Further to our guide to skydiving in Europe, we wanted to create a mini series for sky diving in each continent, as we position our travel blog to the ‘adventure travel’ readers. Next up is the best locations for sky diving in the USA.
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. Most tourists think that it’s an expensive city, and it can be. There are lots of things to do in the City of Love to suit your interests and budget. Wherever you’re staying and whatever your budget is, Paris is full of free things to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in some of the Paris luxury apartments or a cheap hostel, you should still visit these low-cost places. Here are eight of my favourite.
The idea of a lightweight waterproof jacket is not exactly what you would call sexy. And while they may look nothing like the hideous skin and fur accessory Tormund Giantsbane and his loyal legion of wildlings donned north of The Wall, the tables are turning.
Today, brands are unleashing extensive ranges like never before, ranges that lie somewhere between style and substance, designing pieces that look sleeker than your average, while managing to offer protection from seriously wet weather.
This may sound like good news (which it is), but it also means choosing a lightweight waterproof jacket for men capable of withstanding a day’s worth of rain has never been more daunting. Considering this is the most important piece of clothing in your outdoor and travel wardrobe, however, (and guys being guys) we took it upon ourselves to try and simplify that process for you.
We hunted down the best lightweight waterproof jackets for men based on a number of factors which you would normally take into account before purchasing a good product: functionality (hiking, skiing, backpacking, day walks etc. etc.), weight, breathability, style, colour, comfort and cost.
That said, and in no particular order, let’s dive straight into the crux!
Columbia Sportswear perhaps may be more popular for their Mountain Hardware apparel targeted at the serious athlete in you, but their forays into other lines like lightweight jackets have proved a hit with the masses. If you are on the market for a really lightweight jacket with all the basic features that doesn’t burn a hole in your budget, then this Columbia piece is a wonderful proposition. It combines water resistance with wind breaking protection, and this, coupled with a hood you can roll up in the collar, makes it an ideal option for the lighter weather adventurer.
Perhaps its biggest drawback is that it is water-resistant – as opposed to waterproof – meaning you may not get drenched in the rain, but the 100% nylon jacket won’t keep the rain out entirely, especially if you are out for long. In that same breath, the breathability is a little poor which doesn’t make it the go-to jacket for intense activity such as running.
But if what you want is a lightweight jacket to keep you dry while walking or moving from Point A to B, this will get the job perfectly done what with its high degree of comfort (while also managing to make you look sharp!).
It has also been accused of running a little big, the Columbia Glennaker, so you may want to adjust down a size that you would typically go for.
In terms of available color options, you will be spoilt for choice, so regardless of your style, you can be assured to find one you like.
What we Love:
Wide color range
What we don’t:
In terms of value for money, this Paradox piece has to be one of the best lightweight waterproof jackets for men out there. One look at its packaging and it really tells you all you need to know: packable, waterproof, breathable, ultralight – gets the job done without superfluous bells and whistles.
This is one of those jackets every bro forms a deep bond with over time, and you hate to think a time will come to retire it. Thankfully, its supreme quality means you two will be a pair for some time to come, and even if that wasn’t the case, its mouthwatering price tag means you can always fetch one or two – you know – in case they ever run out of stock for good.
It is lightweight, warm yet stays breathable to a point, compressible and reliably waterproof. It also comes with an attached hood and it fits and looks great, perhaps one of the reasons many women love sporting it as well.
It is available in black and a killer blue.
What we Love:
What we don’t:
So light you’ll forget you had it on! With an adjustable hood and hem, elastic cuffs and generally an all-round simple lightweight rain jacket, the Outdoor Research Helium II has been around for a while but it still makes its way to our list of best lightweight waterproof jackets 2017.
The veteran of the ultralight group is not short of positive reviews spreading around, and many like this rain jacket for the simple reason they can use it as a shell while donning thicker sweaters underneath when the elements permit it. Others like us though, especially love (in addition to its overall luxurious feel) its internal pockets for extra storage and a chest pocket which would be more easily accessible when, say, you have a backpack with a hip belt, than hand pockets would really be.
You won’t find many faults with the 6.4-ounce Helium II, apart from maybe the cost, which, when all perks are considered, should not keep it away from being one of the first entrants on your ultralight list.
You could also say that the lack of pit zips and pocket venting options makes it score low on the breathability test. And perhaps Outdoor Research could have done better by including the side pockets, although that could have meant a couple more ounces – what they were trying to avoid in the first place!
The workaround to that is the upgraded version in Helium HD which, in addition to the hand pockets, also includes pit zips and manages to keep itself under 10 oz. The Outdoor Research Helium II jacket is available in an array of dashing colors, and all in all, this is a fantastic lightweight waterproof jacket with a wonderful compression ability said to condense “to the size of a granola bar”.
What we Love:
What we don’t:
No hand pockets
Breathability not up there
Best Bang for Buck
Marmot have firmly etched a name for themselves with top-of-the-line super ultralight rain jackets, and their line, the Marmot PreCip, is particularly a hit with the backpacking community. It has been around the block for a while now, the PreCip, but just as cowboy boots, shiny belt buckles and ten-gallon hats never run out of style, this jacket can – to this date – still hold its own in the league of the best lightweight waterproof jackets for men. This is even more so after Marmot tweaked the original version with their proprietary NanoPro technology, a coating technology that provides for excellent breathability while also making the garment solidly waterproof.
Some have argued that the PreCip jacket isn’t as waterproof as it may be touted to be. The thing is though, unless it is made from a PVC material or something, no jacket will absolutely shield you from five hours of torrential downpour. And definitely not a low-level jacket that you can grab for less than 100 bucks if you get lucky in a sale.
At 13.1 oz (371.4 g), it lies on the upper end of the lightweight scale. The jacket boasts a smart design that makes it ideal for general day-to-day use, with a hood, Velcro cuffs and pit zips. But it lacks an aqua-guard zipper; in its place, a storm flap.
In addition to travel, the PreCip jacket is ideal for active pursuits, and we would recommend it to anyone who has an active outdoor life: hiking, camping, cycling, fishing, you know…the likes.
Hint: If someone asks you for advice on buying a lightweight raincoat and you just aren’t sure what to recommend, tell them a Marmot PreCip. There is at least a 70% chance they will love it. It is the film equivalent of The Godfather – when the “Best” list is drawn up, there will always be a slot for it.
What we Love:
What we don’t:
No Holds Barred
OR pride themselves in real world tested products and they did a heck of a job with the Foray: a multi-purpose rain jacket that not only provides excellent protection during wet weather, but also can be used all year round. The lack of a flap over the main zipper is a welcome reprieve which enhances the overall look of the jacket while giving it a trademark look. And speaking of trademark looks, this jacket features full-length side zips which stretch out the pit zips down to the bottom hem, creating a poncho-like opening when fully unzipped. Talk about abundant venting!
This feature makes the Outdoor Research Foray the go-to lightweight waterproof jacket for just about any outdoor activity, intense or otherwise, while also remaining a good pick for the daily wearer.
The Foray also provides ample storage thanks to a pair of hand pockets (zippered) and an additional hand pocket on the left for extra storage.
There is little not to like about this 15.13 oz jacket, and perhaps this can be found in the single drawcord toggle on the back of its large nice-looking adjustable hood which makes it awkward to adjust. Other than that, we really love the Foray and would recommend it to anyone looking for an all-purpose lightweight waterproof jacket that feels (and fits) good and multi-sport ready.
What we Love:
What we don’t:
Poor hood adjustability
Gets the Job done, No Questions asked
Ah, the North Face Venture. If there was ever a lightweight waterproof jacket for men that divides opinion, this would be it.
The Venture is not what you would call remarkable. Far from it. If you are on the market for a comfortable rain jacket, this won’t cut it – it feels bulky and uncomfortable. If you are on the market for a premium product, this won’t cut it – it hangs on the lower rungs of the ladder, with a good deal securing you one for less than a 100 dollars. And if you are one for style, again, this won’t cut it – it has a run-of-the-mill look with a Velcro that looks cheaply sourced, and a main zipper (with a storm flap) devoid of any smooth action.
It may be waterproof, but the breathability is wanting – it’s neither great nor poor. Any activity that builds up a good sweat ends up with some moisture and heat getting trapped inside, despite the pit zips. For a jacket designed with performance in mind, it leaves something to be desired.
Yet, it has managed to remain a classic for one simple reason: it just gets the job done. It has all the features you would need for daily use (and that occasional hike) – solid fabric, nice-fitting adjustable hood, two hand pockets and the pit zips are a nice addition. Its performance in wet weather is satisfactory. It’s lightweight, it’s waterproof, it’s reliable, it’s versatile. It’s a North Face at the end of the day, after all.
Overall, in terms of performance versus price, it is a bargain. And a firm favourite of lightweight waterproof jacket fans.
What we Love:
Solid and reliable jacket
What we don’t:
A Combination of Style and Substance
Patagonia’s trusted Torrentshell Jacket makes its way to our list of best lightweight waterproof jackets 2017 for the simple reason that it is no pretender. This is a jacket that will keep you bone-dry through tropical storms, freezing rain, snow and sleet. Its waterproof reliability capabilities are thanks to the H2No Performance Standard technology the California gear company employs in the manufacture of this 2.5-layer jacket that makes use of 100% recycled nylon face fabric. The result is a typical high quality Patagonia construction and design that will not only withstand punishing weather, but also the test of time. It is for this reason that the Torrentshell feels heavier than your average lightweight jacket ought to.
In a way, it evokes images of the Marmot Precip, although the Torrentshell boasts a slew of additional features (and a heftier price tag). For starters, it has a drawcord on either side which affords an even fit around the hem, as well as a streamlined flap (which doesn’t need Velcro) covering the main zipper.
The overall impression is sleek and functional, a look that would play well for daily wear.
As for the hood, this has to be one of the best designs you will see on an entry-level lightweight waterproof jacket. The back of the hood features a single cinch which adjusts well around the sides and back, resulting in a good fit (and seal).
What we Love:
Sleek but practical
What we don’t:
Not ultralight on the wear
With so many rain jackets out there, it is easy to get drowned in the sea of noise with everyone lending their differing two cents. It can get confusing, and it happens even to the best of us. With this guide to the best lightweight waterproof jackets for men 2017, however, it is our hope that we have managed to rid you of the paralysing problem of too many choices by narrowing down the options that you need to get by – even if it’s just for this year.
First things first: lightweight waterproof jackets for women are a must. And if you are like us and love venturing outdoors irrespective of the weather, then you need to be aware of which gear would be most ideal to offer you a decent level of protection from the harsh elements while also proving functional to your particular needs.
For a girl, there is also the issue of keeping dry and looking good at the same time to think about. Luckily, long gone are the days when shrinking and pinking men’s rain jackets was the fad. Today, the biggest headache seems to be narrowing down on the magnificent slew of options out there. You can now find great lightweight jackets cut carefully to fit the female form – plus, you are no longer restricted to pink! (yay…). Other than that, there are a few other important things you have to keep in mind when selecting the best lightweight waterproof jackets to buy. Like waterproofing capabilities, for example. Just because a jacket is branded waterproof does not always mean it is suited to all wet weather. There are those that are good for light and brief showers, others are just good enough to withstand against small amounts of droplets and moisture in the air, while there are those others with solid water resistance that can hold up in a heavy downpour.
There is also the breathability aspect to think about. Never mind packability. And drawcords. And the hood. And pockets; the fit, the zipper, you name it. These small things can be a little vexing, especially if you are new to this game and just aren’t sure what to look out for in a good product. But hey, that’s why we are here, right?
Our small bunch of active outdoor women took the time to test various jackets in varied conditions and behold, the best 2017 lightweight waterproof jackets for women they rounded up!
Tried and True
It would be remiss to write about reliable lightweight waterproof jackets and fail to include the Marmot PreCip. One of the oldest staples in a backpacker’s rain gear collection, the PreCip is a minimalist jacket suited for everything from hiking in the hills, to cycling, to tackling the daily commute. The jacket recently got updated using Marmot’s NanoPro fabric which makes it incredibly breathable and solidly waterproof, hence perfect for activities in the rain. And if you are in the market for an inexpensive lightweight jacket with time-tested reliability, few would beat the PreCip to that gong.
This jacket makes for a perfect fit irrespective of size, and when it comes to colour, the range available will literally have you spoilt for choice. It has been accused of being too noisy, so if you are sensitive to swishing jacket sounds, this is not for you. The PreCip also lacks inside pockets, but it makes up for it in two side pockets, in addition to the chest pocket.
Overall, this is one of the most packable jackets you will find, and coming in at a price of less than $100, it’s pretty much affordable and good value for dough.
What we Love:
What we don’t:
No inside pockets
Simple and Sober
Another lightweight waterproof jacket we are sure you will love. The Columbia Switchback II Jacket for women is nothing fancy, just a simple ultralight jacket that is most ideal for those constantly on the move. This owes to its amazing packability – the entire lot of it stows into the left-hand zip pocket meaning you can comfortably fit it in a purse! (Be warned though, it wrinkles easily).
The jacket is water-resistant (not waterproof) and will manage to shield you from mild showers for a significant duration, although it might not be the most ideal in a deluge. It has a drawcord hood that stows in the collar when you don’t need it, and also features an adjustable hem and Velcro cuffs to seal out weather.
The Columbia Switchback II has open pockets on the inside which are deep enough to fit something like flight tickets, and if you are not a fan of storm flaps over the main zipper, then this lightweight jacket may just be the thing for you.
It lies on the lower end of the price scale, and comes in an array of beautiful colours.
What we Love
No storm flap (it can be a downside, depending on how you like it)
What we don’t
Style doesn’t have to cost a Fortune
If there is anything the world of style and trends is synonymous with, it is change. But even with the never-ending ebb and flow, there are just some iconic outfits that seem to defy the test of time, and we don’t mean this in terms of durability. No, longevity of a particular trend would be more like it. Think leather jackets, only that this time, we are talking trendy lightweight waterproof jackets for women 2017. Enter the Charles River Apparel Women’s New Englander Waterproof Rain Jacket.
It has been a best seller for several years now, and that is no coincidence. It may not be a huge brand as the North Faces and Patagonias of this world, but the New England-based family-owned apparel company is known for their fashionable tastes in jackets that are within the reach of most consumers. And so it is with their most famous piece, the New Englander Waterproof Rain Jacket.
With an inviting price tag that hovers around the $40 mark, this iconic jacket from Charles River is fully waterproof and windproof thanks largely to its 100% Polyurethane fabric. It is fitted with a drawcord at the hips to keep it tight when need be, although it lacks one at the waist that could have made it look more…snugly.
The hood is roomy enough but could have done with another inch of visor to keep rain from dripping further from the face.
This jacket also doesn’t score so highly on the breathability test, and this is down to the PU fabric which also has the downside of being less durable, with repeated washings continually making it weaker (you might want to avoid machine wash).
All in all, the New Englander is a very comfy jacket with a material that feels delightfully soft and rubbery on the body. It also comes with deep-enough zippered pockets for your valuables and Velcro at the wrists in case you need to tighten the cuffs.
It may not be the perfect lightweight waterproof jacket out there, but for that price, you aren’t going to find many that manage to make you as fashionable either. And oh, did we mention it comes in an excess of 13+ colours?
What we Love:
What we don’t:
Call it a Bargain
If you are looking for something affordable, yet reliable, you can always count on Mountain Warehouse to deliver. They are good at what they do and in fact have published a plethora of online guides into the world of hiking and outdoor activities – their main target niche.
The Mountain Warehouse Pakka jacket is an awesome lightweight waterproof jacket for women that may pass for a basic rain jacket, but somehow it has managed to feature all the basic ingredients you would be looking for in an ideal lightweight jacket to keep you cosy. And here’s what we mean…
It is created using a fabric that is fully waterproof with taped seams to ensure no moisture penetrates through the jacket. This is bolstered by a waterproof membrane which keeps water droplets from leaking through the fabric. An IsoDry material also means the Pakka women’s jacket is fully breathable, and this makes it a good choice for high-octane activities that allow you to work up a sweat.
It comes with an adjustable hem and drawcord that offers an adjustable fit and improved comfort, and also features reflective piping which improves visibility in poor lighting. The Mountain Warehouse Pakka lightweight waterproof jacket also boasts ample pockets – a pair of zipped ones at the front and twin internal stow pockets – as well as a packaway hood.
The appearance of this jacket can make it come off as cheap, but that is expected for any lightweight waterproof jacket available for less than $50. Considering all the pros it comes with, however, some would be hard pressed to justify splashing upwards of four times the price of this for a product with less features. It’s available in three colour options, and provides ample room to stack up on more layers underneath – all coming complete with a drawstring bag.
What we Love:
What we don’t:
Diamond Candy Sportswear Women’s Hooded Softshell Raincoat Waterproof Jacket
The Ultimate Outdoors Lightweight Jacket
Quite a mouthful, we know…
But the Diamond Candy waterproof jacket is as versatile as its name purports to be. And a whole lot more. This is for the woman who is looking for more than just a jacket to serve as a winter shell and raincoat. It is for the active woman looking for a jacket suitable for camping, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, tourism and other such outdoor activity.
Made from 100% nylon and quality garment, this most versatile of rain jackets has a perfect length that does not get in the way of mobility in any way. It has ample space, particularly beneath the arms which ensures there is room for layering. Diamond Candy clearly designed this jacket with longevity and durability in mind, while keen not to compromise on comfort and design which is quite impressive to say the least. It is omni-tech waterproof, which is another way of saying fully waterproof – you need not worry about rainstorms anymore. It is breathable, meaning there is sufficient permeability and airflow to keep you fresh and relaxed.
The Diamond Candy jacket has high quality material on the inside which ensures your comfort, and its anti-microbial treatment also means you can don this lightweight waterproof jacket for several months without the need to wash it and it won’t elicit any bad odours.
Its fabulous design has managed to incorporate zippered hand pockets on both sides, a chest pocket (also zippered), as well as an interior pocket. There is a hood too, obviously, although it is prone to feeling small on your head, and the Velcro on it too can be a little annoying. Other than that, you won’t find many flaws with this nasty boy.
It comes in three different colours – hot pink, red and purple – with five different sizes to make your pick from. As for the price, well, let’s say this is the biggest bargain you’re ever likely to score on the lightweight waterproof line of jackets.
What we Love:
What’s not to love really…
What we don’t:
The Columbia Sleeker Jacket for women is a great rain jacket to have on standby, and there is a reason it remains one of the best selling lightweight waterproof jackets for women for many a retailer. The two-layer jacket is waterproof and will keep you bone-dry in a rainstorm as a heavy-duty rain jacket would – minus all the bulkiness. It looks beautiful, and the external material is pleasant. The lack of a mesh liner on the interior means touching the waterproof membrane which some may find unfavorable. It is not the best jacket too when it comes to breathability, meaning it is not ideal for rigorous activity.
But if you are just looking to buy a lightweight waterproof jacket for commuting or sporting on a daily life, then you will love the Columbia Sleeker. The same goes for other activities such as walking or fishing in wet conditions – or anything along those lines.
The Sleeker has a one-way front zipper shielded by a storm flap with Velcro tabs to fix it in place. This also applies to the cuffs, with the hem featuring drawcords with toggles. It has zipped side pockets with a mesh inside, but these are not your typical hand pockets. They are huge, with the opening running long which looks like it was designed on purpose to serve as extra ventilation, especially given the lack of pit zips.
As for the hood, it boasts three adjustment points: one on each side of the face with drawcords and toggles, and the third with a Velcro at the back.
The overall design is classic, and we definitely recommend it to anyone who is constantly on the move. After all, it has a waterproof material which ensures it dries up quickly after the rain.
What we Love:
4 stylish colours
What we don’t:
Need a sweat shirt or sweater underneath for additional comfort
For all your Backcountry Adventures
Last but not least, the Wantdo Women’s Waterproof Mountain Jacket Fleece rounds up our list of best lightweight waterproof jackets for women 2017, and in typical Wantdo fashion, its style of design is something to marvel at. But it’s not all looks without substance. This jacket is perfectly suited for the outdoor buff who seeks a lightweight jacket to provide all-weather protection. Whether it is fishing, cycling, camping, skating, hiking or skiing, you can count on this jacket to protect you against wet and windy weather. The outer part of it is waterproof, seam-sealed to avoid water penetration, breathable and windproof. The fabric used on the shell also dries quickly. It has an adjustable and detachable storm hood – with concealed pockets to put valuables furtively – which you can simply unzip when the weather gets hot.
What’s also worth mentioning is that the jacket comes with three outer pockets (two side pockets and a zippered chest pocket). The inside of the jacket features a micro fleece liner with 1200g of cotton padding for best heat retention, as well as an extra inner pocket which can be used to stash valuables such as phone, wallet (if you carry one), passport, keys and so on.
But Wantdo didn’t stop there. They went as far as to include an earphone supporting line to make sure you keep entertained.
The inside of the jacket is also fitted with several buttons for fastening the jacket, and a stretchable glove manufactured from light material is fitted on the jacket’s Velcro cuff for an added layer of warmth. It comes in four different colours and same number of sizes.
Wantdo clearly went all out on this one, and the outcome is clear: there is little to stop anyone from falling head over heels with it.
An absolute masterpiece.
What we Love:
Everything about it.
What we don’t:
Can be a little warm in mild wet weather.
When it comes to the best lightweight waterproof jackets for women 2017, it is worth remembering that you don’t need to blow your budget to get a high-tech rain jacket. If nothing else, the options we have outlined here for you prove that much. All these lightweight jackets are great options to cut corners if you are looking to keep the budget to a minimum. We hope you love wearing them as much as we did reviewing them for you!
And oh, for those people that love asking what you do when it rains, now you got an answer for them.
If you’re too busy to get out into the world and explore it on your own, you may find yourself looking for books to help fill that need in your life. Writing about travel is hard, and there are some authors that have gotten it done better than others. If you’re looking to find an escape in a book on travel, then here are some of the best books out there. These will whisk you away on the adventures held within their pages.
There are so many more amazing books about travel out there that it can be hard to choose where to start. We put together a list of what we think are the best travel books ever written, each one making an excellent place to start your journey into the world of travel books. Picking up a book can be an excellent way to relax and take your mind off of the stresses of everyday life. These books will offer you an escape to all sorts of places, people, and times.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The first book on this list is a piece of fiction, but that doesn’t lessen the value of everything that’s inside of it. This book makes it onto several lists for several different reasons. Most readers will agree that this book is inspiring in its own way and full of charm. The fiction story takes on a fable role, giving the readers a chance to really explore what’s going on inside of the story. This book won’t just make you want to get on the next plane, but it will make you think about what you’re doing with your life.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
This book is the sequel to Lee’s first autobiographical novel. This part of the story follows him as he walked to London and then further on to Spain. His journey across Spain is finally ended with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Although the book was written well after the events occurred, the book is full of vivid descriptions that can put people in the moments that happened there. While this book may be harder to find because of its age and the time that it spent out of print, this book is well worth the effort of finding and reading.
Coasting: A Private Voyage by Jonathan Raban
Unlike other books on this list where people have walked across countries, Raban’s book tells the story of him going the 4,000-mile journey around Britain. Not only does this book cover the actual events, but Raban uses the time to reflect on his life and comparing it to the trip that he took on his boat.
Encore Provence by Peter Mayle
While this book is a sequel to Peter Mayle’s previous travel book about Provence, this book provides the reader with a deep look into the region. He explores the things that have changed since the time that he spent writing the first book. Not only does Mayle’s book tell you how to really get the most out of the area, but it also takes a peek into the life that he leads while he’s there. This book provides a real connection to both the author and his surroundings.
The Fearful Void by Geoffrey Moorhouse
In this book, you’ll find the story of a man that takes on a feat so crazy because he wanted to find out why he was afraid. This story is one full of inner conflict while traveling. Moorhouse took on the challenge of crossing the Sahara from the Atlantic Ocean to the Nile just because he wanted to understand why he was afraid of doing so. He took no one else with him and spent time working issues of fear and loneliness.
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
George Orwell is best known for other works, such as 1984 and Animal Farm, but before he was working on his most famous works, he was doing some traveling of his own. This travel book was the last of the nonfiction books he wrote, but it covered quite an interesting time in his life. The book takes place during the Spanish Civil War where Orwell was part of the volunteer group that was fighting fascism. This book serves to showcase a certain period of time, but it also helps to show Orwell’s place in the moment of history.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
While Bryson has been writing travel books for a while, most of them have been focused on parts of the United States. But this book is concentrated on the country of Australia. His attitude makes the book a joy to read. It’s full of humor and fun. He makes commentary on the political situation in the country at the time. This book will give you a good show of the country and get everything factually right. It’ll make you want to get on a plane to explore Australia for yourself.
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
This book blends fact and fiction, but that just makes it a more fascinating reading experience. This book follows the adventure of Chatwin as he tries to discover the origin of an animal skin that his grandmother has. This book is full of mini stories from his entire trip. The total number of stories is 97, but that just means that there’s a lot of places for you as a reader to escape to as you follow Chatwin’s journey to the South American region of Patagonia.
In the Country of Country by Nicholas Dawidoff
This book will not appear as a travel book when you first start out. This book is a series of biographies about country musicians that starts down small towns and backroads in America. Dawidoff looks at the genre and starts looking for its origin in America. This travel book will be a hit with anyone that’s also interested in learning about musical genres.
The Journals of Lewis and Clark
While the areas that Lewis and Clark explored are places that many people live now, the adventures of Lewis and Clark are still inspiring for tons of individuals. This journey back in time shows just how wild most of America was before it was a full country. Many of the places, plants, and animals that Lewis, Clark, and the rest of their crew discovered were brand new. They mapped out areas that hadn’t been explored. These adventures may be old, but they were crucial to the United States. The journey captured in these journals may just make you wish that you could find some unexplored land to tromp through.
The Joys of Travel by Thomas Swick
While many travel books are just a nice escape, Thomas Swick’s book will make you want to go out and travel regardless of work or money or time. The book is a collection of essays about the seven ideas that Swick identifies as “the seven joys of travel.” The essays talk about the parts of travel that are taken for granted. There are tips and titles of books that will help people really appreciate the trip that they are about to take.
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
Mark Twain is well known for his works of fiction, but in this book, Twain takes a look at the place that inspired him. He writes of his steamboat days and the cultural history of the places where he was. This book is a lot of things that his fiction isn’t because of its nonfiction nature. He rambles on at times about the subjects that he’s discussing, but that’s because it’s his voice and thoughts. Within its pages are the sources of inspiration that would lead to his most famous works.
Naples ’44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy by Norman Lewis
This book started as a diary kept by Lewis while he was working in Naples as an intelligence officer. His job there was to deal with the locals. Inside this book, he wrote about the city and its people. He wrote about everything that he saw and all the strange people that live in the city. This snapshot of World War II is rarely seen in textbooks, but Lewis’s style makes it an excellent read.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Many writers and readers have read this book. This classic is on tons of reading lists, most of them not aimed at travel-centric books and their readers. This book follows Sal Paradise, who is really just Kerouac himself, all over the United States. This book is full of adventure based on Kerouac’s actual travels through the United States. After reading this, you may want to take a road trip of your own.
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
This modern travel book is about Stewart’s walk across Afghanistan in 2002. While full of danger and towns destroyed by the Taliban, this book is an excellent piece of travel writing. There isn’t just danger in the landscape, but kind strangers and Stewart’s own knowledge of Muslim customs and Persian languages. The descriptions of the people and the places that Stewart finds on this journey are incredibly rich and paint a brilliant picture of the area that he walked through.
The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron
Although this book is written in the form of a diary, there are many authors that say that Byron was looking to achieve the tone of modern travel writing. Byron’s tale covers most of the Middle East where he met many interesting people and saw many interesting buildings. There are some buildings within this book that no longer stand. This book is another classic travel book that many well-known travel writers have read and would recommend.
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
Consistently called a classic of travel writing, this story is the description of one man’s journey in one of the most remote and magnificent wildernesses. Newby worked in fashion before his journey into the mountains and hadn’t done a lot of climbing. While his inexperience would seem to set this story up for tragedy, this piece of writing has become a favorite of so many people. While Newby faced his midlife crisis with a trip to climb mountains that even experienced mountaineers wouldn’t have touched, maybe his adventures will inspire you to get out of your comfort zone.
Siren Land by Norman Douglas
This book is the first of Douglas’s travel books. This travel book about Southern Italy is about much more than just the physical place. Douglas writes of the local legends, folklore, patron saints, and even the local ghosts. This is considered a classic of travel writing. This book wants to take on everything in the area to give the reader a beautiful description of the place.
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
This follows Steinbeck’s journey across America. Not only does he go coast to coast, but he makes sure to cover the northern and southern parts of the country as well. There are some people that would describe this memoir as angry at times, but who doesn’t get frustrated out on the road? Steinbeck writes about everything that he sees along the way, sometimes even reflecting on how those traits are in his own attitude and being as well. This book is full of wisdom that will keep you coming back to get a new meaning from the stories.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed, after the death of her mother, decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed’s story is one full of emotion as Strayed tries to find a way to deal with the pain that she felt. This book has been a national bestseller, and people all over the world have fallen in love with the struggle that Strayed went through as she tried to figure out her own life.
We hope this list of books inspires your travel spirit and helps you step outside your comfort zone. After all, that’s where the best parts of life happen!
Anaheim is the most populous city of Orange County in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, California. A $5 billion regeneration programme has reinvented the city’s heart as the Anaheim Resort district, a stunning 1,100 – acre urban facility that makes the city a must-go-to tourist destination. Big travel companies like CLC World have seen the opportunity here and looking to expand their operations into the area.
If you have seen pictures of military buildings and city gates in Beijing, chances are some of those pictures were taken in the city’s historic Qianmen area. This area is one of the most recognised in all of Beijing due to two very important political events that took place there. If you have any plans to visit Beijing, the Qianmen area should be part of those plans, along with Nanluoguxiang and the 798 art district.
One of the most thrilling aspects of international travel is having the ability to step away from the popular tourist zones every once in a while and find places where one can experience how the locals live. In Beijing, one of the best ways to do that is to visit one of the many hutongs around the city. Perhaps no hutong is more interesting than Nanluoguxiang.
Modern art lovers planning a visit to Beijing should put the 798 Art District on their list of things to see. The district is one of the most important forums for the arts in the city, occupying a neighbourhood in the north-east section of the city known as the Dashanzi zone.
When the weather turns warmer and the sun shines longer, people like to get out and do things. And one of our favourite things is to take in a good music festival complete with like-minded music lovers and the greatest artists on the planet. Here’s the best part: the weather is always good somewhere in the world, so there’s always a music festival going on.
We have our fair share of headline events here in the UK. Glastonbury is just one example. But what about going overseas for some great music? Well, there is no shortage of incredible music festivals for you to choose from. Here’s a list of some of the best offerings for 2016:
Boom Festival – Aug 11-18, 2016
Portugal’s Boom Festival is a little different in quite a few ways. First and foremost, it is held every two years rather than annually. Second, there is more to Boom than just the music. This festival combines great music with art, culture and spirituality to create what promoters call a ‘state of mind’ rather than just a music festival.
The Boom Festival is a lot like Burning Man except with a more transcendent and holistic approach. One of the things you’ll notice right from the start is that it is entirely free of outside advertising. That’s right; Boom is paid for entirely through ticket sales. Without corporate interests to satisfy, Boom is free to be what it wants to be: a fusion of electronic entrance music combined with performance art and a whole lot more. From street theatre to jugglers to avant-garde films and great music, there’s nothing quite like the Boom Festival.
Bestival – Sept 8-11, 2016
Isle of Wight, England
Every year, tens of thousands of people head to the Isle of Wight for one of the best-known festivals in the UK. Known as Bestival, this event is all about enjoying good music with your friends. Now in its thirteenth year, Bestival is known for providing a fun atmosphere without the need for the hard-driving party scene so many other festivals are known for.
Keeping things interesting are the costumes people wear during the week-long event. From priests dressed in purple to entire families decked out in 1960s tie-dye, there is something for everyone. And, of course, don’t forget the Fancy Dress Parade held every year, usually on Saturday. The festival even offers a number of tents set up around the site where festival goers can attend seminars to learn the finer points of costume design. Go for the music, and go for the fun, or just go because you’ve never been to Bestival before.
Austin City Limits Festival – Sept 30-Oct 2, Oct 7-9, 2016
Austin, TX USA
Since 1976, America’s public broadcasting corporation (known as PBS) has been airing Austin City Limits, a programme that is easily the longest running music programme in American television history. Some of the best bands in the world combine with bands you’ve never heard of to offer residents of Austin, Texas great live music week after week. The Austin City Limits Festival is a natural extension of the weekly concerts held at Zilker Park.
What makes this festival so special is the fact that it is ‘grown up’, so to speak. The music is always headline quality, and the fans know how to behave themselves and still have a great time. The Austin City Limits Festival is run so well that music lovers of all ages feel safe and secure. That’s saying something, given the fact that music festivals do have a tendency to be raucous.
Awakenings Festival – June 25-26, 2016
If you like techno, the Awakenings Festival is for you. Since its inception in 1997, the festival has done nothing but this genre of music. Past festival goers have described Awakenings as a rave on steroids, thanks to a venue on the outskirts of Amsterdam that includes eight different arena areas and space to accommodate as many as 35,000 music fans.
Awakenings emphasises sight and sound to create a dance experience equal to the music itself. At the same time, event organisers use their platform to promote progressive values – particularly where the green movement is concerned. They follow a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy that insists festival-goers leave the grounds cleaner and greener than they found them.
Bass Coast – July 8-11, 2016
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
The annual Bass Coast music festival in Canada’s Pacific North West is an unusual event in that it is billed as a four-day refuge from contemporary society. It is a very small festival, purposefully so, held every year along the banks of the Cold Water River in British Columbia. Only 3,000 tickets are sold, and festival-goers come prepared to camp deep in the woods.
Bass Coast features four different stages that act as much as art venues as a place for the bands to play their music. Yet even in the secluded wilderness atmosphere of the festival, organisers find a way to include technology via lighting, projection mapping, and complete multimedia integration between the music and the art. And by the way, the music is mostly electronica.
Boomtown Fair – Aug 11-14, 2016
Alresford, Hampshire, England
What do you get when you combine Britain’s love of the pop-up with our penchant for throwing world-class music festivals? You get the annual Boomtown Fair in Hampshire. Boomtown is undoubtedly the UK’s most well-known immersive festival complete with a pop-up city inviting tens of thousands of music lovers to come and live for four days of incredible fun.
Boomtown features a full range of music styles, covering everything from techno to jazz to reggae. And, of course, the bright and colourful clothing choices Boomtown is known for are a feast for the eyes. The festival ‘town’ is split into nine districts, each designed around a different theme and style of music. There’s something for everyone at Boomtown for four days and four nights – then it’s gone for another year.
Coachella – April 15-17, Apr 22 -24, 2016
Indio, CA, USA
As Glastonbury has come to represent what a music festival is supposed to be like in the UK, Coachella is the definitive event in the US. Every year, the polo fields of Indio, California welcome some of the biggest names in pop and rock music along with up-and-coming acts that the world will be taking notice of in the very near future. And all of it is enjoyed under the clear blue skies and bright sunshine of America’s Golden State.
Coachella has been around since 1999 when Pearl Jam drew 25,000 to the remote location of the Empire Polo Club. That concert was so successful that event organisers decided to turn it into an annual festival beginning in 2001. Headliners like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, and the Pixies have kept people coming back year after year. Coachella offers great music, both indoor and outdoor venues, and plenty of good times with your friends under the California sun.
Donauinselfest – June 27-29, 2016
Austria’s annual Donauinselfest is also Europe’s largest open-air music festival held on a man-made island that was originally constructed to prevent flooding. Now the 11-mile island features restaurants, bars, bike paths, parks, and a vast area of open green space perfect for the annual music festival. And with the Danube River never more than a few steps away, you can mix swimming with your appreciation of great music.
Donauinselfest boasts 11 stages offering 600 hours of live music – that’s enough time to host almost 2,000 acts every single year. It is all about the music, and it’s all free. With so much to choose from, you can bet there is something for everyone, from dance to rock to German folk tunes. Believe it or not, the Vienna boys choir has been known to grace the festival as well.
Exit Festival – July 7-10, 2016
Novi Sad, Serbia
In its early days, the Exit Festival was as much about political activism as it was the music. Today, it’s all about music, ranging from punk to metal to underground electronica. The festival is held on the grounds of a historic 17th-century fortress in Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia. The landmark Petrovardian fortress is the perfect setting for this hard-driving festival considered to be one of the most important in Europe.
One of the more unique aspects of this event is the mixing of music that some describe as ‘almost unhinged’ with the history of a fortress that has seen so much political turmoil over the centuries. It’s almost as though the ghosts of the past join festival goers to let out all of that energy that has been pent-up for so long. If you are planning to attend Exit, be prepared for an incredibly intense experience.
Montreal International Jazz Festival – June 29-Jul 9, 2016
Not every music festival is about hard-driving rock and electronic music. Take the annual Montréal International Jazz Festival, for example. This event is famous for being one of the best jazz festivals in the world. It is so important to the genre that the festival is almost a brand unto itself. Jazz lovers from all over the world come to Montréal every summer to enjoy a mix of innovative new music that never forgets the past.
The inaugural Montréal International Jazz Festival was held in 1980 against a backdrop of criticism that said festival organisers would never succeed. After all, jazz appeared to be dying through the 1970s at the hands of disco and protest music. But Ray Charles headlined that first festival and event organisers have not looked back since. The Montréal International Jazz Festival is the largest and most reputable jazz festival in the world.
Fuji Rock Festival – July 22-24, 2016
Mount Naeba, Japan
Japan’s largest outdoor music festival is held every year at the Mount Naeba ski resort. Upwards of 150,000 festival attendees get together for a few days of carefree living and great music from mostly headline acts already big in Japan. The first incarnation of the festival was held at the foot of Mount Fuji in 1999; that event was spoiled by a combination of very bad weather and poor planning by event organisers that left festival goers vulnerable. Mount Naeba was chosen as the new location because the weather is more cooperative.
The Fuji Rock Festival has both indoor and outdoor stages for live music. The indoor stage, with a capacity for 5,000 festival goers, is used mainly at night to host a huge dance party, with some of the world’s most famous DJs playing until the small hours of the morning. Three additional stages host rock bands and soloists outdoors. Throughout the festival, there are venues established to provide music lessons along with quirky sideshows that will keep you entertained when your favourite band is not playing. There’s even a hot spring to relax in when you need to wind down.
Glastonbury – June 22-26, 2016
You couldn’t put a list like this together without mentioning the biggest, best and most popular music festival in the UK: Glastonbury. This festival, modelled after the infamous Woodstock of the 1960s, has been ongoing since 1970. Glastonbury is influential enough that many big name bands do not consider their careers complete until they play the main stage.
You meet all kinds at Glastonbury, from hippies to hipsters looking for a good time. And like Woodstock, rain and mud are part of the equation. It’s all about getting out into the elements and enjoying yourself, even if the elements don’t cooperate. Best of all, Glastonbury operates thanks to the efforts of an army of volunteers who are thrilled to know that proceeds are donated to charities.
If we left your favourite music festival off the list, our apologies. There are literally hundreds of festivals held all over the world in any given year. Suffice to say that there is something for everyone. So get out there and enjoy the music. After all, you only live once!
I first travelled to Cuba back in 2005 and it was a huge cultural shock. I had never been to a communist country where everything was so vastly different from ‘Western’ countries. Doctors being paid the same as road cleaners; Cubans banned from ‘tourist beaches’; The total lack of renovation in it’s main city Havanna…but I still had an amazing time.