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Travel Tip Tuesday!

Today’s tip comes a little late but is very valuable. The tip: Date a girl who travels! Aleah, the Solitary Wander, is a solo traveler who has all kinds of adventures and words of wisdom. Her latest post is about all the reasons why girls who travel make great partners. They are special because of their unique travel experiences, the misadventures they have run into while traveling and their humility they have developed from seeing and experiencing the world.

READ THE WHOLE POST HERE!!! It’s awesome. And it will make your heart flutter for that special someone.

Categories: Adventure, Around the World, Art, Asia, Backpacking, Communication, Explore, Love, Travel, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tip Tuesday!

We’re back! After a brief hiatus to handle a family emergency, we’re back in Florida.

This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday is all about how to save money WHILE TRAVELING. So you’ve already hit the road, you’re on an adventure and you want to be sure you stay within your budget. The tips below will help effectively budget your money and not go broke while traveling.

How to save money while traveling:

Forego fancy restaurants – Utilize the local markets and vendors to make your own food or eat the street food (which is MUCH cheaper than restaurants, usually). That being said, you’ll want to navigate street foods carefully and have anti-diarrhea pills handy.

Save the souvenirs – My first trip to China, I bought 3 tea sets (I’m an impulse buyer) without factoring in that China was only the first stop on my itinerary. The lesson: Buy souvenirs and ship them home or stick to smaller items that you can easily put it your pack and carry with you (jewelry, magnets, etc.)

Tipping – An easy way to save money while you’re traveling is researching local customs to see if tipping is necessary. In the U.S., we tip for everything but in some cities in China, it’s rude to tip. Do the research and you may be able to save a chunk of change.

Taxi Troubles – If you can get around without using a taxi, do it. If you can’t, try to negotiate the fare before getting in. (If you’re a woman, fight hard. There are many countries that will try to take advantage of you if you’re a foreign woman).

Exchanging Money – Exchange money for the currency you want BEFORE you get to that country. Don’t exchange at the airport and if you use a kiosk, don’t forget there are fees. I like to use ATM’s… but watch out… there are international and bank fees that apply to ATM’s, too.

Tours and Tickets – This is my weakness. It’s so tempting to book every boat charter, snorkeling trip, zip line and caving tour out there but these activities will drain your bank. Set a budget and stick to it. Or investigate what the tours do (where they go, how they get there, what’s included) and do some of the same activities on your own.

For more tips and tricks to saving money while overseas, check out AirTreks Travel Blog.

Categories: Adventure, Alcohol, Around the World, Asia, Asian Food, Australia, Backpacking, Bracelet, Camping, Caving, China, Circumnavigation, Climbing, Europe, Explore, Extreme Vacation/Adventures, Food, Fresh Food, Gear, Globetrotting, Hiking, Jewelry, Nature, Packing, Planning vacation, RTW, Seafood, South America, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Travel Tips, Trek, Trip planning, Vegetarian, World Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

People We Wish Would Be President (excluding Obama)

Florida just had its primary at the end of January but political ads continue to litter television commercials and news broadcasts. In honor of all the drama, here’s a funny article from Matador Network on 40 people we wish were running for president (of the U.S.).



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Islands for Everyone!

As cabin fever sets in and winter blues hover in the air (unless you live in Florida, no winter blues here), why not take yourself on a tropical getaway? Say, to an island that’s perfect for your personality?! CNN Go has put together a list of islands that are perfect for all kinds of people – nudists, families, loners, lovers…. you name it. Here are some of the findings:

World’s Best Islands For…

Naughty Nudists
Rab, Croatia – The birthplace of skinny dipping where clothing is optional. There are 3 different nude beaches where all of your parts can get some Vitamin D.

Nature Nuts
Sark, Channel Islands – It’s here, off the French coast of Normandy, that you can see the Milky Way nearly every night. There are no street lights or headlights because cars and bright lights are outlawed – perfect for stargazing space freaks (like me)!

Family Frenzies
Oahu, Hawaii – I’ll admit, the thought of visiting an island where are bunch of kids are running around is a turnoff to me. But Oahu is a great destination for families because of all the activities to keep young ones entertained – things like surfing school, giant mazes and water slides.

Lusty Lovebirds
Lizard Island, Australia – Between the 24 private beaches, the torch-lit dinners at the resorts and the Great Barrier Reef, this island is sure to make sparks fly. I know it’s going on our itinerary…

Laid Back Loners
Ogasawara Island, Japan – Traveling solo isn’t a bad thing, especially if you enjoy the quiet of being one with nature. South of Tokyo, this island has few inhabitants and a ferry is the only means of connecting the island to the “real world”… otherwise, you’re on your own! (Bring your survival bracelet!)

Party Peeps
Ibiza, Spain – Yes, the same Ibiza that J-Lo sings about. Known for its sweaty summer raves, there are tons of clubs with head-throbbing trance music if you’re looking for a party scene-getaway.

Movie Star Madness
St. Barts, French West Indies – Pretty, posh and full of paparazzi, this is THE island for celeb sightings. It’s also a gorgeous place with white sand beaches, just like in the Hollywood movies.

To read about the other island recommended, check out CNN Go’s article.

Happy island-hopping!

Categories: Adventure, Around the World, Backpacking, Celebrities, Explore, Family, Globetrotting, Landscape Photograph, Love, Naked Hiking, Naturalist, Nature, News, Nude Beach, Nude Hiking, Ocean, Outdoors, Photography, Planning vacation, Plants and Flowers, RTW, SCUBA Diving, Summer, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Transportation, Travel, Travel Photography, Travel Tips, Trip planning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Guide – Day 5

Well folks, this is the 5th and final day of my coffee adventures around the world… just in time for the weekend! To read the whole article from MSNBC Itineraries, click here.

United StatesFrappuccino
It’s funny to see what people (in this case MSNBC Itineraries) thinks is the quintessential all-American coffee drink. Starbucks, yes. But a frap? Weird. For anyone who doesn’t know (or any non-coffee drinkers out there), a frappuccino is a coffee-meets-milkshake concoction. Usually high in calories and not as much caffeine as your classic black cup of Joe, a frappuccino can be especially tasty on hot days in the summer.

Netherlands: Bakkie Troost
This my type of morning brew: black coffee served with a cookie!

Brazil: Cafezinho
Very sweet and very strong. Did you know that Brazil produces 1/3 of the world’s coffee beans?! Awesome!

Poland: Kawa Parzona
Ground coffee beans and water mixed right in your cup. No filter. I feel like this would be like drinking sandy water. Hmmm.

Japan: Kan Kohi
Two words: canned coffee. Usually from one of the 6 million vending machines in the country that will dispense a cold brew in the summer and hot brew in the winter.

Photo by Alberto Pizzoli - MSNBCtravels

Categories: Adventure, Around the World, Asia, Coffee, Europe, Explore, Food, Globetrotting, Japan, Photography, Pinterest, South America, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Around the World for $100,000

The Chinese are generally known to be frugal and modest, so it’s quite a surprise to hear that a 66-day luxury trip around the world sold out in just 13 SECONDS! The trip costs [a mere] RMB 660,000 – over $100,000 USD. The 11-person tour is organized by Ctrip – a Chinese travel agency conglomerate. (Tip: book airline tickets through them when you’re in China – they’re much cheaper than the usual travel agencies/airlines).

The “world tour”, China claims, is the “ultimate travel experience.” The itinerary looks something like this:

Australia + 24 days in South America + a cruise to Antarctica + North Africa + Europe + a 10-day cruise through the Med + Paris + Finland + Dubai + India + Hong Kong.

They’re flying first-class to all of their destinations, staying at the most high-end and posh hotels, and only participating in luxury-related activities. Read the article at CNN Go here.

I think this type of “tour” is an embarrassment for China. Not only is it ridiculously expensive given that the price tag is 8-10x that of the average annual Chinese salary, but I think it’s extremely homogenous, limited, and narrow-minded. Don’t get me wrong, people are absolutely free to travel however they please and by whatever means they desire but don’t call this the “ultimate travel experience” globetrotting tour of of the world when you’re only going to a fraction of it. (These are my personal thoughts only and do not reflect those of CNN Go or Ctrip.)

Categories: Adventure, Airplanes, Around the World, Asia, Australia, Europe, Explore, Extreme Vacation/Adventures, Globetrotting, Hong Kong, India, RTW, Shanghai, South America, Summer, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Transportation, Travel, Trip planning, World Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coffee Guide – Day 4

Here’s to day 3 of my coffee guide around the world! Read MSNBC Itineraries’ article here.

Spain: Café Bombon
Espresso & condensed milk – usually in layers. Sounds pretty to look at but not my cup of tea…or coffee, rather.

Morocco: Café des Épices
Coffee mixed with a variety of Moroccan spices! Everything from cardamom to black pepper is mixed into the coffee, depending on the occasion (or mood of the brewer.)

France: Café au Lait
Coffee with LOTS of warm milk – usually for dunking baguettes. (I’d be more interested in the baguettes and breakfast pastries than the French coffee, but that’s just me.)

Pieces of reindeer- or cow-milk cheese in a cup of black coffee.  Who would have thought that coffee and reindeer cheese go well together?

Ireland: Irish Coffee
Yes, just like we know it here in the states: hot coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey and whipped cream – the morning pick-me-up for college students!

Categories: Adventure, Backpacking, Coffee, Drink, Europe, Food, France, Globetrotting, News, Recpie, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Kickstarter is a fantastic site that hypes crowd-funding for various creative projects ranging from publishing to photography, dance to design.

How it works: If you have an idea for a project (it has to be finite), you submit a proposal to the Kickstarter team. Your proposal outlines the basic project ideas, rewards for people who donate to you, and what the money you raise will be used for. (You can’t raise money for charity, loans or a company). Once your proposal is accepted, you make a video explaining your project to help encourage backers (aka: people who donate money to you and back your project) to fund your project. All projects have a fundraising goal ($) and a deadline – 30 or 60 days – and only fully-funded projects are put into action. Because Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, if the project does not get full funding within the deadline, backers are not charged for their donations.

There are GREAT projects on Kickstarter! People are so creative and have awesome ideas for projects. We highly recommend checking out the website and maybe donating, too!

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Coffee Guide – Day 3

Day 3 of my coffee guide around the world! Read MSNBC Itineraries’ article here.

Cuba: Cubano
Raw sugar + espresso-like shot = a good way to spend 75¢.

IndonesiaKopi Luwak
*Disclaimer: This one is gross.* Civets (mammals native to Asia that looks like a cross between a cat, a weasel and a cheetah) eat coffee berries and then poop the coffee beans. Farmers sift through the crap to get the beans and then make your brew. Like it bold? Intestinal enzymes help make the beans smoother and give a richer taste. I think I’ll pass on coffee when we get to Indonesia.

MalaysiaPak Kopi/Kopi Putih/Bai Ka-fe
This coffee is either roasted in palm oil margarine – a lighter roast- or traditional Malaysian coffee is roasted with sugar AND margarine – giving it a darker roast. (I think Paula Dean would approve).

Argentina: Cortado 
It’s simple and no thrills: An espresso shot with a splash of milk.

Australia/New Zealand: Flat White
Coffee and steamed milk mixed together. But no frothy, bubbly foam, so it’s not a latté. (Even though it is made with “micro-foam” from the bottom of the steaming carafe.). Sounds like a latté to me, kiwis!

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Australia, Backpacking, Coffee, Cuba, Drink, Explore, Food, Malaysia, Photography, South America, Top Knotch Gear, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Caffeine Guide – Day 2

Day 2 of the caffeine guide! Read MSNBC Itineraries’ article here.

Turkey: Türk Kahvesi
Thick and dark, this will look more like mud than actual coffee. Yummy.

Hong Kong: Yuangyang
I’ve actually never had this drink any of the times I was in HK. It’s a combo of coffee and black tea with milk – talk about BUZZ!

Greece: Frappé
This is just like those cheap frozen drinks you’ll see on a breakfast-chain menu in the states. Frozen, ultra sweet, high in calories and made with instant coffee. But if you choose this sweet concoction, do like the locals and get it like James Bond – shaken, not stirred.

India: Kappi
Similar to New Orleans, this coffee is brewed with chicory (giving a rich depth to the taste) but is aerated before it’s served. Sounds delicious!

Vietnam: Ca Phe Sua Da
Hot water poured over a filter with coffee into a cup of sweetened condensed milk. Blah.

Categories: Adventure, Coffee, Drink, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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