Here are some photos and recommendations from my travels. I’ll try to update recommendations as often as possible, but the years are also included to show how up-to-date or out-of-date the details are. I’ve deleted a number of places that are not quite as up-to-date. Countries are divided by region (Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America).

See also my profiles on Atlas Obscura and Couchsurfing.

Quick recommendations: download (offline maps), xe (currency converter), use (for exploring really flexible flights with dates and places), pack light (I use a 36-liter bag that can be a carry on), keep a journal, bring some funny and informative books, and be patient.


Recs (country non-specific)
Books: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria); The Innocent Anthropologist by Nigel Barley (Cameroon)
Current Events: BBC Africa
Food Blog:

Democratic Republic of the Congo (August 2018)
Book: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason Stearns

-Accommodation: Orchids Safari Club (expensive, though very nice)
-Activities: Kitenge fabric markets, Foundation Etoile, visit the Asili clinics and water points!
-Food: Sambaza is a must eat, Coco Lounge, Patmos, Orchids (Hotel) Restaurant, Wendy’s (Bar)
-Transportation: Daily flights from Kigali to Kamembe (Cyangugu; on the Rwandan side), also possible to drive from Kigali and through the forest

Ethiopia (January-February 2019)
Book: N/A

Addis Ababa
-Accommodation: N/A (the hostel I stayed at closed down, but I would recommend staying near Meskel Square or the metro)
-Activities: Addis Mercato, Entoto Beth Artisan Gallery, Entoto Hill, Havana (club), Meskel Square, Red Terror Museum, Shuro Meda (for market/shopping)
-Food: Galani Cafe, Ghion Hotel, Hadramout Restaurant, Tomoca Coffee, Yod Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant
-Transportation: RIDE app (get an Ethiotelecom sim to use)

Kenya (January-February 2019)
Book: Out of Africa by Karen Blicken (Isak Dinesen); Bill Bryson’s African Diary

-Accommodation: PrideInn (a few in Westlands, pretty expensive but nice, no hostel recommendation for the city yet)
-Activities: Karura Park, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for Elephants, Giraffe Center
-Food: Mama Rocks* (Burgers, at The Yard), Nyama Mama* (Modern Kenyan), Asmara (Eritrean), Matbronze Cafe (Continental, by the Giraffe Center), Mama Oliech (Kenyan, fish), CJ’s (Continental), Open House (Indian), Seven to Eight (Indian/East African), Naivas (for groceries), The River Cafe (Continental, in Karura Park), Anghiti (Indian), Artcaffe (Coffee/Dessert)
-Transportation: Uber/Taxify

Rwanda (July-August 2018)
Book: We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch; see also book recommendation for DRC (Dancing in the Glory of Monsters)

-Accommodation: Discover Rwanda Gisenyi Beach
-Activities: Ames Boat Tours for traditional Rwandan night fishing*, Hot Springs, numerous outdoors activities (kayaking, hiking, biking, etc.), Cotton Club (for dancing)
-Food: Calafia Café, Bikini Tam Tam, Discover Rwanda’s restaurant
-Transportation: Frequent buses from Kigali (approx. 2.5-4 hours) or Musanze (1.5 hours)

-Accommodation: Mille Collines (upscale; the famous hotel), Mamba Rwanda Youth hostel (barebones but with Rwanda’s first and only bowling alley)
-Activities: Kigali Genocide Memorial, Kimironko Market, Nyamirambo Women’s Center walking tour and cooking classes, Isaro (gift shop), get hand tailored clothes in downtown!, kLab and FabLab
-Food: Sundowner* (get the roasted goat leg), Inzora Rooftop Cafe, Delizia Italiana* (ice cream) and Java House in Kigali Heights, Meze Fresh* (Rwandan Chipotle), The Hut, Brachetto (upscale), fresh fruit (esp. tree tomatoes and avocados), goat, ugali (foo foo) and akabanga are all musts
-Transportation: Frequent buses from Kigali (approx. 2.5-4 hours) or Musanze (1.5 hours)

Somaliland (February 2019)
Book: N/A

-Accommodation: N/A (stayed at ARC Guesthouse by the FAO office, definitely an option!)
-Activities: Hiddo Dhawr
-Food: Hiddo Dhawr Cultural Restaurant* (Somali), Cookie Time* (Dessert), Summertime (Ethiopian), Ramad (for groceries or ice cream), Creams (Dessert or American), Cafe Zaytuun (Continental, at Al Jirde hotel), Ambassador Hotel Restaurant, Maan Soor hotel (good coffee, okay food), Cafe???, camel milk!
-Transportation: Personal driver

Uganda (November-December 2018)
Book: N/A

-Accommodation: 2 Friends Entebbe Beach Hotel (nice hotel,  close to the airport)
-Activities: Aero Beach, Botanical Gardens, Lake Victoria
-Food: Thai Garden Entebbe, Cafe Javas (chain)
-Transportation: Bus, boda, shuttles to Kampala, all the above

-Accommodation: Fat Cat Backpackers or Bushpig Backpackers (I stayed at the former but both are well-known and good), Kabira Country Club (nicer hotel)
-Activities: Baha’i Temple, Gadafi Mosque (also called Ugandan National Mosque and Old Kampala Mosque), Wholesale Market next to Gaddafi Mosque (Friday only), Craft Market, skip the Uganda Museum
-Food: Khana Khazana, Kardamom & Koffee, Copper Chimney, Prunes, Cafesserie, Acacia Mall, Kamwokya Market, Big Mike’s (bar with live music on Thursdays), Ugandan street food (Rolex, Kikomando, Samosas)
-Transportation: Download SafeBoda app for transport around the city

-Accommodation and food: Katente Resort

-Accommodation: Nim Motel (cheap), Igongo Cultural Center (fancy)
-Activities: Lake Mburo, Rwekishokye Country Club (for swimming and horseback riding), Sauna
-Food: Cafe Havana, Auntie’s Pub (for roasted pork), J.P.E. African Dish, Day-to-Day Discount Store (for groceries), Calabash (for burgers), Club Vegas (bar)
-Transportation: Bodas are all over


India (including Kashmir) (January 2013)
Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

-Accommodation: N/A (stayed with family friends)
-Activities: Take a rickshaw, visit a market and buy some fabric, Gateway of India area (but don’t spend too long over there), visit different temples, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, Worli Sea Face
-Food: Where to everything, and embrace a lot of the vegetarianism and fresh fruits. Dosas are a great alternative if you get tired of rice or bread.
-Transportation: lots of options (rickshaws, taxis, buses, trains, major international airport)

-Accommodation: Stay on a houseboat–this is a must!
-Activities: Dal Lake (central and most important place), Khanqah Shah-i-Hamadan, First Row Houseboats, Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh (Mughal Gardens)
-Food: Kahwak tea, Namkeen/Nun Chai, Rogan-gosht, Gushtaba, Krishna Dhaba
-Transportation: flying in is easy (although you need to go through new customs because it is Kashmir), lots of options for taxis/water taxis around the city. Buses and trains (to Jammu) are also an option.

Indonesia (March 2017) 
Book: N/A

Banyuwangi (Ijen Crater)_DSC8633.JPG
-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Hike the Ijen Crater for sunrise* (starting time around 1-2am)
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: buses from Bali, trains, buses or flights from Java (train preferable)

Probolinggo (Mount Bromo)
-Accommodation: Clover Homestay
-Activities: Hike Mount Bromo at sunrise (starting time around 2-3am)
-Food: Food stalls near the train station and Clover Homestay
-Transportation: trains and buses from Banyuwangi, Yogyakarta, etc. (train preferable)

-Accommodation: Homiestay (near the airport)
-Activities: N/A (don’t stay long!)
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: train, buses and flights to most places on Java and around Indonesia (for Java, train preferable), use Grab app for local transportation

Sanur/Denpasar (Bali)
-Accommodation: Cafe Locca Hostel
-Activities: beach, surfing
-Food: Warung Kecil*
-Transportation: taxis and buses from most places on the island, use Grab app for local transportation

Ubud (Bali)
-Accommodation: Happy Monkey Hostel
-Activities: Tirta Empul Temple,* Sacred Monkey Forest, yoga at Yoga Barn,* rice fields (buy fresh coconut there*), hash (hike)
-Food: Vegan/vegetarian restaurants
-Transportation: taxis and buses from most places on the island, use Grab app* for local transportation

-Accommodation: Laura’s Backpackers*
-Activities: Rent a moped and visit Borobodur* and Prambanan Temples, Local Market Pasar Beringharjo, Sultan’s palace, Maliboro Street, Giant Chicken Church
-Food: ViaVia, also random  street food (like a “sandwich” with chocolate and blueberry marmalade)
-Transportation: train, buses and flights to most places on Java and around Indonesia (for Java, train preferable), use Grab app for local transportation

Japan (January 2017)
Book: Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding

-Accommodation: Fukuoka Teoi Hotel
-Activities: Fish Market, Sushi, Rent a Bike, Ohari Park, Kushinda Shrine
-Food: Night stalls near the fish market, sushi near the fish market, local izakayas and ramen shops (for Tonkatsu ramen)
-Transportation: Ferry from Korea, Shinkansen or other trains and buses to other cities. Local buses.


-Accommodation: N/A-Activities: Hiroshima Dome and Peace Memorial,* Museum
-Food: Okonomiyaki Lopez*
-Transportation: Shinkansen or other trains and buses.

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Visit temples, Bamboo Forest
-Food: Japanese style curry at the train station
-Transportation: Shinkansen or other trains and buses.

-Accommodation: Hostel Osaka 64
-Activities: Shopping, major food destination, a day trip to Nara for temples and friendly deer
-Food: Toyo Sushi,* Tenpei Gyoza*
-Transportation: Shinkansen or other trains and buses.

-Accommodation: Family Inn Saiko (in Ikebukuro)
-Activities: Shibuya, Japanese bath, shopping, Tsukiji Fish Market, Hamarikyu Gardens, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Cooking Class,
-Food: Cafe de l’ambre,* local izakaya in ikebukuro, Larsen’s fried chicken, Sushi in Ginza
-Transportation: Shinkansen or other trains and buses.

Malaysia (April-May 2017)
Book: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

Kuala Lumpur
-Accommodation: Reggae Mansion KL*
-Activities: Batu Caves, Little India, Chinatown and markets, walk around Masjid Jemak and up past Kamdar, view of Petronas Towers and Fountain at night
-Food: Ghandhi’s Vegetarian Corner,* drink tea everywhere
-Transportation: local metro inexpensive and efficient, buses cheapest for leaving KL

Penang (George Town)
-Accommodation: House of Journey*
-Activities: Visit Kek Lok SI Temple,* as well as Dhammikarama Buremese Temple and Chayamangakalaram Temple*, view on Penang Hill, Street Art Walk,* walk along the water with Fortress, Rent moped and loop around the island, Hike in National Park
-Food: Hainanese Chicken Rice (Chulia Street), Chulia Street Night Hawker Stalls,* Joo Hooi Cafe, Hameediyah* (for Nasi Kandar), Tai Tong* (for Dim Sum, Loh Mai Kai and steamed buns), Presgrave Street Night Hawker Stalls*
-Transportation: Cheapest to take local trains from Thailand and then ferry from Butterworth. To KL, take the bus.

Myanmar (April 2017)
Book: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

-Accommodation: Ostello Bello (Hostel) OR Floral Breeze (Hotel, pool & breakfast included)
-Activities: Rent E-bikes, prioritize a sunrise and sunset at temples, hot air balloon tour
-Food: The Moon Restaurant* (for strawberry smoothies and Myanmar salads)
-Transportation: Night buses, train, flights from Yangon or Mandalay, etc. and river ferry from Mandalay

Hpa An
-Accommodation: Soe Brothers Guesthouse (Hostel) OR Than Lwin Pyar Guesthouse (Hotel)
-Activities: Rent moped, visit Sadan Cave* and Kyaut Ka Latt Pagoda, go hiking
-Food: Morning market (Pancakes, Mohingya), Khit Thit (Chinese)
-Transportation: “Taxi” to and from the Thai Border (Myawaddy/Mae Sot crossing), vans/buses from Kyaiktiyo, Bago, etc.

Inle Lake
-Accommodation: Song of Travel Hostel* OR Ostello Bello
-Activities: Bike Circuit around Lake, Hot Springs, Hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake, Local market, Sunrise Boat and General Lake Tour
-Food: Local Market
-Transportation: Overnight buses from major cities (Bagan, Bago, Yangon, Mandalay) and flights, trek from Kalaw


Kyaiktiyo (the Golden Rock)
-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Visit the Golden Rock via truck or trek (truck preferable)
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Vans from Bago, Hpa An Yangon, among other local cities

-Accommodation: Pickled Tea Hostel* (more upscale/private)
-Activities: Shwedagon Paya* (for sunrise), Kandawgyi Lake, Pomelo Market, Circle Route on Tram, Local Markets_DSC8806.JPG

-Food: Aung Thuka*
-Transportation: flights, buses, trains, etc from most places in Myanmar

Pakistan (April-May 2019)
Books: The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

-Accommodation: The Grand Mansion, Serena (very expensive)
-Activities: Terrace at Centaurus Mall, Saidpur Village, Pakistan Monument, Lok Virsa Museum, Saeed Book Bank, Trail 3 for hiking, Faisal Mosque
-Food: Bar.B.Q Tonight, Savour Foods, Serena Hotel, Chikachino, Des Padres (in Saidpur), Cafe Behbud, Shams (convenience store), La Terrazza, Monal, Howdy (burgers), Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, must try paan, chicken karahi and biryani
-Transportation: Personal driver, Careem/Uber also generally walkable within F district

-Accommodation: Pearl Continental (expensive)
-Activities: Shop at Liberty, visit Badshahi Mosque
-Food: Cocoo’s Den (on Food Street), Babar Restaurant, The Wok, Babe Gee Kulfi, JAIDI paan, Street 360 Food Court, Chaaye Khana
-Transportation: Personal driver, Uber/Careem, Rickshaw

Singapore (March 2017)
Book: N/A

-Accommodation: The InnCrowd Backpackers (fine hostel, free breakfast and kick scooter tours)
-Activities: Bugis neighborhood (for shopping), botanical gardens (UNESCO World Heritage Site), harbor, Gardens by the Bay, Little India, Light Shows* (at Harbor and Gardens by the Bay), Merlion, Giant Mosque
-Food: Hawker centers (food courts), Zam Zam,* Hjh Maimunah,* Banana Leaf Restaurant
-Transportation: Possible to arrive by land from Malaysia but also highly connected with flights from Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.

IMG_5828.jpgSouth Korea (January 2017)
Books: The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-hwan, Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden, Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Fishmarket, shopping market
-Food: Fresh food at markets
-Transportation: Buses from local cities, buses, and train from Seoul, ferry to Fukuoka in Japan

-Accommodation: GG Hotel
-Activities: Bulguksa Temple,* ancient burial mounds, hiking
-Food: local read bean bread pastries
-Transportation: Buses to and from Seoul and Busan, local buses for transportation to Bulguksa and other local temples

_DSC8008.jpg-Accommodation: Able Guesthouse Hongdae*
-Activities: Gyeongbokgung Palace, hang out in Samcheong-Dong, walk through markets in Insa-dong, cable car at Mount Namsan, Inwa mural village,* Dongdaemun market for shopping, DMZ*
-Food: 마 포 나 ㄹㅈ 집, Gwangjang market (for raw beef dinner), Korean BBQ, bulgogi, bibimbap, octopus, kimchi, kimbap, ssambab
-Transportation: Local metro and bus system, trains and buses to other cities

Thailand (April 2017)
Book: The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia by James C. Scott

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Royal Palace, Wat Pho, Markets
-Food: Hai-Som Tom*
-Transportation: flights, buses, trains, etc from most places in Thailand

Chiang Mai
-Accommodation: Big&O’s, T2B, Happy Home etc near SE corner of the Old Town
-Activities: Songkran (water festival), Elephant Sanctuary,* Monk Talk, Local Pagodas, Cabaret Show,* Muay Thai Fight (not my favorite activity)
-Food: Market near Chiang Mai South Gate*
-Transportation: buses, trains, and flights from places such as Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Mae Sot, Sukhothai, etc.

Koh Tao
-Accommodation: Taco Shack (I &II) OR Free Accommodation with Scuba Courses
-Activities: Scuba/Snorkeling (Phoenix Divers), Local Islands (Shark Island (swim/kayak to), Nangyuan (take a water taxi in the morning)), Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Pub Crawl (or the bars Lotus Bar and Fishbowl), Beach, Rent Mopeds
-Food: 995 Roasted Duck,* Coffee Boat Restaurant, Food Stalls in Sairee Beach (esp Fruit with Muesli and Yoghurt), Thai Tea and Coffee Stand near Songserm Pier, La Carotte Qui Rit
-Transportation: Ferry from Chumphon (preferable if taking the train from Bangkok) or Surat Thani via Koh Pha Ngam and Koh Samui

-Accommodation: Sunset Backpacker Hostel, Purple Monkey Backpackers, Carrot on the Moon Hostel
-Activities: Rent Mopeds and Explore Bamboo Bridge, Waterfalls, nearby Chinese Village, White Buddha, Hot Springs
-Food: Falafel at Food Stand, Big’s Little Cafe,* Maya’s Queen Burger
-Transportation: Bus or rent motorcycles from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai

-Accommodation: If you want hostel
-Activities: Ancient Ruins* (in Old Sukhothai, most live in New Sukhothai), Night Market
-Food: Night Market and Stalls (near If you want hostel)
-Transportation: Vans and buses from Mae Sot, Tak, Chiang Rai, Bangkok, etc.


Australia (February-March 2017)
Book: In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson* (also called Down Under)

Airlie Beach (Whitsundays)
-Accommodation: Backpackers by the Bay* (for relaxing) OR Beaches (for partying)
-Activities: Sailing in the Whitsundays* (Whitsundays Sailing Adventures is a good company), public pool
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Greyhound or flights out

Blue Mountains
-Accommodation: Flying Fox Hostel*
-Activities: Hiking* (Three Sisters, Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Federal Pass, Laura Forest, Gordon Falls, Wentworth Falls, Darwin Path)
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Trains to and from Sydney, local buses

-Accommodation: YHA (calm) OR Brisbane City Backpackers (social)
-Activities: Free Walking Tour, GoMA art Museum,* Free Ferry Rides on River, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary; Walk around Kangaroo Point, Mount Coot-tha
-Food: Coffee Anthology,* Brew,* Noosa Chocolate Factory, Sage
-Transportation: Buses in city, greyhound or flights out

Byron Bay
-Accommodation: The Aviary (in tents; outside the city) OR Backpackers Inn on the Beach (both social, but this one in the city)
-Activities: Beach, walks to and around the lighthouse, visit Nimbin and nearby waterfalls, skydiving, surfing, parasailing
-Food: Gelato and coffee shops, avocado toast
-Transportation: Buses in city, greyhound or flights out

-Accommodation: Mad Monkey Hostel*
-Activities: Scuba diving (ProDive Cairns*), lagoon, Esplanade
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Buses and small airport

-Accommodation: YHA
-Activities: Question Time,* Old and New Parliament, Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Manuka Neighborhood, Museums, Mount Ainslie
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Buses and small airport

-Accommodation: King Street Backpackers
-Activities: Clocktower, shopping, State Library, Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, ACMI, Eureka Tower, Immigration Museum, Queen Vic Markets, Botanical Gardens, St. Kilda, Sandringham, Greville Street, Great Ocean Road
-Food: Iced Chocolate at Koko Black,* HSP at Viva Kebab,* Chuckle Park (bar), Naked for Satan*
-Transportation: Local tram and bus system, flights and buses to other cities

Snowy Mountains
-Accommodation: Camping near Jindabyne or cheap motels
-Activities: Camping, hiking
-Food: CBD Cafe
-Transportation: N/A

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Botanical Gardens, Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Rocks, Sydney Harbor Bridge, Bondi Beach,* Surry Hills Neighborhood, Kings Cross, NSW Art Museum
-Food: Noodle King, Smoking Gun Bagels,* Cafe 2042, Club 77, Bondi Icebergs Club,* Messina Ice Cream,* Reggio,* Room 10 Cafe,* Flour and Stone, Ampersand Cafe, Shakespeare’s
-Transportation: Local metro and bus system, also flights and long distance buses or trains to other areas

-Accommodation: Civic Guesthouse
-Activities: Kissing Point/Other War Memorials, Walk along Beach, Scuba Diving at SS Yongala, Castle Hill, Magnetic Island*
-Food: Juliette’s
-Transportation: Greyhound bus, etc.

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Kiama, Blow Hole, Hyam’s Beach, Steamers Beach,* Royal National Park
-Food: Thai and Burek from Burek Shop Bitola
-Transportation: Trains and buses from Sydney, local buses

New Zealand (January 2014)
Book: N/A

North Island
-Accommodation: The Crossing Backpackers (near Tongariro)
-Activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Waiotapu, Waitomo Caves, white water rafting
-Food: Cannot remember..
-Transportation: Renting a car is almost completely necessary
Queenstown, New Zealand

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Museum of New Zealand, Mount Victoria, Beach, Concerts in the park
-Food: Cannot remember…
-Transportation: Public transportation in the city is good, also a ferry to the south island

South Island
-Accommodation: Cannot remember..
-Activities: Milford Track (3-day hike), Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park
-Food: Cannot remember..
-Transportation: Car is the most ideal

-Accommodation: Southern Laughter Backpackers
-Activities: Lots of options! Hiking, white water rafting, bungy jumping, etc.
-Food: The Exchange, The Coffee Club, Fergburger
-Transportation: Town is small enough to walk around, typically need a vehicle to get to other places.


Belgium (June 2013)
Book: N/A

-Accommodation: Brussels Hello Hostel (pretty standard, not outstanding)
-Activities: HIGHLY recommend visiting the USE-IT Brussels information desk ASAP on arrival–all run by locals with great local recommendations, their map is particularly good, architecture student-led walking tour, Atomium, Grand Place, Guildhouses, Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (buy a coffee and people watch), city gardens
-Food: Honestly don’t remember much–eat lots of frites, sour beer, and go eat some Middle Eastern food at or near Al Jannah
-Transportation: Tram around the cities, trains/flights/buses frequently in and out of the city

Bosnia and Hercegovina (August 2014)
Book: Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood by Barbara Demick

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Mostar bridge, local market (only need a few hours here)
-Food: Figs, tea, and honey from the local market
-Transportation: train from Sarajevo (also buses, but highly recommend the train), and buses from Croatia and Montenegro)


_DSC4764-Accommodation: Hostel City Rest
-Activities: Main market (Pijaca Markale), hike up the South side of the city for views, free walking tour with Nemo,* main monastery, old town and mosque, Latin bridge, Eternal Flame Sarajevo Memorial for Children Killed during Siege
-Food: stuffed peppers, pies, burek, bakeries
-Transportation: buses and trains from other major nearby cities (such as Srebrenica, Mostar, Belgrade, etc.) train preferable for viewsSarajevo, Bosnia

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Visit the memorial, just outside of town (easily accessible by taxi from the Serbian side or town)
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Coming from Serbia, the bus stops just before the border and you need to take a taxi. From Sarajevo, take a bus.

Denmark (2011-12, 2013, 2014-15, 2016, 2017)

Book: The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg, The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

-Accommodation: Danhostel Aarhus City
-Activities: ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Moesgaard Museum, walk around the river, Riis Skov, not terribly far from Aalborg (1.5 hours) or Legoland in Bilund (1.25 hours)
-Food: N/A (cannot remember)
-Transportation: Regular trains and buses from Copenhagen, good bus network in city

Bornholm (Nexø and Ronne)
-Accommodation: Nexø Camping (little cottages)
-Activities: Biking across the island*, Dueodde Beach and Lighthouse, Almindingen Forest, visiting the old churches (especially the rundkirker or “round churches” like Nylars Kirke)
-Food: Nexø Gamle Røgeri*
-Transportation: Bike!, also a great bus system around the island. Must take a ferry over, either from Copenhagen or Ystad (Sweden)

-Accommodation: If possible, live in Nørrebro or Vesterbro (number of hostels and AirBnBs)
-Bicycle Rental: Bike shop at Sønder Boulevard 78 (corner of Sønder Boulevard and Sankelmarksgade) or anywhere near the central station (Hovedbanegård) or centrum.
-Transportation: the airport is very close to downtown with flights in and out but also buses and trains from other major nearby cities/hubs (like Stockholm, Berlin, etc.). The metro is hands down the best way to get into the city from the airport.

Centrum (City Center)
-Activities: Rent a bike* (very necessary), Picnic in Kongens Have, Tour of Parliament and/or go up Parliament Tower, Tourist loop with Nyhavn, Playhouse, Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Marble Church, Kastellet, and Little Mermaid, UN City (tours on Fridays), Round Tower, Canal Tour*
Bars: Moose, Pumpehuset
Cafes: Paludan, Coffee Collective (in Torvehallerne), Frenchies, Kalaset, The Living Room
Cheap/On-The-Go: Torvehallerne (SMAG,* Grød,* Meyers Bageri, etc.), hotdog stand near Nørreport (ask for a “fransk hotdog”), PzNordic
Restaurants: Höst* (very upscale)

-Activities: Walk through Assistens Kierkegaard (picnic/relax there and visit H. C. Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard’s graves), Jægerborggade (for cafes, cool shops and restaurants), Fælledparken, Drink a Beer on Dronning Louises Bro
Bars: Temple, Rust (club), Mikkeller*
Cafes: Cafe Auto, Superkaffeforsyningen*, Coffee Collective, Café Retro, Tjili Pop, Laundromat Café
Cheap/On-The-Go: Grød,* Durum Bar,* SMAG, Meyers Bageri, Brødkunsten, Dilans Pizza
Restaurants: Bæst

Vesterbrokbh 2.jpg
-Activities: Frederiksberg Have (look out for castle and for elephants), Istedgade, Sønder Boulevard, Museums, Kødbyen (Meatpacking District—good for food and clubbing)
Bars: Bakken, Mikkeller, Vega (music venue)
Cafes: Bang og Jensen,* Sort Kaffe og Vinyl, Mad og Kaffe
Cheap/On-The-Go: Kebab, pizza or burgers on Istedgade
Restaurants: Madklubben,* Mothers, BioMio, Nose2Tail, Warpigs

Copenhagen, Denmark

-Accommodation: N/A–can easily stay in Copenhagen and visit as a day trip
-Activities: Kronborg Castle, walk around the city (especially Stengade and Axeltorv), take ferry (~30 minutes) to Helsingborg, Sweden, 30-minute drive to Frederiksborg Castle (in Hillerød), St. Olaf’s Church,
-Food: Rådmand Davids Hus, Borgerkroen,
-Transportation: S-tog (train between Helsingør and Copenhagen is rather frequent, most of the city is walkable, also buses in and out of the city and the ferry to Sweden

-Accommodation: Danhostel Odense City
-Activities: H. C. Andersens Hus, King’s Garden, St. Alban’s Church, Assistens Kiekegaard
-Food: Cafe Kosmos
-Transportation: N/A–we had a car to get around but mainly walked around the city center

-Accommodation: N/A–can easily stay in Copenhagen and visit as a day trip
-Activities: Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde Cathedral, Saturday Farmers Market
-Food: N/A (cannot remember)
-Transportation: trains to and from Copenhagen, easy to walk within the city

-Accommodation: Skagen Camping
-Activities: Grenen (where the Baltic and North Seas meet), Råbjerg Mile (sand dunes), Skagens Museum, Den Tilsandede Kirke (the sand-covered church),  Skagen Lighthouse, Skagen Odde
-Food: Skagen Bryghus Restaurant,
-Transportation: N/A–we had a car to get around but mainly walked around the city center

France (2004, 2013, 2017)_DSC9251.JPG
Book: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

-Accommodation: N/A (stayed with couchsurfing hosts
-Activities: Fourviere Hill, Old Lyon, generally just walking around the city and the river
-Food: Amorino (ice cream)
-Transportation: Pretty walkable city, plenty of buses plus regular trains/buses/planes in and out of city

-Accommodation: N/A (stayed with friends)
-Activities: Walk along the river from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower (past the flame of liberty), Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Jardin du Luxembourg, walk around the academic quarter (near Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve), Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand (fill up your water bottle around the corner with naturally bubbly water), 59 Rivoli, Villa Leandre, Wall of Love, Basilica de Sagrado Corazon
-Food: Le Moliere, Miam Miam, Brewberry, Au P’tit Grec, L’Eclair de Genie,
-Transportation: Lots of options–metro is amazing within the city

Germany (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
Book: Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson

-Accommodation: Heart of Gold Hostel
-Activities: Walk from Reichstag, past Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, and Eastside Gallery, Topography of Terrors Museum, Museum Island, Pergamonmuseum, Treptower Park*
-Food: The Bird, Curry 36 or Konnopkes Imbiss
-Transportation: Lots of options–metro obviously great, buses as well, plenty in and out

Montenegro (2014)
Book: N/A

Herceg Novi
-Accommodation: Apartments Herceg Novi
-Activities: Go swimming and to the beach, explore the old town, walk along the promenade
-Food: Cannot remember anymore
-Transportation: Very walkable city, but also buses

Norway (2012, 2016)
Book: The Son by Jo Nesbø

-Accommodation: Oslo Hostel Central (more central) or Oslo Youth Hostel Haraldsheim (little quieter and further out)
-Activities: Vigeland/Frogner Park* (find the angry baby!), Akershus Fortress, walk on top of the Opera House, Holmenkollen, Kon-Tiki Museum, hiking at Sognsvann Lake, walk along Aker Brygge
-Food: Honestly do not remember… but can definitely recommend an ice cream while walking along Aker Brygge
-Transportation: Trams/metro, buses, very walkable

Portugal (2014)
Book: N/A

LisbonLisbon, Portugal
-Accommodation: Shiado Hostel
-Activities: Live jazz music with caipirinhas, Fado, free walking tour* (called “chill out walking tour”), street art walking tour, Jeronimos Monastery, Praca do Comercio, Miradouro da Senhora do Monto, Torre de Belem
-Food: Super Mario restaurant, Napoleao Wine Shop, Cultura Portuguesa Café, Castelo Jorge, Must eat pasteis de nata and drink a caipirinha.
-Transportation: Good city tram and bus system

-Accommodation: Yes! Porto Hostel
-Activities: Walk over Ponte de Dom Luis I and along the Cais de Ribeira pier, walk down by the Douro River, Avenida dos Aliados (World Heritage Site), Sao Francisco Church, Santa Clara Church, Palacio da Bolsa, Foz district, Torre de Clerigos, Livraria Lello
-Food: Empanadas & Co, Mercado do Bolhao, sample port wine
-Transportation: Good city tram and bus system

Serbia (October 2011; August 2014)

Book: N/A

-Accommodation: Green Studio Hostel
-Activities: Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park*, Knez Mihailova Street, Republic Square, Pobednik
-Food: N/A–I cannot remember anymore
-Transportation: City is very walkable, there are frequent flights, buses and trains in and out of the city (can recommend the experience of the overnight train to/from Budapest or Sofia)

Spain (2013, 2014)

Cadiz, SpainBarcelona
-Accommodation: Garden House Hostel Barcelona
-Activities: Park Güell*, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, La Rambla, walk along the beaches and get ice cream or cocktails, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella Park
-Food: N/A–I cannot remember anymore, but make sure to eat octopus (pulpo)
-Transportation: Great metro system, very walkable also

-Accommodation: Casa Caracol* (AMAZING) or AmazeInn Hostel (only if Casa Caracol is not available)
-Activities: Torre Tavira, Sunset at Playa Victoria, Cadiz Cathedral, Roman Theater, Castillo de San Sebastian
-Food: La Isleta de la Vina*
-Transportation: We drove into town and then walked everywhere

-Accommodation: U Hostel (central, nicer, has lots of good local recommendations), Hostel Era (cheap, central, nothing special but an option)
-Activities: Puerta del Sol, El Rastro, the Royal Palace, Cable Car, Prado Art Museum, Plaza Mayor
-Food: Tapas restaurant on Cava Baja (such as Taberna La Concha), San Miguel Market, La Bodega Bohemia (for sangria and paella)
-Transportation: We drove into town and then walked everywhere

-Accommodation: Free solo hostel
-Activities: Gibralfaro Castle, Alcazaba, Picasso’s house, the beach
-Food: the main market
-Transportation: We drove into town and then walked everywhere

-Accommodation: Hostal Mindanao (nothing special, might want to look at other places too)
-Activities: Walk around as much as possible–by the cathedral, plaza mayor, university, Convento de San Esteban, etc.
-Food: Erasmus bar, Restaurante La Posada
-Transportation: We drove into town and then walked everywhere

-Accommodation: The Nomad Hostel
-Activities: Plaza de España, Metropol Parasol, Seville Cathedral, Jardines de Alcazar
-Food: La Cacharreria*, Bar Alfalfa, Los Coloniales, Heladoria Rayas, La Estraza, La Bicileteria, La Carboneria, Carlochi’s, Viriato Gastrobar, Bar Antojo
-Transportation: We drove into town and then walked everywhere

-Accommodation: Home Youth Hostel Valencia by Feetup Hostel
-Activities: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Torres de Serranos
-Food: Central Market*
-Transportation: We drove into town and then walked everywhere

Sweden (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Books: The Millenium Series by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.), The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg

-Accommodation: We stayed at an AirBnB
-Activities: Skansen Kronen, Vasaparken, Haga, walk along the water
-Food: Feskekörka fish market, Smaka
-Transportation: Frequent trains and buses to other cities, easy to walk around the city otherwise

-Accommodation: N/A–stay in Copenhagen!
-Activities: Turning Torso, Malmö Castle, Kungsparken, Lilla torg and Stora torg, the old town, also has lots of great concerts
-Food: I tend to get coffee at Wayne’s (a Swedish chain) and kanelboller (Swedish cinnamon rolls) from a nearby bakery, plus l ösviktsgodis (Swedish pick and mix candy)
-Transportation: Frequent trains from Copenhagen, some buses in the city but typically not necessary

Kvikkjokk, Sweden

Jokkmokk (in Sapmí, Northern Sweden)
-Accommodation: Camping (outside of the city, near Prinskullen and Vallevare), can rent camping equipment in Jokkmokk
-Activities: Hiking and camping, Ájtte Museum, Jokkmokk Church, potential to go dogsledding or see the aurora borealis in the winter
-Food: Viddernas Cafe & Deli
-Transportation: Take the overnight train from Stockholm to Murjek and then a bus onto Jokkmokk

StockholmStockholm, Sweden

-Accommodation: Castanea Old Town Hostel
-Activities: Södermalm (hipster Southern neighborhood), Rålambshovsparken (cute park), Djurgården (beautiful large park), Fotografiska* (photography museum, my favorite museum in the world), Vasamuseet (Vasa museum to see the sunken ship), Galleri Kontrast (documentary photography museum), Katarinahissen (broken elevator  with great views of the city), Moderna Museet (free on Fridays), Stadsbiblioteket (National library, gorgeous), take ferry out to the Fjäderholm island for a meal and to shop at some local vendors)
-Food: Rosendals Trädgård*, Chokladkoppen/Kaffekoppen, Cafe String, Il Caffe, Hermans Cafe, Fabrik Bageriet, Rökeriet (on the island of Fjäderholm). Make sure to eat Prinsesstårta, Bilar candy, Kanelboller, fish and anything in a tube (Swedes have an unbelievable amount of food that comes in a tube)
-Transportation: Trains or planes from Copenhagen, great metro and bus system in the city

Uppsala, Sweden

-Accommodation: Stay in Stockholm and come to Uppsala as a day trip
-Activities: Uppsala Domkyrka, walk or bike along the river and out of town, Uppsala Castle, the Botanical Gardens, Uppsala old cemetery
-Food: Go eat and drink at one of the Nations (student-run “pubs”), Cafe Linne
-Transportation: Frequent trains to and from Stockholm, easy to get around on foot or bike

Switzerland (May 2014)
Book: N/A

-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Tour at the UN Office in Geneva, walk around Lake Geneva and the Jet d’Eau, visit Parc La Grange, and Place Bourg de Four, run the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef!
-Food: Parfums de Beyrouth,* The Hamburger Foundation
-Transportation: Great local tram and bus system and accessible airport

The United Kingdom (2012, 2013, 2017)
Book: Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

-Accommodation: Everton Hostel (very hippy hostel)
-Activities: Slavery Museum,* Super Lambanana,* Albert Docks, Cathedrals, Bombed out Cathedral, Ancient Temple of Toxteth, Williamson Tunnels, Saint John’s Beacon
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Trains and buses to and from city, buses around city

-Accommodation: Hostels around Hyde Park
-Activities: Tate Modern, London Eye, British History Museum, Westminister, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park
-Food: Poppies Fish & Chips, Fortnum and Mason, Claridges, Ottolenghi’s, Duck and Waffle, Bea’s
-Transportation: Trains, buses, the metro/tube, flights

-Accommodation: Hatters at Hilton Chambers
-Activities: Stevenson Square, Alan Turing Statue, Vimto Statue, Chatham’s Library,* John Rylands Library, Portico Library, Museum of Industry, Cathedral, Football Museum
-Food: N/A
-Transportation: Trains and buses to and from city, buses around city

-Accommodation: Castle Rock Hostel*
-Activities: Edinburgh Castle, Tour of Parliament, Walking Tour, Tour of Vaults, Royal Mile, National Museum, Grass Market, Arthur’s Seat
-Food: Brauhaus, Forrest, Urban Angel, Mary’s Milk Bar, Illegal Jack’s (for haggis burrito), Mosque Kitchen, Bear Soldier Statue
-Transportation: Scotrail trains are accessible to many places and frequent, buses and planes also options

Fort Williamscotland.jpg
-Accommodation: Chase the Wild Goose
-Activities: Hiking! (near Ben Nevis)
-Food: N/A (A number of grocery stores close to the train station)
-Transportation: Scotrail trains are accessible to many places and frequent, buses and planes also options (such as taking a local bus from Glencoe)

Glasgow.jpgGlasgow (and surrounding: Inverkip, Largs, Greenock)
-Accommodation: N/A
-Activities: Necropolis* and Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Hunterian Building, House for an Art Lover, go to Largs for Viking Museums and ferry over to Cumbrae Island (where you can bike around and have ice cream), also Loch Lomond and Argyll Forest Park, as well as Inverary for an old Cathedral and pubs, are close
-Food: Cafe Wonder (for traditional Scottish breakfast), Nardini’s (in Largs), Garrison House (on Cumbrae)
-Transportation: Scotrail trains are accessible up to Greenock, but otherwise local buses and ferries will work. Car recommended.

-Accommodation: Glencoe Youth Hostel
-Activities: Hiking! Pap of Glencoe path recommended
-Food: Glencoe Cafe and Crafts and Things
-Transportation: Accessible by bus (local and private)


Out of Date


Canada (1998, 1999, 2010, 2015, 2018)
Book: Canada by Mike Meyers

-Accommodation: N/A (stayed with family friends)
-Activities: Boulevard Saint-Laurent (divide between Anglophone and French districts), McGill University, Museum of Contemporary Art, Mont Royal, Chemin de la Côte des Neiges, Basilica Notre-Dame, Farine Five Roses sign, Gay Village (Saint Catherine’s street), Vieux Montreal, trip to a sugar shack (ex. Sucerie de la Montagne)
-Food: Valentine for Poutline, coffee and Montreal-style bagels, Il Cortile (upscale), Sahib’s
-Transportation: Lots of options–easy flights, buses, etc., though a car is very handy.

-Accommodation: Samesun Vancouver
-Activities: Stanley Park, Granville Island, Gastown, Lynn Canyon park, UBC Campus, Seawall, China Town
-Food: Granville Island Public Market, Viet Sub
-Transportation: Good public transit in city, frequent buses between Seattle and Vancouver

Dominican Republic (March 2018)
Book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Las Terrenas (on the Samaná peninsula)
-Accommodation: Dan and Manty’s Guesthouse (hostel), El Rincon de Abi (hotel on beach), Apartamentos Rincon La Roca (cheaper hotel further from beach)
-Activities: Beach lazing, dancing (La Bodega, Mosquito Bar, Revolucion), whale watching, tour the national park (Parcque Nacional Los Haitises), Cayo Levantado
-Food: Lots of restaurants on the beach–emphasis on calamari, coco locos, fresh juices, mamajuana
-Transportation: Getting there is awkward from Punta Cana (so you can try to share a “taxi” to Sabana de la Mar and take the boat to Samaná–not a lot of options. From Santo Domingo, there are regular buses

Macao Beach (Just north of Punta Cana)
-Accommodation: Macao Beach Hostel (tents or dorm rooms)
-Activities: Hanging around the tiny beach and town, surfing, four-wheel tours
-Food: Furthest south restaurant on beach, empanadas from street cart on main road
-Transportation: Punta Cana is a major international airport and you generally have to take a taxi from there to the hostel

Santo Domingo
-Accommodation: Island Life Backpackers Hostel
-Activities: Colonial Quarter (fortress, first church of the Americas, Calle El Conde, Independence Park), Malecon (beach front)
-Food: Don Bigote, D’Luis Parrillada
-Transportation: Plenty of buses, flights, etc. in and around the city. Bavaro Express drives from Santo Domingo to the Punta Cana airport (2.5 hours).