Ways to Visit France on a Budget
May22

Ways to Visit France on a Budget

France usually doesn’t fit within the category of “budget”. However, I’m a firm believer that you can really travel anywhere on a low-budget, even somewhere as “rich” as France. Sure, it’s not easy, but it is completely possible. Here are some of my tips.   Find the Best Flight Deal Of course, booking a trip on a budget starts with the flight booking. In general, flights are the cheapest when booked about 2 months in advance of your departure date. Also, it tends to be cheapest to book into the biggest destination in a country. For example, flying to Paris tends to be cheaper than flying somewhere like Leon. Moreover, if the exact dates don’t matter, flights on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday tend to be the cheapest days to fly. Don’t Stay in Hotels Hotels are expensive in France, especially the chains in the big cities. Luckily there are a lot of other options available to you when travelling through France. For example, if you’re on a bit of a higher accommodation budget, you should look into the guest houses that are smaller and much more affordable. Other alternatives are AirBnb. Or, if you don’t mind crowds, you can always stay at a couple hostels to really save money. Get a Rail Pass If you’re planning on travelling around France a lot, get a rail pass. If you buy tickets individually, it will become expensive. With a rail pass, you’ll also have the flexibility to change your plans and be more spontaneous. If you plan on moving on the trains more than a couple times in your visit to France, you’ll likely save a great deal by getting a rail pass. Visit the Countryside Cities like Paris and Nice are beautiful, but they can also be extremely expensive. Out in the countryside of France there are some incredibly beautiful towns and places worth exploring. And, the best part about it all is that they are actually much cheaper to spend time in. Personally, I’m all about discovering places off the beaten path, and the added bonus is that it tends to be cheaper anyways. Find the Free Activities There are plenty of free things to do in France, and if you’re on a budget you should focus on these things. Thankfully, there are a lot of free opportunities in the country. For example, some of the country’s best museums actually have days that they are completely free to visitors. In general, most tourists spend a huge chunk of their money on excursions and tours that they could do on their own for cheap or free. So, do yourself a...

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Can “Older” People Adventure Travel?
Oct29

Can “Older” People Adventure Travel?

It’s a saying I hear all the time: “travel well you’re still young.”  And well that might be true to a certain extend, I certainly don’t think it’s a fixed case.  Older people can travel, and they can adventure travel too if they’re willing to step outside their boxes a bit.  Of course, there’s an old saying that says that when you’re young, you have the energy to travel, the time, but no money.  Then, when you’re in your working years, you have the money to travel and the energy, but not the time.  Finally, when you have the money and the time to travel, you don’t have the energy. Of course, I think that all of those cases aren’t exactly true, but an excuse.  I think the true problem is that if people put travel off until they’re older they are less willing to step out of their comfort zones as is necessary in adventure travel.  However, if you’re an “older” person, I do have some advice to having a travel adventure. Get Piece of Mind Through Good Insurance There’s something to be said about having really good travel insurance when you travel.  It allows you to step outside your comfort zone without worrying as much about the risks.  There is good travel insurance for the over 60’s available, so do yourself a favour and prep by making sure you’re properly insured. Don’t Skimp on the Accommodation Let’s face it, once you’re a little older you’re going to want a comfortable place to unwind.  Thus, my advice is that no matter what type of travel you’re doing, be sure you have a really comfortable place to lay your head at the end of the day.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in southern Africa or Peru, be sure to make sure your accommodation will be a place of reprieve from any of the struggles you might encounter out in the world. Surround Yourself with Youth Back in the day, I worked as a tour leader in South America.  The company I worked for specialized in adventure tours.  Now, every now and then an “older” person or couple would be on the tour.  They always mentioned how they felt that the youthfulness of the group made them feel like they were more energetic.  Sometimes, an older group can be a bit of a drag on the mood and resulting experience.  If you surround yourself with younger people, a lot of the youthful energy is likely to rub off on you. Skip the Bus Tour and Cruises It should probably go without saying that adventure travellers should avoid bus tours and cruises...

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Vagabundo Writer Leading Fundraising Trip to India in January
Sep25

Vagabundo Writer Leading Fundraising Trip to India in January

Hi peeps, hope the end of summer, for those of you in the northern hemisphere, hasn’t been too depressing so far.  I always seem to get a bit of the blues when the days start to shorten and the snow starts to fall.  But, looking around at the travel world and seeing all the amazing things people are doing at the moment really seems to perk up my inspiration. One of our writers/photographers, Jamie Robinson, who will be publishing a photography book on India with us in the coming months, will be leading a group of volunteers across India in January.  If you want to get involved, I’m sure he and the people he’s helping, will be forever grateful. The Info Jamie Robinson is volunteering as a team leader for Raleigh International this January – A determined and dedicated charity focused on the development of international citizen cohesion and fighting poverty in the developing world. With donations, Jamie can help further this rewarding charity for young people to go abroad and help in these affected areas and make the world a better place for small communities. Click the link to follow Jamie’s progress, and to help him reach his target, no matter how small. Be a part of a ripple effect and do something lovely. Other Vagabundo Happenings Lots of fun stuff on the dockets here at Vagabundo Magazine.  If you haven’t yet grabbed it, be sure to go over to the book story and pick up James Dorsey’s new book Vanishing Tales from Ancient Trails. Stay in touch via our newsletter as well for announcements like Jaime’s upcoming...

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The Best of the Adventure Travel Film Festival 2014
Sep07

The Best of the Adventure Travel Film Festival 2014

Adventures, travel, films and festivals are four of my favourite things. Finding all four together at a camping event in Dorset seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t. Starlight Screenings When I asked festival co-founder Lois Pryce about the Starlight Screenings, she said, “They’re the real whammers. Anything that really just leaves you like, “Oh my god! I could never do that!”, or “Oh my God, that’s amazing!” At 9:45pm on Friday night, the first Starlight Screening began on a giant screen set up on the green outside Sherborne Girl’s School. The night was clear, and suitably starry. People lounged on the lawn in deck-chairs, on cushions, or wrapped in blankets, swilling wine and beer. Off the Rails is a whammer alright. Made in 2001, the film tells the story of Tim Cope and Chris Hatherly, two twenty year old guys riding recumbent bicycles right across Russia and Mongolia, to Beijing. They begin their journey by unpacking the reclining bikes, already in Russia, and realising things are not going to be at all simple. “I’d never ridden a long distance on bicycles at all, and it was the first time I’d been on such a strange bicycle,” Tim tells the camera at the start of the film. Tim and Chris proceed to ride their strange bicycles over 10,000km, 14 months and uncountable hardships, at times carrying as much as 90kg on their bikes. This film is later hailed by festival co-curator Austin Vince as being “The Target” when it comes to D.I.Y. documentary film-making. “It looks like they had a film-crew with them, but they did everything themselves.” Saturday night’s Starlight Screening was another whammer. Deep Water breaks the festival mould in a way, as it it’s a professionally made film with a budget, but it’s one the organisers say they just had to include. “Deep Water is a different kind of emotional impact,” Lois told me, “It’s almost about the failure of trying to have an adventure, and that’s a topic worth covering, because you don’t want all the big chest-beating, air-punching ‘Hey I’m tough and hard and I did this amazing adventure’ the whole time–there’s another side to it.” Daytime Film Screenings Throughout the weekend I made a concerted effort to watch as many films as possible, but despite most being shown at least twice, it just wasn’t possible to see them all. These are the ones I saw which made the biggest impression. Into the Empty Quarter chronicles the epic adventure of Leon McCarron and Alastair Humphreys, originally just friends of friends, as they trek across the biggest desert on earth, dragging a home-made metal...

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Launching “Vanishing Tales” by James Dorsey
Aug19

Launching “Vanishing Tales” by James Dorsey

So, we’ve been quiet over here, I know.  The truth is, we’re working on restructuring Vagabundo as we have been planning on pushing into new streams.  One of those streams we’ve been most aggressively pursuing is publishing.  In fact, we’re extremely excited to announce that after a couple months of hard work on our end, and years worth of adventure and work on James Dorsey’s part, we’ve just published our first every travel book! The collected works, by Vagabundo Contributor James Dorsey, is an homage to stories from the vanishing trails of the world.  The book is a series of short stories spanning from Cambodia to Mali to Peru and back again.  They are the types of stories that allow the reader to feel like they too are directly involved in the story.  If the travel pieces don’t inspire you travel yourself, you’ll feel as though you’ve managed to escape your current world for as long as James’ beautiful words grace the pages before you. Get it Now! The book is now available in print, eBook and Kindle form.  Grab your copy here: Print copy ($19.99) ePub ($7.99) Kindle ($7.99) Don’t believe us that it’s awesome? Check out a couple endorsements from very prominent members of the travel community:      “James Dorsey is no ordinary travel writer. In this remarkable book, ranging from Southeast Asia to West Africa, he takes us inside tribal cultures that many readers will be surprised to learn still exist. The author’s sincere fascination with remote lands and the ancient practices of their inhabitants often makes him as much participant as observer. That a 21st-century man could yet invoke the spirit of a Stanley or a Shackleton makes “Vanishing Tales from Ancient Trails” all the more a must-read.” Dick Russell, author of “Eye of the Whale: Epic Passage from Baja to Siberia.”      “What I like best about James Dorsey’s stories is that he tells you not only where he travels, but why he travels. He has an innate ability to coax hidden truths from strangers, to absorb and reflect world cultures without judgment. This remarkable collection of essays allows a reader to share both the external and internal journey of a true adventurer.” Diane Haithman, Former Staff Writer for the Los Angeles Times, Author of Dark Lady of Hollywood, and also, The Elder Wisdom Circle Guide for a Meaningful Life. Come on now, Go Get it! The book is now available in print, eBook and Kindle form.  Grab your copy here: Print copy ($19.99) ePub ($7.99) Kindle ($7.99)...

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Black-White Supremacy in a Nairobi Mall
Jun18

Black-White Supremacy in a Nairobi Mall

“I can’t fucking stand these people. Can you?” “Excuse me?” I reply meekly. “Black people. I cannot stand black people.” Last weekend, in achingly hip Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I attended a dinner party in a warmly lit second floor loft. Other attendees were primarily NYU film students, one out-of-town friend from somewhere in Connecticut, and the host’s — Anne’s — cousins in from Italy. On the balcony, amidst rich Italian pasta and the faint beat of bass from the Brooklyn streets below, Anne asks me an interesting question about my recently completed two-year trip around the world: “What was your most positive first interaction with a total stranger?” “I’m not so sure!” I reply. “No one has ever asked me that before. I’d love some time to contemplate. However, while I can’t recount my most positive first interaction with a stranger, I can definitely recount my most memorable.” More than two years ago, I sat exhausted in a cafe booth of a bustling Nairobi mall. I’d just arrived from a night bus from Jinja, Uganda, and my body craved something that would sit in my stomach like a ten-ton rock. The bus was meant to leave around 4pm the previous day, but unfortunately, never showed. Instead, I opted for the 11pm, and given that the road was more pot-holed than not, and nighttime travel is never a strong idea in East Africa (bandits, more bandits, etc.), I didn’t get much sleep. I’m exhausted, unshowered and delirious — a strong contrast to the suited, well-groomed, fifty-plus-year-old gentleman reading the newspaper at the adjacent table. As I wait, he gives his order to the nearby waitress, inexplicably yet visibly losing patience with every passing moment. When the waitress leaves, he turns his attention to me. “I can’t f*cking stand these people. Can you?” “Excuse me?” I reply meekly. “Black people. I cannot stand black people.” I can’t believe my ears. To add to this hurricane of assholery, this man — sharply dressed with the facade of importance — was black himself. “Firstly — no. I have no problem with black people. Secondly — I am, perhaps cynically, confused. Aren’t you black, yourself?” “I am,” he replied. “But I didn’t choose to be black.” “Excuse me?” I retort, now on razor edge and becoming combative. “That’s right — I didn’t choose to be black. My father is Kenyan, and my mother is white and Dutch. I can’t stand black people. The waitress had far too much trouble with my order. They never do anything right.” In ways, I felt sorry for the man. In others, I wanted this vomitorium of ignorance and disgrace to...

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