Travel

La Mezquita [Cordoba, Spain]

Posted on: October 6, 2017

People say that “a picture says a thousand words” and in this case I couldn’t agree more. An easy day trip from Malaga landed us in Cordoba to see the famous Cathedral built on top of a Mosque.

One of the MOST incredible sites in Spain that we have seen thus far and the merging of two cultures creates a breathtaking experience. Rich catholic history built side by side with Muslim architecture and culture.

In order to snap the best photos without a ton of tourists, arrive early by 9 am or after 4 pm! During the day, La Mezquita is full large groups of visitors and organized tours. Give yourself at least an hour if not more to wander the large site.

A little history:  The Mezquita’s architectural uniqueness and importance lies in the fact that, structurally speaking, it was a revolutionary building for its time. Earlier major Islamic buildings such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Mosque in Damascus placed an emphasis on verticality, but the Mezquita was intended as a democratically horizontal and simple space, where the spirit could be “free to roam and communicate easily with God”.

The Mezquita is registered as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and is one of the largest Mosques in all the world. Rent a car from Malaga and make the day trip! An easy drive to witness one of southern Spain’s most beautiful monuments.

xoxo

 

All my Favorite Things [Flight Edition]

Posted on: September 18, 2017

 

It’s no secret I spend A LOT of time on planes! When we lived stateside, I traveled a ton for choreography but now living abroad, I spend even more time in the air! I get a lot of questions about what’s in my carry on bag so I thought I would share with all of you my secrets! I’ve also linked up my favorite things to travel with! You may be sent to the product listed through an affiliate link! I only link the items I love and it helps me keep this blog afloat.

First things first is staying healthy! I am a big fan of essential oils and my sisters got me hooked on Doterra! I like to use the On Guard oil previous to my flight! On Guard supports healthy immune and respiratory function, supports the body’s natural antioxidant defenses, and promotes healthy circulation! All helpful things when flying:)

I just rub a few drops on the bottoms of my feet before flying. I only do this if I am wearing shoes that require socks! Don’t apply if you are wearing sandals. (sounds a little bit gypsy-ish but I swear it works!) You can also drop a few drops in your water bottle and sip it if you prefer or Doterra just came out with an On Guard hand sanitation spray! I need to get my hands on that… where my Doterra friends at?!

Favorite Books

The plane is THE BEST place to catch up on some reading! Normally I spend way too much time on my phone but sitting on a plane for nine hours with no wifi forces me to read.  I am always searching for new reads so comment below with your favorites!

My most recent favorite reads are:

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Favorite items in my Carry On

 

Burt’s Bees Cleansing TowelettesSophia+Joy ClutchNoise Cancelling HeadphonesRX BarsTravel Pillow. Scarf/Blanket. S’well Water BottleBag.

I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup while traveling but nothing beats the feeling of a clean face after an overnight flight. And I LOVE Burt’s Bees and their commitment to better ingredients!

Next I like to keep all the little things I’ll need while flying in one safe spot. I pack my passport, chapstick, keys, gum, lipstick, a pen (handy for customs paperwork) and other small necessities in one little bag! That way I am not digging through the endless pit of my bag for what I need!

Noise cancelling headphones have changed the way I fly. Not only is the sound top quality and ideal for music/movie listening, but they make it easier for me to sleep. You can switch on and off the “noise cancelling” function and the padding around the ears is very comfortable.

Everyone knows airplane food is awful so I always travel with some guilt-free snacks! I’ve recently discovered the RX Bars and I love them because they only have a handful of ingredients. I always recommend traveling with snacks because you will either pay and arm an a leg for airport food, or suffer through the provided meals.

Obviously a great travel pillow is ESSENTIAL! There are so many options out there but this is the one I use and it works for me!

Ok you may be thinking “why the heck is she traveling with a scarf?!”…This isn’t any old scarf my friends! It doubles as so many other things but I love to use it as a blanket or a pillow cover when traveling. The fabric is SO MUCH softer than the blanket provided and I always freeze on planes! I have a girlfriend that uses it as a hood and wraps herself up all tight to fall asleep! To each their own right?!

Water water water!!! So important while you are traveling and it will help keep your swollen ankles from getting super large! The little free glass is never enough for me, so traveling with my own bottle is a must!! Love this one from S’well!

Last but not least, you need a great bag to put it in! I feel like I could’ve linked 100 bags that I love but I’m a backpack girl through and through! I love this one from lululemon because I’m a huge fan of all the pockets and compartments! I also have a Fawn Design bag that is actually a diaper bag, but I use it for travel! No babies just yet 🙂

Travel doesn’t have to be stressful or something you dread. I love it and traveling prepared makes for a great start to your trip!

Where are you off to next?!

xoxo

What You Need To Know for Flight Travel with Dogs

Posted on: August 7, 2017

Traveling tends to be a stressful process and adding a furry friend makes it a little more complicated. But never fear! I have all the insider tips for you whether it’s domestic or an international flight! I have included some of my favorite travel accessories as well! You may be sent to the product listed through an affiliate link! I only link the items I love!

You can find more information regarding documentation for international travel in this post here.

Dogs can travel on commercial flights in one of 4 ways:

IN CABIN: Dogs can travel with an adult in an airline approved carrier stowed under the seat in front of you. Different airlines have different weight restrictions so call ahead previous to booking.

We have been using this pet carrier for all our travel in cabin and I love it! The mesh paneling offers breathability, yet I have the option to cover the mesh for less outside distraction to the pups. Most passengers have no idea I’m traveling with pets when I use this bag!

I also love this black carrier as well as this one that’s a bit more stylish. This one has wheels which is life changing!

CHECKED BAGGAGE (CARGO): Dogs traveling with a passenger that are not permitted in the cabin can be transported as checked baggage in the cargo hold.

Your pet must travel in an IATA compliant pet crate and meet certain other requirements depending on the airline. It is considered best to have only one animal per container, but the IATA rules state that two animals can share the same container if the animals are under 14kg (30lbs) and are of the same species and compatible. It is up to the airline to set their own rules and most of them do.

I would recommend these pet crates made by PetMate since they meet all the airline requirements! You can find more information about crate specifics here!

MANIFEST CARGO: Unaccompanied or very large pets will travel as manifest cargo in the hold.

SERVICE/COMFORT ANIMALS: Service and Emotional Animals can travel in the cabin with a disabled passenger on many airlines.

Traveling with a service/comfort animal requires specific documentation. Please call your flight carrier while booking to confirm details regarding service animals on board.

**check with your airline for complete policies. Some airlines don’t allow in cabin pet travel or cargo.

Helpful Airport Tips:

BUDGET FOR EXTRA FEES: Flying with dogs will cost you a bit extra! Prices can range from $50-$500 if you are flying as cargo and average $125 in cabin.

PET COMFORT: If your dog is traveling as cargo, place an old t-shirt or sweater in the kennel. It will smell like you and provide some comfort! Some airlines also require water and food in the kennel when they are traveling as cargo.

PET RELIEF AREAS: Some airports have indoor/outdoor pet relief areas in the terminals. You can find what airports provide this service with an easy google search! If the airport doesn’t contain a relief area, find a private restroom and put down a puppy pad!

SECURITY SCREENING: Pet will have to be taken out of carrier and a carried through metal detector. Put the pet carrier bag in the scanner first so you can easily place the dog back in the bag and collect your other things. Your hands will likely be swiped by TSA as added security.

KEEP YOUR PUP ON A LEASH: This is a common courtesy to other travelers, especially those with pets! I usually leave mine in the bag to avoid added stress.

My Favorite Pet Travel Accessories:

 

 Dog Waste Bags. leash. food carrier. collar. rope toys. pet carrier bag.  the indoor restroom for pets  pet food travel-tainer kit. jumbo collapsible travel dog bowls .

xoxo

How I Stay Fit While Traveling

Posted on: July 31, 2017

Fitness usually isn’t something I like to chat about since I am NOT a certified trainer or medical professional, but I get a lot of questions about staying fit while traveling so lets chat about it!

Fitness is something I have always valued due to be a dancer as well as from an active family! Sweating has been apart of my routine for a LONG time and traveling tends to throw a wrench in that! So how do you maintain your habits while traveling?

I am a big believer in BALANCE and I do not think that working out should overtake your travel adventures! Enjoy the local food, culture, and attractions ,but I’ve got a few great ideas on ways to enjoy your new city while getting sweaty!

Online Workouts

If you have got a wifi connection and a little space your good to go! If you don’t have space in your hotel room or wherever you are staying, find a local park! A great way to enjoy a little green space and get sweaty!

Here are my favorites:

Ballet Blast: Ballet barre inspired workout recorded live 3 times a week! You are part of an online community through Facebook and it costs less than a $1 a day! Requires minimal equipment and can be done anywhere in the world! Killer burn for the muscles you didn’t know you had!

The Yoga Collective: Online subscription based platform which provides its online family (members) with High Quality, HD yoga classes taught by some of Los Angeles’s top teachers. The coolest thing is they donate 50% of the profits to Charity!

Beach Body Guide by Kayla Itsines: 12 week program designed to target fat loss and muscle gain. 28 min HIIT workouts that can either be downloaded by PDF or accessed through the Sweat with Kayla app. I prefer the downloaded pdf’s since the app costs $19.99 a month and the ebook download is a one time fee of about $55. I take those with me everywhere! They are easy to pack in my bag and I can do them anywhere with a little creativity for equipment.

Local Studio Deals

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When we are city or country hoping, I jump online and find the nearest workout studios! Whether it’s yoga, cycling, boxing, or pilates! Normally, studios will offer a “first class free” or even a discounted intro week!

Hop from new studio to studio and you’ll have a full week of free classes just like that! You may even discover your new favorite workout and meet some locals!

If you are settling in a new city long term, buy your workout classes in bulk. Most studios offer deals for bulk purchases or a longer term memberships.

Some large retailers like Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, or lululemon usually have organized run clubs or free in store workouts!

Join a worldwide gym. There are many gym organizations that are actually worldwide! For example, I can visit any Anytime Fitness around the world for the cost of my monthly membership. This makes it really easy when I visit home and have the comfort of a gym I am used to!

Get Out and Explore

I can guarantee that everywhere you travel there is a park, hiking trails, or even organized walking tours. Get out and explore (without a car) and you’ll burn calories without even knowing it! I walked a total of 10 miles just exploring London in a day and didn’t even realize it! Of course my feet were tired but I got to see a new city and a workout.

Download walking tours and spend a few of your travel days out an about. Learn the history of the architecture, taste local food, and enjoy culture.

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The best piece of advice I can give you is to first ENJOY your trip and then secondly worry about staying fit. Staying fit while traveling can be an easy task, but not one that should overshadow your adventures! Incorporate it into your daily schedule and you won’t miss a sweat!

Happy sweating my friends!

xoxo

International Travel with Dogs [Part One]

Posted on: July 19, 2017

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Our fur babies are like family and it never crossed our minds that we would leave them behind. So when we decided to uproot our lives to Spain, we knew we had to start the documentation process of traveling with pets. It can be a daunting process but we’ve done our research and are here to help!

In our experience, Europe has been really dog friendly! I see more people with dogs in Barcelona wandering the streets than I ever did living stateside. London felt the same way too! Most cafes have outdoor seating for guests with dogs, and I’ve seen quite a few pups out shopping with their owners. Research is your best friend. Spend a few minutes researching your destination and it’s dog friendly-ness!

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First things first,

Contact your Embassy or the Embassy of the country you will be traveling to. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT step. It is crucial you look into all the documentation ASAP.

Requirements for most countries (not all):

  • ISO microchip (if it isn’t ISO you can purchase a scanner to bring with you to scan the chip)
  • Recent rabies vaccination  (most countries require annual shots but will usually honor the 3 year booster)
  • Blood titer test in some cases
  • Tick and tapeworm treatments administered a certain number of hours prior to entry
  • Health certificates administered by your veterinarian no more than 10 days prior to entry
  • Government Export Paperwork from the country of origin (Department of Agriculture or USDA equivalent)

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Other helpful information…

RABIES: 

The countries of the world have been divided into three classifications that relate to rabies: rabies-free countries, rabies-controlled countries and high-rabies countries. Before your pet travels internationally, it is important that you know the rabies classification of your pet’s originating country as well as the rabies classification of its destination country.  You need to be aware of quarantine requirements of countries in which you must clear customs.

You can find that information by contacting or researching the embassy of the country you are traveling to.

If your pet is entering the country of destination from a rabies-free or rabies-controlled country, it will need proof of a current rabies vaccination that was administered after the microchip was implanted.

If this is your pet’s first vaccination after microchipping, it will need to wait for 21 days before traveling. There is no waiting period after boosters as long as:

  • the previous vaccination was administered after a microchip was implanted AND
  • the previous vaccination had not expired when the booster was given.

You can find a list of rabies-free (here) and rabies-controlled countries (here).

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Pet Passport:

Another option you can look into is a Pet Passport. If it is available from your vet, DO IT! So helpful and contains all the documentation/information in one place. This will make travel through the airports and borders a lot easier and faster!

Stay posted for Part 2! My favorite tips and tricks for taking long flights and finding pet friendly accommodations! Pets are such a huge part of our lives an I can’t imagine traveling without em!

xoxo

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The BEST Food In Barcelona

Posted on: July 5, 2017

The best food in Barcelona (2)

Barcelona is famous for it’s food and I’m here to tell you from first hand experience that’s the truth. I shoot for a food blog, My Foodie Friend Barcelona, and we have been lucky to sample some of the cities finest! Katie (the women behind My Foodie Friend) is a real treat so do check out her site ya? There are tons more delish places reviewed on her blog!

Europe takes pride in their love of food and there is a plethora of restaurants in Barcelona to choose from. The decision process can be a bit overwhelming so I’ve whittled it down to my top 8!

Acontraluz

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Located in Sarria, its a hidden gem that takes you from the unsuspecting street in a secret garden. The menu is created with seasonal fresh ingredients in mind. It’s a modern Mediterranean menu and I am still drooling over the Pear Tortellini. The garden atmosphere coupled with the old art hanging on the walls, invited me to stay for as long as I pleased. We came to discover that the art is indeed the owners own work!

Check out the full review here for more details!

Restaurant Acontraluz
Carrer del Milanesat, 19
00 34 932 03 06 58
wwww.acontraluz.com

La Pepita 

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Located in Gracia, this is a hip and happening spot in town. Always full of locals and tourists alike both gathered to enjoy its famous tapas! The walls are covered in scribbled messages from travelers passing through and the atmosphere is electric! If you arrive after 7:30 pm and there is wait, La Pepita also owns La Cava (two doors down) where you can enjoy a few drinks while waiting for your table!

Check out the full review here for more details!

La Pepita
Carrer Còrsega, 343
+34 932 38 48 93
www.lapepitabcn.com

Casa Lolea 

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Sometimes the tapas can be a little bit repetitive in Barcelona and one girl can only eat so many of the same things but Casa Lolea is an exception to the rule and a must visit for a good Spanish experience. Typical Spanish tapas without the “heavy fried” feeling after you eat and the decor is adorable! I’m a sucker for anything designed using natural wood! The place is popular so be sure to set a reservation for your lunch or dinner!

Check out the full review here for more details!

Casa Lolea
Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 49
+34 936 24 10 16
hola@casalolea.com

Robata

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robata

Located in the Eixample neighborhood you’ll find some seriously delicious sushi. The menu offers a variety of rolls, maki, sashimi, and a plethora of warm dishes. It’s a great fit for all taste buds (even the pickiest of eaters) and don’t leave without getting desert! Try the carrot cake or a slice of lemon pie!

Check out the full review here for more details!

Robata Sushi & Grill
Enric Granados, 55
+34 937 826 000
www.robata.es

Martinez

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Paella is one famous dish you can’t leave Barcelona without eating! They are ALL OVER the city but if you want the best, head to Martinez. Located on the mountain side of Montjuic, you get a coastal view of the city and even live music on occasion! The Paella is huge so go hungry and ready to share! The menu also contains classic Spanish tapas and drinks!

Martinez
Carretera De Miramar, 38
08038 Barcelona
+34 931 06 60 52
info@martinezbarcelona.com

Lolita Taperia

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Located in the Sant Antoni neighborhood this is fun little tapas spot that will please everyone! The chicken strips fried in chips is my personal fave but the entire menu is full of small plates to share. It’s a fish driven menu sprinkled with classic dishes like croquettes and Iberian ham! Perfect for a late night dinner with friends!

Lolita Taperia
C / Tamarit, 104
08015 Barcelona
+34 93 424 52 31
lolitataperia.com

Pikio Taco

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Not your average taco joint and here you can find gourmet tacos on the menu. Interesting combinations like mozzarella, veal, and chorizo, or the Mozzarella, pumpkin flower, fried yucca and toasted rolled almond! Don’t skip out of the nachos because in my opinion, they are the best part! We have visited our share of taco joints in BCN and this is one of our go-to’s! Nothing gets as close as the tacos in Mexico, but these are a good substitute!

Check out the full review here for more details!

Pikio Taco
Carrer de Còrsega, 376
08037 Barcelona
+34 934 57 32 52

Isabellas

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Also located in Sarria, this family owned/run Italian restaurant is anything but classic. The menu is a fusion of Mediterranean/Italian, and the ingredients are all locally sourced. The decor feels like an old Paris film and its full of families and couples alike. The starers menu had me drooling so remember to save room for the main course and dessert! I promise it won’t disappoint!

Isabellas
Carrer de Ganduxer,
50 – 08021 Barcelona
+34 93 414 57 69
info@isabellas-restaurant.com

The food is really fantastic in Barcelona and the locals sure know how to eat and enjoy a meal. Slow down, sip on your drink and pick at your tapas, and you will realize why a meal deserves more than 20 mins. Supporting local restaurants helps boost the local economy so branch out from The Hard Rock Cafe and surprise your taste buds!  What are your favorite spots to eat in Barcelona? I’m always on the look out for new spots so comment below with your go-tos!

xoxo

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10 Reasons To Live Abroad at least Once

Posted on: June 26, 2017

10 reasons to live abroad (2)

Whether you have the travel bug, need for adventure, or want a cheaper cost of living, there are many reasons to live abroad. Sadly, many don’t take the leap afraid of the technicalities of moving to a new country. But, if you approach the move with an open mind, you’re in for a life of adventures and memories.

As a wife of an MBA student, we took the leap and I am here to tell you that living abroad is one of the most amazing/rewarding things I have ever decided to do. I’ve gathered my top 10 reasons and even if it is just for a few months, take the leap!

Culture Shock

There is no better way to open your eyes to how the world works, than to live in another culture. You will quickly learn that it is OK to be different and that EVERYWHERE functions differently.

When we first moved to Spain, I was surprised at the pace of life. Everything moved a bit slower and the locals knew how to enjoy their lives. As an American, I have been hustling since I can remember and I marveled at the those who could sit at lunch for two hours sipping wine with a colleague.

I shop for fruits and veggies from a local farmer, purchase my meat from the butcher, and fresh bread from the Panaderia. No target or bulk food stores in sight and the entire community spends Saturday out and about walking from this shop to that.

Europeans value experience and therefore everything is done in detail. From gorgeous parks, to monuments, to colorfully painting buildings, it creates a full experience.

Personal Development

Holly cow this should probably be number one. When you are placed in a new, uncomfortable environment, it forces you to adapt to your surroundings. You will face challenges on a daily basis in a new city, and most likely in a new language. I’ve had my share of tearful moments, but deep down that strength grows with every challenge.

Before moving I thought I was an independent person, but I quickly learned that I depended on the habits and ease of my familiar surroundings. As scary as it is to deal with government authorities, landlords, or even the doorman you learn to “just do it”. Nike style. It has to be done, and no one can do it for you, so you conquer little fears everyday!

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World Wide Community

You are now suddenly open to meeting so many people with like interests from all over the world. Whether that’s in a yoga class, a new job, or shopping at the market your community is far wider spread than before.

Friends will become family and community will be more important than things. Life long bonds will be formed as you need these people to navigate living abroad.

I’ve developed close friends while living in Spain and only one of them is a fellow American! My husband, (the student), has an even bigger network attending class with people from over 60 different countries.

Religion, political, and cultural discussions open your eyes to other issues in the world, and your perspective will shift for the better.

Resume Builder

If your in business moving/working abroad will look killer on a CV and open up international opportunities. I am not business woman but networking is just as important in my work and meeting people from all over the world could open all kinds of doors.

Even if you don’t plan to work abroad, the fact you speak a second language or have experience in a particular city could give you the upper hand in an interview.

Expand Your Vocabulary

Learn a second language! Most of the world studies at least 3 languages while in school and as an American, I feel silly only speaking english.

Yes, learning a new language is SO challenging but totally rewarding when you can carry on a conversation with the local barista. It’s essential if you plan to stay long term in your new city. Most government processes are in the local language and often times they don’t speak english.

I’ve gained a larger respect for those who are bi-lingual and I’ve learned to humble myself while stumbling through Spanish at the store. It will get easier day by day and a little by little.

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 Cheaper Travel

Trains, buses, and cheaper flights make seeing new destinations easy and more frequent. Imagine yourself eating pasta in Italy and the next weekend touring sights in France. Overnight trains or even a rental car take you from country to country in just a few hours.

This has to be one of my favorite reasons to live abroad. I’ve always loved travel and we have seen and experienced so many new places all thanks to living in Europe.

Your Taste Will Change

Discovering new foods, fashion, and lifestyle differences will change you. I can only speak for Spain in this respect but the food is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Produce is only sold during its fresh season, bread is baked daily, and food goes bad quickly because it isn’t shot full of chemicals. Restaurants take pride in their food and markets are the hub of the city.

Fashion is different and what you know to be in style at home will not be the case in your new city. It’s a chance to re-define yourself. A clean slate you could say. Your lifestyle will shift in what you find important daily from your morning routine, hair-do, and commute to work, it will all begin to feel like normal.

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Re-Define Yourself

I think the reasons listed above all apply here but it’s really is a chance to make and entire new life. You have a unique opportunity to start over and decide how you want to live abroad. New job, new life, new you. Essentially your walking into a new environment without expectations from any one else so make some big life changes. Dye your hair purple or start working for yourself. Options are endless and that’s what is so exciting about making a huge move abroad.

Learn to be Alone

This one sounds a bit negative but this is one of the MOST valuable lessons to learn in life. The first while will feel isolating and lonely but you learn to rely on what you know and you feel like a super hero accomplishing anything. Wandering the streets, museum hopping, or showing up to a cultural event alone will benefit your self development. You will be your own biggest cheerleader and traveling solo may become your preferred way of exploring.

New Experiences Daily

I wish I had kept a daily journal during the first few weeks living abroad. Each day presented itself with new experiences.

Driving around the city on a Moto instead of a car, shopping for groceries in four different local shops, and stumbling upon Churches hundreds of years old. These things DON’T happen in the United States and every day I found myself stopping and marveling at the city before me.

History around every corner and a chance to learn and be inspired presents itself often. As a creative person, moving abroad has pushed my limits and opened me up for so many new things.

It isn’t always a walk in the park. There have been really hard times. But I would say that the really great times out weigh the bad.

So what are you waiting for? Come join me abroad!

xoxo

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Travel Cheap Series [ Hotels & Accommodations ]

Posted on: June 19, 2017

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I shared our tips and tricks for cheap flights so lets get some cheap rooms to sleep in! Hotels/accommodations have always been a little harder for me to find at a good price, so I’ve rounded up the best sites!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the links, I will receive a small commission. It’s how I keep this little site afloat. I ONLY link up things I’ve already used and loved! You can read more about how that works here!

***ALWAYS USE AN INCOGNITO TAB WHEN SEARCHING ONLINE*** Your internet browser saves the data you’ve been searching for and will show you higher prices each time you search. Yikes! If you have Google Chrome, you can select an incognito tab by clicking on the 3 little dots in the right corner!

Airbnb 

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We LOVE Airbnb. It’s become more widely used and accepted worldwide! If you aren’t familiar, you can rent an entire home, apartment, villa, or even a yacht! You can apply all sorts of filters and there are amazing places to stay all over the world. We have used Airbnb on every vacation we have been on and so far have had ZERO problems 🙂 Each renter is rated after each stay so you can make sure to read reviews and then leave your own after your stay. I highly suggest reading reviews and only booking places with quality photos! Do a little reading and you’ll find the perfect spot.

IMPORTANT: Always read the full descriptions and make sure you are aware of any added city tax or fees! Some listings require you to pay the tax so keep an eye on that!

You can now also book experiences through airbnb too! Guided bike tours, yoga, cooking classes, and so much more!  I haven’t tried any of the booked experiences yet, so if you have comment below! I wanna hear all about it!

Want $40 towards your next stay? Well your in luck because I’ve got a code just for you! just click here!

Hotels Tonight

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Hotels Tonight is an app that finds unsold rooms at the last minute for a good deal! Whether it’s cancelled travel plans or missed connections you won’t be left in out in the rain. You can book a room up to a week in advance or the morning of.

I have yet to use the app, but I’ve got a friend who has traveled the world that sent it my way.  I am a planner, I like to have my trip in black and white, but we’ve had our share of mishaps and I wish I would’ve known about this app sooner!

HOSTEL WORLD

When I backpacked Europe at age 19 with my two girl friends, we ONLY stayed in hostels. Back in the day (I swear I am not that old) we found our hostels through travel books while sitting at Barnes & Noble. I am a little snobbier now, and I don’t like staying in a Hostels when traveling with Carson, but it’s a cheap option for most travelers. Hostel world compares prices and booking options for the over 33,000 properties!

Hostel World also has a video library and travel guide recommendations. Over 8 million client reviews and 24/7 customer service! Traveling solo can be a bit scary, but staying in hostels is a great way to meet other adventures

DISCOUNT SITES

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There are SO MANY travel websites out there that I tend to get a little overwhelmed. In my experience with booking travel, we have used these 3 and have pretty decent luck!

Momondo: I blogged about momondo in our booking cheap flights series, but they also offer hotel searches as well! They compare large hotel booking sites, as well as individual hotel sites.

Agoda: Discount booking site that operates in over 17 languages and offers 24/7 customer service. Especially useful when booking travel in Asia! One of our vacations so far was our 3 week south east Asia adventure, so I highly recommend it! I’ve got a bunch of travel tips for that side of the world if you end up pulling the trigger! I sure hope you do because that trip was amazing!

Booking.com: Also another great booking site. I like to open up the 3 sites in different tabs so I can compare pricing. Booking offers separate searches for “on a budget shopping” as well as over 120,000,000 customer reviews! With each of our bookings (so far) we didn’t have to pay till arrival and cancelling was super easy. Always, Always, Always read the fine print on cancelation policies as well as charges.

Travel booking can be SO OVERWHELMING sometimes but I promise the digging is worth it!

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xoxo

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How we Traveled for 3 Weeks in a Carry On

Posted on: June 12, 2017

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Traveling with a carry on IS THE WAY to go. Most budget airlines charge a high fee for checking a bag and an even higher one if you don’t pay online. Prices normally range between $35-$70 so taking a carry on is a much cheaper option. It’s also a guarantee your luggage stays in your sights. Nothing worse than loosing luggage while traveling and having nothing but the clothes on your back. Especially if you are country hopping and there is no way of knowing where your bags could end up. #nothankyou.

So to keep things nice and real over here, this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I will receive a small commission. It’s how I keep this little site afloat. I ONLY link up things I already own and love! You can read more about how that works here!

Carson and I have mastered the art of the carry on (sometimes we even share just one) and I’m going to share our secrets with you today!

FIND A GOOD BAG

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(NOT a carry-on but I couldn’t resist including this little guy. isn’t he the cutest?!)

First things first, get yourself a decent Carry On bag. One that is sturdy and maximizes your space. All of our luggage is from Dakine and I highly recommend it. Originally, DAKINE is a skate brand so their bags are made with skateboard wheels to maximize quality. That means your wheels won’t wear out and if they do, they are super easy to replace! There are a ton of options you can shop for, just read reviews and do a little research! We own two different Carry-on roller bags as well the larger roller bags for when we end up checking a bag. Normally on our trips we stick to the carry-ons, but when we moved abroad we took 4 of these large bags  with our entire lives in them! A strange thing to see your life in 4 large bags!

PACKING CUBES

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These were recommended to us from a friend and they are LIFE CHANGING. I remember thinking “these will never work” but they turned to magic as soon as I started packing. They come in different sizes depending on the size of your bag and they make separating your items easy and organized. We purchased ours on Amazon for about $20 and the price was so worth it! They offer better breathability than a ziplock bag and clean easily. Also using less plastic is always a plus because we love the earth!

  1. Separate your clothing : I pack all of my undies, bra’s, and swim suits in one pack. All of those items are relatively small and fit well together. Pack heavier items like jeans or sweatshirts in the larger pack and fill up extra space with socks. I then separate all my nicer tops and dresses in the same pack and pack them at the top to avoid wrinkling too much.
  2. Maximize space in your cubesI roll ALL of my t-shirts and place them neatly next to each other. I do the same if I am packing leggings or workout tanks!
  3. Shoes: I save a cube for shoes since normally while traveling they get a bit dingy and I don’t like having them on top of my clothes!

LIGHT PACKING TIPS

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  1. Plan your outfits with basics you can rotate! I KNOW we want to look our best in travel photos, but if you can wear your white tee 3 different ways, you’ve saved so much room! And the money you would’ve spent checking a bag! Pack light! Skirts, shorts, and one pair of jeans! If your traveling to the cold take one heavy coat that is versatile and layers that are easily rollable/foldable! Plan every outfit before you pack. When I don’t plan, I tend to over pack with too many options.
  2. Be aware of fabrics! Pack lighter fabrics and layering options!
  3. Pack one pair of tennis shoes, a dressy shoe, and a comfy sandal or walking shoe, depending on the weather! Pack a pair of cheap flip flops for the showers if you are staying in hostels or under developed countries.
  4. Pack a trash bag for your dirty laundry. That’ll make it easier to transport to a local laundromat if you need!
  5. Travel with TSA approved liquids. #duh.  It is so much easier to travel with what you need in approved containers, then trying to buy it all in a foreign country.
  6. (For the ladies) Pack smart with makeup and hair products. Only pack ONE ziplock size bag for all of it 🙂 Just take the essentials! Travel is a great opportunity for some Dry shampoo(a life saver) and air dried hair!

I found a few youtube videos of minimalist packers that may help you out! Check it out:

I would love to answer any more questions or hear YOUR packing tips in the comments below! Happy packing!

xoxo

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Travel Cheap Series [5 Ways to Book Cheap Flights]

Posted on: May 29, 2017

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Hello internet world! It is summer in BCN and that has me feeling all sorts of ways. I cannot get enough of the sun and I know I will be missing this feeling come next winter. So…..I’ve had travel planning on the brain! We travel A LOT and you can imagine that could add up pretty quickly. We are also students at the moment with limited income so being frugal is essential for us! I thought I would share our tips on how we travel on a budget!

First up is flights. In my opinion, the most daunting of all travel planning. We use a few sites and apps to help us find the best prices! The time spent searching is WORTH IT believe us!

1. SHOP ON DISCOUNT SITES 

MOMONDO Functions like most other discount sites but we ALWAYS find better deals on this site!

SKY SCANNER: Similar to Momondo, but you can set up alerts for specific flights to notify you when prices are rising or falling! I set them up straight to my email and I get alerts to either “book now” or wait.

GOOGLE FLIGHTS: Really helpful to search for multiple locations. For example, type “flight to Europe” and you can view prices for every major city. It also has a calendar function that displays prices per day so you can choose the cheapest option. With that function, google will show you “tips” if another day is cheaper as well as suggest the “best” flight for you.

We have found better prices on the sites I listed above, but Google Flights is helpful when deciding on an itinerary. You can also set alerts for price predictions and when is the best to buy!

*** ALWAYS USE AN “INCOGNITO TAB” WHEN SEARCHING FOR FLIGHTS OR HOTELS. Your internet browser saves your searches and will present higher prices when you keep checking the same flight. It somehow knows you really want that flight and will display higher prices. Kinda creepy huh?

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2. GET APP ALERTS ON YOUR PHONE

HOPPER: Our favorite flight app! Know when to buy to score the best prices. Hopper lets you search for any itinerary you have coming up. You can select filters for short layovers, one-ways, direct flights, etc. At the moment I think I have 7 “watches” set up! I get alerts if I should book now or wait. The best part is that the app predicts if prices will rise or drop as well as a date to purchase by. So helpful right? It’s like having a mini flight searching elf in your phone!

3. LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE ROUTE OPTIONS

If you have flexible travel days you may be able to score a great flight to your destination just taking a different route. Look for one-ways flying into large airline hubs. If you can fly out of a hub, you are likely to find a better price! When we fly from the US to Europe, we usually search for flights through NYC since SLC isn’t a huge hub. You can also compare the price of booking separate one-way tickets to the cost of a round trip ticket.

4. STAY IN ONE PLACE FOR A BIT

Often times when you are jumping from country to country, those prices add up real quick. We made this mistake when traveling in Thailand. I wish we would’ve stayed in one place longer since the cost of food and accommodation is SO CHEAP there. An expensive flight is so worth it if you can eat delicious food for less than $10 a day. Am I right?! If you are putting a lot of money into your flight, plan on spending a week or two in one spot to get the most out of it! You may be able to see more of that country by renting a car or traveling by train.

This is where google flights comes in handy because you can see costs for nearby countries and large cities. Pay attention to details (something I’m working on) and do the math. If your spending a large amount on flights, travel to a cheaper location like mentioned above. Or on the other had, Europe is really easy for us to see and relatively cheap to fly.  But three weeks jumping country to country in Europe added up real quick with cost of accommodation and food.

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5. TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS WITH BONUS MILES

Credit cards sound like such a scary thing right? I used to think so too until we did our research. There are a lot out there but we use these two!

CAPITOL ONE VENTURE CARD: 2 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards. You can redeem travel purchases and or book travel with your points! And they never expire!  You get a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles (equal to $400 in travel) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. We love this card and use it for most of our travel purchases!

DELTA AMERICAN EXPRESS:

Earn miles for purchases you make with your Card.  Miles are redeemable toward travel on Delta and more than 15 airline partners. When you sign up you get a one time bonus of 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within your first 4 months. You also get a free COMPANION TICKET every year as well as one FREE checked bag! We use this card when flying delta and we also love the travel insurance it provides!

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That’s it! I hope this helps you save a buck or two on flights! I’d love to hear your tips if you have others we don’t use! Always looking for the cheapest way to travel!

xoxo

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