Meet my European Sponsors

As you are reading this I am on a plane on my way to Dublin, Ireland to start a little over 2 months in Western Europe. The articles on my website follow my timeline pretty dead on but are always about a month behind where I actually am in the world (my facebook fans are generally the only ones other than my Mom that knows where I am each day). However, I will take this break today to tell you that 1) I am going to Europe and 2) I have a little bit of help from some great sponsors.


Where I’m going…

Travelling Western Europe can be expensive, and the truth is that the cost is the biggest reason I’ve put off extended travel in the region.  However, thanks in large part to a couple of sponsors I’m about to spend 2 and half months there as I make my way from Dublin to Seville before heading into Africa (my next big adventure).  I will be making most of the journey via the backs of European trains and, as usual, staying at hostels along the way.

I make no bones about what I am getting from these sponsors and have outlined my affiliation with them below. is exactly what it sounds like: an online booking agent for hostels.  I have been using for a long time now.  I actually use them over competitors because they don’t have a booking fee (it really annoys me that some take a “fee” from users on top of the commission they receive). 

What has done for me so far has gone far beyond what I could have asked from them.  Basically, I tossed them the dates I was planning on being in certain cities and they spun back in a couple of days and said that they worked out a deal with a hostel in that destination.  I will not only be staying in dorms, but they have even found a couple private rooms for me as well as some cozy bed and breakfasts.

In return, I’m going to be providing some reviews on the accommodation I stayed with.  Please note that I have warned each hostel that I am a bit of a hostel snob and I will judge each hostel with the harshness of the snobbiest critic.  I am a journalist, and I will report the property as I see and experience it.

Anyways, has just announced their Awards of Excellence which are put together based on their experiences and the thousands of reviews that pour in about the hostels each week.  Check out the award winners here. They put together a little youtube video too:


I have to say that I’m stoked to have Eurail as a sponsor as well.  I have wanted to travel Europe by train since I was little, and probably would have used one of their passes even if they weren’t my sponsor.  Basically, what they do is provide passes that cover train travel across Europe.  You can buy single country passes, multiple country passes, or even a global pass which covers most of Euope.  That is what I got hooked up with.

My global pass allows me 10 full days of travel across any of the affiliate countries over a 3 month pass.  My train travel will be: Calais->Paris->Bern->Milan->Marseille->Barcelona->Madrid->Lisbon->Porto->Seville.  However, if you really wanted to get your money’s worth you could use the same pass to do something like: Paris->Amsterdam-> Copenhagen->Prague->Zurich->Venice->Milan->Barcelona->Madrid-… (well, you get the idea).  Especially if you’re travelling long distances, getting a Eurail pass will save you some coin better spent on wine, beer, scotch… (well, you get the idea).

I will be writing about my experiences on the trains in Europe extensively, as it is my main mode of transportation – and it is for most people that travel Europe.


Look for Europe content starting shortly, until then I have articles coming up from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and New York City.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Berlin is notably missing on your Europe travel plans!

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    • Adam, I know… I wanted to squeeze it in but it was just a little too far out of my way. I have a commitment in Morocco early May so I really had to skip through pretty quickly!

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  2. What an amazing journey ahead of you. I hope you have a magnificent time and look forward to each and every update!

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    • Thanks Jeff, I’m really excited to be starting something new. The truth is that I was starting to get a little bit “numb” in Latin America. Hopefully this kick starts me again!

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  3. Sounds like a fantastic 2 1/2 months! If you’re at a loss for things to do in London (not likely, I know!), don’t hesitate to ask.

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    • Thanks Megan, I’ll be in London for about 5 days at the end of March… I may take you up on your offer 😀

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  4. It sounds like a fabulous trip. I am a closet train spotter so ultra jealous! Some people I know were telling me how good the hostel site you are using is, so I am looking forward to your reviews.

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    • It should be fun riding the rails for sure Val. I’m really excited for a new type of adventure!

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  5. Wow you won’t even get across the channel before the end of March? How sad, everybody I’ve been reading will have missed me completely obliterating my first European travels (and I will be flying right past you in 4 days :P)

    2 weeks in Switzerland and 2 weeks in Germany (so far) I may be leaving for Argentina towards the end of March; given how much ground you’d have to cover I figured you’d be somewhere between Belgium/France/Germany/Switzerland areas by mid March

    I’m glad sponsors like these guys help travelers like you on a budget get to travel on their dime so have fun with the photography and hostels :).

    Post a Reply
    • Shannon – It’s too bad. I wanted to spend a lot of time in the UK since I have loads of friends here. Once I hit the mainland it’s more of a race to get to Morocco. Have fun in Argentina, it’s one of my favs!

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  6. Can’t wait to see europe’s version through your eyes Brendan. Plus you’re visiting my-at least up to now-favorite places in the continent :Seville and Paris.
    Keep up the good spirit -we surely need it here in Greece!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Reny, One day I’ll get to Greece too I promise. I’ve heard lots of good things about Seville and actually added it to my schedule because of those recommendations. Cheers!

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  7. I’m sure this is going to be a great trip. I would love to return to Europe but, as you said, it’s so expensive. Wales and Italy were my very favorite spots. Even though I studied German and lived in Dresden for a while, these countries trump Germany. I hope you have a blast!

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    • Thanks Sabina – I really wish I had time to visit Germany as well!

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  8. HI Brendon,
    When in Dubin, make sure you take a tour of the Croke Park – home of Gaelic Football and Hurling – its a must see! ( their Museum too)
    Also, make sure you go into Donegal Co – many people forget to go there – but the freindliness of the music pubs, and old ruins and trekking will not let you down.
    If weather permits, make sure you get to the “Skelligs” off The Ring of Kerry – amazing place and don’t miss the chance to “walk the staircase to heaven”.
    While there – discover the monument to St Brendan….. you’ll be thankful 🙂
    The arceological sites were fantasitc although at times hard to find.. but worth the effort once you do.
    I just came back from Ireland in Jan so l hope the weather stops raining for you and the sun shines down on your path!!
    all the best,

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks so much for the tips Anthea, I really appreciate them. Especially the one about visiting the monument to St Brendan :D.

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  9. Looking forward to be seeing you in London!

    Are you hitting Leeds or York in the North of England?


    Post a Reply
    • Ed, we’ll have fun in London I’m sure. Maybe we can find you a wife!? Anyways, I don’t have time to hit up everywhere in England I would like as I have a commitment to keep in Morocco at the start of May. Don’t worry, I’ll get there some day.

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