Argentina travel guide

Reasons to Visit Argentina

Argentina is the second largest country in South America, known for things like: tango, wine, BBQ, superb natural landscape, football and glaciers. Needles to say that there are many highlights of Argentina and even more reasons to visit the country.

People travel to soak up new cultures, enjoy new traditions, visit museums, historical sites, learn to cook and for many other reasons. It’s definitely a good idea to invest in some tango lessons when you visit Argentina but don’t be shy and plan to see the glaciers as well.

Some people travel to see the world’s coolest train stations . If your bucket list includes buildings such as the Central station in Antwerp (Belgium), the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station in Malaysia and even St. Pancras/King’s Cross station in London, then make sure to also see Cascada de la Macarena station in Patagonia (Argentina).

It is located close to the “end of the world”, or 8 km from Ushuaia and is the final station on the world’s southernmost railway line. Once it served a prison, now it’s used only for tourism.

But regardless of why you travel, being comfortable on the road is the most important thing. After eleven hours in the train, somewhere in Central-Eastern Europe, I sure wished I had one of the best travel neck pillows . Those darn train seats were horrible and couldn’t close my eyes during the night. Likewise, if you fly and want to get some shut eye, the neck pillow is a gift sent from heaven.

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Portugal travel guide

Getting Around in Lisbon

Central Lisbon is relatively compact and easy to navigate. Set on seven hills, the city streets are a mix of wide open lanes and narrower, steep cobblestone streets. With old tram cars rattling past  modern buses, the transportation options are equally diverse. Here’s what you need to know about getting around in Lisbon.

Public Transportation

Carris operates the network of trams, metro, buses and funiculars, in Lisbon. You can buy tickets for each at Carris booths (open from 8am to 8pm daily), in most Metro stations at automated booths, and onboard buses (with change only, no bills) and network train stations. You must show a passport to buy a pass.

Buses, trams and the metro generally run from 6am to 1pm and the fare depends on how many zones you’re traveling. If you aren’t sure, check with the attendant. If you caught with an invalid ticket, you can face hefty fines of over 300 euros. The other main type of transport you’ll see in Lisbon is the funiculars of which there are three that whisk riders up Lisbon’s steep hills. Though the city is quite walkable, these hills are steep and the funiculars serve as a vital part of the transport network. Ferries are also commonly used by locals who take them from the  one side of the Tagus river to the other, avoiding the heavy bridge traffic during rush hour.

Taxis are also an inexpensive and popular option. Fares are very economical and most drivers are honest. You can get just about anywhere in central Lisbon for about 5-6 euros.  Most Lisbon hotels can call you a radio taxi is you have a very early or very late flight, otherwise it’s easy to hail on on the street.


Lisbon’s main departure point for international destinations and central/northern Portugal is Santa Apolónia Station.  All the trains that depart from Santa Apolónia Station also stop at Estação Oriente. If you accidentally get off here, it’s a 15 minute ride on the Metro into Lisbon. High-speed Alfa trains depart for Oporto every and taking less than three hours, so if you are exploring these two cities of Portugal by train, the connection is an easy one.

By car

While a car does come in handy if you want to explore further off the beaten path where train and bus service is not as good, for the most part a car is an unnecessary burden, particularly in cities like Lisbon. Plus, with so many options for what to drink in Portugal, from the delicious port to local ginjinha, you don’t want to have to worry about driving.

Photo by predosimoes7

Articles Portugal

Wine Tasting (For Less) in Portugal

Portugal doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves as a culinary and wine destination. In Western Europe, it’s often overlooked for Spain, Italy, and France. But what many people don’t realize is that wine-lovers – especially those on a smaller budget – should be flocking here in droves. Portugal is one of the cheapest destinations for wine tasting, producing a diverse array of quality wines all over the country.

Thanks to a struggling economy and a lower cost of living, travel in Portugal is relatively cheap. If you can find cheap flights to Lisbon or Porto (check flights to Madrid and then look for a low cost flight to Portugal) you can get by a pretty small budget. Hostels in major cities can be had for under 20 euros per night, while mid-range hotels are available for around 70 euros per night. Prices in off season and in smaller towns can even be less. Public transport in the cities is excellent and cheap, and the rain network efficiently connects many of the smaller towns with Lisbon and Porto, making it easy to plan a wine tasting trip to some of the smaller regions even without a rental car.

Though Portugal deserves its own trip, many people choose to add it as a side-trip to Spain. The flight from Madrid to Porto or Lisbon is only an hour and can cost as little as 40 euros each way, so you can jaunt into the country even for just a long weekend if you like. There’s also a 10 hour train from Madrid to Lisbon; getting from Seville to Lisbon takes about seven hours on an overnight train.

From the vinho verde wines produced in the northern Douro region to the ports of Porto to the moscatels of Setúbal to the Alentejo wines of southern Portugal, the wines of Portugal are gaining notoriety for their quality as quickly as Portugal is gaining recognition as a world-class wine tourism destination. In other words, the secret is out, and this low-cost, low-crowd destination won’t remain so for long.

England travel guide

Travel Through History in England

One of the biggest draws for visitors to England is the living history found throughout the country. From the mysterious pillars of Stonehenge  to the famous hands of Big Ben, the sights of England are those right out of our history books.  When it comes to World War II, England offers even more for the history buff.

Though the fighting of World War II took place all over Western Europe, for those with a keen interest in the war, England is a perfect base for seeing many of the most important sights. There are nearly a dozen important World War II sights in England and France so if you can stretch your trip to both countries with a eurail pass, you can see even more.

Check out the Churchill War Rooms in London and the sober Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent and then head over to France for a trip to the battle-scarred beaches of Normandy and the small town of Sainte-Mère-Église, where it is said that a soldier’s parachute became hooked on the town church, and he survived the battle by hanging there pretending to be dead as the fighting went on below.

Once you’ve had your fill of history for the trip, take in some of the more lighthearted activities in the area. There are plenty of things to do in Normandy, for example. Visit the beautiful Mont St. Michel, tour Monet’s gardens, and make your way along the cider route. Though the ugly past of World War II still haunts much of England and France, the present couldn’t be more beautiful.

Photo by: heatheronhertravels

Los Angeles Things to Do

Going to Coachella

Whether or not you love everything about L.A. and southern California, you probably love the weather during most of the year. There aren’t many places in the United States where you can plan an outdoor music festival during mid-April and count on nice weather. With the case of the Coachella music festival, however, you get not just lovely weather but the pretty surroundings outside Palm Springs.

If you’re planning to go to Coachella this year and you don’t already live in the Los Angeles area, your first order of business is to find a flight. Time is running out, but you still should be able to find a cheap plane ticket to one of the area airports that will get you close enough to the festival.

The closest airport, of course, is Palm Springs International (PSP) – but it’s a smaller airport and may not have the best deals on tickets. Next in line is the LA-Ontario Airport (ONT), and after that is the monster of LAX. In every case you’ll still need to rent a car or find ground transportation to the festival site, since even the Palm Springs airport is 20 miles from Coachella, but you’re more likely to find more cheap flights to Los Angeles if you’re looking at LA-Ontario or LAX simply because of their size and/or proximity to L.A.

Of course, if you already live in L.A. and you don’t want to drive all the way to Indio for Coachella, you can absolutely make use of airport parking at LAX, hop on a short flight to Palm Springs airport, and then rent a car or hitch a ride with another festival attendee for the rest of the way. But that seems a bit like overkill, unless you’re actually playing in the festival, in which case you probably shouldn’t need to drive yourself anywhere in the first place.

photo by sputnik mi amor

travel guide

Escape to a Warmer European Destination: Spain

When I go outside and feel the wind on my face I cannot help but think of warmer destinations where I could just wait until winter is over in my own city. This winter has been mocking us from day one and it doesn’t seem to want to end either… so why not plan a city break to a warmer European country?

Spain sounds divine and honesty, I don’t exactly need too many reasons to pack and go. And I’m sure you don’t need either, but just in case… For example, if you know how to cook Spanish dishes, enjoying the best paella in Spain while soaking up the sun is a treat. You’ll soon realize that nothing tastes better than in the country it was invented!

You can also consider one of the many Spanish cooking classes . After all, I know I need to learn quite a lot of tricks which don’t come with the (too many) cooking books I have.

Need more reasons to visit Spain? How about heading to Costa de la Luz and then explore the region at your pace. You can even take the ferry (35 minutes) to Tangier (Morocco). If you decide to stay in the region, then Baelo Claudia – famous for the Roman ruins – or Cadiz – Europe’s oldest city – are excellent choices for your vacation.

When it comes to budgeting, first you need to choose the airport you’ll be flying into. Jerez, Seville and Malaga are close to the region; the both Seville and Malaga are served by a lot of low cost carrier. For example, a RT flight from London into Seville in early April starts at £50 per person (on Ryanair); while a flight into Malaga for the same travel period costs the same (on easyJet). Once in Spain, consider renting a car. But using the trains and buses are good choices as well.

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travel guide Vietnam

Living Long-Term in Vietnam

Who among those of us who love to travel hasn’t fallen so in love with one place or another during a trip, so much so that you’d consider moving to another country no matter what you had to do to make it happen? For many long-term travelers, the country of choice is in Southeast Asia – not least because the weather and cost of living are both incredibly appealing. But whereas Thailand has long been the frontrunner when it came to its expat population, more and more people are choosing Vietnam these days.

One of the things to consider when you’re thinking about becoming an expat – in Vietnam or anywhere else – is how you’ll support yourself. If you’re in the midst of a round the world trip you might have enough saved up to live in an inexpensive country like Vietnam for quite awhile before you need to think about having some sort of income, but you’ll eventually need to figure out whether you can work in the country legally or whether you need a job that you can do from anywhere.

If you opt for a job in-country, you can settle into your new life fairly easily by living just like the locals do. If, on the other hand, your job is a “location independent” situation that requires you to be connected to a headquarters somewhere on the other side of the planet now and then, you’ll need to make absolutely sure that internet access isn’t hard to come by. It’s easy to forget that much of the world remains internet-free, and when you’re traveling that’s sometimes a huge plus – but working remotely isn’t usually possible without internet access. All those fabulous online travel tools are basically useless if you can’t get online.

Have you ever lived for an extended period of time in Vietnam? Would you recommend it as a good place to be an expat?

photo by emilio labrador

Articles England

Staying in a Narrowboat in London

When it comes to accommodation choices – especially in a big city where camping might not be an option – you’re generally limited as to the type of place you stay. Sure, you can choose between a hotel, hostel, B&B, apartment, guesthouse or inn, but really these are all just variations on a theme – a building with multiple compartmentalized rooms that offer a bed, a bathroom, and if you’re lucky, access to common room and kitchen.

But there are other options. In fact, there is a whole host of unusual places to stay in Europe, from convents and cave hotels to prisons, castles and mountains huts. You can stay on a farm, in an igloo, in a barn, and on a boat. If that last one piqued your interest, check out the narrowboats in London.

London’s narrowboats are generally about 7 feet wide, made to fit the narrow canals of England. You can rent one for a weekend or longer and pilot your way through the many canals in the London area. Stay in one spot for the whole trip or travel around, stick close to London or venture father afield – the choice is up to you. Prices range according to the length of the rental, the size of the boat and the season in which you’ll be traveling. Of course, the more popular the season (summer) and the more people with whom you’ll be sharing the boat, the more expensive the rental will be. But if you come in off season, you can score a boat that sleeps 2-4 people for as little as 200 pounds per night.

Booking in off season can help you save big. Even if you book a boat that sleeps seven people in shoulder season (May and October) you’ll pay less than 80 pounds per person, per night; it’s more than a hostel, but comparable to the cost of many hotels, and you can save money by cooking your own meals on the boat. Plus, since the boat also serves as your transport, you’ll save on the cost of a car rental or train tickets if you plan to explore outside of London. That actually makes a narrowboat stay one of the better London travel deals available.

Photo by James K Thorpe