Christmas Backpacking Adventures in the Snowy Hills: Aspen, USA

Two Skiers AspenAspen is the kind of place that intrepid travellers aspire to visit by any means necessary. Whether you’re a huge fan of skiing or snowboarding, a person who simply wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of cities, or simply an individual looking to recreate the epic journey of Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber, Aspen could be the perfect place for you to start or finish a holiday as a backpacker in 2012.

The Colorado-based city is described by its Teletext Holidays guide as the company’s “favourite American resort”, though it goes on to claim that “it has everything we look for – except, obviously, convenience”. For this reason, it serves as the perfect place for people to make their own way to. While it is still an option to transfer to Denver on a flight from one of the main airports of the US, the chance to backpack from somewhere like Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago or New Orleans could be one of the most life-affirming experiences you may ever have.

While the chance to join in on festivities has passed for 2011, the Christmas period for Aspen is one of the busiest and most exciting periods. There are a bunch of free holiday activities that will undoubtedly keep visitors happy in the “12 Days of Aspen”, an event held in a large number of venues across the city for skiers and snowboarders alike.

After making your own way to Aspen, you will find it to be the best place to relax and unwind. Due to its 6,000 or so residents, the town-like atmosphere of the area gives peace and tranquillity – something even reflected on its world-class slopes. These boast perfect snow conditions for sportsmen and women of all abilities, while partnering resorts at Snowmass and the Aspen Highlands spoil you for choice if you want to go slightly further afield.

Aspen Mountain View

While Aspen boasts the most expensive property prices in the US, it still remains to be an attractive old-style mining town that drew investment from the silver boom in the late 1800s. For this reason, it is packed with restaurants, bars and shops – both general and specialist – that can cater to the needs of anyone who wants to spend their final few dollars after a long backpacking trip across the States.

Skiing in Aspen5 Things Not to Miss in Aspen:

  • The Aspen Art Museum is free every day.
  • Ambassador Program – Ambassadors offer free mountain tours daily at 10.30am.
  • Free sing-a-long and Kids crafts occur weekly by the campfire at Snowmass base.
  • Hallam Lake – walk the half mile nature trail loop.
  • The Red Brick centre for the arts – rotating exhibitions, watch the artists at work and browse the shop.

Of course, it may be perfect for Aspen to be a penultimate stop-off. Given its isolation from the rest of Colorado, it may be worth finishing your adventure in Grand Junction, Denver or Colorado Springs. Just ensure you plan well – Aspen’s not the easiest place to get to!

This is a featured post from Teletext Holidays.

A Guide to Travel Vaccinations When Backpacking Around the World

Planning holidays to exotic destinations is always exciting, but it’s vital make sure you are protected against tropical diseases and plan ahead to get vaccinations in good time before you leave. Some vaccinations need time to kick in, so you should contact your doctor at least 8 weeks before departure.


Although you cannot be immunised or vaccinated against malaria, there are several precautions you can take that reduce the risk. Malarone tablets are particularly good for areas like East Africa, where the disease has become resistant to chloroquine, and typically only need to be taken one to two days before travelling and for a week after the return journey.

Wearing long-sleeved clothing, using insect repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net will also protect against mosquito bites, a primary transmitter of malaria. Bear in mind that not all accommodation facilities will provide a net, so if in doubt, bring your own.

Mosquito Bite - Malaria

Tetanus, diphtheria and polio

Most people in the UK will have had the combined vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria and polio as children, but if you are travelling to an area where these diseases are prevalent, you will need to have completed a primary course of the vaccine and have had a booster in the last ten years.


Typhoid spreads through contaminated food and water, and it is recommended to get a vaccination if you are travelling to Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia and South America. The vaccine provides protection against the disease for one to three years, but even if you’ve had the jab it is recommended to take precautions. Avoid drinking tap water and eating food from street vendors in these regions.

Travellers VaccinationsCholera

Cholera is now uncommon in most parts of the world, even the relatively higher-risk locations like India, Bangladesh and sub-Saharan Africa. However, outbreaks do still occur and travellers should be sure to only drink sealed bottled water, avoid raw foods and maintain good personal hygiene when travelling in these regions.

If you are going to a place where there is an on-going cholera epidemic, there is an oral vaccine called Dukoral that should be taken well in advance of travelling, as the immunisation course must be completed one week prior to exposure.

Hepatitis A

Travellers to the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Central and South America should consider a vaccination against Hepatitis A, although a blood test can reveal whether you are already immune to the virus. If you are not, you will need an injection four to six weeks before you travel, and a subsequent booster shot between six and 12 months later.

Hepatitis B

South-east Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands are the places where Hepatitis B is most common. Three injections of the vaccine over the course of four to six months, which should be completed two months prior to departure, are necessary to be fully protected against the virus.

Get more tips for backpacking around the world on our travel tips page!

This is a sponsored post

Iguazu Falls: Backpacking Photo of the Week #26

It’s been quiet for a while on the Backpacking Photo of the Week series, but it’s come back with a vengeance this week in Iguazu Falls. Not difficult to take a good photo in this incredible area, whether you’re on the Brazilian or Argentinian side.

You can spend hours on end wandering the area and being wowed by the power of the waterfalls, this particular shot was taken on the Brazilian side and captures even the spiders taking in the vistas…

Iguazu Falls View

For more photo fun on the road see the rest of the Backpacking Photo of the Week series