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Category: Travel Guides (page 2 of 5)

Trying to plan your next adventure but don’t know where to go or what to do? Start here! Check our latest travel guides below for advice on where to go, what to do, and where to stay. Make sure to search our Travel Guide section for even more destinations and advice.


Despite its unfair reputation as a rainy and dreary country (it actually gets less rain than Paris and New York City), England is a wonderful country to visit, from the historical cities to the lush countrysides.


Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 0.80 GBP. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are common in the cities.

Accommodation: $55/person (budget), $150/person (midrange), $300/person (high-end)

  • Accommodation (per person/day): $30 (budget), $75 (midrange), $200 (high-end)
  • Food (per person/day): $15 (budget), $40 (midrange), $80+ (fine dining)

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains (EuroStar) or budget airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well (Eurolines, RegioJet). Within England, transportation by train or bus can be expensive, but public transport is widely available.

What to do: See museums and national galleries, do a bike tour around a city, complete one of the many great walks across the country and stop at a pub along the way, explore London, solve Stonehenge, cheers a pint with a stranger.

When to visit: May-September.

  • May: Less crowds and cooler weather, but not any more rainy days than peak season.
  • June-August: Peak season and great weather
  • September-October: Less crowds and cooler weather, but not any more rainy days than peak season.
  • November-April: Cold and rainy

Language: English is the primary language spoken, with French, German, and Spanish being the most popular secondary languages (in that order).


Get it right: The UK = United Kingdom = Great Britain. It’s a constituent nation made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Safety: England is a very safe country, but follow standard practices.


  • Tipping: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount.
  • Escalators/Moving Walkways: Stand to the right for standing, walk on the left for passing. Failure to comply will result in glares.
  • Mind your Ps and Qs: The English are known for their manners. Be polite.




Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 3.4 Peruvian Sol

Accommodation: 50-100 Sol for budget accommodation and  S150 for midrange hotel option. A double room in a high-end hotel could run you S300 ($88 US).

Food: Rice and potatoes are considered a staple in Peru, and are often accompanied by a type of meat. For meat eaters, why not try some local Peruvian alpaca at Pachapapa? For vegetarians (and anyone, really, as this is delicious), sample some sopa de quinoa at the Inka Grill.  A quinoa soup/stew made with tons of fresh veggies, it’s an affordable, nutritious and delicious option! Also for food: keep an eye out for restaurants that offer set menus. For as little as S15, you can feast on a soup, entree and small dessert. Great value for money!

Transportation: Depending on where you’re going in Peru, the best way to travel around is by public bus. This is certainly the most economical option, and the bus network is pretty extensive around the country. For longer distances, there are a couple airline options, though prices aren’t always considered “budget.” In the interest of time, I flew from Lima to Cusco, and otherwise navigated the city of Cusco by foot!

Etiquette: Most restaurants and bars include a 10% gratuity.  At smaller restaurants, it’s common to leave a couple soles in addition to the bill (if gratuity is not added). Regarding photography etiquette: ask before you snap photos! Many people were obliging, but some of the older women I met outside the city were absolutely uninterested in having their photo taken. Be respectful, and only snap with permission.

What to do: The choices are endless! From shopping in Peru’s colorful markets, to hiking to a 15th century Incan citadel, their are plenty of options for culture and adventure.

When to visit: May to October is considered high season in Peru. This is technically Peru’s winter, and is considered to be the driest time of year.  For hiking and trekking, this is an ideal time to travel to Peru.

South America


Summit a Nicaraguan volcano, just before sunrise.
Mail a hand drawn picture – smudged with ink, melted by molten- to my mom.

562515_885331326899_896036947_nTravel Itinerary

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 28 Nicaraguan Córdoba

Accommodation: Dorm rooms cost anywhere from $6-$12 with shared bathroom. $17 for double room with private bathroom. Hospedajes are small, family-run guesthouses which are a popular option throughout Nicaragua. Prices for hospedajes cost around $20-25/night.

Food: Eat locally and you can eat as cheap as you want! I enjoyed feasting on gallo pinto each morning, and while some might find this boring, I found it delicious! Included in this popular Nicaraguan staple is rice and beans, meat, fried plantains, and sometimes a fried egg on top. This yummy (and filling) dish will run you about 35-40 córdobas, or under $2 US. Other tasty food options include nacatamales (a Nicaraguan tamale filled with meat, veggies, rice and seasoning), tajadas (like a potato chip, but made of plantains) and for something sweet, tres leches cake.

Transportation: You have a few different bus options, including local, express minibus and shuttle buses. For some of the more common bus routes, you can check out this site which details the different bus schedules. The site is all in English. Taxis are another reliable option, particularly for travel within cities. Rates are priced depending on time of day, and can be subjective depending on the driver you ask. Ask around, and you should find a reasonable fare!

Etiquette: Tipping is not common in Nicaragua, unless you’re at a higher end restaurant or are on a guided tour.

What to do: Hike, surf, swim, chill. Take Spanish classes in the colonial city of Granada, or hang with expat surfers in San Juan Del Sur.

When to visit: Many people suggest December to be the best time to visit the country. This is right after the rainy season when the Pacific Coast is still deliciously green, and well before the peak of the dry season when the country is hot and dusty.


Whether you’re looking to find delicious food and drink, relax in the popular thermal baths, explore the beautiful historical streets, or make new friends in a ruin pub, a trip through Hungary is one you won’t regret.


Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 300 HUF. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are found even in small cities and offer great exchange rates.

Budgeting: $30 USD/day (budget), $60 USD/day (midrange), $100 USD/day (fine)

  • Meals: $5 USD (budget) to $15 (midrange) per meal.
  • Accommodation: $10 USD (budget / dorm rooms), $20 (midrange private rooms), $50+ (budget hotels/Airbnb).

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains or budget airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well. In Hungary, check for transportation timetables for bus, train, and boat. Within a city, there are usually easy public transport options, and if looking for a taxi, use Uber if possible (it’s common for taxi companies to up-charge tourists and using Uber takes the guess-work out of proper payment).

What to do: Visit the beautiful city of Budapest, relax in a thermal spa, get a massage, dance in a ruin pub.

When to visit: June-September.

  • November – March: Rainy and cold
  • April-May: Beauty of Spring but risk it will be wet
  • June-September: Warm, long days, but busy season. Avoid August.
  • October: Start of colder weather, but quieter as post-tourist season.

Language: Hungarian is the main language spoken, but you will frequently find English and German speakers as well. Some basic Hungarian phrases:

  • Hello: Szervusz [SER-vous] (formal) / Szia. [SEE-ya] (informal)
  • Please: Kérem [KEY-rem]
  • Thank you: Köszönöm [Koh-soh-nohm]
  • You’re welcome: Szívesen [SEE-ve-shen]
  • Yes: Igen [EE-gen]
  • No: Nem [nem]


No Bartering: Most places do not barter, but try in the area you are to see if it’s acceptable.

Safety: Follow common sense safety principals and you’ll have no issues. Pickpocketing is most popular in touristy spot, and frequently done by coordinated group.

Etiquette: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount you’re paying. Do not leave tips on the table as customary in other countries. Round-up for taxis or bartenders.

Top 5 Photography Spots in Prague

Sure, Prague is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, but unless you have spent some time there, you might not know exactly where to go to get the best and most beautiful shots of Prague, including unique photographs of the city that no one else will have! Follow our recommendations below for the five best spots for photographing Prague, and be sure to check our Google Maps directions for directions to the exact spot you want to be!

Under the Charles Bridge


GPS Location: Google Maps

One of the toughest things about photography in Prague is dealing with the hordes of people taking the exact same shot as you. Want a unique picture of Prague that most people won’t get? Get off the beaten path. An oft-missed area is actually right under the tourist attraction of the Charles Bridge. Look for a staircase near the end of the bridge and loop down to beneath the Charles for one of the best views of the city. Bring your tripod and shoot just after dusk when they light the bridge for the best shots.

Atop Charles Bridge Tower

GPS Location: Google Maps

The more-popular Old Town Hall Tower offers similar views, but you’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists, and if you want to get a tripod positioned, you’ll need patience. Instead, opt for the Charles Bridge Tower, which is less advertised, and given the lack of an elevator, is entirely less busy, despite being in the middle of one of the most popular parts of the city.

Letenský Profil


GPS Location: Google Maps

You’ve now taken photography in the heart of Prague, so let’s get a little outside the city to get a beautiful view from the hilltop of a local park, including all three major bridges lined-up.  If you walk up Nábřeží Edvarda Beneše to get there, look for a turnoff in the woods labeled as a hiking/biking path. This will take you up a windy, but paved, path to the view point in the park, including many beautiful views of the city along the way.

Smetanovo nábř (Waterfront)


GPS Location: Google Maps

This spot can be a bit busy given it’s proximity to the city and a main thru-street, but you’ll have plenty of room to set up a shot along the waterfront sidewalk. If shooting at sunset, wait until a little after dusk when they light up the bridges and castles for a beautiful view of the city and Prague Castle.

Střelecký ostrov

GPS Location: Google Maps

Head closer to the South side of the city to a small park on an island in the middle of the river for a beautiful view of both sides of the river. Given the location, this is less popular location and once again will give you a unique picture of Prague that most other tourists will not have.

Czech Republic

Not only is Czech Republic easy to travel to, but while there you can sample world-class beers, delicious food, trek through the lush countryside or shop in the city among beautiful historical architecture. An easy jumping-off point for someone’s first trip to Europe!


Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 25 CZK. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are common in the cities. Never exchange money on the street as it is usually a scam, and avoid exchange kiosks in tourist locations as they often bait-and-switch.

Accommodation: $30/person (budget), $80/person (midrange), $175/person (classy)

  • Accommodation (per person/day): $15-20 (budget), $50 (midrange), $100+ (classy)
  • Food (per person/day): $10 (budget), $20 (midrange), $50+ (fine dining)

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains or budget airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well (Eurolines, RegioJet). Within a city, there are usually easy public transport options, and if looking for a taxi, use Uber if possible (it’s common for taxi companies to up-charge tourists and using Uber takes the guess-work out of proper payment).

What to do: Explore the unique medieval architecture of Czech Republic’s capital city: Prague (Praha), drink local beer, hike through the towering rock formations of Bohemia Paradise or mountains of Bohemian Forest, kick your feet up and relax at the historic spa resort of Karlovy Vary, or see the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Renaissance town of Český Krumlov.

When to visit: April-September.

  • Nov-March: Rainy and cold
  • April: Less crowds but colder weather
  • May-August: Peak season
  • September-October: Less crowds but colder weather

Language: Czech is the main language spoken, but English and German are widely spoken as well. Russian was required under communist rule, so anyone born before 1975 is likely to speak at least some Russian.

  • Hello: Ahoj (uh-hoy)
  • Good day: Dobrý den (DOH-bree dehn)
  • Please: Prosím (Proseem)
  • Thank you: Děkuji (Dyekooyih)
  • Yes: Ano (AH-noh)
  • No: Ne (neh)


Exchanging Money: Never exchange money on the street as it is usually a scam, leaving with you fake notes or notes of a different (and less valuable) currency. Avoid exchange kiosks in tourist locations, as they often bait-and-switch, listing one rate on their sign but not explaining that is only for a high volume of exchange. Do not hand your money over until you have a printed quote of the exchange rate being offered to you. ATMs may offer the best exchange rates in a given area.

No Bartering: Most places do not barter, but try in the area you are to see if it’s acceptable.

Safety: Follow common sense safety principals and you’ll have no issues. Be careful in crowds, such as at tourist sites or train stations, as pickpocketing is common and often carried out as a team effort.

Etiquette: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount.

What to eat: Potato soup (bramboračka), goulash soup (gulášovka), roast pork and dumplings (vepřo-knedlo-zelo), fried cheese (smažený sýr), traditional dumplings (knedlíky). Pair with some of the many delicious beers (pivos) Czech Republic is known for (Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Budějovický Budvar, Staropramen).

10-Days in Morocco; Travel Itinerary

From bustling markets of Marrakech and Fez, the peaceful blue city of Chefchaouen, to the costal town of Essaouira, there’s plenty to see during a 10 day backpacking trip across Morocco.

Dried Fruit and Nut Souk; Marrakech, Morocco

A vendor packages dried fruits and nuts at a local souk in Marrakech

What to expect from this itinerary: You’ll spend a few days on a crash-course-welcome to Morocco by visiting the busy streets and aggressive street vendors of Marrakech.  After a quick trip to the western shore, you’ll head out on a multi-day backpacking trek across the Sahara Desert on camelback to get you to the old medieval capital of Fez (Fes). From there you’ll visit the beautiful blue town of Chefchaouen before heading home (or to your next destination).

What You Need To Know

Currency: 1 USD = 10 MAD

Accommodation: 70-100 MAD for dorms and 120-350 MAD for privates in major cities. Prices range quite a bit depending on what city or town you’re in.

Food: 35 MAD tangine (a local staple made up of meat, veggies, and rice). Sit-down restaurants will charge 100 MAD for a meal.

Transportation: You have several options to get you around the country: buses (CTM), trains (ONCF), or “Grand Taxis” (where you pay by the seat) can get you around easily.

Etiquette: Tipping is common (and often required for public bathrooms), so carry small change; 5 MAD is usually acceptable in most situations. Dress conservatively: women should keep their legs, arms, and shoulders covered. If offered mint tea, be polite and accept the offer of hospitality.

What to do: Haggle hard in the local markets, visit the local hammam (bathhouse) for a spa treatment, travel the desert between towns via camelback.  See the Jemaa el-Fna of Marrakesh, camp in the Sahara, see the blue city of Chefchaouen, hike the High Atlas Mountains, surf in Taghazoute, and explore local history everywhere you go.

When to visit: Late March through May, or early fall.

Days 1 thru 2: Marrakech

Feel the bustle of one of the country’s best markets as you explore western Morocco. Upon arrival—and really for the duration of your stay—expect to get completely lost time and time again. Streets are not well labeled, you won’t see signs pointing you the right way, and the alleyways twist and turn, getting you utterly turned around. As a result, you’ll find many eager locals willing to offer you their service to guide you for a small fee. Be aware some of these are faux guides who will lead you to businesses that have already paid them off.


Markets of Morocco at Sunset

Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech

  • Getting there: Fly into Marrakech airport and grab a taxi to the medina. If traveling by train to the area, hitch a taxi from the station to the square.
  • Where to stayRiad Argan. Email the hotel in advance to notify you of arrival and they can make arrangements to have you picked-up from the airport and escorted to the riad.
  • Where to eat/drink: Hands-down the best place to eat is in the food stalls that will fill the Jemaa el-Fnaa at sundown. There will be more food stalls than you can try in your trip, and for the most part, you can do no wrong. During the day, check Cafe Arrabe.
  • What to do: Walk through the Jemaa el-Fnaa and local markets in the Medina . Enjoy street food and take a day trip to the High Atlas Mountains. Take a local cooking class. If you have time, take a multi-day Sahara tour (min: 3 days / 2 nights) and travel via camelback to Fez, staying in local villages along the route.
  • What to do: Explore the city streets and take plenty of pictures, travel to the well-known nearby waterfall, climb the mountains.

Day 3: Essaouira

Spend a day on the Moroccan coast in the small town of Essaouira and watch the sunset over the sea. Fans of “Game of Thrones” might also recognize the town from the TV series.

  • Getting there: Have your hotel book transport for you the day before, and either take a 3hr bus-ride (CTM) from Marrakech for 75 MAD or grab a grand taxi for 100-150 MAD/per person. From the bus station, grab a 15 MAD taxi into the medina.
  • Where to stay: Riad Malaika for 700 MAD or Riad Al Zahia for 500 MAD.
  • Where to eat/drink: As anywhere in Morocco, stick to the street stalls and try the soups,, sardines, tanjines, and fish.
  • What to do: Explore the town and hear some local music. Skip tanning and swimming in the strong winds and instead go kitesurfing.

Days 4 thru 6: Sahara Tour

It’s time to begin the trek to Fez, but rather than hop a bus, we’ll head to the desert and spend three days traveling by camel, giving you the opportunity to really get to know the landscape.  Along the way you’ll stop at local villages, head over the beautiful Atlas Mountains, have plenty of amazing picture opportunities, and spend each night camping in the desert.  You’ll be sore by the end of it, but it’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget.

  • Getting there: Take the 3hr bus-ride back to Marrakech for 75 MAD or grab a shared Grand Taxi for roughly 150 MAD/per. Ask your hotel to book the ride for you and have them book the multi-day Sahara tour for you as well. You have a couple options on the length of trip, but we allocated here for the minimum (3 days/ 2 nights)
  • Where to stay: Expect to camp each night in the desert. It will get very cool at night, so dress appropriately and have something warm for your feet.
  • Where to eat/drink: Your guides will take care of food and water for you on your stay, so there’s nothing to worry about.
  • What to do: Explore villages, take pictures, get to know your other travelers, and reflect.

Days 7: Fez

Explore the medieval capital of Morocco and one of the most well-preserved cities in the Arab world. Walk through the car-free Fes el-Bali and dodge mules and handcarts along the way.  While it’s an amazing city to explore, Fez (or Fes) will feel a bit reminiscent of Marrakech, so with limited time, just spend a night here before moving on to your next stop.

  • Getting there: If you followed our itinerary, you would have arrived by camelback, but in the event you strayed, you have a few options to get to Fez. Trains run multiple times a day from Marrakech and take about 7 hours for 200-300 MAD. Alternatively, you can hop a shared grand taxi for approx. 150 MAD/seat or grab a CTM bus for a 5hr drive.
  • Where to stay: Ryad Alya for 600 MAD.
  • Where to eat/drink: Explore the streets and eat at the local street stalls.
  • What to do: Get lost in the medina, see the 14th century college Bou Inania madersa, visit the Merenid Tombs, visit the tanneries.

Day 8 thru 9: Chefchaouen

Travel to the northeastern side of Morocco to the beautiful mountain town of Chefchaouen and explore the gorgeous blue streets of the medina with a view of the Rif Mountains in the distance. Be aware that drugs (particularly marijuana) are popular in this town, and you’ll likely get approach quite often on your trip by sellers.

  • Getting there: Catch the CTM bus (80 MAD) or grab a shared Grand Taxi. Plan for a 4hr travel time. From the bus station (gare routiere) grab a 10 MAD ride in a petit taxi to the medina.
  • Where to stay: Hotel Alkhalifa for 500 MAD if you’re up for stay a short walk from the city on a beautiful hillside, or Riad Assilah Chefchaouen for 600 MAD right in town.
  • Where to eat/drink: Get seafood tagine at Granada or Chez Faud, pastries at Pastry Ladies, or shop at one of the many food vendors you’ll see along the streets.
  • What to do: Explore the city streets and take plenty of pictures, travel to the popular waterfall on the east (Ras el Maa), explore the ruins of the Jemaa Bouzafar, and hike through the Rif Mountains or up the Jebel al-Kalaa.

Day 10: Getting Home

While most people you talk to will not recommend Tangier as a travel destination (it’s town now overwhelmed with tourists, businesses, and feeling wholly unauthentic), it’s the closest place to fly-out of (unless you want to bus back to Marrakech), so plan for just a quick trip to catch your flight out.

  • Getting there: Catch one of the multiple daily buses for 30-50 MAD to Tangier, 3hrs away, or grab a Grand Taxi for 100 MAD/per.

Anything we forget? Ideas of other places to check-out? Things not to miss? Leave it in the comments!


Sleep in a riad: Traditional Moroccan house built around a garden.

Barter: Everything is negotiable. In popular tourist markets, start negotiating at 1/3 of the quoted price. Agree on a taxi fare before you get in. Be aware of faux guides trying to offer to take you somewhere, as they’ll likely just take your money and lead you to a friend’s business.

Speak the language: Learn a few phrases and earn some respect:

  • Hello: as-salam ‘alaykum
  • Thank you: shukran
  • I don’t understand: la afham

Beware of pickpocketing: Do not walk alone at night and be careful to keep anything of value very close to you. Small children are just as likely to be pickpockets as anyone else. Be aware as well of a common trick in smaller towns where locals will try to befriend you over a day or so before stealing from you.

Eat from street stalls: Street stalls are everywhere and offer the best food for little price.

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Coming soon!

Travel Itineraries

Coming soon!

The Basics

Money: $1 USD = 13,500 IDR

Accommodation: Private hostel rooms for $5-10, hotels for $30-70.

Food: Coming soon!

Transportation: Coming soon!

What to do: Coming soon!


Coming soon!


Two Weeks In New Zealand’s South Island; Travel Itinerary

New Zealand is an amazing place to backpack, and is renowned for its adventure sports and, of course, its landscape.  While the North Island has plenty to offer with its volcanoes, farms, large cities (Auckland) and Hobbit-themed attractions, South Island is where you’ll find much of the mountainous and picturesque scenery you expect from the country. Whether you’re coming to the South Island to road trip, relax, or partake in the many adrenaline-pumping adventures that South Island has to offer, you’re in for a trip you’ll never forget.

Queenstown, New Zealand Ferry

A ferry passes by Queenstown on South Island, New Zealand.


What to expect from this itinerary: You’ll pick up a campervan on arrival in Christchurch and spend two weeks travelling all around the South Island.  For the first half of the trip you’ll be camping and cooking some of your own meals, making you better able to save some money and stay right in the beautiful landscapes you’re craving. For the second half of the trip you’ll ditch the campervan and stay in hostels or huts while you explore local towns and mountainous passes.  A budget-friendly trip, expect to spend much of the trip in the cramped space of your campervan and relying on the amenities provided by the campsites you visit (most of which we picked have showers, bathrooms, and shared kitchens to use).  We will provide recommendations along the way, leaving the degree of adventure you want to take up to you! So read on below and get your vacation booked!

What You Need To Know

Money/Currency: 1 USD = 1.50 NZD. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are available in most cities.

Accommodation: Hostels starting at 25 NZD for a shared dorm or 50 NZD for a private room.  Hotels for 100-150 NZD. Camping is very popular across the country for 10-15 NZD, but look first for free camping, which can get you some beautiful campsites (some of which even having drop-toilets) for no charge.

Food: Food is expensive in New Zealand.  Grab a flat-white coffee for 4 NZD in the morning while you plan your day. Find lunch for 10-15 NZD, dinner for 20-30 NZD and beer for 6 NZD.

Transportation: Rental cars (Ace, ApexJucy) and Campervans (Jucy from 90 NZD/night or Britz) are quite popular in the country, and transfercar let’s you get free rentals between two locations (essentially you’re relocating the cars for the company and only have to pay for insurance). Bus (“Coach”) companies like InterCityNaked Bus, or Atomic Shuttles can get you most places in the country.  Domestic flights are relatively cheap via Air New Zealand or Jetstar. Rail is expensive, but can get you around the Island safely (Rail New Zealand).

Two-Week South Island Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch

As you’ll likely be flying into Christchurch’s International Airport after a potentially long day of travel, spend a night here to regain some energy and take care of some necessities.  Start by picking up a rental car to help you through the first part of the trip. Since the beginning of the trip will be based on small towers, I’d recommend a modified sleeper van from Jucy (cheapest sleeper vans in the country) that comes with a fold-out double-bed and mini kitchenette.  This will make it easiest to take advantage of camping sites and just play your days by ear.  Stop off at the local supermarket to stock your campervan’s fridge with some necessities and get some ground coffee to cook in the mornings. As your drive through the streets, you’ll still notice evidence of the rebuilding underway to repair the city of the 2011 earthquake.

Days 2-3: Marlborough (Blenheim or Picton)

Travel up to the northeastern tip of South Island and explore wine country, sipping on local varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. You’ll find stunning views and plenty of wildlife around Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman on your stay.

  • Getting there: 4.5hr drive north of Christchurch (5.5hr if by bus). Ferries make daily trips between North and South Island, Rail runs stop in Blenheim, Kaikoura, Picton, and Seddon, domestic flights can land in Blenheim and Picton, buses run from Christchurch through Picton, and from Picton to Blenheim and Nelson. Nelson Lake Shuttles provide transport around the area.
  • Where to Stay: There are plenty of places you can stay, but save some money and free camp at one of the many sites that have toilets and are near town.
  • What to do: Rent a bike and go wine-tasting at one of the many vineyards. Scout for wildlife in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Road-trip up to Tasman Bay and explore Abel Tasman. Explore Sawcut Gorge. Try locally-farmed greenshell mussels. Go whale-watching in Kaikoura. Soak in the hot springs of Hanmer Springs.

Day 4-5: Greymouth

Begin your trek down the western coast of South Island and stop at Greymouth on the way to enjoy peaceful walks on the beach, and maybe a couple touristy sight-seeing spots as well.

  • Getting there:  4.5hr drive southwest Marlborough
  • Where to Stay: Camp at Greymouth Seaview Park and restock on groceries at the supermarket a short walk away.
  • What to Do: Drive the beautiful Coastal Road and make impulsive stops. Try to find Motukiekie Beach, a beautiful hidden beach that you will not find in any brochure and will yield beautiful views if you walk a distance during low-tide. See the blue waters at the Hokitika Gorge Walk if you’re up for an out-of-the-way drive for a 15-minute walk. Walk Cape Foulwind (1hr), and travel to Punakaiki and see Pancake Rocks at high-tide. Travel Arthur’s Pass, the highest pass in South Island and enjoy the scenic windy roads as you look for impulsive places to stop for a walk (Devils Punchbowl Waterfall or a walk through Castle Hill). Ask locals about hidden cave rafting.

Days 6-7: Aoraki Valley / Mount Cook

Explore Aoraki Valley National Park and see some of the most beautiful mountain views you’ll find this trip. Plan for a couple days as bad weather can hinder the ability to even be able to see anything at all.

  • Getting there:  6hr drive south of Greymouth, passing through Arthur’s Pass.
  • Where to Stay: Camp at Glentanner Park Centre right in the park for several days to ensure good visibility at one of the best views on the island and hike one of the many trails.
  • What to Do: Star gaze at the Mt. John Observatory ($100). Take advantage of one of the most scenic photo-ops you’ll get at Church of the Good Shepherd. Travel to Franz Josef Glacier (40min hike) to see a glacier in rapid retreat. Hike:
    • Hooker Valley Track (10km/2.5hr) is one of the most scenic hikes in South Island, but if it’s raining or cloudy, you’ll see nothing.
    • Mueller Hut Track (3mi) steep switch-back hike but views of beautiful glacial pools.

Day 8: Wanaka

Before the lively adventure town of Queenstown, make a stop at the peaceful and cute lakeside retreat of Wanaka to unwind for one last day.

  • Getting there:  2.5hr drive south of Mount Cook National Park.
  • Where to Stay: Save some money again and opt to free camp for the night.
  • What to Do: Kayak in the lake. Hike Rob Roy Glacier Track (3.5 hr loop) to see active glaciers.

Days 9-13: Queenstown

We saved the best for last: enjoy a few days in the adventure capital of New Zealand on near the southern tip of the South Island. The opportunities here are endless, from amazing multi-day hiking treks, to skydiving, exploring the fjords, or just relaxing on the beaches that line the town, Queenstown is a place you’ll fall in love with instantly. So ditch the campervan or rental car on arrival and stay a while!

Day 14: Dunedin

Begin your trip back north to Christchurch, stopping at Dunedin on the way back to enjoy the local architecture and hear some good music.

  • Getting there:  4hr drive southwest of Queenstown.
  • What to Do: The Explore the historical sights and Victorian architecture. Make a trip to Gore and hear Country Music and go trout fishing

Return Home: Christchurch

  • Getting there:  4.5hr drive north from Dunedin.
  • What to Do: Reflect on an amazing 2-week roadtrip through New Zealand’s South Island!


Get a free car: Utilize transfercar to get what is essentially a free rental car.  Simply visit their site, choose your location and planned destination and see what cars are available and for how long. The company simply needs the car transferred to a different location, so you can potentially book a car for 5-days and only pay a few bucks for insurance.

Camp for free: New Zealand has plenty of free camping sites all across the country to take advantage of, some of which are extremely scenic and have their own drop toilet.

WWOOF: Volunteer to work on a farm and enjoy free room and board.

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