Category Archives: Planning

Be sure to hydrate on the road

imageBy Vicki Barnes
I have long been an advocate of proper hydration. You know, drink water…lots of water…all day, every day.
So, imagine my  surprise when I looked back on a day last week and realized I was so dehydrated that I was actually suffering from heat exhaution.
We were traveling about 8 hours on the un-airconditioned bus to cross the border between Panama and Costa Rica.  All day, sitting on the bus with a brief stop to get passports stamped, walk a half a kilometer from one country to the other, get another stamp and reboard.
Over the course of the day, I drank about a liter and a half of water. I figured that should be sufficient.
I figured wrong. Continue reading

Guest contributor Dave Quinn on Ometepe Island and traveling with kids

We are opening up Budget Nomads to other like-minded travelers who would like to share their experiences from the road. If you would like to become a part of our growing community, please send your stories and/or photos to If you have a blog of your own, we would be happy to do a link exchange as well.

We met Dave Quinn and his family at the Hacienda Merida on the Island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. Dave is the “Outdoors Guy” for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). This is the story he prepared for the CBC, which he’s sharing with all of us.

By Dave Quinn

This week I will be checking in from Isla Omatepe in Nicaragua. Nicaragua itself is such a fun place to travel, for many reasons. It is relatively small – seven Nicaragua’s would fit inside BC – but the country is incredibly diverse (something on the order of 10 to 20 times the biodiversity of BC, depending on how you calculate it), with a Caribbean and Pacific Coast, a backbone of mountains and volcanos, and the two largest lakes in Central America. It has been long overlooked as a tourist destination, mainly due to US President Ronald Reagan’s illegal war on Nicaragua from the late 1970’s to the mid-1980’s. Continue reading

Time budget busters

A lighthearted look at what happens when you
don’t prepare for the unexpected before you go

By Vicki Barnes

When you’re planning for a trip like ours…two months on the road…budgeting is so important. Having enough money to do the trip is, of course, important. However, budgeting your time before you leave is nearly as important.

dali-clock-300x300Of course, you have to make lists of what you need to bring and what still needs to be bought, borrowed or otherwise acquired. Then, you have to pack, measure and weigh your bags, repack, remeasure…

You have to go to the bank and make sure you have things in order there. You have to put the bills (all of them) on autopay. You have to call the credit card companies and let them know there will be charges coming from outside your normal purchasing area. Continue reading

Packing for the trail: Three countries, two months; one backpack

Getting to know you

By Vicki Barnes

While people all over the world are very much the same, we are all in different circumstances that create some differences that must be understood.

When traveling abroad, you should get to know the countries where you will be staying so you can understand the people you meet. You should learn about their customs, their politics and their religions. All it takes is a little time  to research the basic facts. A little research can open doors you might not have known about and help you create lasting friendships wherever you go.

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 6.17.32 PMFor the business person, a lack of understanding of the culture of the people with whom they are engaging can mean a loss of financial reward or worse, but for the vacationer or adventure traveler, the lack of understanding of the people they meet can mean a loss of opportunity to discover the local treasures or even cause them to pay “tourist” prices for daily items. At it’s simplest, a visitor ignorant of the local customs will appear, well…ignorant. Continue reading

Don’t blow your budget before you leave

You have to arrive at the airport a couple of hours early to ensure enough time for check in, security check and boarding. If you are on a tight budget, you can not afford unnecessary expenses, and – believe yme – most of the money people spend in airports is unnecessary.

imageBetween your tasks at the airport, you will be inundated with opportunities to spend money on everything from food to newspapers to plush animals wearing t-shirts advertising the city you are in. There are jewelers, art dealers and even high end clothing stores in the terminals. Continue reading

Doing shots

Photo (57)By Vicki Barnes

Depending on where you are traveling, immunizations can mean the difference between life and death.

Seriously. Get your shots before you go.

Vaccines are the most important tool you can have against getting sick – perhaps with a life-threatening illness – when you travel abroad.

Every country is different. Some countries require certain vaccinations prior to entry, others merely suggest the ones you should have. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a feature on their website that allows you to plug in the name of the country you will be visiting and information about the kind of traveler you are (traveling with children, mission or volunteer work, etc.) and with the click of the mouse, find out what is required or suggested for your destination. Continue reading

Don’t put THAT in your bag…

By Vicki Barnes

Don’t pack a hand grenade in your suitcase (or your carry on) when you head to the airport.image

OK, so maybe that one seems obvious, but there are things the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not let you bring on a plane that you might not have considered.

The TSA website has a long list of things that are banned on planes. Check it out before you go so the contents of your bags doesn’t make you a target for more screening. Continue reading

Getting ready to go

By Vicki Barnes
Headed on the vacation of a lifetime? These tips will help you rest easy while you’re gone.

If you’re traveling or not, the bills have to be paid, the mail has to be collected (or held at the post office), the plants have to be watered  and the pets have to be fed and walked. These things can be arranged with a little planning now that will save you plenty of headaches (52)


Depending on how long you’ll be gone, you should arrange for a friend or neighbor to check on your house, collect the mail and do those basic feeding and watering tasks. If you will be gone for an extended time, you should (like we do) arrange for a house sitter or even consider subleasing your house or apartment.

Continue reading