Friday, August 28, 2015

Paperwork

When traveling internationally, it's important to keep a hard copy of all documents with you.  People often store these things in their email or on their phones, which is great, but if your phone gets stolen or you're somewhere without reliable internet, having a paper copy of your documents can be a lifesaver! (Also, with email security settings, if you check your email on a new computer abroad, you might be required to enter in a code sent via. a text to your phone. That won't work if your phone is lost/stolen, you don't get service, or it's out of juice!)

What documents should you keep a paper copy of?
  • Passport - Make sure it doesn't expire within 6 months of travel
  • Visa - Both the credit card type (toll free number), as well as an immigration visa
  • Health Insurance card
  • Important contact information of family
  • Itinerary - Print-out of airline tickets, hotel addresses, maps, directions, etc.
Make sure to keep a copy of all documents safe in your luggage while out and about for the day. Just don't put them in your checked baggage! Nothing would be worse than lost clothes and information!

Safe travels!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

World's Most Famous Beaches

The world is full of beautiful beaches!  I even wrote a previous post on some that are close to major airports. But, walking along Waikiki Beach one day I was thinking of which beaches are household names around the world (or at least well known in the United States).  It really isn't that long of a list!

Think these are worth the hype? Have any to add? Leave a comment below!

South Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California, USA

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(Photo from Wikipedia)

Paradise Island, Bahamas
(Photo from Expedia.com)





Thursday, August 6, 2015

Travel on any budget, continued!

Following up on a previous post, here are some additional suggestions for ways to travel on the cheap...

Museums, like this one,
The Hermitage in Russia,
have free admission days.
- Most museums offer "free days," plan on visiting those days. Even the most famous museums offer this - The Vatican and Louvre!

- Use public transit. Taking taxis in an unfamiliar place can be tempting, but local trains and buses will be cheaper and give you a more "real" experience. Also, consider daily and weekly passes for longer visits.

- Never forget to ask about discounts… Students, Teachers, Seniors, etc.

- Booking hotels and rental cars at a non-refundable rate can save you a lot. If you're worried about canceling, put some of that saved money toward travel insurance to cover your whole trip! (Check out my previous post about travel insurance here.)

- Instead of booking hotels only, also check out alternative options such as vacation rental by owner (VRBO.com) and Airbnb.
Don't forget to ask for discounts: Student, Teacher, Senior, etc.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Eating Abroad

A huge expense while traveling is eating out. There are multiple things you can do to $ave money in this regard, but still enjoy the local cuisine.

A fancy lunch versus dinner,
like this one in Russia, is a cost-saver!
  • Eat a nice lunch versus fancy dinner. Stop by a cafe or casual restaurant for dinner.
  • Local grocery stores offer great sandwiches, meats, and fruits, for a much more reasonable price than a local cafe. Also, I often buy cookies, jams, etc. from grocery stores to bring back for friends. Cost-effective, and also sure to be an authentic treat!
  • Share appetizers/dessert (or forego these altogether). Take a stroll and get an ice cream instead of ordering at a restaurant. Typically a cheaper choice, and a fun after dinner activity.
  • Buy wine to indulge in before or after dinner instead of at a restaurant. Alcohol can often can be consumed in a local park or outdoors in other countries.
  • Pack snacks in your luggage from home… Granola bars, peanut butter crackers, etc. Nothing is worse than traveling hungry! 
  • Book a place with a kitchen/fridge to make meals.
  • When considering hotels, consider ones with breakfast included.

 
Pick up food for a picnic at a farmer's market
Local groceries offer regional delicacies
you can't find elsewhere!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cruising to Cuba!

Carnival cruise ships will be visiting Cuba soon!
Exciting news from the Carnival cruise ship corporation this week - they plan on cruising their mid-size ship Adonia to Cuba, which will be part of their new "Fathom" brand. The cruise line just got permission from the US Government to start the sailings, which will involve experiencing local Cuban life through cultural and artistic exchanges. The sailings will begin in May 2016 at a starting price of $2990, about three times higher than the typical Carnival Caribbean cruise! (I bet if you wait a year, to let them work out kinks, the price will also drop a bit.)

While other tour operators are going to be offering land-based packages, cruising will offer passengers comfortable accommodations while still being able to spend days ashore immersing oneself in a Cuban cultural experience. What do you think? Excited to experience and visit Cuba? 

It is now just dependent on Cuban government approval...