carry-on travel backpack

Vlog Gallery from the Road 40 months of travel…

Second trip to Bangkok, entry March 9th, 2023, previous entry was December 10th, 2019… just before travel during coronavirus!

Next… India… a country of significant monuments, population and a lot of dirt and trash… (but the photos turned out well!). I really hold a neutral opinion of the country but it does have pluses, such as the food, price, and weather forecast.

Saudi Arabia stopover and Romania stopover, my second time and meeting an old friend! My original flight from Saudi to India got canceled so i decided to stay at the airport for 1 day, then take an earlier flight. Flight on Jan. 30th, 2023. Flight to Bucharest from Athens dated Jan. 25th, 2023.

Next up in reverse, order Athens, Greece! Flight in from Tirana, Albania! Nice to be on the road again! Flight via Wizzair on Jan. 7th 2023. It was snowing in Bucharest so had to plan for winter and summer once i get to Thailand, a few stops away! Left Athens on Jan. 25th, 2023.

Stopover/Rest Albania, Tirana, visit #3 … I spent this time to retool my clothing and my gear, and replaced or added some smaller items for my next unique adventure to Greece, India, and Thailand, and the Mideast! Entry to Albania from Milan Italy on … I had to look this up.. 11/08/2022.

Next stop in reverse order.. Italy, flew to Pisa from Tenerife on an affordable on Nov. 3rd, 2022, and bussed it to Milan on Nov. 7th, 2022, where I then caught a flight to Tirana on November 8th/9th 2022. The reasoning was to spend less time in more expensive countries my two stop Italy trip did not disappoint!

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, rewinding again (my second time in Tenerife (and 2nd time in London). I flew to Tenerife South airport from London Stansted on Sep. 9th, 2022, and from Tenerife South to Pisa on Nov. 3, 2022. Over here in Tenerife I was boondocking it for most of the 42 days that I was on the island.

Next up going in reverse the country of Poland… London was a stopover so not counting as a visit, i came from Krakow and took a flight to London, then another Ryanair flight to Tenerife. . My bus from Gdansk to Krakow was on Sep. 14th, 2022 via the Flixbus. The flight to London was on Sep. 21st giving me 7 days in Krakow… The flight to Gdansk was on Sep. 12th, 2022.

I took yet another Flixbus from Stockholm to Oslo, Norway. One of my most interesting experiencing camping in the wild woods in central Norway, I came into contact with some magnificent forests and a wild boar! I came to Oslo on Sep. 3rd 2022 from Stockholm.

Going back in time, the next country I visited was Stockholm Sweden. I came via Flixbus on August 30th, 2022. Here are some photos from Stockholm below…

Planning a backpacking trip to Eastern Europe, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland…

Hello traveling guys and girls! Its now time to get down to brass tacks again and look at my travel planning and ill tell you what I plan on doing, when, and how, and by what modes of transport. This is for me just my personal travel plan to eastern Europe. It should be exciting and perhaps for you somewhat informative.

Now you may have heard the news that travel this summer in Europe is really going through the roof, with a lot of Americans now visiting Europe because the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. This has caused the price of accommodation to rise if you are looking for something in a major tourist destination like Paris. So the plan for me is to stay in eastern Europe most of the time because its significantly cheaper than western locations.

So on with the plan, I did some research on the country of North Macedonia, here. It’ll be my first destination via bus. The bus will cost 20 euro/$22 USD and the good news about going by bus is that usually a traveler can get a seat on the bus the same day, so i dont plan to have to take it way ahead of time like a flight, and there is no security. Now the bad news about bus travel is that its significantly slower than airline travel. Why am I taking a bus? Because I would like to enjoy the scenery out the windows and enjoy the ride. The ride to Skopje will be 8 hours, that’s quite long for only traveling for 289 km. I figure I can cover a few major sites in North Mac in 3 to 5 days time, in fact I will probably only do Skopje and then exit the country via another bus trip.

Now let me check the prices for the second bus fare. The good news here is that the cost of the second trip to Sofia, Bulgaria will be $21 and takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. So far I’ve heard a few bad things about Sofia as a tourist destination. The city is supposedly heavily disorganized but I’m fine with this. There are a few seriously instagrammable sites including the cathedral that I mentioned in my research here. Over in Bulgaria I’ll definitely be spending a bit more time in the country and cover perhaps 3 or 4 cities and locations. I want to see Varna and perhaps Sunny beach, Plovdiv, and Ruse near the border. So we can give this country 1 to 2 weeks worth of time. So this puts me exiting Bulgaria around July 25th to August 1.

*** Note that with bus travel, I wont be planning any hard and fast flight dates, as I think its more convenient to just play it by ear. If i like a country perhaps ill stay a touch longer, and if not, then leave a bit sooner, train will also be considered as a mode of transport ***

The next country after this will be Romania. I’ve actually heard some cool things about the coast, a place called Vama Veche, which is a hippy hang out along the Black Sea in Romania that is not a very far distance from the country of Bulgaria. I would like to stay here at least a few nights and possibly longer and may use my tent, to save a few bucks, we will see. I also definitely want to check out the region of Transylvania although its not Halloween yet! I always thought the myth of Dracula was interesting. So thats 1 to 2 weeks in Romania then ill be switching to Hungary via bus, i just recently checked some prices on Flixbus, and this company is more than reasonable. I was looking at Flixbus between Bucharest and Budapest and the price is 30 euro, about $33 USD.

Future destinations… I do plan on continuing to move around Europe after Hungary, I’ll go to Slovakia then Poland. In Poland the prices are more than reasonable for hostels. After this I may head to a place like Sweden or Finland, then at the conclusion of my north tour, I’m going to head for Italy! Stay tuned, thanks. Map for reference:

backpacking tour ro Romania and Bulgaria

Trip to Bulgaria, Trip Planning and initial research on travel

bulgaria stone bridge

Hello traveling girls and guys! Its time to get down to brass tacks on my interest in visiting Bulgaria. I personally have never been but on the map its close to my current location in Tirana, so I’m going to do some research and see what I can find out. I start by first looking at the cost, but I discussed this in another blog post related to travel expenses here, so the next few things I look at are geography, crime, and transportation, then after that the fun stuff we can do while there.

Is it a safe place to visit? Too much violence esp. if anything is directed against tourists like over in Cancun this is a no go for me. Lets check Bulgaria. The homicide rate for Bulgaria on Wikipedia is listed at 1.9 and on Nationmaster, 2.3, whereas the US is at 5. This gives me some idea of the level of violence in a country. Next we take a look at total crimes per 1000, Bulgaria is at 18.93 whereas the USA is at 41.29. Research over, this is low enough for me….

See my note at the bottom related to crime against tourists…

Now on with the tour of Bulgaria, crime is good, next I took a look at local bus prices. I’m fine spending a few hours on a local bus without AC if gets me from A to B. Prices on these $15 to $33 as of June 2022. They just reinstated the international bus lines between Skopje, Macedonia and Sophia, Bulgaria. Check with or

Geography, population, GDP of Bulgaria – In terms of area Bulgaria 42,500 square miles so we can assume something like 235 miles wide by 180 miles tall, basically shaped like a rectangle. That’s about the same size as Tennessee. From what I’m told Bulgaria is greener than the surrounding countries so that means many forests, its somewhat mountainous like other countries in the Balkans. The population is 7.15 million, so about twice as large as Albania and roughly the same size as Serbia. Now the GDP of Bulgaria is $21,800 versus $12,500 for Albania and $15,100. In my experience GDP per capita is roughly related to cost of living.

The fun stuff, tourist attractions in BulgariaI like to mix it up, so i might choose some architectural sites, a city marketplace, museums, beach relaxation, mountain hikes, or historic ruins, exercise or some of each, here’s the list for Bulgaria, but subject to change …

  • #1. Boyana Church, Sofia,
  • #2. Alexander Neevsky Cathedral, Sophia,, green and gold plated dome, most famous in Bulgaria,
  • #3. Veliko Tarnovo, city with old architecture,
  • #4. Nesebar, ancient ruins, along the coast near Varna,
  • #5. Sunny Beach, north of Bergas, beach town/resort area,
  • #6. Krushuna Waterfalls, town of Krushuna, 183 km east of Sophia
  • #7. Plovdiv, Ancient ruins, amphitheater
  • #8. Ruse, small town along the Danube, 19th century architecture,
  • #9. The stone desert, near Varna
  • #10. Belogradchik, near mountains, castles.

Crime against tourists… Here’s one thing I’ve learned as a traveler, petty crime like pickpocketing or stealing low priced items is something that can go on wherever, whenever; check out my tips for onebag travel safety in another post here.

Planning a backpacking trip to Europe for the summer of 2022! How do I do it?

Hey traveling guys and girls! For me and some of the other traveling backpackers out there, its time to start planning out our trips for summer of 2022, and let me tell you from the local news over here in Europe it looks like pandemonium and a little bit of chaos this travel season due to so many people wanting to travel now. Did you see the news about EasyJet, Ryanair and some of the other major European airlines canceling lots of flights per day? Check the link here from BBC.

So for starters if you dont know who I am, I am an American full-time traveler and you can read a bit more about my bio here. Now I just arrived back in Tirana, Albania, where I had my stuff in storage, and I plan on taking a break to rest in the same apartment that I rented back in the fall. So i was just thinking and looking at what other places and sites in Europe I would like to visit, how I might go about getting there, the expenses, and what ill take as well as my budget! In this blog post ill tell you how I go about doing it. If you are familiar with Myers Briggs personality types, I am an INTJ, and we are planners, for us or me specifically, I tend to make plans so that i can change them using new information, but at least I have one to start with, now I have several.

How do I plan?!?!?! I would like to visit somewhere I haven’t been before, this still includes most of Europe there are 44 total countries in Europe and 1000s of cities.. so for the past few days I’ve been visiting major airline sites,,, and, Kiwi is the most useful since its able to search multiple airlines to piece together routes as well as show me an entire list of fares from competing airlines, whereas Wizzair only has Wizzair’s fares. Now I’m not married to the idea of leaving Tirana on an airplane. I am also considering leaving by bus to make a few local stops at regional cities in the Balkans for example, Shkoder and Skopje, Macedonia.

Hotel & Hostel Prices in the summer of 2021 – one thing I just noticed is that hotel and hostel prices in western Europe are just going crazy! They are really moving up. In normal times of the year hostel prices tend to be well within my travel budget, over in Berlin we are talking $30 a night for a hostel, when I had previously searched I found most places to get one $20 or below perhaps $17. This is not good, but using my INTJ planning abilities, its not the end of the world, I’ll find a way to adapt. There is a reason I purchased a tent last year.

The good news… I found this hostel in Skopje, Macedonia BSV Hostel for $5 on Yes that’s right only $5. So an entire week would set me back $35 or for the entire month if I wanna rough it, its $150 those are more like Thai prices, and this is a great deal for summer. Just for reference a private room in Skopje starts at $14 USD, not too expensive either.

So the bus from Tirana upto Skopje would run me about $20 to $22, then after I tour North Macedonia, the plan would be to jump over to Bulgaria more than likely also by bus, and the cost would be around $11 to $17 at the cheapest. North Macedonia is a small country with a population of 2 million that was also part of the former Yugoslavia sort of like Montenegro, so over there it wont take long to cover a few sites, namely the OLD BAZARR, a FORTRESS, or an old MONASTARY like the one below….

Skopje, North Macedonia

So using this example what I do is I try to average my cost of nights, keep in mind I’m a long term traveler so I’ll be traveling for the entire month of 30 days. if I then jump over to a place like Stockholm in Scandinavia, the cost of a hostel might jump upto $30 a night (oops i just checked its $20 but lets assume its $30), the same for Berlin at present time. So if I stay in the $5 a night place for 15 nights and the $30 a night for 15 nights the total comes out to a monthly price of $525, a touch more than my actual monthly budget for housing in the Balkans but still not bad. Id probably add 5 nights worth of camping instead of the Swede hostel and get it down to $375 which is just about the right price for me. Notice that the price of camping per night is $0 that’s quite a budget friendly #.

Slight correction… at present for July it looks like there are multiple hostels available in Stockholm for roughly $20 a night which is within my monthly price target so there you go, not as bad as Berlin. One other tip, if i were serious about going to Stockholm id book immediately instead of waiting, because those $30 nights might just jump upto $40 then id have to sleep in my tent.

Agoda... and a few other sites like Kayak… don’t overlook this site, sometimes they do have flash sales that offer you a lower price than Concerning the site Agoda there are a few differences. Agoda follows a model where they purchase rooms and then sell them at a discount, rather than a commissions based model, this is why the prices are sometimes different (even though they are both owned by the same parent company). One of my minor complaint about the Agoda site is that its kind of hard to tell how much the total cost of the stay is for example, they dont include taxes, the cost of sheets, something of this nature, so just make sure to read the fine print.

I haven’t been to Bulgaria, so this is a logical next step after Macedonia. Its not as cheap or as small as Macedonia, so might take a little more time to cover at a sightly higher cost. The question after this, do i want to take a bus to Hungary or Romania, or a flight to Sweden or Denmark!?!? Ill have to consider, and post in a future blog, thanks for reading….my map so far… and i never made it to my packing, ill do that next

map of the Balkans with backpacking plan
map of my backpacking plan for 2022

Travel Socks? Wool, Polyester, or cotton, which should I choose for my travel backpack/feet?

Hey traveling guys and gals! I have just returned back to Tirana, Albania this week and one of the calls to action before I leave again is to sort out which types of socks I want to travel with on my next backpacking adventure! I currently have a selection of both wool (which is an animal based fiber), polyester (a synthetic fiber), and cotton, (a plant based fiber). All 3 have their advantages but all 3 have disadvantages to use.

Polyester Socks – my experience. Most recently, my polyester socks have developed holes in the heels after only 1 month of usage, walking in boots. Now these are cheapie socks TBH! I bought these for only 10 dirham ($1) in Morocco, actually 6 pairs total. I had the same problem with two pairs of polyester socks that I bought in Tirana Albania 6 months ago, unfortunately! These I bought for a price of $3 if I’m not mistaken, also cheap. So I think its probably necessary to switch. The advantage of polyester as a fabric is that the fabric acts as a good insulator and also is quick drying! however I guess my hiking as well as my feet are just too tough for these socks! Next! Weight 2.5 oz per pair! Price $1 to $3 per pair!

Wool Socks – my experience. Now wool is a really tough indestructible material, and I do love these for my feet! But I am now going to discuss some of the disadvantages of this material. Over in Spain I tossed two pairs of wool socks because of the stink! oops yes a little bit embarrassing, but at the time I had no way to clean or disinfect the socks because I was on the road. All 3 types suffer from this problem so this may be a different issue, related to my usage or cleanliness as opposed to the material.

Now on to the advantages of wool, it is a really good insulator if you are hiking in winter! Very good, I will be taking my wool hat to Sweden. its also good at wicking away moisture as opposed to cotton. Now for the disadvantages. Its heavy heavy! You may have seen my lighterpack blog post related to attempting to DECREASE the weight of my backpack, not increase obviously! Wool socks come in at about 5 oz per pair as opposed to 2.5 oz for polyester. Here’s another problem with wool socks, they are really expensive!!! Not good for a lowly budget backpacker like me who sleeps in a tent! Cost is between $5 and $25 a pair. Weight 5oz per pair! Cost $5 to $25 per pair!

Cotton Socks – my experience. Now cotton is kind of an in between choice. Its cheap enough to be easy to replace often, also it doesnt wear out like the polyester socks that I have been having trouble with. Cotton isnt really super expensive like wool, perhaps $3 a pair for boot socks. They are not as good an insulator as wool, but a few advantages are that they are tougher than polyester. In the past ive had a few pairs of cotton socks that have lasted more or less foreever, even with tons of constant walking and usage. The weight is more or less in between wool and polyester. Weight: 3.0 oz per pair, Price $3 per pair!

Conclusion, for my choice id like to get some socks that last me awhile, so ill definitely be looking to replace my polyester socks with Wool or cotton. I may take some of both on my next trip. Stay tuned!!!

Sleeping at the airport to save money… my experience!

sleeping at tirana airport

Hey traveling guys and girls! If you are like me and you are a backpacker looking to cut corners and save money on your long term trip, i can give you some advice on my experience sleeping at the airport so you dont need to pay for a hotel room for the night. Now, it may not be the most comfortable place to sleep, but its free.

A little more about my present situation, over here in Tirana, Albania, I am renting a temporary apartment/studio from this local Albanian man who doesn’t mind to deal with tourists, students, and other people like myself who are travelers – my second time staying here. Unfortunately he already rented my room for two nights to a group of soccer fans over in Tirana for some European finals matches. I arrived here 5 days ago. So because of this i had to vacate my room to allow them to stay for two nights…then come back later – i thought my traveling fun was over….

Camping vs. Hostel vs Airport sleeping?!?!??!?! Which should I choose? Now for me its nice to take a comfy break inside a regular apartment with my own bed, kitchen and bathroom alone for a budget price, so i was happy to be back after 5 months on the road! For these two nights i had been looking for a spot to camp, and i was originally not impressed by the selection… heres a spot i droned in, but i felt it was a bit too dirty to camp near… plus some not so nice looking characters hanging around.

So off we go to the airport! Well not quite, the first night away from my room I chose to stay at a hostel, the Albania Hostel, it was a discount price, and honestly its a pretty decent place for hosteling. I asked them if i could pitch my tent on the roof but they declined! Lucky for me Tirana Airport is open 24 hours a day and another minor stroke of luck, the shuttle to and from Tirana is now free in celebration of the soccer match. It normally costs 400 lek or about 3.5 USD! Now this night wasn’t the typical night for Tirana, there are tons of soccer fans hanging around here and at the airport, but from my experience they were pretty well behaved most of them.

Sleeping at the airport – my little lie about FLYING! When I arrived at the airport I grabbed some snacks from the 24 hour CONAD grocery shop. I had my large backpack as well as my stuff sack with me as luggage (as if i was taking a flight). Of course i had checked the flight schedule and the desk agent asked as i was sleeping which plane i was getting onto. I told them London Luton at 6AM with Wizzair! Haha, the one i just got off of, it actually landed at 2:30AM 5 nights ago, and that was my first night sleeping at this very same airport.

Where to sleep? If you dont want too much attention, choose some place in a corner and perhaps face the wall. I personally dont mind being near other people so i just sat on some of the chairs the ones with the backs. They also have a clothe covered bench here at Tirana Airport. I leaned back and dozed off about 1030PM and there weren’t too many people around. For security I’ve got my Pacsafe backpack with the security zip, as well as the chain attached to my belt. I keep my wallet and cell inside the bag. You can read more about this bag and its security features here.

How was sleeping at Tirana airport? Well for this evening, I got away with it! I wasn’t told to leave. The security bothered me once as I mentioned about which flight I was taking, but otherwise there was no problem from them. About 2AM there were tons of people who showed up at Tirana airport for the next days flights. One German man woke me up by having a loud conversation on his cell right next to me. Around 5am, i woke up and instead of checking in for the fictitious flight to Luton I used the bathroom then switched to a seat near the airport exit. About 20 mins later i was on the bus back to the center of Tirana, and then in Grand Tirana park awaiting the return to my room.

sleeping at tirana airport
this guy doesnt look like hes having fun at Tirana Airport

Living in Montenegro as an American Expat

Living in Montenegro as an American expat…

Hello traveling guys and girls! I can detail for you, some of my life living in Montenegro as an American expat in this blog post. I moved to Montenegro last summer after having spent a few months in Belgrade, Serbia which I loved. I came to visit Montenegro on a tourist visa from August for almost 3 months of time, so not your typical 1 week or weekend vacationer.

Now Montenegro does have its charms especially if you like the ocean. The primary industry here near the coast is tourism. First, a few things about Montenegro, it is a very small country, mountainous and located along the Adriatic sea across from Italy and within the former Yugoslavia. The population is about 620,000 people so it’s extremely small for a country. It borders on Albania which is the country I moved to afterwards. The capital Podgorica is a smallish big city that is located on a plain away from the ocean near the center of the country. It’s not even close to the size of Belgrade so it can barely be called a city at 156,000 vs. 1.37 million.

Getting to Ulcinj, Montenegro. I took an interesting bus ride from Belgrade to Podgorica to Ulcinj. It was memorable for several reasons. Namely because of the number of hills and mountains we passed in the night. It was an overnight bus and I was seriously afraid that the bus driver would drive off one of the 100s of cliffs we passed. It was a 12 hours long ride, more about driving here in Montenegro later. From Belgrade, many Serbians go to visit Ulcinj and many parts of Montenegro for summer vacation via plane or by car. A traveler can fly into either Podgorica or Tivat which is along the northern part of the coast. Ulcinj is actually a very small beach town along the very south portion of Montenegro. Here it is affordable even for the hottest and most popular part of the summer and this is what drew me to it. Go to the north, and it’s much more expensive to rent for August. the same is true for Croatia, prices up there are pretty ridiculous unless you want to visit in the winter.

Now there are certain things that were memorable about my trip over to Ulcinj and the surrounding areas, here we have a tourist town on a hill with many beaches around. There is a small castle/fortress area, the rocky beach area, the Little Beach at the center of town, and what is called Ada Bojana Velicka Plaza, which is translated to big beach, which is a huge flat beach about 2 miles south of town and doesn’t have any mountains. On the other side of this is Ada Bojana which is a nudist island, memorable for its own reasons, and I’ll get to this later.

So, just a few notes about my moving there, I took the bus to Budva Montenegro but there is also apparently a bus to Ulcinj from Belgrade, you just can’t buy the tickets online. I mentioned the hills earlier, that was a bit scary and the second issue was my luggage, 3 big jumbo suitcases, a backpack, and a bicycle, quite a haul. I was able to get these into a taxi in Belgrade, then get them to the bus station, then aboard the bus for roughly $2 per bag, so only $6 total, flying with these items is much more costly. After I arrived in Budva, which is a cute upscale area, a little more so than Ulcinj, I then hired a local taxi driver to take me to Ulcinj, this cost me a bit more $$$. It took about 1 hour’s time and cost $50. The taxi driver helped me with my bags going into a guest house in Ulcinj.

I spent the summer time, a few weeks/months in Ulcinj and going to the beaches here, cycling, droning with my Mini 2, boating, and hanging around the beach doing just summer stuff. I didn’t do any fishing here but I am considering buying a pole, since I do have a small rubber boat inside my luggage – one of the reasons that I have so much luggage. I also spent some time hanging out in the local cheap restaurants that are not a bad price for a burger. Here is a vid I filmed along the main drag… uploaded YouTube.

ulcinj montenegro
ulcinj near big beach

After my time was up in Ulcinj I actually moved to two different locations, I spent one month at a guest house in Ulcinj, and didn’t really like the owner too much, but the price was decent for the room type. I switched to another place over in Ada Bojana Velicka Plaza that was more expensive, for about 2 weeks, and after this I moved to a place called Sutomore, Montenegro which also has its charms, this was in September to October of 2021, and I’ll tell you why it was memorable. Sutomore is a small beach town that is up the coast of Montenegro about 30 minutes in between Budva and Ulcinj. The taxi driver who drove me from Budva to Ulcinj was badmouthing Sutomore because it was the cheapest place you can rent along the coast in Montenegro.

My time in Sutomore Montenegro. When I arrived here the summer was winding down and it was interesting to see the place becoming quieter into the fall, in my mind this was memorable. Sutomore I would describe as charming in the fall. I stayed in an Airbnb up a hill about 1/3 of a mile from the beach. It was a super affordable price, one of the lowest prices I’ve paid for a monthly rental for a private room with A/C, tv, its own private bathroom, and a fridge! Here i spent my time at the beach or inside the restaurants on my laptop as I’m somewhat of a digital nomad/pro tourist and social media fiend. I also used to play with the strays along the beach one of whom was adorable. One town south, is a place called Bar, Montenegro.

sutomore montenegro

Bar, Montenegro and the fall season. In order to get to Bar, you must either hitchhike or take a local private bus for about $1. You can’t walk along the roadside because there’s not one and there is no sidewalk, there are also big trucks that come barreling down the windy roads without looking, did I mention hills and curves? So once one hitchhikes his way over to Bar, there’s a bit more of a town there, including some shipping centers, a waterfront, sports facilities, and bigger resorts that cater to cruise ship customers. there is also a port for loading and unloading. You can see this video that I took in Bar which I uploaded to Youtube here! You can see how it’s kind of deserted in the Fall, enjoy.

Moving… Later in the fall it became very dark and rainy here in Montenegro, and beach season ended. Over in Sutomore many of the business shut down for the season, and hardly anything was left. on October 20th I made the choice to relocate to Tirana, Albania. I hired a private taxi driver to drive me from Sutomore to Tirana for about 120 Euro, it was a smooth trip, and I needed to get a Rapid covid test to enter Albania, and passed the border by land.

Tips for living inside of a hostel … my experience!

hostel in london

Hello traveling guys and gals! The solo vagabond is currently still staying at one of the cheapest hostels in London, in the northern part of the city! Ill be staying in London hostels for a few weeks time. I’ve been around the world now about 2.5 years so I’ve got a lot of experience living in hostels, here are a few tips to keep your journey safe and avoid any problems at hostels…

#1 Passport. When I check into a hostel most of the hostels dont really ask too many questions about my stay there or who I am. They seem most concerned about my passport, so dont lose yours! It seems as though if you dont have it, you wont be able to sleep anywhere. In most countries, like England, Morocco, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Thailand, they all ask for it. I keep it inside my backpack in a packing cube and always keep my backpack with me and locked just to make sure.

#2. Cash or Credit? Make sure to have your passport and the required method of payment. Over at most of the hostels require a down payment via credit card on their site while then paying in cash the remainder of the balance. Make sure to have this available upon arrival or before. One of the hostels required me to pay the entire balance a few days after booking and not at my check in. I prefer to pay in cash, just in case I should have some problem with the CC payment or my transportation. I usually do some research just to see which ATM locally does not charge an ATM fee. also make sure there are no hidden charges from the hostel, some will list that taxes are separate or they charge for a locker etc.

#3. Secure your valuables!! Here’s a big one. In most hostels I go to I hear stories about people losing stuff and missing possessions. When I was over in Valencia, Spain, I had left two items in plain site on my bed, granted they were not expensive things. The items were a can of spray deodorant and a mini carton of orange juice. Perhaps whoever was in the room thought I was leaving them behind, but they were as gone as a ghost upon my return to the room a few hours later. Whenever I go to the shower I lock my backpack or take it with me, or take the keys with me. its my Pacsafe lockable and slash proof bag. Heres the link of my description, a great bag! most hostels have lockers that you can put a lock on. I bring a lightweight Titanium lock by Abus with me to my hostel.

#4. Stay away from the dorm… let me explain… I personally wake up early …. this morning i was up at 6am and by 630am in the shower. I was out the door by 650am even though at present I’m not working, i just had enough of sleep, but most people might sleep for later, especially young travelers. So try not to make noise inside the dorm. That is what most other guests would expect. One of the things i do is to move my stuff in my backpack outside of the sleeping room and even my clothes so that im not banging it around for too long to wake my fellow roomies.

#5 Stay away part #2. This is just another point from #4. if you have a doubt about who is staying in a hostel or they seem shady or dangerous or unfriendly, its best just to sleep there and get out in the AM, go to a coffee shop or to a park, these types of locations are where I spend most of my time during the day just to avoid any issues with any other hostel-goers, granted you could also meet some interesting people there, but if they aren’t interesting or friendly just stay away and mind your own business. This is especially true of the cheapest hostels you may find in a city. Come back around 9pm or 10pm to sleep. Enjoy the city.

#6 Tidy up your bed and the sink… Some of your roomies might become annoyed if you leave food wrappers, trash, Kleenexes, or your possessions scattered around the bed. I usually make a point to pack up whatever I’m leaving in the room in my locker or my backpack and toss anything else in the trash, then i leave. One time I used my beard trimmer over the sink, and the guy after me said hey are you going to clean this up? Well i did of course, i just washed my hair down the sink and that was it, but some people can get a bit more perturbed. Just make sure to be more polite with the trash and it should go smoothly.

#7 Ask to change rooms… If all else fails and you have a problem, you can ask the manager for a switch. This happened to me one time over in Barcelona. Later one night a shady person showed up in the bed next to my bed at the hostel, it was a sex worker, and I’m not even sure if it was a man or a woman. She or he was kind of a ghetto person and didn’t say hello, granted she didn’t bother me either, but I was a bit freaked out. I asked the manager if i could switch rooms but he refused, so i just left at 530am. Whoever this was didn’t come back to the hostel by 530am, and i was checking out the next day anyway. Some hostels will allow you to switch others will not, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Good luck and enjoy travel!

Things to do in Valencia …

things to do in valencia

Looking or things to do in Valencia? You have come to the right place. I am a solo vagabond who travels the world, and i spent a few weeks time hanging around Valencia, looking for things to do. Valencia is a more low key city as compared to Barcelona. Its a bit smaller and more quiet. I took an Alsa bus for 4 hours to make it here, on a nice scenic sunny ride. One cool thing to do in Valencia is to walk along the river walk which was dammed up and turned into a huge park underneath a bridge.

You can also explore some of the Roman ruins. There is a ruin and a museum check these at La Almoina Archaeological Museum, you can see a few photos here. On a Valencia tour site. There are many historic buildings and pathways around the center of Valencia and the buildings are made of stone.

Baroque Museum stone Architecture

Free tours around the center of Valencia… another thing that you can do is take a free tour around the center of Valencia at one of the cheaper hotels and hostels. I recommend that you stop by the River Hostel near the river park. There is a free tour starting at this hostel but you need to tip them a few euros as payment. if you need a place to stay, there are numerous affordable hostels. This one is just great, and a moderate to low price as compared to other European cities. enjoy.

One of the most things to do in Valencia is to visit the center for Arts which is a huge aquarium museum and art gallery that is in the shape of numerous anthropomorphic buildings, in the style of postmodernism. You can find more information here

The Beach – Dont forget one of my favorite destinations! In Valencia the beach is very, very wide. Its one of the widest beaches that i have ever seen. The weather is very sunny and more moderate weather than Barcelona. In fact i saw people getting into the water during January. It was in the 60s f and sunny. The beach is about a two mile walk, or a short bus ride from the River Hostel which is near the river park that i mentioned was previously filled in. Enjoy. if you like, you can view my river and beach walks on Youtube here

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Packing Advice, One Bag Travel for carry-on size EXP 45

Hi traveling guys and girls! In this post I’m going to offer you some advice on how as a man I packed my one bag Pacsafe EXP45 carry on sized backpack for months of travel! I am currently on month 4 and will be headed back to home base soon! I am particularly interested in “ultra-light” items! I am not a long distance hiker per se, but am a long term traveler with some occasional outdoor stents and having a light bag just makes things easier.

Here you can see what I am wearing and what is packed inside my Pacsafe EXP 45 cut proof bag. My bag when packed weighs 21 lbs whereas i am wearing 11.29 lbs worth of items, including my shoes which weigh near to 3 lbs, a pair of jeans that is about 1 lb 12 oz, an undershirt, and long sleeve button down shirt – for these items of course i would be wearing them regardless of whether i was traveling or not.

The Pacsafe bag itself weighs 3 lbs 6 oz. Inside the Pacsafe bag, ive got 1 stuff sack from Decathlon that is 20 liters and it helps to squeeze down the size of clothing items. ive also got another packing cube that is in the shape of a rectangle. Ive also got two toiletry bags for holding tools and items, such as a toothbrush etc. Granted these items could have been better planned as well and i may change them in the future.

For electronics I have a laptop which is a 14 inch Acer Swift that weighs 2.7 lbs. They do manufacture more lightweight laptops that are smaller for example tablets and the Microsoft surface pro. The Swift has been a great machine its slim and compact as well as reliable so i decided to go with it. You can see that my electronics weigh a total of 5.79 lbs, this includes a DJI mini 2 drone, cords, cases, and a charging brick of 23,000 mah by Anker that i can use when i am away from an electric outlet.

Next you can see that i packed a two person tent for camping. Ill get into where I use the tent versus stay inside of hotels, Airbnb’s and youth hostels. The tent weighs 3.6 lbs and takes up a space about 16″ by 5″ so maybe about 20 % of the inside of the inner portion of the bag.

Lighterpack export

For clothing, I am particularly interested in replacing my cotton shorts with blended or strictly polyester/nylon manufactured clothing because these items are slimmer as well as more lightweight. I currently have one pair of nylon shorts that weigh 8 oz with a belt attached, these are by Mckinley. Jeans tend to weigh much more than shorts, around 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. I would recommend packing these sparingly. I also wore a winter coat because I left for Spain in December. When I return to Albania I’ll trade in this coat for a lightweight jacket. The winter coat is bulky and weighs 3.3 lbs. One plus of having the stuff sack from Decathlon is that my coat can be rolled up into a small ball and compressed in the sack in about the size of 6″ by 8″ or so.