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Travel to Svalbard, Norway – Episode 860



Travel to the Svalbard Archipelago or Norway, north of the Arctic Circle (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard,  as the Amateur Traveler talks to Cherie Gonzales from about her home north of the Arctic Circle.

Why should you go to Svalbard?

Cherie says, “Someone should go to Svalbard if you are adventurous and you love being outside and you want to experience the natural beauty and just really connect with nature without any interruptions. Then Svalbard is really the perfect destination for you. It has new landscapes, new experiences, in the summer.”

“You’ll experience midnight sun, and then in the winter, you’ll experience polar night. And the nature is literally outside your door. The apartment where I live right now, it’s 2 kilometers away from the center of the town. But it’s less than a kilometer walk and you’re already at the start of the trail that goes to a glacier, goes to an ice cave, and all that.”

Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, is nestled between mainland Norway and the North Pole. With its coordinates at an astonishing 78 degrees north, it boasts the title of the world’s northernmost community, housing around 2,500 inhabitants. 

Cherie talks about the town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s largest settlement, and its modern infrastructure, including hotels, shops, restaurants, and good Wi-Fi. She emphasizes the need to carry rifles for polar bear protection when venturing outside the town. Cherie also provides valuable tips for planning a visit to Svalbard, such as joining guided tours, experiencing local accommodations, and appreciating the natural beauty of the region.

Cherie brings her perspective to Svalbard, having been drawn to its charm despite her tropical roots. Her journey from the Philippines to the Arctic was marked by a stint as a cruise ship chef before she set foot on Svalbard.

Cherie recommends visiting Svalbard during the spring months for more daylight and various outdoor activities. Summer offers opportunities for hiking, while winter provides a chance to experience the polar night. She mentions key attractions such as Plata Fiala for panoramic views, boat cruises to see wildlife and glaciers, and visits to Russian settlements like Pyramiden and Barentsburg.

Svalbard offers a majestic and unique Arctic experience for adventurous travelers seeking a connection with nature and a taste of life at the northernmost reaches of the world.

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Show Notes

Its Cherie Gonzales
Experience Svalbard Wildlife: An Adventurer’s Guide – Amateur Traveler
Arctic challenge
John Munro Longyear
Svalbard Buss og Taxi
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Svalbard Museum
Svalbard Adventures
Hurtigruten Svalbard
Longyearbyen Craft Center
Platåfjellet: Hike with panoramic view of Longyearbyen
Experience Svalbard Wildlife: An Adventurer’s Guide
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen
Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg
Coal Miners’ Cabins
Svalbard Hotel
Basecamp Hotel
Basecamp Hotel | Longyearbyen | Svalbard | Basecamp Explorer
Zoom logo – Google Search
Arctic Adventure Essentials: What To Prepare



I am a regular listener of your podcast. We are going to Bormio & Livigno in Italy for a ski trip in February and I’d love to learn more about the region before we go. I looked through your website and couldn’t find anything on the area. Apparently they are hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics there!

Anyway, just a podcast suggestion. They have natural hot springs there as well, and are famous for their hearty buckwheat pasta, cabbage and cheese dish pizzoccheri.



on Travel to Azerbaijan – Episode 859

Hi Chris

I really enjoyed your recent podcast on Azerbaijan; your guest really took us to places we hadn’t thought of on our visit a few years ago.

We were there long before Covid and arrived in Baku by the night train, getting into the capital city about 5am. Our main problem was finding our way around. This was partly our own lack of maps or useful mobile phone, but also a lack of signage for CBD, city centre, or even Old City. We wandered for hours, basically until shops opened, trying to find the main centre of Baku. And this feeling of being lost got even worse when we did eventually find the Old City, which is as stunning as your guest described.

Our aim was to find a tea room someone had recommended, but with no actual street addresses in the Old City, we were searching for ‘a decorative wooden door in a small street off the main street towards the bottom of the city’. We THINK we found it in the end, and can confirm your guest Emily’s findings: tea in Azerbaijan is mainly for men. My wife was the only woman in the dark basement room we found ourselves in. Tea for us there was served not with jam, as Emily suggested, but with pieces of chocolate, I guess serving the same function.

I’d recommend the place, but with no street address, I’d only be able to say: ‘wooden door, small street, bottom of the old city.’

Many thanks again for the podcast, which constantly seems to trigger memories of our past travels, as well as inspiring us to future trips.


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Amateur Traveler Trips

Travel to the Svalbard Archipelago or Norway, north of the Arctic Circle (Podcast) #svalbard #Longyearbyen #arctic #wildlife #norway #travel #vacation #trip #holiday Travel to the Svalbard Archipelago or Norway, north of the Arctic Circle (Podcast) #svalbard #Longyearbyen #arctic #wildlife #norway #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

Mark Anthony is the author of The Law of the Jungle, the first book in the Jungle Law series. He has an English degree from Brooklyn College &completed an MS in communications from Boston University.

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Budget Travel Tips

These Are The 5 Best Countries In Europe With Digital Nomad Visas



Woman at Blue Eye in Albania

Digital nomadism is more in vogue than it has ever been.

About 16.9 million Americans, more than twice as many as in 2019, identify as digital nomads, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.

In response to this need, more than 50 nations now provide digital nomad visas, which let independent contractors and remote workers reside and work abroad.
A dream come true for a lot of digital nomads: living in Europe.

These are the top European nations that grant visas for digital nomads right now. This rating is determined by a number of criteria, such as:
Applying for a digital nomad visa is simple.

Qualifications for the Digital Nomad Visa based on Income
How long is the digital nomad visa valid?
It also considers the expected cost of living and standard of living for a digital nomad.

The top European nations for digital nomads to live and work in right now are as follows: 1. Albania
The ease of relocation to Albania makes it a popular destination for digital nomads in Europe. The nation does grant visas for digital nomads, but there is no minimum income needed. It can be extended for a maximum of five years after its initial year.

You can also give Albania a try to see if you like it before committing to a year-long stay without a visa for Americans.

And Albania has much to enjoy; it’s a gorgeous country with some of Europe’s most breathtaking and underappreciated beaches. Digital nomads will love coastal towns like Sarandë and Ksamil. In addition, it features charming towns, breathtaking mountains, and Tirana, the country’s energetic capital and a popular destination for digital nomads.

Additionally, the cost of living here is significantly lower than in most of Europe, making it an excellent choice for digital nomads.

2. The Montenegrin Republic
Montenegro is another of the top European nations for digital nomads. A digital nomad visa is available in Montenegro, with a $1,447 monthly minimum income criterion. It has a two-year expiration date and can be renewed for a further two years.

With breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor, Adriatic beaches, and mountainous national parks to explore, this small Balkan nation is breathtakingly beautiful.

Similar to Albania, Montenegro is incredibly inexpensive, particularly when traveling outside of popular tourist destinations like Tivat and Kotor.
3. Spain
Another European nation where digital nomads are moving to is Spain. This well-known European nation grants visas for digital nomads, with a $2,502 minimum income threshold. It can be extended for a maximum of five years after its initial year expires.

Southern Spain has some of the most reasonably priced travel spots for digital nomads. Gorgeous old cities with a laid-back lifestyle, including Seville, Granada, and Málaga, are increasingly attracting digital nomads.

4. Portugal
Portugal is another of Europe’s top destinations for digital nomads. The one-year visa for digital nomads in this nation demands a minimum monthly income of $2,750.

Portugal is the most affordable nation in Western Europe, allowing you to live a wonderful life for less money. Digital nomads travel to Portugal for a variety of reasons, and two of the most well-liked locations are the northern city of Porto, which is well-known for its port wine, and the beach town of Lagos.

5. The Croatians
And lastly, Croatia is a great European hub for digital nomads. The minimum income requirement for this country’s digital nomad visa is $30,435 per year, or $2,536 per month. The visa lasts for a full year.

With its stunning surroundings and low cost of living, Croatia has become a favorite destination for digital nomads. One of the greatest places for digital nomads to base themselves is Split, a seaside city that makes it simple to visit Croatia’s beaches, islands, and national parks.

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Cultural destinations

These Are The 10 Safest Destinations For Solo Travelers According To New Report



Woman looking to Hofburg complex in Vienna. Female tourist traveling in Austria

Traveling alone has becoming incredibly popular.

Travelers of all ages and genders are opting to travel solo instead of postponing or compromising their ideal vacation.

With no one to answer to but yourself, traveling alone may be thrilling and enjoyable. However, it also presents more of a safety risk than group travel.

In light of this, a recent study determined the top 10 safest places for lone travelers to go:
5. Austria
Austria might not be the most apparent place to go on vacation, but if you’re searching for vibrant cities with beautiful scenery that you can wander around alone in safety, this place is ideal.

Salzburg and Vienna are the crown jewels of Austria.

These crowded urban areas have a friendly and safe atmosphere, amazing food, amazing architecture, and amazing museums and activities to visit.

One of the main draws for single tourists to Austria is the country’s low crime statistics. The majority of individuals in the nation understand English, so finding assistance will be simple if you do need it. This is another aspect that draws people to the country.

Austria’s reputation as a world-class ski destination will draw in active vacationers.

If you opt to ski off-piste, your main safety concerns should be the possibility of an avalanche or, if you’re new to the sport, falling off your skis!
4. Norway
Norway is not an exception to the well-deserved reputation that Scandinavian nations have for being safe. Officially, it is regarded as one of the world’s safest nations.

Norway has very low crime rates and is a friendly, open nation. The nation’s environmental circumstances pose a greater threat to your safety than any man-made causes.

Norway’s diversity is one of the things that makes it so fascinating. Visitors have the option of experiencing the fast-paced metropolis of Oslo or the lovely town of Bergen. Norway is an extreme country.

Take off on off-the-beaten-path excursions, explore breathtaking fjords, or kayak across chilly, clear waters.

Although the locals aren’t known for striking up conversations and can be reticent, they do have a strong feeling of community and will greet visitors, particularly those who are going alone.
3. New Zealand
New Zealand ranks as the third safest place in the world for single visitors, per the survey. New Zealand is an excellent choice for individuals traveling alone for a multitude of reasons.

There is no language barrier for visitors from the United States, the locals are hospitable, and the country has very low crime rates.
In addition to being safer than Australia for lone tourists, New Zealand also has the added benefit of having no harmful animals roaming around.

Notwithstanding its relatively low population density outside of Auckland, New Zealand is a simple country to navigate.

A common choice is to rent a car, which is an excellent opportunity to securely venture off the beaten path and experience the peace and quiet of the nation.
2. The Icelandic
Iceland is a Nordic nation with an exceptional safety record, much like Norway. For lone travelers, the Land of Fire and Ice has a lot to offer.
Iceland is a fantastic location all year long. Adventurers can witness the midnight sun in the summer and the Northern Lights in the winter. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most breathtakingly gorgeous natural nations.

But Iceland offers so much more than only the natural world. Iceland is an interesting single trip with its laid-back towns, surprisingly lively cities, and rich and compelling history.

Iceland is a fantastic destination for travelers who are considering their first solo vacation because it has one of the lowest rates of violent crime and overall crime of any nation.
1. Japan
Japan travel is really popular at the moment. Given that the nation only reopened its borders after the COVID pandemic a year ago, it is amazing that the country is currently shattering all previous records for tourism.

In addition to being a well-liked vacation destination overall, Japan consistently ranks as the safest and greatest place for lone travelers, earning the top spot in this study.

Japan boasts one of the best public transportation networks in the world, which makes traveling around the nation simple. Additionally, it’s a place where accepting oneself and living alone are accepted cultural norms. If you eat, drink, or travel alone in certain areas, you can feel uncomfortable, but not in Japan.

It is a nation that offers unending peace and beauty, energetic contemporary cities, and a low risk of harassment for lone travelers from the populace.

Japan is a fantastic destination that is really well-liked by single people for a variety of excellent reasons.
The Full List If you’re traveling alone, safety is an important consideration when picking a vacation spot. This report’s full list of the top 10 safest places for single travelers is as follows:

1. Japan

2. The Icelandic

3. New Zealand

4. Norway

5. Austria

6. The nation of Canada

7. The Philippines

8. Switzerland

9. Korea, South

10. China

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Cultural destinations

These Are The Top 3 Beach Destinations To Visit In The U.S. This Winter



People on a beach in the U.S.
Americans enjoy being near the beach, and this is the perfect time of year to take a brief trip to get away from the cold and into some sunshine!

There are still plenty of places to go that can offer warm weather and BEACHES, even though a large chunk of the country is still waiting for the first snowfall or temps below zero.

AirBnB released their annual travel trends report right before the holidays, providing us with information on where and what Americans are booking. It should come as no surprise that the majority of American tourists go for beaches between January 1 and September 15.

The top 3 beach places in the United States to visit this winter are listed below, whether you’re seeking for some R&R along the sandy coastlines or an exciting cliff-side adventure.

Happy beaching!
California’s San Diego
Unexpectedly, California was included on the list, and with good reason. San Diego is one of the top beach destinations for a winter vacation because of its consistently moderate climate.

Every San Diego beach varies just a little bit. It’s hard to choose between beaches with seal populations, sandy shorelines, and cliffside views. A fantastic place to start is Coronado Beach, which features smooth sands, rich vegetation, and azure waves. While you’re here, you might even spot some US military recruits.

Of course, a must-see when in San Diego is La Jolla. This beach is a playground for adventure seekers with its rough cliffside, seals, and some of the best waters for swimming, diving, and snorkeling (and it’s not too far from the city).
Sunshine Coast, Florida
Florida probably comes to mind when you think of sandy beaches and azure waters in the United States. Siesta Key is an oasis in the United States that contains everything a winter birder might want.

Anyone can be persuaded by inexpensive flights and stunning beaches, and if you plan to visit, you’re going to be amazed by the incredible quality of the water.

Siesta Beach, with its powdery shoreline and gentle blue tones, ought to be your first stop when you arrive. Siesta, which was recognized as one of the top beaches by the 2020 Traveler’s Choice Awards, is the ideal place to unwind with the sound of the waves playing in the background during the day.

Hawaii’s Maui
Travelers may be asking if it’s still safe to visit Maui in light of the nearby fires, but islanders insist it is! Locals claim that in order to boost tourism and restore this stunning area to its former state, the island needs visitors.

The Wailea Resort is well-known for its assortment of beaches, some of which are accessible to visitors as well as guests. Snorkeling here is excellent when the water is calm; look out for the amiable fish and turtles.

What’s more alluring than a vibrant marine life or a sandy beach? sunny conditions. Fortunately, the high usually remains at a constant 70 degrees or so throughout the winter, so beach hopping won’t present any difficulties for Americans visiting.

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