Category Archives: Travel

The Best Souvenirs

Now that summer is coming to an end, and all the travel that goes along with it, I’d love to know…Did you pick up any fun souvenirs on vacations this year? 

When I was a kid, souvenirs felt like SUCH a necessity. Visiting kitschy shops at beaches, amusement parks, and roadside attractions felt like a cruel joke if I didn’t at least get to select ONE item to come home with me. The allure of some magnet with my name on it or a toy representative of the past day’s adventure too difficult to resist whining about.

Nowadays, souvenirs fall into that careful balance of knowing I don’t need any additional tchochkes cluttering my home, but also wanting to take out an insurance policy on fleeting travel memories. With that in mind, I’ve developed a few categories of purchases I employ when looking to commemorate a trip…

Little things to tuck in a memory box, like a postcard or patch, are a go-to of mine. Not a huge investment, so I feel ok that it’s only going to be admired in those days I’m feeling extra nostalgic and pull down the box to sift through my collection of random ephemera.

But I don’t mind splurging on a high-quality consumable. A bottle of wine local to the area that can be uncorked months later. A lotion with a scent to transport me back to our travels. A candle from a sweet seaside shop or a box of local chocolate from the corner store.

And speaking of chocolate, let’s go ahead and put cooking ingredients in a category all their own. Something like a beautiful bottle of local olive oil, whole bean coffee from a cafe you fell in love with, or a couple teeny tiny jars of spices that easily tuck in your backpack. I also love this as an option if you’re tasked with bringing back a goodie for a co-worker or family member. A friend of mine gifted me a little tin of paprika she bought on a trip to Hungary and I thought about her and her adventure every time I sprinkled it in a dish for months to come.

Finally, there’s what I consider the daily item. These I reserve for truly special trips. I want to be transported to those memories frequently, so something like a piece of jewelry or a scarf fits the bill. For a lower budget option, I would go for something like a coffee mug or a small print I can transport carefully home and frame. Basically an item that I can seamlessly incorporate into my daily life…not one that is emblazoned with the city or attraction I visited. Those seem like a good idea in the moment, but then get shoved to the back of a closet.

Which of these categories do you normally go for? Have your own strategy when it comes to souvenirs? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

P.S. This would be a fun way to commemorate your trip once you’ve returned home!

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5 Ways Health & Traveling Abroad Go Hand in Hand

* This post may contain affiliate links.

You’re going away on a long trip, which means one thing: healthy habits are taking a backseat. The thought of spending a couple months traveling the world is incredible but it’s also not great for the body, right? After all, you’ll be eating and drinking whatever you like with little to zero exercise. Put these together and it’s easy to see why your health may take a hit.

However, the truth is that travel and well-being go hand in hand as long as you can approach both from the right place and are willing to try new things. If you’re curious, here are five reasons to consider.

Less Calorific Diet

A standard American diet includes lots of carbs and refined sugars, both of which aren’t so great for the body when eaten in large quantities. But, that’s not the norm when looking at other cuisines around the world. Take Asia as an example. In the likes of Vietnam and Japan, the locals slurp down delicious soups. Or, there is Thailand where the spicy curries speed up metabolism while tasting amazing. In Brazil, the mix of rice and beans create a perfect protein without a piece of meat touching your plate.

The point is that you’ll eat like a queen without having to worry because you won’t be consuming all the empty calories we’ve gotten used to here in the States. Just remember, wherever you are, eat like a local!

More Active

Going to the gym four times a week doesn’t make you active. It means you like working out, yet your lifestyle may not be very busy other than your exercise regime. Do you sit in front of the TV a lot and do nothing? Do you spend a lot of time sitting on a chair behind a desk staring at a screen? If the answers are yes, you’re living a fairly sedentary life.

Traveling is the solution because there is no time to sit back and relax. From the early morning to the late evening, there is plenty to see and do. Not only will you constantly be on the move, but the likelihood is you’ll be doing a TON of walking. Let’s not forget about the amenities either. In hotels, guests have access to the gym and it’s complimentary. As well as excellent machines, there is a laid back atmosphere as there aren’t hundreds of people vying for the same equipment. 

Plenty Of Z’s

In a nutshell, sleep is the solution to health. When you get plenty of rest, the body gets to recover from the day before and plan for the day ahead. As well as a boost to your metabolism, there are mental health impacts too. For example, tiredness could prevent you from working out or lead you to swap out a healthy meal for an unhealthy one.

Although it’s tempting to think sleep is easy to come by at home, it’s not always the case. Sure, the bed is comfy and it might not be as noisy in your bedroom, yet you’re still on the clock. Maintaining a regular lifestyle means you need to get up to eat breakfast and get off to work on time. Traveling is all about what you want to do and when, so if you fancy a sleep in, it’s not a problem. There’s no reason to lie in bed until the early afternoon, but an extra hour may be the difference between feeling tired and refreshed.

Healthcare Options

America is infamous for its privatized healthcare system. Without insurance, it’s often difficult to get the treatment you need. So what happens if you’re abroad and your health takes a turn for the worse? Our neighbors around the world don’t share the same values about turning away folks without coverage–and many times treatment is free. Yep, it’s the case even if you’re visiting the country on a tourist visa. In the UK, the NHS will help anyone who needs urgent care so there’s no reason to worry.

Also, there are surgeries which are performed abroad that aren’t as common or accessible here. Cosmetic surgery is widely available across the globe for half the price, and it’s not a hatchet job. (Any nose surgery video will put your mind at ease.) Mental health-wise, there are many great services out there these days, like BetterHelp and TalkSpace, that allow you to meet with a therapist remotely.

The Drinking Culture

Okay, you’re on vacation. It’s not surprising that you’ll want to spend time drinking, partying, and meeting new people. This doesn’t mean travel and health can’t still co-exist. You want to be able to enjoy yourself…and maybe throw a few shapes on the dance floor. However, the way many folks approach alcohol consumption in America just won’t cut it elsewhere. 

We tend not to have a beverage all week and then let loose at the weekend. Like, really let loose. Go ahead and forget this culture of binge drinking as soon as you board the plane. The good news is that other countries drink alcohol differently. Share a few beers at the pub with your new friends. Have a glass of wine with your dinner. Don’t limit yourself to the weekend and you probably won’t end up in an all out binge-fest. Enjoy a drink each evening (that you want to) and really take your time to enjoy it. You’ll take pleasure in the atmosphere and the process way more than the drink itself. And you won’t wake up with a headache!

How do you stay healthy while traveling? What hacks have helped you in the past?

P.S. Is packing in a 19 liter backpack possible for winter travel?

Is packing in a 19 liter backpack possible for winter travel?

As you know from this post, last month I took a weekend trip to Florida with my husband. But a few weeks later, I had to travel again. This time, I was headed north to Ohio. The circumstances weren’t as happy (it was for a funeral of a loved one) and the travel arrangements were very last minute. On the first trip, I had no problem planning and packing in my 19 liter Tom Bihn backpack. I had time to strategize and I was traveling to a warm climate. But for my last minute flight to Ohio? I threw everything into my husband’s Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30. He usually carries it as a duffel but I strapped on the backpack attachments (and probably looked like I was headed to a month of hostel-hopping). 30 whole liters? The luxury!

At the time, I didn’t want to put a lot of extra thought into packing. I just wanted to get there. I also knew I would need warm clothes for the snowy conditions, a dressy outfit, laptops and books for trying to work (and entertainment in case of any flight delays/cancellations). If you’re looking for a one-bag travel situation but need to cram in a suitcase worth of stuff, I HIGHLY recommend the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 (there’s also a 45). Especially if you, like me, prefer hauling stuff on your back. (Listen. I’m not saying it’s because I can pee without putting all my stuff down but I’m not NOT saying it’s because of that, ok?) In a pinch, this bag will fit under the seat in front of you and it slides right into the overhead bin…that person with the dreaded luggage tags won’t even give you a second glance if they see all you have is a backpack.

winter packing 19 liter backpack

But…

Because I’m a packing nerd….

and I LOVE a challenge….

As I daydreamed away an hour in the Charlotte airport (hi delays!), I started thinking about how I would pack for winter travel in my 19 liter. So, here are the tips I came up with…

1. Travel in bulky outerwear

This one’s a no-brainer, but perhaps it bears repeating. Do I hate having to pull off a coat, an oversized cardigan, winter boots, a beanie, and a blanket scarf at airport security? ABSO-freakin’-lutely! But will I be glad to have these items when I reach my snowy destination? YES! Save space in your small backpack and pack these much-needed winter items on your body instead.

2. Find a pair of comfy pants that can do double duty

I have a small and mighty collection of comfy pants that feel like pajamas, but when paired with the right items, look down-right dressy. If I were packing for a winter trip in my 19L, I would consider traveling in a pair of these and then also use them as lounge/sleep-wear.

3. Fleece-lined tights make dresses possible

One way to cut down on the bulk of a bunch of clothes is to pack one-and-done outfits. I love packing dresses for travel because it’s just one piece of clothing you have to worry about and *bam* you have an outfit! Now, you might be saying, “Is this really a practical solution in the winter months?” And to that I respond — Helloooo?! Have you ever tried fleece-lined tights? Throw a pair of those on under your dress and rock your boots and cardigan and there ya go! Bonus: These can also be used as a long-underwear option underneath your trousers or the comfy pants mentioned above.

4. Choose boots as your one shoe option

A benefit of my bigger bag was that I traveled in a pair of heeled boots but also brought along some casual slip-ons. This is less of an option when you’re traveling super light. So, pick a versatile pair of boots (I would have definitely nixed my heels) that you can rock with any outfit. Because your feet will thank you, consider throwing in a pair of slippers or slipper socks that you can pad around in during the evenings. They pack down super small and some hotels are just too sketchy for bare feet, ya dig?

5. Sweaters/Thermals before multiple layers

While normally I’m all about traveling with a bunch of mix-and-match layers, that’s not as feasible when you’re combining cold weather clothing and a teeny-tiny carry on. Consider pullover sweaters and thermal long-sleeve shirts instead. Throw a couple of those in your packing cube (you can always wear them under the big cardigan you’re wearing on the plane, if it’s mega cold!) and call it a day. These, plus a pair of trousers, your comfy pants, a dress, fleece-lined tights, and your cardigan will form your on-the-go winter capsule wardrobe!

Do you have any tips and tricks for traveling light in the colder months? Leave ’em below!

P.S. 7 things that totally changed my air travel game!

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Thanksgiving Capsule

We’re hitting the road tomorrow for a few days of Thanksgiving festivities! So, I thought it might be fun, in case you’re in the same boat, to share a quick Thanksgiving Capsule! A run-down of everything you’ll need to pack (clothes-wise) if you’re going out of town for Turkey Day. Of course, you know I love a one-bag approach–so I put on my minimalist packer thinking cap and came up with the 3 outfits I thought would be most useful…

Travel Outfit:

casual top
extra layer
comfy pants
casual shoes
leather jacket
sunglasses

Fall Outfit:

long-sleeved shirt
light coat
jeans
beanie
belt
boots

Fab Outfit:

dress
handbag
dressy shoes

These 3 outfits take care of your main Turkey Day vacay occurrences — traveling to and fro your destination, the actual meal, and something for the in between (like helping your Mom with pies the day before or hitting up the Black Friday sales).

But they can also be mixed and matched! Need to get out of the house and grab some drinks with your hometown pals?

  • long-sleeved shirt + jeans + leather jacket + dressy shoes

Heading to church with the fam or grabbing a weekend brunch?

  • dress + boots + extra layer + belt

Putting on a movie marathon while you trim the tree?

  • comfy pants + long-sleeved shirt

Or maybe you’re feeling cooped up so you wanna go on a hike?

  • casual top + coat + jeans + casual shoes + sunglasses

Happy packing and HAPPY TRAVELS!

Are you going out of town for Thanksgiving? Or will you be hosting? Leave me a comment below and let me know your plans!! xoxo

P.S. In case you’re flying – 7 Things That Totally Changed My Air Travel Game

11 Ways to Sneak in Healthy Habits When You’re Traveling

11 ways to sneak in healthy habits when you're traveling*This post may contain affiliate links.

Do you travel a lot? When I was in college, competing for our school’s speech team, I traveled a TON. It was a very busy season of my life; jumping on a bus, plane, or 15 passenger van to show up at tournaments all across the country. It was an amazing experience and certainly a privilege.

But here’s the thing…with all that travel, came some unexpected consequences. I got sick. Like…a lot. If I could go back in time, putting a HUGE emphasis on healthy travel would be the first change I’d make!

Whether you’re jet-setting for business or pleasure, nothing can spoil travels quicker than getting ill. Read on to discover 11 tips that will help to keep you in tip-top shape while traveling…

Eat whole foods – While it is easy to prioritize budget and speed when picking up meals on the go (read: FAST FOOD), opting for whole foods will make you feel a WHOLE lot better. My favorite way to make this happen for myself while traveling is to grab meals from the deli section of grocery stores. The prices are reasonable and, since you’re already in the store, you can pick up some other yummy and healthier options for munching–like fresh fruits and veg, yogurt, salami, etc. 

Don’t forget your skincare routine – When you’re on the go it can be tempting to cut out important parts of your routine for more sleep (or more fun!). All you need is 10 minutes, so set some time aside and give your skin some love! Don’t forget sunscreen if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. And if you plan on taking a dip in the hotel pool (or nearby body of water), make sure you know how to clean ears properly and take the time to do so. 

Eat fish – If you’re hitting up a nice, sit-down restaurant consider ordering fish with loads of veggies! Not only does it taste good, but it provides a healthy boost of Omega 3, which is good for your skin and digestion. Not to mention all the vitamin-rich micronutrients in the vegetables. 

Fill up the tub – Hotel air can get super dry, especially if your stay is in the winter months when the heaters are pumping. There are some great travel humidifiers out there (check out this one!) but a simpler option is to fill up the tub with water before you go to bed. 

Drinks lots and lots and LOTS of water – And sticking with that water theme…HYDRATION! Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink water like it’s going out of style. Try to keep caffeinated drinks to a minimum, maybe just your morning cup of joe, and then opt for water the rest of the day. 

Wash your hands frequently – If you are traveling, you are no doubt going to be in a LOT of public places…sometimes in super close quarters. Make sure to wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat. A good idea is to carry around your own hand sanitizer, in case a bathroom isn’t readily available. 

Snack on fresh fruit – Fruit is such an awesome and portable snack! Plus, they’re good for you, low in calories, and will contribute to your hydration efforts. Pick some up whenever you can…oh, and pro-tip: grab a few pieces from that hotel breakfast bar and snack on ’em later–no one will notice. 

Relax – Being “on” for way more hours a day then you’re used to can be exhausting! Find a few moments in your day where you can unwind and catch your breath. Maybe this is taking 10 minutes to meditate before you get dressed in the morning or coming back to your Airbnb 30 minutes before everyone else leaves the bar so you can watch some tv with your phone on airplane mode. 

Be clever with your alcohol – This is not to say you can’t drink, but be smart about it. Alcohol is dehydrating so if you don’t want to reverse all that great work you’ve been doing on this front, then make sure you drink a glass of water in between each drink. Try not to mix drinks too much. And, if you intend on having a long night out, go for something low in alcohol content, or have something slightly watered down, such as a white wine spritzer. After all, nothing is worse than boarding a flight hungover.

Take your vitamins – You may think those 7-day pill cases are just for old people but hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it! Divvy up your medications and vitamins and then set a dang alarm on your phone so you don’t forget to take ’em. I also like to bring emergen-c packets and herbal teas. 

Take advantage of the hotel gym – If you are staying in a hotel, take advantage of their gym facilities. Most hotels have a gym with at least a treadmill and a bike. Go sweat it out for a little bit and get those endorphins pumping. You’ll feel better and sleep better, too. Alternatively, pop a yoga video on your laptop and do a little downward dog in your room. Or go for a jog! A great way to check out the city while also getting in a workout. 

How do YOU stay healthy while traveling? Share your tips & tricks below!

P.S. Wanna up your travel game even MORE? Here are the products I recommend.
P.P.S. If you enjoyed this content and would like to support my sweet blog (thank you!)–click HERE. 

7 Things That Totally Changed My Air Travel Game

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Preparing for a flight is a bit like a puzzle. I love making sure all the pieces line up so I have everything I need (all in a carry-on, of course!) and that I have the best possible experience.

Lately, I’ve been struck by how a few key items have become integral in that process. The stuff that makes packing efficient, flights comfortable, and arrival stress-free. They are my tried-and-trues!

Wanna see what I consider to be my absolute essentials for traveling by plane? 

1. Tom Bihn Synapse 19

Tom Bihn’s website heralds this bag as “a supremely organized backpack” and I tend to agree. While it is the same size as your run-of-the-mill booksack, the genius lies in its design. There are all sorts of pockets and compartments that allow you to pack like a pro! This bag made one-bag travel a reality for me and I can’t imagine boarding a plane without it. In a recent Uber to the airport, my driver balked at my lack of luggage and I’d never felt so proud. All thanks to my Tom Bihn!!!

More here, here and here

 

NOMATIC packing cube2. Nomatic Compression Packing Cube

Since first discovering packing cubes, I’ve tried several kinds. However, after a few trips with this guy…I AM HOOKED. Everything smooshes down so small!

More here

 

3. Tom Bihn Side Effect

This is an awesome place to store all the little things you might need access to without having to sling a backpack off your back (See also: purse, lol). So it’s the perfect companion for my Synapse. You can also detach the strap and use it within your main bag to store items like cords, toiletries, or underwear. Then pop the strap on once you’ve reached your destination and *BAM* purse. Very versatile little piece. I actually have TWO!

More here.  

 

4. Hero Clip

This little doodad let’s you hang your bag, water bottle, hat, beach towel, etc. off of just about ANYTHING. Hang your backpack off of the nearest tree branch on a picnic. Hang your purse off the table at your favorite dive bar. Hang your water bottle off your exercise bike. Hang your day bag off your wheely suitcase as you whisk it through the airport. You get the idea… Oh, and my #1 use for mine? Hanging my Tom Bihn up in bathroom stalls. (TMI?)

More here

 

5. Tangle Teezer

Back when I traveled like every weekend for speech & debate, I would throw a big, plastic paddle brush in my suitcase and 9 times out of 10 it would be broken by the time I was back home. NO MORE!

More here

 

6. Yube Moisturizer

Yu-Be’s highly concentrated glycerin formula isn’t greasy. It just soaks right into the skin! It’s also enriched with Vitamin E and B2 to nourish and repair. Perfect for dealing with that dry cabin air.

More here

 

today's playlist finding delight7. Podcasts <- shameless plug HERE, lol

I love a good book while up in the air, but those hours in the airport are all about people watching. Podcasts let you do both! I’d love if you checked out mine but here are some other rad options!!

 

What products are your favorite when traveling by plane? 

P.S. CLICK HERE for my top air travel tips.

Chet’s Birthday Trip to the Tennessee Aquarium

Chet’s birthday was yesterday, so this past weekend, we took a day trip to Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium. Here are a few pictures I snapped with my phone, if you’d like to see…

The aquarium is separated into two buildings — Ocean Journey and River Journey. The former houses the saltwater habitats and showcases playful penguins, touchable stingrays, beautiful butterflies and a spectacular coral reef with big sharks and schools of fish.

They also had a HUGE jellyfish exhibit featuring every type of jellyfish you could imagine plus a bunch of art inspired by the species! I loved how extraterrestrial these guys looked…

…and these glass blown pieces were STUNNING.

Digger and Louie the otters! You can read more about the Tennessee Aquarium enrichment practices HERE.

If you didn’t know, Chet adores visiting aquariums and creating/maintaining little sea-life ecosystems of his own is one of his most beloved hobbies. (We even visited the Newport Aquarium the day we got engaged!) Needless to say, he had a ball!

The River Journey building included exhibits featuring rivers nearby (like the Tennessee River) and around the world (like the Amazon). The Mississippi Delta exhibit, and Alligator Bayou specifically, felt very familiar.

Random highlights? Pig-nosed turtles…

…a Twitter powered by Electric Eels…

…and a tank dedicated to the very lake we drove across to get to Chattanooga!

Such a magical way to spend the afternoon. Just observing all the beautiful creatures…

…and making wonderful memories!

Thanks Tennessee Aquarium! We had a wonderful visit and hope to visit again soon.

The birthday boy gave this adventure a big TWO THUMBS UP!

Here are a few other adventures we would recommend:

Salato Wildlife Center
Florida Everglades
Festivals Acadiens

How Much Can I Fit in the Nomatic Compression Cube?

The one item that has changed my travel game the most? Packing cubes. Seriously, if you’ve never used one of these space saving devices…do yourself a favor! Since making this life-changing discovery, I’ve tried a few different kinds. But today, I’d like to put the NOMATIC COMPRESSION CUBE to the test. Let’s see what I can stuff inside!

The NOMATIC COMPRESSION CUBE is made of rip-stop nylon so it is super durable and strong. What sets it apart from the other cubes I’ve tried is that it has two compartments. Not only that, there’s an extra zipper in the middle that helps compress everything down! The double compartment could be useful for a few different things — keeping dirty and clean clothes separate, organizing by type of clothes, or even a side per person if you’re a super minimal couple!

When the packing cube is full it is about 5 1/2 inches tall. However, by zipping the central perimeter zipper, that number can shrink down by about 2 inches! What?! The overall size of the cube is roughly 10 1/2 by 8 inches. For perspective, I have PURSES bigger than that!

Let’s pack some stuff up!

I tried to include some bulkier items that I might not normally take if I was one-bag traveling — like heavy duty yoga pants and jammy pants.

Here’s what I fit inside:

1 sundress
1 button down shirt
1 pair of yoga pants
2 t-shirts
1 pair of denim shorts
1 set of jammies (t-shirt and pants)
3 pairs of underwear
and 1 pair of ankle socks

The middle zipper is what makes it a compression cube!

Now for the most important question! Does it fit in my Tom Bihn Synapse 19

My hope was that it would sit at the bottom of the bag like this!

Success! (You could honestly stack two in there!)

Look at all that room! Plenty of space for my laptop, another packing cube (or two!) and a toiletry bag. Plus, all the other pockets of the Tom Bihn are free for other goodies. If I were packing for an actual trip (instead of just experimenting), I would probably use the NOMATIC for everyday clothes (maybe tops on one side and bottoms on the other?) and use a smaller packing cube for underwear, socks, jammies, and workout clothes. Which would mean I could fit A LOT of outfits in a NINETEEN LITER bag.

Final verdict – This is a fantastic packing cube for smaller backpacks! The compression zipper really does a lot to bring the bulk down and double sides is super handy. This little baby holds a LOT!

ORDER YOUR OWN NOMATIC COMPRESSION CUBE HERE. 

P.S. Read some other TRAVEL posts from FINDING DELIGHT:
Heroclip Review
Great YouTube Channel for Travel Inspo
7 Travel Tips for Airports & Planes

Is there such a thing as the perfect vacation?

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

It’s mid-April as I write this, and for lots of us, now is the time to start thinking about an annual summer vacation. Yippee! It’s certainly an exciting prospect, with downtime from work, and the opportunity for some much needed R & R (either alone or with loved ones in tow). HOWEVER… for many, summer vacations induce anxiety. All manner of things can go wrong, and the idea of a “perfect” vacation is a lot to live up to.

Prep and plan as you might, your vacation may not go the way you expect it to…

  • The weather – torrential rain, wind, cold snaps – where was the sunshine you were hoping for?
  • Grumpy companions – you have taken them away for their holidays, but why do they insist on complaining all of the time?
  • Transportation  – missed or cancelled flights, car breakdowns, other people getting in your way…if only there was an easier way to transport yourself around the world.
  • Sickness – you really should have learned the lingo before choosing from the menu!

Sound familiar? Don’t worry; these problems are common to all of us. So, while it is difficult to attain absolute perfection, there are things you can do to improve your chances:

  • Do your research before travelling. Find out what the weather is going to be like at certain times of the year in your preferred location, and make sure you read reviews online about airlines, hotels, food places, etc. The better informed you are, the more likely you are to enjoy each aspect of your getaway.

 

  • Choose a destination you will all enjoy. Assuming you aren’t travelling alone, consider the needs of those travelling with you. While you won’t please everybody all of the time, you can still make compromises so that everyone has a good time. 

 

  • Read my top airport tipsI know, I know…Nothing irks me like that random dude in the security line who thinks because he flies twice a month for business he can start bossing everyone around. Everyone’s an expert, right? But if you’re planning on boarding a plane this year, give these tips a read!

 

  • Stick to your price range. You aren’t going to have a good time if you suddenly run out of money and find yourself with nothing to do, so budget carefully before jetting off somewhere. I think it helps to set a “before-you-go budget” (for flights, lodging, etc.) and a “spending budget” (your allowance while you’re there). 

 

  • Think about your accommodation. Whether you choose a luxury hotel like the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel or a youth hostel off the beaten track like Hostal El Momento in Granada, make this a priority. It has to be within your budget, appropriate to your needs, and within reach of the sights you want to see while you’re away. Double-check that you’re booked in before arrival as well, just in case of a mix-up!

 

  • Don’t try and do everything while you’re away. With so many things to see and do, you will burn yourself out if you try and tick off everything on your itinerary. So, plan for downtime, only visit the places you are desperate to see and leave the remainder for your next holiday. 

 

  • Forget perfection. The higher your expectation, the more disappointment you will feel if something goes wrong. If you can go with the flow and enjoy the time you have, no matter the mishaps, the more enjoyable your holiday will be. I promise!

What do you think? Have I missed anything? Have you achieved the perfect vacation? TELL US YOUR SECRETS! 

P.S. A mini vacay to Delray Beach! 

Travel Journal: Los Angeles

Hi friends! As promised, today I’m going to fill you in on my recent trip to Los Angeles. In celebration of his birthday, my dear friend Adam asked if I would like to spend a few days in L.A. culminating in a Venice Beach birthday party. Of course I jumped at the chance! It was a wonderful excuse to spend time with him (we haven’t lived in the same city since college!) and see some of our other friends who call the West Coast home.

Lately, I’ve been really into reading diary-style blog posts (“I did this…and then we did this…”) so I decided to try that out for this post. I actually typed this up straight from my personal travel journal! Let me know if you like this method. Here we go —

Wednesday – 

After a morning of work, I Ubered to MIA with plenty of time for a leisurely, non-rushed experience. I bought White Fur by Jardine Libaire at the airport Books & Books, grabbed a turkey bagel from Einstein’s, and ate while listening to Britney’s Gram: The Podcast. I nabbed some snacks for the flight. The flight to L.A. was 6 hours. On the plane, I read a few chapters from my new book and then watched The Glass Castle and Girls Trip. Long flights by yourself are kind of a treat (as long as you don’t have a man-spreader next to you), aren’t they? I landed at 8:30pm pt and met up with Adam, whose plane had also just arrived–no easy feat as LAX is huge. Colby picked us up and we stayed up (too) late talking. I had a couple glasses of red wine because California.

Thursday –

Not a great night of sleep (damn you time changes!) but I woke up ready to tackle the day, after some coffee of course. Adam and I went to M Cafe (a vegan spot in the neighborhood) and split a breakfast burrito and avocado toast before walking around West Hollywood for a bit. We planned out the rest of our day and decided to walk to The Original Farmer’s Market.

It’s a long walk but mostly through cute neighborhoods. We saw lots of bungalows (totally my vibe!) and kids dressed up for Purim. Once at the market, we walked around the stalls. The sticker stall was a clear favorite for me and I couldn’t resist buying a few sheets. (I mean who can resist ALPACA stickers?!) We also lingered in the stalls selling incense and essential oils. Free smells! There were a ton of food options but I settled on Loteria Grill and ordered huevos rancheros with warm corn tortillas. Then we stumbled into a fruit stall that smelled even more amazing than all those hippy-oils and bought some mangoes. There was a Zara nearby so we popped in for a quick browse. I ended up buying a marigold cardigan and justified the purchase because L.A. was much colder than I had planned and I needed an extra layer.

We then took an Uber to Colby’s apartment; our driver played old school hip-hop the whole way and it seemed like the perfect soundtrack to the passing scenery. Since we’d been walking all morning, we relaxed for about an hour at Colby’s before heading out to Runyon Canyon. We hiked a large loop which took us along a ridge with beautiful views of Downtown L.A. on one side and the Hollywood sign on the other.

We stopped at various benches to take in the landscape and take pictures, and chatted the whole way. I took a water from the “honor system” cooler on the way out, paying a dollar via Venmo. (Technology!)

The red carpet is under a layer of plastic wrap!

From there, we made our way down to Hollywood Blvd, by way of Muji (my obsession), and saw the star clad side walk. Then we walked the red carpet (!) which was already set up for Sunday’s Oscars – just with a bit of plastic on top. It was fun to get a behind-the-scenes look. We also found another view of the Hollywood sign, saw more stars, and the apartment building from Pretty Woman.

The apartment building from the movie Pretty Woman.

After another chill sesh at Colby’s, we decided to call it a night after a quick pop-in dinner at Village Idiot.

Friday –

I woke up quite early and read White Fur for a bit. Adam and I decided we both needed to do a little work to wrap up the week so we headed to Coffee for Sasquatch. This was the rainiest day (rain in LA?!) of the trip and the coffee shop was a cozy place to spend the morning.

After a little work we took an Uber to downtown L.A. to spend a few hours at The Last Bookstore. Adam’s birthday was the following day and he has a tradition of treating himself to a stack of books each year. I abstained from purchasing my own stack as it wasn’t my birthday but, honestly it had more to do with my one bag travel situation.

Books flying off the shelf, trying to come home with me!

Still raining, we darted a few blocks to Bäco Mercat. Our meal here was definitely a highlight of the whole trip. Highly recommend! We split caramelized cauliflower to start and I had The Fava Fritter. So good! Adam grabbed a post-meal espresso at Tilt

and we took a hilarious Uber pool back to West Hollywood. (Hilarious because Adam and I know each other well enough that we can speak without needing to speak…and our car companions needed to be spoken about. Let’s just say I spent a portion of the ride staring out the window with tears coming down my face because I was trying so hard not to laugh!)

From there, we drove to Dan’s house in a borrowed mini cooper. The first half of the drive was stunning as we navigated through the Hollywood Hills in the rainy weather with jazz playing on the radio. Dan and his wife Samantha gave us a tour of their house and we spent some time visiting. Then we headed to a couple grocery stores to buy supplies for Adam’s party. Back at the house, we met Dan’s 2.5 year old daughter, Olivia.

Finally, we met up with Maggie at Los Feliz Theater (Recommend! Only $9.50 for a ticket and super charming!) and saw Red Sparrow. I snuck in a burrito bowl from Tacos Tu Madre which is right next door. Sorry, not sorry.

Saturday – 

Birthday party day! Adam and I returned to M Cafe – I had oatmeal with berries and a juice (with lots of turmeric!). We ran up the street to a Trader Joe’s to get last minute supplies – water, snacks, beer – for the party. We drove to Venice Beach and dropped stuff off at Dylan’s apartment, the party locale. His place has an adjoining beachy courtyard strung with fairy lights, complete with picnic table and fire-pit. The three of us walked the boardwalk and got cold brew at a cute place nearby with outside seating (I don’t recall the name).

Party guests started to arrive, including Dan who was making all the yummy food, and Stephanie, who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years. I also got to meet Colby’s boyfriend who had been at work when we hung out on Thursday. We dined on bean-burger sliders with coleslaw and homemade bbq sauce, tempeh kebabs, and chips with hummus and homemade salsa. Vegan BBQ-theme on point!! I also bought Adam a 9″ fruit tart from Whole Foods as his “cake” and, although we skipped the candles, we sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. We made a fire in the fire-pit, talked, and listened to music.

Sunday – 

I woke up at 4:30am and was out the door by 5:15. Made it to LAX without a hitch. Thank goodness for the early morning departure time. Paramedics were randomly resuscitating a woman on one of those metal tables in security and my pre-coffee consumption self was highly confused. She seemed to be ok by the time I made it through. I got a bagel (which I saved to eat on the plane) and coffee (which I immediately downed). On the plane I watched The Battle of the Sexes and hardcore creeped my seat mate’s business because I was convinced he was an air marshal – still no conclusive evidence on that one. I made it back to Miami just after 3pm est. Such a wonderful trip. So glad I got to spend time with Adam for his birthday!

The end.

Have you ever been to Los Angeles? What was your favorite part? Do you keep a travel journal with details from your trips? I love having a place to jot down the places I visit and the restaurants I want to remember. Hope you enjoyed this peek into mine! 

P.S. Some of these photos were captured by Adam. Thanks boo!