Tag Archives: budget travel

The charm of interstitial cities

Getting around by public transportation as a budget minded, independent traveler can be non-linear and inefficient; this is why I love it. The phrase “you can only get there by car” activates my travel machismo and sends me straight to the internet, since I know there must be a way.  An email to a tourist information […]

Paper, plastic, and ATM machines: your plan for spending money while traveling

Shout out to all my fellow cheapskate travelers: you savvy penny-pinchers have taught me so much about budget travel.  In all the focus on saving money, though, the logistics of spending money during a trip sometimes get sidelined.  Every traveler, even a cheapskate—make that especially a cheapskate—should have a money plan.  You’ll need a combination of cash and […]

Hey budget travelers, where do you like to sleep?

Me?  I prefer a cheap, centrally located, private room.  These days—thank you world wide web—finding a cheap sleep is quite straightforward if you know what you want. Most people assume that since I’m a budget traveler I use hostels.  Hostels are cheap and often centrally located, but I don’t usually stay in them due to the lack […]

I (finally!) have travel gear

Let’s get right to the good part: I finally found waterproof walking shoes. My quest for waterproof walking shoes was more or less the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Aeneid, Njáls Saga and The Odyssey rendered in retail.  It was not pretty.  It involved a lot of returns.  And yet, just at the moment I feared […]

Want to travel cheap? Stay fit.

I think of budget travel as a sort of prolonged marathon.  There’s the constant walking of course—hours and hours of walking and the occasional sprint brought on by a train delay.  And the climbing.  If you love medieval hill towns as much as I do you’re in for a lot of uphill climbs.  (Pro tip: […]

Traveling in Romania: some myths, some tips, and something about gypsies

Before I went to Romania several people warned me it might be dangerous, that I should look out. Oh man were they right–why just the other morning a calf escaped and took off down the dirt road with his new wobbly legs splayed all about with dad and granny chasing after him. I mean, who […]

Immersed in the traditional culture of Maramureș

Traditional culture is thriving in Maramureș, to the point where it felt at times as if we had slipped back a few centuries. The culture is alive, though, not some kind of faux-bucolic Marie Antoinette village. Villagers driving horses on wooden carts and working the land entirely without machines use cell phones. Grampa may not […]

Overjoyed and overstimulated at the Hoteni Festival in Maramureș

We’re in Maramureș, Northern Romania, close to the border of Ukraine.  I need to go to sleep, but I’m overstimulated by the memories of the dancing and singing from today’s Hoteni Festival.  The festival is a sort of agrarian fertility rite, a celebration of the first man to plough his field. The man is brought in […]

Airport eats: snacks to pack for the airport and your flight

If my mind was a pie chart there would be a large slice labeled Intense Thoughts about Snacks.  A subcategory of that slice would be Travel Snacks with a sub-subcategory for Airport Snacks.  And since we’re about to leave for a trip my Intense Thoughts about Snacks mind wedge is in full planning mode. Most airport food is disgusting, innutritious and […]

A skeptic’s guide to travel guide books

I use guide books when I travel, but always selectively and with skepticism.  Why am I a skeptic?  Because many guide books are inaccurate and poorly updated.  Here’s a perfect example: for the past 18 years I’ve worked at the same museum, and throughout those 18 years customers have steadily approached our staff looking confused […]