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Ten of the World’s Cheapest Countries to Travel In



  1. Vietnam

Vying with India as the cheapest of them all, alluring Vietnam goes for a snip. Delicious street food, vibrant emerald paddy fields, smiling locals and the stunning Halong Bay are just a few reasons to pack your bag and head for this enchanting country.

A luxury hotel suite in historical Hue goes for twenty bucks. A guided tour to My Son temple ruins, complete with lunch and a boat trip? That will put you back five dollars! There are bargains galore to be had.

Halong Bay in Vietnam

  1. India

Although not quite the rock bottom bargain that it used to be, India is still up there in the ‘cheapest countries to visit’ list.

Travelling in India is akin to being in a psychedelic dream. You won’t believe some of the sights you will see, both ravishingly beautiful and deeply shocking. From the Himalayas to the beaches of Kerala, every day in India is an assault on the senses.

Travel, accommodation, and food costs are all low and budget travelers will get by comfortably for twenty dollars a day. If you are spiritually inclined, many ashrams are free to stay in.

Listen to some cool tunes for a few rupees – Dharamsala in India

  1. Nepal

Nepal is still recovering from the earthquake it suffered in 2015, but it is open for business and is a worthy destination to put your dollars into.

The country is not only one of the most affordable places in the world to travel in, it is also one of the most stunning. Eight of the top ten highest mountains on the planet are located in the country. Kathmandu is a fascinating city full of medieval temples, mischievous monkeys, and ancient alleyways.

The district of Thamel is the backpackers stomping the ground, offering cheap eats and hotel rooms aplenty.

  1. Thailand

There is a reason that Thailand is a consistently popular destination for budget travelers. Apart from the beautiful beaches, fabulous temples, lively night-life and a captivating culture, it is easy to explore. From the backpacker’s mecca of Kho San Road, buses run visitors all over the country to the most popular spots.

Sure, it is a well-beaten path, but it is also the perfect destination for rookie backpackers who are in the process of finding their traveling feet. It is cheap, cheerful and colorful and a few baht will take you far.

A temple on the island of Ko Chang in Thailand

  1. Nicaragua

Nicaragua has pretty much everything Costa Rica has (and sometimes more!) for about a third of the price! Colonial cities, volcanoes, beaches, jungles and even sloths are all part of the Nicaragua experience.

If you are traveling on an ultra-tight budget, you could get by on fifteen dollars a day. Pitch a tent or string up a hammock for a couple of bucks, live off tasty street food, travel by chicken bus and you will be winging it. Even the entrance fees to the National Parks are only two or three dollars. Viva Nicaragua!

A cathedral in the city of Leon, Nicaragua

  1. Cambodia

Despite the fact that Cambodia now caters to top end tourists, it is still light on the wallet for backpackers and budget travelers. Many hotels and restaurants charge in US dollars, sometimes adding to the cost, but generally speaking Cambodia is still one of the great bargains of the travel world.

Angkor Wat, the country’s crowning glory is high on the hit list for most travelers, and rightly so. There are, however, many delights beyond the iconic ruins.

  1. Turkey

Although not so cheap as many Asian and Latin American countries, Turkey offers a reasonable alternative when traveling in Europe.

Istanbul is an enthralling city full of history and culture. Visiting the major attractions will set you back a bit financially as entrance fees can be high. It is, therefore, best to pick and choose and save yourself a few dollars. Just wandering the streets and visiting the Grand Bazaar is a fascinating experience.

Street food, such as a simit (similar to a bagel) is very cheap and accommodation and travel are all good value. If you are going to the incredible Cappadocia, you can enjoy several days exploring the natural wonders on foot for free, only paying for accommodation (a cave hotel or hostel?) and food.

  1. Guatemala

Another Central American country offering some amazing travel experiences at cool low prices. Guatemala has a reputation of being one of the cheapest places in the world to learn Spanish. There are some reputable schools that run value for money courses.

Known for its colorful markets, you may be enticed to part with more cash than intended! However, with its monkey infested jungles, ancient temples, and enchanting towns, Guatemala remains a favorite destination for many backpackers.

There are bargains galore to be had in the markets of Guatemala

  1. Bolivia

Without a doubt, Bolivia is the best value South American destination for shoestring travelers. If you can live, eat and travel as the locals do, you can survive on a few bucks a day. Tours can potentially add to the cost, as some of the attractions are places that are not easily accessible e.g. the Uyuni Salt Flats and Valle de la Luna. Even taking this into account, it is still an inexpensive country to explore.

Colorful markets, spectacular deserts, fascinating mining towns, mountains, and jungles await in the bargain basement of South America.

  1. Mexico

Mexico is easy on the pocket in addition to being a fabulously fun and bewitching country to explore. Follow the usual rules regarding eating delicious street food, buying groceries and staying in basic hotel rooms or hostels and travel by bus and you will happily get by on less than thirty dollars a day.

The Mexico City metro is excellent and is one of the cheapest in the world. A trip to Mexico wouldn’t break the bank and it is a wonderful place to visit.

Margaritas are one of the delights of traveling in Mexico!


Originally posted 2017-08-20 12:36:33.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Trump’s Trans Military Ban



The LGBTQ community has made significant progress in terms of equality. A person was not allowed to be openly gay in the US military until former president Obama repealed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in September of 2011. Gay men and women are now allowed to be out, proud, and active members of the military. Unfortunately, this is not the case for transgender individuals. On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, president Donald Trump tweeted that transgender people are not allowed to serve in the armed forces “in any capacity.”











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How alarming! This is a clear violation of human rights and extremely detrimental to the fight for equality for the LGBTQ community. (We also have to appreciate the irony of the tweets considering that on July 26, 1948, former president Truman desegregated the military).

What Trump is basically saying is that allowing transgender people in the military would be a financial detriment. I’m assuming that he is referring to the cost of hormones for transgender people. What he doesn’t realize that the cost of hormones is significantly less than what the military is paying for medications such as Viagra. According to the United Press International, the US military spends ten times more on erectile dysfunction medication than transgender care. 

So, what does this mean? Well, it may mean any number of things:

  1. Trump has no idea what he’s talking about
  2. He’s pandering to the conservative right
  3. He’s transphobic

Who really knows? Whatever the reason, it is definitely a step back for equality. However, hope is not lost as many people are taking a stand against Trump’s ban. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga had some things to say about this ban.




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Lady Gaga is not the only person fighting against Trump’s un-American ban. The Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, is fighting for the rights of transgender people, saying that the ban is an “all-out assault on service members” and that the ban would affect approximately 15,000 currently serving troops. This will clearly have a negative impact on the US military as it consists of millions of brave men and women who fight for the freedom of the American citizens and losing even one soldier due to bigotry can cause the military to weaken.











The American Civil Liberties Union, or UCLA, is also fighting against Trump’s ban.

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Don’t give up hope! This ban is definitely a step in the wrong direction and it hopefully won’t spiral into something even more horrible which is why it is very important that we speak out against this hateful action. Voice your outrage anywhere where your voice can be heard and stand with the transgender community during this trying time, use the hashtag #protecttranstroops on Twitter, repeat the maxim “trans people are not a burden,” and fight for what is right. It may not be easy but as long as we fight, the rights of transgender individuals can and will be protected.






Originally posted 2017-07-28 21:19:21.

Also published on Medium.

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48 Hours In...

48 Hours in Mexico City



Mexico City is a sprawling metropolis full of color and culture. You could easily spend a month there and still not get to see and experience everything the city has to offer. If you only have a weekend, you can get a taste of Mexico City’s delights, but be warned – you will probably be booking your next trip as soon as you arrive home.

With more museums than any other city in the world, amazing architecture, a scintillating LGBTQ scene, delicious street food and many other attractions, Mexico City is one of the most exciting cities on the planet.

Getting There

Juarez International Airport is located eight miles from Mexico City. If you arrive late at night, it is advisable to take an official taxi to the downtown area. During the day, the metro is a good alternative.

Getting Around

Mexico City’s metro system is extensive and one of the cheapest underground systems in the world. Having said that, it isn’t the most comfortable of transport options during rush hour. Taxis are cheap, but make sure you take one from the official sitio taxi stands or use Uber.

Day One

Start the day with Huevos Rancheros, a classic Mexican breakfast – tortillas, fried eggs, salsa and refried beans. Try Café El Popular (5 de Mayo esq Palmas, just off the Zocalo). It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists and has a diner-style ambiance.

After a hearty breakfast, head to the charming neighbourhood of Coyoacan. The number one attraction here is La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s house, which has now been turned into a museum. It provides a fascinating insight into the life of artist Frida and her husband Diego Rivera.

The garden in La Casa Azul

Afterwards, you could head around the corner to the house where the exiled Leon Trotsky lived the last year of his life. It was there that he was murdered by an assassin in his study. In contrast to Frida’s colorful abode, it is an austere house which has been changed little since Trotsky lived there, but is an intriguing slice of political history.

Coyoacan Plaza is a great place to sample some tasty street food. At weekends, it is particularly lively with food and handicraft stalls. There is often live music, adding to the festive atmosphere. It feels like small town Mexico in the heart of the big city.

Back in Centro Historico, take a stroll around the huge main plaza, the Zocalo, the second largest public square in the world after Russia’s Red Square. There are plenty of museums, shops and cool street art to explore in the surrounding areas.

La Catrina, the iconic skeleton lady

El Balcon del Zocalo is a perfect place for dinner. The restaurant has a rooftop terrace, bestowed with spectacular views of the cathedral and Zocalo. It has an international, Mexican and veggie friendly menu.

For a taste of Mexican style nightlife, head to Calle Amberes at Paseo de la Reforma in Zona Rosa. This area is the hub of the LGBTQ scene in Mexico City. Have a wander and take your pick of the many bars and clubs that line the street.

Day Two

Pasteleria Ideal (Calle 16 de Septiembre 18, Col. Centro) could be the largest and most heavenly bakery you have ever seen. The choice of baked goods, both sweet and savory, are a feast for the eyes and as the name suggests, is an ideal place to grab some pastries. With breakfast and coffee in hand, make tracks to Alameda Park and find a bench to sit to enjoy your first meal of the day and partake in a spot of people-watching. You can’t miss the opulent architecture of Palacio de Belles Artes, the grandest building in Mexico City.

Just across the road (Calle Revillagigedo 11, Cuauhtemoc), check out the Popular Art Museum. Housed in an ex-fire station, this contemporary museum is full of colorful Mexican folk art. It’s fun and quirky and the exhibits range from Day of the Dead skulls and skeletons to vibrant piñatas.

Museum of Popular Art – fun and quirky

La Ciudadela is an artisan market (Calle de Balderas, s/m Centro, 06040 Cuauhtemoc). It specializes in Mexican handicrafts from 0axacan fantasy animals to beautifully decorated skulls. Prices are reasonable and you are bound to find something that catches your eye.

Even if you have never considered attending a wrestling match before, lucha libre is a unique Mexican experience and not-to-be-missed. (Arena Mexico,189 Calle Dr. Lavista, Colonia Doctores).  Regular sessions are held on Tuesday and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The atmosphere is electric and whole families attend shouting abuse at the bad guys and cheering for their heroes.  

Round off your time in Mexico City with some tequila shots and mariachi music at a bar on Plaza Garibaldi. The haunting sound of roving mariachi bands echo around the square, as you reflect on two action-packed days in this amazing city.

Tequila shots at the ready!


Originally posted 2017-07-29 11:22:36.

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Love It, Leave It: The Portland, OR Edition



Back to the Pacific NW, a not-so-secret favorite destination of mine. It very well could be that I’m just all jazzed up off of increased oxygen levels (man, they have a lot of trees), but I swear that everything tastes better out there. I constantly imagine tiny gnomes in tweed hats and hemp-based sweaters pulling out the freshest, organic vegetables from the depths of the soil. Albeit slightly far-fetched, this fictional scene will hopefully help you imagine just how epic the Portland food landscape is. But, there are two things (that just so coincidentally happen to be my favorite) we should focus on for now: brews and doughnuts.

Love It: Breakside Brewery. Blue Star Donuts.

(Photo credit: Erin Oliveri)

Breakside Brewery: With two locations in this quirky town, Breakside is a hipster mecca churning out solid craft brews and hearty, standout dishes. The newest spot in Slabtown (what a weird, yet endearing Portland name) is a boisterous, bi-level warehouse, that was jam packed on a Sunday afternoon. While most were throwing back some pints (most likely IPAs, since the list is bursting with them), plenty came just for the food. The brewery sources organic seasonal produce and meats; and while menus at breweries are often there solely to help combat hours of drinking, this one is a solid partner, justly accompanying the top-notch beers. The Bavarian pretzel is one of epic proportions — a woman from the table over asked if she could come over just for a photo. And, the fried chicken biscuit sandwich was gone so fast from my plate…but also from the menu since it’s only served from “3 p.m. ‘til gone.”











Blue Star Donuts: A hotly debated topic in Portland just so happens to be one near and dear to my heart (and stomach): doughnuts. I was told by locals on my first visit that these are the “grown up” doughnuts. I agreed once I took a spin around the BSD website — wooing me with phrases like “brioche recipe,” “cage-free eggs” and “the dough takes 18 hours to make.” Well, I wanted all of that, immediately. And what a coincidence, there’s one just a few minutes away from Breakside Brewery. I’d advise snagging a maple bacon or blueberry bourbon basil — or any beautifully baked ring ‘cause they’re so delicious — and sample en route to your future beer tasting. Carbs are your friends.

Leave It: Rogue Distillery and Public House

It’s not without a sad face emoji that this Rogue outpost turned out to be a big miss for me. Back east, I’ve drunk everything from the classic Dead Guy Ale to offbeat collabs with Blue Star rival, Voodoo Doughnuts. The core of Rogue was present, with plenty of beers on tap to sample, but the ambiance was non-existent and the menu was stacked with uninspired bar food. My original excitement for the poutine shortly faded after just a few bland bites. I’d say if you’re looking for the true Rogue experience and you just so happen to be headed toward the Oregon Coast, the original Public House (originally the Bayfront Brewery) and a newer, bi-level brewpub are nestled in the quaint coastal town of Newport. These locales may serve for a more authentically ‘Rogue’ experience.

Originally posted 2017-07-26 18:18:16.

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