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Cheap Backpacker Travel Tip - Rum and Coke

January 1st, 2008 by Jordan

rum and coke cheap backpacker travel tip

Rum and Coke my friend….Rum and Coke. Otherwise known as a cuba libre (more lime juice is usually involved though). Travel to any bar and order one it will cost you at least twice as much as what you can make one yourself.

Gathering the ingredients is easy. There is hardly a country on this planet that doesn’t have readily available Coca-Cola, and rum is generally not too far behind. The hardest part is usually finding a glass in the hostel. To save yourself money, buy a small bottle of rum from a grocery store or corner market when you first arrive. Packing rum on a plane is not a good idea and it will usually be confiscated. A small bottle won’t cost you all that much if you buy local product. From there, any time you want a good drink, just go find a cold coke. If your hostel has a refrigerator that makes it even cheaper, as usually you will end up paying a little more for a cold can or bottle than buying off a shelf of room temp. I usually put about a small shot in a glass and just fill the rest with coke. If you desperately desire lime, pick one up from a local vendor as it won’t be all that much. Some of my favorite nights are just hostel bumming with fellow travelers sharing cheap drinks.

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Flavor Packets

October 5th, 2007 by Jordan

I thought I would continue the water bottle article with a slight offshoot just briefly mentioned. Flavor Packets. Flavor Packets are the newest additions to my pack while traveling. Drinking water saves a lot of money, and when you get tired of plain old water, it helps to have a low cost alternative available wherever you go. In addition to cost, it’s never a bad idea to lay off the soft drinks and chug the agua. That’s where these flavor packets come in handy.
lipton water packetscrystal light travel packets water bottle

The typical flavor packet can be used for about 12-20 ounces of water, depending on how strong you want it. A few different companies make these flavor packets and the number of flavors has dramatically increased.

Crystal Light is kind of leading the way with marketing, and at last check they had 12 flavors available. Great Value also makes a cheaper alternative. Kool-Aid and Lipton are also just entering the market as well. Lipton seems to be pushing their green tea, which I have yet to try. Kool-aid obviously has kid friendly flavors such as tropical punch, cherry, grape, and orange. Actually, when you think about it, Kool-Aid has been doing this for years, now, they just put it in a smaller packet and call them singles. Airborne is a new provider as well, trying to corner the immune conscience consumer, and marketing it as a dietary supplement.

I added these to the packing list because they almost force me to drink more water, which saves money, and they are so small and can pack anywhere with no problem or worry about additional weight. The downside I suppose would be the cost, I just know that buying things in smaller quantities is never a good value. So, for the extreme shoe-string budget traveler, think about buying a larger supply, or see what’s available in your kitchen, and instead of individual packets, dump the powder in a 35mm film case. Those hard plastic, well sealed containers are small and sturdy and can probably hold the equivalent of 3-5 flavor individual flavor packets.

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Water Bottles and Travelers

September 26th, 2007 by Jordan

nalgene water bottle

The way I see it…there are two choices for packing the liquid. Cheap bottle vs. Nalgene bottle. Where you will be traveling is also something to consider….does your destination have potable water (okay to drink) or non-potable (drink at your own risk). Most of the time you visit a third world country, there is no need to carry a Nalgene bottle since you will need to buy it bottled anyways. But a reusable Nalgene bottle can come in handy when you have access to good water and a hostel refrigerator.

Bottled water. Be aware that water manufacturers make water with and without carbonation….I hate carbonation, and about gagged when I accidentally purchased it. Look for Sin Carbonacion (Without Carbonation) if you want “regular” drinking water.

Why Nalgene? Simple. They are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to providing a durable plastic easy access bottle that does not have any effect on the taste of the liquid. Plus….they make a flask….that should say enough. If you are interested in learning more about Nalgene…here is their site.

Water Bottle Tips:
Airlines will not allow any liquids to be carried through security, so start off with an empty bottle and find a water fountain while you’re waiting for the plane.

Look for flavor packets or “On the Go Packets” if you want to actually get some taste to your agua (that’s Spanish for water;). Crystal Light makes some as does Water Sensations. I have seen these available overseas, but not that often.

Most Nalgene bottles have a loop or eye that you can use to attach to your pack, but if you want to get a handle on a regular bottle, use some small 2 or 3 mm perlon cord to tie around the neck of the bottle using it as a strap. The cord also allows you to reuse it for the next bottle. All in all, this cord comes in handy for many things.

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Fun With Electricity

August 31st, 2007 by Jordan

What do you need to power up overseas? This article will answer that question. By the way, there is nothing fun about electricity…in fact…it’s quite boring, but I’ve done the research to make this part of your packing a little less time consuming.

The Lingo
Adapter (Plugs) - This is the piece that takes one countries plug and adapts it into another countries plug.
Converter (Transformers) - This is the piece that changes the voltage (coming out of the wall) that certain electronics might need to operate. There are two types…Step Up and Step Down. Obviously Step Up converters takes the voltage from 110-125 up to 220-250. Hence, Step Down converters does the opposite.

What To Do
Step #1 Check your electronic equipment before you go to see if you even need a converter. The idea here is to match the countries voltage to the electronics voltage requirements. For instance, most laptops will say they run on anywhere from 100 volts to 240 volts, and displayed as Input: 100V - 240V. In this case you do not need a converter. If you have an MP3 device that only runs on 110-125V, and the outlet is 225-250V, you need a step up converter.

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