Planning a Northern Lights Holiday

Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the “Northern Lights” is one of the most breathtaking spectacles of Mother Nature. This divine glow, accompanied by pulsating stripes, graces the dark nights of the countries in the Scandinavian region as well as parts of Alaska, Canada and Russia, mainly in winters.

It is a craze among travelers across the globe to have a glimpse of this rare phenomenon, but this awe-inspiring sight is as fickle as it can be. You need a real piece of luck and proper planning, more than anything else, to be able to get a glimpse of this celestial wonder.

How to plan and maximize your chances for this? Do not worry; the below-mentioned tips will help you out.

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Where to go?

You can choose from many Northern Lights destinations available in the Arctic Circle as well as in the Scandinavian countries. It is imperative to make your choice based on your budget, accessibility and your interest (what you expect from the location, apart from the northern lights). Also, you will find some places with higher chances of witnessing the Northern Lights but you may need to cover the transportation costs out there.

It is a widely accepted fact that Finland, Iceland and Norway are the best three Northern Lights destinations. Finland is the cheapest and the most affordable among these three as Euro is used as the official currency. Iceland will be a touch heavier on your pocket but it is much easier to take a flightthere. You can drive around Iceland on your own comfortably, without the need of a guide.

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Timing of visit

After you have chosen your destination, the next important part of your planning should be to decide on the most appropriate time to visit. Though the Northern Lights is a year-round phenomenon, it can beseen mostly in dark nights and is best visible on those long nights from September to April. Lady luck should smile on you, to give you a glimpse of the Aurora as it does not appear on some days even when there is a clear sky.

Hence, we would recommend that you plan your trip to stay at a location for a minimum of 3 to 4 nights. The longer your stay at any of these locations, the higher chance you will stand to see the aurora.

Also, one good idea is to plan your Northern Lights holiday to club it with other tours and activities. Explore other wonderful activities that the country has to offer and have an amazing time so that you do not feel disappointed, even if you do not get to see the lights.

When to book?

It is imperative that you book your flights a good 60 to 80 days prior to your scheduled departure. This will save you some money even if you have chosen the prime season to tour your Northern Lights destination, as you are more likely to strike a good deal. But if saving costs is not on your agenda, you may very well consider a last minute booking. You will end up paying more, but you may stay closer to last-minute predictions about the appearance of the lights and time your trip accordingly.

Where to stay?

You should have less light pollution to have a great view of the lights. Hence, more remote your location is the better.

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Keep an eye on the forecast

Keep an eye on the Northern Lights forecast. You need to hit on the days when there is no or negligible cloud coverage. You will have a wonderful view of the lights if the sky is clear enough.

Counter the winter

Needless to say, you have to plan to counter the winter when you are wandering around the Arctic. Take good quality thermals and footwear with you.

Mode of travel

The road conditions in some of the locations may be really dangerous or difficult, because of the winter. Most people opt for a self-drive around the country side when they go on hunting for the Northern Lights. Snow, slippery roads and blizzards may add to your worries.

Alternate modes of transport such as super jeep and bus tours are also available readily.

Top Backpacker Destinations for 2017

1. Cuba

Simon Matzinger
Simon Matzinger

This was destination that was off limits to Americans for a very long time, until now. In 2017 there will be a flood of backpackers and tourists taking advantage of the cheap lifestyle, amazing culture and beautiful beaches. Starting in Havana, you can explore the hundreds of miles of neverending coast, with hidden beaches yet unexplored.

2. Mexico

With the decreasing value of the Peso thanks to President Trump, you can now get almost 22 Pesos to the dollar, compared to just 16 in 2015! Beautiful beaches and ancient ruins await you, where you can easily live with a budget of $25 dollars or less, dorms are around $7 per night and alcohol is cheap as chips!

3. Nicaragua

Mikeblue / Getty Images
Mikeblue / Getty Images

Another hispanic destination that grows more popular every year. Cheaper than it’s more popular neighbour, Costa Rica, Nicaragua is now a backpacker hot spot with amazing beach and night life in places like San Juan Del Sur wherea bottle of rum can go as low as $4.

4. South Africa

When most people think of South Africa, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela usually come to mind, or possibly the high crime rate of places like Johannesburg. Both places are beautiful in their own right, but the best wasy to start is in Cape Town and along the southern coast to Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth.

5. Vietnam

Cristaltran / Getty Images
Cristaltran / Getty Images

Known as one of the cheapest countries to travel in the world, especially Hanoi where you can get freshly tapped beer on the street for 10 cents! Famous street food and stunning scenery await you in this increasingly popular country.

6. Myanmar

Recently opened to tourists after being a closed country for many years, Myanmar is seeing floods of tourists every year and developing very quickly. Get in there before it becomes too over run with tourists and see the natural beauty and famous ruins like the Bagan temples while it’s still relatively quiet.

7. Ecuador

South Americas cheapest country, you can comfortably survive in Quito on around $20 per day where dorms run around $9 per night and delicious meals await you for only 2-3 dollars. Quito is known for its high altitude and spring-like weather all year round, which make the place a bit exotic when compared to most other big cities in South America.

8. Nepal

Goikmitl / Getty Images

Backpacking in Nepal is not new, but in the past the popular thing to do was backpack the Himalayas. Now the upcoming popular thing to do is visit Lumbini and Birgunj by backpacking and then make sure you head to Nepalgunj, which is famous for it is trekking.

9. Great Britain

Yes it’s possible to backpack England, especially now that the pound has been dropping since leaving the European Union. You will be spending about $20 USD per night for a hostel bed and that’s on the cheap end. Expect to be paying around $80 a day there, but it’s still cheaper than it has been for a while.

10. Tonga

Wtf is a Tonga you might ask? This tiny pacific Island has a population of only 105,000, so it’s no wonder many people have never heard of it. Soon, it’s going to become a popular destination for backpackers simply because of its natural beauty and untouched landscape.

Start in the tiny village capital of Nuku’alofa and work your way along the coast, which looks like something straight out of Lost.

11. Thailand

Masterlu / Getty Images
Masterlu / Getty Images

This country makes everyones list every year and with good reason. Notorious parties on tropical islands, dirt cheap alcohol, the best sky bars in the world, beautiful beaches, ping pong shows and amazing food. The King has recently passed away after reigning for 70 years so now the future and direction of the land of smiles is uncertain.

12. Honduras

Mainly known as the most dangerous country in the world with the highest homicide rate, however, the Bay Islands, three separate islands off the main coast of Honduras are very safe and more known for their beautiful trains and excellent scuba diving in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It is stunning and an unforgettable place to go solo backpacking. It’s becoming more and more known, so it may be getting much more crowded in the coming years.

The secret airplane bedrooms the crew doesn’t want you to know about

Flight attendants are humans too, and just like everyone else, they need to s̶h̶a̶g̶ sleep on long-haul flights. But where do they do the sideways dance? Most Boeing 777 and 787 airliners have a secret stairway that leads to a tiny set of windowless bedrooms for the cabin crew — and few people know they even exist. This brings us a whole new world in which to join the mile high club. See what the secret cabins look like.

It depends on the plane, but usually crew rest areas are hidden behind the cockpit, above first class, like on this Boeing 777.

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Hidden stairway leading up to the secret room.

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Some cabins are entered through a secret hatch that looks like a typical overhead bin. This is on American Airline’s Boeing 773.

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A sign divulges what’s behind these doors (eight crew member bunks), though you’ve probably never read it that closely.

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Upstairs are cramped, windowless bedrooms with eight beds (or seven, depending on the airline). This is the cabin’s rest area on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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The crew certainly seems to enjoy the overhead rest areas on Boeing 777s, which, depending on the airline, can fit six to 10 bunks, as well as personal storage space for each crew member.

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On the Boeing 777, pilots have their own overhead sleeping compartments, which feature two roomy sleeping berths, as well as two business-class seats, and enough room for a closet, sink, or lavatory, depending on the airline.

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The beds, which are generally around six feet long and two and a half feet wide, plenty of room to do the sideways dance.

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A strict “one per bunk” warning advises against any funny business.

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Others have bunk beds that are stacked on top of each other, like this Malaysian Air A380 plane.

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Other planes, like this American Airlines Boeing 773, have partitioned-off beds along an aisle, reminiscent of a cruise ship. The aisle is so low that you have to duck to walk through it.

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Via Imgur

11 Affordable Destinations For Cheapskate Backpackers

We know you’re as cheap as us when it comes to travel, so we’ve rounded up 11 cheap countries that will stretch your dollar to the limit without having to make many sacrifices.

1. Nepal

Goikmitl / Getty Images

With the recent devastating earthquake back in April 2015, Nepal is still very much open for tourism, and prices are even cheaper now, perfect for a broke backpacker such as yourself!  Regarded as one of the cheapest countries in the world to travel to, A decent cheap meal costs around 150 rupees (around $1). Find out more Nepalese prices here.

2. Cambodia

Skouatroulio / Getty Images

Known mainly for Angkor Wat and a cheap place to get sloshed, there are other things to do besides that. You can hit up some of it’s lesser known beaches and go for some cheap diving — and it’s all so affordable. Find out how dirty cheap everything is here. A meal in a restaurant is rarely over $5, and beer starts at a mouthwatering 25 cents.

3. Indonesia

Witthaya / Getty Images

One of the largest countries in the world with so much diversity, there is so much to see in this beautiful country, with the majority of places being dirt cheap as long as you stay away from Bali. Check here to find out how much things typically cost there. A large beer costs around 10,000 – 20,000 rupiah and a full dinner costs about 13,500 Indonesian rupiah, or $1!

4. Bulgaria (or anywhere in Eastern Europe)

Flickr: archer10
Flickr: archer10

Most people generally think Europe is alot more expensive than other Southeast Asian countries for example, normally you’d be right — except that Eastern Europe is almost as cheap as Southeast Asia. Bulgaria in particular you can get an entire liter of beer (32 ounces) for $1.50 – that’s cheaper than Thailand!

5. Vietnam

Cristaltran / Getty Images
Cristaltran / Getty Images
Although some of the people may seem a bit strange at first (it’s true), Vietnam is simply a stunning country. Whether you’re going on a motorbike journey that stretches from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, or just want to chill on the street eating amazing street food, there is something for everyone. Ha Long Bay above, a 600-mile turquoise bay filled with huge limestone islands, is just one of the beautiful attractions. Everything is cheap check out how much you’ll end up paying here. You can get Ban Mhi for 10,000 dong (44 cents) – yes that’s a footlong sandwhich for 44 cents. Not to mention the must try Bia Hoi for 22 cents!

6. Laos

Itman__47 / Getty Images
Itman__47 / Getty Images

Thailand’s little brother Laos, famous for it’s mushroom shakes, beautiful mountains and backpackers dying in Vang Vieng, it has much more to offer than what most backpackers experience such as – uh – Buddhist monasteries! You can get a room for about $10 to $20 a night but a dorm will be much cheaper, street food is around $1. Mushroom shakes will cost you though. Find out more about average travel costs here.

7. Nicaragua

Mikeblue / Getty Images
Mikeblue / Getty Images

An up and coming country for Backpackers, Nicaragua is the new Costa Rica, with beautiful beaches, great surfing and alot cheaper that it’s southern neighbour.. Best to go now before it becomes overcrowded with cheapskates such as your self. The country is known it’s high-adventure outdoor activities, pub crawls, parties and surfing — so do it up on the cheap. You can find dorms for as little as $5 or private room around $10.

8. India

Intek1 / Getty Images
Intek1 / Getty Images

The country everyone either loves or hates. “It’s a beautiful, majestic country,” says one person and it’s “an absolute shithole, couldn’t wait to leave,” says others. It’s for that reason that it’s a cheap destination on our list. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’re sure to have a good time! A plate of hot dhal and rice, for example, can cost around 40 Indian rupees (60 cents!) Train travel is also cheap, you can hop on one and travel around for a few days at a time for only a couple of bucks. Yes you’ll be with 10,000 others cramped into one cart, but it’s still a fun experience. Find out roughly how much other things cost here.

9. China

Lavendertime / Getty Images

A country that’s not on every backpackers list – just stay away from the big cities and you’ll survive. The best thing about China is that it’s easy enough to get around even though it’s one of the bigest countries in the world. The transit system is very cheap — taxis start at around $1. Just stay away from the elevators. Here’s how much you can expect to pay for everything else.

10. Thailand

Masterlu / Getty Images
Masterlu / Getty Images

Although not as dirt cheap as it used to be, Thailand is becoming more modern and caters now to the broke backpackers and high end flashpackers. Most other southeast asian countries are more affordable (except Singapore and Malaysia). Here’s a good guide to what you should expect in the capital Bangkok. Dorms in a big city wll be around 8-10 dollards on average and in the country side more like 6.

11. Guatemala

Soft_light / Getty Images
Soft_light / Getty Images

Another up can coming Central American country, Guatemala known for its gorgeous outdoor landscapes, as well as it’s Mayan Temples. It’s all affordable, too: a good meal, for example, is around $3, and everything else is as budget-friendlyfor your cheap ass.

So go now before it’s too late…

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Top 10 Best Countries In Bed (Updated 2018)

We’ve all heard the question, ‘how many flags do you have?’. Well which are the best flags? We asked. You voted. Without further ado the top 10 countries to do the horizontal dance with are as follows. *Hundreds of more votes have come in and we’ve updated this for 2018. Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and the USA no longer make the list. Brazil, appearing on the list for the first time is now at #3

10. Spain

9. Canada

8. Germany

7. Netherlands

6. Argentina

5. Sweden

4. France

3. Brazil

2. United Kingdom

1. Australia

Well I guess you can say they know to get the job done ‘down under’. Do you disagree with this list? Well then maybe you should have voted! You can still vote here:

Which Country is Best in Bed?

Don’t forget to vote in next weeks poll on the sidebar of our blog!

Top 10 Cheapest Backpacking Destinations

The price for the following Countries is based on the following:

– Three meals

– A dorm bed

– Two public transport rides

– One paid attraction

– Three beers (obviously)

10. Bangkok, Thailand – US $22.60

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9. Delhi, India – US $21.65

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8. Vientiane, Laos – US $20.04

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7. Kathmandu, Nepal – US $18.07

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6. Chiang Mai, Thailand – US $18.06

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5. Goa, India – US $17.01

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4. Kiev, Ukraine – US $16.96

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3. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Viet Nam – US $16.90

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2. Hanoi, Viet Nam – US $16.59

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1. Pokhara, Nepal – US $15.92

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See you there fellow cheap-skates.

10 Backpacking Commandments (That We Know You’ll Break)

1. Thou shalt not steal food from other backpackers.

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2. Thou shalt not spend 90% of their budget on alcohol.

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3. Thou shalt not ask every backpacker where they’re from.

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4. Thou shalt not spend excessive time glued to their laptop/phone.

5. Thou shalt not pack too much shit.

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6. Thou shalt not travel halfway across the globe to eat McDonald’s.

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7. Thou shalt not pack their shit to leave at 4am in the morning.

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8. Thou shalt not conduct sexual acts while others are in the room.

9. Thou shalt not have unprotected sex.

2013 Playdate Baby of the Year

10. Thou shalt not wear the same underwear more than once.

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The unbreakable Commandment – Thou MUST be a legend and travel as much as they can, as far as they can and for as long as they can.

Top 12 Most Powerful Passports In The World

We’ve often wondered which passports are the most powerful when it comes to travelling to other Countries so we’ve decided to have a look into it. We’ve seen a few similar lists, including by our friends over at irisharoundoz, however we’ve decided to compile our own unique one. This list is ranked based on the travel freedom each passport holder has without having to get a visa prior to arrival.

12. Iceland & Slovenia

Passport of Iceland    Passport of Slovenia

With each of these passports one can travel to 135 countries without a visa.

11. Hong Kong & Malta

Passport of Hong Kong     Passport of Malta

With these one has access to 136 countries without a visa.

10. Slovakia & Poland

Passport of Slovakia     Passport of Poland

With both of these passports one can access 137 countries without a visa.

9. Australia, Cyprus & Czech Republic

Passport of Cyprus     Passport of Czech Republic      Passport of Australia

With all of these passports you can travel to 138 countries without a visa.

8. New Zealand

Passport of New Zealand

With this passport holders can travel to 139 countries without a visa.

7. Malaysia, Greece & Austria 

Passport of Malaysia       Passport of Greece      Passport of Austria

These Passports have access to 140 countries without a visa.

6. Hungary, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Portugal & Spain

Passport of Hungary      Passport of Ireland     Passport of Portugal
Passport of Belgium     Passport of Norway       Passport of Spain

With any of these one has access to 141 countries without a visa.

5. Switzerland & Canada

Passport of Switzerland      Passport of Canada

With each of these one can access 142 counties without a visa.

4. Singapore, Japan, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands & Luxembourg

Passport of Singapore       Passport of Japan       Passport of Denmark
Passport of Finland       Passport of Netherlands        Passport of Luxembourg

Any of these passports allow you to visit 143 countries without a visa.

3. Italy & Sweden

Passport of Italy       Passport of Sweden

With each of these you can get access to to 144 countries without a visa.

2. Germany, South Korea & France

Passport of Germany       Passport of South Korea       Passport of France

Passport holders can access 145 Countries without a visa.

1. United Kingdom & USA

Passport of United Kingdom       Passport of United States of America

And here are the two most powerful passports in the world. If you have one of these bad boys they allow you access to 147 Countries without a visa.

With all this talk about passports don’t forget to get your virtual Backpackr passport but don’t expect it to allow you entry into a Country without your real passport!

 

Also if you’re looking at travelling any-time soon you may want to Czech out our article on how to save money transferring online.

 

6 Things That Really Suck About Going Home

Your trip just ended and it’s time to go home. Sure it’s exciting to see friends and family again but believe me, that excitement is short lived. Post travel depression is very real and I’m sure a lot of you have experienced it before. Believe me, I’m going through it right now. With that being said here are 6 things that really suck about going home.

1. Saying Good-bye

You know you’ll probably see them again but saying good-bye to all the amazing people you’ve met really sucks.

2. Lack of money

If you travelled and indulged as much as you could while you were away odds are you’re broke.

3. People don’t understand your accomplishments

Hell you dove with sharks! you jumped out of a plane, you got mugged in France or you even fucked a midget. Doesn’t matter what you did, people don’t understand the adventure you had and they don’t care. Maybe they’re jealous or envious. Who knows. Nobody will appreciate your adventures like another traveller.

4. Nothing changes

Same friends, same bar, same Friday night.

5. Lack of interest

Nothing will thrill you about the monotonous life you once led. You’ve done things people would never dream of so finding excitement in pointless activities is hard.

6. Wanderlust

All you’ll be thinking about is your next journey and how badly you want to get away again.

If you’ve never travelled and had to deal with these issues then don’t be deterred. If the worst thing about going travelling is going home what are you waiting for? Get off your ass and book that flight!

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