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Best Credit Cards & Bank Account For World Travel

Monday, November 7, 2011
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Czech 1000 Crowns Money
A 1000 Crowns note from the Czech Republic

Different people handle their money differently abroad. If you're an avid traveler, you surely have your own system. Holding large amounts of money puts you at risk for theft or loss of your entire trips funds. Travelers checks, and checks in general are outdated, a bit of a hassle to use, and will cost you money to change to cash. Withdrawing cash in the maximum daily limit increments is the best way to handle cash abroad for me, but standard ATM fees add up quick. However, by switching banks to use a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, and using a Capital One no international fees credit card, you can save these ATM fees and additional international charges. This article refers to banks in the United States.

How Much Does An Everest Base Camp Trek Cost?

Friday, November 4, 2011
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Prayer Flags over Phantom Alley
Prayer flags draped across Everest Basecamp with Phantom Alley in view

Climbing to Everest Base Camp does not have to be very expensive. In order to determine how much you should expect to pay, you'll first need to decide what type of trek you want to take, and how much time you have available. Another important factor in determining how much your trip will cost is the number of people in your group. With more people, you can share porters and a guide, cutting costs for each person.

The Northern Lights In Finland

Thursday, November 3, 2011
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Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
The northern lights as seen in Lapland, Finland

The Northern Lights have been on my list for a long time. I originally had them down as a Canada thing, but recently a friend of mine (from Finland) showed me this video of the Northern Lights filmed earlier this year in Lapland, Finland. It's an amazing video of an amazing phenomenon, so I figured I'd share it here.

The Most Dangerous Airport in the World

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
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Lukla Airport
The airport in Lukla, Nepal

There are a lot of sketchy airports acround the world, but according to the History Channel, none as dangerous as the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla. But if you've already climbed to Everest Base Camp or trekked anywhere in the surrounding Himalayas, you probably already know this. Nestled deep in the mountains, perched on the edge of a cliff with a tiny little uphill runway, you're crashing into a steep hill if the pilot can't stop the plane fast enough upon landing. That is of course assuming that the clouds aren't too thick and he gets the unassisted landing right so you don't crash into the mountain.

Cool Paris Videos

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Paris
Looking down the street of Paris on a cloudy afternoon

I came upon a website the other day which had some really cool videos, a couple of which took place in Paris. I thought they were worth posting here, and decided to look for more. Turns out there are a lot of really cool videos of Paris. Below are a handful of the best I found around the web, if you have any more please post links in the comments.

Surviving An Earthquake In Namche Bazaar, Nepal

Monday, October 31, 2011
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Earthquake Damage Namche Bazaar
Damage from the earthquake on 09/18/2011, luckily this was about the worst of it that we saw

There are a lot of hazards you think of when you imagine the Everest region and the elements that come with it, but we never saw this coming. While waiting for dinner on the second floor of our Namche Bazaar tea house, on the evening of September 18 (2 days into our trek to Everest Base Camp), a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit the mountainous region diving India and Nepal. All of us coming from California, our first thought was "Oh, it's just a little earthquake"; and then it clicked. We were in a small village in the Himalayas, we had seen first hand how these buildings were constructed, they stack bricks and seal them with mud.

Photos From Flight Over The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon River
A branch of the river carving its way through a shoot of the Grand Canyon

A few weeks ago I was flying from to Orange County on an afternoon flight. I had a window seat, so when the pilot announced we were flying over the Grand Canyon as we passed through Arizona, I instantly slammed by window shade open to soak in the views. We were lucky, it was a gorgeous afternoon in Mid-October with nice clear skies, so we had great views. Unfortunately my good camera was in the overhead bin, so I had to take these using my iPhone 4.

Things To Do In Orange County – Whale Watching

Friday, October 28, 2011
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Blue Whale Tale Newport Beach
The tail of a large Blue Whale with the coast of Newport Beach in the background

Most people from the OC don't even know, but every year they have hundreds of giant whales swimming past them in their annual migrations. If you find yourself looking for things to do in Orange County, head down to the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach and hop on a whale watching boat. You'll find at least 2 companies running boats off the docks in the harbor, either one should be about the same, and tend to run a similar schedule. My mom lives in Orange County, and wanted to do a whale watching tour for her birthday, so we made a reservation on a boat for the family. On the day of the tour we were running late, and we went in the first whale watching company we found with our reservation, which they accepted and checked us in for the boat. It wasn't until a little while later that we realized we weren't at the same company we booked, but it was too late. Didn't matter in the end as we had a great tour anyways.

Everest Base Camp Trek Journal – Days 11 & 12 – The End

Group Shot End Everest Hike
The last photo of our group as we arrive back in Lukla having completed the trek

The ATM was down in Namche so it took us a little while to get going in the morning, and we needed to pay the remainder of our tab with Boo. It's been surprisingly difficult to get cash since I've gotten to Nepal, but we got it all sorted. We finally got moving around 9:15 AM, and it was bright and sunny. We even got one more peek of Everest. Yesterday I tried to eat a normal meal, and my battered stomach didn't like that at all. I started to feel sick about an hour and a half into the hike, and I had to slow our pace way down.

Everest Base Camp Trek Journal – Day 10

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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Crossing Flooded River Everest
Crossing a river which flooded and overtook the trail during the monsoon rains of day 10

When we woke up it was still raining heavily. There's nothing to do in Pangboche so the idea of staying there sounded worse than walking in the rain. Once we got confirmation from Boo that we could move our flight back up, it was worth pushing through to get to Namche today. Out into the rain we went, shortly before 11 AM. The rain meant that small streams were now gushing rivers, and there were massive waterfalls everywhere. Rivers were overflowing to the point that rocks that you used to be able to walk across were completely underwater. Jit was picking up rocks and carrying them across the rivers to make paths for us. It was crazy.

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