Practical Traveler

articles with practical travel advice and ideas

Hometown Traveler: Your Indie Guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is a city where residents have historically lived by their own set of rules and is brimming with an unflinching independent spirit. Where else can you find zombie flash mobs, public pillow fights, an enthusiastic bike and skate culture, a great music and arts scene, more hipsters and gays than you can shake a stick at, and limitless options for amazing food on any budget.

Couch Surfing Over 50

I want to address the fact that, although GoMad Nomad readership is primarily budget, independent travelers, they are NOT all broke twenty-somethings. So I want to talk about the Couch Surfing Project, and how it’s for all ages. It is, however, only applicable for people who are interested in meeting other people.

Aren’t I too old for this?

No, you aren’t too old. Although only 3% of couch surfers worldwide are between the ages of 50 and 69 (72% are between the ages of 18 and 29) it still adds up to 48,000 participants over 50, as the total number of worldwide couch surfers is almost 1.7 million. And with 75% knowing English, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a host whom you can

Crossing the Darien Gap

When planning your trip between Central and South America, whether you’re a backpacker or a luggage puller, Darien National Park must be discussed and crossed. The Darien is an infamous stronghold of the Colombian revolutionary group, FARC, who have inhabited this national park region for more than three decades. Their presence is still a major threat to safety in the forms of extortion, kidnapping and death. It is not recommended to enter the area. Although there are groups and individuals who attempt to cross every year, the vast majority of travelers hedge their bets on boats and airplanes where kidnapping is not common and survival is the status quo–not a question mark.

Volunteer in the West Bank

There is no better way to experience Palestinian culture and get an inside look at life under the Israeli occupation then to go to the West Bank as a volunteer. I was in the midst of a six-month Istanbul to Cairo overland trip when I got an invitation to stay for a month. I couldn’t say no. The warmth and hospitality of the Palestinian people made it an easy choice for me.

Where my coffee comes from

“I tried to buy a ticket too, but they’ve run out of seats,” says the only other Gringo on the bus. There has to be 200 of us packed into this former American school bus. And without a ticket, this means we’ll be standing for the two-hour haul over the mountains to Matagalpa. This is our first time on an “express” bus, opposed to the “ordinario” or “chicken” buses which do not require an advance purchase or have seat numbers.

A Guide to Travel Guidebooks

Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Foder’s, Frommer’s, Rick Steves’, Let’s Go, Blue Guides, Bradt…With a multitude of guidebook publishers, choosing the best guidebook for your next trip can be challenging. Which guidebook should you take? Well, it all depends on your personality, how you travel, your budget, and where you’re traveling.

Scroll to Top