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Essential Items for Your Next Backpacking Trip to South America

Essential Items for Your Next Backpacking Trip to South America

Similar to backpacking in Asia or parts of central America, the first rule of thumb is to not bring any unwanted attention to yourself. To put it simply, it is best to not bring any jewelry, valuables, or additional tech devices (other than perhaps your phone and a camera). You don’t want to be a target for a robbery or petty theft, so it’s best to just leave the fancy rings and watches at home.

While it is important that you avoid bringing any expensive jewelry to South America, this in no way means that you shouldn’t carry some nice outfits if you choose to have a nice dinner in Buenos Aires or Bogota. Also, investing in sturdy shoes, a solid rain jacket and a waterproof outdoor backpack.

One thing to definitely avoid is wearing a money belt (a silk sleeping bag liner more than does the job). You basically want to be as discreet as possible when it comes to storing money and other documents during your backpacking adventure.

As you’re packing for your trip and placing all your items in your waterproof backpack or suitcase, be sure to pack light. Bringing a few pairs of pants, merino wool socks, water purifier tablets, etc. is better than overpacking and your items being too heavy to comfortably hike the Inca trail on the way to Macchu Picchu. Once you’re there, you can always purchase any basic toiletries or the like.

At the end of the day, practicing minimalism is essentially the way to go with regard to exploring the stunning, vast continent of South America. Remember to also use basic common sense and do the proper research before you head to the Andes, the beautiful architecture of Cartagena, or the isolated nature preserves deeply woven in Patagonia. The world is yours to explore. Safe travels!

An Ice Fishing Guide for the Winter

 ice fishing

As we enter ice fishing season, it is important to bear in mind that it can both be productive and challenging, especially with the weather dropping significantly.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is to acquire proper outdoor fishing attire (some labels you can keep in mind are Cabela’s Outfitter Fleece outerwear, WindShear, etc). There are several different options with WindShear, but in particular, check out The Berber Fleece because it is both comfortable and warm even in the coldest of temperatures.

While places in the U.S. such as the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northeast/New England area dropping to record low temperatures, getting the best outdoor wear possible is essential if you plan on ice fishing for more than an hour or so at a time.

One great thing you can do this winter is to rent or borrow a permanent shelter on the ice (which are heated). Some people can even fish in short sleeves in the midst of freezing temperatures.

Midwinter can provide some outstanding ice fishing opportunities and this winter is the perfect time to explore the waters in your area. Please remember the following to ensure your safety.

  1. The minimum thickness for supporting a person for ice fishing is 4 inches of clear, solid ice.  If you happen to operating an ATV on the ice, be sure to double that number.
  2. Always fish with another person (especially when it comes to ice fishing). It is without a doubt one of the safest practices to participate in regardless of the amount of time you are outdoors.
  3. Ice picks should always be worn around your neck in case of a fall that could push you through thin ice (perhaps in Feb/March or early winter/late fall).
  4. Always be sure you have a long rope with you in case you need to help someone out of the ice.
  5. Always keep an eye out any color changes on the ice. If you are out on the ice for a few hours and temperatures rise a bit during that time, be cautious that the ice isn’t so thin that you can’t leave the area.

Greek Travel Spotlight: Exploring Athens in 4 Days


With most of Athens constructed as a walkable, tourist friendly city, it is no surprise that millions of American tourists flee to the ancient ruins that have graced Greece’s landscape for centuries. See below for the most iconic Greek monuments to keep on your radar during your Athenian exploration.

The Acropolis

The religious center of Athens, this ancient structure is actually visible from any point within the capital. Sites at the Acropolis in Athens range from the Parthenon, Old Temple of Athena, and the Theatre of Dionysus, which are all located in the large complex containing around 21 areas dedicated to deities.


Dedicated to the goddess of Athena, the patron of the capital, this structure is arguably the most sacred temple or holy area in Athens. This marble temple was designed by architects Iktinos and Kallikrates and is entirely constructed from clean, white marble.

Marble statues, ancient pediments, and perfectly carved tiles are pointing to this temple pristine excellence, making it an almost must-see during your short trip in Athens. From this point, you actually have the most majestic views of Athens, where you can perfectly see the shimmering Mediterranean, the Plaka district, and the mountains in the distance.


Right below the Acropolis is the historic district of Plaka, where the most quaint bed and breakfasts are located on winding cobblestone roads leading to the most delicious spinach pies, sandal shops, and restaurants that allow you to view the Acropolis from your dinner table. There are also awesome coffee shops right under the Acropolis (where the locals usually go) that serve really refreshing iced treats.  

The most ideal time of year to explore the Plaka District is without a doubt the summer, where tourists and locals alike can enjoy the beautiful brightly colored vine-like flowers covering the restaurants and shops throughout the district.

Quechee Balloon Festival

The Count Down Until The Next  Quechee Balloon Festival.

322 Days

Once again the Quechee Hot Air Balloon, Craft and Music Festival hits the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire with over 20 hot air balloons floating everywhere. The festival includes music, entertainment for all ages, and over 60 craft artisans and commercial vendors. Children activities include train rides, a bounce house and more! Check out the beer and wine garden as well for the adults attending!

Balloon Rides are available to purchase starting April 2016! Book now with a local pilot, click here for more information!
Amanda Starbuck Amanda Starbuck