Category Archives: Travel
Whether you’re traveling for your honeymoon or just looking for a romantic getaway, island destinations offer fun and romantic ways to spend time together. As two people who have made it their mission to scour the globe for the best island destinations, we’ve narrowed down our list to ten of our favorites. Here are ten tropical islands that are perfect for couples travel.
This little island is lush with sugarcane fields, tea plantations, and hidden villages to explore with your honey. One attraction lets you walk on the bottom of the ocean with a unique helmet which allows you to breathe normally underwater no scuba training required.
We stayed at the Four Seasons and the St. Regis while on the island and both of these resorts are the epitome of romance. I recommend staying at both resorts, that way you can experience two different sides of the island.
Snorkeling or Scuba diving enthusiasts can enter the undersea world of Bonaire, which is one of the best places in the world to get your Scuba certification. If you and your partner are sporty, you can learn to windsurf. Wildlife enthusiasts will find over 200 species of birds, and history buffs can see some Caquetio Indian drawings.
Sand Dollar Condominiums offers comfortably-decorated studios and apartments all with sea views. If you prefer a hotel that is steps away from some of the best diving on Bonaire and has excellent Scuba instructors, Buddy Dive Resort is your place. We absolutely loved our stay at both of these places.
Perfect for honeymoon travel, Aruba hosts restaurants that give you a private dinner with your feet in the warm sand or water. Try tandem parasailing or have a romantic horseback ride on the beach. Drive up to the California Lighthouse to enjoy scenic vistas while staying cozy in your car.
Palm Beach is where you will find a plethora of romantic hotels. Aruba Marriott Resortknows how to cater to couples and the views from your balcony will take your breath away. This resort will always hold a special place in my heart.
Traveling to Canada in the winter should not be overlooked just because of the climate. With the right gear, you can stay warm and toasty in almost all weather conditions. I’ve had to learn the art of layering and after hours of research as well as some trial and error I’ve come up with the perfect winter packing list.
I was able to test out my new gear in Jasper National Park last month and I’m happy to report that I stayed warm and dry even in negative temperatures. If you are planning a winter trip to Canada, you’ll want to keep these packing and layering tips in mind before you leave on your adventure.
WOMEN’S WINTER PACKING LIST FOR 7 DAYS IN CANADA
I cannot stress how important it is to invest in quality base layers. The best material for base layers is either merino wool or synthetic materials such as polyester, polyethylene, and microfiber-based fabrics. Icebreaker’s clothing is expensive because they use merino wool, but I look at these pieces of clothing as an investment. I won’t have to buy them again for many years.
You can find less expensive base layers if you are on a tight budget. This one is less than $20 (which I also own and love) and it contains a blend of synthetic materials.
Tip You want to make sure this layer is snug on your body.
- 2 Moisture Wicking Long Sleeve Tops I wore the same base layer every day for 6 days and I never noticed a smell to it. However, recommend packing 2 for longer trips, just in case.
- 1-2 Pairs of Merino Wool Leggings A cheaper option would be these fleece-lined leggings, which is what I bring on all of my trips.
- Sorrel Boots: These combined with my wool socks kept my feet warm all day.
- A Cute Pair of Ugg Boots: You won’t want to wear snow boots all day and these are great for the plane too.
Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo make up Los Cabos, resort corridor with exclusive beaches, preserved natural spaces, and an adventurous nightlife. If you’re planning a trip to this luxury destination and you should, here’s everything you need to know to get started:
TRANSPORTATION IN CABO
Typically, it’s easiest to fly into the Los Cabos airport (SJD) unless you are already in Mexico. Some hotels offer shuttle service to and from the airport, but to really see the best of Cabo, you’ll want to rent a car. We have found the best rental car prices onRentalCars.com, which searches all of the rental car agencies.
Keep in mind that liability insurance is mandatory when renting a car in Mexico. Loss Damage Wavier (or collision damage) is not mandatory, but before you decline this insurance, make sure your auto insurance or credit card insurance will cover you in Mexico.
If your hotel does not offer shuttle service and you do not want to rent a car, Transcabo offers airport shuttle service starting at $29 USD per person. If you are adventurous and on a very tight budget, it is possible to take the bus from the airport. See more details here.
WHERE TO STAY IN CABO
Casa Del Mar in Cabo San Lucas:
Casa Del Mar sports rooms with ocean view terraces, teak furniture, and marble bathrooms. It’s a paradise of fountains and pools, and has its own private beach and championship golf courses.
This luxury boutique hotel is newly renovated with three gourmet restaurants on site. Each menu features a selection of organic ingredients from their vegetable and herb garden. With impeccable service, saltwater pools, a swim up bar, and stunning ocean views, this 5-star resort has something for everyone.
El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo:
Art and culture enthusiasts will find live musical performances and curated art exhibits at the Hotel El Ganzo. You’ll always feel avant-garde surrounded by the unique, custom-crafted decor. This adults-only hotel invites artists to come and share their art on the interior and exterior walls of the hotel which creates a truly one of a kind experience for their guests.
El Ganzo offers sustainable farm to table cuisine at its three on-site restaurants, including its private beach club with one of the area’s few swimmable beaches. The rooftop infiniti pool and glass hot tub overlooking the marina is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
ESSENTIAL GEAR TO BRING ON YOUR CABO VACATION
The weather in Cabo is comfortable year round, ranging from the mid-70’s in the winter to the mid-90’s in the summer.
Wetsuit – If you are visiting in the winter months and you plan to do some diving or snorkeling, you may want to bring a wetsuit. I love this spring suit for snorkeling because it keeps me warm and provides sun protection. For diving in the winter, you will most likely want to bring a 2/3 or 3/4 full wetsuit. I get cold easily when diving, so I prefer the 4/3 suit. Wetsuit Wearhouse has some great deals on full and short wetsuits.
Photo Equipment I highly recommend bringing a GoPro for underwater photos (or selfies!) and a nice camera for whale watching. (See our complete travel camera buying guide here.)
Clothing Don’t forget to bring a light cardigan or sweatshirt and long pants if you visit during the winter months. Sandals or flip flops and a swimsuit are a must any time of year.
Activated Charcoal Pills Montezuma’s revenge is real. We never leave home without our activated charcoal pills.
Traveling to Europe can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be! If you keep these ten things in mind, you’ll be a smarter and more relaxed traveler, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY
If you don’t call your credit card company before traveling, there’s a good chance that their security teams will see some red flags when your card is suddenly used in Italy. Go ahead and let them know you’re traveling so that you don’t have any issues paying for important items such as train tickets and hotel rooms or purchasing unique mementos throughout your trip.
A RAIL PASS CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
A Rail Pass is a great way to travel to multiple locations in one trip without spending tons of money. Plus, if you haven’t experienced travel by train before, that in itself is an adventure. However, if you plan to purchase one, it is cheaper to buy it online and easier to have it delivered to your home address – rather than dealing with it on your trip.
MAKE RESERVATIONS IN ADVANCE
Sure, taking a gamble might work out, but making your reservations in advance, especially during peak travel season, is the smart way to make sure that your trip goes the way you want to and that you’re staying at that quaint hotel by the river instead of the fifth one on your preferred list. Booking airfare and hotels in advance also oftenensures that you’re getting the best price.
DON’T OVER PLAN
The urge to do and see everything can be overwhelming, but who wants to spend most of their vacation in transit? If you overload your days, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up doing even less than you want because you’ll get burnt out. Make sure that you allow sufficient time for sleep and adequate rest between activities. Your body will thank you, and at the end of the trip, you’ll find that you’ve had a more fulfilling experience.
As we head into the month of April, we follow yet another turn of winter melting into spring. Whether you’re celebrating the return of the sun or just need a change of scenery, now is the perfect time to consider a Caribbean getaway. Now that the busy winter season is over, there are plenty of incredible spring, summer, and fall hotel deals to choose from.
EAGLE’S BEACH, ARUBA
I’m in love with Aruba. I’ve been here four times and I’m already plotting my next trip back. From lounging on the beach to spending the day with flamingos, there’s something for everyone.
Aruba’s Eagle Beach is one of the most beautiful stretches of white sand beach in the Caribbean, and Aruba’s widest. It’s a perfect place for windsurfing, swimming, and other aquatic sports, and also for viewing sea turtle hatching during parts of the year.La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, an Ascend Hotel Collection® member, is located directly across from Eagle Beach, and boasts both an on-site casino and spa.
PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS
Famous for being home to the sprawling Atlantis resort including a water park, casino, aquarium, and one of the world’s most expensive hotel rooms (the Bridge Suite costs ~$25k per night!), Paradise Island is a Bahaman resort island in the best way. But you don’t actually have to spend $25k per night to enjoy it; the Comfort Suites® Paradise Island located nearby offers spacious rooms with included access to the Atlantis’ amenities.
GRAND CAYMAN, THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
Explore Grand Cayman and you’ll have access not only to beautiful beaches and activities, but a large number of natural and historical attractions. Scuba diving offers views of large coral reefs and shipwrecks, including the USS Kittiwake, an artificial reef that you can explore inside. The Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach puts you right on the waterfront and only a short distance from the Cayman Turtle Farm.
Make sure to bring your camera with you to Curacao! This Dutch Caribbean island offers both natural beauty and some amazing, colorful architectur Willemstad’s harbor, with its colonial architecture, has been designated a UNESCO heritage site. TheAcoya Hotel Suites & Villas, an Ascend Hotel Collection® member, offer a number of private family rooms and villas within a short distance to several beaches, as well as the Seaquarium.
If visiting Maui is your dream vacation, rest assured you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a trip there. With these tips, you can stay within your budget even as you’re living it up on this fun, friendly island.
SAVE ON CAR RENTALS
It’s necessary to rent a car in Maui, but you don’t have to pay a fortune for it. Rent an economy car not only is the rental fee cheaper, you’ll get better gas mileage, too. You can search for the best prices at rentalcars.com, and some American Express cards offer further discounts on rental insurance. Also, be sure to check with your auto insurance carrier at home to see if it covers rental cars.
TRAVEL IN THE OFF SEASON
The off season and shoulder seasons in Maui are April to May and September to October. Airfare and hotels tend to be cheaper. And for an added perk, it won’t be as crowded. For the best rates on hotels, we always check Booking.com first.
RENT A PLACE WITH A KITCHEN
Renting a condo or apartment through Airbnb is a great way to save money on your Maui vacation. Often the rental price itself is very affordable. Beyond that, having your own kitchen means that you can save money by cooking your own food. If you are new to Airbnb, sign up through our link to get up to $35 off of your first booking!
BUY ALCOHOL AT THE LOCAL MARKET
We always head to the local market on our first day of arrival to Maui. We like to buy any snacks we didn’t bring with us and, most importantly, buy a few six packs to have on hand at our hotel or apartment. We often travel with this insulated tote bag that doubles as an ice chest for the beach or other outdoor activities.
PACK SOME SNACKS
Since it’s an island and 90% of the food has to be imported, packaged food tends to be pretty expensive on Maui. We like to have snacks like almonds and nature barson hand when traveling, so packing these items in our suitcase saves us a ton of money.
EAT AT FOOD TRUCKS
Food trucks are another great budget-friendly alternative. There’s such a variety that you don’t have to miss out on exotic local fare, and you’ll be getting fun, delicious meals for sometimes half the price of a restaurant. Here’s a list of the best food trucks on Mauiaccording to Yelp reviews.
One of the most amazing things about traveling in Europe is how incredibly easy it is to get around. That’s why the whirlwind European adventure is still such a classic for summer travel. With so much to see and do, a summer trip through top European destinations is a new experience every time you go.
Contiki has recently announced their “Bag Tag” contest, allowing U.S. residents the chance to win a bunch of really cool prizes including a Sony Alpha a6000, iPad Mini 3, GoPro Hero4, and even a free European vacation! All you have to do is guess on social media which fun-packed travel bag is going on which of their amazing European tour packages to be entered to win. Residents anyone outside of the US that clicks on the landing page will be sent to a “Bag Tag” quiz to find out which Contiki bag best identifies them.
After just returning from a trip to the Mediterranean and as a lover of sun-kissed beaches, I personally love Bag #6. What do you think: is it Croatian Island Escape Plus, the Best of the Balkans, or Balkans Discovery?
Head over to Contiki’s “Bag Tag” contest page to check out all six bags and guess the destinations! And to get you ready for a little summer fun in Europe, here is our list of the 10 best places to escape the crowds in Europe this summer.
Hidden in a ria canyon, this beautiful, secluded Mediterranian port is surrounded by history—literally! The Venetian fortifications are only part of its long history, written in the town’s unique blend of architecture. With its Medieval old town, WWII memorials, and Napoleonic gates, it’s a quiet town with a long history to explore.
One of the 10 most well-preserved Medieval cities in the world, Dubrovnik is more well known for its perfect seaside charm. You’ll definitely want to spend your time outside on its many beaches, in its botanical gardens, and in the Arboretum Trsteno, the world’s oldest arboretum! Bonus for Game of Thrones fans: the town is one of the filming sites for Kings Landing.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz is a big winter destination in Switzerland, but it’s much less crowded in the summer. With an elevation of 1,856 meters, it boasts plenty of sunny days yet it never gets too hot. Outdoor lovers can enjoy the many hiking trails in the area and those looking for a relaxing getaway have plenty of spa resorts to choose from.
Iceland’s capital is the perfect destination for travelers who are interested in wilderness adventuring but who want to be able to return to the comfort of civilization after a hard day’s hike. Day-trips let you explore the solitary beauty of Iceland’s landscape, and you can keep enjoying it after with a relaxing trip to any Reykjavik spa featuring one of its many hot springs!
Planning a successful trip can be time consuming; once you decide where you want to go there’s scheduling the time away, saving up, choosing your attractions, finding transportation, and booking a hotel. One of the most helpful planning tools many people have used for a long time, including myself,. It is a great resource for reading reviews and comparing prices and now booking!
In honor of this giveaway, we thought we would share ten of our favorite destinations just in case you’re not sure where you want to travel in 2016. Kauai is one destination our personal bucket list and now it looks like we have more incentive to book that ticket this March
The Nordic fjords are absolutely breathtaking monuments of nature, and offer numerous sightseeing and outdoor activities. Nearby villages like Bergen provide quaint regional food and lodging opportunities. We recommend visiting in the summer for the best hiking weather and visiting after September if you want to see the Northern Lights! Read about our best tips for traveling in Norway on a budget.
Jasper National Park, Canada
Our January trip to Jasper National Park was fantastic, including dog sledding, a winter walk of Maligne Canyon, and a cozy stay at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, which you can book on TripAdvisor. Jasper is a perfect destination any time of year, but it’s especially magical in the winter. For more trip ideas, read my suggestions on the best winter activities in Jasper.
To help prepare for your upcoming travels, it has asked us to share our best tips for bug protection. They’ve recently launched a new product, the new one that Bed bug Detector & Trap, to expose evidence of bed bugs before an infestation occurs.
As frequent travelers, bed bugs are a huge concern for us. Whether we’re temporarily renting an apartment or staying at a hotel, it’s something we definitely think about. We’re happy to see the Raid bug experts have provided consumers with tools that can help prevent a more costly bed bug infestation.
Here are some tips to protect yourself from bed bugs, mosquitoes, and ticks during your upcoming travels.
Unfortunately, not all insects live outside. Bed bugs can live in any climate and urban travel-hotspots are particularly susceptible to spreading them. Checking into a hotel with bed bugs can ruin a summer vacation; even hard to spot bed bug larvae can cause itching and welts, as bed bugs must bite their hosts at every stage of growth. Worse, it’s tough to perform thorough inspections on the go. According to a recent survey, most Millennial travelers know to check the mattress, but only 37% check the headboard!
To keep from being eaten and bringing home unwanted guests, use an early detection device from Raid®. The Bed Bug Detector & Trap can be placed anywhere bed bugs hide under the mattress, behind the headboard, and in corners of the bed frame, to name a few.
The partially enclosed trap is designed to keep bed bugs trapped inside and the see-through window allows you to easily identify any trapped bugs. With the early detection, you can spend your vacation well-rested and bring home only enjoyable souvenirs!
For more information on the new Raid® Bed bug Detector & Trap, visit their website, ask them a question on Twitter, or check out their YouTube videos.
Mosquitoes breed naturally from still water, so you should expect to find them pretty much everywhere. Lakes, ponds, even puddles that will stay long enough: all create the ideal environment for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes don’t just bite at dawn and dusk. To get the most out of all outdoor activities, be sure to apply DEET based mosquito repellent across all exposed body parts.
Luckily, using mosquito repellent has long been a proven method of keeping yourself protected from mosquitoes, so make sure you pack a bottle. Hang bug netting around your sleeping area at night for extra protection.
Have you dreamed of visiting the Garden Isle of Hawaii? Kauai is home to stunning natural wonders including Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Wai’ale’ale Crater, but no visit to Kauai is complete without visiting the majestic 17-mile stretch of the Na Pali Coast.
You have three options when visiting the Na Pali Coast hiking, helicopter tour and boat ride. I’ll go over each of these options below, but if you only have time for one of these activities while visiting Kauai, book a helicopter flight!
THE BEST WAY TO SEE THE NA PALI COAST IN KAUAI
By far, the best way to view the Na Pali Coast is by Helicopter because most of the areas are inaccessible by land or sea. I booked a flight with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters the same company we used for a helicopter tour of Maui — and from start to finish, the service was top notch.
If you plan to take any photos, Blue Hawaiian’s pilots fly on the left of the aircraft which means there’s more seating for the best views of the Na Pali Coast. All of the helicopter tours fly from the south, up the coast, so you’ll want to be on the right side of the aircraft and most of Blue Hawaiian’s passenger seats are on this side. I also highly recommend requesting Shay as your pilot!
Blue Hawaiian also provides black shirts to every guest (as a courtesy) because black reduces glare on the windows. I’ve been on flights where the other passengers are wearing white or detailed print clothing which means their clothing choices are affecting everyone’s photos.
I’ve been on two boat tours of the Na Pali Coast. The first was on a large Catamaran with Blue Dolphin Charters. The weather did not cooperate on this particular trip in June, so many of the passengers got seasick. I have to say, the staff was amazing catering to everyone’s needs running around, feeding everyone saltines and Ginger Ale, but if you do get seasick, take Dramamine!
My second boating experience along this coast was during the last week of August and the weather was absolutely perfect. I booked a zodiac tour with Holo Holo Charters. The zodiac tours provide a closer look at the caves along the cliffs, but I would not want to be in a zodiac on a choppy day.
Both of the above tours go to the same snorkeling spot along this coast. If you are looking for the best snorkeling on the island, this is not the trip to book. For snorkeling, I recommend Poipu Beach or Tunnels.