Outdoor Hiking

Best Gifts for Travelers

I love these boots so much, I bought two pairs. They’re great for cold weather hikes and walking all around in the snow. It’s remarkably cheap but the quality isn’t lacking. Any man receiving this as a gift will surely love it.

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Travel Gifts For Her

Useful and practical gifts for her.


Infinity Scarf With Zip Pocket

Best Gifts for Travelers

It’s chick, stylish, soft and has a nifty pocket to hide her passport and valuables. It doesn’t sacrifice style over function and comfort. The scarf folds small and doesn’t take up much space on your luggage. It is great for keeping her warm and chic at the same time.

See It On Amazon

S-ZONE Women’s Travel Purse/Backpack

Best Gifts for Travelers

Made with high-grade genuine leather, this shoulder bag/purse can convert into a backpack for travel. She can easily carry her notebooks, phone, iPad, and it even has side pockets for water bottles. Stylish and practical at the same time.

See It On Amazon

Travel Electronic Toothbrush

Best Gifts for Travelers

Now, this is a gift that will put a smile on her face and make that smile extra bright. This portable toothbrush delivers 22,000 strokes a minute for that sparkling white smile. Stylish options to fit any personality and style.

See It On Amazon

Foldable Travel Hair Dryer

Best Gifts for Travelers

If your special traveler can’t live without her hair tools, this portable hair dryer is perfect. Advanced ceramic technology that delivers negative ions makes for the healthiest dry hair around.

See It On Amazon

Gifts For The Adventure Traveler


Know any intrepid adventurer in your flock? Here are some amazing gift ideas for the mountain man or gal.

Ultralight Hammock

Best Gifts for Travelers

Camping, backpacking, hiking, or just hanging out at the beach, hammocks are an essential part of adventure comforts. The Youphoria Portable Hammock comes with tree straps and weighs only 12 ounces.

You can even go for a 2-person type like the Lisuu Camping Hammock with an integrated mosquito net. Your adventurer will put these items to good use for a long time.

See It On Amazon

Outdoor Water Filtration

Best Gifts for Travelers

Adventurers need to always be hydrated in order to tackle the next challenge. Packing liters of water can be tiring so we rely on solid water filters to do the job of providing clean and drinkable water. The Platypus GraviyWorks can provide 4 liters of potable water in just minutes with no pumping required.

If a more traditional pump action filter is what your adventurer wants, then the Katadyn Hiker Pro delivers just as well in an 11-ounce ultralight package.

See It On Amazon

Ultralight Mountaineering Tent

Best Gifts for Travelers

Ultralight tents is an adventurer’s staple gear. It means comfort during long hikes or ascents up arduous mountains. Modern ultralight tents are not only lightweight, but they’re also sturdy and can withstand the elements regardless of the season.

See It On Amazon

Micro Fiber Towels

Best Gifts for Travelers

Every traveler should have one. It folds small and packs small. Dries quick and absorbs more than their cotton counterpart. Microfiber towels can be used for backpacking, outdoor camping, gym, yoga, and just about anything. It’s one of the most practical gifts you can give to your traveler.

See It On Amazon

Matador Hydrolite Hydration Backpack

matador hydrolite

Matador has partnered with leaders in hydration and filtration technology to offer you the world’s first packable hydration pack! The pack is designed specifically for travel and adventure with a built-in filtration system that gives you access to clean drinking water anywhere in the world. Go for it – drink straight from rivers, lakes, and even international taps with the in-line assembled Sawyer® MINI water filter.

See It On Matador

Gifts For The Travel Photographer

Know an avid travel photographer? Here are some awesome gift ideas for that will help them land the next NatGeo cover spread.


Compact Travel Tripod

Best Gifts for Travelers

Tripods are a necessity when it comes to producing professional quality images. For travelers, having a compact tripod saves on weight and luggage space. Something like the Gorilla Pod can attach to almost anything and can hold some heavy professional cameras.

Perhaps they need something a little for hefty and professional like the Geekoto Carbon Fiber Tripod that can fold inside any carryon luggage? Whatever you choose, I’m sure your travel photographer will love what you pick. For more options on tripods, Check out my guide on the best travel tripods for under $100.

See It On Amazon

Circular Polarizer

Best Gifts for Travelers

Circular Polarizers are great for making photos more vibrant and any seasoned photographer will appreciate one in their photographic arsenal. Its effects can’t be easily reproduced in Photoshop and it’s an essential tool for Landscape Photographers. They’re small and can be a great Stocking Stuffer.

These items can be cheap like the decent Tiffen Circular Polarizer or expensive like the B+W Kaesemann, whatever you choose, I’m sure it will make him or her very happy. For more information, read my guide on circular polarizers.

See It On Amazon

Memory Cards

Best Gifts for Travelers

Your favorite photographer probably takes thousands of photos. Having extra memory cards is always welcome. This is one item that can never go wrong unless you pick the wrong type. Make sure it fits the standards of the camera your photographer is using. Most are using the SDXC type nowadays.

Memory Cards are tiny and perfect as Stocking Stuffer. The 128 Gb Sandisk Extreme is just over $40 and the 64 Gb version is under $25. Though cheap, these cards are used by professionals all over the world – I use them too.

See It On Amazon

So there you go, you’re sure to find your awesome gift for that special someone who travels in your life. I hope I’ve given you some awesome ideas for your traveler’s gift whether it’s for a birthday, wedding, Christmas, or just about any occasion you can think of!

With all that said, you’re probably curious about…

What did I get from my wife this holiday season?

Google Pixel 3 XL 128GB w/ Project Fi

Best Gifts for Travelers

Okay, it’s expensive but I haven’t changed phones in over 3 years. I was long overdue and this phone takes awesome pictures. Good enough to sell in stock photography in fact. It’s also paired with the best phone plan made for travelers, Project Fi – Project Fi works great all around the world. It’s blazing fast in Russia and equally strong in South America – Read about my Project Fi Experience. Get $20 when switching to Project Fi.

See It On Amazon

What did I get my wife?

Apple iPhone XR 256 Gb

Best Gifts for Travelers

She’s got a little bit more of an eclectic taste than I do and iPhones are her thing so that’s what she got. Toe to toe with the Google Pixel it takes better photos. Heck, all the Apple iPhones I know, produce some of the best photos. I’m just not an Apple fan, but my wife is so that balances it out. Best of all, Project Fi now works on iPhones as well!

See It On Amazon

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY TRAILS!

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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La Meije (3984 m) : All You Need To Know About Climbing https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/la-meije/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/la-meije/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:58:44 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21883 La Meije sits at the northern end of the Massif des Écrins and towers over the famed ski village of La Grave. Rising to 3.984 meters above sea level, it is the second highest peak in the massif and among the tallest in France. The peak has long held significance to the inhabitants of La Grave. Its name comes from the Provençal word ‘meidjo’ meaning midday. This refers to the fact that the sun passes directly over La Meije at noon. Villagers used to refer to the Grand Pic as ‘oeille de la meidjour’ or the midday needle, for this reason.   Every year thousands of skiers, hikers, rock and ice climbers descend on the town from every corner of the world. Everyone from all walks of life come to enjoy the spectacular scenery at the foot of the massif. A Challenge Best known as a keen challenge for mountaineers, La…Continue Reading

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La Meije sits at the northern end of the Massif des Écrins and towers over the famed ski village of La Grave. Rising to 3.984 meters above sea level, it is the second highest peak in the massif and among the tallest in France.

The peak has long held significance to the inhabitants of La Grave. Its name comes from the Provençal word ‘meidjo’ meaning midday. This refers to the fact that the sun passes directly over La Meije at noon. Villagers used to refer to the Grand Pic as ‘oeille de la meidjour’ or the midday needle, for this reason.  

Every year thousands of skiers, hikers, rock and ice climbers descend on the town from every corner of the world. Everyone from all walks of life come to enjoy the spectacular scenery at the foot of the massif.

La Meije Summit

Climbing La Meije

A Challenge

Best known as a keen challenge for mountaineers, La Meije was the last major mountain in France that has been summited. It was first climbed in 1877 by Emmanuel Boileau de Castelnau, Pierre Gaspard, and his son.

La Meije is also the first major summit in France to have been climbed first by a French mountaineer. The rest of France’s significant peaks were first climbed by other European alpinists, mostly of English heritage.

For some French mountaineers, this is a particular point of pride. An English alpinist, William Augustus Coolidge (credited as the first alpinist to successfully make a winter ascent of the Jungfrau), tried to climb the peak and failed.

La Meije was the eleventh and final ascent that de Castelnau would make before enlisting in the army and later studying medicine. He met Pierre Gaspard, a famed mountain guide who had already climbed several other peaks on the massif. Subsequently, in 1876 the three became a prolific team with several accolades to their names.

For the elder Gaspard, the ascent of La Meije came right in the middle of his prolific climbing career in the Massif des Écrins. Along with La Meije, he climbed 11 other peaks in the range. One in particular now bears his name – Pic Gaspard.

The route by which the three mountaineers made their ascent had previously been tried unsuccessfully by a few other alpinists, including Coolidge, and is now the most common route for mountaineers take on their way to the summit.

What are the Most Common Climbing Routes?

La Meije is composed of an eastern and western summit. The western summit, or Grand Pic, is the higher of the two and therefore the primary target for mountaineers.

Grand Pic is well known in mountaineering circles for having no easy route to the top. However, the main route, summited by de Castelnau and the Gaspards, is considered slightly simpler since it requires less rock climbing.

La Grave La Meije

Both routes in La Meiji begin at the same spot

Both routes, the so-called common route along the mountain’s north face and the route from the south face begin in the same spot. From La Grave, you head up to the massif via the cable car. Once you have reached the terminus, the path will diverge depending upon which route you take.

For the north face route, you will hike for six to eight hours through some rugged and rocky terrain, heading right toward the mountain, until you reach the Refuge de l’Aigle. For the south face route, you will hike for about five hours through similarly rugged and rocky terrain until you reach the Refuge du Promontoire.

Both mountain huts are well taken care of, offering half-board meals as well as running water and comfortable dormitory-style beds. During the on-season, they are frequently full due to the large volume of climbers that the mountain gets each season. As a result, it is best to make a reservation ahead of time.

How Long Does it Take to Climb La Meije?

The climb of La Meije is generally divided into two days. The first day gets you to the refuge and the second to the summit and backs down. Regardless of which route you take, the first day requires some pretty intense hiking. Overall elevation gain for the climb is about 2,250 meters, of which you will gain 1,750 on the first day.

Waking up early on the second day at the Refuge de l’Aigle, on the north face route, you will exit the mountain hut and hike across the base of the Tabuchet glacier until you reach the base of a large, 40-degree snow slope. Here is where you will need an ice ax and crampons, not to mention some calf strength. Once you have gotten up this snowy wall, the rest of the way is a mix of glacial hiking and rock climbing all the way to the summit.

The Grand Pic

As you go to Grand Pic, you will pass the eastern summit along the way. Depending on how much time you have, some guides will make a quick detour to get to the top of this minor summit and snap a few photographs of the Grand Pic.

Trekking towards Refuge de Promontoire

Trekking towards Refuge de Promontoire

Meanwhile, waking up early at the Refuge de Promontoire, on the south face route, you have quite an intense day ahead of you as well. The refuge is located at the base of a massive rock wall. To reach the summit, you will spend the lion’s share of your day climbing the western edge steep southern buttress.

After spending most of the day climbing this buttress, you will arrive at the summit after a mix of glacier hiking and a bit more rock climbing. On the way back, you will abseil back down the buttress, which is both incredibly exciting and amazingly scenic.

Something to think about while your abseiling: consider that the first alpinists to climb La Meije via the southern wall did not abseil back down, as the technique had not been invented yet. They climbed back down with their ropes, leaving them tied in some of the trickier places. 

Regardless of How You Reach the Summit, You Will be Rewarded with Fantastic Views.

The top of Grand Pic offers panoramic vistas of the surroundings. It highlights some of the other prominent peaks of the Massif des Écrins, including the Doigt de Dieu and Barre des Écrins, as well as the alpine lakes and valleys below.

Be ready for spectacular views at the top of La Meije

Be ready for spectacular views at the top of La Meije

La Meije can both be climbed individually but is also frequently included in a multi-peak traverse of the Massif des Écrins. One of these traverses, which goes across part of the massif from west to east, is considered one of the most beautiful in the Alps.

This traverse commonly referred to as the East-West branch stretches for 15 kilometers and includes several of the massif’s other high peaks. That includes Pointe Nérot (3537m), Pic Gaspard (3,883m), Le Pavé (3,824 m), Le Rateau (3,809 m), Pic de la grave (3,669 m) and Dôme de la Lauze (3,512 m).

The trek is quite intense but makes for an unforgettable alpine mountaineering adventure.

How Difficult is it to Climb La Meije?

Roped climb of La Meije<

A roped climb of La Meije

La Meije is not a very difficult climb. Rated PD, or peu dificile, meaning that the climb is only slightly technical. Regardless of the route, you will need to have some basic rock climbing and ice climbing skills.  

Most guides will ask that you have previous mountaineering experience before attempting to climb La Meije. They usually do not require previous rock or ice climbing experience.

You should be in excellent physical condition; capable of carrying a light load uphill for consecutive hours with minimal rest. If physical fitness is an issue, your guide may recommend doing some light endurance and core training before climbing La Meije.

It is also recommended to arrive in La Grave a few days early to adjust to the elevation.

Regardless of your level of experience or competence, it is always best to hire a certified guide. Most guides, certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, have been trained under the most rigorous international standards.

An IFMGA-certified guide not only will know the area very well but will also handle all of the logistics. This will ensure that everyone is as safe as possible throughout the climb.   

What Equipment Do You Need for La Meije?

Mountain climbing equipment is necessary to summit La Meiji

Mountain climbing equipment is necessary to summit La Meiji

While the climb of La Meije is not overly technical, it does require some climbing equipment. That includes carabiners, crampons, a harness, helmet, ice ax, and rope. Depending on your guide, these equipment are included in the package. The rest can be rented pretty easily in La Grave.

Along with having all the proper equipment, bringing all the necessary clothing is also imperative to successfully climb the peak. Temperature and weather conditions can change rapidly as elevation increases. It is essential to bring clothing that will be comfortable at the bottom as well as the summit.

Most guides recommend that you pack clothing in layers. This includes bringing a sweater or windbreaker, light jacket, and heavy jacket, both of which should be waterproof; a regular pair of polyester pants and another pair of wind-resistant and waterproof pants; two pairs of wool socks; outer and inner gloves; mountaineering boots; a sun hat and knit, woolen cap; and a pair of sunglasses.

Guides will offer a list of any other equipment that you may need to bring along on the trip.        

When is the Best Time to go to La Meije?

The best time to climb La Meije is from July until September. During the summer, average daily temperatures range from 15ºC to 20ºC toward the base of the mountain and steadily cool down to about freezing and below as the elevation increases.

Coinciding with the warm temperatures is dry weather. During the summer it is rare to receive more than 75 mm of rain each month. That means the chances of having clear and sunny days are quite high.

However, fast-forming storms are not uncommon at higher elevations and something every mountaineer should keep an eye out for.

How to Get to La Meije?

The easiest way to get to La Grave and La Meije internationally is via Geneva. It has the closest international airport. From Geneva, you will drive south for about three hours, going through Grenoble.

If you are flying from within France or closer in Europe, then you might prefer to fly into the Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport and then make the two-hour drive to La Grave via Grenoble.   

Due to its small size, you might have some trouble finding accommodations in La Grave. This is especially true during the peak months in the summer. However, there are several nearby towns, such as Grenoble.

If you want to combine climbing La Meije with further alpine adventure, flying into Geneva and staying in Chamonix is also a good option.  

La Meije combines all the Essential Ingredients of Excellent Mountaineering Experience.

La Meije requires some technical climbing up imposing surfaces. It also allows you to spend the night in a quintessential alpine refuge and finishes off with spectacular views of the mountain’s magnificent surroundings.

It is the perfect mountain for one of your first ascents or your one-hundredth ascent. La Meije always offers something different depending on how you approach the peak and what route you take.  

Ready to tackle this majestic French summit? You can find several options to climb La Meije with a mountain guide at Explore-Share.com, an online booking platform for guided adventures worldwide.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK? WANT TO TACKLE LA MEIJE?

 

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Polarizer Filter – Why You Need One and Which One to Get https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/polarizer-filter/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/polarizer-filter/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2018 23:34:40 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21727 In today’s age of Photoshop, Lightroom, or Instagram the need for filters is becoming obsolete. You can snap a photo with your phone and instantly post it to Instagram while applying any of its variable filters available. Why even use a blue or a warming filter when you can apply it during post-processing using Photoshop? There is no need to buy or carry around expensive Graduated Neutral Density filters when you can bracket the shot and then blend these exposures during post-processing Indeed, the current technology and techniques allow us photographers to carry less gear that weighs down our backpacks. However, there are still some things that Instagram and Photoshop can’t do what a Polarizing Filter can. That’s because the Polarizer’s purpose is to filter the light coming in through lens and into your camera’s sensor. You see, the light becomes “polarized” as it travels through the Earth’s atmosphere and…Continue Reading

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In today’s age of Photoshop, Lightroom, or Instagram the need for filters is becoming obsolete. You can snap a photo with your phone and instantly post it to Instagram while applying any of its variable filters available. Why even use a blue or a warming filter when you can apply it during post-processing using Photoshop? There is no need to buy or carry around expensive Graduated Neutral Density filters when you can bracket the shot and then blend these exposures during post-processing

Can never get enough Circular Polarizers

Can never get enough Circular Polarizers

Indeed, the current technology and techniques allow us photographers to carry less gear that weighs down our backpacks. However, there are still some things that Instagram and Photoshop can’t do what a Polarizing Filter can. That’s because the Polarizer’s purpose is to filter the light coming in through lens and into your camera’s sensor. You see, the light becomes “polarized” as it travels through the Earth’s atmosphere and as it passes through pollution all the way to your lens glass.

The Circular Polarizer’s primary function is to block this light, and that’s why you will see darkened and bluer skies on your photos using the filter. In theory, you can achieve this same effect in Photoshop but what you can’t do is filter polarized light. For example, reflections – water reflection or non-metallic objects deliver polarized light. You can reduce or even eliminate these reflections before you press the shutter with a polarizer. This effect alone cannot be replicated in Photoshop or any post-processing process known to man.

The Polarizing Filter works it’s magic with a linear polarizing film that filters out the scattered light rays and allowing only the light that moves in a linear direction. Linear Polarizing Filters were one of the first polarizing filters produced for film and manual cameras.

Here's a Circular Polarizer in action. Noticed how much darker and bluer the mountain is compared to the rest of the frame?

Here’s a Circular Polarizer Filter in action. Noticed how much darker and bluer the skies above the mountain is compared to the rest of the frame?

I’ve used Linear Polarizing filters when I was shooting with large format film cameras. They worked great but had one downside, their use interferes with modern camera auto-focus and metering systems as it had problems seeing the light moving in linearly. The solution to this is to add a quarter wave plate on the polarizing film to twist the light coming into the lens in a circular pattern – That’s what a Circular Polarizer Filter is, the topic of this article!

Without getting into the physics to explain polarization further, the important thing you have to know is – Polarizing Filters have the most profound effect then it’s used at 90-degree angle from the Sun. That means it works the best when the Sun’s rays are to the left or right of your composition. It is less effective when the Sun is 180 degrees, meaning right behind or in front of you. Still, these minuscule effects can even have a pleasant addition to your image.

Wide Angle With Circular Polarizer Filter

As mentioned, the degree of polarization is most effective when you point your lens 90 degrees from the Sun. You can see this profound effect when you use a Circular Polarizer Filter with a wide angle lens 28 mm or smaller (full frame, cropped sensors will be lower). Since wide angles include more of the sky, you can see part of the atmosphere that isn’t fully polarized. This leads to part of the sky being darker than the rest. It’s up to you if you like this effect or not, I don’t have a problem with it, and I often use Polarizers with Super Wide angles.

There are some things you would be aware of when using a Circular Polarizing Filter. Using one will subtract 1-2 stops of light coming in so you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Most applications of a Circular Polarizing Filter is when the camera is Mounted on a Tripod, but some wildlife photographers use it well while hand holding the camera.

Another thing to be aware of is that the physical thickness of the Polarizers. With wide angle lenses and shooting wide open, can reveal unnatural vignetting at the corners of the frame. There are thin Circular Polarizer Filters to address this particular issue, but you should always check to make sure you’re not at the point of vignetting before taking the shot. You can also check the frame after you took the shot and examine the corners to retake another photo if necessary or adjust your f-stop for a smaller aperture.

Circular Polarizers

Circular Polarizer Filter in action

With all that said, some photographers leave the filter on their lenses all the time. I shoot most of my nature and landscape photos with a Circular Polarizer Filter on my optics. Most images and scenery can use a Polarizing filter, and you should be using them or at least have one in your camera bag. There are just some things Photoshop can’t recreate and what a Circular Polarizer Filter can do is one of them.

Good polarizing filters are not cheap. The ones I use are costly. There’s no reason to tack on a $30 piece of glass on top of a $2,000 lens, that would be stupid. Add to the fact that you could easily have 2-3 different size filter mounts on your lenses and the costs can add up. So what is the solution to this problem? Buy the largest Circular Polarizer Filter matched to the largest lens you have and then buy step-down rings to allow it to fit your smaller lenses. The most common size is 77 mm, but some Super Wide Angle lenses go up to 82 mm – the larger the filter, the more expensive it is!

Here are the Top 5 options I’ve compiled with detailed summary and review to help you pick your Circular Polarizing Filter.

TOP 5 CIRCULAR POLARIZER FILTERS


B+W XS-Pro HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer Filter

B+W XS-Pro Kaesemann Circular Polarizer

 

MSRP: $70-$360
Pros: Quite likely the best Circular Polarizer Filter in the market
Cons: Not cheap

This is the filter I use most today. I lost one many years ago and replaced it with a Nikon and then the Heliopan. Now I’m back to using it again. Schneider Optics makes the B+W Circular Polarizer and for those in the know, one of the best lens/glassmakers in the world. The optics from Schneider is second to none, and the B+W Polarizing filter is no exception.

The Kaesemann is a high transmission circular polarizer filter. This filter is specifically designed to mount on digital cameras. It has a variable stop loss of 1 to 1.5 depending on the degree of polarization. It’s relatively easy to clean and so far hasn’t been scratched from my rugged use due to its multi-resistant nano coating. The colors come out neutral and do a reasonable degree of polarizing effect. Overall, I’m happy with this filter and will continue using it in the foreseeable future. If you have the cash, get this filter, call it a day shopping and go out shooting.

See The Best Deals

Heliopan SH-PMC Slim Mount Circular Polarizer Filter

heliopan polarizer

MSRP: $130 -$310
Pros: High-quality glass that losses just a stop and high-quality brass rings
Cons: Expensive and requires great care and handling

I’ve been using the Heliopan 77 mm Slim Mount polarizer for many years. The optical quality is phenomenal. It’s a bit of a toss-up between this and B & W or Nikon, but quality-wise, you can’t go wrong with either of one of them. The SH-PMC means that it has a filter factor of 2.0 vs. 2.5 of the older versions – 2.0 means just one stop light loss while maintaining the same polarization.

Even though the filter has solid brass rings and build, over the years of use, I’ve managed to scratch the glass and eventually it would start to flare when shooting with the sun in the frame. Before that, flares were controlled and didn’t happen as often. The colors come out neutral as expected of high-quality filters such as this. I have since gone back to B&W as my go-to Polarizing Filter for most applications. I still reach out to my Heliopon occasionally but only when there’s no Sun on the frame. Would I recommend this filter for you? Yes! If there are no scratches on my filter, I’d happily use more. It’s a little on the expensive side, but you do get what you pay for.

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Nikon Wide Circular Polarizer II Filter

Nikon 77mm Wide Circular Polarizer II Filter

MSRP: $130 -$250
Pros: Strongest polarization out of any filters in this group
Cons: Unless you like the effect, images come out too saturated

I’ve used this Polarizing Filter for a couple of years. It’s made by quality optics (and camera) maker, Nikon, so you know what you’re getting when you tack on this filter on your expensive lenses. If you want a strong polarizer, this is it. The polarizing effect on this filter is a lot stronger than anything listed here. Colors will saturate more, and it will cut down the reflections more as well.

Even with strong filtering the Nikon filter still manages only to lose 1.5 stops of light at its zenith. It’s also a very sturdy and robustly built piece of gear that can withstand basic abuses. It doesn’t scratch as easily with its super thin glass and frame made for wide-angle lenses.  If you’re looking for your first Circular Polarizer, you can’t go wrong with the Nikon – you get a high-quality filter that’s not overpriced.

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Tiffen Digital HT Multi-Coated Circular Polarizer Filter

Tiffen Digital HT Multi-Coated Circular Polarizer

MSRP: $34 -$169
Pros: Excellent filter for the price
Cons: Filter mount isn’t the best fit for some lenses

I had the chance to purchase a Tiffen Warming Circular Polarizer at a low price and jumped right on it. Tiffen makes quality camera equipment and gear at very affordable prices. I’ve owned some of their tripods, flash accessories, and other camera accessories over the years. Optically, you won’t be able to find any difference between this filter and any of the filters mentioned above.

The Tiffen Circular Polarizer is a high transmission polarizing filter that was designed with digital cameras in mind. However, I find the screw to be a little cumbersome with attaching to my Nikon lens. The colors come out great, not too saturated, just enough to see that the filter is working. The price isn’t too shabby either. It’s quite affordable for the quality of the filter you’re getting. If you don’t have the extra spare cash and want a quality Circular Polarizer, the Tiffen Digital HT should fit the bill.

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Hoya HD 8-layer Multi-Coated Circular Polarizing Filter

MSRP: $30 -$70
Pros: High-quality glass that losses just a stop and high-quality brass rings
Cons: Expensive and requires great care and handling

You can’t mention filters (especially polarizing filters) without mentioning Hoya. These filters are probably what most photographers pick up first when they first start their first foray into polarizing filters. Their cheap, readily available, and marketed well. I’ve had one included on the first used Nikon Film camera I purchased. They work well, and I’ve never really been one to scrutinize down to the pixel level to substantiate the quality.

For years, I’ve always associated Hoya with “cheap.” But, now the brand does make decent filters that are affordable and highly functional. The filter I had finally broke apart from uses on the field, and I’ve never purchased another Hoya filter since. For around $30-$70, it’s an excellent Polarizing Filter to start with but you might find yourself eventually needing one of the filters above should you find yourself using a Polarizing Filter more and more.

See The Best Deals

Things To Consider When Buying A Circular Polarizer Filter

Although price varies significantly from one Circular Polarizer to the other, you should look into other factors outside of this. But, suffice it to say, the more expensive the Circular Polarizing Filter is, the better the quality. It always baffles me when I see a photographer using a $2,000 lens and then mounting a $20 filter on it. Light already has to pass through the lens’ multiple optical elements, and then you place a cheap element in front of all that?

Now, before you fork a hundred bucks on the most expensive Circular Polarizer Filter here are things you should look for:

  • Light Transmission: Cheaper filters are dimmer and therefore a few stops slower than High Transmissions ones which are more expensive. If you use tripods then this wouldn’t be an issue, you might even like the effect especially on waterfalls and moving water.
  • Glare Resistance: Multi-coated filters are more glare resistant and are also more expensive. If you don’t include the Sun on the frame, then this wouldn’t be much of an issue.
  • Color Neutrality: Cheap polarizers can affect the hue of the colors. Polarizers should be color neutral.
  • Contrast: Cheap polarizer without the proper coating will make your images look dull and lack contrast.
  • Vignetting: A thin polarizer is more expensive and allows more versatility when used with wide angle lenses.

Here are a few examples of Circular Polarizer Filter in use:

the general store in bodie california

Partially cutting glare from the glass to reveal contents inside the store. Bodie, California

Eagle Falls Lake Tahoe

Slowing the light coming in 1.5 stops extra to produce the milky water effect of the waterfall. Lake Tahoe, California

Iguazu Falls is a park that borders with Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay

Enhancing the colors of a rainbow. Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Peyto Lake in mid-afternoon. Calgary, Canada.

Enhancing the blues of the sky and glaciated lake. Peyto Lake, Canada

Always Wanderlust 22 Pictures That Prove The Canadian Rockies Rock image 10

The Polarizing Filter made this elk’s coat more saturated

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Waters

Cutting glare on the water to reveal the bottom of a lake. Lake Tahoe, California

Interesting read about Polarization: WIKIPEDIA

DO YOU HAVE A CIRCULAR POLARIZER FILTER?

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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Travel Inspiration – Excuses Why You Can’t Travel https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-inspiration/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-inspiration/#comments Fri, 09 Nov 2018 23:49:05 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21747 Ever wanted to travel the world but second-guessed yourself? How many excuses can you come up with when you think, “I want to travel the world?” I bet you’ve used up all the fingers in your hands for the count. You’re not alone, and when it comes to long-term travel, everyone has a dozen reasons why they can’t. For people who have never traveled longer than a month they have some misconceptions about Round-The-World travel and what makes it not possible. Here we’ll go over the reasons you can’t just pull the trigger and take that leap. 1 – The Gap in my Resume Will Put an End to my Career This is not the 50s through 80s anymore. There has been a massive paradigm shift in thinking. It is now very common to have quality employees with gaps or massive gaps in their CVs and Resumes. Even hiring managers…Continue Reading

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Ever wanted to travel the world but second-guessed yourself? How many excuses can you come up with when you think, “I want to travel the world?” I bet you’ve used up all the fingers in your hands for the count. You’re not alone, and when it comes to long-term travel, everyone has a dozen reasons why they can’t. For people who have never traveled longer than a month they have some misconceptions about Round-The-World travel and what makes it not possible. Here we’ll go over the reasons you can’t just pull the trigger and take that leap.

1 – The Gap in my Resume Will Put an End to my Career

An afternoon view of Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

An afternoon view of Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

This is not the 50s through 80s anymore. There has been a massive paradigm shift in thinking. It is now very common to have quality employees with gaps or massive gaps in their CVs and Resumes. Even hiring managers and potential employers have taken long sabbaticals. The crash in 2008 has left a lot of quality employees with massive gaps in their resumes as well, and they are back in the saddle. You’re not alone.

So let’s pretend you’re a hiring manager. You have two choices in potential hires. One has been collecting unemployment the other traveled around the world collecting experiences and gaining worldly knowledge. One has been sitting at home sucking up on the welfare system while the other may have volunteered to help starving children in Africa, learned a new language, or learned about new cultures that you have never even heard about. Who then would you hire?

The trick with any interviews is to turn a potential negative into a positive. Talk about what you’ve learned. Talk about how your travels made you a better person and what those experiences you gained traveling brings to the table. Turn potential employers into believers.

2 – I am Too Old to Go on an RTW Trip and Stay at Hostels

Torres del Paine's three towers.

Torres del Paine’s three towers.

Nonsense. I was 38 years old when I started traveling long-term. I hit rock bottom, lost, with no particular direction to where I’m going with the rest of my life. Having spent the better part of it pursuing the so-called American dream, none of it made me happy or fulfilled. I decided to wake up from that dream and live my life of adventure in reality.

Since then, I’m 42 now, I have slept on multiple stranger’s couches (no, kick your dirty mind off, Couch Surfing!). Stayed in more youth hostels than I care to count. Shared kitchens, bunk beds, and bathrooms with college students. Partied and bar hopped with a bunch of 20-year-olds in over 50 countries. You will have camaraderie with travelers that transcends beyond time and age. Nobody cares that you’re 50 or 75 years old traveler sleeping in dorms at hostels. People who don’t travel have a warped misconception about hostels. They think it’s dirty and full kids who have sex with each other in bunk beds. While some of it might be true. The truth is it’s better than hotels, and you can meet a lot of people there you can connect with regardless of age.

3 – It’s Very Expensive to Travel, and I Don’t Have Enough Money

Sunset Quito Ecuador

Watching the Sunset in Quito, Ecuador

If you’re traveling or “vacationing” for a week or two at a time like the majority of Americans do, then yes it’s true. If you compound and add up the expenses for these week(s), you will probably come up with a very high dollar figure that’s probably enough to squash your long-term travel dream. But, long-term travel is different than a week vacation.

You are not staying in posh hotels sipping may Tai at the beach. The approach, priorities, and reasons are entirely different. You don’t have to be a trust-fund baby to afford round-the-world travel. I’ve met travelers with no more than $500 to their name and a small backpack that have circled the globe multiple times.

The problem with our society is that we don’t treat travel or being worldly as important as owning, a house or saving up for college, or getting married. I know some people who spend more than $50k on their wedding, which is a one-time event in life and has a 50% failure (divorce) rate in the future! How is that more reasonable than $10-20k expense in one to two years to round-the-world travel that provide you with fantastic memories of moments in time for the rest of your life?

Sure the fancy car or SUV might look good as a trophy in your garage. You might even turn heads as you cruise down the street. But, have you ever heard of anyone reminiscing about that moment in time when they cruised down the street with their Lamborghini? You will have to make sacrifices and give up some comforts when you travel long-term, but you don’t need a lot of money. You can volunteer, Couch surf, house sit, teach English, and work odd gigs to keep on traveling. Once on the road out there, you will find various creative ways to make money and may even find free accommodation.

4 – I Don’t Have Time

The seven ladders canyon hike is popular hike near Brasov.

The seven ladders canyon hike is favorite hike near Brasov.

Time and money are the two biggest excuses people give for not taking an extended trip. Unfortunately, for those of us who live in the US, most of merely, do not have the vacation days to take more than a week or two at a time. While it is not as simple as taking your vacation, you would be shocked at what you might be able to work out with your employers.

Why not ask for an extended leave of absence? It’s that simple. You can reason that it’s for your mental health. What do you have to lose? If you want to leave your job or to want to change careers, a long-term adventure around the world gives you the freedom that you can’t have a 9-5. I had a 2-month break from between contracts and decided to take off to travel. While traveling, a friend contacted me for .NET development gig that I can do at home. I happened to be in Romania at the time (which had excellent internet infrastructure), and I was able to continue traveling while still earning an income to fund my travels.

The point is, you’ll never know until to take that first bold step. You may find you have a skill you can hone and use while on the road like web development, teaching, freelance, writing, photography, and hey you might even start a blog and earn some income from it.

5 – It’s Too Dangerous to Travel Internationally

Ura e Brarit

Ura e Brarit

Yet all the slate of recent terror attacks you’ll see in the media lately about Europe, like cars being driven into a crowd in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona. A trolley being rammed into swathes of people in Nice during Bastille Day. This is still the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard in my life. This is a myth! Stop watching all the negative news and ignore the stupid media. They exaggerate things to make things worse than they are. You are more likely to be struck by a car in your neighborhood than being mauled by something or somebody overseas.

Read blogs (like these); follow somebody who has been traveling the world on Instagram or Twitter. You will find many people hanging around in these so-called dangerous places reported by the media. Do not let fear dictate what you do in life.

6 – I Have Kids or Pets. I Can’t Travel Long-Term With Kids or Pets

Sunset at Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Sunset at Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Another myth. It is all about your mindset. There are plenty, and I mean plenty, to families who travel and have been doing it for years at a time. It is probably not easy; I personally never traveled with kids because I have none. However, I will certainly do it when it I have kids of my own. I would want my children to experience new cultures and learn different things they would not otherwise get from regular education. I can homeschool my kids or send them to school abroad. They would learn different ways to have a happy childhood – they do not need material things.

Having pets will make your travel logistics a bit difficult, but it shouldn’t stop you. You’ll have to do some advanced planning, or maybe you can find a willing family member to take care of your pet while you travel. But why not just travel with your pet!

Family travel is more challenging than Solo Travel, but you will probably bond with your wife/husband and children in better ways than traditional families. Your whole family will learn invaluable education and skills acquired from traveling the world together. You will experience things better than other families bogged down by enormous debts and mortgages.

7 – I am a Woman/LGBT. It is Too Dangerous to Travel Solo

At The Old Austro-Hungarian Border

At The Old Austro-Hungarian Border

You will probably end up giving your parents a heart attack if you travel the world by yourself. It is understandable. As Bilbo Baggins says: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Yes, female travelers do have to be more vigilant than males or couples. However, if you are sly and armed nun chucks, who is going to bother you? Just do your due homework and exercise extra caution to put mom and dad at ease.

There are undoubtedly many solo women travelers out there doing just fine. Just enter “Solo Female Travel” in Google search, and it will return over 74 million results! You will find solo female travelers from all walks of life and some as old as 70 still exploring the world. The point is, gender, sexual orientation, age, and skin color should not be a hindrance to long-term travel.

8 – Everyone Hates Americans

Isla Del Sol Featured

Isla Del Sol Featured

Dear fellow Americans, we aren’t gettin’ no love abroad. Just telling people, you are an American makes people from other country’s faces cringe. The Donald is not making things better either. We have it rougher than different nationalities around the world. However, this is our chance the change that perception. I have been to many places that have negative opinions of Americans, but these are also places that welcomed me as the individual most!

You must behave, be friendly and be more empathetic and humble. Do not go around boasting how great America is and how right you are to do this or that. Take your politics aside and treat people like people because, in the end, we are not citizens of a specific country. We are all citizens of the Earth, and we have to live on this planet together.

9 – My Health Insurance Won’t Cover Me

Machu Picchu

Touristy But Worth It In The End

I worked in the Healthcare industry once and knew how insanely expensive it is in the US. There is even a single treatment of a drug out there that cost almost a million per! You probably think that we have the best healthcare in the world, which is why it is so expensive. This could not be further from the truth. In some developed countries, healthcare is flat-out free. As it should be. It should be a given right to any citizens of the country to live a healthy life. These benefits even extend to foreigners visiting the country.

Of course, traveling without your insurance is risky. A catastrophic event might not be covered by your policy – like being airlifted out of active volcano you fell into from a recent hike. However, anything like the flu or a bacterial infection that you contracted from kissing a random person from a night out of a drunken stupor, it is no big deal. You can show up to any doctor who likely doesn’t speak English and get treatment at low costs. Most pharmacies in some countries have lax drug policies and sell most medicine over the counter with a prescription. You will have to do your research and take things under caution.

10 – I Have Way Too Much Stuff to Leave Behind

Torress del Paine

Patagonia

The only thing that makes us rich are experiences, not things. Your TV and your multitude of furniture and knick-knacks won’t make that lasting impression in your life. When’s the last time you recalled an excellent time with your beautiful coffee table? Many years from now you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do or try. You’ll be surprised how happier you are if you have less “stuff.” Invest your time in minimalism and start keeping only the things that are important and have a legitimate function in your life. You’ll be amazed at how much time and money you will save for more important things like adventure and travel!

11 – Planning Sucks/I’m Too Lazy to Plan

Popradské pleso

Popradské Pleso

Well, this is a lame excuse. I’m the worst planner in the history of humankind, but I managed to pull out fine out of 56 countries. I even ended back on several of them several times because I did not plan it too well. However, let me tell you. The best experiences and discoveries I ever had was when I did not intend to visit place A or country B. I love the random things that I come across and all the casual friendships and the discoveries that come out of it.

A two-month break between contracts a couple of years ago led me to find a cheap flight deal to Bucharest. I bought it a minute later and found myself wandering the streets of Bucharest a few days later. Nothing was planned. I had an idea, but I went in there with the intention of discovering what is in store for me next. I ended up staying in Romania for almost three months!

While long-term travel may not be for everyone but for those of us who dream it, we often find ourselves issuing roadblocks and reasons why we cannot. These excuses are often a product of our fears that are not real. Once you gather the gumption to take the first steps, you will find that “there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?

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How To Choose The Best Travel Tripod | Under $100 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-travel-tripod/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-travel-tripod/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 19:02:42 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21439 The best travel tripod, choosing one can be daunting. I’m here to present the best options for your style, height, and special needs as a photographer. All for under $100! Every successful and professional photographer I know, own at least one tripod. From the birth of the very first cameras ever created, a tripod always accompanied it. That was because the first cameras were huge and heavy and film had low light sensitivity. Nowadays, cameras are a lot smaller and lighter, and most come with anti-shake and stabilization technologies that make tripods almost obsolete. Almost. Unless they can come up with technology that can cheat physics, there will always be a need for tripods. Sure, with low noise sensors, anti-shake, and super fast lens wide-open you can capture just about anything under the Sun. What it can’t do is capture sharp images with flowing waters, the milky way, the epic…Continue Reading

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The best travel tripod, choosing one can be daunting. I’m here to present the best options for your style, height, and special needs as a photographer. All for under $100!


Every successful and professional photographer I know, own at least one tripod. From the birth of the very first cameras ever created, a tripod always accompanied it. That was because the first cameras were huge and heavy and film had low light sensitivity.

Nowadays, cameras are a lot smaller and lighter, and most come with anti-shake and stabilization technologies that make tripods almost obsolete.

Almost.

Unless they can come up with technology that can cheat physics, there will always be a need for tripods. Sure, with low noise sensors, anti-shake, and super fast lens wide-open you can capture just about anything under the Sun.

What it can’t do is capture sharp images with flowing waters, the milky way, the epic sunsets and sunrises, and any long exposures that require anything above 2 seconds.

best travel tripodWhat I will review here are professional quality tripods that are under $100. That’s right. These tripods can stabilize your full-frame travel camera just as good as any $300+ tripods. What’s more, I’ve compiled the ones that are compact and can fold inside a carry-on for travel.

You see, I’m a tripod fanatic. I’ve owned over 15 of them, and I have three that I keep with me at all times. About 98.99% of my photographs are taken when I was using a tripod. One of the photos published on National Geographic was shot on a tripod. All my award-winning photos and best-selling ones are shot on a tripod.

In short, tripods are very important to the creation of fantastic imagery. In this article I will review and help you find the best travel tripod for you; under $100!

The Best Travel Tripod(s) for Under $100


Mactrem 62.5” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Mactrem 62.5

 

MSRP: $74.99
Max Height: 62.5″ Tripod | 64″ Monopod
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 16.9”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-Lock
Load Capacity: 33 lbs
Pros: A lot of features for the price, very compact when folded, and reasonably well built
Cons: The center column requires a little bit of force to tighten for it to stay in place

The Mactrem 62.5″ is made out of premium aluminum alloy and can support up to 33 lbs of gear. The tripod can be adjusted anywhere from 21.5″ to its max height of 62.5″ which is good enough for most photographers. Like most of the tripods on this list, the center column can be inverted so you can shoot even lower than it’s minimum height. For an aluminum-based tripod, it’s fairly light, weighing in at 2.9 lbs with the included ball head. The ball head is basic but does the job

The Mactrem is a flip-lock design, which allows you to set up the tripod within seconds. Another useful feature is the center column can be converted to a monopod with a maximum height of 64.” As with other tripods mentioned here is the padded soft foam grip that is useful for those cold days.

The tripod can be folded to as short as 16.9 inches allowing you to throw it in your carry-on luggage or anywhere you prefer without taking too much space.  With a $74.99 price tag, it’s tough to beat its value and makes it the best travel tripod for most photographers.

Mactrem 62.5” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4

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K&F Concept 62″ Aluminum Tripod

K&F Concept 62

MSRP: $79.99
Max Height: 62″
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 18.1”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 22 lbs
Pros: Very light for aluminum, compact, fast to use and folds very small
Cons: The included ball head is a little flimsy and needs to be replaced with something more robust

The K&F Concept tripod is made of  Magnesium aluminum alloy and weighs in at just under 3 lbs with the included ball head. That’s lighter than most Carbon fiber tripod of the same design. Its legs can reflex to 180 degrees which allows it to be folded to about 18.1” (460mm) and can fit inside standard carry-on luggage. The simple flip-lock design means you can extend the legs out to full height in seconds giving you more time to catch the action. The center tube easily disengages, and you can turn it upside so you can shoot even lower to the ground.

There’s a stretchable hook you can use to hang a bag or a more massive object to keep the tripod even steadier if the need arises. There’s a sponge grip on one of the legs that are useful during cold times when touching metal isn’t enjoyable. At $79.99, you’re getting a lot of value for your money here.

I was very impressed with the durability of the K&F Concept that I occasionally use it from time to time. I’ve used in salty waters over sand and other rugged areas. The tripod just kept on going. The one gripe I have is the cheap ball head it comes with – it’s flimsy and can’t handle a load heavier than 5 lbs. I have several ball heads that’s a better replacement, so it’s not a deal breaker. As far as tripods go in this lot, this is the best deal for the money and will make the best travel tripod for those in a budget.

K&F 62″ Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability 5
Weight 4
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4

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Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

Davis & Sanford 53

MSRP: $69.95
Max Height: 53” with Extended Column | 53” Without
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 12”
Leg Sections|Type: 5 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 10 lbs
Pros: Carbon Fiber frame means lightweight construction and the cheapest carbon fiber travel tripod around.
Cons: The twist-lock legs were prone to having problems when exposed to sand

The Davis & Stanford branded tripods come from and manufactured by well-known camera accessory makers, Tiffen. I’ve used Tiffen products from polarizers to camera stabilizers. I’ve always trusted the quality of their products. I also use the 65″ version of the Traverse (priced at $130, too high to be in this group).

The Traverse 53″ comes with the same eight layer Carbon Fiber legs as its larger brother. However, it’s a few ounces lighter and comes with a 5 Section legs twist lock action that can extend the tripods full height without the center post.

The Davis & Sanford is one of the lightest and compact tripods out of this group. At 2.6 lbs, you might be worried that it will fly off like a feather. It’s surprisingly stable and is equipped with a slightly better ball head than the K & F above. Folded to 180 degrees, the tripod’s compact frame is at 12.5 inches allowing to fit just about anywhere you can think of.

It’s a matter of preference, but the twist-lock design means it will take longer to set the tripod up which could mean missing that crucial shot you wanted to capture. The other gripe I have is that twist lock is prone to lock up when sand and other debris get in there. Overall, you’ll be impressed with the quality and build of this travel tripod compared to other ones costing nearly $500.

Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 4
Ergonomics 5

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AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

AmazonBasics 52

MSRP: $89.99

Max Height: 53”
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 12.5”
Leg Sections|Type: 5 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 10 lbs
Pros: Very compact and lightweight
Cons: Too many sections with twist-lock takes a long time to set up and won’t be able to hold heavier cameras

Fast from the Davis & Sanford heels is Amazon’s similar designed AmazonBasics 52-inch carbon fiber tripod. No one knows who makes these products for Amazon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out of the same factory as any of the mentioned tripods in this line-up.

I’ve purchased a lot of AmazonBasics product before and attest their decent value for the money.  The AmazonBasics tripod is one of the most, if not the most, compact tripods I’ve ever seen. You can virtually fit and carry this thing anywhere without feeling the tug.

The twist lock design does come with the extra added time to set the tripod up just like the Davis & Sanford above. The ball head that comes with the tripod is also not up to standards. I would have reservations putting my $3,000 Nikon DSLR on this tripod. If you’ve got a lighter camera/lens combo, then this tripod is more than good enough. Priced at $89.99, it’s not expensive, but I would pick up one of the top two tripods mentioned above unless you want the Amazon approved tripod.

AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 3
Ergonomics 4

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Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

 

MSRP: $69.39
Max Height: 55″ Tripod
Weight: 4.1 lbs with ball head | 2.89 lbs Without
Folded Length: 14”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 26.5 lbs
Pros: Cheap aluminum tripod with lots of features
Cons: Heavier and doesn’t extend as tall as the other tripods on this list

Just like the K&F Concept tripod the Rangers 57″ is made of aluminum alloy and weighs just under 3lbs without the included ball head. However, with the ball head, it’s pushing in the 4 lbs territory. It’s not heavy by any means but something to be aware of when deciding to purchase the best travel tripod for you. What you do get is a stable tripod that can cover decent height.

The $69.99 price tag isn’t too shabby either. The flip-lock design will have shooting in no time. Another cool feature is a removable leg that you can convert into a monopod by attaching it to the ball-adaptor. The included 360-degree panoramic ball head is stable and can hold over 20 lbs. Some users have complained that the flip-lock becomes loose over time, but that happens with any flip-lock design even if you bought a $400 tripod – it’s easy to tighten.

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability3
Weight 3
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4

See The Best Deals

Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod

Geekoto 77”

 

MSRP: $79.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 3.37 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 19”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 17 lbs
Pros: Extends very tall and reasonably light
Cons: It’s not as compact as the other tripods on this list and the max load is so-so

The Geekoto tripod design has tall people in mind. This tripod can extend from 19″ to 77″ in seconds with quick release flip-locks. Weighing in at 3.37 lbs, this tripod can stabilize 17 pounds of gear. Like the Ranger tripod above, you can disassemble the center column to transform into a monopod. However, it goes up even taller to 81 inches.

The taller the tripod, the taller the folding length. The Geekoto folds to a minimum of19 inches, making it one of the least portable tripods on this list. You probably don’t want to put a bulky DSLR with a 900 mm lens on this tripod, but or normal zooms and mirror-less cameras this will do just fine. For the pro features that the Geekoto carries, you might be skeptical as to the quality of the tripod. Fear not, this is a solid piece of hardware that won’t bite your bank account.

Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 3
Weight 4
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4

See The Best Deals

Neewer 66” Carbon Fiber Tripod

neewer carbon fiber 66

 

MSRP: $99.99
Max Height: 66″
Weight: 4.67 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 19.3”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twist-Lock
Load Capacity: 33 lbs
Pros: Extends pretty tall, have a great load capacity, and anti-skidding feet
Cons: Heavy for Carbon Fiber and not as compact as the other reviewed tripods on this list

Hovering near our $100 price point, the Neewer 66″ Carbon Fiber tripod is the most expensive tripod on this list. It’s a little heavy for Carbon Fiber touching close to the 5 lbs territory with the included ball head. However, it can withstand heavier load than other tripods on this list, with 33 lbs load capacity. It can also extend tall at 66″ of height and folds to 19.3 inches. The Neewer has an anti-skidding feet design where you can unscrew the rubber feet to expose metal points – useful in wet areas.

The center column can be converted to a monopod and since it’s made of sturdy Carbon Fiber material, can be used as a walking stick – Perfect if you’re doing some hikes to your photography location. For the features you’re getting, the $99.99 price tag is a bargain. I’ve bought a lot of tripods throughout the years that were 3x the price and doesn’t even have the same features or build like this.

If you have a heavy camera and lens combo, the Neewer will be the best travel tripod for you.

Neewer 66” Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 4
Weight 3
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4

See The Best Deals

BONFOTO 55″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

BONFOTO 55"

MSRP: $99.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 2.5 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 15.35”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 17.6 lbs
Pros: Extremely lightweight with ball head included and very rigid
Cons: Does not extend very tall and included ball head is flimsy

Another Carbon Fiber tripod that is hovering near our price point. The Bonfoto Carbon Fiber tripod is equipped with similar features as the Neewer above. It has a four section leg with a twist-lock mechanism and has a center column that you can convert into a monopod. Unlike the Neweer, however, is that the Bonfoto can be folded to 15″ making it very compact. It’s also lighter at 3 lbs with the included ball head.

With the compact design, it doesn’t entirely cover as much height as the Neewer with a maximum height of 55″ and a lower holding capacity at 11 lbs. Also, unlike the Neweer, the Bonfoto comes with rubberized non-slip feet. It’s a matter of preference but I the metal points on the Neewer. Still, this tripod is more good enough for most application where travel is concerned and where you’re probably not carrying heavy equipment.

BONFOTO 55″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 3
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 3
Ergonomics 4

See The Best Deals

BONFOTO 55″ Aluminum Alloy Tripod

bonfoto 55 aluminum

MSRP: $65.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod
Weight: 2.6 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 14.5”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 17 lbs
Pros: Just as light and durable as the Carbon Fiber version and even cheaper
Cons: The included ball head comes loose and doesn’t quite hold heavier gear firmly

This is Bonfoto’s Aluminum version of the tripod above. Frankly, it’s just as feature rich with a convertible center column that you can use as a monopod. It has the same load capacity at 17 lbs and weighs even lighter at 2.6 pounds with the included ball head.

The ball head is not quite as good as the one above, but it’s decent. I’ve always found that included ball heads from sub $100 tripods to be flimsy and that’s why I have quality ball heads at hand for replacement. Still, it’s the included ball head is indeed usable as long as you make sure to tighten the knob securely.

Other notable difference from the Carbon Fiber version is the flip-lock design. It has the same 4 section legs, but you can have this version set up much faster than the twist-lock action of the Carbon Fiber. It’s a matter of preference at this point but having both designs, I prefer to work with flip-locks – though prone to loosening over time (you’ll have to tighten it again). For $15 less than the Carbon Fiber version and weighs even less? Which one would you go for?

BONFOTO 55″ Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability 4
Weight 5
Durability 3
Ergonomics 4

See The Best Deals

Neewer 62” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Neewer Aluminum 62

 

MSRP: $52.94
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 4 lbs with ball head


Folded Length: 22.4”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twis-Lock
Load Capacity: 8.8 lbs
Pros: A cheap no frills tripod that does the job
Cons: Heavier and doesn’t quite hold as much gear as the other tripods reviewed on this list

The Neewer 62″ is the Aluminum version of the Carbon Fiber tripod of the same name. At almost half the price of the Carbon Fiber version, this tripod has most of the features as any tripods on this list. It can fold to 17.7″ weighs only 3.9 lbs with the included ball head. The four leg section flip-lock design can hold a capacity of 17 lbs.

The tripod isn’t as stable as most of the tripods on this list, but if you’re using a light camera and lens combo, you won’t need anything else. The ball head is decent; it doesn’t quite hold heavier cameras in place unless you tighten hard on the locking knob. I’m tempted to say spend the extra $20 for one of the first two models on this list but if $20 is such a big deal then save the $20. At this price point, Neewer Aluminum travel tripod is cheap and does the job it’s meant to do with no frills.

Neewer 62” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 3
Weight 3
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4

See The Best Deals

HONORABLE MENTION

Rovtop 55″ Aluminum

The Rovtop tripod has an interesting design, like some tripods on this list it can double up as a monopod by converting the center column. It has a maximum height of 55″ and a minimum of 14,” and the center column can be inverted if you want to shoot lower. It’s made of solid aluminum and can carry up to 8.9 lbs of load. The tripod weighs in at just a hair over 4 lbs at 4.1 lbs with the included ball head. At a $59.99 price point, it’s a good deal than some of the tripods mentioned here.

See The Best Deals

CHOOSING THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD


For a lot of photographic applications, you still need a tripod. I’ve gone through over a dozen tripods throughout my photographic career. From 6 pound wooden behemoths when I was shooting large format film to $500 featherweight brand name Carbon Fibre tripods that were a technological leap in its day.

Today, manufacturing of tripods from all over the world have made it very competitive for and cheaper for photographers. You don’t have to get the brand name tripod to get a decent and functional product. There’s a lot of tripods available now, all under $100 that work just as well as ones priced over $300.

best travel tripod

One of the things you’ll have to consider when choosing the best travel tripod is your shooting style. Do you like to have the ability to be so low to the ground? Are you tall and love to shoot at eye level? Do you shoot with heavy telephoto lenses? Do you want to be able to set up the tripod in seconds so you can get on to shooting your subject? These factors come into play when you choose your next tripod, and I’ve touched on these points with my summaries on this list.

Your decision might be swayed by one technology over the other. Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum? Flip-locks offer the most convenience and speed when it comes to setting up a tripod, but you can only find it on Aluminum tripods. The Carbon Fiber material isn’t conducive to the flip-lock design.

Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum

Carbon Fiber is lighter than Aluminum, that comes to no surprise. However, technologies in metallurgy have tightened that gap between the two materials. It’s probably just my imagination, but I find that Carbon Fiber tends to be more stable and more vibration resistant than aluminum. Again, having continually used and switched back and forth between one or the other, I can attest that Carbon Fiber fares slightly better in some regards it also loses in others.

Flip-lock vs. Twist-lock

twist-lock vs flip-lock tripod best travel tripod

Twist vs. Flip

Again, it’s probably a matter of preference, but I find Flip-lock to be better in most applications. It’s faster to set up, bar none. While you’re still twisting and tightening a twist-lock tripod I probably already have shot several frames with my flip-lock. Unfortunately, due to the material and design, flip-locks require more engineering in order for it to mount on Carbon Fiber tripods within the $100 price point.

Folding Size and Height

If you’re tall and like to shoot at eye level, this plays a big factor for you. I once used a short but very compact tripod on a trip and found myself wanting to shoot at eye level at every frame. Suffice it to say; my back was aching after a photo session. The more compact the tripod is, the shorter it probably extends.

Load Capacity and Weight

The rule of thumb is, the heavier the tripod, the more it can carry. It’s a simple law of physics. What gear you take and shoot with will dictate this choice. I typically never carry lenses over 4 lbs and don’t see a need to with my shooting style. So my decision on which tripod to use tend to favor the lighter ones. Your needs might be different, so keep this in mind when choosing your tripod.

Ergonomics

How cumbersome is it to use the tripod? Flimsy designs can take away the fun of photography and may make you miss the most crucial shot. Does the tripod have padded handles, so you don’t have to touch the icy aluminum material on cold days? Luckily, most if not all of the tripods I’ve compiled on this list take this factor into consideration.

With all that said, the Mactrem 62.5″ or the K&F Concept 62″ Aluminum Tripod is the best travel tripod for the money. Both can extend to 62″ which is tall enough for most photographers. Both are also surprisingly lightweight at just a hair over 3 lbs with the included ball head – that’s lighter than some Carbon Fiber Tripods listed here. The flip-lock design is a joy to work with; I have a hard time picking up my twist-lock Carbon Fiber tripod for a day shooting over these.

If you’re sold on Carbon Fiber then consider the Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber at $69.99 it’s a steal. The AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod at $89.99 is also not far off from a great deal. If you’re tall and need a little more height, the Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod is your best bet as the best travel tripod.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD?

Read Next >> The Best Travel Camera | The Best Sony E Mount Lenses for Travel

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commission if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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The Best Day To Buy Airline Tickets https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/cheapest-day-to-buy-flights/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/cheapest-day-to-buy-flights/#comments Thu, 01 Nov 2018 18:27:58 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21591 THE BEST DAY TO BOOK FLIGHTS? This is a question that’s on every traveler’s mind. Is there even such a thing? Whether you’re going on a vacation, visiting family across the country, or on a business trip – you want the best deal on your flight ticket. You’ll probably spend countless hours on Google trying to find the answer. The internet is ripe with responses and eager to help with all sorts of tips, advice, travel hacks, and all sorts of magical apps that will magically determine the best day to buy flights. They will tell you that you should purchase your ticket six weeks prior to your flight or some variation of the same response. But. Is One Particular Day(s) Really Better Than The Other For Booking Flights? Well lucky for you, I’ve spent enough money out of pocket buying cheap airfare that has taken me to over 53…Continue Reading

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THE BEST DAY TO BOOK FLIGHTS?

This is a question that’s on every traveler’s mind. Is there even such a thing? Whether you’re going on a vacation, visiting family across the country, or on a business trip – you want the best deal on your flight ticket. You’ll probably spend countless hours on Google trying to find the answer. The internet is ripe with responses and eager to help with all sorts of tips, advice, travel hacks, and all sorts of magical apps that will magically determine the best day to buy flights. They will tell you that you should purchase your ticket six weeks prior to your flight or some variation of the same response.

But.

Is One Particular Day(s) Really Better Than The Other For Booking Flights?

Well lucky for you, I’ve spent enough money out of pocket buying cheap airfare that has taken me to over 53 countries around the world to give you an answer. And that the answer is a resounding, YES! Incidentally, the cheapest day(s) to buy flights have been right under our noses. It’s “Black Friday“, “Cyber Monday“, and “Travel Tuesday.” Airline companies are joining retail companies and slashing their airfares to join in on the frenzy. Airline companies want to attract buyers who aren’t excited to wait in line at the local mall only to find out the product they wanted to buy

Discount airline WOW Air once offered $99 one way flights from New York’s JFK to popular cities in Europe like Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, London, and Copenhagen! Deals like these are very, of course, very basic. Stripped down to the bone. You’ll have to pay for checked-in luggage and other comforts like meals. There is a probably a long layover on your flight itinerary as well making your flight longer than normal. There are ways to take advantage of these situations and I’ll go over that in detail on this article.

Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Travel Tuesday

If you happen to miss the deals on Cyber Monday or Black Friday, you can purchase cheap flights during Tuesdays. There’s a reason why it has earned the “Travel Tuesday” moniker. This is because airlines announce their deals on Monday nights, and by Tuesday at noon, the other airlines are scrambling to match or offer a better deal. The only issue is that your Tuesday noon might differ than my Tuesday noon depending on the time zones.

Chepeast day to buy flights

A graph showing which days have the lowest airfare prices

You can see on the graph above that prices dip for flights during these days.

Pro Tips For Buying Cheap Flights

Use Skyscanner

I use either the Skyscanner app or their website to find the cheapest deals on flights. I have written about this the Skyscanner app on my roundup: The Best Apps to Find Cheap Flights. On the Skyscanner website, you can find special deals from airlines on the Skyscanner pages. Just mark your calendar or set up an alert on the Skyscanner app to remind you to visit Skyscanner on Black Friday or Cyber Monday to search for your favorite destinations. You can even use their “Everywhere Search” feature which allows you to find the lowest prices on flights in every destination around the globe.

A Long Layover is a Good Thing

A flight with a very long stopover is cheaper than a regular ticket. People don’t buy into these deals because they don’t want to be stuck in an airport with nothing to do. That’s not the case! It’s a good way to notch another country under your belt if you do it right. Think of it as an extra reward.

You can use this time to check out the country at little to no cost to you. For example, I bought a cheap flight to Belize for $500 offseason, and it had a 10-hour layover in El Salvador. My then girlfriend and I decided to check out San Salvador city. It wasn’t that far from the airport, and purchasing an 8-day visa was all we needed to see the city. Let me tell you; some dangerous things are going on in that city that are too lengthy to say here. Suffice it to say; I’ve gained some insights from that layover that will influence my future travel plans or not to El Salvador. I wouldn’t have gotten that experience had I not had a long layover from a flight.

Have Some Flexibility

Flying out on a weekday is typically cheaper than flying out on the weekends. What time you fly out also plays a factor on the airfare prices, so the more flexible you are about timing, the better your chances of finding a cheap flight. If you’re using Skyscanner, there is a nifty feature to see the different airfare by adjusting the date you fly out and the return date. You can see all the prices in real time as you add or subtract a day or two.

You can adjust the departure and return days conveniently via the Skyscanner website

You can adjust the departure and return days conveniently via the Skyscanner website

Turn Inconvenience to Convenience

Nobody wants to get up very early or go to the airport very late. Early and very late flights are on an awkward schedule and are cheaper on average than flights on regular hours. I always think of it as a way to skip a day on hotels and accommodation. If I can sleep on the plane or a train journey, I save money by not having to stay a hotel for that duration. Red-eye flights are cheap because it’s inconvenient, but you can turn this into an advantage if you plan carefully.

Set Up an Email Alert for Cheap Flights

The Amazing Village of Riomaggiore in Italy

Cheap flights can help see the Amazing Village of Riomaggiore in Italy

Flight alerts are by far one of the best tools for the budget conscious traveler. You can have your favorite travel app to set an email alert whenever it finds a deal to destinations and price point you specify. Again, Skyscanner is very good at this. You can set up the price alert on the app to track the price of a specific flight.

When and if the price changes, the app will notify you by push notification or via email. If you are flexible about your destination, you can set up multiple alerts to help you land a cheap flight to a destination of your choice. Using this method, I was able to find a very cheap trip to Bucharest and had a great adventure all around Romania!

To set up an alert on Skyscanner:

  1. Go to the Skyscanner homepage or open the Skyscanner app on your phone.
  2. Search for the flight route and dates you want to track.
  3. Click the bell icon on the website located in the top-left or the bottom-left on the app.
  4. Click ‘Create,’ and that’s it! You will soon get notifications of any price changes.

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Sugarloaf Mountain View in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

How about Rio de Janeiro?

Most cheap budget airlines don’t include checked-in baggage on their price. These are often hefty fees that would almost certainly negate the initial affordable price of the ticket. Make you sure you read the fine print as to what’s included or not on the cost of the ticket. If you are a minimalistic traveler and can do with only carry-on luggage then maybe you don’t care about the baggage fees. However, if you’re in need of extra baggage, you might want to look elsewhere and compare the prices with other airlines offering a free checked in baggage.

Keep Scanning Skyscanner

There’s a high chance that you will find the best flight deal on Special Offer days – The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), and subsequently the Monday after that (Cyber Monday). Airline companies are offering all kinds of extravaganza when consumers know that retailers are slashing their prices. The Skyscanner app or website makes it very easy to track or find these deals so you can be on your way to your next bucket list destination!

Use Google ITA Matrix

Google’s old flight search engine is still great as a research and a price comparison tool. You can see the cheapest day to buy airline tickets when you use the calendar of fares option. Read my in-depth guide for using the ITA Matrix Software to get the most out of flight searches.

Armed with all this knowledge, you should now have the tools necessary to land you that cheap flight to your dream destination. Don’t forget to download the Skyscanner App!

HAVE YOU FOUND CHEAP FLIGHTS ON BLACK FRIDAY?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Skyscanner. All opinions are my own.

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