Posts in category

Travel Prep

We’ve finally put our decades of travel to use! In these articles we give our wisdom on preparing for trips as well as advice from pros, including trip leaders. We look at what to pack, how to best book tickets, and more.

Go to Brazil Just for the Dancing — How, What, & Where: Complete Planning Tips

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Safety, Comfort, and Easy Ticket Booking on Brazilian Long-Distance Buses

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Our Best Schemes for Cheap Train Tickets in France

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The Cheapest USA Shopping Trip: Prepare Online Before You Go

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For over two years I’ve been crisscrossing Europe by train with a dog. I am a digital nomad and the dog in question is actually my daughter’s, but is with me while my daughter finishes her degree. So where I go, the dog goes. Traveling around Europe may seem like a carefree life, but it …

We ran dozens of pan-Europe searches on our two favorite train booking platforms, RailEurope (formerly Loco2) and Trainline, and compared the results. The goal: determine which booking experience is smoother and results in better and cheaper routes. We have found that both of these platforms are better than booking directly from mainland Europe’s national train companies. …

The French train operator’s websites SNCF Connect and Ouigo are notorious for rejecting bank and credit cards from outside of France. Those from Brazil, Eastern Europe, the United States, Australia, and Canada in particular report problems with payments not going through or getting rejected. We’ve been carefully researching the best alternatives for foreigners looking to purchase …

I’ve been booking trains in Italy for many years, and oh, the problems. Trenitalia’s official website is buggy to say the least, and the ticket machines in train stations are as confusing as the humans at the ticket counters. Worse, using foreign (American, French, etc.) credit cards can cause even more headaches. Italians have these problems …

We’ve spent weeks testing websites to find out how to efficiently book the cheapest tickets for Italian train travel. We tested all kinds of routes and options, and looked at overall end purchase prices as well as the complaints about and defects with the national operator’s website, Trenitalia and to the competing private train operator, …

I’ve been whizzing around France on TGV and other trains as cheaply as possible for over a decade. Riding the French rails is nearly always a joy, and if you know when to book and how to work the discount cards, sales, and special offers, you can bop around the French train system without shedding …

I’ve been an avid train rider in France for the past 16 years, and frustrated with the error-prone SNCF (official French national railway) websites in their various incarnations for just as long. There are now two great private alternatives for booking train tickets that cost exactly the same as the official SNCF site (as well …

You might not be used to long-distance bus travel. But in Brazil, buses are an important and useful way to travel the country. And for a land with plenty of inconveniences for travellers, the intercity buses are generally surprisingly comfortable and pleasant. We’ll show you how to avoid the few pitfalls to Brazilian bus adventures, …

Former students and study abroad trip leaders agree: Less is more, but don’t forget key essentials. Photo by Steven Lewis. I’ve interviewed former students and a long-time trip leader about what you should pack — and, just as importantly, not pack — for study abroad trips. Add to that my own two study abroad experiences …

I’ve been going to Brazil frequently for more than a decade. When people ask why I keep going back, I invariably give my very top reason (of the many possible): to go dancing. There are calculated to be upwards of 300 styles of Brazilian music and they are just fantastic—not surprising since Portuguese is the …