My Travel Costs in Philippines: Itinerary and Budget Breakdown

White Island - Camiguin, Philippines

Since I recently finished a full month of traveling in the Philippines I thought it might be helpful to provide a detailed summary of my expenses there, along with my full itinerary and a few travel observations.

Staying Connected in Japan: Phone and Internet Options for Your Trip to the Land of the Rising Sun

Are you planning a trip to Japan and hoping to use a phone, tablet or laptop while there? There’s some good news and bad news.
Japan, I Love You But…
I’ve lived a year in Japan and visited multiple times since then. I really love the country, its people and the culture. But, while Japan has long been considered an example of high-tech progress and advanced mobile … [ Read more ]

Saving on Travel in Japan with a JR Rail Pass: My Itinerary, Tips and Cost Savings

Japan has long been considered one of the more expensive countries to travel. Recently, thanks to a weakening currency and years of deflation, Japan is becoming more affordable. Getting around inside the country will, however, be one of your bigger expenses. If you aren’t too pressed for time or you are just planning to visit a few locations, the best prices will most likely be … [ Read more ]

My Travel Costs in South America: A Complete Budget Breakdown (with Spreadsheet)

Note: See the end of this post to see how you can get/use my expense tracking spreadsheet (free).

Many people are interested in how much around-the-world (RTW) or other long-term travel costs, especially as a budget traveler or backpacker. As I explained in my Central America cost breakdown, before I began my multi-year Latin America journey, I created a spreadsheet to … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Brazil Travel Guide

General Comments
Like almost everyone I have met who has traveled to Brazil, I loved my experience here. It is a huge country, diverse in land, people, culture and even language. When I first started thinking of my South America plans I considered skipping Brazil precisely because it was so huge and because I wanted to concentrate on improving my Spanish, but as I finish my … [ Read more ]

Booking (and Paying for) Flights Online in Brazil

Brazil is a great country. Really. And, its economy seems to be thriving. There are even multiple low-cost airlines (Avianca, Azul, GOL, TAM, Webjet) that provide enough competition to make flying inside the country oftentimes as cheap an option as taking the bus. And, some of the associated websites are pretty good. There’s only one … [ Read more ]

My Travel Costs in Central America: A Complete Budget Breakdown (with Spreadsheet)

Note: See the end of this post to see how you can get/use my expense tracking spreadsheet (free).

Many people are interested in how much around-the-world (RTW) or other long-term travel costs, especially as a budget traveler or backpacker. Latin America, generally being a fairly inexpensive destination, is popular for long-term itineraries. So, I bring you some good news and bad news. … [ Read more ]

How to Renew a Tourist Visa in Brazil

Brazil is a large country to see in just three months. If you find yourself wanting more time to enjoy this beautiful destination and its warm people then you will most likely find it easier to extend your tourist visa inside the country than to make a border run as you might in other locations (e.g., from Buenos Aires to Colonia in Uruguay).

I can’t say … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Antarctica (Antártida) Travel Guide

I am one of the fairly small number of travelers who has been fortunate enough take a tour to Antarctica. Unlike for others, it hasn’t been a specific goal of mine for a very long time. Rather, as I started contemplating my lengthy travels in Central and South America, I started hearing about Ushuaia, the “end of the world.” Then I started to hear … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Argentina Travel Guide

General Comments
Due to the fact that I spent more than four months in Buenos Aires and that it is in many ways a place unique and separate from Argentina as a whole, this guide will cover the parts of Argentina I visited outside of Buenos Aires (though be sure to check out my Buenos Aires travel tips as well). Basically, my route was from … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Buenos Aires Travel Guide

Here I will share some of the useful resources and, hopefully, insights I have into the popular South American city of Buenos Aires.

Travel Tips: Uruguay Travel Guide


  • I was in Uruguay in September 2011, during the off season and apparently in summer the country is overrun with tourists, many from Argentina. Thus, anything you read here may be completely different from the experience you can expect if you visit during high season.
  • Many of the hostels in Uruguay are Hosteling International affiliated so if you don’t already have a HI card it will

[ Read more ]

Getting a Visa for Brazil and Paraguay in Buenos Aires

Passport holders of certain countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, need a visa to enter both Brazil and Paraguay (I have read that to enter Ciudad del Este, Paraguay near Iguazu it is not necessary, but I cannot confirm that with authority). As many lengthy travelers will be passing through Buenos Aires it is a logical choice for getting the visas.

There are actually a … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Chile Travel Guide

General Comments
I probably short-changed Chile due to the fact that I needed to get to Ushuaia to get a cruise to Antarctica and thus only had about a month to spend. I crossed the Andes from Mendoza, Argentina arriving in Santiago. I then moved on to Valparaíso, Pucón, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas (if you count spending the night in the airport), and … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Bolivia Travel Guide

General Comments

Bolivia seems to be one of those countries that some people seem to really love while others think it is vastly overrated. It has one of the highest percentages of indigenous population and is one of the least developed countries in South America. Again, these two items are either pluses or minuses, depending on your outlook, or more likely both depending on … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Peru

General Throughts on Perú

  • Perú is a paradise for those, like myself, who are interested in archaeological sites. Of course, it’s most famous for Machu Picchu, but there are SO many more archaeological sites to visit besides MP and I encourage you to do so.
  • Use iPerú, found in many tourist locations. It is a great source

[ Read more ]

The Poor Man’s Route to Machu Picchu

Alternative Treks
For months I had been planning to do one of the alternative treks to Machu Picchu, having mostly decided on the Salkantay Trek after reading great reviews of it and hearing equally good first-person accounts as well. Of course, being a backpacker, plans change. Arriving in Cuzco in the low season I started looking for an agency to use for the trek. What I … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Ecuador

General Thoughts on Ecuador
I enjoyed my time in Ecuador, but if anything I write below sounds as though I didn’t it is probably because I went to Ecuador after spending three months in Colombia, a country I truly loved. Ecuador certainly has its own natural beauty and other charms, but what left me a bit cold were the people. It wasn’t that they are unfriendly, … [ Read more ]

Travel Tips: Colombia

General Thoughts on Colombia
I, along with everyone else I have ever met who has traveled Colombia, loved it. I spent a bit more than three months there. The people are great, the country is beautiful and there is plenty to see and do. Crime and the FARC aren’t the problems most people assume and, aside from the big cities, Colombia seemed safer than many places … [ Read more ]