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My favorite spots during my 6 month Eurotrip

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 @ 12:52 pm from United States United States
So much of what makes a city memorable is entirely situational. Where you stay, who you're with, the people you meet, the weather, the previous night's sleep... they all affect how you perceive and react to a new city. That being said, this list is where I personally enjoyed my time during my 6 months exploring Europe.

Doolin, Ireland

Nights there: 2
Hostel: Aille River
Reasons: Weather, scenery, hiking, hostel, people

I was in Ireland during some of the best weather they’ve had in the last ten to twelve years and I was definitely going to take advantage of it. Doolin is an extremely small town situated on the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland. The nearest grocery store is a half hour walk up hill out of the city and when you get there you realize it’s just a glorified petrol station convenience store.

None of that really matters though. The town is situated on a trail system that gives you some of the best views I experienced all trip. I woke up at 6am my second day there and, along with one of the other hostel guests, we walked along the cliffs at sunrise. There wasn’t another soul out there for two hours.

What made this one of my favorite locations was the charm of just how small the town was, the ease of getting to some of the best hiking I’ve ever seen, the friendliness of the hostel staff and guests and the ability to see the Cliffs of Moher in a way you never get if you do it by tour bus.

Favorite memory? Sitting on the edge of the cliffs on a gorgeous morning for about a half hour watching the waves crash a few hundred feet below me.

Llanberis, Wales

Nights there: 2
Hostel: YHA Llanberis
Reasons: hiking, scenery, hostel, people, nature

The only thing negative about this was the fact that I didn’t book more nights there. Llanberis is one of several base areas for hiking and climbing around Snowdonia peak in Northern Wales. I hadn’t heard anything about this area until I was in Llandudno and I met a guy at the hostel who had just come from Llanberis. He showed me some of the photos from his hike and I immediately booked two nights at the YHA in Llanberis.

The hiking is absolutely amazing. It’s some of the most intense hiking I’ve experienced in my entire life. I chose to take the more difficult route that summits Crib Goch in addition to Snowdonia. The hike between Crib Goch and Snowdonia was ridiculous. The views were amazing but the 300+ foot drops on either side of a few foot wide ridge were nerve-wracking.

If you’re looking for some great hiking with some great views, definitely check out Snowdonia. Llanberis is the largest town in the area but there are a few hostels scattered around the peak. I liked staying in Llanberis since there were plenty of pubs, restaurants and markets.

Favorite memory? Being completely scared but amazed at the views while hiking the ridge between Crib Goch and Snowdonia peaks.

Newquay, England

Nights there: 12
Hostel: Driftwood Surf Lodge
Reasons: beach, hostel, people, coastline

I stumbled upon Newquay almost by accident. I was in Cardiff, Wales for the previous ten nights and was looking for somewhere nearby to head to next on my trip. After searching around some travel websites I found a few articles talking about the "surfing capital of the UK." It sounded interesting and was pretty easy to get to by public transport so I booked a bed and set off.

Newquay is down in Cornwall county which is the farthest south west you can get in England. They’re known for some really starch and fat intense meals called Cornish Pasties which are like calzones stuffed with potatoes, meat and gravy sauce. While you definitely wouldn’t want to eat them all the time, they’re pretty good to try.

The coastline is also amazing. Tidal swings throughout the day mean sometimes the beaches can be miles long, or you’re stuck in a 12 foot strip with hundreds of other people. These tidal swings have eroded the coastline to form some great cliffs and well as some great surfing opportunities. I did a lot of running along the cliffs and chilling on the beach with other people from the hostel.

The place I stayed at was more of a long term surfer’s hangout but they also let random backpackers sleep there too. During the entire trip, I don’t think I had more solid group of cool people to hang out with than I did here. We all cooked out several nights, went to the beach together almost every day, everyone hung out in the dining room and partied together.

Favorite memory? Setting up our small gazebo on some sand dunes overlooking the beach and relaxing there through sunset.

Bruges, Belgium

Nights there: 4
Hostel: Snuffel Backpacker hostel
Reasons: buildings, hostel, beer

It rained most of the time and was a lot colder than I’d been dealing with the last couple months but the charm associated with Bruges was unbeatable. Sure, the buildings in Bruges aren’t really that old but it was the first place on this trip that truly felt what I pictured small European cities to be like. It wasn’t overly crowded and all the side streets and small bridges crossing canals made for some great photos.

If you love beer and frites, Bruges is also a great place to visit. My hostel, the Snuffel Backpacker Hostel, had one of the best bars in town. Locals even flocked to the hostel at night to drink the huge variety of Belgian beers they had at their disposal. If you’re staying there for a couple nights, get the punch card. They let you try 5 different Belgian beers and you end up saving a few euros overall.

In addition to some really nice old looking buildings and small streets that are great to get lost in, there are four still standing windmills that are situated along the outer canal. I was fortunate enough to see them in both the rain (literally got poured on when I was there one day) and also in the shining sun. They’re definitely neat and from the top of the hills you can get some good views of the city.

Favorite memory? Going out the first night after it finished raining and having the entire town to myself. I was able to walk around and see some of the best views of the city without any other people trying to crowd the photo spots.

Riomaggiore, Italy

Nights there: 4
Hostel: Mar-Mar
Reasons: location, hostel, people, food, wine, town

The Cinque Terre was my first experience with the Italian Riviera. I got off the train in Riomaggiore and after walking through a huge tunnel to get to the town center I was amazed at the colors and feel of the town. I checked into the hostel and was blown away with the views from the balcony attached to the unit.

Another amazing thing I did while staying here was to hike between the towns. Unfortunately the trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola (the next town) was closed. I took a train to Manarola and started a crazy hike up to Corniglia via Volastra. The hike took me through vineyards and olive farms. The views of the coast and surrounding area couldn’t have been better.

At night, pretty much everyone who isn’t a local leaves the towns and you’re able to walk around and have the entire town to yourself. I went down to the port several times and took some night photos and enjoyed the peace and quiet that only comes to small places like this.

Favorite memory? Hiking in the vineyards between Manarola and Corniglia and having dramatic views of the mountains to the right, the ocean to the left and the Cinque Terre towns spread out in front and behind me.

Barcelona, Spain

Nights there: 14
Hostel: 360 Hostel
Reasons: food, beach, drink, hostel, people, weather

In my effort to chase the sun and keep moving south as the seasons wore on, I found myself in Barcelona. When I first arrived at the end of October it was hitting 80 degrees and was fully sunny. It really brought out the best of Barcelona since it’s such an outdoor oriented place. I had fun exploring the old part of the city, the markets, the beach and many of the gardens.

I met and hung out with some really nice people who were also staying long term at the hostel. For Halloween the hostel also threw a party with free drinks and snacks. They had a good book exchange and were in a good location with pretty easy access to most of the sights.

Barcelona was my first taste of Spain and I loved it. The food, the drinks, the way of life… they were all so different from every other place I’d been so far. It was one of the first places on the trip where I felt like I could go and hang out there for a few months and still find new things to do.

Favorite memory? The first time I walked into La Boqueria (the giant market off La Rambla) I was blown away with all of the fresh fruit, vegetables, cured meats and tapas that were on display. I went back several times during my stay in Barcelona to buy fresh food.

Cordoba, Spain

Nights there: 6
Hostel: Cordoba Bed and Be
Reasons: people, hostel, city, sights

Cordoba is another small city with a lot to offer. I was in Cordoba in early December and the entire city was decked out for the holidays. All of the lights and the holiday decorations really gave the city a different kind of charm. The city was never really too busy and the people who were out all seemed like locals. It wasn’t an obnoxious town filled with tourists.

Being in Cordoba for 6 nights really let me explore the city and get to know it. I was also fortunate enough to have good hostel roommates who wanted to go out for tapas and drinks pretty much every night. It helped ease the sense of loneliness when you’re out with other people in such a social country as Spain is. Most of the places here also gave free tapas with all of your drinks too which was really cool.

The Mezquita with its red and white striped arches and Muslim origins were extremely beautiful to see. I went in the early morning when it was free and less busy. I was able to walk around and get some amazing shots without a lot of crowds. The bell tower in the courtyard is also a very impressive sight.

Favorite memory? Taking a nature hike with one of the staff at the hostel. We went into some of the mountains outside the city and ended up at a hermitage where we had some lunch and home made Spanish tortilla.

How much did my trip cost?

Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 09:36 pm from United States United States
I was curious how much my 6 months in Europe cost me so I totaled up all my expenses (that I was diligently keeping track of at clearcheckbook.com) and came up with some interesting stats.

I was in Europe for a total of 173 days (June 27 - December 17, 2013). I visited thirteen different countries, some of which cost more than others, but to make this easier I'm not going to break this down by country but instead give overall averages. The total for my time in Europe, including flights to and from, was $11,508.40. Not too bad!

If you take the flights to and from Europe out of the equation it drops the total down to $10,803.45 which is just under $63 per day. This includes lodging, travel, food, drinks and sightseeing.

To break things down further I spent:
  • $704.95 on flights to and from Europe
  • $2,358.87 on travel within Europe
    • $1,223.04 on trains
    • $350.12 on buses
    • $785.71 on intra-Europe flights
  • $2,651.32 on lodging. Actual cost is slightly higher since I had to pay cash for some

When I was first planning this trip I was estimating about $75/day at the high end and I came in below that which is pretty impressive. I cooked at the hostels very regularly which helped cut the costs down. I felt like I was traveling pretty normally. I wasn't super cheap with everything but I wasn't paying to go into every church, castle and museum in every city I visited. I stayed at a few hotels and did a couple overnight buses and trains but the majority of my nights were spent in hostels.

If you're planning on a long term trip in Europe, you can definitely get the above costs down if you need to. In Spain and Germany, car sharing is a huge thing. There are several websites that hook up travelers with drivers and the costs are usually cheaper than buses or trains. Couchsurfing is also a way to cut down lodging costs. While staying at hostels is nice for the solo traveler, if you're traveling with someone else finding apartments or cheap hotel rooms can sometimes be cheaper than hostels.

The things that most helped me cut my costs down were cooking my own food and staying at hostels. If you can't deal with hostels and need to stay in hotels regularly, plan on spending about 2-3x each night (assuming you're a solo traveler). Also, take advantage of hostel breakfasts. If you're shameless and cheap you can make a sandwich or two with the free breakfast food and eat that for lunch.

Notes: A lot of my daily purchases were made with cash. I didn't actually track every cash purchase but I did record the ATM withdrawals which are included in the grand totals above. Also, I used some airline miles to buy my return flight. That return flight only cost me $54 in taxes.

Back in the USA

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 02:07 pm from United States United States
Wow, what a day. I'm writing this a day late because yesterday was such a mess that I didn't even have time to compose a post.

It started off fine. I had a big continental breakfast at the hotel, did the final packing of my bag and then caught the free hotel shuttle to the Madrid airport. There was no one at security so I got through that pretty quick. I had 5 euros left in my pocket so I bought a sprite and some Jamon Ruffles (the ham flavored ones) so my family could try them when I got home.

I showed up to the gate and hung around for a while. When it was time for boarding to start, they told us that there was a maintenance issue on the aircraft and they'd get back with us soon. About forty-five minutes later they finally said whatever the issue had been was fixed and they started letting us board.

I got my window seat and fortunately the plane wasn't full so I had the entire row to myself (to start with at least). When we finally got into the air, the pilot came on the speakers and said there was a strong headwind so we probably wouldn't get into JFK until about 2:30pm (we were originally supposed to land at 1:15pm). My flight to Indy left at 3... not good. Anyone who's dealt with customs in the States knows that unless you've got at least an hour and a half to get through customs and back through security you're not going to make your flight.

We were served a really nice lunch and then I got a small bottle of wine since they were free. After they cleaned up the meal service some lady asked if she could sit in my row since no one else was. I said sure, then she asked if she could lay down in the two open seats. WTF? I was in a bit of a crappy mood due to a few nights of bad sleep so I just gave her this look of "are you freaking kidding me?" but said fine, whatever. The rest of the flight I had this woman next to me who kept trying to sleep but failing at it.

I was really hoping we'd get into JFK earlier than predicted but we didn't. We touched down around 2:15 and as soon as I got off the plane they were asking people with connections to go see a guy who would handle it. A lot of people got passes to get through security quicker but since my connection was too close they rebooked me on a flight to Indy (via Charlotte) from LaGuardia airport (about a 45 minute bus ride away).

They forgot to print off my bus voucher to transfer airports so I got rushed through customs and got my voucher and waited around for the bus to LGA. Meanwhile, it's snowing / raining pretty heavily and flights are getting canceled left and right. On the bus to LGA I checked the new flight I was scheduled for and it was already marked as canceled. Great.

I got to LaGuardia and went to the desk and fortunately they booked me on a Delta flight that was scheduled to leave at 9:15pm (it was only about 4:15 right now). There was a 6:15pm flight on Delta as well but the gate agent said the standby list was full. Bummer.

I got through security and figured I'd go to the gate of the 6:15 flight anyway and see if there was any way I could get on it. With the way my day had been going I really didn't want to stick around until 9:15 only to find out my flight was delayed or canceled again (plus it wasn't scheduled to get in to Indy until 11:30pm assuming everything was 100% on time).

I waited at the desk for about 45 minutes until a gate agent showed up a few minutes before boarding. I asked if I could be put on the standby list and she said I was #1 on the list. I guess the original person misread something because the list was empty. I was about to go get some food thinking there's no way I'd get on the flight but as soon as I started walking away they said that everyone on standby was cleared for the flight!

By now I'd already been awake for 17 hours and being on a flight with Indianapolis as the destination was great. What could go wrong now? Well, remember all the snow and rain I mentioned earlier? There was an hour and a half backup with the de-icers at the airport so we didn't actually leave until 8:15pm (2 hours after we boarded the flight). Apparently they can't schedule you for de-icing until the flight has already boarded.

Anyway, we were finally in the air! I tried to sleep but I was too whacked out from the stress of the day to really have that happen. We finally touched down in Indy around 10pm. I'd been up for about 20 hours by now.

I met my parents and we drove home. I don't think Canyon was expecting to see me. My beard and no smells she was used to really confused her. I ate a really late dinner and then got situated for bed. I finally fell asleep around 12:30am, 23.5 hours since I first got up in Madrid.

13 hours of sitting on planes, 2 canceled flights, 2 delayed flights and 4 airports later I was back in Indy. What a day and an absolutely crazy way to end what was such a great adventure in Europe.

Thanks everyone for following along during my 6 months of travel. Over the next few days as I mentally digest the trip I'll be posting more thoughts, stats, favorites, least favorites, etc of the trip.

Final Packing and Tying Up Loose Ends

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 11:13 pm from United States United States
18 hours until I get on my plane to start my journey to Europe and I've finalized everything I'm bringing and I've tied up all the necessary loose ends here. The last major thing I needed to finish today was to handle my vehicle registration renewal issue. My NM license plate is set to expire in November 2013 but since NM requires an emissions test for each renewal it makes things difficult. In order to get my license plate renewed I needed to run around town today to get a VIN inspection and some documents notarized. Then, when I get my license renewal form I have to send all of that along with the renewal form.

I also had to pre-write all my checks for the bills I don't have set to auto-pay as well as all of my business estimated taxes that will be due while I'm gone. My parents will simply throw the envelopes in the mail on the specified dates and everything should be good to go.

Since the last test pack I did a few weeks ago I changed a few things up. I ditched my Nikon D50 in favor of a Canon G15. The DSLR simply took up too much room and the technology crammed into the G15 is so much better. Due to feedback from other travelers I also picked up a couple more pairs of boxers and decided I'd bring a pair of jeans as well as a dress shirt.

That's it for now. It's almost time for this crazy journey to start!
Teaser photo
Everything I'm Taking
Teaser photo
Everything I'm Taking (w/ captions)
Teaser photo
Everything packed w/ what I'm wearing on the flight

Some last minute purchases and changes

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 10:17 am from United States United States
After my "test packing" post I started to think a little bit more about what I had packed. I really like my Nikon D50 but the sad truth is the camera is 8 years old and the lens already has some focusing issues and the whole thing takes up a lot of room. I did some research into some compact point and shoots and ended up purchasing the Canon Powershot G15. The G15 is basically a DSLR crammed into a point and shoot body. There are full manual controls for setting the fstop and shutter speeds plus it has full 1080p movie shooting modes. It feels very sturdy when holding it and the rear LCD is amazingly clear. I'm going to be much more inclined to carry this around than lugging around my giant D50.

I also went to REI and purchased a couple more pairs of quick drying boxers. That should be everything I need to change up for now. 8 days to go!

TIL: The Schengen Zone

Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 07:27 pm from United States United States
In preparation for my trip abroad I created a spreadsheet where I made a list of all the cities / countries I wanted to visit and then estimated how much time I might want to spend there. Then today I learned about the Schengen Zone. This is a group of 26 European countries that have opened their borders to each other to make it easier to travel around. Travelers from the USA can show up and stay in the Schengen zone for up to 90 days in a span of 180 days (3 months within a 6 month period). Looking at my spreadsheet I currently have 98 days estimated within the Schengen zone. That means I have to re-evaluate some of my plans but that shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Ireland and the UK are all outside the Schengen Zone so at least the start of my trip will be in the clear. Morocco is also outside the zone so that's in the clear too. I just have roughly an additional 50 days to burn outside the zone so if anyone finds any cheap flights to SE Asia or South Africa, let me know!

Anyway, glad I figured this all out now before getting into trouble by overstaying the 90 day period there. If anyone else is planning on visiting Europe for a long period of time, it's something to keep in mind before planning everything out!

All my gear has been bought (and test packed)!

Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 09:53 am from United States United States
It's only 16 days before I jump on a jet for Dublin, Ireland so I decided it was time to lay all my gear out and take some photos. This was the first time I laid everything out to see what I'm taking and then to try and pack it all into my backpack. 40 liters sounds like quite a bit of room until you start laying everything out and then look at how much stuff you have. The stuff that takes up the most room by far is my clothes. My DSLR is a little awkward to fit just because of the shape.

You can see a full list of everything I packed by visiting the Preparation link at the top of the page. The last photo also has everything identified with numbers.

I'm getting really excited now. These last couple weeks are going to blow by!
Teaser photo
Everything unpacked
Teaser photo
Starting to consolidate
Teaser photo
Everything in the pack
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Detailed list of what I\'m bringing

5 Nights at the College Street Times Hostel in Dublin are Booked!

Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 09:49 am from United States United States
I reserved a bed in a 6 bed suite at the Times Hostel - College Street in Dublin for my first 5 nights in Europe. I'll be staying there the night of June 27 through July 2nd. After reading reviews and looking at all the sights I want to see in Dublin, it looks like it's in a pretty prime location. It's next to Trinity College and is within easy walking distance to several big sights.

The hostel is also on a main bus line from the Dublin airport and will only cost a little over 3 USD to hop on board. After spending 5 days in Dublin I'll probably head west toward Galway, but who knows at this point!

Grand Canyon & Flagstaff, AZ - Pre-Europe Travels

Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 07:59 am from United States United States
I've been living in Albuquerque, NM for seven and a half years and hadn't been out to see the Grand Canyon yet. Two of my friends, Luiz and Orville, tried to go last year but ended up being in Flagstaff during the local college's homecoming festivities and ended up partying instead of seeing the canyon.

We decided that before I took off for Europe I should at least see some of the sights closer to home so we planned a trip to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. We packed up my car on Friday afternoon with plenty of beer and some lunch food and started the drive. With the time change, we made it to Flagstaff around 9:30pm, checked into Hotel Monte Vista, had a beer in the room and then went out to get some beers at the local places.

The first bars we hit were the ones in the hotel. They were a little crowded so we had our beers and moved on. We ended up making it to Flagstaff Brewing Company to have our final beer of the night. It seemed that on Friday night, FBC was a little more geared toward a different type of crowd than we were expecting for a local brewery. We went back to the room around midnight and went to sleep.

Tyler ended up waking up at about 5:30am so he got the rest of us up at 6. We had a morning beer in the room and decided we might as well get breakfast and head out to the Grand Canyon to get an early start for the day. We ate breakfast at a place called Mix. The food was all really tasty and a great way to get the day started.

The drive up to the Grand Canyon is pretty scenic and goes by quickly. When we got to the Grand Canyon we got stuck in the slow line to pay our $25 entry fee, but once we got past that we headed to the Mather Point Rim Trail to get our first glimpses of the canyon. We couldn't have asked for a better day. It wasn't too windy, there were no clouds, it wasn't overly hot or cold and the haze was at a minimum. We walked the rim trail and took a bunch of photos and then decided we'd drive East a little bit and find a more secluded spot to have some beers and eat lunch.

After a 10 minute drive along the rim we came to a really nice and empty overlook area that had some unofficial trails along the side. We grabbed our cooler and found an absolutely spectacular area to chill and have our Grand Canyon beer. The beer we decided on was the Oskar Blues Dale's Deviant Ale. It was a really good beer and tasted even better with the awesome views we had. The wind started to pick up a little bit so we enjoyed the view and finished our beer then headed back to the car to eat lunch.

Tyler packed about 5 different kinds of lunch meats and a few different kinds of cheese. We had some delicious sandwiches and opened a bomber of Laughing Dog's Rocket Dog Rye IPA. I had higher hopes for it but none of us were really digging the flavor. It could have been that the strong Dale's was messing with our taste buds though.

After eating we got back in the car and headed back to Flagstaff. Once we got back into town we started hunting for some Coconut water to help re-balance our systems a bit before starting the real drinking activities. We finally found a Safeway and got to use the restrooms (we all had to go really really bad) and got our coconut water and then went back to the hotel.

After another couple of beers in the room we started our adventures around Flagstaff. The first place we hit was the Madrid Tapas y Sangria bar where we each got a beer and split some tapas. Next we went over to Mother Road Brewing Company for another round when we decided we needed a pick-me-up. The bike shop next to Mother Road was selling espressos and coffee. We ended up trying some of the cold-drip coffee and it definitely did the trick. After that we headed over to Lumberyard Brewery where we had another round and something resembling poutine to snack on.

It was starting to cool down a bit so at this point we went back to the hotel to get our jackets. We got there and finished off the last of the four bombers we brought (a nice oatmeal stout) and then headed over to Uptown Billiards where we played some pool and had two more rounds. We were all in the snacking mood again so we took off and ended up coming across a sign for $9.99 one-pound buckets of shrimp at San Felipe's Cantina so we stopped and got a couple of those and another beer.

We were all feeling pretty good so we asked the waitress where we should go and she mentioned Hops on Birch being a chill place, so that's where we set off to. They had a pretty good beer selection so we got another round there and hung out for a bit. By now we were starting to fade a little bit so we thought we needed some more food before another rally. We tried to get into a Thai place but they were closed so we found another one and ordered some appetizers and waters.

That helped a bit so we went to the hotel bar for another round. Luiz and I ended up hitting our walls and couldn't even finish our beers so we headed up to the room to pass out. Orville and Tyler stayed down for another 15 minutes or so before heading back up. It was a long day but we did and saw a lot.

On Sunday morning we woke up, started packing everything up and then got some breakfast at Criollo Latin Kitchen. I had a really good breakfast burrito and everyone else liked their food. After having some food in our stomachs we got in the car and headed home. We were hoping to hit a liquor store on the way out of town to pick up some Dogfish head beers but we couldn't find one that had it. The drive home was pretty uneventful. When we got back, Luiz and I swung by a new Vietnamese place and got some Pho to go.

It was a really quick weekend but everyone had a lot of fun. Flagstaff is definitely a cool place to go if you want to see some cool sights and hang out in a really chill town.
Teaser photo
Grand Canyon South Rim
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Grand Canyon South Rim
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Luiz, Tyler, me and Orville
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Enjoying a Dale's Deviant Ale

Andrews FCU GlobeTrek Visa card

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 04:43 pm from United States United States
After doing a little bit more research and hearing some horror stories, I decided I needed to get a Chip and PIN card for my time in Europe. Unfortunately the pickings are pretty slim right now in the US for a true Chip and PIN card, but I came across the Andrews Federal Credit Union GlobeTrek Visa card.

This card has a true Chip and PIN (AND a Chip and Signature) capabilities. I just applied for the card today so hopefully I'll be getting it in the mail within a few weeks. The card has no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees which make it the best choice in available Chip and PIN cards in the US.

Some of the horror stories I read about people that only had their magnetic swipe credit cards (like pretty much every card in the US) included not being able to get tickets in train stations, not being able to pay for gas, not being able to pay for groceries and more. Rather than deal with that frustration I decided to do the smart thing and get the Chip and PIN card.

Once I'm over in Europe I'll keep everyone posted about how it works.
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Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.


By Country

By Date

daily journal (174), spain (42), england (39), italy (17), ireland (16), brighton (16), barcelona (15), wales (15), newquay (12), seville (10), cardiff (9), morocco (8), france (8), paris (8), tangier (8), valencia (7), belgium (7), cordoba (7), scotland (6), naples (6), madrid (5), berlin (5), dublin (5), amsterdam (5), netherlands (5), germany (5), bruges (4), llandudno (4), lucca (4), cinque terre (4), edinburgh (4), bristol (4), kilkenny (4), brussels (3), dingle (3), galway (3), florence (3), riomaggiore (3), vienna (3), austria (3), york (3), birmingham (3), czech republic (3), prague (3), preparation (3), post trip (2), brecon beacons (2), snowdonia (2), llanberis (2), observations (2), doolin (2), gent (1), loch ness (1), bath (1), stats (1), USA (1), howth (1), malahide (1), ronda (1), bennettsbridge (1), blasket islands (1), tips (1), limerick (1), rome (1), inverness (1), london (1), herculaneum (1), pompeii (1), nairn (1), pisa (1), glenfiddich (1), glenlivet (1), highlands (1), st andrews (1), conwy (1), banksy (1), penarth (1), favorites (1)