adventure blogs

22 August 2019

adventure blogs
  • It's been an adventure traveling across the U.S. with our dog & cat in our old VW bus
    22 August 2019
  • BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATION PARK, your adventurous story begins from here.
    22 August 2019
  • How to Visit Lisbon, Portugal on a Budget
    21 August 2019

    European travel is often on the forefront of many’s bucket lists, but let’s face it – flights are expensive, and standard trip expenses can add up. So how do you make that idyllic European vacation possible on a tight budget? Answer: Lisbon.

    Visiting Lisbon Portugal on a budget is easier than you think. This must-read guide covers how to save money on activities, transportation, hotels and more!

    Portugal is best known for its wine – and its capital city of Lisbon offers that and so much more! This multicultural destination is teeming with unrivaled landscapes, fresh local cuisine, amazing weather year-round and infinite hidden gems to explore. Experience the best of Europe in a single city, without breaking the bank!

     

    How to Visit Lisbon, Portugal on a Budget

     

    Cheap Flights to Lisbon

    Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights emails, and book your flight with Momondo when you’re notified of peak buying time and cheapest prices. By buying my flight within hours of the Scott’s Cheap Flights notification for Lisbon, I managed to get a roundtrip flight with United from San Francisco for $390 – including a checked bag!

    If the cheapest flight you find doesn’t include a checked bag, be sure to check other airlines with fares $20 or $30 more; they may include a bag, making it cheaper than checking one both ways.

    Although the Uber ride was only $10 from the airport to central Lisbon, it couldn’t hurt to see if your hostel or hotel offers free airport shuttles as well.

    Read more: How To Find Cheap Flights To Anywhere (Insider Tips & Tricks)

     

    Where to Stay in Lisbon on a Budget

    Avoid summer months at all costs. Not only are there hordes of tourists creating long lines around every corner, but you’ll also pay more for a hotel room at high season. The beauty of Portugal is that you can visit even in winter and enjoy warm afternoons – take advantage of this!

    Also, consider booking a suite at a hostel. You’ll have the same privacy and space you would in a typical hotel room, with the added bonuses of extra amenities (e.g. kitchen, laundry, breakfast), better affordability, and the opportunity to make new friends! The staff at hostels can often be more personable and attentive, given the smaller size of the establishment.

    Read more: Where To Stay In Lisbon (And The Best Hotels In Each Neighborhood!)

     

    Save Money on Activities

    Take advantage of free events. Wander through street vendors selling artisan jewelry and handmade products at the LX Factory, weekly open-mic nights, and even wine tasting for free at Vini Portugal in the city’s central square.

    Holidays are a great time to visit as there are annual festivities to attend, open to the public or for a very minimal cost. You’ll want to see a live fado performance at least once while you’re there, but there’s no need to pay €20 or €30 to do so; numerous fado restaurants can be found in the side-streets of Bairro Alto that include the performance free with your dinner.

    Book Airbnb experiences. For $20 USD, you can spend an entire evening wine tasting with fellow travelers and enjoying small gourmet meals carefully created and paired with each wine. Don’t miss out on such awesome opportunities, they’ll likely be the highlight of your trip!

     

    Transportation

    Walk everywhere. Uber’s in Lisbon were surprisingly inexpensive, especially compared to fares in the U.S. However, the city is laid out in such a way that you can walk nearly everywhere within 20-30 minutes. The hilly terrain of Lisbon can look daunting, but the views you’ll get along the way are well worth it.

    Read more: How to Plan a Trip in 9 EASY STEPS

     

    Save Money on Meals

    Buy groceries for breakfast and snacks. Mini-markets in the city center have all the basic foods you’d want and need to make a quick breakfast or packed lunch for days off adventuring, and you’ll spend half of what it would cost to eat out for every meal. Affordable food may be why Portugal is the least expensive country to visit in Western Europe, so stock up on the necessities during the day and treat yourself to dinners out!

    Read more: 12 Places To Travel While the U.S. Dollar Is Strong

     

    Other Money-Saving Tips for Lisbon Travel

    Purchase everything on a travel credit card. If you don’t have one already, you should! Credit cards with travel perks will (typically) offer no foreign transaction fees and extra points towards travel purchases like taxis, airfare, hotels, and even Airbnb experiences. By using this to book all expenses for your trip, you’ll earn miles/points that you can use to pay these exact expenses off!

    Get your cash before even entering the country. Lisbon – and Portugal in general – operates almost exclusively on a small-bill, cash-only system, with restaurants and stores rarely accepting credit cards.

    Try using a €10 bill to buy a €1 espresso, and you’ll be frowned upon; try using a €20, and you’ll be turned away. Because ATMs only dispense cash as €20 bills, you may find it hard to get change; however, grocery stores will always accept large bills and provide your change at no cost (unlike currency exchange stores)!

    Because I traveled with a friend, I was able to split a few expenses and save on standard costs like Ubers and a hotel room. If you plan to travel solo (this is a great destination to do so, as the locals are so friendly!), you could save even further by opting for a hostel bed instead. In the end, you can enjoy an entire one-week trip entire one-week trip for under $1,000 USD – I know from experience!

     

    Plan Your Trip to Lisbon, Portugal

    After traveling consistently for over 10 years, we’ve come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.

    Flights: Momondo is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines. The calendar feature shows the cheapest days to fly in your preferred month of travel.

    Accommodation: Booking.com offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. You can browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.

    Travel Insurance: We never travel without a travel insurance policy because it’s not worth the risk! We use and trust World Nomads, which we’ve used for the past 8 years.

    The post How to Visit Lisbon, Portugal on a Budget appeared first on Ordinary Traveler.

  • Local Events September 14th: Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama
    21 August 2019
    Home to an astonishing abundance of tropical flora and fauna, Costa Rica , Panama and Nicaragua are a mecca for nature and adventure travelers. Join Wildland Adventures President Kurt Kutay , who worked for the Costa Rican National Park Service, on a guided exploration of spectacular images through the Central American isthmus filled with white-wat...
  • Changing the narrative in the favelas of Brazil
    21 August 2019

    Behind one goal of the Vidigal community concrete football pitch: colourful street art murals including a bearded old sailor peering through a pirate monocle and a warrior wielding a crystal sabre. At the opposite end, a well-detailed cartoon cat carrying an extension pole paint roller, sitting aside a supply storage cabinet made of steel.

    Russo, our guide, had spent his entire life in this Rio de Janeiro favela. With that local perspective, he placed everything we’d see into context.

    As for the football pitch, he and his friends worked to build it when they were young. “We just wanted a place to play,” he said.

    But later, the pitch fell into disrepair and then into the hands of a local drug gang.

    Today, the area is not only used once again used as a football pitch, but it also serves as a practice area for a local youth percussion group and a makeshift studio for a local artist who recycles trash into pieces of art, furniture, and installations.

    Through engagement and community evolution, the neighbourhood has changed. So, too, has what travellers might see, learn and experience when visiting Vidigal. And a new genre of social impact tourism in the favela is playing a role in all this.

    At this point you might ask: “What were you doing visiting a favela in Brazil? Is that safe? And is it possible to do a favela tour in a respectful way?”

    That’s where the new Planeterra Foundation Favela Experience in Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro comes in. This community-driven social impact favela tour provides travellers with an immersive and interactive experience just as it keeps tour money local and continually invested into community organizations.

    Here’s how.

    Community-driven favela tours

    Favela tours and tourism in Brazil are not new. However, the model used to be one featuring guides from outside the community and tour buses speeding through the favela to accentuate how dangerous and untouchable it was. Little money and benefit from these tours trickled back to local businesses, residents or organizations in the favela.

    Fortunately, thanks to Planeterra and its local partner, Favela Experience, that model is changing. Community organizations and micro-enterprises are the core of this favela tour. They create and deliver experiences that highlight the culture, stories, and people of Vidigal favela — all grounded in respect, exchange and positive impact. These feature human interactions from leaders who grew up in the favela and developed a sense of leadership borne of their experience. In addition, money from tour fees helps provide a sustainable revenue stream for the community organizations involved, and a portion is also used to help develop and train new ones.

    How does this work in action? Here are a few of the organizations you might encounter and a few of the people you might meet.

    A local guide

    Russo, one of the first local guides from the favela, began working in tourism because he saw outside guides escorting travellers around his community. He wondered what they were saying about his home, particularly since they had never lived there. Instead, he wanted to share with real stories, personal stories, different stories with travellers than those that were usually told about the favela.

    “I want to demystify the favela,” Russo said. “Yes, there are bad things here. But there are more good things.”

    A lesson in Afro-Brazilian martial arts — and equality

    In this Planeterra and G Adventures favela tour, travellers are able to learn the basics of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines acrobatics, dance and music, from a community organization working with around 80 local youth and adults. As we learned more about capoeira we understood that it’s more than just a physical activity. It borders on a life philosophy, and dates back several centuries to the northeastern part of Brazil when African slaves were forbidden to practice martial arts. In response to this restriction, they developed a new art form, one whose messages and values are still resonant to and important in the favela today.

    “In a capoeira circle, everyone is the same; there is no social status,” Messias, a capoeira master and founder of Vidigal Capoeira explained to us. “They [the students] see firsthand the power of capoeira to bring different people together regardless of country, size or social status.”

    Learning the rhythm of Brazilian drums

    Another opportunity for travellers is to get their hands on drums and learn some of basic beats and rhythms of Brazilian music through a percussion class. For Isis, the dynamic founder of the youth percussion school Batuca Vidi, her passion for music and drums helped her get through some difficult times and provided her with opportunities.

    It’s remarkable to think this all began during one of her practice sessions on the street when five local kids approached her and asked, “Can you give us a class?”

    She hopes to provide a similar path to her 30 students who train with her at Batuca Vidi. Creating music together with travellers is one way to help make that happen.

    A green oasis

    Nature, green space and urban forests may not be the first thing you imagine when you think of a favela. That’s what makes the Vidigal Ecological Park such a unique place, and such an essential story and feature of the experience.

    This urban forest on the edge of the favela was once a trash dump and the scene of a tragic landslide. However, in the course of three years, more than five tons of trash were cleared away thanks to the work and community initiatives of Paulinho, the caretaker of the Vidigal Sitiê Eco Park.

    Today, travellers get to enjoy the green space and tranquility of the park as Paulinho provides an impromptu lesson in natural medicine and herbal remedies, allowing people to taste various herbs, fruits and vegetables along the way. He’s a positive energy force who believes in the healing power of nature just as he considers his role as that of protecting nature for others.

    Enjoy a locally brewed craft beer with a view

    At the close of the experience, travellers have an opportunity to relax and reflect on a rooftop with a view over Rio and a locally brewed Vidigal craft beer. When we visited we had a crisp pilsner, a perfect antidote to the Brazilian summer heat. We’ve heard that the IPAs are pretty spot on as well.

    Made by Luciano and his wife Nilda, Vidigal Beer began as a passion project and experiment. Today, the couple is able to professionally craft brew several different styles of beer in the favela and support their family along the way.

    A travel experience that helps change the narrative

    Over the course of just a few hours on this tour in Vidigal favela, the interactions and conversations travellers have with these community leaders and organizations may help to replace the narrative of “otherness”, poverty and danger with the story of human beings, making their way and trying to provide a better life for their families.

    The origins of this tour are deliberately local, based on the personal narratives of residents and experiences of local community organizations. Yet, so too is the conclusion, whereby economic and social benefits remain in the community.

    The Planeterra Vidigal favela experience offers a unique contextual travel experience for G Adventures travellers. The approach helps to turn favela life inside-out, highlighting the humanizing view of people making their way over a more traditional narrative, and doing so for the benefit of all involved.

    Beyond the favela, the experience leaves a traveler with a deeper impression and understanding, something impactful that they were a part of, an experience to reflect on.

    Getting there

    Check out our small group tours to Brazil here.

  • Travelling with kids? Here’s how to have a smooth flight
    21 August 2019

    Travelling with your family can be a rewarding experience. But to get to many great destinations, a long-distance flight may stand in the way. There’s plenty you can pack, and do, to help make a lengthy flight go smoothly. Here are a few to try for your next trip:

    Book an evening flight

    A smoother flying experience can start from the moment you’re booking tickets. If it’s available, try to book an evening flight that overlaps with your children’s usual bedtime. Even if they only manage to get in a few hours of sleep, that’s a few hours less time you need to be worried about keeping them occupied and entertained on-board.

    Burn off energy pre-flight

    Many international airports have children’s play areas that are free to access. This is a great way to help younger kids let loose and burn off some energy before boarding a long flight. Locate the play areas at both your home and departing airports online prior to departing so you can access them quickly and easily. And don’t forget about play areas in layovers and connecting airports too.

    Pack an essentials kit

    Handbag organizers and hanging bags are a great tool to pack that puts essentials within easy reach. Your emergency kit can include items like antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, motion sickness medication, sick bags, empty bags for trash, Gravol (dramamine), and gum or candies for takeoff and landing. Once you’re settled into your seats, hang your kit or tuck it into the seat pouch so you don’t need to access it from the overhead bin mid-flight.

    Snack attack

    If your airline offers children’s meals, be sure to order this ahead of time through your airline or travel agent. Whether your children are picky eaters or not, you’ll want to pack an array of their favourite bites and snacks in case the in-flight meal doesn’t pass the test. Tempting snacks can help children to pass the time while also keeping their stomachs full. Bring a mix of healthy treats and indulgent bites to switch things up.

    Playtime strategy

    You may be tempted to pack all your kid’s favourite toys, but you should be strategic about which ones. Avoid items that make noise or have lots of moving parts that can roll around and get lost. That also goes for colouring utensils too — invest in triangular pencil crayons or markers that are less likely to roll off a tray table or seat. Magnetic games and activities are also great for minimizing missing parts. Many board games, even the travel versions of them, are tricky to play on a plane since they require multiple players, so opt for games that can be played alone or with two.

    Comfortable clothes (and a spare set)

    Suggest your kids get dressed in soft, comfortable clothing that they can easily move around in. If you’re boarding an evening flight, they might even want to get into their pyjamas before boarding. Dark clothes help minimize the appearance of stains while slip-on shoes make for easy on-and-off. Keep a spare set of clothes for everyone in the family in your carry-on luggage in case of any accidents mid-flight, and bring a blanket and thick socks in case the flight is chilly.

    Onboard entertainment

    While screen time might be limited on a regular day, long haul flights should be an exception to this rule. Download a host of favourite shows, games, and movies onto your tablet ahead of time. To avoid bothering other passengers, make sure you pack kid-friendly headphones that comfortably fit your children. A headphone splitter can also be handy in case you have two kids that want to play the same game or watch a movie together.

    Plane bags for each

    We’ve mentioned a lot of additional items to bring with you for the flight. But remember that your children can carry their own packs for the trip. This will help them feel involved in the adventure and gain a sense of responsibility for their belongings.

    Pack a ‘blind bag’

    Incorporate the excitement of novelty and surprise by making a ‘blind bag’. Like a loot bag of sorts, you can create secret blind bags for your kids prior to your flight and wrap them like a present. While favourite toys and games are a must, new activities and trinkets could help to occupy your children’s attention for longer than familiar items. Anything from stickers to treats and snacks, small games and figurines, books, and modelling clay work well in a blind bag. Surprise them with a blind bag midway through the flight as they’re edging into the realm of boredom.

    More surprise gifts

    Is there a toy, game, or gadget your child has been begging you to buy for months? If it’s plane friendly, you might consider surprising them with the gift just before the flight. The excitement of a new toy, or even a new book, can occupy them for hours.

    Go for a walk

    Parents and children alike will appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs. When the aisles are clear of food service carts, consider going on a walk through the cabin. Or when heading for a washroom break, take the long way around to extend your stroll. If flight attendants aren’t busy, you could turn this into an opportunity for your kids to ask questions and learn more about how planes work.

    Getting there

    Ready to take off? Check out our National Geographic Family Journeys tours here.

  • These Cool-Looking Charts Show When to Find Solitude in National Parks
    21 August 2019
    A beautiful poster with at-a-glance summaries of each national park's least crowded moments? Yeah, we're into that.
  • Here’s Why You Can Forego Sunscreen for a Grease-Free Sun Shirt
    21 August 2019
    If you're concerned about new studies showing sunscreen gets absorbed by our skin, consider the chemical-free sun shirt.
  • Why a campervan is the perfect adventure companion
    21 August 2019

    Ever since we welcomed our Camper King campervan to the Adventure Travel family, we’ve realised just how sweet van life really is. We’ve taken our beloved van all around the UK on an epic adventure road trip, whisked her away for weekends in the Lakes, and even parked her up at our favourite summer festivals. Right now, our incredible van is on a trip around the Pyrenees with the founder of Adventure Travel. So, it’s safe to say that since we drove her out of Camper King HQ in March, she’s done some serious miles.

    There are now two distinct periods of time in the AT offices. Before van, and after van. And I’m here to tell you why ‘after van’ is such a revolutionary time to be alive.

    You don’t have to plan for a weekend adventure

    Ever wanted to head on a spontaneous weekend adventure, but can’t bear the thought of sorting through the dregs of accommodation left online, or paying extortionate last-minute rail fares? Or perhaps you usually camp, but by the time you make it to the campsite, you’re wrestling with your tent in the dark wondering whose stupid idea this was anyway? Well, jumping in a campervan and heading for the hills couldn’t be less of a hassle, allowing you to pull up and sleep wherever you choose to. 

    You can take it anywhere

    Off to the mountains? Simply pick a campsite, and you’re all set. Going to a festival? Park up in the campervan field with the other smug festival-goers. Venturing further afield? Book a spot on the ferry or Eurotunnel and head straight for sunnier climes. No need to pack all your camping gear into a car or unpack when you arrive. Your vehicle is your accommodation and vice versa. Simply drive, park, adventure, repeat.

    It has everything you need for an adventure

    With sleeping space for up to four people, and kitchen appliances such as a stove, fridge, oven, sink and even a gas hook-up, you’ve got everything you need for a self-contained adventure. It’s even possible to access electricity off the beaten path if you kit your van out with Camper King’s Off-Grid pack, which includes a solar panel to charge the van’s leisure batteries. Clever storage ideas and ample indoor seating are all part and parcel of van life too.

    It’s easier than a caravan

    Unlike the campervan’s cumbersome older brother, you’ll have no issues parking it around town or in small, compact campsites. You won’t have to stick to such slow speeds, meaning you can get to your chosen adventure faster and spend less time being overtaken by impatient motorists on the M1. Additionally, if you box clever and choose Camper King’s Dakar kit for your van, you’ll also have all-terrain tyres, mud flaps, side bars and lifting springs, so you’re well-equipped to handle a little off-roading.

    It’s more luxurious than camping

    What’s the thing you miss most when you’re camping? Is it a nice comfy bed? Being able to charge your phone? The ease of making a cup of tea in the morning? With a campervan, all those things come along as standard, and all without the hassle of pitching a tent. Meanwhile, you’ll still get to park up in the middle of nature and take part in the campsite camaraderie you’ve come to know and love.

    It’s cost effective

    If you buy a second-hand VW van and have it converted by the guys over at Camper King, you’ll soon be saving money on all those weekend trips and holidays away. It’s the ideal solution for those who want the freedom and flexibility of being able to up and go, without the hassle and stress of organising costly accommodation. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

    How to get your own campervan

    The best way to get your hands on your own adventure mobile is by purchasing a VW van and sending it over to Camper King to have it converted – that way you can pick exactly which extras and add-ons you need and personalise it to your taste.

    Alternatively, you can also buy ready-converted vans from Camper King, which are already set up for a life of adventure. And if you just want to see if van life is really for you, then you can hire a Camper King van at very affordable prices.

    The post Why a campervan is the perfect adventure companion appeared first on Wired For Adventure.

  • Does the Desert Stand a Chance in a Tiny Battle Against Consumerism?
    21 August 2019
    On a trip to the see the Sonoran desert's superbloom, a family confront the nature vs. shiny plastic toys competition.
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