Category Archives: Uncategorized

Camp Like a Champ

For several years now, I’ve thought about writing a book about camp. I worked at a couple across the country in my early twenties. Now that I am working part-time at one again, I figured now is the time to write! As I busy myself with that, enjoy this post about camping!

If you are looking for an inexpensive holiday that won’t result in your kids getting loads of screen time, why not think about going camping? It’s a great way to help your kids connect with nature, and you won’t have to spend a load of your cash on expensive hotels and activities.

Don’t worry if you have never been camping before; even total newbies will get the hang of it in hardly any time at all. Here are some tips that can help you camp like a champ even with kids in tow!

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https://pexels.com/photo/yellow-tent-under-starry-night-45241/

Research The Site

If you haven’t camped before, it’s best to leave the wild camping to the pros. For now, while you try and build up some experience, stick to campsites. First of all, make sure you find one that allows children as not all of them do. Researching the best site for you will ensure you find one that has all of the facilities you will need and you’ll also find out whether there are any on-site activities that you can entertain the kids with.

Get A Good Tent

Even though camping can be relatively cheap, it’s important to invest in a top-quality tent. You can find out all of things you should look out for in a tent on http://tentsandcampgear.com/things-consider-purchasing-tent/ and it’s important that the one you choose meets all of these requirements. If you can’t afford a decent tent, at the very least, it needs to be big enough for you all and waterproof. Remember to pack a few ground sheets as well, as these can make the ground slightly more comfortable to sleep on.

Pack Plenty Of Warm Coats And Blankets

It’s important that you pack plenty of clothes and blankets so that your kids are always warm throughout the entire trip. You’ll probably already know how quick children are to complain once they get a bit chilly, so make sure you have lots of spare jumpers so that they can always pull on an extra one in the middle of the night if they get a bit cold. You can find some super comfy kids clothes at http://gap.com.When you are going out for the day, make sure you dress the kids in layers, especially if you are planning on staying outside all day.

Plan For Rain

It’s a good idea to try and arrange your camping trips for during the summer while the weather is nice. However, no matter how hard you try, it isn’t always easy to predict the weather, and you could end up facing a day or two of rain. Of course, you won’t be able to take the kids out in that weather, so you need to make sure you have a plan for rain up your sleeve. Pack a few board games and books so that you can keep the kids entertained in the tent if you need to.

As you can see, camping like a champ is super easy. Have a great camping trip!

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Eating on a Budget When You’re Traveling 

When we’re on holiday, we’re usually considered tourists. We’re tricked into buying ridiculous things and the sums of money we pay for simple necessities can be overwhelming. Food is one of the most expensive purchases when we go on holiday simply because we don’t know the local area. We just go where our nose takes us, and that can get pretty expensive after a couple of meals. So to help make your holiday a little cheaper, here are some tips to help you eat on a budget.

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Don’t eat at your hotel

Hotels usually charge ludicrous prices, especially if you’re booked into a fancy one. Although it may be tempting because of the location, it’s generally not a good idea purely because it’s so pricey. The food you get from a hotel can easily be matched by local spots and at a fraction of the price. In fact, many hotels attempt to replicate cuisine that you might be used to from around the world. Hotels tend to cater to the tastes of their guests, which means that the food itself may be different from what you’d expect the locals to eat. This is important if you’re travelling to a food destination such as Singapore or Italy. The best food is usually the local dishes that have been perfected in local restaurants and cafes, not the glamorized variety you’ll find in a hotel.

Explore local spots

Every city in the world has some kind of food guide. You can find the best places to eat no matter where you are by looking on the internet and searching for your location. Restaurants are ranked with a star rating and you’ll get plenty of reviews and previews of the menu directly on your phone. You might be surprised to find some hidden gems tucked away in back alleys and empty streets, and these should all be listed on the internet. However, some places are so well-hidden that they won’t be shown on the internet. This is usually the case when it comes to less-developed parts of the world, or areas where there isn’t much documentation such as rural areas. If you really want to find a cheap culinary gem, then you’ll need to ask the locals and make friends.

Learn the pricing

Even if you’re travelling from one European country to another European country, the pricing could be completely different for something as simple as a slice of pizza. Learn what the average price for food is in the country you’re staying in so that you know what a bargain is and when you’re paying far too much.

Be adventurous

If you’re going to travel you should embrace unique and wonderful foods. When it comes to local cuisine, it’s a good idea to try everything out. Many of the budget eats in places like Southeast Asia or South America are going to be local delicacies. If you can’t stomach certain things then it’s understandable to skip out and pick foods you’re more comfortable with. However, if you’re just scared of trying something new, then it’s time to get brave and immerse yourself in the culture of the country you’re visiting, starting with the food.

Road Tripping the Right Way

If you’re planning on going on a road trip soon, there are so many pieces of information out there you can use to ensure your trip is a successful one. However, there are a couple of essential practices every single person should bear in mind, regardless of what you read elsewhere.

Whether you’re road tripping alone or with your kids doesn’t matter. What matters is you follow the tips here:

Staying Safe

Staying safe should be your number one priority on the road. This means doing the appropriate trips on your car before you set off, to make sure it’s as safe as possible. It also means having food, drink, a container for gas incase you break down, a spare tyre, and other essentials with you too. You think it won’t happen to you, but it happens more often than you think. Make sure you also have a fully charged phone, emergency numbers, and other things that can give you peace of mind and keep you safe.

Staying Flexible

Staying flexible is important on a road trip too. Having a loose plan can help to give you direction, but being too rigid with it will mean having no fun at all. Remember to plan toilet and rest breaks, as you don’t want to have any accidents while you’re on the road. Apart from that, be prepared to stop if you spot something interesting! Enjoy every moment.

Staying Comfortable

Staying comfortable is crucial too. For this, you’re going to need the right car. Whether you rent, buy, or lease the car is up to you – the infographic below can help.


credit to auto.loan

A Sizzling Staycation: Gulf Of Mexico Delights

When it comes to travel, it’s easy to overlook the destinations that are closer to home. With your mind enchanted by images of the Far East or the promise of the Australian outback, it’s easy to forget the rich delights right here in the US.

If you decide to consider staying within the US borders for your next vacation, then you’ve made a good first decision. However, that decision isn’t an end in and of itself; you now have to make the choice about where in the US that you want to go.

There’s so much to choose from here, from the ski slopes of Colorado to the scorching heat of Arizona– how can you possibly narrow down your choices? Well, here’s a little helping hand: why not consider these stunning locations that surround the Gulf of Mexico?

Destin, FL

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Chances are that you haven’t heard of Destin, a community that sits in the Florida panhandle. However, Destin is a place that you’re going to want to get familiar with. As you can see when you visit SterlingResorts.com, there’s truly fantastic accommodation on offer that will delight even the most seasoned of travelers. With your accommodation sorted, what are you going to do while there?

Well, you’ve hundreds of options. There’s the gorgeous beaches to enjoy, overlooking the crisp blue waters of the gulf. If you like holidays with a twist of history, then the historical military site of Fort Pickens will call out to you for attention. Or you could take your time enjoying the famous Destin Harbor Boardwalk, where you can enjoy live music, a variety of restaurants, and even fireworks on special occasions.

Galveston, TX

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Galveston is a small island just off the Texan coast, and offers a rich variety of delights for any tourist who ventures near. There’s plenty of accommodation on offer to suit every budget, so Galveston is well worth considering for a Gulf retreat with a difference.

First and foremost, consider the beaches; Galveston has some of the best beaches in the US, but so few people know about them! If you want to enjoy perfect sand, well-maintained beaches complete with showers and bathrooms, then Galveston has you covered– and you won’t have to share with thousands of others, either!

After a day sunning yourself, spend the evenings enjoying Galveston Pier. Rise early the next morning to explore two of the stunning historic houses on the island; Moody Mansion and the Bishop’s Palace. Though be careful when you visit the latter; brazoriaresearch.com insists the Bishop’s Palace is haunted!

New Orleans, LA

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Okay, okay, okay– New Orleans isn’t technically on the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s New Orleans! If you’re going to stretch a definition, then New Orleans is wonderful enough to justify it.

New Orleans offers a cornucopia of delights that any culture vulture won’t be able to resist. From the music and nightlife of Bourbon Street to the bayou cruises complete with alligator spotting, there’s so much to see and do here that one visit will never be enough!

So while the world is waiting to be explored, don’t forget some of the wonders that the US has to offer an eager traveler. Enjoy the Gulf! 

Broadening Your Travel Horizons: A Guide For Globetrotters

Traveling is so much more than taking a vacation. If you live for the day you can pack a suitcase, take a trip to the airport and climb on board an airplane, it’s so important to make your time out count. Most of us would love to travel more, but time and money often put pay to our plans. If you’re keen to broaden your travel horizons, here are some tips to help you achieve this without breaking the bank or losing your job.

Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/weekend/?image_type=illustration

Research the location

It’s so beneficial to do some research about the location you intend to visit before you go. We often have an idea about destinations, but this can be very different to what you get when you actually touch down on terra firma. If you’re visiting Ibiza, for example, you may be expecting endless stretches of bars and clubs, and it may be a surprise to discover that the vast majority of the island is incredibly tranquil. Do some reading online at sites like https://www.lonelyplanet.com/, get some tips from other travelers and be open-minded. It’s always worth trying to find information about what locals do and where they go. Hiring a car or using public transport to get around can open you up to a whole host of experiences you may not have been able to enjoy if you didn’t have insider information.

Leave the pool

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than spending the day soaking up the sun’s warm rays by the pool. However, if you want to get more out of your vacations, create an itinerary that enables you to see the sights and try new things, as well as basking in the sunshine. You may think that marooning yourself on a desert island like Grand Cayman may be all about chilling out, but you’d be wrong. You’ll find a host of activities and experiences you won’t want to miss at ChristopherColumbusCondos.com. Take a sunset cruise, go swimming with dolphins or hold a baby turtle. Be willing to think outside of the box, even if you plan to have a relaxing break. A beach vacation doesn’t just have to involve lying on a sun lounger for 2 weeks.

Ask for tips

Often, tourist guides will give you information about best-selling attractions and bucket list favorites, but there’s often a lot more to see and do. The best advice is to ask resort representatives or reception staff for recommendations. If you’re visiting Rome or Paris, for example, they’ll be able to tell you about lesser-known gems that don’t always feature on the must-see list and restaurants that aren’t packed with visitors from overseas. Local knowledge can be a really useful resource.

Image sourced from https://www.flickr.com/photos/tir_na_nog/4847181686

For many of us, opportunities to travel don’t come around often enough. This is why it’s so important to make the most of the time you do have. Do some research, be willing to explore and get some advice from people who’ve visited the location and those that have local knowledge and insider tips and tricks.

Recipe for Traveling Friendship

Ingredients
A booking at a hostel with a common kitchen
A few free hours in the evening
As much energy as you can muster
The actual food ingredients… will vary in every situation

I’ve been hostel hopping for two months now. Sometimes, it has been surprisingly lonely. I’ve booked six or eight bed dorms, and I was the only one there for days. But that just makes the times when there is good socialization even better. At my last hostel, they hosted a semi weekly pasta night. That was a fun and filling way to get to know a few other people. It even inspired a few of us to hang out together on the following evenings at a nearby gelateria. My current hostel only offers breakfast, but while I was pondering what to get for dinner the other evening, I thought, why not make a big bowl of pasta for whoever happens to be in the hostel?

Step 1 Buy some local ingredients at a nearby grocery store.

Making a big meal really doesn’t have to cost too much. I did it for under €5! I decided on pasta because it’s cheap and easy to make. I just picked out the kind of noodle that cost the least. Out of the sauce selection, there were two kinds that cost less than the others. I figured basil would go over better than spicy. For some creaminess, I grabbed a small package of Philadelphia cream cheese. (It’s not just an American thing!) I was about to add parmesan, but then found a similar kind of mixed cheese that was even less expensive.

You may also notice a pudding cup in this picture. I had no intention to mix it with the other ingredients, but it did turn out to be vital. See #3.

I should add that I really enjoy grocery shopping in foreign countries. It’s interesting to learn about the culture when you realize you can’t find refrigerated cookie dough, or that nutella is cheaper than peanut butter. Even back at home, I try to make it a challenge to get the best food at the lowest price through sales and swaps. It’s the easiest way to live like a local!

Step 2 Boil water.

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Naturally, before you even buy ingredients, check to make sure your hostel has the appropriate kitchen facilities to cook your dish. Last week, I almost bought a take-home pizza, until I remembered that that hostel had a stove top, but no oven. But I did find some mini frozen pizza that cooked in the toaster! Some hostel kitchens only have a fridge and microwave, and a few have no kitchen at all. In any situation, it’s possible to still make a meal, but it may take some creativity.

I was using a gas burner, and was only provided with a cigarette lighter to ignite it. This turned into a nearly dangerous game of lighting the stove without burning my fingers or inhaling too much gas. (Solution: set one end of a twisted-up paper towel on fire, and use that to ignite the burner.)

3. Think about when to s

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Ideally, it should be ready to serve between the time day trippers arrive back from their adventures and the time night owls go out to party. Basically, whenever the most people will be at the hostel. Also consider people’s nationalities, as that will affect the time they get hungry for dinner. I was getting hungry at 5, which was way too early for everyone else. Since the water was taking a really long time to boil anyway, I put off my hunger with Italian-style pudding.

4. Coo

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I put the pasta in once the water finally boiled. It only took five minutes to cook, and I spent most of that time looking for a strainer. The hostel was sadly strainerless, so I made due by carefully pouring out as much water as I could without dumping any noodles. Hostel cooking does require a degree of resourcefulness, so get used to using kitchen tools for an unintended purpose.

Once the pasta was ready, I set it back on the burner and added half a block of cream cheese. I looked for some sort of oil to help it mix, and found free butter in the fridge. (Nice note: Never borrow food with a name written on it; only use things that clearly belong to the hostel! I lost a lot of milk and bread in Barcelona because people didn’t follow this golden rule of hostel stays.) Then I dumped in almost the entire jar of sauce and mixed thoroughly. I sprinkled on a little cheese, but left the bag out so that guests could determine their own amount of cheese.

5. Tell people to come eat.

Since I was in a small hostel, and many people had not checked in.for.the day yet, I could only get one person to join me. But one new friend is all you need! Dinner turned into a whole evening of conversation, including a trip to my favorite ge

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lateria.

6. Do something with leftovers.

Since I planned for more people, I had extra pasta and cream chese. I decided to have another hostel dinner night the following evening. I just had to restock the sauce, and this time I used a jar of pesto. More people had dinner this time around, and it again ended with an evening of conversation and dessert at the gelateria. So I guess this means that making a free dinner is a proven successful way to make traveling friends!

I think back to other times hostel buddies shared their food and friendship. At places that don’t include breakfast, a cup of yogurt is so helpful. In Madrid, a roommate forced me to take a peach in my day pack, concerned about me eating healthy foods! Even at my first hostel experience in Nashville years ago, one roommate would grill dinner for everybody, just because she found some food on sale! Experiences like these encourage me to pay it forward, and perhaps I can inspire others to do the same!

Have you ever been shown kindness in your travels? How have you paid it forward during a trip?

Not Your Grandma’s Compression Socks

On the day I left the United States, my mom got a glimpse of the socks I was wearing before we headed to the airport. I had told her that I was going to wear compression socks, so she was surprised to see some cute black socks with a gray and teal designs. “When you said compression socks, I was thinking the white ones that grandma wears!” No, these were not grandma’s compression socks. I then opened up my suitcase and showed her all my compression socks that were very fashionable and un-granny-like, thanks to Goodhew and Sockwell.

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I don’t think I’ve ever worn compression socks until just a few days ago when I began this trip. I guess I had always assumed that these kind of socks were only to help with certain health problems, like diabetes and age-related conditions. When I heard that their health benefits could involve everyone, I immediately thought of how great it would be to wear compression socks to backpack across Europe.

Before my recent flight, the longest nonstop flight I had ever had was nine hours, from LAX to Lima. I distinctly remember that, partway though the flight, my foot started to feel really weird. It was worse than having my foot fall asleep. I guess sitting in a tiny coach seat for so long affected the circulation of my legs! Since my flight from Salt Lake to Europe was even longer, I was glad to have knee high compression socks with me. For the entire flight, I didnt have to deal with tingly feet, ankle swelling, or anything of the sort!

I did initially want compression socks simply for the flights, but they are good to wear when exploring an area as well. I have walked a lot every day of this trip so far. When I travel, I like to save money and get a better feel for the destination by walking everywhere I can instead of riding a bus, subway, or taxi cab. I don’t think I even want to know how much I’ve walked the past few days because that big of a number would probably only make me more tired! It is important to take care of my feet since they’ve carried me so far. These compression socks are a treat for my feet.

I got four pairs of compression socks from Goodhew and Sockwell. All of them are made out of wool. While that sounds like it could be a sweat-inducing material, wool is great at wicking moisture away, so they actually are keeping my feet dry and smelling fresh. And the compression aspect supports my feet, which means that miles of walking haven’t made my feet very sore, and I’ve avoided foot cramps so far! I brought two additional pairs of socks. But honestly, I like my Goodhew and Sockwell socks so much, I’ve been doing extra washing so that I can wear them every day!

My socks range in color, style and length. The knee high socks we’re great for wearing on the plane. Because they compress, you couldn’t even see the sock lines through my leggings. Definitely a fashion plus! My favorite for walking around town are below the ankle, although I have some slightly longer ones that also do well at serving this purpose. The only downside is that it can take longer to get the longer socks on. The compression can make pulling a sock up your leg a bit more difficult! But that’s a small price to pay for a day of happy feet!

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If you are interested in getting compression socks like mine, I can’t encourage you enough to head over to Goodhew’s site or Sockwell’s site and order some fantastic socks!

Oh, and one more thing: while these aren’t like grandma’s compression socks, people who happen to be grandmothers are still welcome to wear them!

Stockwell and Goodhew provided me with the pictured socks for the purpose of testing them out for review. No other compensation was made, and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand I’m Off!

It seems surreal! I was so excited when I confirmed I was actually going to backpack across Mediterranean Europe. I did some things way in advance out anticipation, like get gear and pack. And of course, there were some things that waited until the last minute, which made these last few days confusing as I wasn’t sure if I was anxious for the right or wrong reasons! But now that I’ve set off, here are a few things you should know about my trip:

  • This will be my very first time in Europe. I have been to Peru and the three main nations that make up North America, but this will still be the furthest distance I’ve traveled!
  • For safety reasons, I will not be posting about where I am at any point in time. By the time you read about a specific location, I’ll be in another one.  But I will be posting throughout my trip as much as I can!
  • Even though I’m no longer in the United States, I can still accept sponsors! I probably won’t be able to deal with any gear sponsors since shipping will be tricky (although I’d be happy to review the product once I return in the fall). I am looking for accommodations, attractions, restaurants, and other non-physical resources. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, click here!
  • Although sponsors help a lot, at this point in time my trip is mostly self-sponsored. How will I make ends meet while on the road? I’ve spent the past year saving up for this by working several jobs and cutting back on indulgences. I’m traveling cheaply by staying in hostels, riding trains and buses between cities, traveling by foot within a city, going on picnics for at least one meal per day, not buying beverages, and volunteering. I will also do a bit of travel writing and reviews to earn money along the way. Do you have any suggestions for paid writing opportunities?
  • Since I’ve been denying myself some treats and experiences over the past year, I will still be living it up a little in Europe. I won’t skip a city I want to visit just because it’s expensive. I’m going to pay admission for my dream attractions like the Acropolis, the Vatican, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Eiffel Tower. I even bought a ticket for a day trip to Disneyland Paris!
  • There is no checked luggage on my trip. That means limiting liquids and packing everything into a carry-on. It actually wasn’t that hard to meet size limits, but I have been practicing walking around my neighborhood to get used to the weight!
  • I’m not sure how much detail I’ll be posting while I travel. After all, I want to spend as much time as possible out experiencing! (Plus, writing will take longer as I’m only bringing a phone and not a laptop.) But if you’re interested in visiting a place that I visit, or doing something that I did, stay tuned! When I return home, I will be writing more detailed  articles based on what readers want to hear about.
  • I’m excited for this adventure. But you already knew that, right?