7 Reasons to Travel with Your Significant Other February 13, 2019
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the mundane tasks of everyday life. Have you taken the dog for a walk? Who’s cooking dinner tonight? When are you sitting down to sort out the bills? Valentine’s is the perfect time to stop for a second and think: when was the last time you took a break to focus on your relationship? Sure, dinner dates and long walks are important, but nothing reignites a romantic spark quite like going somewhere brand new!
Keep reading for seven reasons why you should travel together ASAP!
1 | Focus on Each Other
When you’re at home, living your everyday life, you can easily become distracted. There always seems to be a priority except the love of your life. There’s always an event that needs organizing, a room that needs cleaning, or a meal that needs cooking. While you’re on vacation, you don’t need to do anything: you can do exactly as you wish!
Removing these other tasks can help you to focus on your partner. This will only strengthen your relationship, as you might realize you’ve been neglecting your significant other owing to other priorities. Making time for nothing else but each other will help you to appreciate your partner and really highlight why you fell in love with them in the first place.
2 | Make New Memories
Whether you’re traveling on your own, with friends and family, or with your significant other, going somewhere new always creates great memories. These can be especially beneficial in a relationship, however, as we’ve already acknowledged that you might have lost that spark to the boring demands of everyday life. When you’re away, however, you can have as many unique and exciting experiences as you want!
From sky diving and bungee jumping to snorkeling and hiking, vacations are the perfect time to do something you’d never dream of at home. While it’s great to chill together in the hotel spa, or enjoy tasty romantic dinners, it’s also vital to do something completely new if you really want to get the most out of your couples’ break!
3 | Expand Your Social Circle
We all love our partners; however, it’s easy to lock yourself away from others, especially if you live together. After moving in with your significant other, you may have noticed the frequency of your monthly girls’ night or boys’ day out dropped. Travel can help to change that, as you’re forced to meet new people from completely different backgrounds.
The people you meet might become friends for life, who can offer you and your partner a cheap place to stay on your next vacation. They could also come and visit your home country, where your friendship might grow even stronger. Even if you never talk to your new buds again, socializing together will do you the world of good!
4 | Learn a New Skill
Traveling offers the opportunity to learn tons of new skills and doing this with your significant other will give you something new to bond over. You could, for example, go to evening Mandarin classes before traveling around China. That would give you a skill for life, and you could freak out your friends and family members by having conversations in Mandarin.
Alternatively, you could pick up a new skill or hobby while away. While in Argentina, for example, you might try your hand at salsa dancing, only to realize you actually both love it, and continue classes upon returning home. Or maybe you’ll go to a Thai cooking class and fall in love with a new cuisine and dishes that you replicate in your home kitchen. Whatever it is, you’ll get even closer and hopefully have tons of fun.
5 | A Problem Shared Is a Problem Halved
Just visiting a nearby city for a weekend break will probably throw some problems your way: maybe you’ll miss the train or forget your toothbrush. Even little things like this can majorly stress you out when you’re traveling alone. They can be equally as difficult when you’re traveling with friends, with whom you might not feel one hundred percent comfortable.
Not only will your significant other (hopefully) be able to calm you down, but you’ll be able to tackle these obstacles together! Every hurdle you manage to overcome will teach you invaluable problem-solving skills that you’ll be able to use in your everyday lives and relationship.
6 | Just Unwind
You might find that you and your partner often take your stress out on each other. You don’t mean to, but when you’re feeling the pressure and you’re around another person so much, it’s bound to happen! Going away and trying to push concerns to the back of your mind will help you to relax a little.
While going somewhere peaceful like a Bali beach or Italian lake would be ideal if you’re looking to unwind, even a city break can help you to take a breath and look at the bigger picture. After returning from your trip, you might realize that your issues with your boss weren’t as significant as you initially thought. Feeling calmer, you’ll be much more pleasant to be around and can concentrate on creating a calmer atmosphere at home once again.
7 | Arguing Isn’t All Bad
People who’ve never traveled with their partner often worry that it will lead to awful arguments or tension. The truth is that it might, but I think that’s all the more reason to throw yourself in and do it! You’re bound to disagree over your budget, itinerary, meals, or another aspect of the trip, but that’s okay. What matters is your ability to discuss your opinions, come to a solution or compromise, and move on. This will give you the skills you need to resolve arguments in the future and will only bring you closer together!
New York is one of the world’s best-known cities. With thousands of famous sights, tons of backstreets, and various unique neighborhoods, it would probably take 100 trips to the city to be able to create a detailed New York guide. Instead, I’ve compiled a list of six major landmarks you have to see, regardless of how much time you have to spend in the city.
1 | The Empire State Building
Towering over Fifth Avenue, it’s a New York icon. Despite hearing many queue-related horror stories before our visit, we visited on Sunday, just after lunch, and went pretty much straight up! If you do get stuck in the queue, they have lots of screens and exhibits to keep you entertained.
Online tickets are valid for up to a year after purchase, which meant we could wait for the clearest day on our trip and still skip the ticket line. I wouldn’t recommend paying extra for the top observatory. Photo opportunities are limited from this level because of the glass, and we had a great view from the 86th floor without having to fork out an extra 20 US Dollars per person.
2 | The Statue of Liberty
Usually sold as a ferry tour in conjunction with Ellis Island, it’s the ultimate symbol of New York. Remember to allow at least thirty extra minutes for the airport-style security checks before boarding your boat. If you’re looking to save on some cash, don’t bother with the audio tour: rather than information about this famous statue, it focuses on recordings of people’s impressions of it and how it makes them feel. It was kind of cringe-worthy!
The best views are from the ground, so you don’t really need to bother with the pedestal/crown tickets. Taking photos of the statue was what we really wanted, and you’ll find the best views back over to Manhattan are before you reach the statue itself.
If you’re traveling over lunch or dinner time, I’d recommend getting food around the Statue of Liberty rather than on Ellis Island. Liberty Island has a large cafeteria and gift shop, with more choice than the snack shops on the ferries.
3 | Ellis Island
Don’t even think about heading back to Manhattan until you’ve stopped here! There’s so much to see, and you’ll find fascinating exhibits about America’s immigrant population and the role the island played. I’d recommend spending more time here than on Liberty Island. We ended up rushing to catch the last boat, but could easily have spent over two hours here alone. When planning your day, remember to check when the last boat will leave and don’t miss it!
4 | Central Park
The park isn’t as pretty in the winter (when we visited), but it’s still a good spot to amble around and kill an afternoon. The buskers and churros were the highlights for me!
It’s not that easy to navigate your way around Central Park. We were trying to find the zoo, but sadly failed. We saw plenty of statues, pretty ponds, and entertaining buskers instead, though! Be sure to check out the Literary Walk for 29 statues of famous writers, as well as the Wollman Ring at the end of 59th Street for some great people watching and the perfect spot to admire the skyline.
5 | MoMa(the Museum of Modern Art)
I have a confession to make: MoMa wasn’t on my sightseeing list initially. Jaded by too many European portrait galleries, art museums tend to remind me of bad school trips. It turns out there’s so much more to it. The incredible collection includes sculptures, weapons, and historical musical instruments. It’s also easy to cherry pick the galleries that appeal to you most, if you’re limited on time.
I’d highly recommend checking out the Egyptian temple. It looks like they just picked it up, shipped it, and put it down in America… and that’s pretty much what happened! Look for the Temple of Dendur on the map. You should also see the PixCell Deer. Hidden away in the Japanese section, we stumbled across this by accident. It turns out it’s famous, and with good reason: it’s taxidermy like you’ve never seen it before.
6 | Grand Central Terminal
We popped in to take a look on the way to the Empire State Building and were so glad we didn’t miss it. There are daily tours, but they’re quite long (75 mins) and expensive (25 USD); however, there is an audio tour if you prefer the shorter version. It’s actually a pretty good place to go for a low-key lunch, as the food court has lots of variety from bagels and muffins to Indian and Chinese food.
9 Romantic Destinations for Your Perfect Valentine’s Break January 30, 2019
Whether you want to surprise your loved one, or you both want a break from the nine to five, having a Valentine’s getaway is always a great idea! You can make new memories together, rekindle that romantic spark, and simply unwind.
With so many romantic destinations around the world, it can be difficult to know where to go for your couples’ break, especially if you only have a few days! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of nine romantic destinations around the world that you should visit with your significant other!
1| Quebec, Canada
Whether you’re after culture or nature, Quebec has it all! The 17th and 18th-century architecture will make you and your significant other feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You can feel like a royal couple in the incredible Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, before enjoying the gorgeous scenery at the Montmorency Falls or St. Lawrence River.
2 | Venice, Italy
This Italian city has provided the backdrop to many a love scene, so why not create a romantic movie of your own? Take a peaceful gondola ride through the city’s canals, or stroll hand in hand down narrow lanes and over intricate bridges with beautiful views. It can be chilly in Venice around Valentine’s, but that’s a perfect excuse to warm up by sharing a delicious Italian pizza or sipping on hot chocolate!
3 | St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg is another great destination for couples seeking that royal experience! Be wowed by the Peterhof Palace, where you can spend hours enjoying intricate interior design and stunning gardens. The city is also perfect for creative couples, with plenty of galleries and museums, as well as ballet and opera in world-renowned venues, such as the Mariinsky Theater.
4 | Buenos Aires, Argentina
Re-ignite your passion in South America! Learn the tango in a glamorous nightclub, or one of the city’s many small bars. Picking up a new skill is a great way to bring you closer together, or simply have a giggle if you’ve got two left feet. After breaking a sweat, re-fuel with an Argentinian feast, or by sipping on some of the best Malbec wine in the world. Cultural couples, meanwhile, can enjoy the city’s many art galleries, or be impressed the range of architecture, including Greco-Roman designs and Art Deco buildings.
5 | Bali, Indonesia
If you just want to unwind, there’s no better Valentine’s destination than Bali! Relax on a gorgeous, white beach, with views of the incredible blue ocean, while enjoying a massage or sipping on an exotic cocktail. There are plenty of luxury spas and hotels for that added romance, as well as hiking trails for more adventurous and active couples.
6 | Paris, France
If you’ve already googled “the best Valentine’s vacation”, Pariswas almost certainly top of the list. The City of Love is a must-see for any couple wanting to re-ignite that romantic spark. Don’t miss out on the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, or a peaceful cruise down the Seine River while sipping on French champagne. Take a quiet stroll through the picturesque Jardin du Luxembourg, or spoil each other in shops along the famous Champs Elysees.
7 | Istanbul, Turkey
You’ll find the perfect combination of East and West in this gorgeous Turkish city, with plenty of impressive architecture from huge churches to intricate mosques. Take a romantic walk along the Bosphorus River, where you can enjoy quaint shops and restaurants, before unwinding in a hammam (a traditional Turkish bath).
8 | Aspen, the USA
This resort town is great for active couples who want to hit the slopes this Valentine’s. After enjoying world-renowned ski and snowboarding facilities, enjoy Aspen’s après ski scene together, savoring some delicious food and wine. If you’re going all out this Valentine’s, Aspen has a range of incredible, luxury hotels, ranging from huge estates to Victorian-era houses with romantic fireplaces.
9 | Prague, Czechia
A Valentine’s trip to Prague will make you feel like you’re in your own fairy tale. With centuries-old cobbled streets, hidden alleys, and beautiful old bridges, you could spend days walking hand-in-hand through this European city. After dark, foodie couples should head to one of the city’s many tasty restaurants, while those with plenty of leftover energy should check out Prague’s vibrant nightlife scene in its world-famous clubs.
If you were to ask someone about their main reason for not traveling very often, you’d most likely get one of two responses: not enough time or not enough money. We can’t travel without money, but taking too much time off work means not making any money. It’s a Catch 22 scenario, which, in turn, creates a strong desire to travel on as cheap a budget as possible.
We all have different concepts of our ideal vacation, but here are some universal tips on how to lessen the financial burden of planning and executing a low-cost trip.
1 | Set Aside a Vacation Fund
Everyone wants to travel the world on a shoestring. Let’s face it, life gets expensive! We have student loans, bills, groceries, kids, cars, clothes, etc. There’s always a certain area of our life that quickly becomes a financial priority over traveling.
Whether its $20 a week or $20 a month, set aside some money for your vacation. If you’re like me and don’t have an ultra-lucrative income, setting that money aside can really help. Saving $20 a week for six months will almost lead to $500 for gas, a 5-night hotel stay, a round trip plane ticket, or whatever you decide.
If you feel that urge to travel, make it a financial priority. Don’t buy those shoes that you already have in three different colors; put it toward your vacation fund instead, and you’ll have money saved up before you know it!
2 | Do Your Research
Research is so important when you’re trying to travel on a budget. We all want the cheapest option, but we also want quality. Look at all of the travel sites before booking hotels or plane tickets. Don’t just go with what you see first, but instead read reviews and check all of the amenities. If you’re staying at a campsite, look for places with free showers and water to save on cash. Also consider areas that allow free dispersed camping, such as America’s National Forests, which is a great choice if you’re willing to let go of luxuries.
If you’re staying in a hotel, look for places that have the beloved free continental breakfast and included parking. This will save you the cost on at least one meal a day, and you won’t have to pay extortionate fees to park your car! If you’re looking to stay on as tight as possible, just remember to read all the reviews thoroughly. Check aspects like staff friendliness, cleanliness, and internet connection. When it comes to staying overnight, cheapest is not always best!
3 | Travel in the Low Season
We have found that our favorite time to travel is in the low season. The prices are cheaper, everything is less crowded, and we often find that the staff are much more relaxed. Some places also waive their admittance fees, parking fees, or accommodation fees, just to attract more visitors. After saving $25 on entrance fees, $10 on parking costs, and a $35 on camping fees, you’re looking at an additional $70 that you can use for souvenirs, food, or gas on the trip.
If you frequently travel around the same area, be sure to research annual passes. For example, I’d highly suggest getting the 80-US-Dollar annual pass for US national parks; it grants you access to every single park and forest for a reduced price, and contributes towards their maintenance, too!
4 | Learn to Make Sacrifices
Sometimes, making small sacrifices can save you major money in the long run. If you’re looking to stay at a city hotel, book a cheaper option that’s a few blocks away from the center. In the majority of cases, the amenities are the same; you’re only sacrificing the location, but the way I look at it, you’ll get to experience more of the city off the main strip anyway!
If you’re able to sleep in your vehicle or RV, take advantage of stores that don’t charge you to stay in their parking lots overnight. We stayed at a different Walmart every single night during our last trip out east!
If you’re taking a road trip, pack as much food as you can to reduce your number of stops at fast food places. We saved more than $150 by packing our own food! If you don’t have this option, take advantage of cheap menus, local grocery stores, and the hotel fridge.
If you’re camping and you don’t needelectricity, opt for the spots that don’t offer it. You’ll pay exceptionally less! Making small sacrifices like these won’t change the quality or purpose of your trip. If you continue to focus on having a good time and making the most of what you do have, you’ll appreciate that you took the time to be financially smart!
5 | Round Up Some Travel Buddies
Traveling with friends is one of the most enjoyable ways to save money on a trip! If you’re renting a car, or staying in a hotel room or campsite, splitting the cost four ways will always be cheaper. This will allow you to splurge a little more on better meals, souvenirs, or a tour. So, encourage your buddies to tag along on that road trip. It’ll be way more fun and so much cheaper!
6 | Be Creative
These tips for traveling on a budget may not work in every scenario, but try to be creative! Every trip and experience is different, so, if you’re serious about cutting the cost of your next vacation, dissect your itinerary and see where you can make some sacrifices.
For me, traveling is a major priority, so I put in the time to create the most cost-efficient and memorable journeys. If money is your reason for not exploring more of the world, put in a little more time and effort to see how you can make it work with your budget.
If time is your reason for not getting out there, then you might want to re-evaluate how you spend the majority of your free time. Stop waiting for more money or more time to appear in your life. If you are serious about traveling, remember that you can always make more money, but you cannot make more time.
5 Things to Add to Your Bulgaria Bucket List January 16, 2019
1 | Try the Food
Bulgarians are very proud of their traditional food and specialty dishes. Whether you’re after salty, sour, sweet, or a mix of all three, there really is a tasty treat for everyone! Some of the best meals to try in Bulgaria are banitsa (egg and cheese cooked between sheets of filo pastry) and mekitsi (deep-fried dough made with yoghurt). Combine banitsa with yogurt and mekitsi with honey, and you’ll have the best breakfast ever!
Bulgarians are famous for growing their own fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’re staying in an apartment and want to cook for yourself during your vacation, I’d highly recommend visiting a local market. You’ll find lots of these delicious fresh products, as well as plenty of chatty people who can share some insider tips about the Bulgarian cuisine!
2 | Visit the Local Markets
Most Bulgarian neighborhoods have their own local markets with fresh food that are a well worth visiting! Alongside delicious treats, you could find handmade cutlery, other crafts, tasty drinks, and plenty of music, entertainment, and laughter from the jolly and welcoming locals. If you don't quite understand what they’re saying, just grin and nod; they’ll be pleased to have put a smile on your face!
3 | Climb a Mountain
This is the most challenging suggestion on my list, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Bulgaria has lots of beautiful mountains that offer exquisite views. There are many tours you can join, so you’ll always be in the safe hands of professional climbers and mountaineers. I’d recommend hiking during springtime to enjoy green grass, blossoming trees, and gorgeous wildlife. These aspects combined will motivate you to conquer the mountains, even when you’re feeling exhausted!
4 | Visit the Rose Valley
Did you know that Bulgaria is the biggest source of rose oil in the world? The Rose Valley in Kazanlak is located just south of the Balkan Mountains, and local Bulgarians are very proud of it! The valley has been growing roses for centuries and now produces around half of the world’s rose oil. I’d recommend joining the festivals held to celebrate this beautiful flower and its oil. Alternatively, come and pick your own roses between May and June. If you do want to pick your own flowers, I’d recommend heading to the Rose Valley early in the morning, when local villagers will be happy to help you out!
5 | Learn Some Bulgarian
Bulgarian is one of the world’s most challenging languages to learn. Several aspects differentiate Bulgarian from all other Slavic languages. It has, for example, a Glagolitic alphabet. This series of 32 letters was created by the Saints Cyril and Methodi around 850 A.D. It is now the third official script of the European Union.
I’d recommend learning a few basics, such as “Zdrasti” (Hi), “Blagodarya ti” (Thank you), and how to order your favorite dishes. This won’t only give you confidence, but also put a smile on the locals’ faces, who will congratulate you for getting it right, or at least trying your best!