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I recently signed up with Surfshark VPNs. I’ve never used a VPN when traveling, but the plans were really cheap and I figured it couldn’t hurt. I’m also taking a short break from traveling at the moment due to current world events, so this article will look at the benefits of having a VPN whether you’re traveling or not.

What is a VPN

VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”. An oversimplification would be to say that a VPN is like using another computer to go on the internet. Essentially, you are browsing the internet through a server in another location which is then sending you encrypted data. If you leave your house, anyone can watch where you go, what you do, etc. Using a VPN essentially sends someone else to do your errands. It’s mostly about security of information, as not all of us like all our actions tracked by others, especially in relation to passwords, bank account details, personal information, etc.

Choosing Surfshark VPNs

I’d been debating on getting a VPN for years. I checked several different platforms and tried the free trial for a couple. One that I tried was a hassle to use and kinda put me off using another.

Then I found Surfshark. This is one of those rare instances where cheaper is better. Surfshark is consistently ranked as one of the best VPN providers, and is also cheaper than any of its high-level competitors (and the crappy ones, for that matter). I found one website by an Aussie where he compared over 100 VPNs, and Surfshark was one of only 3 providers that had no serious concerns with any part of its services or business model.

Another great advantage to Surfshark is that one account can be used on every one of your devices. I have mine running on my laptop, phone and tablet nearly all the time. Not only do I see hardly any drop in download or upload speed, there are actually many times when my internet is faster by using a server in a location with less traffic.

Of course, the best part about using a VPN is the privacy. I’m not going to lie and say I understand all the information out there about net neutrality. What I do know is that WiFi can be hacked and used to steal your information, and using a VPN just generally makes your internet browsing safer and more secure, even when you’re on your own network at home.

Benefits of Using a VPN When Traveling

As I just mentioned, using WiFi networks isn’t safe, and I’ve been doing that constantly since I started traveling in 2014. There have been plenty of times when the only WiFi network I could find was a city-wide hotspot, which is both wonderfully handy and wildly unsafe. I was very careful not to check any personal information, bank details or anything else that might be hacked on the network.

In recent years, I’ve started purchasing SIM cards in most of the countries I visit, opting to get a large data plan to accommodate all the photos and videos I take in my travels. While this is safer than using WiFi, adding a VPN gives you an extra layer of security, almost making it impossible for your information to be stolen.

I know that in the US (which I haven’t been back to in years), ISPs are allowed to sell your browsing history. While I’m not visiting websites that I would want to keep secret, I’m also not keen on having some Big Brother somewhere tracking all my information and putting together their own evaluation of my life.

There’s another huge benefit I’ve recently found to using a VPN when traveling. When I’m in another country, the cookies of the website will default all the information to that country. This means I will get ads or even the whole website in their language and currency, deals targeted to their citizens, etc. If I use a VPN server in the US or UK, then I’ll get English, dollars or pounds, etc. I must say it is a little humorous to get ads for concerts in Los Angeles and Seattle when I’m listening to Spotify.

While I don’t have Netflix, Surfshark would allow me to access 15 of the 20 Netflix servers around the world. Just to give a comparison, the UK only gets 442 TV shows and 1,586 movies, compared to 1,157 TV shows and 4,593 movies in the US.

Disadvantages of Using a VPN

Using a VPN doesn’t make your internet experience perfect. There are a couple disadvantages.

First, using the servers of a VPN can be lower than using the internet directly. It really depends on where you are in the world, where the servers you’re using are located, etc. I think using a VPN is always supposed to slow down your speed a bit (or a lot), which is a small sacrifice to pay for increased security.

Another problem I sometimes run into is websites not loading correctly or at all. I sometimes have difficulty with Pinterest (which might be from Surfshark’s built-in ad blocker). Off the top of my head, I couldn’t mention the other websites I’ve had trouble with as it’s not often, but it does happen now and then.

Why You Wouldn’t Need a VPN

Now that I’m using a VPN, I can honestly say I don’t know why you wouldn’t use one. Anytime you use a password, whether it’s to get into your emails, log into Youtube, access your Netflix account, etc, it’s good to do it behind the extra layer of security that a VPN provides.

Some VPNs limit how many devices you can use or how much data you can pass through their servers. Not Surfshark. Last month, I managed to pass over 40GB of data through their servers, and I didn’t see any throttling. In fact, the more I use Surfshark and get the hang of the different servers, the faster I can get my download and upload speeds.

Countries Where You Can’t Use a VPN

One big restriction to VPNs is using them in a country that has partially or fully banned their use. Currently, the list includes Belarus, China, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Uganda and Venezuela. Some of these countries have relaxed restrictions or loopholes, although China is the most strict.

A disadvantage to these bans is that VPNs can’t be used because the governments want to have access to your information, which is all the more reason to use one. If you find yourself in one of the above countries, take care with what you do online.

Privacy Beyond VPN

Surfshark has two additional beta features you can pay a little extra for. The first is called Hacklock. It will scan the internet for any email address you submit to see if your email has been hacked on any website. Data breaches happen all the time, so this is a really good way to see if your information has been jeopardized and if you need to change your passwords. I even found two hacks on one of my email accounts that I was able to resolve.

The second feature is called Blindsearch and is a true incognito internet search without any ads, cookies, biased search results, etc. I personally really like this feature when optimizing my SEO, as I can see search results without my Google account featuring my posts first.

Sign Up for Your Surfshark VPN Today

Surfshark’s best deal is their 24-month plan at only $1.99 a month ($47.76 for the full two years). This gets you all the security benefits of a VPN, access to over 1040 servers in 61 countries, and a clean web surfing experience with no ads, trackers, malware or phishing attempts. If you want to add the Privacy Beyond VPN package to your subscription, it’s an additional $0.99 per month.

As mentioned, your one Surfshark account will be accessible across all your devices with unlimited data usage. Surfshark has a strict no-logs policy. I just hope my friends don’t take advantage of that by visiting unsavory websites.

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Further Reading

The safety of my fellow travelers is always a concern of mine. Here are some more articles about how to stay safe when you’re traveling in different parts of the world.

Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.

It’s never fun when a bus drops you off in the middle of nowhere, and even worse when it’s in the middle of the night. I’ve had some pretty wild experiences with this, including not having internet, getting dropped off in the wrong location, etc. Here are some of the adventures (or misadventures) I had, and how I’ve coped in each situation.

Warsaw to Kaunas

The first time this happened (and possibly the wildest time) was the bus ride from Warsaw, Poland to Kaunas, Lithuania back in 2015. I’d already had a nightmare getting onto the right bus after I accidentally booked the bus in the wrong direction and didn’t catch my mistake until just before the last bus of the day to Kaunas was scheduled to leave.

It’s a 6-hour bus ride from Warsaw to Kaunas, and I didn’t arrive until after 9 p.m. at night, long after sunset. In Kaunas, the central bus station was under construction (as was much of the city center back then). It was almost as if the bus driver was going to skip the city entirely, as he only stopped the bus on the highway just before leaving the city limits. I got off the bus with one other passenger. The only sign of civilization was a closed restaurant nearby. Otherwise, we were surrounded by wilderness.

My fellow passenger spoke a bit of English and asked if I knew where we were, but I was as lost as she was, which was unsettling considering how she was a local and didn’t recognize the area! Back then, I didn’t have a SIM card, relying instead on WiFi to get internet. Thankfully, Google Maps still worked in a rudimentary fashion by using GPS to put a dot in your general location, but without any information on the map.

Impossibly enough, although I was miles away from the city center, I was only about half a mile from my Couchsurfing host! With the other passenger, we walked through empty land in the first stages of development for new homes (all of which I see on Google Maps have long since been built). She ended up living not far from my Couchsurfing host, and it was nice to be able to walk with someone else in the darkness through an unfamiliar country.

Rabat to Marrakech

In November 2019, I visited Morocco for the first time. To save a lot of money, I flew from London to Rabat and then got a bus down to Marrakech, instead of flying direct. I would have liked to take a train from Rabat to Marrakech instead, but my flight was arriving after the last train departed for the day and I had a tour first thing the next morning.

Finding the bus to Marrakech was the first adventure. The shuttle from the airport dropped me off almost across the street from the central bus and train station, but apparently the buses to Marrakech all left from a different bus station on the outskirts of town. I had to get a taxi down to that station, which ate into the savings I had made flying into Rabat. I was aiming to get on one of the buses I’d heard about which would take me straight to Marrakech in about 3 hours and had lots of amenities like a toilet, air conditioning and WiFi.

I didn’t get that bus. Instead, I was sold a ticket for a bus which was overcrowded, had no amenities (not even a toilet) and stopped at every village on the way. What was supposed to be a 3-hour journey turned into 6 hours of sweating and bouncing on uneven roads.

Sometime around 3 a.m., the guy next to me said we were in Marrakech and I jumped off the bus…into a deserted dirt lot. It certainly didn’t look like I was anywhere close to a city with over a million people. I wandered in and out of the empty buildings and was just about to venture back toward the highway when the driver gesticulated for me to get back on the bus. Apparently, there were two bus stations in Marrakech and the second was much closer to the center of town. So, in the end, the bus did take me to where I needed to go, but I had a bit of a fright getting there.

Marrakech Kasbah at Night

Read the full story about how I made my way down to Morocco for the first time.

Luxembourg City to Cologne

My most recent adventure with a bus dropping me off in the middle of nowhere was in southwestern Germany when I was on my way to Cologne from Luxembourg. I found a really cheap Flixbus which didn’t bother to disclose that the route had a transfer midway. Not only that, the transfer was in the middle of the night in an unknown city (I later found it was called Koblenz).

Flixbus in Koblenz

I was dropped off in a small parking lot with a single stance for Flixbus. The city was empty; not a single car was driving down the street. What’s worse, it was a couple degrees below freezing. The next bus wasn’t scheduled to pick us up for nearly five hours, so I made my way to the only establishment we could find that was open – McDonald’s.

Now, I’ve boycotted McDonald’s for over two decades, and I had no intention of eating their food. But they were warm inside, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve gone in one to use their internet or the toilet. I was too tired to do either, so instead I laid down on the bench and immediately fell asleep. There were only a couple other people waiting inside, perhaps for the same bus.

About 3 a.m., the manager came in and didn’t want me sleeping on the bench. I tried to stay awake but didn’t succeed and she had to come by to wake me up more than once. Eventually, I got on the connecting bus and made it to my final destination where I spent a fantastic day exploring the Christmas markets of Cologne.

Vang Vieng to Vientiane

This next one wasn’t exactly a bus dropping me off in the middle of nowhere, but rather in a really inconvenient location. This is a pretty prevalent scam in SE Asia and certainly happened to me more than once, either getting dropped off far from the city center or having to catch a bus from a location far from the main bus station (like the bus from Krabi to Bangkok).

In 2017, the sleeper bus I took from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, Laos dropped me off right in the center of town. The same didn’t happen on my bus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane in 2019. That one dropped me off at the Northern Bus Station, located on the very edge of town over five miles from the city center. It then required paying for a taxi to take me the rest of the way, which was nearly the same price as the 4-hour bus from Vang Vieng!

TukTuk in Vientiane

Bonus: Bristol to Aberystwyth

One other story worth including goes back to my very first week of traveling back in February 2015. I honestly have no idea why I chose to visit Aberystwyth, Wales, but I managed to find a Couchsurfing host there and a really cheap bus ticket (which is probably why I picked it).

Aberystwyth Castle #4

Aberystwyth is a tiny village on the coast of Wales, mostly populated with university students. There are ruins of a castle along the shore…and not much else to do in the town. I don’t think I knew that before I booked my ticket, and I was still completely euphoric to be traveling the world. Thus, when my bus arrived just after midnight and my host was nowhere to be found, I still had a huge smile on my face.

I called and texted my host, and even messaged her on Couchsurfing even though she said she didn’t have access to it often, all with no response. Again the temperatures were below freezing and I needed a place to sleep. Aberystwyth didn’t have any hostels, and I only managed to find a single hotel on the beach. They told me a night would be about $80, which was way out of my budget back then.

Eventually, just before I was ready to fork out the money for a room, my host returned the hotel’s call to her. She had been underground at a party without reception and was sincerely sorry for forgetting about me. What’s more, it was an uphill walk over three miles to get to her small university student-shared house. There was snow on the ground, and I loved every moment. Even when things seem to go bad in one’s travels, there’s no reason not to make the best of it and just look for a solution. Things almost always end up working out right.

Host in Welsh Countryside

7 Things to Do When a Bus Drops You Off In the Middle of Nowhere

Pay Attention to Your Ticket

Make sure you really study your ticket to see if you’re going to have a layover in the middle of the night and pay particular attention to which station or location the bus plans to drop you off at. Budget companies like Megabus and Flixbus often save money by avoiding bus stations and dropping you off in the middle of nowhere – thus the reason I’m writing this article.

Don’t Panic

It’s almost impossible to tell someone who’s freaking out to stay calm. It’s a skill that really must be practiced before you get into a bad situation in the first place. On the other hand, there are few tricks you can try. My favorite is to just look around the environment and put your attention on different things. You can also touch a few things around you. You’d be surprised at how calming this simple exercise can be. Another trick you can try is to count from one to ten, or even from ten to one.

If you’re traveling with someone else who does well under stress, you can always leave it to them to sort things out. As long as one of you can stay level-headed, you can usually find the solution.

Talk to the Driver

Sometimes the easiest solution is to just talk to the driver, but this will probably only work if the driver speaks English. In all the above situations I ran into, not one of the drivers spoke English. You can also ask other passengers if they speak English and can help or translate. Often I’ll find which passengers around me speak English for just this eventuality whenever I’m traveling through a foreign country.

Access Your Options

Once the bus has dropped you off in the middle of nowhere, it’s time to take stock of what your options are. Hopefully there’s some kind of establishment you can go to until you can work things out (like my McDonald’s in Koblenz). This might be the time to try hitchhiking. Maybe an Uber can reach you. Sometimes there’s another passenger getting dropped off at the same location, and you can travel with them into civilization. Many times I’ve done just that – getting a ride from the bus or train station toward my final destination with a fellow passenger getting picked up. Don’t forget that the world is generally a very friendly and kind place, and most people (about 97.5%) are more than willing to help out.

See Who You Can Call

If you have internet or reception, see who you can contact in the area that might be able to help you out or give advice. There are plenty of Facebook forums you can join, many of which will give you an answer very quickly. You can use websites like Couchsurfing or even Tinder to find a local who can give you advice. I recently heard about a new website called Jetzy on which you can connect up with locals and fellow travelers, but I haven’t used it myself to see how quickly you can find someone.

Try to Have a Backup Plan

It’s never a bad idea to have a Plan B. Have someone you’ve already contacted in your destination who can help out if things go south. Do a little research on train and bus stations along your route, and even what car rental companies are in the area. If you’re going into an area where you won’t have internet, this step is almost vital. The more eventualities you plan for, the less likely they are to occur.

Use Trusted Bus Companies

I’m throwing this one in, but it’s not the easiest step to follow. My bus from Warsaw to Kaunas was the only option to choose from. The bus in Morocco was purchased with absolutely no help from the locals and in a foreign language, and my bus to Cologne was with Flixbus – a decent company to use in Europe but not always reliable. One way to find the best bus company is to read blogs like this one. I’ll always make my recommendations of which buses to use when I find them, or which ones to avoid.

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Further Reading

The safety of my fellow travelers is always a concern of mine. Here are some more articles about how to stay safe when you’re traveling in different parts of the world.

Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.

Booking a cruise may be intimidating, especially if this is your first time. However, it will be an unforgettable experience not only for you but also for all the people who are going to join you. Before you sail the ocean, you must understand that each cruise is different, depending on the destination and even the ship of your choice.

Are you ready to sail for an experience like no other? Before you go and explore, let’s assume the Komodo National Park, there are still a few things you should know. They will help you prepare for the journey, as well as make your experience smoother and less complicated. Whether you are a first-time cruiser or an experienced adventurer looking for some new tips, here you will find everything you need.

Woman on Beach

Copyright: Pexels I License: CC0 Public Domain

Cruises Are Not Always Expensive

If you have always wanted to book a cruise, but your wallet doesn’t agree, maybe you haven’t look for the best deal yet. You can just sign up for your favorite cruise line’s newsletter, or surf the web and wait for a last-minute steal.

What to Wear

You can’t just pack all your wardrobe and sail the ocean. Cruise lines tend to have strict regulations about the number and the size of the allowed gabs you can bring along. Besides, you must pack by taking into account the weather of your destination. Based on the activities you want to try on the ship, you may need additional clothing. For example, men may wear a suit or tux for dinner with the captain.

You Can Get Seasick

No matter how many times you have travelled before: you can also get seasick. Some oceans are known for their high waves, and they may make you feel… Titanic. You can be prepared to solve any unpleasant situations by having a few tablets in your pockets.

Another solution may be trying one of those little elastics that are usually worn on your wrists. They press against your pressure points, helping keep seasickness at bay. Although they generally work with kids, they may not be valid with adults, but you can still give them a try.

Booking a Cruise

Copyright: Pexels I License: CC0 Public Domain

What If There Is an Emergency?

Although we all hope you enjoy your holidays, emergencies may still happen. This includes medical issues, family accidents and many others. The majority of cruise lines will just let you get off the ship at the closest port of call. This will allow you to catch the first flight or train to go back home.

A refund of your whole journey may not be possible. However, you can still have a small compensation if you decide to leave the cruise and you hold adequate evidence of your emergencies.

Not All Cabins Are Created Equal

When you book a hotel room, you will see that there are different alternatives, based on the final price. The same applies to cabin rooms, and this means that you must pay close attention when booking your holidays.

If the price of your cruise looks ridiculously low, then maybe you will end up sleeping in a small room. Some of these are tiny, enclosed spaces, which may not even have a window to admire the ocean. If this is the case, you can pay a little extra to upgrade your room, either before sailing than once you are on the ship.

You Don’t Really Need All Those Onboard Souvenirs

In some cases, cruise ships are just like smaller amusement parks. Everyone will try to sell you everything, making you tempted to invest your money in any object or service that may potentially make your holidays unforgettable.

Keep in mind that all these services are trying to bank on your sentimentality. You don’t really need to pay for a picture with the captain, nor buy a T-shirt with the name of the cruise line. On the other hand, if this is your first time cruising, or if you are travelling with your children, then you may decide to spoil your family with only a few little extras.

All-Inclusive Is All-Worthy

You will soon find out that almost every cruise line offers an all-inclusive package. These options tend to be expensive, but they offer a fixed number of meals and drinks. This means that, once you choose the all-inclusive service, you will not have to think about how much you’ll spend on board.

Besides, all-inclusive options often include useful perks, such as Internet minutes, a voucher for the spa, or a bigger cabin. At the end of the day, all these facilities and amenities are going to be expensive, but at least you can pay for them in advance and enjoy your time on the ship without having to worry too much about money.

Further Reading

Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.

I’m constantly on the lookout for the best travel gear to use. When it comes to the best travel towel, Tesalate towels are the clear winner.

I’m still traveling with the same microfiber towel I purchased over five years ago before I left the US. I’ve left it behind a couple times and had to retrieve it, but otherwise, it has served me well. Although it’s quick-drying and takes up almost no space in my backpack, there are some disadvantages. Tesalate towels, from what I can tell through my own use of them, have none of these disadvantages.

Completely Sandless

The trait that immediately makes Tesalate towels the best travel towel, in my opinion, is its feature to resist sand. They use AbsorbLite™, a patented new microfiber fabric with 80% polyester and 20% polyamide. Without the usual fabric loops that ordinary beach towels have, there’s nowhere for the sand to get trapped.

It’s almost odd to be able to put your towel down on the beach, kick some sand on it, go swimming, use the towel to dry off, wipe all the sand off your feet, and then give the towel a little shake and have absolutely no sand still on it. It doesn’t get inside the fabric, nor does it stick to the wet patches. I’ve been shocked every time I’ve done this, as it’s not just how a towel should behave!

Quick Drying

One of the main reasons why I (and most people) went with a microfiber towel for traveling was for its quick-dry properties. The sandless characteristic of the Tesalate towel doesn’t negate this ability. It’s not that the towel doesn’t pick up water; it’s advertised to absorb up to a quart, although I haven’t tested that myself. I’m just happy with how it’s able to completely dry my body, even better than some other microfiber towels that I’ve used.

I’m particularly happy with the feel of the Tesalate towel. Some microfiber is really uncomfortable, feeling like it’s clinging to the skin. Tesalate towels are really smooth. There’s still generally the usual microfiber feel, which is admittedly different and perhaps not entirely as comfortable as cotton, but it gets the job done. I think all the benefits far outweigh the sole disadvantage of it not feeling like cotton.

Big but Compact

As a permanent traveler, saving space is paramount. The microfiber towel I’ve been traveling with folds up to about the size of a fist, but it’s also tiny – barely big enough to wrap around my waist and secure. Tesalate towels are actually designed for the beach and are standard beach towel size, i.e. 63″ x 32″ (160cm x 80cm). There’s also a “Towel for Two” measuring 63″ square.

These towels aren’t just for the beach or traveling. They’re also great for regular showers, especially if your usual towel doesn’t get dry between showers. You can use it for yoga or as a picnic blanket. I also found it quite comfortable as a windbreaker when I got out of the water at Edinburgh’s Loony Dook.

Tesalate Towels

Odorless

One great feature of microfibre is its resistance to mildew. As such, these towels won’t start to stink if you have to put them back in your bag before they’re fully dry. There have been countless times in my travels when I took a shower in the morning at a hostel and had to put my towel back in my bag when it was still damp. I would never want to do that with a cotton towel but, as long as I can get my towel out after a few hours, the microfiber towel won’t smell afterward.

Of course, if it absorbs a substance which will cause an odor, the towel won’t neutralize it. I mostly just use my towel for showering, the beach and as a ground cover and all that has been fine. I don’t think the towel would remain odorless as a gym towel.

Awesome Designs

There are 30 different designs offered by Tesalate, 5 of which are available for the Towel for Two. The hardest part about ordering a Tesalate towel will undoubtedly be choosing your pattern. There are striped patterns, floral patterns, tie-dye patterns, psychedelic patterns, etc. I chose Tidal which is a beautiful water pattern.

The fancy pattern is on just one side of the towel. The other side has a nice black and white triangular pattern. Both sides are the same material; this isn’t a one-sided towel.

 

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Order Your Telalate Towel Today

Tesalate towels are $59 each, or $99 for the Towel for Two. In the UK, towels are £49 or £79 for the Towel for Two. All towels come with free international shipping!

Click here to purchase your Tesalate towel.

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Further Reading

If you’re looking for other travel gear, read my full packing list for my travels.

Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary towel from Tesalate. As always, all views and opinions are my own, nor was my review influenced or slanted by the complimentary product.

Coffee is like a food lover’s football. It’s a universal language across the globe, and we’ve yet to find a location that doesn’t have its share of coffee connoisseurs. For travelers, coffee is an excellent way to break the ice and meet new people. For culinary enthusiasts, coffee will give you a unique taste on a staple drink. No matter who you are, you can be sure that tasting coffee from an unfamiliar country will provide you with insight into a new culture and delicious taste.

To help you find the best coffee on your travels, we take a look at the best coffee-buying tips across three of the world’s most popular sub-regions and continents.

Tips For a Great Cup of Coffee in South-East Asia

Vietnamese Ice Coffee
Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Much of South-East Asia including Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore are all notorious for sweet, strong coffees that are often best tasted cold.

Creamy, sugary condensed milk is often used in place of fresh milk, creating rich yet refreshing cups of coffee, especially when made with ice. Ice is either blended into the drink or placed in your cup as cubes. Alternatively, hot black coffee also proves to be a popular choice in this region.

In some cases, you’ll find that coffee beans are roasted with margarine, creating a unique taste that is not common with familiar European roasts such as French and Italian.

For a great coffee in South-East Asia, look out for “Kopi” shops if you’re in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia or the Phillippines. These are local haunts that are famed for their excellent coffee that will keep locals quenched for hours while they catch up and relax.

What to Look for When Drinking Coffee in Europe

Double Espresso
Photo by Kevin Butz on Unsplash

The Italian and French coffee roasts are arguably the most used roasts across the globe. Because of this, many people hail Europe as the best place in the world for coffee, with an extensive selection to explore.

Coffee in Europe can range from fast and easy informal coffee bars that are perfect for when you’re on the go, to extravagant experiences that have been crafted by experts in the search for coffee perfection.

You’ll also find that there are many places where coffee coexists with budding art scenes. Many independent coffee shops in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia act as a creative hub for business meetings, socializing and small gatherings for the community. When looking for coffee in Europe, these coffee shops can be a fantastic way to get to know a thriving community and art scene as well as taste a delicious drink.

Europe generally tends to be quite experimental with its coffee, with many coffee shops offering standards cups such as flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos alongside cold-pressed coffee and drip coffee.

If you plan on traveling to Italy or France, we recommend trying a pure espresso in an independent and highly-rated-by-locals coffee shop. By doing this, you’ll be able to taste a French or Italian roast where it originated from, and at its best. But as the Secret Traveller says, there are rules to follow when ordering coffee in Rome – no cappuccinos after 11 am and no funky orders like hazelnut flavor shots. Keep it simple and keep it local.

Best Coffee Tips for Africa

Bag of Coffee
Photo by Tina Guina on Unsplash

Coffee is originally from Africa, and its beginnings can be traced to Ethiopia, which is widely regarded as the home of the native coffee bean.

Because of this, Africa is an exceptional place for coffee, with their roasts often being complex with fruity, floral aromas and sometimes spicy notes. Many industry-leading coffees come from Africa, and some of the most incredible tasting roasts are farmed against backdrops of civil war, political turmoil and extreme poverty.

Elaborate coffee ceremonies are celebrated in different regions, showcasing Africa’s unique relationship with coffee. In Ethiopia, the ceremony will include a woman wearing a traditional white dress, roasting and grinding the coffee in front of guests before proceedings to pour it into small cups known as ‘cini‘ from a height of one foot.

When looking for good coffee in this region, alongside finding local coffee shops, we recommend going directly to coffee factories and farms for guided tours and to buy coffee where it originates from.

No matter where you are in the world, we recommend that you order a coffee as the locals do. Tasting regional specialty coffees will give you an excellent opportunity to explore more adventurous tastes and ingredients, as well as get the best insight into a community coffee scene. You never know, perhaps you’ll be taking a new coffee recipe back home!