US/Canada Flag

A friend of mine is making preparations to leave on a big European adventure, and trying to get everything ready before she leaves. One of her recent questions on Facebook was regarding how to be paid as a US-based contractor via PayPal and not lose any excessive money due to currency conversion. This is actually a tricky problem for a few reasons. First, most banks in Canada only deal in Canadian dollars. If you want to deposit USD into your CAD account you can, but the banks usually tack on an extra 2-3% to the base rates as another way to make money from you. Only a $100 it’s not a huge deal, but when you’re dealing with $1,000s of […]

Hotwire vs Priceline vs Hotels.com

Hotwire Hotel Room

When you do a ton of traveling, you are invariably faced with finding accommodation wherever you end up. While it’s possible to find private apartment rentals for a week at a time, most people that aren’t traveling as part of a vacation package generally opt for a hotel for shorter trips. I’m no stranger to booking hotels online. In fact, I started using Hotwire for most of my bookings not long after the service first came out. While I sometimes wait until I get to a destination prior to booking a hotel, for the most part I book online beforehand to minimize stress when I arrive. Through the years I’ve sampled most of the major hotel booking services and wanted […]

I started my long-term travel adventures in January of 2011, almost 2.5 years ago. Looking back, I really had no idea how the airline systems worked: I wasn’t really collecting any sort of air-miles, didn’t know how to fly for free, nor was I trying to get to any type of elite status (I didn’t even really know how to be honest). After 2.5 years though, I’ve finally hit my travel groove. So lately I’ve been dedicating efforts towards taking advantage of some of the cracks in the system to make the most of my travel adventures and to fly for free around the world as much as I can going forward. Here are some of the tricks I’m using. […]

I was recently generating some new server and email passwords, and realized that while most of the strong password generators available online work great for desktops, they aren’t very user friendly for entering on iOS or mobile devices. Often you can find a few checkboxes and sliders for those tools to make it a bit more iPhone friendly, but they don’t always work. Ideally a password that you frequently use on an iPhone or other iOS device should be “strong” (i.e. have possibly a symbol or two and a mix of upper and lower case characters), but should also be fairly easy to type. So this morning I decided to write a bit of PHP to generate an iOS friendly […]

How To Find The Gas Tank Location

Finding The Gas Tank Location

When you travel around as much as I do, you eventually find yourself in need of a rental car. While I’m usually quite happy to take a bus, often it’s more economical to rent a car for a few days, especially if you’re trying to get to a hard to reach destination (Cape Reinga in New Zealand was one location where I purposefully rented a car). If you’ve ever pulled up to a gas station in a rental or unfamiliar car, I’m sure some of you have wondered how to find the gas tank. I personally used to slow the car down, pop the gas tank open (often using the lever near the floor), then rock my head back and […]

Other than the odd time when I’ll go down to Future Shop and make a purchase, I do almost all of my shopping online these days. Part of that reason is that I live in a small town that really doesn’t have a great selection for many items. The other reason is that I’m often busy, and so I can simply make an order online and have it show up a week to ten days later. The same can be said when I travel too. Other than the markets that you find all over the word, and the odd mall, some things on the road are still best to purchase online. A good example of that is when I bought […]

Tips For Traveling For A Year Or Longer

I’ve been a ‘world traveler’ for almost two and a half years now. Back then I hadn’t really been away from Canada for very long before, and the thought of spending multiple weeks, let alone multiple months, in a foreign country was a pretty strange idea. Now the idea of loading a backpack up and heading to a new country feels about as foreign to me as doing a load of laundry. If I saw a plane ticket somewhere for a good price, I could probably be at the airport in three hours, ready to go on a new adventure. One of the pains of being away for an extended period of time though is figuring out how to accomplish […]

As many people know, I tend to travel quite a bit – over the last 18 months I believe I have visited on the order of 13 or 14 countries. And while there are always interesting things to do in each new city or country I visit, sometimes I miss some of the comforts of home (such as english TV or movies). Back home when I am bored I typically watch Apple TV or Netflix. Unfortunately when I am outside of North America and I try to access Netflix I often end up with a message like this: One way I’ve found around this is to simply tunnel all my traffic through a VPN server in the United States. The […]

Flying With A Guitar

While I own several guitars, I previously have never attempted flying with a guitar. A quick Google search on the Internet reveals a lot of confusion about the process, as well as a few horror stories about damaged or stolen guitars. An infamous story of breakage ended in a viral internet video known as “United Breaks Guitars”: When I was in Argentina in 2011, I ended up having more free time than I thought I would have. In those moments, I really missed having access to a guitar that I could pick up and play. I went down to a local guitar store thinking I would buy something cheap, but it’s definitely hard going from a $1,000 – $2,000 guitar […]

Building Or Rebuilding A Storage Locker

When I returned from Europe in April, I went down to my storage locker to grab a few items. Unfortunately, five months of boxes sitting on each other had taken its toll, and a few of them had shifted and fallen. Thankfully nothing was broken, but it was pretty clear that I needed to spend a bit of time rebuilding my locker at some point this summer. Yesterday I went to the locker and spent about two hours rebuilding everything. Based on the experience, here are a few pointers I would give to anyone putting their stuff away into a storage locker for an extended trip: Use high quality boxes. It’s easier and cheaper just to use whatever boxes you […]