All posts by Vago Damitio

Vago Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. He jumped ship from a sinking dotcom in 2000 and decided to reclaim his most valuable commodity, time. He bought a VW bus for $100, moved into it and set out on a journey to show the world that it was possible to live life on your own terms. That journey took him from waking up under icy blankets in  the Pacific Northwest to waking up under palm tress in Southeast Asia. Three years later, his first book, Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond was published. After diving into the Anthropology of Tourism and Electronic Anthropology at the University of Hawaii (with undeclared minors in film and surf) he hit the road again in 2008. Since that time,he's lived primarily in Morocco and Turkey, married a Moroccan girl he couchsurfed with, and become a proud father. He's been to more than 40 countries, founded a successful online travel magazine (this one!), and still doesn't have a boss. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

Seven Gifts for Your Intrepid Friend (or for me, if you like!)

Christmas shopping for a vagabond can be a nightmare. After all, this is a person who probably is in the process of getting rid of everything they own, trying to lighten their load, looking for multi-functionality, and not really interested in the usual things you might buy for friends or family. Never fear. I’ve scoured the internet for seven things that any nomad or traveler will certainly love. In fact, these just might work with anyone that has a spark of adventure in them.

Kindle Fire1)My new favorite thing ever. The kindle really is the readers best friend. Lighter than the thinnest paperback, a battery that lasts at least a month, wifi access to the world’s biggest bookstore, magazines, newspapers and at least a million free ebooks and enough memory to hold 1400 books. Plus, it comes in four varieties – the basic Kindle with five way controller ($69), the Kindle Paperwhite ($119), or the  awesome Kindle Fire HD ($499) with color, HD video, and more. These are the coolest things I can think of for a traveler.

gift cards from Amazon2) While we’re at it, if they already have a Kindle or even if they just love to read good old fashioned books – a gift card from Amazon is a great gift. $50 or $25 gift cards give the gift of reading.

solar charger for travel3) Solar powered chargers. What bedouin doesn’t want to be able to charge their phone, laptop, Kindle or iPod with the light of day?

power adaptor international4) Of course, when on the road, it might be raining, so why not give your adventurer a universal power adaptor? There’s nothing worse than being in an airport and realizing that you can’t plug in and your battery is going.

language courses5) Of course anyone will love it if you book a Flight to Hawaii for them, but my recommendation is to give that to yourself. For the traveler, why not give them the gift of language. Courses such as Spanish, German, or Arabic are affordable and will be appreciated for a lifetime.

ugg slippers6)Uggs Shoes – Probably the most comfortable boots to travel in on the market today. Here’s the thing, most travelers I know skimp on boots or slippers so they can spend more on seeing the places they visit, but if you are wearing Uggs, your time will always be more comfortable and better spent.

travel maps7) Maps! Globes! Charts! What traveler doesn’t love looking at maps? Hanging wall maps, spinning the globe and seeing where to go next, putting thumb tacks in the places they’ve been. Don’t underestimate the power of maps to excite and inspire.

Discovering Madrid with a Car

Madrid by Moyen BrenWhile most people choose to discover Madrid with public transportation, there are some advantages to using your own vehicle (or a rental) while you explore the fabulous Spanish capital. Madrid is huge and while the public transportation system is efficient and easy to use, it can be hard to get the whole family from place to place on any sort of a schedule. For those who have large groups or limited mobility, a car can make the Spanish capital a more delightful experience than having to wait on buses, decipher schedules, or crowd onto the metro.

One worry of those who are driving in Madrid is that of parking. The concern is certainly warranted as there are many vehicles in Madrid and space for them is often at a premium. This is especially true at popular attractions and transportation hubs like the airports and bus stations. However, with the aid of using a parking service , it can be a snap to find a spot. Of course, if you choose to go it alone, be prepared to pay the parking attendants for their help. It’s worth it!

One word of caution, while crime is generally very low in Madrid and throughout Spain, the recent economic crisis has driven some street people into smash and grab crimes. Valuables should not be left in the vehicle and if they are left inside they should be out of site so as not to tempt would be thieves to smash windows, break locks, or do other damage. Auto insurance is also a very good idea for those who choose to drive in Madrid.

Stag Party Travel – Taking Bachelor Parties on the Road

Once upon a time, in a tavern, not so far away, a groom-to-be sat with his closest friends, sipping  lager and laughing at the stories of yesterdays. This was what these men referred to as a stag do.

Oh, how the times have changed…

Lads Kareoke

Nowadays this tiny get together the night before the big day has evolved into something much more. It is no longer a “stag night”, but instead a “stag weekend”, a travelling celebration of your last moments together, and an adventure with all your mates before taking the plunge into the land of the married man. Your last weekend of freedom is a chance to close this chapter of your life in style, not an excuse for another night at the local – You have your whole marriage for that!

Lucky for this generation, globalization, and the ridiculous deals to be had on budget airlines, such as RyanAir, have made the idea of a stag do abroad a reality. Going abroad not only leaves the stag with lasting memories, but it is a chance for all of his mates to have a much-deserved vacation as When it comes to picking a destination, the possibilities are endless… If you are looking to sprawl out on the beach with a litre of sangria, then perhaps Barcelona is the spot. If you want to stretch your wallets, and drink pints of the best beer in the world, then Prague may seem more fitting.

Each destination has their own unique appeal, and you must decide which style best fits your group of friends, and of course, the stag – after all it is his weekend! Interviewing friends who have been on a stag do abroad (I guarantee there are a few of them!) is the best way to get first-hand knowledge on the different destinations.

Stag dos in a foreign country are not only a good way to see a different side of Europe, but they also provide an opportunity to try something new. I doubt too many members of your group have
driven communist Russian tanks, fired an AK-47, or flown in a military jet… However, it is not just the extreme that makes a stag weekend, the camaraderie amongst men, who may not have known each other so well prior to this weekend, is a priceless experience. Group bonding activities such as white water rafting, and 5-a-side football, bring everyone together, and by the end of the weekend each of you will have a handful of ‘new’ mates.


This stag do evolution has not gone unnoticed, and an entire industry has grown out of the needs it has created. Shifts in traditional tourist agencies have followed, and there are now a number of different businesses that offer entire pre-packaged stag weekends, saving you from the stress of planning. These companies offer everything from accommodation, transportation, activities, and all that is in between. Pissup is a stag do organiser that has been in the industry since the beginning. They are one of the few companies that offer their prices up front and they also provide free consultation, so it is a good idea to see what they can offer in whichever location you may be looking at.

It can also be beneficial to check out the activities that are going on in the city on your chosen dates. Many times this can be much more memorable than any activity booked. Fest 300 offers a definitive list of the best festivals happening in Europe at any given time. From the Cannabis Cup in Holland to fighting devils with fireworks during Barcelona’s Mercè festival, these activities are a sure-fire way to make this weekend unforgettable. Keep in mind though, booking around a festival will likely increase the price of flights, and accommodations, so best book early if you are going this route.

So although the deep rooted meaning of the stag do remains the same, one last memory to share with your closest mates before the next phase of life, the method in which it is conducted has improved immensely. This is not your father’s stag party, and if he comes along I am sure he will agree – It is way better!!