These days you're unlikely to find a backpacker without a tablet computer, laptop, or at the very least - a wifi enabled phone. In one device we can video call home, email, tweet, listen to music, watch our favourite TV shows, play Angry Birds in the airport... What I find interesting though is a) how many gadgets you would take with you on your travels, and b) what is your primary device? Do you prefer to do everything from your phone – photos, emails, flight searches etc and travel light, or do you also take a laptop, camera, tablet computer, etc? Why do you need the gadgets that you carry?
As a travel blogger by profession I feel I'm slightly exempt from this discussion as I have to take my laptop with me wherever I go as well as a smart phone for out and about in order to do my job. I also have a DSLR camera for all my travel photography and videos. It's just not possible to do what I do professionally and seriously without a full-on computer in my backpack! However, on short trips or on a rare personal vacation, I am considering dropping the hefty laptop and camera for a tablet that's a lot easier to cart about and a less expensive item should I break/lose/have it stolen!
Sometimes the best way to explore a continent is to pick a base and then hop around from there (rather than the continuous travel of a typical Euro trip.) The benefits of this are that you can travel light – leaving most of your belongings in your base country apartment, and it will allow you to get to know your base country, and therefore life as a European, like a local. That's not including the benefits of choosing a cheaper country to live in while exploring more expensive European countries, nor the fact you may be able to get more time in Europe with a visa for a country outside of the EU or Schengen visa area. So the question is – where is the best place to base yourself in Europe? Which is the best city or country for those looking to travel slow around the continent?
Prague, Czech Republic
Berlin is the coolest city in Europe! Fact. Despite the question in the title, I'm not even going to debate this one, I'm just going to tell you why...
A hot bed for creative people, unique ideas, and start ups!
A backpacker bar is the easiest places to meet other like minded souls on your travels – if you find a good one. The fact that it's usually full of easy going backpackers is usually one of those reasons, but mixing that with a bit of alcohol and organised events to get you mixing can really make it that bit easier than any other situation you may find yourself in while you're travelling to meet people. So what makes a good backpacker bar and how do you make the most of it?
As travellers, we work pretty damn hard for our holiday. Consequently, we want our holiday money to work hard for us. However, it seems the brightest travellers in the world can still be caught out by the ‘myth of 0% commission’ and ultimately end up paying through the nose when exchanging currency.
To help demystify the whole process, we brought in the help of our friend and travel money expert Daniel Abrahams from MyTravelMoney.co.uk. Daniel will guide us through the top five tips to ensure us travellers will never be ripped off again. We’ll also try to show how you can save up to £50 on every £500 you exchange.
There's no getting around it – Europe can be expensive. So what is the cheapest way possible to physically get around the continent? After the best part of 2 years travelling Europe, here's the 5 cheapest ways (including what companies I used for each method of transport)...
Budget airlines (during off-season)
Being at home after a summer abroad travelling can at first make you feel a little bit of the blues. If you come from a cold country like I do then the terrible autumn and winter weather probably doesn't help either, but in actual fact there is no reason for you to stop travelling once you come home. You don't have to feel sad about being stationary once again. Why not travel some of your home country on your days off from work, college, or whatever it is that you do?
Eat out, drink out, go for a walk...
When you stay in a hostel your dorm room is the most important thing. Getting a good night's sleep is what you are paying for. However, there are certain things that a hostel can offer in your dorm room that will make your stay so much nicer, safe, and convenient...
Lockers in the rooms
Some travellers to Italy may not necessarily know the region of Lazio before they come to this country, but they will no doubt have heard of the region's capital city - Rome. The city of Rome is an obvious highlight of Italy, and is definitely somewhere you should visit if you ever come to Italy, but one thing I have found in my recent travels to this country is that by exploring regions rather than cities alone you will get a perspective and experience you just would not otherwise. You will understand more what it is like here from a local persons perspective as well as the 'queued out the door' tourist attractions. Sometimes it's nice to do both – see those popular landmark attractions, but also understand and experience something a typical tourist may not.
Lazio: Quick Facts
It's that time of year again where many of you have returned from a summer abroad to go back to your studies, and are now attending classes. What you may not know is that your time at university or college is one of the best opportunities to go travelling! Whether it's through ERASMUS or another study exchange body, most courses will allow you to study abroad for at least 1 semester. There are certain courses where you may even be able to take a year or more to study at another educational institute abroad. It will depend of course on what course you're studying and at which college or university, but the key thing is to ask at your college or university about study abroad programmes. Some universities don't advertise these placements as prominently as others. So why should you study abroad other than of course getting to travel?
One opportunity that you have studying abroad is that you will really get to know a place from a locals perspective. You'll be living there for at least 1 semester. This means sharing an apartment with other students in the area, going to the local university or college, and doing all the things a local person would do in the area. You'll have the time to experience all aspects of the city and surroundings like you may not have had time to do on a summer abroad where you are hopping around trying to see as many destinations possible in the time you have.