The Runaway Guide Run Away & Travel The World Thu, 28 May 2015 06:20:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 If You’re Ready To Run Away… Sun, 29 Mar 2015 23:00:14 +0000 The time is now!

It’s not too late to join Kate and I in Central America this April 16th.

In fact, you have until April 10th to sign up. Just send me an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP with more info about the tour and how to reserve your spot.

So far we’ve got 5 awesome runaway’s aged 24-34 from Canada and the US, and we’re looking for at least 5 more.

If you’re ready to experience the very best of Central America with an intimate group of like minded travelers it’s time to run away!

If you’re open minded, searching for new experiences, looking for opportunities, enjoy different cultures, and partying on beaches and on boats, we want you!!!

For more info, e-mail me today or check out the itinerary on Runaway Tours.

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Run Away In 6 Simple Steps Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:19:32 +0000 DSC02001Those of you who know me know that I’m constantly dreaming up and planning bigger and crazier run away adventures.

I want to ride the Trans-Siberean this spring from Beijing to St. Petersburg. I want do the Mongol Rally and drive an underpowered Hyundai 10,000 miles to Mongolia. I also want to walk the Camino De Santiago from Rome to Western Spain.

So how do I decide where to go? And how do I turn it into a reality? The short answer, I follow my heart and won’t let anything stop me from getting there.

But if you’ve never really traveled before, just deciding on where to go can be overwhelming. And planning a trip can be stressful as well.

So, if you want to run away and travel the world but have no idea where to begin or how to make it happen, you’re reading the right guide.

Step 1: Choose Your Country

Choosing a country is simple. Maybe you saw it in a movie or read about it in a book and thought I would love to go there one day. Well, that’s the place you need to go!

Don’t worry about how expensive it might be or how you don’t speak the language. If you truly want to go, everything will fall into place, and by one way or another you’ll adapt and make it happen, I guarantee it. If you’re interested in beginning a backpacking adventure, check out The Best Countries For Beginner Backpackers for a few ideas.

Step 2: Buy A Flight

Now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to buy a flight. Don’t worry about buying a return ticket yet, you can always buy that later. For now, just focus on getting there.

Get on Skyscanner and browse around. In order to find the cheapest flight, set the departure date to display departures for the ‘whole month’. Once you’ve found a flight you can afford, don’t hesitate. Just click purchase.

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Step 3: Find A Place To Stay

In the words of Martin Lawerence in Bad Boys 2, ‘shit just got real.’ You’ve got a ticket to your dream country and there’s really no turning back. Now you need to find a place to stay. I would recommend just booking 2 or 3 nights at a budget hostel or hotel. This will give you enough time to rest and get acclimated to your new surroundings.

For hostels, I recommend For budget hotels, and  are solid companies with excellent rates. Finally, for longer term rentals, check out If you sign up with this link, they’ll give you 25$ towards your first stay.

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Step 4: Get Prepared

There are only two essential things you need to do to prepare, get a visa and pack your bag.

If you’re from the US, AU, CA, or EU, chances are you won’t even need a visa. But be sure to research tourist visa requirements for your desired country. (google search: ‘Thailand visa requirements for US citizens.’) If you’re a citizen of the USA, check out my Visa Requirements World Map.

When it comes to packing, the lighter you pack the better. I know it’s tempting to bring as much as possible in order to prepare for any eventuality but you really don’t need as much as you think. Even if you’re traveling to the most isolated country on earth, if there’s something you need, chances are you’ll be able to find it there. For more info on packing, check out How To Pack For Any Adventure.

Step 5: Get Organized

If you find comfort in being organized or even if you don’t, I recommend putting all your reservations and plans into a single document.

These days, there are plenty of online trip planners. If you’re interested in something like this, check out Here you can get inspired, search for flights and hotels, organize everything in one place, and share your plan with friends.

Getting your travel plans organized will give you peace of mind, and ensure that you don’t miss a flight or book a hotel for the wrong date.

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Step 6: Go!

All your reservations have been made, your documents are organized, and your bag is packed. Now it’s time to put your trust in the travel gods and take that first leap of faith.


I know what you’re thinking. I just simplified an extremely complicated and stressful process. But the truth is, planning a trip really can be this simple and stress free.

Don’t fret the tiny details. Try not to think too far in advance. Keep your options open. Stay positive and adaptable. Envision the person you want to be, and the life altering trip you want to experience, and turn it into reality.

If you need some help planning your trip, you can always connect with me on Facebook. Good luck and stress free planning.

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I Am Stronger Now Mon, 12 Jan 2015 23:54:54 +0000 DSC00107It’s 9pm in San Salvador.

The streets are cast in dark shadows. A cool wind rustles tree branches and steel doors. I’m walking from my hostel to a store a few blocks away. Halfway there a man blocks my path. With one glance it’s clear what he wants.

Chiki-ton! Chiki-ton! I say with feigned bravado, throwing a limp fist against my chest.

He isn’t buying it.

“Donde? Donde? (Where)” he growls.

“Aqui, aqui (here). Julio Castelo es mi amigo. Chiki-ton!” my voice is quivering now.

He stares at me with the eyes of a shedding snake, twisted and glazed over. I can’t understand what he says next but I know what he wants, the 1,200 dollars in my wallet, the brand new phone, and probably even the apple in my cargo pocket.

Earlier that day I met up with my old friend Julio, the guy from my Funniest Man In El Salvador youtube video. He told me that there’s one guy on the block that’s no good. And that if I ever had a problem I should say Chiki-ton, which roughly translates as ‘I have family in this neighborhood.’ I now realized that this was that guy.

“Amigo, amigo. Mi hermano. Por favore,” trying to smile at him as if he were a good friend who I hadn’t seen for years.

He looks at me in bewilderment, and with slightly less aggression, but still he will not let me pass.

I place my arm amicably on his shoulder, which is at least a half-foot lower than my own. My legs slowly carry me forward. But just as my body becomes parallel to his, he starts to reach for my pockets.

“What the fuck!” My palms thrust him backwards. My eyes drill into his for what feels like minutes. I turn my back and begin walking.

Suddenly, just steps away from the bodega, I can see my own death. A cold steel point is sticking into my neck. He’s got me from behind. I foresee myself bleeding out on this poorly lit road. I hope travel insurance is going to cover this.

I grab his arm with lightening speed. My lips curl above my gums as I inch his hand away from my throat. I see the weapon. It’s not a knife but a long black nail.

My heart is exploding like an adrenaline fueled piston. I feel like a gazelle with a lion’s jaw around my neck. I haven’t fought anyone in years. Can I beat him?

My body is paralyzed. My eyes are fixated on the nail just an inch from my neck.  I need to do something. I have to make a decision. My brain processes possibilities faster than a google search.

At the end of the block is an armed guard. I can see him looking at me but he’s either unwilling or too afraid to help.

Suddenly a panic filled rage engulfs every liter fluid in my body. A bright red burning curtain descends over my eyes. Electricity from the heavens surges through every muscle. The current continues into my throat. AAAAHHHHHHHH! I roar. I roar from the darkest depths of my soul. How dare he threaten my life!

I rip his arm away, spin him around and plow my fist right into his head. He stumbles back. I can taste his fear and I revel in it. I roar again and run at him, ready to use my entire body to eviscerate his being, but he scurries away between two cars like a rat scurrying back to the gutter.

I wait until I can no longer feel his presence. The red curtain lifts; I can see clearly again. I slowly make my way to the store. I apologize to the shop keepers for the commotion, and finally buy my Doritos and a couple of beers, at this point much deserved.

On the 3 block walk back to the hostel I feel good. I feel powerful. I have discovered and summoned a new and unbeatable strength from within myself. I can harness this strength now. I can use it to defends myself. I can use it towards all aspects of my life. I was tested and I survived.

Suddenly the rat scurries out in front of me. A sole street-light glistens across the steel blade in his right hand. Behind me I can hear footsteps.

The strength returns, and a rage filled roar, more intense than the last, bellows from my gut. I jump as high as I can, hoping to crush him into the ground but he swiftly side steps to the right.

“You want more!” I scream, sprinting towards him and his new rat friend. Again they scurry away into the dark of the night.

I curse at them in Norwegian, “ Fy faen jævla, helvete!” and let out one final “ahhhhhrrrrrhrhhgggg.” I can hear doors locking and animals running, and I know I have won again.

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Cambodia Hideouts Sat, 10 Jan 2015 23:03:32 +0000 cambodia-hostel-pool

Overview Preparation Budget Travel Cambodia Hideouts

Top Destinations  Siem Reap

Runaway Hideouts are both of long and short term accommodations. They’re off the beaten path and always the best value.  

Mad Monkey #Budget #AwesomeFood


Mad Monkey Hostel is the ultimate party hostel in Cambodia. They have a reasonably priced bar and incredible food. Although the rooms and dorms are clean and have comfortable beds, you probably won’t be sleeping too good. But if you want to make new friends and chill and party with backpackers this is the spot. They have 3 locations, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Kampot. Dorms go for around 8$ and privates 16-20$. But artists who are willing to contribute their work or paint on their walls can stay for free! Run Away!

Alibi Guest House #Mid-range #Phnom Penh


The Alibi is a quaint guest house built in an old french villa. It’s quiet, clean, relaxing and charming. It’s also very close to the palace. The owner speaks both English and French. It’s the perfect place to base yourself while exploring Phnom Penh.Run Away!

Shadow Angkor Villa #Mid-range #Siem Reap


This hotel epitomizes luxury on a budget. A single room with balcony starts at 25$ (20$ without balcony). It includes AC, cable tv, wifi, free water, fridge, electric kettle, blow dryer and hot water. There is even a pool downstairs and it’s just a 3 minute walk to Pub Street.  There are only 15 rooms, so be sure to book in advance during the high season.Run Away!

Travel Gear & Resources

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Top Destinations In Cambodia Sat, 10 Jan 2015 22:10:32 +0000 P1040700

Overview Preparation Budget Travel Cambodia Hideouts

Top Destinations  Siem Reap

Bike Around Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the most incredible, authentic, and mind blowing ancient city in the world. Compared to other ancient wonders, nothing else comes close. And there’s no better or cheaper way to explore it than by bike (1$/day rental). Unfortunately the Cambodian government charges all tourists 20$/1 day, 40$/3 days, or 60$/5 days. Fortunately, a one day pass is valid for both the evening and the following day. For more info, check out the Budget Backpackers Guide To Angkor Wat.

Go Train Surfing

If you’ve ever dreamed of riding atop a train, Cambodia is the place. All the locals do it and so can you. Trains depart Battambang for Phnom Penh at 6:00am everyday. The top speed is only around 25 Mph so it’s really not too dangerous.

Eat Bugs At The Bus Stop

Bugs have remained a traditional part of the Cambodian diet since the Khmer Empire. You can try some for yourself around town or at most bus stops. They’ve got tarantulas, crickets, cockroaches, beetles, and large grass hoppers. It doesn’t fill you up, but it doesn’t cost much either. How can you refuse a fried tarantula!

Travel Gear & Resources

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Cambodia Budget Travel Guide Sat, 10 Jan 2015 22:07:37 +0000 10471214_10152718997373826_3295274586944911236_o

Overview Preparation Budget Travel Cambodia Hideouts

Top Destinations  Siem Reap

How To Get Around Cambodia For Cheap

  • Trains
    Unlike Thailand or Vietnam, Cambodia’s rail network is old and slow(30 km average). But that also means it’s extremely cheap. A one way ticket from Battenbang to Phnom Penh costs just 3$ (1$ for locals) and takes 14 hours. The best part, Train Surfing is an option!
  • Busses
    Busses are the cheapest and most practical means of transport in Cambodia. In order to save money buy your ticket at the main bus station in town rather than through your hotel or an agency. Surprisingly, a number of bus companies offer free wifi on board.
  • Boats
    There is a speed from from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. It costs 33$, takes around 6 hour and it’s an adventure in itself.
  • Mini-Busses
    Mini busses are faster but also more expensive. For the mini bus from Siem Reap to 4 Thousand Islands in Laos costs 27$ but takes just 7 hours. The big bus costs 22$ but takes 13 hours. Despite the price, I definitely recommend the minibus for that journey.  You can buy mini bus tickets through your hotel or at a local travel agency.
  • Hitchhiking
    Like much of Asia, hitchhiking in Cambodia is not common. Although pickup trucks and cars will stop for you, they’ll always want to charge you money. However, if you tell them you’re on a budget, many will give you a smile and a ride anyways. It helps to speak a few words of Khmer.

How To Eat Cheap In Cambodia

  • Street Food
    The cheapest way to eat in Cambodia is at local street stalls. The cheapest stalls are those a little outside of town or off the main streets. BBQ’d baby birds, Tarantulas (30 cents for 1), Crickets, and good ole chicken/pork on a stick are the cheapest options at under 50 cents.
  • Local Restaurants
    Hole in the wall family restaurants is another cheap option and my preferred way to eat in Cambodia. Fried noodle, fried rice, Amok curry, and beef Loklak are their specialties and dishes usually cost between 2-3 dollars.
  • Western Restaurants
    There are countless British, Australian and French owned restaurants in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Although it’s not cheap compared to local food, it’s still a lot cheaper than back home. If you’re in need good western food you won’t be disappointed. One of the best hamburgers I ever had was at The Sun in Siem Reap.

How To Sleep Cheap In Cambodia

  • Hostel Dorms (12,000 Rial/3$)
    A dorm bed in a hostel can be found as little as 3$ and is by far the cheapest way to sleep in Cambodia.
  • Budget Hotels (40,000 Rial/10$)
    Most budget hotels cost around 10$ but some can be found for as little as 5$/night. These hotels are relatively comfortable and usually include hot showers, wifi, cable tv and also AC for a bit more.
  • Street Hotel (Free!)
    You really don’t want to sleep on the street in Cambodia. Not only is it pretty dirty but chances are someone will try to steal your bag. If you do end up sleeping on the street, the safest place to do so is on temple grounds. But if you don’t have a choice, check out How To Sleep On The Street.
Check Out Runaway Hideouts In Cambodia

Travel Gear & Resources

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Cambodia Preparation Guide Sat, 10 Jan 2015 21:39:51 +0000 cambodia-visa-documents

Overview Preparation Budget Travel Cambodia Hideouts

Top Destinations  Siem Reap

Best Time To Go To Cambodia

The best time to visit Cambodia for budget backpackers is from mid-August to mid October. There are less tourists, the land is beautiful and lush, and prices for everything can be bargained down. However, it’s also the heart of the monsoonal based rainy season. Fortunately, this usually only consists of afternoon rains or intermittent storms with plenty of sun in between. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to bring a windbreaker.

Visa Requirements

For Citizens Of: US, CA, UK, EU, AU, NZ.
(For the most up to date info, please refer to the Cambodian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs)

Visa Type: On Arrival
Price: 20$
Duration: 30 days
Important Information: You must present 1 passport photo in order to avoid a 2-3 USD fine. If you pay in Thai Baht, they will round up, costing you another 2-3 USD. If you’re entering by land, Visa fees can vary between 20$ and 30$. It really depends on how much money the border guards blew at the adjacent casino the night before and how willing you are to pay the extra unofficial fee.

How To Find Cheap Flights To Cambodia

The cheapest way to fly to Cambodia is through Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. You can then catch a connecting flight to either Siem Reap or Phnom Pehn on Air Asia for as little as 50$. Be sure to book in advance for the cheapest fares.

  • From North America
    Norwegian Air offers the cheapest flights to Bangkok from both New York and Ft. Lauderdale connecting in Scandinavia for around 400-500$ one way.
  • From Europe
    Again, Norwegian Air remains the cheapest option with direct flights from Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm to Bangkok for as low as 200$.
  • From Oceania
    Air Asia often offers, depending on the season, fares that average between 175$ and 300$ from Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, Gold Coast and Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur. Be sure to book in advance.

Travel Gear & Resources

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Run Away With Us To Central America! Sun, 04 Jan 2015 11:00:40 +0000

If you’ve ever wanted to explore Central America with an intimate group of likeminded backpackers, this tour is for you.

Kate from Adventurous Kate and I are leading a 15 day Runaway Tour, beginning March 5th 2015, through two of the most exciting countries in the region, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Everyone is invited!

But be sure get in touch quick because there’s only enough space for 10. 

What Are Runaway Tours?

Runaway Tours are all about good times, an off the trail experience, small groups, and budget backpacking in style. They’re cheaper than any traditional tour and definitely more fun.

imagesWhat’s On The Itinerary?

We’re going to be experiencing the very best of Central America from it’s beaches and quaint colonial cities to it’s volcanic highlands and isolated Mayan villages.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost is 950$ and covers all accommodation, transportation, a few 5 star dinners, and a couple of awesome adventures.

Sign Me Up!

If you’re ready to run away with us, head over to Runaway Tours: Central America for more information about the trip.

If March 5th doesn’t work for you, there are still 3 spots open for the January 18th tour.

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Proof Of Onward Travel On Spirit Air Sat, 03 Jan 2015 23:19:17 +0000 Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 17.24.51“Good mornin mah brotha.”

“Good morning, how are ya?” I reply, way too suburban like, taken a bit by surprise by this getto fabulous first interation of the day.

“Where you be flyin?”
Yup, no doubt about it.
This is definitely New York La Guardia airport.

“San Salvador” I say, in a thicker latino accent than I should have. I just can’t help myself. I love doing the accent.

He gives me a look like ‘crack is wack man’ and says, “Cool, cool. Well you got a return flight or something?”

“Nope. I’m going to travel to Guatemala next, and after that I’m not sure.”

“Whoa, dats cool. But umm, you gotta give me something. A flight, a bus, anything showing your gonna leave. I can’t check you in without it”

“Really?” I can’t quite believe it. “I’ve done this flight 4 times before and was never asked for proof of onward travel before.”

“Yea, we need sumthin brotha.”

“Ok, ok, no worries,” I say while walking away.

Long story short I ended up booking a shuttle bus ticket on Gekko Trails Explorer. But instead of paying for it, I simply made a reservation. I showed it to him on my phone and he checked me in.

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When I finally arrived at San Salvador airport, the immigration officer couldn’t have cared less whether I had a ticket booked out of El Salvador or not. All he wanted was his 10$ visa fee, which I’m pretty sure is greasing his pockets.

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Ultimate Guide To Flying On Budget Airlines Sat, 03 Jan 2015 23:01:05 +0000 Norwegian_Air_Shuttle_Boeing_737-300_PichuginBudget airlines have made flying long international and short domestic flights affordable for everyone. As a broke budget backpacker, I absolutely love them. I’ve taken more Ryan, Norwegian, Spirit and Air Asia flights than I can count and have saved heaps.

But the reason they’re able to offer such low fares is by cutting airport operating costs and charging extra for every little thing.

If you’re considering flying on a Budget Airline, below are a few money saving tips, and things you should definitely know before you go.

Buy Tickets In Advance

In general, tickets on budget airlines are cheaper when bought well in advance. This is especially true on Air Asia as they often offer special fares around 2-6 months in advance.

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These sales are going on all the time.


Buy Tickets In Different Countries

Air Asia prices usually vary by 10-20$ depending on what country you buy them in. To set a different country, simply choose a different currency. You will have to pay in a different currency but any credit card will automatically exchange your money for you. If you take the time to compare fares, you will save.

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You can either click the change currency or change region link a the bottom.


Make Sure You’re Going To The Right Airport

One of the ways budget airlines can keep prices so low is by flying into airports with lower operating costs. Unfortunately, these airports tend to be located much farther away from the actual city.

Ryan Air’s Frankfurt airport is nearly a 2 hour drive from Frankfurt it’s self. And Air Asia’s main hub is based out of KL Airport 2, which is located 2 hours away from down town KL depending on traffic.

Air Asia flight from Bangkok's secondary airport, Don Muang

Air Asia flight from Bangkok’s secondary airport, Don Muang

Check In In Advance

This is true for all airlines, especially if you’re flying internationally. But for some reason I always run into issues with budget airlines. Either the line is insanely long, your bag is too heavy or there’s a new policy where you need to show proof of onward travel just to check in.

With most airlines you can technically check into domestic flights 15 minutes and international flights 45 minutes before departure. However, in order to accommodate unforeseen complications it’s a good idea to tack on at least two hours.


Air Asia is really tough when it comes to the proper size and weight carry on bag

Ask For Your Seat

To increase profits, budget airlines want you to pay between 10-40$ to choose a seat. Fortunately most check-in agents will help you sit together with your friend or find the seat of your choosing if you simply ask politely.

If you’re flying internationally, especially to San Salvador where immigration can take hours, it’s best to get a seat as far front as you can. Getting a good seat is another reason to check in in advance.

42$ for a seat reservation!

42$ for a seat reservation on Norwegian! Crazy!

Use Your Jacket To Reduce Weight

Another way budget airlines make money is by charging for check in luggage. Check in luggage costs vary between 20$ and 100$ depending on when you buy it. If you’re positive your bag is too big then it’s cheapest to buy online. Waiting until you check in or even at the gate will cost you significantly more.

Most Budget Airlines do allow a single carry-on bag but the size and weight, and enforcement of this policy varies significantly. Norwegian Air tends to be the least strict while Spirit and Air Asia are sticklers. So be sure to check their requirements before you go.

My 50 liter Samurai pack is always just a little bit over the weight and size limit for most Budget Airlines. When I was flying from Krabi to Bangkok I was 3 kilos over the limit. So I got out of line, unpacked my jacket, put it on, and stuffed the pockets with as much as I could. The check in lady laughed at me but let me through without paying the check in bag fee.

carry on bag fees for spirit air

Spirit Air’s current baggage fees

Pack A Lunch

Norwegian sells some pretty delicious hot meals on their long haul flights to Europe and Asia. They cost 44$ and can only be bought online. If you didn’t purchase one you’re stuck with buying a 5$ bag of chips from their snack menu.

There’s nothing worse than smelling your neighbors sweet airplane chicken as you pretend to stare at your movie, quietly suffering, resenting him/her for their foresight and yourself for not having more money. Definitely pack a lunch.

Also, since water costs 4$ onboard, it’s not a bad idea to fill up a bottle or two from the water fountain or even fast food soda fountain in the terminal. Bring an empty one from home so you don’t have to buy one there.


Air Asia is the only Budget Airline with cheap (3-6$) meals. They’re small, so I would definitely buy two.


Budget airlines are incredible because their prices are almost always unbeatable. I’ve flown from New York to Oslo for 160$, New York to San Salvador for 129$, and Bangkok to Osaka for 90$.

However, if you’re not familiar with their extra fees you may end up spending more than you hoped. Be sure to read their carry on baggage allowances and all their fine print.

Finally, note that almost all tickets on budget airlines are non-refundable after 24 hours from purchase. If you want to change your ticket, you’ll have to buy a new one. Another reason why it’s not a bad idea to get some travel insurance before your trip.

If you have any tips for flying with Budget Airines, I would love to hear them.

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