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The ONLY alternative attainable travel magazine

April 2008 Issue 3

yo F ur it ru s i ck n sa ck !

Make some.

Mud, sweat & beers

W IN a

25 festivals under ÂŁ50

week i n


Great group holidays


without the hassle

See the world for free! Our ultimate blagger’s guide


Get down and dirty in Cornwall

Road trip essentials Best kit knives Town on a tenner Party with touring bands UK Freaky diseases - IN THE UK!


Welcome to Tracks,

Editorial Team

Editor – Catherine Millman Deputy Editor – Ruth Stokes Features Editor – Steve Robinson Regulars Editor – Rachel England News Editor – Poppy Bullock Culture Editor – Laura Johnson

Reporting Team Joanne Grew Jenna Harris Dani Gumbley

your passport to all things cheap and cheerful. It’s coming up to festival season, so we’ve found tonnes of events around the world that won’t break the bank (or your neck, after att empting to scale Glasto’s security fence) . Be the hero of your holiday and get inspiration from our great get togethers (page 12). We guarantee that they’ll keep everyone as happy as Lar ry. And if up until now you couldn ’t even blag your way out of a paper bag, check out page 20 – it’ll change you r life. Don’t be shy, take on the cha llenge – we’d love to hear how you get on. I certainly earned my keep thi s month. Keveral Farm in Cornwa ll puts up young WWOOFers (explained on page 24) in exchange for mucking in wit h daily chores. Even the most cluele ss farmersin-training (like me) can lea rn a few tricks of the trade. And if you feel an itch when you’re getting on with all of that, turn to page 17 for some health advice on terrifying diseases you can pick up on your travels in the UK! But don’t worry, it’s probably just an allerg y, right?


On the cover

See the world for free 24 Our ultimate blagger’s guide sweat and beers 6 Mud, 25 festivals for under £50 each Crowd pleasers 12 Great group holidays to basics 20 Back Get down and dirty in Cornwall eating you? 17 What’s Freaky diseases – in the UK!


Smugglers’ slip-ups

Money hints and tips

28 Tracks on tour


Tales from people in the know

30 On the road Jack Kerouac

31 Get involved

Trackersphere update

32 Trip of a Lifetime

Online Team

The Mongol Rally

Online Editor – Laura Murphy Assistant Online Editor – Mike Monypenny Online Design – Suzie Ball


Regulars 9 Road trip essentials 10 Manchester on a tenner 11 Best pocket knives

Art Director – Sarah Kershaw Senior Designer – Lynn Roberts Chief Sub-Editor – Ele Cooper Tracks Magazine, Maglab, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, WALES, CF10 3NB


4 Noticeboard 8 How to do duty free

Production Team

Contact Tracks:


Be part of the Trackers’ online community and share your travel stories at:


35 Wrong side of the tracks 36 Go shoot


Photo competition


Poppy Bullock, Dani Gumbley, Steve Robinson

Wellies: Paul Bence, Stiletto: North Korea: Steve Robinson. Tom Hanks: Gadgets: courtesy of the companies. Phone: Catherine Millman. Globe: Wikipedia commons

North Korea welcomes you Want to go somewhere you know your mates haven’t visited? The previously closed-door state of North Korea is finally opening up to western tourism. At the moment only around 2,000 people from the west visit the communist country each year, but that number is likely to rocket in 2008 after travel organisers reported a more relaxed attitude towards tourists. So if you’re bored of Bognor Regis…

Tom Hanks eat your heart out A plucky chef from Buckinghamshire has finally been caught by police after living in Gatwick airport for the past four years. He had previously earned himself an ASBO banning him from the airport after security had spotted him using Gatwick’s facilities more than 30 times, à la Spielberg’s The Terminal. Before you get any bright ideas about blagging a few weeks’ free accommodation at Birmingham International, however, know that the man is now in custody. You have to admire his persistence – he must really love airport food.

Down to Earth

Earth Day will be celebrated around the globe on April 22, promoting a healthy, sustainable planet. Meet some of its participants…

Diccon Jones, 24, Bristol, England “I’m in the process of persuading our boss to let us wear anything green or blue for Earth Day. Everyone could pay £1 to not wear a suit and we’d give it all to EDN (Earth Day Network).”

If you girls think you can survive a night in stilettos, how about sprinting in them? Amsterdam held its third annual high heel race for 150 Dutch women in March. The incentive for the highly perched athletes was €10,000 (£7,655) in cash, reinforcing their motto: “Shopping is Sport”.

aracter in The Te

Share your news stories on the Tracks online forum. Visit for more info.

rminal has a Bu


Find out how you can do your bit at www.earthdaynet.

A welly good week

Calling home for free. Don’t forget to set up Skype (and show your mum how it works) before you go away if you want to stay in touch. Go to for more info.

Wherever you plan to venture off to this month, be sure to pack your welllies if it’s between April 19 – 26. The official Welly Week is upon us, so don your fave pair of plastic fantastics and raise money for Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic charity. Give it some welly at


An update on the Bristolian trekker walking to India for the sake of a free economy:

Emergency phone charger


Audio books These are seriously underrated long-haul lifesavers. Pop them on your MP3 player and wave goodbye to boredom. Make your selection at

We hate Hostels that charge for bedding. Make sure you’ve got a lightweight sleeping bag to avoid paying extra.


Go gadget go! Great if your phone runs out of battery, this crafty little device from DesignGo will give you 80 minutes’ extra talk time. It comes with four interchangeable heads to fit most Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Motorola phones. Plug it in or use it with AAA batteries. £7.99

We l ve

The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson. Travel books are often quick to promote the pros of globe trotting but don’t tend to mention the potential environmental repercussions it can have – so read up and get informed. Available at from £6.59.

Melanie Parent, 20, Connecticut, USA “My friends and I are making cupcakes with frosting in the pattern of a world map. We’re taking them into college to sell them on Earth Day.”

Hot on their heels

Tom Hanks’s ch

Erin Perrin, 28, Paris, France “We’re holding an Earth Day party and charging our friends €5 entry to donate to charity.”

Unoriginal campfire guitar sessions. Exactly how many times do we need to hear Under The Bridge played slightly off key?


Waterproof oof wri wrist st camera Self-heating gloves

Keep your digits snug in these batteryheated gloves. Great for skiing, hiking or just warming you up on a miserable day. £13.99

Worn like a watch, this is a three megapixel camera with an internal memory of up to 2GB. As well as taking still photos, it can film up to 54 minutes of video (640x480 pixels). It captures sound and is waterproof down to 30m. £99.99

Yep, he’s given up after reaching France and… er… realising he didn’t speak French. Clearly not the Tracker we’d pinned him as.

Unpacking at your destination and finding your shampoo has leaked onto the rest of your bag. Prevent it happening with compartment travel bags from £14 at


Great festivals cost a packet and sell out before you can say “Wellies”, right? Wrong. Lynn Roberts and Sarah Kershaw prove that you can see new places and mosh till dawn for only £50, if you know where to look

Music Camden Crawl

Based around 25 venues in the hip London borough of Camden, the Crawl is the “Mystic Meg of music festivals”, showcasing the latest indie bands who often go on to become the next big thing. If you want to get an early handle on who’s who, you could do worse than giving the two day event your full attention. This year’s confirmed artists include One Night Only, Los Campesinos!, Boy Kill Boy and Does It Offend You, Yeah?, while in previous years the festival has played host to Amy Winehouse and Babyshambles. Londoner Greg Hughes, 25, says, “It always has a great lineup and an amazing atmosphere. It’s even better if you know someone who lives in London – last year loads of my mates came and stayed at my house in Archway.” Various venues, Camden, London April 18 – 19 Two day pass: £49.20

The Great Escape

This seaside festival has proved itself as a British South by South West, providing a platform for up and coming bands. The Subways, The Young Knives and Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong are all confirmed for 2008. Various venues, Brighton May 15 – 17 Three day pass: £35



A tongue-in-cheek, real-ale-fuelled alternative to the UK’s most famous festival plays host to new bands as well as tribute acts to the artists playing the “real” Glastonbury. Turnpost Farm, Leicester May 23 – 25 Three day pass: £42.50

Off The Tracks

An alternative “green” festival, this acoustic, folk, roots and dance event has a relaxed vibe and even provides hot showers for a luxury feel! Park Farmhouse, Castle Donington May 23 – 25 Three day pass: £50

Dot to Dot

Dot to Dot Festival is split between two cities and its iconic venues, including Rock City, will play host to Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and The Holloways amoungst others. Various venues, Nottingham/Bristol May 24 – 25 Weekend pass: £30


£50 still a bit of a stretch? Fear not. You’d be amazed at what goes on for free.

Godiva Festival

Last year 70,000 people headed to Coventry’s Memorial Park to watch acts such as Super Furry Animals, The Human League and The Cribs. On offer is a mix of rock, folk, hip hop and world music alongside comedy and poetry. This year the organisers are on the look out for the “Next Big Thing” – an unsigned act who will get a support slot on the main stage. Interested Trackers should visit the website for more details. July 4 – 6 Memorial Park, Coventry FREE

Indie Tracks 2008

The bizarre combination of indie pop and trains (yes, really) makes Indie Tracks truly unique. The Wedding Present and The Bobby McGees are headlining. July 26 – 27 Midland Railway Centre, Ripley, Derbyshire Two day pass: £45


The baby of our festivals, two-year-old Loop offers art, theatre, DJs and supercool indie bands for one day only in the so-hip-its-sub-zero setting of Brighton. August 16 Various venues, Brighton Day pass: £25


This boutique festival hosts a massive range of dance and drum ’n’ bass sounds across five stages and three days. One for dance heads! August 8 – 10 Dyrham Park, Dyrham Three day pass: £50

Love Music Hate Racism London’s Victoria Park hosts a massive carnival featuring hip hop, indie, grime, reggae, dubstep, R&B and jungle acts among others. April 27 Victoria Park, London FREE events

Thames Festival

Music, art, theatre and pyrotechnics come together for a late summer extravaganza. September 13 – 14 Various venues, central London FREE

Get Loaded in the Park

An inner city dance one-dayer, Clapham Common’s Get Loaded has seen Dizzee Rascal, 2 Many DJs, Lily Allen and The Streets grace its four stages in the past. It’s part of the Metro weekender, along with sister events South West Four and Cardiff’s Cooper’s Field. “It’s quite small but they get really good bands and there is a great atmosphere,” says Frances Knight of Cardiff. See uk/tracks for the latest lineup and links to more information. August 24 Clapham Common, London Day pass: £35

South West Four

Aeon Festival

Ullacombe Farm in Devon provides organic bread and brownies to go along with its fresh indie and rock sounds at this weekender, which is housed in outbuildings to avoid rainsoaked catastrophes. August 22 – 24 Ullacombe Farm, Devon Weekend camping pass £30

On The Rocks

This festival is played by 60 of northern England’s finest punk, rock and metal bands. Enjoy heavy guitar riffs and a lot of long hair flying about. Dry Bar, Manchester March 21 – 23 Weekend pass: £10 in advance others2008/ontherocks


The second part of the Metro Weekender, South West Four is the dance half of the festival. It has played host to Paul Van Dyke and Pete Tong and is an all day, all night dance fest. “South West Four is ace,” says Hannah Johnson, 23, of Richmond. “It’s really cheap for what you get, because the headline acts are always huge.” August 25 Clapham Common, London Day pass: £35

This “omnimedia” festival, which showcased Mr Hudson and the Library and Nizlopi last year, covers several indie venues in Digbeth in Birmingham and has a music education conference running alongside it. Listen and learn, my friend… November 6 – 8 Various venues, Digbeth, Birmingham Weekend pass: £15


Metal and hardcore reign supreme at this Leeds festival, with Architects and Raging Speedhorn headlining. Definitely not for the faint hearted. June 28 – 29 Rio’s, Leeds Weekend pass: £25

Hidden in the Lancashire countryside and with a 24-hour licence, Shamania is an epic psychtrance four-dayer with DJs, VJs and visual installations. Only for those with extreme stamina! August 1 – 4 Pendle Hill, Lancashire Weekend pass: £38

A bit on the side Here are the UK’s best festivals for those of you who like it quirky.

Paignton Bike Festival

Originally set up to raise money for local charities, this south Devon festival features three days of live music, stunt bikes and motorbikes. May 2 – 4 Paignton, Devon Entry by donation


International Combine travelling and festival-going with our selection of Europe’s finest – and at bargain prices too…

Open’er Festival

A host of exciting acts are confirmed for this Polish festival – Sex Pistols, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers and M.I.A. are just some of the big names already on the bill. The 2007 festival received rave reviews with Polish critics calling it “Our Roskilde”, and the lineup so far suggests this year will be another corker. Low cost airlines fly to nearby Gdańsk and the site is close to a beach. It’s a festival and holiday all in one. July 4 – 6 Babie Doly Airfield, Gdynia, Poland Weekend non-camping pass: approx £50 (depending on exchange rate)

Arrow Rock

This quirky festival offers the chance to see the “Rock legends of your youth” (or infancy in our cases). Billed for 2008 are Kiss, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Twisted Sister and Journey. June 15 Goffertpark, Nijmegen, Netherlands. Day pass: approx £48 (depending on exchange rate)

Antwerp Dance Festival

Antwerp’s clubs play host to the likes of Boy George, George Cyprus Hill and Goldie in the one day festival. Day pass: £15.50 ww antwerpdancefestival


Goldblade, the UK Subs and Sonic Boom Six will play this hardcore festival in Austria’s capital. April 26 – 27 Vienna Weekend pass: £50

The Gathering

Boardmaster Unleashed

Nothing to do on the May bank holiday weekend? How about heading to Devon for a didgeridoo festival? It’s true – they really do exist Its organisers say it has a “friendly and welcoming atmosphere in a beautiful countryside setting”. May 3 – 4 Instow, north Devon Weekend pass (including camping): £25

Hosted by Ripcurl, This surfing and skating festival throws some awesome bands into the mix as well. The lineup is yet to be announced but in 2007, Newquay’s Fistral Beach hosted Funeral For A Friend, Guillemots and Fightstar. August 8 – 9 Newquay, Cornwall Weekend pass: £50 www.ripcurlboardmasters.


Didgeridoo: Courtesy of The Gathering. Boy George: neil365,

Los Campesinos!: Jamie Kleinan, Rascal: Lorne Thompson, Subways: anil sharma, spacehindu/202663906/

Mud, sweat and beers

. . .


w o H Make the most of duty free

With more restrictions than you can shake a sombrero at, duty free shopping can be a minefield. Follow Laura Murphy’s top tips to avoid a strip search

You’re currently allowed to take up to 3200 cigarettes, 200 cigars and a whopping 3kg of loose tobacco home from the EU. If you want to bring back more than this, and of course it’s for your own personal use, you could ask any mates you’re travelling with to carry some for you as well. Bear in mind though that if you’re all carrying the maximum number of fags you will attract suspicion from Customs. Stick to a few hundred less and you should be fine.


Keep your boarding pass to hand when you’re hunting for duty free bargains – you’re likely to have to present it when you make a purchase. Don’t give it to your mate to look after because they’ll inevitably wander off and leave you stranded, unable to fly or buy a


cheap bottle of vodka to drown your sorrows. It’s not just fags and booze that come under duty free restrictions – if you’re travelling into the UK from outside the EU, you can only bring in up to £145 worth of goods for personal use or gifts. This can go a long way in some countries but if you want to bring back pricier designer purchases, try taking off the tags and scrunch them up at the bottom of your bag. If you get stopped at customs you can reasonably say you’ve had them all along – genius.


Remember that there are still restrictions on liquids in hand baggage, so if you do treat yourself to a bottle or two, keep them in your suitcase to avoid any hassle – airport security staff are famously unmoved by the “But it was


half price!” argument, and will make you dispose of your purchases down the nearest drain. For the latest info on luggage restrictions, check out No trip to France would be complete without bringing back a few liquid souvenirs, and the channel-hopping booze cruise is an annual pilgrimage for millions of Brits. Current restrictions are up to 110 litres of beer, 90 litres of wine, and 10 litres of spirits. Our top tip? Steer clear of the duty free areas at airports, and take a look at local supermarkets instead. Major ports and airports will have a wealth of shops nearby and you’ll get far more booze for your buck by shopping around.


Smugglers’ slip-ups

Yu Hua-Lee,

True stories straight from customs

Stock up on up to £145 worth of goods when travelling from outside the EU


Easy tiger Last month a man was arrested at Aberdeen Airport for trying to smuggle a dead tiger in his luggage. The big bang theory A student from Connecticut, USA, once managed to get half a stick of dynamite onto a flight from Argentina to Houston. The future isn’t so bright When a “pregnant” woman was searched at Cairo airport in 2006, it was discovered that her belly was actually concealing $17,000 (about £8,500) worth of mobile phones to be sold on the black market. Back in the day… In 1920, during prohibition, a man was arrested on the Detroit-bound Windsor ferry with a basket of eggs which turned out to be filled with liquor. Is that a snake, or are you just pleased to see me? A man trying to fly from Los Angeles Airport once got caught smuggling snakes inside his jock shorts. Rocket man In 2000, customs officers at Coventry Airport found a rocket launcher that had been posted from America.

to .. t Wha for. k pac

A successful road trip

A road trip with your mates is the ultimate way to travel. Here are Sarah Kershaw’s top tips for making your next journey the best ever

Snacks To avoid hunger-induced arguments, make sure you’re well stocked with snacks before you leave. A big bag of sweets is a must, but take some starchy foods too as they’ll keep you going. Drink plenty of water and make sure you don’t get so hyped up on sugar that you end up in a shaky, irritable mess. Double lolly from £1 for pack of 12.

Wet wipes and hand gel Car snacks can get pretty messy. Roadside facilities and garages are not necessarily the lap of luxury, and wet wipes will allow you to clean yourself up on the road. Alcoholic hand gel completes the picture, getting rid of germs and ensuring that you don’t feel too grotty when you reach your destination.

Camera What’s the point in going on a trip if you can’t record it? Use a digital camera and then fussy friends can erase anything they hate immediately. But if something is so hilarious it just can’t be deleted, it’s probably best to hide it until you reach the safety of your computer… Car charger Finding yourself stranded, staring cluelessly under your bonnet without a mobile phone to make an SOS call from is crap. Avoid it at all costs by fully charging up before you go. If you do get caught short, having a car charger on standby is always useful, even if you hate the idea of shelling out for it. USB car charger £3.99 from

Wet ones sticky wet wipes, £1.59 from Boots.

Sony DSC-S730 digital camera, £83.95 from

Mix CDs You will almost certainly have to drive through an area where all your clapped-out radio can receive is a foreign language station or “Late Night Love”. Mix CDs or an MP3 playlist can save you, but try not to fill it up with random drivel your mates will hate, or you’ll be as unpopular as Fiddy Cent at Reading. Memorex blank cd 10 pack £2.99 from

So you’re ready to put your pedal to the metal, but haven’t got the foggiest where to go. Panic not: here are our top UK trips to get you off the ring-road and on the open road. The Highlander: Edinburgh – Inverness Take in the best of Scotland from coastline to countryside and even see Loch Ness, with gallons of Scotch (and a designated driver of course). Distance: 200 miles

The coast with the most: Chester – Cardiff Follow Wales’s awesome coastline the whole way round, checking out castles, cathedrals, puffins, druids and stunning sandy (if not sunny) beaches along the way. Distance: 596 miles

The Dubliner: Rosslare – Dublin A short trip that takes in the sun-soaked (honest) beaches of County Wexford and Guinness-laden taverns of Dublin (ferries go from Fishguard or Holyhead). Distance: 100 miles

The hipster: anywhere – Stonehenge Cruise over to this monolithic masterpiece and watch the sun set, soak up the beauty and appreciate the spirituality of the surrounding Salisbury Plain. Distance: who knows, man.

Take it further: If you’re feeling more intrepid, see page 32 for the Mongol Rally...

All-eventuality gear Sweaty days, freezing nights, gale force winds… prepare yourself for all weather conditions with a jumper and some sunglasses. If you don’t, you’ll just end up clinging to a formerly sweaty mate for warmth, or getting a sun-induced migraine – not a good look. Unisex California Fleece Pullover, £27 from American Apparel.

Aviator sunglasses, £12, from


. . . t s Multipurpose knives e B

Whether you’re backpacking in Bolivia or camping in Cornwall, there’s no piece of kit more essential than a penknife. Here’s our guide to the knives that should be on every cub scout’s Christmas list.

Manga and drum ‘n’ bass? Urbis isn’t

We challenge you to find any dusty old your average museum... artefacts lurking here. Urbis explores the past, present and future of urban life – from the architecture of the city to the way people live. Upcoming exhibitions include “How Manga took over the world”, a look at the city’s drum ‘n’ bass scene, and a visual documentation of what Manchester means to homeless men in the city. If you’ve got the funds, you could always sign up for the ‘60s magical music tour for £5. FREE Cathedral Gardens Relax in a city park Feet tired of walking? Want to get Eat at Night & Day Café out of the rush? Manchester boasts Grab a bite to eat in this fun and funky a whopping 125 parks, and last year café. Chill and chat in comfy seats, it won 21 Green Flag Awards for the drink tea and eat the ridiculously tasty quality of its open spaces. If you just apple and cinnamon cake. The staff want a quick break there are a are friendly and the clientele young. number of parks right in the centre, When the moon comes out, this café including Cathedral Gardens, transforms into a thumping live music Peace Garden and All Saints Park. venue, showcasing a host of unsigned For those with more energy it’s and undiscovered bands. worth venturing a little further Meals £4 afield to Fletcher Moss Oldham Street. Botanical Gardens. FREE

Laugh at Frog and Bucket

This rough and ready comedy club nurtured talent such as Peter Kay and Johnny Vegas in their early days. Drinks promotions are a regular treat, and the real party begins when the acts step down. Take over the dance floor and show the locals some killer moves. Check out the website and sign up to the newsletter for cheap ticket deals. FREE on Mondays and promotion nights Oldham Street.

Drink at The Temple

It’s the only bar in Manchester based in converted public toilets – do you need any more convincing? Don’t worry, the smell is long gone, and in its place is a kooky bar which is invariably packed, buzzing and plain good fun. Grab a beer and enjoy the weirdness of it all. Pint of beer from £2.60. Great Bridgewater Street. 0161 228 9834.

The Enemy have graced the stage at Night & Day

lly the s m from th ell has long g ese ex-p o ublic to ne ilets


Manufacturer: Win Leatherman ner ! Price: £26.99 FACTS Leatherman’s heavy duty stainless steel multi-tools are ideal for those Trackers whose travels are going to be more Ray Mears than Carry on Camping. The Kick is one of the company’s smaller models and its blade is classed as non-locking, so it’s legal to carry in the UK and won’t raise eyebrows at customs. PROS It has a good-sized handle, making it ideal for more serious woodland craft, the blades are sharp, and the traditional leatherman pliers make this a very practical tool, whether you’re in WestonSuper-Mare or the wilderness. CONS At 10cm it’s a little bulky for a pocket knife (although it does come with a free leather belt pouch).

Money, money, money!

When you’re on holiday it’s easy to blow your beer money on unnecessary extras. Here are the best ways to keep your cash safe

your currency Never exchange prime tourist in s ge chan in bureaux de for g only stin you spots. They will k for a as s er id ov pr t interest, as mos average. ich is 2.75% on handling fee, wh e places th g in e research Spend some tim . They ea ar e th in s te t ra with the lowes y areas d in less tourist are often foun s. and post office



nd a s t n Hi ... s p i t

Manufacturer: Wenger Price: £19.95 FACTS Wenger EvoGrip tools are ergonomically designed and feature rubber grips so you won’t lose it in a dark-wet-night-openingbeer-in-tent scenario. The EvoGrip 10 has 13 tools including tweezers and a nail file for al fresco beauty emergencies. PROS The rubber grip makes it more comfortable and practical to use than many metal multi-tools. It’s pretty stylish and small: at only 8.5 x 2.5cm, it will fit almost every pocket. CONS It may be a bit girly for the hardcore Tracker and it hasn’t got as many tools as some knives. Multi-tool enthusiasts might enjoy the £500, 1kg Wenger GIANT though!

Mike Monypenny, Sarah Kershaw

Urbis: John Walker, Temple Bar, street signs and manchester cityscape: Ruth Stokes. The Enemy: Mark Tighe,

Get cultural at Urbis

EvoGrip 10

When exchanging your currency back to sterling, make sure you take it to a place which does it interest-free. Post offices in the UK are great for this, or if you originally exchanged it at a bureau de change, some of them will exchange it back commission-free if you show them your receipt.

Be careful with travellers’ cheques – if you’re off the beaten track it can be hard finding anywhere that’ll cash them. Some places will charge for the service, so search for interest-free options. Travellers’ cheques do have a great feature though: if you make a note of their serial numbers, you can replace them if they get lost or stolen.

According to Tiscali M we spend oney, £541 millio n a year on unnecessa ry debit an d credit ca charges. E rd ach bank will charge a dif feren you t fee for u sing your ca or withdra rd win abroad. Th g money while you’r e e best thin g to do is how much check interest yo ur bank ch before you arges leave. Nati onwide an Lombard D d irect don’t charge an interest so y if you set up with them you can sa an account ve a packe t.

Joanne Grew

Find ind bargain bucket comedy, award-winning open spaces and alternative art all for under a tenner, writes Ruth Stokes

Manufacturer: Victorinox Price: £16.50 FACTS Most of us don’t have the foggiest what half the functions on penknives do, apart from “make holes” or “poke things”. Less is definitely more, and the “Hiker” has the perfect balance. Its 13 functions include enough screwdrivers to make even the keenest amateur action man moist, without any of the extra bits and bobs. PROS Victorinox made the original Swiss Army knife, so good quality is assured and each knife comes with a lifetime guarantee. It’s also remarkably light so your pockets won’t be weighed down. CONS The blade can go blunt pretty quickly if used regularly, and is a little short if being used for hardcore bushcraft.

Coins: Joe Shlablotnik,

“Hiker” Swiss Army knife



day a r o f King

Well, three days to be precise – and for a bargain £85 per person if you bring 15 mates with you. The Castle Keep and Coach House in Quin, County Clare boasts an impressive five bathrooms, ensuring there’ll be no fights over the shower in the morning. In fact, the only thing you’ll be arguing about is who gets to sit at the head of the banquet table in the medieval dining hall. See

Culture vultures

Party animals Culture vultures Foodies Adrenaline junkies History buffs

Maddie Hart

Lazy bones


Planning to go away with the whole gang but struggling to find anywhere that ticks everyone’s boxes? Rachel England takes the headache out of holidays en masse


hat could be better than a break from the norm with a big group of mates – fun and frolics galore, right? That is, until one of them throws a tantrum because there’s nothing for them to do, or an argument erupts over where to go for drinks. And then your tent leaks.

Holidays en masse are often less fun than you’d imagine – until now. Tracks has scoured the UK from top to bottom to bring you great accomodation in the best destinations for groups, with a variety of activities wide enough to satisfy even the fussiest of friends.


: D N A L E IR

For a taste of Irish culture, visit the Corn Barn in Bunratty’s Folk Park for a traditional Irish night with music, songs and more jigging than you can shake a stick at. See

Lord it up in an Irish castle

Adrenaline junkies Just up the road from the castle is Shannon Horse Riding School, which specialises in cross-country cantering. And for the less experienced (or cocky), the school also runs gentle hacks through the beautiful Irish countryside. Call +353 065 682 5645.

History buffs

County Clare is full of old forts and ancient ruins – a tribute to Ireland’s rich culture and heritage. The Living Past Experience in Craggaunowen explores and recreates some of the homesteads which existed in Ireland over 1000 years ago. See

Party animals

Trackers strongly believe in the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” – and right now this means Guinness and whiskey - in copious amounts. The town of Ennis (about 10 minutes from the castle) has no less than 30 pubs and bars. You won’t need telling twice. See


Lock Dock Restaurant in Ennis has arguably the biggest selection of fresh seafood in the west of Ireland, as well as plenty of veggie options and a fantastic Irish atmosphere. Call +353 065 689 2222.

Lazy Bones

If you actually can’t be arsed to do anything, or perhaps need some R&R after a heavy night on the whiskey, you’ll be pleased to know that Ennis is home to the Renaissance Spa and Leisure complex, which has a Jacuzzi, pool and sauna. Blissful. Call +353 061 456 200.


Castle and bedroom: Gtunlimited, seafood: Nemo’s Great Uncle, fort: PiAir, horseriders: Swperman,



Culture vultures

Nobody does whiskey better than the Scots, so what better way to immerse yourself in their culture than a whiskey tasting evening? Held at the Solway Inn every Saturday night, each person gets six different types of the spirit to taste (or down, if you’re that way inclined).

gh Lodge lau

History buffs

A visit to the old Ministry of Supply factory in Dalbeattie is a must for any history fan. A major player in the second world war, the walls of the factory still display the graffiti and scribbles of its workers – a valuable insight into the thoughts of the men and women who spent many years there. See

Lazy bones

A stroll around Galloway Wildlife Conservation Centre doesn’t require much effort, and you’ll be doing the environment a favour too. With over 150 species from around the world, entry to the centre costs £5 but group discounts are also offered. See


The Little Treat on Dalbeattie High Street is heaven for those with a sweet tooth, producing freshly baked cakes, pies and desserts, and boasting a traditional china cup teashop.

Lodges: Thistle Lodges, Little Treat:, Red Panda: The Brit, Supply Factory:, biker: BRF, whiskey: John Linwood

Enjoy Scottish chalet chic on the cheap

Thistle Lodges in Dalbeattie, Scotland, offer chalet chic on the cheap for groups of up to 16. You and your clan can enjoy home comforts for just £68.75 per person per week in the stunning Scottish hills, with a river literally on your doorstep. See

Adrenaline junkies

Party animals

Guaranteeing some of the world’s best biking, 7Stanes in Dalbeattie offers a variety of mountain bike trails, from gentle beginner paths to sweat-inducing rocky outcrops – all with spectacular views. See

The lodges are only a 20 minute drive away from the large town of Dumfries, where there’s no end of pubs and bars. Try The Venue, open till 3am, for a mix of chart, dance and R&B. See


ipi? Tipi or not t

History buffs

That is the question, and the answer is definitely tipi! Hire two for 12 people on the Isle of Wight for a total cost of £100 per night – that’s a mere £8.34 each. Infinitely cooler than your regular nylon camping affair, kipping in a tipi is a fantastically hip take on an old group holiday favourite. See

The Isle of Wight was once home to 54 miles of railway – pretty extreme considering the entire island is only 147 square miles in size. Make train spotting cool again by checking out the living museum that is the five-milelong Isle of Wight steam railway. See


Party animals

Shack up in the king of tents in England

At the end of September, the Isle of Wight holds a week-long food festival incorporating food tasting (obviously), practical sessions and talks. This year it will also feature a ”Walk and talk about garlic” lecture. How much is there to know about garlic? Well now you can find out. See

The Isle of Wight isn’t renowned for its fast pace of life – it’s more about drinking around the campfire than clubbing till dawn. Still, the Balcony nightclub on the esplanade in Ryde plays a good mix of tunes, with a ‘70s night every Friday. See

Culture vulture



This island is fast becoming the music destination. With the Isle of Wight Festival on June 13 – 15 and Bestival on September 5 – 7, everyone’s tastes will be covered. Unless you’re into Barbara Streisand. Then you’re on your own. See and

Tipis:, wakeboarder: Ezalis, boat: MidnightOwl, train: iSteamRW, clubbers: Yoshimai



Lazy bones

Departing from Ryde harbour, Night Owl boat cruises are the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon seeing the island from a different perspective. For £20 per hour for up to five people, and with no fixed route or timetable, you can literally go with the flow. See

Adrenaline junkies X-Isle Sports on the east side of the island offers a wealth of watersports, from kitesurfing to wakeboarding. With unrivalled tuition and top of the range equipment, the only thing holding you back is your nerves – and possibly the cold. See




WALES:manors ur Mind yo

Make like a detective for the weekend by staying in the infamous Baskerville Hall in Clyro, the setting for well-known Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles. Rooms in the grandiose hotel are upwards of £40 per night, but take advantage of the private dorms there (with space for up to 60 people!) for £17 per person per night, which includes a full English. Nice. See



Make like a detective in Bas

Party animals

Make like a local on a Saturday night and head to Clyro Court, adjacent to your accommodation at Baskerville Hall, for some cheesy tunes and bizarre neon décor. Be warned though, the place is packed with salt of the earth farmer types, so expect hard drinking and a distinct lack of fashion sense.

Culture vulture

Hay-on-Wye is known the world over as “The Town of Books”, and not without reason. The place is literally crammed with dusty old texts, new paperbacks and out-of-print volumes. Name any book in the world and you can probably find it here, although searching through the 30+ enormous stores could take a while. See

kerville Hall


Kilverts Restaurant in nearby Hay-onWye offers the very best in fresh Welsh lamb and fish caught in the Wye River. The town also boasts a fudge shop with every flavour you can imagine and Shepherd’s Ice-cream Bar, which offers a rainbow of freshly made varieties. See and

Lazy bones

Endorsed by the legend that is Bill Oddie himself,, Gigrin Farm in Rhayader is home to some of the finest red kites in Europe and entry is only £3. Don’t dismiss it as boring middle-aged bird watching though – these babies can perform some pretty impressive aerial acrobatics, and feeding time? Think budget slasher movie. See.

History buffs

Brimming with tales of the macabre, your accommodation alone is enough to please history enthusiasts, but the castle ruins which sit proudly in the centre of Hay-on-Wye are also worth checking out – if only for the Olde Curiosity Shoppe within. Call 01497 820330.




Want more info on the dos and don’ts of group holidays? Visit

Nasty diseases are lurking right here in the UK. Dani Gumbley investigates the risks so you’re informed, not infected

Th e f ar ollo e sq no win ue t f g p am or ag ish the es ...

The Wye River is one of the best in the country for canoeists, offering a mix of gentle currents and faster rapids. The Wye Valley Canoe Centre in Glasbury offers canoe, kayak and Canadian canoe hire, as well as tuition for the less experienced. See


Adrenaline junkies


Baskerville Hall: John Connell, canoeists: Steve Renouk, red kite: Sam and Ian, Shepherds, castle and books: Nicolas Royle





eatingyou? Lakes

Wiles disease – watch out for rat rats

How could I get it? Up for a skinny dip? Think carefully before plunging into the icy depths of a crystal clear lake or divebombing the local pond for a bet after a few jars. Rats love water too and often inhabit your favourite swimming spots. You could easily find yourself a prime candidate for Wiles disease because rodents like to exercise their bodily functions while drinking – you could have a nasty surprise if excrement and urine have found their way into the water. The disease can strike through cuts on your skin and can also enter your body through the lining of the nose and throat. Lovely! How do I know I’ve got it? Keep a look out for symptoms such as chills, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, blurred vision and muscular aches and pains. If you don’t catch this one in time you could end up with jaundice, bruised skin, anaemia and nose bleeds.

Unchecked, the illness can cause severe internal organ damage and can be fatal.

What’s the treatment? If you suspect the worst, tell your doctor. A blood test will reveal all and, if necessary, the doc will put you on the right medication.

How do I know I’ve got it? Along with an attractive bulls eye-style rash, you may start to feel tired and get flu-like symptoms such as chills, headaches and joint pains.


Jellyfish – floating to a beach near you


Lyme disease – every ramble is a gamble

How could I get it? Sneaking off to a secret rave in the woods? Then think about your outfit very carefully. Deadly beasties are waiting there to jump on your legs, sink their teeth into your flesh and feast on your blood. We’re not talking vampires here, but Lyme disease-infested ticks. And don’t think that Bambi is innocent; he’s not. Behind the cute façade he’s the one conspiring to leave ticks in your path: deer carry the little blighters. A tick can mean big trouble – if you see one on your arms or legs, remove it at once. Although Lyme disease is rife in woodland areas, it has also been known to crop up in cities. Basically, as long as there are tick-bearing animals in the vicinity, Lyme disease could be anywhere. Oh deer!

How can I avoid it? Be wary of bad plumbing in your holiday accommodation: water tanks and leaking sewage systems are goldmines for Wiles disease. Avoid swimming in lakes and ponds where rats may also be doing a few lengths. If you simply can’t resist the urge to splash around naked at midnight make sure you cover up cuts and bruises before taking the plunge. If you do happen to come into contact with rat excrement or urine always take a shower afterwards and clean any wounds immediately. Lastly, avoid dead rats.

How could I get stung? Donning your swimming cossie ready to show off your doggy paddle? Then listen up: jellyfish with stinging tentacles are infesting British waters. They’ve been spotted in the west of Scotland, south Cornwall, south Wales and the British Channel. Most jellyfish stings won’t do you any lasting damage, but there is cause for concern if you get stung by some of the more unusual wobbly fellas…

of jellyfish on that stretch of beach. One particularly nasty species is the lion’s mane jellyfish, which has a distinctive brown umbrella-shaped bell. These are really dangerous and if you do think you’ve been stung by one, get yourself to a doctor, pronto. Finally, when you walk up the beach to dry off, beware of stepping on jellyfish washed up on the sand. If there’s water around, the tentacles can sting even when they’re dead.

How do I know if I’ve been stung? There will be red lash marks as if you’ve been whipped on the part of your body where the tentacles have stung you, and an immediate pain radiating from the area. It will then start to burn, itch and throb as the skin begins to blister. DO NOT scratch it though, because this will release more venom, making the pain even worse.

What’s the treatment? We’ve all seen the Friends episode where Chandler pees on Monica’s leg, so you probably think you know the answer already – but you’re wrong. The urban myth that urine alleviates the pain is false. Ew, what a way to learn the truth! The right thing to do is to pour sea water onto the area, followed by vinegar. Remove any attached tentacles with a stick then treat the pain with an ice pack, anaesthetic or steroid cream. If the pain continues, make sure you see a doctor.

How can I avoid it? Before you even dip one toe into the water ask any lifeguards for advice on the types



How can I avoid it? A romantic tumble in the grass requires protection of more than one kind, for it’s here that ticks are known to lurk. Cover up with long-sleeved tops and trousers and keep checking your legs for unwanted participants throughout the encounter. If you do find one on your skin, remove it as soon as possible. What’s the treatment? If you suspect that you’ve got an infected tick bite or your rash is still expanding after a week, get to the doctor, tell him/her your symptoms and explain that you’ve been walking in the countryside. You’ll probably be given some blood tests and if Lyme disease is the culprit you’ll be put on antibiotics. It’s really important that you don’t leave the infection to fester: left untreated it can go on to cause some really nasty problems such as arthritis, poor circulation, chronic fatigue, muscle pains, irregular heartbeat and even memory loss.

. And one for the future..

Malaria – infected mossies are heading our way Scientists have recently debated the possibility of global warming bringing malaria, the mosquito-borne killer, to the UK at some point in the not too distant future. Although it’s normally associated with the tropics, a hospital in Nottinghamshire reported three cases a couple of years ago, so don’t dismiss this as scare-mongering just yet. How do I get it? By being bitten by an infected mosquito. How do I know if I’ve got it? If you develop a fever or feel ill after being bitten by a mossie, particularly when abroad in high-risk areas, seek medical attention. Malaria can be fatal. How can I avoid it? Before you travel, ask your doctor about malaria prevention and tell them the areas that you’ll be visiting. In some areas there are malaria-carrying

parasites that are resistant to antimalaria tablets. Check for up to date information, and if visiting a malaria-stricken area, take a mosquito net with you – even though some accommodation provides them, you need to be fully prepared. When you reach your destination, spray up! Use anti-mosquito body sprays containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) such as Jungle Formula, and cover up with long sleeves and trousers in the evenings if you go out. Do remember to take your anti-malaria pills, and finally, air conditioning is worth paying for in high-risk areas so you don’t let the little buggers inside in the first place. On return Malaria can rear its ugly head for up to a year after you have actually travelled. If you have a fever at any point during this time, it’s advisable to get checked out by a doctor.

For more information and to hear about Trackers’ real life experiences check out


some tomatoes. Now, she shows me her a 10 minute drive to the coastal town plot of land and her polytunnel, a large of Looe, a place with a large number of plastic greenhouse. Jenny’s ex-husband pubs, cafés and restaurants, and more is growing gourds in his; he uses the recently known as the set for TV series hard-shelled fruit to make instruments. Echo Beach. Some of the community “I’m from Montreal, but I always members run a veggie box knew I wanted to live in the business in the town, country,” Jenny tells me, selling produce grown smiling broadly. “I felt on the farm. You can much better when I stay here to escape did. I was WWOOFing from the rush of for five years before day-to-day life and I settled here.” still keep links WWOOF allows with normality if you to stay in pretty you want. much any country As a WWOOFer in the world for free. you get given simple And if you can’t afford jobs to do to help Jenny Woonton-Smith to go abroad, there are around the farm. Jenny’s plenty of places to choose first ever task was picking from in the UK. It’s not all hard graft blueberries. “They tell you what either: you agree your working hours to do, and I must have learnt something, with your host, so you can make sure because I can grow my own vegetables you have time to relax and explore the now,” she says. This week’s visitors surrounding area. to Keveral will be sewing seeds, clearing, To get to Keveral farm I had to weeding and harvesting beds – contend with a very long, uneven dirt not exactly challenging, track. By the time I arrived I felt as if I true, but probably a was truly out in the sticks, with only the change from what cows for company. But in reality it’s only they’re used to.

It’s a great way to meet people, much better than just staying at a backpacking place...

Ruth Stokes

Do you fancy a holiday but want something more meaningful than a week of soaking up sun and Stella in Magaluf? Then try WWOOFing, writes Ruth Stokes

’m sitting on a farm in Cornwall, surrounded by tractors and hens. Jenny Woonton-Smith is telling me about WWOOFing (which I’m relieved to hear has nothing to do with car parks or Stan Collymore). It’s actually, I discover, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – and essentially a free holiday. In return for some hands-on help, you’re provided with bed and board and get to learn how to live off the land. Jenny came to Cornwall as a WWOOFer over a decade ago and loved it so much she ended up staying. This is her 12th year at Keveral Farm. “It’s a really good opportunity, especially if you’re travelling,” she explains. “It’s a great way to meet people, much better than just staying at a backpacking place. I like to know people are really taking care of the land.” The Cornish air has obviously done Jenny some good – she’s more laid back than Snoop Dogg on a Sunday. She’s the sort of person who’ll sing to herself just because she’s happy, and chats like she’s known you all her life. Jenny is part of a community at the farm which consists of 15 adults and nine children, and she grows all her own food. When I arrived she’d just finished transplanting



n and dirty

Tracks ed Cath gets dow


hadn’t understood how to do something, but when I asked him again he started shouting at me. So I just left.” WWOOF does have an official complaints process for cases such as these. At Keveral, it’s Sean O’Neil who looks after the WWOOFers and helps people to get the most from the experience: “I do my best to make sure people learn whatever they want to,” he says. “Most people are travelling around the world, but a lot of them come back. It’s a mutually beneficial experience.” Jenny is eager to spread the word about WWOOFing and its zen-like benefits. “I’ve often thought I’d like to tell people it’s an option. More people should know. If my friends hadn’t told me about WWOOFing, I can’t imagine what my life would be like.”

out on the

organic farm

Farm-based activities throughout the year include horticulture, working in the orchard, making preserves, apple juice and cider and creating veggie boxes. The farm is organic, and aims to promote sustainable living through education and training. The farmers get to meet all sorts of people. WWOOFers come from all over the world and have been as young as 14 and as old as 60. At Keveral, WOOFers usually stay in a beaten-up old caravan. The facilities are pretty basic too – there’s a drop toilet and an outdoor shower.

But it’s all part of the experience, right? WWOOFing is about getting closer to nature, and Jenny has a love of the land unlike anyone else I’ve ever met. For three of the years she’s been at Keveral she lived in a bender – a shelter made from willow branches and tarpaulin. “My friend made it for me,” she remembers. “I love the outside, hearing the owls and the wind in the trees.” This might be a bit much for some, but there are other options. In summer, the farm is filled with paying visitors as well as WWOOFers, who usually have the option of sleeping in a

tent, a tipi or a yurt. If it’s quiet, you can nab one of these instead. Many WWOOF sites offer accommodation with the family, and you’ll probably luck out on home-cooked meals and bottles of mead. But if you’re travelling around a lot and putting yourself in other people’s environments, there’s no guarantee everything will go smoothly. Jenny admits she had one bad experience: “I once stayed with a man who was pretty short tempered. I

help WWOOFers

Many sites offer accommodation and you’ll probably luck out on home-cooked meals and bottles of mead...

WWOOFing e v o l e w Why – it costs in goodwill


an exchange you WOOFing is ve in money what you sa t mething so ng vi nothing, bu gi be ergy. You’ll g small spend in en while helpin nd la e th e, you’ll be or back to m t’s n thrive. Wha es ss efforts (eve ne ur si yo bu housed for d an d fe g gettin tent). if it is only a tly as you’ll you feel sain It also makes to the organic farming ing ll be be contribut the UK you’ you do it in If . t. ng yi en fl t em mov s by no O2 emission saving on C is – WWOOFing ake friends m om to fr le ce op an a pe It’s a ch minded to meet likea great way . ld wor all over the

WWOOF ing s it www.w woof.or es g ve ckdoor m/wwo of For mo re infor mation volunte on s er ing oppor tunit imilar urnalis ies, visit .uk/tra cks

ntonJenny Woo dent si re Smith, r, Fe O O W W e shows off th n atio accommod

The fishing town of Looe is just a 10 minute drive from Keveral Farm

Get invo lved

Food is grown in polytunnels all year round


Rules vary from coun try to cou in the UK ntry, but you have to become member. a WWOOF It costs £ 15 fo reckon it’s worth it. Yo r a year, but we u get a ne to boot. H ell yeah. wsletter You’ll ne ed your own slee waterproo ping bag, f clothing, work glove sturdy pa s and a ir of shoe s or boots good sense . It’s just really. Oh, take direct a ions to the nd remember to farm. If you go to the websi te you’ll fin list of ho sts. Each d a huge of them h a little bit as about the mselves so written take your pick. Swee you can t.

Words and phrases to be used at will Dialect: Cornish Famous Cornish people: King Arthur, Mick Fleetwood, Rory McGrath, Elizabeth Arden Local lingo: Yoom maze – You’re crazy/stupid Where you to? – Where are you? Wet ass no fish – Bad fishing trip Dreckly – Later Hoggen – Pasty Emit – Tourist You! – Hello Cow’s gone dry – Run out of milk Shin out – Run away Squinches – Nooks and crannies Gubbins – Things/stuff Viddy – Right, proper Tiddies – Potatoes

Like Lanson Gaol – All upside down Drunk as a hand cart – More than tipsy Local language (just say what you see): Dith-da – Good day Da-walles – Goodbye Merras – Thank you Pinter-korev mar-pleg – Pint of beer, please Se-wena – Cheers Ass-yoo er-thek an gewer – Awful weather! Ple-man biz-fah? – Where is the toilet? And for the filth buckets among you, some Cornish swearing: Pen-kah – D*ck head Gwen – Bumhole Om-gidger – W*nker Kidge the vez – F**k off Am them gwen – Kiss my ass


Th e

t e a m i t l u

blagger’ lagger s guide

Happy birthday to you

Nothing brings out people’s generosity like a birthday. Pretend it’s your big day and you can blag free booze from all but the poshest of bars, while restaurants will give you more cake than even Michelle McManus can munch. This is genius when you’re travelling as you can celebrate your birthday every day without getting busted.

Illustrations by Catherine Millman Faking fame can often get results, whether it’s free travel, food, or entry to a club. Be confident, dress the part, and in true celeb style, don’t take no for an answer – lack of confidence is a massive giveaway. Don’t get cheeky though – while Johnny Foreigner probably won’t have the foggiest who presents Celebrity Love Island, they’re gonna get suspicious when P Diddy turns up at their kebab house demanding free falafel.

Sell your body

No, we’re not suggesting you start strutting your stuff on street corners. It turns out your body (or bits of it) is worth top dollar when put to use for scientific experiments. Check out universities and hospitals on your travels to see what tests are going on. It’s advisable only to try this in countries with a modern health service where you’re not going to find yourself accidentally selling your liver to the highest bidder.


Your country needs you

Believe it or not, squaddies pay diddlysquat for travel in the UK (as do priests apparently – what better proof that God exists?) The pacifists among you needn’t worry though, you don’t have to join up – just become a member of your local Army Cadet Force. You won’t have to attend more than once, but flash your membership card when buying tickets and it should be good for blagging bargain travel across the UK. Check out www.

Go to a gig, movie or attraction featured on BBC Leicester’s listings and they’ll shout you and a mate your tickets, provided you write a 200 word review of the experience. Pretty jammy for something that will take all of 10 minutes to do (hey, no one said it had to be a good piece of writing did they?) Check out for more details.

Easy rider

Want to see the world for free but don’t have a clue where to start? Ele Cooper and Mike Monypenny show you how to join the jet-setters without flashing your cash

Be Mr Big


Going to London tonight?

Get the train in and, once you’re there, hang around the station looking for people who’ve just finished a day’s shopping. Ask if you can have their travel card (or if you’re feeling flush offer them a couple of quid) – it’s not like they’ve got much use for it now.

Going on a day trip? Test drive a car and travel in style without putting mileage on your old banger. Go to any manufacturer’s website and there’ll be a test drive link – and this is where the blagging comes in. They’ll ask you things like what your current car is, and honesty may not be the best policy if you’re currently driving a 15-year-old Fiat Panda and want to test out a Merc. Be liberal with the truth but don’t lie about your licence or insurance status – a driving ban isn’t worth one day living the life of James Bond.

Blagger’s guide Complain… …Even if it’s been the most wonderful trip of your life. Carry a magnifying glass at all times and keep an eagle eye out for hair in your food and milk it for all it’s worth. Complaining is guaranteed to get you free stuff – food, travel, accommodation – as long as you strike the right balance. There’s no need to be a total git about it, but be firm and hold your ground – ask to speak to the manager if necessary. Or if the thought of confrontation makes you queasy, be super-duperPollyanna nice. Brown-nosing will get you that cheeky extra shot in your drink, immediate upgrade to the VIP room and lots of other lovely things.

Flying high

Many courier companies seek smartlypresented individuals (go on, you know you’ve got a comb somewhere) to take goods overseas from them at short notice. What’s in it for you? A heavily subsidised flight cost, that’s what. Join an organisation like the IAATC who will do the hard work for you and send out alerts when opportunities come up. Visit for more info.

Get the bargain bus

Jordan Burgess, student, 22, Brighton “I was backpacking in Australia. Most people rent camper vans to go up the east coast to Cairns but the companies need people to drive them back, so they hire them out for free. I got free transport in an über-cool VW camper with my mates back down to Sydney.” Sounds like an absolute steal to us. Just remember you can’t book this in advance so it’s a case of taking your chances when you get there, and you’ll be expected to get the van back in a set time. But when it’s all gratis that ain’t so bad. This blag’s definitely worth trying with rental companies outside of Oz – if you know any let us in on it at


Blagger’s guide

Limp your way to the top

Just say no

Haggling is all part of the process when you’re picking up traveller’s tat in far flung markets. You can often pick up the best bargains when you never intended to buy them at all. Simply telling the vendor you’re not interested will prompt them to drop their price faster than Lindsay Lohan drops her pants. In the end it’ll get so low it would be rude not to buy that carved wooden phallus or tie-dyed loincloth, whether you want it or not.

Want the best seat on the plane, or to jump the milelong queue for the new ride at a theme park? Then develop a gammy leg. No need for excessive acting or fake bandages; just walk with a limp, leaning on a friend for support. If the site staff are doing their job you’ll have been given a seat with masses of legroom or be on that rollercoaster before you can say “Where’s my stick?”

Never pay for food again

You are the DJ

Rag Satguru, student, 23, Bristol “My best blag was at Fabric in London last year. Justice were playing the main room and I knew that they were coming down to Bristol later that month. I told security I was the promoter putting them on in Bristol and they let me into the DJ booth, so I spent the rest of the set raving it up in the box in front of about 2000 people.” More often than not, club security don’t have a clue who the DJs are. Turn up with a record bag, a pair of sunnies and an entourage and tell the bouncer you’re on next and in a hurry. You’ll not only get in free but will get to jump the queue of lesser mortals who are freezing their knackers off outside.


Copper load of this

Farmers’ markets and food fairs are an absolute goldmine if you’re hungry and penniless. Free samples are the name of the game – just walk up and down trying all the different cheeses, breads and bizarre conserves you can possibly manage until you’re fuller than Hannibal Lecter after a particularly successful Saturday night. If the market’s shut, get down and dirty: don some rubber gloves and take a page out of freeganism’s book by rifling through shop bins and “liberating” abandoned, packaged, perfectly good grub.

Inspector Gadget

Let’s face it, Trackers have opinions which they love to share – and why not earn a free night’s sleep for your thoughts? The Courtyard Marriott Newark (USA not Nottinghamshire) will offer you complimentary accommodation if you fill in a survey for Delaware University on the innovative products they like to test out in the room – including… er… remote control luminary pillars (no, we don’t have a clue why they would exist either). Interested? See

There’s room at the inn

It might be 2000 years late, but last Christmas Eve Travelodge let all couples named Mary and Joseph stay absolutely free. Hallelujah! If you’re one of these blessed twosomes, you too can cash in on the season of goodwill and get a guaranteed Christmas pressie, whether you’ve been naughty or nice. If, however, you were unlucky enough to be christened Cuthbert and Prudence and this just seems like a another name-based kick in the teeth, change your names by Deed Poll today and get a double-dose of Christmas cheer.

Blagger’s guide

C’mon, admit it; we all have secret copper collections – and it’s time for your piggy bank to see the light of day. Try to pay for things with your pennies and you’ll be amazed by how much free stuff you get, especially in rushed situations like boarding a bus. The driver won’t want a load of coppers and so, nine times out of 10, will wave away your (perfectly legal) cash and let you past for free. The accompanying scowl will be a small price to pay, especially compared to the money you’ve just saved.

Bribery gets you everywhere Colin Scott, journalist, 30, Cardiff

Get cultural

Research a city before you visit and find out if there are any gallery openings that weekend. Chances are there will be so turn up, schmooze, glug free wine, nibble on canapés – and check out the exhibition if you remember.

“I met some Irish guys in La Paz, Bolivia during a government versus workers face-off which was crippling the country’s public transport. Most people were either stuck in Bolivia or faced massive flight costs. These lads decided to just walk up to a Bolivian air force base and ask for a lift to La Paz. As you’d expect, the base commander told them where to go – until the guys offered him $1,000 (roughly 50 quid each). They were soon on a private air force piloted trip to the Bolivian capital.” While bribery isn’t technically blagging, you’ve got to marvel at the balls on these guys for sweet-talking the armed forces of a corrupt police state. This sort of blag isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you fancy flying in style it’s definitely worth a shot. If you’ve got a similar story, or you got busted and want to write to us from jail, email us at


What’s your favourite venue in the UK?

It would probably be the Water Rats in Kings Cross. I just really like the stage. I always feel like there should be Victorian puppets on strings hanging down, dancing behind me. And I always liked the mood of the place.

Simon Price Glam DJ Simon Price gives Tracks tips for a free ride in the big city

I’ve headlined the backstage VIP bar at the Reading Festival three years running (I’ll never forget getting Franz Ferdinand dancing on the tables). But the fact is that Stay Beautiful is my favourite place to play. I’ve never known such a responsive, enthusiastic crowd.

What would be the best way to blag our way into your club for free?

You know the legend of Androcles removing the thorn from the lion’s paw? That’s how it works. People who’ve done us a good turn in some way over the years, whether by lending us some equipment or performing live, always get guestlisted. Also, our street team of flyer distributors get in free. Plus the usual array of chancers, blaggers, fellow DJs and journalists... In fact, it’s a wonder we make any money at all!

Stay Beautiful is a club night held at the Purple Turtle in Camden on the first Saturday of every month. It’s just round the corner from Mornington Crescent tube at 65 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TN. Visit to make sure you don’t miss out. If you have time, go to the Hope & Anchor pub across the road for a tipple first. It oozes character and provides a nice warm-up session for the crazy night ahead! Oh and don’t forget to keep an ear out for the Watering Can song… Check out the club night to see what we’re talking about!

yes E y a h X-R t i W Boys

Blow jobs and beers usually do it, but a sweet smile and backrub can sometimes work. [Laughs.] Seriously though, just send us a message – if we can guestlist you we will.

What would be the best way to get to party with you after the show?

Take our gear home for us and pay my bills, then maybe I could actually afford go out after the show. Just follow us, chances are we already asked you if you know how to sponsor a donkey.

Go to to check out when the lads will be terrorising a venue near you.


Be a friend of mine or a member of my family. If you don’t fall under those categories then maybe a little jig would do it. I like a good jig.

What would be the best way to get to party with you afterwards? Probably to act normally and not be all weird. Someone who makes me laugh and seems like a decent person.

The Monto Water Rats Theatre can be found at 328 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8BZ. The nearest tube station is Kings Cross. Expect everything from folk to old school rock’n’roll at this small but charming venue. Upcoming gigs include Minus, INME, Kill The Arcade and Ginger from The Wildhearts. See for full listings and detailed directions. Amy’s single Chasing The Light is out on April 21 and her album My Paper Made Men follows a week later on April 28. Find out more about Amy on and


Drummer Glen, from South Wales punks Haddonfield, talks Doritos and breaches of university security with Tracks

These Newport hardcore legends recommend sure-fire ways to get on their guestlist

What would be the best way to blag our way backstage at your gig?

How would Tracks get onto your guestlist? Donald Christie

You’re a resident DJ at Stay Beautiful in London. But is that your favourite place to play?

Indie’s newest sensation reminisces about London and says she wants to party with common people like you!

Any crazy tour stories you want to share?

When we played Lampeter University things got wild. We were crashing into random halls of residence, walking into people’s kitchens and sitting on their laps eating their soup. Then I thought it’d be funny to fill my own shoes with toothpaste. We walked round the campus causing trouble until 5am but the security guards were pleasant and let us roam. There are other details, but they’re too dirty.

Where is your favourite place to play in the UK?

The cellar bar in the Gwesty in Brynmawr. It’s a 60-capacity venue but it has the best atmosphere. Plus it’s our local so it’s just like a big party with our closest friends.

What would be the best way to blag our way onto the guestlist and get into your gig for free? Doritos, cigs – and you’d have to be dressed as Jesus.

How do we get to party with you after? Just ask us… And bring beer.

To find out when these Dorito-loving punks are playing next, check out

Check out Tracks Online for full uncut interviews.


Courtesy of the bands

Tracks gets a backstage pass and finds out the cheapest ways to party the night away from those in the know

Amy Studt

Interviews: Laura Johnson

Tracks on tour

Our guide to what’s big, brash or downright bizarre in the Trackersphere this month



As a result, the book may be passed off as outdated, but the influence it had on many modern heroes means it shouldn’t be dismissed. Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison cite the book as a massive inspiration, and recently Russell Brand and Matt Morgan retraced Kerouac’s steps for a BBC4 documentary. This is worth a watch as Brand plays Moriarty to Morgan’s Paradise and the documentary demonstrates the spirit of the travellers perfectly. The book was a huge cult hit and continues to inspire today: “On The Road made me get off my backside, study American literature and then do the trip,” says Dan Hooper, 23, Exeter. On The Road should be on any Tracker’s kit list. The guys, although flawed, have the right idea – get up and go! And what more of a recommendation do you need than Bob Dylan’s statement, “It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s.”

Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady

Find out more about the Beat generation and Kerouac himself at The Beat Museum in San Francisco. Visit for more details To recreate your own Kerouac experience, visit to start planning your trip. There are blogs and podcasts as well as several routes which you can follow. For ultimate impact rent an open-topped car and stop off at the poetry and jazz open mics which still embody the Beat spirit. On the road is published by penguin and is priced £7.99 at all good book shops.

Custom culture

A decade of discovery

For Trackers interested in custom art, whether it be tattoos or vintage cars, Ink & Iron is a vital addition to your calendar. The tattoo convention and custom bike show will be held at the Pavilion next to the NEC Arena just outside Birmingham on April 12-13. It’s close to the airport and train station so transport won’t be a problem. Entertainment includes live suspension shows from Kamelyan and Captain Howdy’s Flying Circus, including a freak show.

Chris Hatton will be tattooing all weekend at Ink & Iron

Call 020 8455 7563 or email to book yourself a place.

Pre-booked tickets cost £13 for one day and £ £23 for two days. £ For more visit or ring 0121 780 4141 .

If you like art but want a change from Monét and da Vinci, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London is a welcome break from the world of been there, done that. Specialising in Futurism, which happily embraces the technological possibilities of the future, the gallery is celebrating its 10th birthday with an exhibition of 120 Italian works from the early 20th century, including Futurist figureheads like Bala. The exhibition is open until April 6 at 39A Canonbury Square. Call 020 7704 9522 or visit for more info.

Joanne Grew, Jenna Harris, Laura Johnson and Steve Robinson

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is an essential read for any Tracker. Sarah Kershaw discovers why

With 12 races over six months, British Cycling’s Road Series is the UK’s answer to the Tour de France. The second race is hosted by Girvan in West Scotland and involves a gruelling three-day slog over 250 miles of steep Scottish countryside, staggered over four stages. Following the progress of the race makes for a great trip, but watch out for hair-raising turns and inevitable crashes as the cyclists tear their way around the routes. Our advice: don’t stand on a sharp corner. See for details.

Delve into the world of Buddhism and learn how to beat stress with an introduction to meditation at the Heruka Centre in London. The guided lesson gives you advice from the experts on how to tackle the hassles of everyday life, as well as a chance to ask questions. The lessons run on April 26 and June 28 from 10am-1pm and you will be given lunch afterwards, all for £20 – a tad cheaper than a visit to the Dalai Lama!

Umberto Boccioni, Modern Idol,

Beats dreaming lthough it’s been 50 years since his character was immortalised, Dean Moriarty would have been a pretty wild Tracker. Inspired by jazz, poetry and spiritual discovery, often achieved via a load of marijuana, the “slightly crazed” hero of Kerouac’s legendary novel takes a trip across America on Route 66. Sal Paradise (based on Kerouac) narrates the tale, basing Moriarty on his best mate, fellow Beat originator and general drug-taking crazy man Neal Cassady. This is the ultimate road trip story. The book inspired an entire generation of Beat poets and musicians, post-war rebels searching for a meaning to life with a lust for new experiences, mindaltering substances and lots of women. When the book was released many were appalled by the reminiscences of sex and drug-fuelled encounters, but today it’s the occasional racist and sexist sentences that may offend.

Morning meditation

©Tom Bruce

Tracker’s Mixtap e

Lynn Roberts

tain Tour de Bri


Tracks comes over all cultural with a classic read and tunes that are guaranteed to kill bus-based boredom.

Get involved

Matt Loge

On the road


Shitty shitty bang bang

Alex Gray, 25, did the Mongol Rally in 2006

Fancy driving halfway round the world with only your mates and an old rust bucket called Amanda for company? Sometimes it’s the journey, not the destination, that creates lifelong memories, writes Laura Murphy

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of doing the Mongol Rally. “Seeing as our lives weren’t really that exciting at the time we thought it would be a brilliant challenge,” explains Alex. “The chance to drive through 25 countries in such a small space of time and sample them from a completely different perspective was too good an opportunity to pass up.” To take part in the race, teams must raise over £1000 for a good cause, and so the lads started collecting for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation and Cancer Research Wales. They raised money through themed nights in pubs and asked friends, family and local businesses for sponsorship. Another condition of the Mongol Rally is that your car has to be, well, crap. The organisers reckon that the threat of your vehicle falling to pieces en route makes the race a lot more interesting, and so cars can only be entered if they have a one litre engine or less. Alex and the others turned to eBay to come up with the goods, and found a red and yellow Fiat Panda which they named Amanda. The final rule is that once you’re out there, you are completely on your

Another condition is that your car has to be, well, crap – the threat of it falling to pieces makes the race a lot more interesting...


ou’re in the middle of nowhere in a car that, quite frankly, defies the laws of physics, the map says you’re in the capital city but you’re actually on a dirt track that’s slowly turning into desert, and all you’ve got with you are a few jerry cans of water, a screwdriver and a rather irate man waving a gun in your general direction. This ain’t no beach holiday – welcome to the Mongol Rally. It was started in 2001 by two bored mates who decided that the only thing left to do with their clapped out Fiat was to drive it to the ends of the earth. Seven years on, the Mongol Rally annually attracts hundreds of adrenaline junkies from all over Europe who set off from London and attempt to drive the 5,000 miles to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, raising thousands of pounds for charity along the way. One of these thrill seekers is Alex Gray, 25, a civil servant from Cardiff, who in 2006 set off with 166 other teams in a bid to make it halfway across the globe on wits and petrol alone. While working at the Welsh Assembly, Alex met Dave, Stuart and Michael, and it was during a lunch break that Stuart brought up the idea

enjoy the The lads kick back and drive view after a hard day’s

own, regardless of what insanity the weather, the route or the gun-toting local soldiers decide to throw at you. With the car in place and the visas eventually sorted via the Mongol Rally organisers, the lads were ready to roll. On July 22 2006, they set off for the Mongolian capital from London’s Hyde Park with their three weeks’ allowed journey time in front of them. Fortunately for both their personal space and their sanity, the guys had managed to bag a second Fiat Panda (named Pamela) for the trip, and they drove in convoy towards the Channel crossing. So far, so good – until they hit the continent, that was. “We had to contend

with a burst tyre soon after crossing into France,” Alex explains. “It was past midnight and we were on a French motorway. But in fairness to Amanda, she was a real trooper and only gave us that one problem” – until her untimely death, later in the journey… After this minor hiccup, the guys soon settled into a rhythm. “We entered the race separately but travelled in a fairly flexible convoy – a bit like ‘we’re off to Bosnia, see you in Turkey’,” says Alex. It wasn’t all plain sailing, however. “Obviously being in such close quarters to someone for hours, days, even weeks at a

time can be frustrating,” he admits. “We’d not only be in the same car for 14 hours or more at a time but we would then be sleeping in a tent or even never leaving the car! It would only be through tiredness that any frustrations were vented. Like when I’d been driving for nine hours straight from Bulgaria to Istanbul – I nearly crashed through lack of sleep and that led to a shouting match with Dave.” Having chosen to take a southern route, which involved skirting round Turkey and driving through Kazakhstan, arguments over what music to play quickly became the least of their worries.

Route map

It was at the crossing from Iran into Turkmenistan that the fun really started: the border patrol guards insisted on a (highly dubious) “border charge” and the lads didn’t have enough cash to pay it. “After hours of discussion, they allowed myself and my friend Stuart to pass through on foot so we could make our way to the capital, Ashgabat, to get money,” explains Alex. “This meant leaving Dave and Mike with the cars in no man’s land for the night. At one point, the guards forced them from their tent at gunpoint and accused them of being spies – until one of them realised they were being a little overzealous and told the others to leave Dave and Mike alone.” Stuart and Alex attempted to return to their friends the next day but found they were not allowed within 20 miles of it. Alex remembers, “We had to entrust a taxi driver with $300. He would drive it to


e, Once you’re out ther you’re on your own, regardless of what g insanity the gun-totin soldiers decide to throw at you…

The Mongol Rally is now open for entrants for 2009, and the waiting list is guaranteed to be huge. Grab a place for your team at As you’re on your own after leaving the starting line, it’s best to have a little more knowledge of how a car works than being aware that if you put petrol in, it goes. If you haven’t got any grease-monkey mates you can drag along, then you could always go on a short mechanics course so that a burst tyre doesn’t result in you hitchhiking home. Try asking around at local colleges for more info. Alex Gray, who competed in the Mongol Rally in 2006, reckons the two most important qualities for prospective participants are patience and perseverance. He admits

34 34

that there can be communication difficulties, but says there’s no better way of getting to visit places you would never otherwise see. If you fancy staying closer to home, why not try your own UK rally? Grab yourself a cheap motor from eBay or the small ads, making sure it’s roadworthy of course, and come up with a route. If you’re stuck for ideas on where to visit, we’ve got guides to all areas of Britain on our website – check out Asia not your thing? The guys behind the Mongol Rally are starting up a sister race to Cameroon. If an African safari seems a bit tame, this could be right up your street. See for details.

Fancy a real adventure?

“I went on a la ds’ holiday to Cancún and m this girl I really et liked. I got chat ting to her in a on our first nigh bar t and then pulle wanted to go to d her. My mates th e ne xt bar so I gave he and we texted r my number a few times an d arranged to that week. We meet up later went to a fish restaurant and soup as a star I ordered fish ter. All of a sudd throat; I star te en a bone got d choking. I trie stuck in my d drinking wat and I was gett er but that didn ing really emba ’t help rrassed. Then people were st things got wor aring. Just as se and the waiter was threw up in m about to hit m y lap. Things fi y ba zz ck, I led out with th at least the fish e girl shor tly af bone was out ter but of my throat.” Tim Green , 24, Birmi Own up to your ngham travel horror st ories at and if it gets pr inted you’ll win /tracks a Tracks whoop ee cushion. N ice. “I went on a uni trip to Copenhagen and when some co urse mates and I saw a skate park, we decided to have a go – minus the ska teboards. We were messing around, run ning up and down the ramps, and I de cided to try jumping off the highest one. Big mistake. I lande d on my side and caug ht my heel so it twisted funny. I ende d up spending the rest of the holiday wit h a major limp.”

Bam Williams, 24,


“I went on a girly ho liday to Kos a few years ago. We were sunbathing by the pool on our first day an d I fell asleep in the sun, so my hilarious frie nds decided to wr ite “Jen 2005” on my back in sun cream .I went clubbing tha t night wearing a str appy top and it wasn’t un til I got back to the hotel room that the y told me to look in the mirror. I was horrifi ed! I’ll be more ca reful next time I fall aslee p.”

Jenny Seedhous e, 21, Hull

Just as the waiter was about to hit my back, I threw up in my lap...

years ago to Italy a few “When I went d to put de ci nd, we de with my boyfrie y and have a on lc ba w e th on ng on the pillo the mattress ening. I was lyi ev t to -li le ed nd ag ca an romantic fire! We m it had caught rnt rag. with a half-bu when I realised ft le re we d an e ly az al bl tu e en th t ev put ou th it but what to do wi e rooftop th to on We didn’t know it w ro ng decided to th the next morni my boyfriend were awoken e , W or . do r om ro ou r below ou er banging on angry manag ed on the nd la d ha w by the hotel’s llo because the pi en we left.” shouting at us arged €50 wh ch re we e stol W ! hotel’s sign , 24, Bri

lor Emma Tay

“My friend Ro bin and I rent ed out a ridiculously po werful speed boat when we were in Cy prus. We ende d up in an area that we ’d been told no to and the boat t to go rudders got a bit stuck, so I decided to fl oor the throttl e. Unfortunate this led to the ly motor getting hot and catchi fire – not cool ng ! We dived of f the boat and randomly got picked up by tw o gi who took us to rls on jet skis this huge yach t, as the coas was miles away t . We climbed aboard only to find that it wa s full of incred ib ly hot women, who were all pr ofessional mod els wearing bikinis or less , and they love d us for havin English accent g s. Awesome!” Jay

esh Chauh an, 2

2, Cardiff

“After a skiing holiday in Canada I decided to go back and get a job there. When we arrived in Kelowna, we didn’t have anywhere to stay so we left our bags at the central reservations office and went drinking. We noticed Josh, the guy in charge of the snow school, and we staggered over and asked him for a job. We weren’t expecting much but he told us we could start the next morning. All our clothes were still in the central reservations office. After getting up extra early to collect them, we then had to get changed in the store cupboard, which had a stiff door. We were stuck! Terrified we’d be late for work, we banged and banged on the door until a worker let us out. We got some very dodgy looks!”

Michael Carvell, 22, Leamington Spa

train “I was travelling on an overnight and in Thailand and was really tired opposite hungover. My friend Joe was sat er doing me and the last thing I rememb him. I before I fell asleep was talking to head my nd fi to later s woke up a few hour lder! I resting on an old Thai man’s shou he didn’t shyly smiled and apologised but long I’d seem to mind. I dread to think how for.” that like ping slee been


mbridg Clare Harris, 21, Ca

Canada: Bluelemur,

the only Fiat Pandas Amanda and Pamela were e weeks entir two for had lads the female company

to what the rest of the world is like.” Despite their best efforts, Amanda finally gave up on them in Kazakhstan, 1500 miles from the finish line. Nevertheless, Alex believes his memories of the trip will remain with him forever, especially crossing over from Europe to Asia in Istanbul. “The sense of achievement that we had made it to a whole new continent was fantastic, and the view crossing over the Bosphorus at that time of day was something I don’t think I will ever forget,” he says. “The sun was setting and there was a red tint to the sky. Looking over and seeing Asia was almost surreal. We may not have reached Mongolia but there aren’t many people who can say they drove through Tehran with the locals waving and smiling at them, are there? Some of the sights were straight out of a Lonely Planet book and it really is an entirely different way of seeing the world.”

Interviews: Joanne Grew

into a whole range of locals willing to give the four crazy Brits the insider’s guide to their territory. “We met one man in Tehran who pulled over behind us when we’d been stopped by the police,” says Alex. “He spoke excellent English and said he would help if needs be. Luckily he had no reason to but he asked if we wanted him to show us around Tehran. So we followed his car to a car park and he then proceeded to take us on a tour of the city. It really does open your eyes

our friends who would then, hopefully, be allowed through. Seeing them arrive two hours later was quite a relief – and then they told us that the guards only wanted $11 in the end to enter the country!” Thankfully this was the only point of the trip that put the lads in danger. Along the way, they bumped

el v a tr r .. u . o s Y -up k c co



“The Gherkin” by Ele Cooper, 22, Buckinghamshire









Sh G ooo t



















Think you can do better?


Post photos of your latest adventures at and you could win a week in the Castle Keep in Quin, Ireland for you and 15 of your mates with £3000 spending money to share on banquets and horse riding – tally-ho! You must have a valid passport and be free during July 2008. Visit for more details.




Backpack sized mag for travellers and adventurers on a budget