Torres Del Paine: The Big W

With my preparation complete it was time to head to the national park. Torres del Paine is about 2 hours drive from Puerto Natales. It normally costs 18,000 Chilean Pesos to enter (about £15-20), however that day was free for everyone! After signing all of the forms to enter the park, everyone boarded shuttle buses going to the three starting points; Las Torres, Paine Grande or Administración. I decided to go West to East, so I could finish at the famous towers, which also involved a ferry (and an extra 15,000 Pesos). The long wait for the ferry made me think twice about camping. It was about 11am and I was already freezing! Eventually we travelled across Lake Pehoé and I got my first taste of the spectacular scenery I would be treated to over the next five days. (more…)

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Torres Del Paine: fail to prepare then prepare to fail

One of the areas I really wanted to visit when I went to South America was Patagonia. I didn’t know too much about it, but from speaking to other travellers I heard about a five day camping trip in the Torres del Paine National Park. This sounded like a great idea. However, after getting distracted by random places on the way it was already mid-April as I entered Northern Patagonia, meaning further South was pretty cold and I wasn’t even sure if the campsites and trails would still be open. (more…)

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Hostelling: What to do, what not to do

In some of my earlier blogs I’ve told you why I think hostels are the best places to stay while you’re travelling and some of the things you can expect to experience. The people you meet generally have the biggest impact on your stay, whether that’s good or bad. But you also affect their time as well. Things that you think are perfectly acceptable can be incredibly annoying to your fellow travellers. And that goes for the hostels themselves too. There’s a few basic things you expect from the place where you’re staying, things that are often seriously lacking. You all have your own ideas about what should (and shouldn’t) happen in a hostel so here are mine. Starting with…

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The Time I Travelled at Christmas

A couple of years ago I was travelling for three and a half months, taking in Australia, New Zealand and my first real experience of Asia. I left at the end of October and wouldn’t be back until around mid-January. This meant I would be away for Christmas for the first time, which is the time I spend most with my friends and family. To be away from the traditional Christmas experience would be a massive difference. But I figured if I was going to be away from the ‘normal’ Christmas, then I might as well go for as big a change as I could get. (more…)

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My Worst Hostel

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Okay, so this was Alcatraz but I’m pretty sure the beds were better than where I stayed in New York

Despite what I’ve said before about hostels, and they will always be my first choice while I’m travelling, there are exceptions. I have a list of things I look for when searching for a hostel, but sometimes you just don’t have many options to choose from. Either there’s not so many hostels in the town you want to visit or the only decent places are too expensive and you’re left with the bottom end on the quality scale. Sometimes it works out well or at the very least you get an interesting story out of the experience.

I’ve stayed in a whole host of different hostel types; from the top floor of a 15 story building in Ljubljana, a shack on the beach in an isolated Uruguayan community, remote islands and one of my favourite stops was a prison in Canada. You can end up staying in some interesting places, but not always in a good way.  (more…)

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The ‘Horror’ of Hostels

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Photo from my friend Kris Rawson, check out his travel experiences

A lot of people have preconceived ideas about staying in a hostel, especially dorm rooms (some of which are justified). However, I’ve spent most of my travelling life sleeping in hostels and they’re the prefect place to stay. People have a lot of different concerns about using hostels. It usually centres around their stuff getting stolen, being used to the comfort of hotels or panicking about having to share with four or five strangers. Having slept in a 20 bed dorm I can tell you it’s not as bad as you’d think. (more…)

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Trials and train travel

I've done a lot of travelling around the world over the last few years but I can still clearly remember the first time I left the country. Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.

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