Planning and How To

Get all of your ducks in a row.

US Citizen’s Visa Requirements for entry into Bolivia

Arrival at Port of Entry We arrived at the dusty border town of Corumba, Brazil in our silver 2011 Chevrolet around 3 pm, ready to start our epic road trip through Bolivia. But first, the small matter of getting into said country. I knew it was going to be a pain in the ass to cross the border to Bolivia when the owner of a small currency exchange shop remarked with a shake of his head “You are American? Muy Complicado…”. Up until a couple of years ago, Americans didn’t require a Visa to visit Bolivia. However, that all changed when the president, Evo Morales, decided that it was unfair that Bolivians were required to obtain a visa to travel to the US, but it wasn’t so the other way around. “Fair is fair”, I am sure he thought. And to be honest, if you have all your ducks in a row before you get to the border (unlike me), you should get through without too much trouble. Visa Requirements for entry into Bolivia: Yellow fever certificate Economic solvency (a copy of a credit card sufficed) Passport (valid for at least six months) Hotel / hostel reservations or invitation from a host family Return ticket home 135 USD No Passport Photo was required of me, but officially they can request it Bring two photocopies of everything During my initial research on the border crossing, I had read that Bolivia’s border guards could be pretty lax; sometimes they didn’t request anything except for the 135 USD. That was wrong. They wanted it all, in duplicate, and I didn’t have anything...

Five ways to piss off a Pilgrim

PEREGRINO is the Spanish word for pilgrim, often referring specifically to anyone who walks to Santiago de Compostela in North-West Spain. Every year the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) iscompleted by around 200,000 blistered and sore, soul-searching Peregrinos. They walk 20 to 40 kilometers a day, go to sleep at 10 pm, wake up at dawn, and through the course of walking 800km, develop a certain type of openness and honesty along the way. So tread lightly on their exposed souls! 1) Tell him “How hard can it be? You’re just walking. ”Oh the dagger! First of all it’s not just walking. Walking 25 kilometers a day for 30 days while carrying a 10 kg backpack can turn your feet to ground beef. Furthermore, your hips and knees are at particular risk for damage and inflamation. But even if we ignore the physical toil, the mental challenge is enough to give a potential pilgrim pause. For a month, your living and sleeping quarters are shared with up to 50 people in the Municipal Albergues, meaning you have a serious lack of privacy. Yet that may matter little to others who carry on like they were at home, farting and screwing with the social decency of a rabbit. And then there is the Meseta (plains), between Burgos and Leon, where it’s as flat and interesting as a piece of plywood. Here boredom can worm its way inside your tired pilgrim mind. You may even start to sing, because, damn its boring. I don’t know the words to a single full song, but that didn’t stop me from butchering about 60 of them, from Bohemian Rhapsody to Warren G’s...

Ultimate Packing Guide: Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spring

It has been 2 and a half weeks since returning from my 31 days on the Camino de Santiago, a good time to reflect on the packing job I did. Since I made the trek in spring time from March 17th to April 18th, this guide will be most helpful for those pilgrims walking during spring and fall. That being said, much of the information is season indiscriminate so for those traveling in Summer or Winter, you will be able to glean some helpful info...

A Guide to cheap Transportation between World Cup 2014 Cities

Problems with Infrastructure and High Prices for Flights It’s no secret that Brazil is facing some “challenges” regarding the World Cup. The Brazilians are phenomenal at a lot of things, but having a government that spends tax payer’s money efficiently and wisely is not one of them. Not only are the stadiums behind schedule, but so are the renovations of the Airports. Last week Brazil’s government agency Anac approved an extra 2,000 flights during the World Cup, which will add even more stress to the already over-burdened airports. They did so because they wanted to reduce the price of airfares, however by putting out one fire they are fanning the flames of another. To be honest though, something needed to be done. According to Business Week, TAM flights to Rio the day before the Final are up to 10 times more expensive than the same flight one month later. How to find cheaper flights during the World Cup Interested in gauging the level of prices for myself and comparing it with all the hype, I searched for 6 flights from 6 different websites, getting a total of 36 different price points to analyze. (Flight 1: São Paulo to Natal, Flight 2: Natal to Brasília, Flight 3: Brasília to Cuiaba, Flight 4: Cuiaba to Brasília, Flight 5: Brasília to Salvador, Flight 6: Salvador to São Paulo) I chose the four airlines that do business in Brazil: TAM, GOL, Avianca, Azul, and two aggregators: Kayak and EDreams. Below is a Summary of what I found: The average price of these 6 flights was 241 USD. The President of Avianca said that the average fares...

PMA Application Process for World Cup Tickets: 10 things to know

PMA Ticket Information: Approximately 16% of the total value of tickets will be given to Participating Member Associations (PMA). For every match, FIFA allocates 8% of overall stadium capacity to each team playing. In FIFA’s official ticketing guide, it is stated that approximately 364 thousand tickets will be available to PMA supporters. Within the first 24 hours of opening the second sales phase (lottery), approximately 1.2 million non PMA tickets were requested (i.e. General Public Tickets).  However only 29 thousand were requested by PMA supporters. This is a positive sign for those that are PMA supporters.  If you are a member of one of these associations, you can get access to these PMA tickets, which gives you an advantage over the normal Joe on the street. You can find a list of all PMAs here. To become a member of the USA PMA, click here. 10 things to know about the PMA Application Process: The application process for PMA tickets started on the 8th of December. You can apply for PMA tickets until the 7th of February. Note that the PMA ticket window is longer than that of the General Public lottery, which is only open until the 30th of January. It doesn’t matter when you apply during this sales period, you will have the same chance of getting tickets no matter if you applied on the 8th of December or the 7th of February. Be careful if you plan to apply on the 7th of February, since FIFA closes the sales period at 12:00 CET, which is 6:00 am eastern time in the USA. For the USA PMA, you need to either be a...