Benefits of Traveling

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us” -John Steinbeck. Traveling has historically been considered one of the most telling aspects about a person -how smart they must be, how important they are, etc. Many of these assumptions still hold true today. Just think of the people you’ve met that spend their life traveling; they’re usually the life of the party, the ones that steal the show, and the people who seem the most well-rounded. So why is it, when people dream of their life, traveling is a luxury? If we put such high status on it, and have dreams of it our whole life, why don’t we just go?

It’s because we fear change. We’re afraid that going out to experience world’s foreign to our own, will show us how small we really are. The world can seem like a big place, and to think that at any point in time we could theoretically just leave and go wherever, is absolutely terrifying. But maybe its the way we’re looking at it. We always say that there are so many benefits to traveling, but I’m willing to bet that if someone asked them off the top of our head, we’d stumble over our words. So here are some thing’s to consider about traveling, and why it could be the best option for you.

  1. Your world view becomes much bigger. This seems a little redundant to point out (because obviously you’ll see more of the world), but I’m talking about the internal view. It allows you to step back, and see how small your problems are and gives you that space to let more things go. This makes you more peaceful within yourself, when you let go of all the internal baggage that this bigger perspective allows you to do.
  2. It infringes on the monotony that can come with adult life. We all fear being stuck on a schedule and routine that we seemingly can’t break free from; its why so many of us dread adult life, and leaving our ‘childhood’ behind. When you get the opportunity to travel, your changing up that routine, letting the good parts about being an adult come out, like freedom, and ability to make spontaneous decisions. Traveling gives back an aspect of life you may have forgotten about.
  3. You get to share you’re own culture with others. This may seem culturally-impearlistic, but when you think about how different people live all across the world, then you’re bound to find someone that wants to know about your culture, just as much as you’re curious about theirs! You’re life is wildly different from other peoples – that’s just a fact of life. When you go out and share with people who are looking for the same kind of experience you are, your able to quantify how great your small world really is, and you may find yourself feeling better about where you’re from

How to Pack for Traveling Abroad

Exploring different countries across the world is something everybody dreams of doing. But when the opportunity finally rolls around to go, it can be a little intimidating. Aside from the whole “Oh my gosh I’m going to be in a different country, do I know the language and customs that well?” shock, starting to pack for those trips is a monster of a challenge in itself. I mean, this isn’t one of those two day trips that forgetting to pack pj’s is acceptable – I’ll be in another freakin’ country! Imagine if you forgot something more valuable, like a phone charger (oh the horrors!). But seriously -packing for a trip that big is a big deal, so here are the absolutely-most-necessary-should-not-touch-the-front-door-without items that will ensure safe and fun travels!

  1. Your favorite book/reading material. Travel takes time, and time spent reading, is time well spent. Don’t bring a book that you’re iffy about or think ‘I’ll get around to it eventually!’ Chances are, you’ve been avoiding that book for a deeper reason. So bring something that you know you’ll be able to get really invested in, and can re-read it multiple times.
  2. Universal Plug Adapter. Electricity is found nearly entirely around the world – universally standard outlets are not. Having the forethought to bring this adapter will also save the scrutiny of the hotel lobby for being that ‘one American who pretended to have lost their adapter’. No one wants that attention, and if you have your adapter, it will fall to some other tourist.
  3. Guidebooks/Maps. I get that many people want to be spontaneous and just walk around where they please, but you’ll have to get back at some point. Using the maps in the hotel lobby, or event getting a few beforehand can be very useful for your trip.
  4. Travel Documents. And probably a photocopy of those – and maybe a back up for those? The point is, this is the most essential item to your trip running smoothly. If you loose your passport, the scenario that played out in Sex In The City 2 will not be the scenario that happens to you – you will not run back to the shoe stand to a happily awaiting local who kept you passport in mint condition, all while looking as fabulous as Carrie Bradshaw does. Life will be much more complicated, and may hinder your other travel plans.
  5. A frisbee. It sounds crazy, but one of the most regarded item to bring along, from many different travel sites, is a frisbee! It’s lightweight, slim, good as a plate, or a seat – and everyone in the world knows how to play frisbee. It’s a great way to engage with the people around you, regardless of a language barrier.

So, wether you’re heading to England to enjoy some tea and crumpets (I have no idea what those are, but every English-accent-immatator mentions them), or trekking through India to explore a vastly different culture, these are defiantly some things you’ll need. The list probably gets longer, but if you stick to these few essentials, you’ll probably be able to manage. I hope that this list helps you during your travels (abroad or on a fun road trip), and all your travels go smoothly and memorably!

Places to Visit While You’re Young

Old people always tell me, “Travel while you’re young!”  or ” Your 20’s are a time for you to explore!” and I want to… I just don’t know where to go. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m given a few days to sit down and think or research all the places I want to go, I could probably com up with 10000+, unfortunately it’s a little unrealistic. As we all know by now, traveling gets expensive fast. Between airfare and hotel prices, I barely even have enough funds to get some mac’n’cheese! So, instead of giving into my self-indulgent fantasy of traveling everywhere I want to go, I’ve picked my top five (at least before I’m 30). These are places that I feel represent the world well enough, so that if my dream of being 80 and having lived on every continent doesn’t come true (highly unlikey, of course), I will feel like I’ve seen a good and diverse representation of what earth has to offer.

5. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia


The world’s largest salt flat, lies in South America. It stretches 4086 square miles, and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bolivia. This beautiful landscape is unlike traditional desserts; instead of mounds of sand, there is a thick cemented salt layer, that covers large reservoirs of lithium-rich brine.

4. Hydra, Greece


Be honest, who hasn’t dreamed of going to Greece and exploring all of the charm and history that it has to offer?! Hydra (not to be confused with the evil organization, within Marvel movies), is only accessible by boat, and foot. No busses, scooters, and barely even a real address. This town has stood the test of time and is just as quaint as it would have been in the year 300 (with much less violence).

3. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan


This Himalayan Buddhist sacred site is on the cliffside of the upper Paro everyValley  in Bhutan, It’s said to be where the Guru Padmasambhava meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours, in the 8th century. The architecture and spiritualness that this cliffside monastery has is said to be of the most beautiful in the world, and is well worth the hike.

2. Havanna, Cuba


It seems like whenever we talk about Cuba, everyone refers to it as this mystical place that has remained untouched since the 50’s – in a way, that’s right. Ever since the cut relations with the U.S., Cuba has barely changed. Same cars, same food, same old radios, same everything. It’s what makes this beautiful city so unique; it’s like going back in time. Now that relations are opening up again, the ability to go there (at a veryyy low price) is a much bigger option!

  1. Mumbai, India


This isn’t your traditional ‘color run’ but the largest festival in India, Holi. The 16-day Hindu holiday celebrates new beginnings and the divine love between Hindu gods Radha and Krishna with colorful powders thrown in the streets and all around!  Aside from just this festival, India is one of the most beautiful countries to explore and dine in. If you visit here during the festival, it will be an even more colorful experience.

Why Travel Alone?

Planning a group trip can get pretty frustrating. Trying to find the right accommodations for everyone, making sure that everybody has all of their info and luggage, and that what you’re doing accommodates everyone. It can get old, fast. But trips are supposed to be fun and relaxing, right? So just do it alone. No, you did not misread, just travel alone. Sure it presents different issues we have to face, but those issues are minimal compared to ones that come along with a large posse. Think of all the things you’ll be able to do that just you want to do! Here are some Pros:

  • You can eat at whatever restaurant you like. No need to factor in other people allergies or think about who’s sensitive to what food.
  • Lodging is much cheaper. Now you don’t have to find a place for 5 people to sleep in, and you can go to a nicer hotel (one of just your choosing) and have all the bed and blankets to yourself!
  • Packing lighter. People bring baggage (literally and emotionally). Now you don’t have to make sure everyone has all their bags and the airline (that you picked) didn’t mess up. Also, who has ever been on a trip with people where someone didn’t get mad at someone else? In the history of ever, everyone being happy on a trip has never happened. Some people are just born party-poopers, if you go alone you just have you own emotional turmoil to face!

Honestly, you could sign me up right now to go on my own excursion,but I am a realist. In that I recognize there are some issues with traveling alone as well. But as long as you plan ahead of time some of these issues can be resolved pretty easily.

  • Obviously safety is a big concern, but luckily there are many programs to combat that. If you choose to travel through a tour guide, then you can put in place the busy system! If you want to truly get out on you own, there are many apps designed to make sure you get where you want safely; Apps like US Embassy help you find the closet embassy to you in every country, and this !Emergency! app will allow you to find the number of whatever enforcement you need in which ever country. Also, investing in insurance is a good way keep safe, regardless where you go.
  • What if you get lonely halfway into your trip? Find friends there! you’ll be able to make so many connections with people all over the world once you branch out! Getting to know people who may be in your same situate could produce life-long friendships.

Traveling alone presents issues, but the reward of it can be much greater! Exploring the parts of the world that you want to see, not just a place that will satisfy everyone else. Getting to know yourself better is much easier, and you get to discover places that you might have never dreamed of! Be careful, and be safe, but travel well.

Best 1-Day Travel Cities: Europe Edition

Getting a chance to explore all of Europe isn’t something that comes around every day. Most people dream of the time that they’ll be able to travel to this continent and roam in its very different countries. Unfortunately, most of us will never have the 5 months off of work or school to be able to go where we please. But every once in a while, an opportunity could arise where you have a couple of days to spend where you like; so here are the place that best encapsulate Europe quickly (and on a  budget!)

5. Istanbul, Turkey


Although Turkey has a strong Asian influence, its still one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Vast historical buildings, unique markets, and amazing temples; Istanbul has a lot of inexpensive sites to go to!

4. Lisbon, Portugal


Situated between hills overlooking the sea, Lisbon is one of the best cities to visit while staying in hostels; Some of their hostels event rank among some of the best in the world! Its rich culture, not much different than that of Madrid and Barcelona, ensures an amazing tie with rich ethnic diversity!

3. Vilnius, Lithuania


Definitely one of the cheapest cities to travel to, Vilnius offers many different cultural experiences for a very low price. Vilnius is one of the lesser-traveled cities in Europe, but is certainly climbing the ranks, since people are realizing how beautiful and inexpensive it is to be there!

2. Bruges, Belgium

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0

Although considered expensive, Bruges is starting to offer much more affordable attractions within it city! Since this historical town has seen such a rise in visitors, they’ve started to open more hostels and cheap attractions recently! This city is great for walking around, just feeling like your back in the 1800s (but with all the advantages of indoor plumbing)!

  1. Prague, Czech Republic
St Charles Bridge Prague
St Charles Bridge Prague

Prague is one of the more popular destinations for visitors, but if you steer clear of some of the bigger attractions, you’ll be able to have a enriching cultural experience! It is considered expensive to some, but knowing the right hostels or hotels to go to make all the difference. If you indulge in the some of the locals areas, you’ll be able to find a lot of fun things for much cheaper than more tourist-y places!

Best Holiday Destination Sites

It is certainly the most wonderful time of the year – schools let out, people use up all of their vacation time, and everyone in the family is reuniting to spend another drunken family christmas together. But what if you want to try something different this year? Sure, grandma’s house is always fun, but you have free time and a sweet christmas bonus to use! While traditions are always fun, making new ones can be even better! One of the fastest growing “new” family traditions is to have a “Destination Christmas”. Finding the perfect place for you to spend your holidays, while still saving you enough to buy just the right christmas present for every one!

5. Aspen, Colorado, USA

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is known for its amazing ski resorts and its overwhelming ‘christmas-y’ vibe! They even have a ‘12 Days of Aspen‘ with activities to last you all through the week of christmas!

4. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Maybe you’re tired of all the snow and need some Caribbean adventures to fill up your holiday? Then San Juan is the best place for you! It’s a beautiful sunny destination, that lights up its entire old town district in time for the holidays.

3. Nuremberg, Germany


Germany is notorious for throwing some of the best and biggest christmas bashes. This town is famous for their Christmas Market, which attracts 2 million visitors annually! This christmas destination is great of those of us who are still buying Christmas gifts the day of christmas (guilty!).

2. Quebec City, Canada


Every holiday season, this town transforms itself into a classic Christmas village right out of a fairy tale! This environmentally friendly city uses clean energy to power all of their lights and festivities during this season!

  1. Orlando, Florida, USA


Whats better than spending Christmas in the happiest place in the world!? Disney has one of the best Christmas celebration on the planet; by only allowing a small number of people into the park that day it make for a unique Disney experience that you won’t get the other 364 days a year! Also, going to Disney is a gift in itself!

Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix

At some point in everyone’s life, we all wish to travel the globe. The idea of cultures different from ours – maybe even one’s we’ve never even heard about – it draws all of us in and consumes some part of our heart. But once our wide-eyed selves are able to actually travel without the interference of mom and dad picking out the family trip – the real world smacks us in the face. Student-loans, credit card debt, past-due rent; all of it piles on us and we’re told that the only conceivable time for us to do what we want, will be once we’re retired. However, with technology the way it is today, people are able to document their journeys and turn them into full-length features that everyone can enjoy from their apartment. So I’ve comprised a list of some of the best documentaries about traveling that can be found on Netflix. This is your chance guys – build that pillow fort, grab those marshmallows, and get ready to travel the world!

5. Encounters at the End of the World

This documentary shows a place that most of us wouldn’t dream of seeing in our natural lives. Antarctica is often refereed to as the final frontier, and Werner Herzog shows us life there – above and below the ice.

4. Mile… Mile & A Half

This epic film shows a group of friends say goodbye to their lives for a month, and set out to hike the John Muir Trail in California. The scale mountains, trek through snow and water, during the summer! This is a great representation of what some people could consider doing while staying in the country.

3. 180° South

Wanderlust-filled surfers from California set out to re-creat the trip taken by Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, all the way to Patagonia in South America. The go through land, sea, and a lot of self-doubt on the journey to see one of the most majestic places in the world.

2. Samsara

If you choose not to watch this film for travel, then at least watch it for its astounding cinematography. This ‘documentary’ throws out the traditional rules, and explores 25 countries over the course of 5 years. It doesn’t stick with the traditional style of go-pro imagery that most documentaries exhibit, but shows every culture (even our own) through a travelers eyes.

  1. Maidentrip

This dutch girl did what every teen (and self-loving adult) would love to do – leave her world behind. She set sail for the globe all by herself. This amazing documentary shows the amazing places she saw, as well as the trials that sailing around the world come with.


Travel Etiquette Tips

Travel etiquette can be a bit confusing – especially based on where your going. Between over-stuffing our bags and figuring out where you’re going to stop to eat, we forget that customs (even within our own country) and be wildly different from what we’re used too. Take it from me; I’m from Key West Florida, aka one of the most visited cities in the U.S., so trust me when I say that I have a LOT of experience with travelers. Don’t get me wrong, we love tourist because of what they do for our economy and community, but it’s frustrating when everyone believes that just because they’re on vacation time, so is the rest of the world. So here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to wherever it it you’re lucky to go to!

  1. Be quick and orderly when in places of transport. No one likes that one family with 14 kids that are running around, trying to find everything and get all passports ready, so don’t do that. Have someone in charge of information and have your things ready to put in the check-in line quickly. (Plus, this way you’re able to get to where you want faster!)
  2. Be conscious of where you’re walking. Nothing frustrates locals more than having people step out into the middle of the road when trying to look for someplace. They get it – you are new and don’t know where you’re going, but having your head pointed to the sky and walking wherever and whenever you choose isn’t a good plan, on vacation or at home.
  3. Be prepared to have something go wrong. There is no vacation in the history of every, that literally everything has gone according to plan (and if you know of when, please put me in contact with that group of people). Have a backup plan for things like emergency health issues or loss prevention, is a really good idea that will hopefully carry over into your everyday life.
  4. Don’t let the language fool you. If you have time to learn a few words in whatever language you’ll be around, defiantly look it up! But if you don’t know anything about it, just remember this vital piece of information; talking loud and slow will not help you and only makes you look silly.

So if you’re able to remember these few tips, you’re sure to have a good time wherever you travel! Trust me when I say, the locals are happy to have you there, they just want you to treat their city with respect, just as you would for them to treat yours! Hopefully this has been informational for you, and have safe travels![vfb id=null]

Best 1-Day Travel Cities: USA Edition

Growing up everyone fears it – the unavoidable monotony of adult life. Getting so caught up in you own little routine that you forget about the rest of the world around you. But don’t fret – there are ways to fight it! Taking weekend or even one-day trips to different cities can be a good way to see the rest of the world, even thought you won’t need a passport (but it always is a good idea to invest in some insurance in case you have a little too much fun)! The U.S. has a lot to offer in terms of fun, quick, cheap activities. Most airlines, like Southwest, offer cheap flights to cities, and a bus ride, maybe one with Greyhound, could be even cheaper! So here is a list of cities that are best for quick weekend trips:

5. Austin, Texas

Via: iamfortress
Via: iamfortress

Most people don’t really associate Austin with a quick trip, (Everything’s bigger in Texas, right?) but there are many easy attractions close to the airport and bus station! That means you really don’t even need to rent a car, just walk around exploring all Austin has to offer!

4. Boston, Massachusetts


Boston is a great city to visit! The airport is right next to the city, and the list of historical attractions are endless! You can even take a water taxi across the bay, or even take a historic trolley tour!

3. Washington, D.C.

Via: WickedGoodTravelTips
Via: WickedGoodTravelTips

Our nations capitol is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S., especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival! Even if you can’t make it in that time, D.C. still has a lot to offer, with extremely easy ways to get around (Segway ride, anyone?).

2. San Diego, California 

Via: IndiaWeb
Via: IndiaWeb

Weather you want to visit LegoLand, or just hit the beautiful beaches, San Diego has a lot to offer! One of its biggest attractions is the San Diego Zoo, and it is by far one of the best Zoo’s in the world (especially since you can walk down the street and get Chipolte afterwards!).

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana 
Via: StrengthsInternational
Via: StrengthsInternational

NOLA is known for its Jazz scene, and sweet southern hospitality. The French Quarter is just a quick (flat rate) cab ride away from the airport, and just that part of town has enough to do for a whole life time!

Books to Read Before You Travel

When getting ready to travel outside of your comfort zone, it’s in your best interest to be well prepared; and what says ‘well-prepared’ more than reading?! But just reading the most recent Stephen King novel isn’t the route you should go. Reading about where you’re going is a good idea, and so is thinking through big ticket items like airline tickets, traveler’s checks, and travel insurance.  These are just a few books that you should pick up, regardless of where you go!

  1. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare


This novel, written by Henry Miller, goes through the narrator’s journey to find his down-home roots within America.

2. God’s Middle Finger


Richard Grant risks his life to find out what’s really going on in the Sierra Madre Occidental.

3. Fried Eggs With Chopsticks


Polly Evans accounts her travels through China, in what was supposed to be a luxurious trip ends up going awry.

4. Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World


Dictators, American marines and slaves helped make the banana the world’s favorite fruit, and Dan Koeppel outlines how much its impacted the Caribbean.

5. Kaffeehause 


Rick Rogers gives his view of Central Europe through their most outstanding feature – Coffee Shops (No, Starbucks is not included.)