Baggallini Everywhere Travel Bag in Violet
packing, Posted by Amy, Recommendations

The Perfect Travel Bag

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve traveled, but I’m on my way to South Africa and I’m really excited because I think I’ve FINALLY found the perfect travel bag.

In Bangkok, Romania, India, and Paris with my old Travelon bag. It's seen some better days.
My old bag, the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Hobo Bag has been around the world with me, and while it’s been a great companion, it’s looking a bit rough these days. Like, it used to be purple, and now it’s kind of a splotchy, brownish-blackish-purple. While it’s been a generally functional bag, it’s mostly one big pocket, which makes things hard to find.

I’ve been on the hunt for a bag that can do triple-duty as a day bag, carry-on bag, and a purse. Can any bag be big enough to hold everything I need for flights and layovers and walking around yet be small enough to use as a purse and not be a nuisance? It seems impossible, I mean, I carry a 1L water bottle with me everywhere, yet…

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Posted by Amy

Staying Home

Hey! Where’d we go?

Truthfully, we haven’t had a lot to write about lately. Both of us started new jobs recently, and we are settling into those new roles and giving them 100%. In addition to the new job Amanda also moved and has been busy setting up a new apartment.

The Glamour of the Road Warrior. Or Not.

For my last job, I was traveling back and forth to California constantly. I went to Europe for conferences. I worked remotely and could spend my time anywhere, really. It can be a glamorous and even addicting lifestyle flying first class, getting all sorts of upgrades and fancy hotel suites, and spending your layovers in the airport lounge with free alcohol.

There’s a downside to all of this though, and it’s not having much of a real life. When you travel all the time, you miss things at home. You probably have a better relationship with the person working the airport lounge front desk than your neighbor. Scheduling things like deliveries and work on your house becomes a nightmare. Even seemingly simple things like buying groceries can get stressful when you’re always leaving and worrying about food going bad. Oh and constant jet lag. It messes with you.

New Job, Less Travel

Even though I love traveling, I missed having a real life, and got a new job at a local company with no travel (yet).

While I’m still getting used to going into the office every day, I do enjoy being home and having more structure to my days. I started taking some classes in the evenings, which I could never do before. I’m actually meeting people in the city I live in. It’s kind of awesome.

I miss travel though. It’s in my blood. There’s a balance somewhere between being a road warrior and staying home, and I’m working on finding it.

To that end, I have some awesome trips coming up in the next year to South Africa and Scotland, and am heading back to the St. Regis Punta Mita in Mexico for a week or R&R.

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India, Posted by Amy, Travel Activities

Love and the Kama Sutra in Khajuraho, India

Mandi asked me if there was anywhere in India I really wanted to go. When I joined the trip, the itinerary was already planned, but there was still room for some changes. “Um… yes”, I said. “I want to go to that place with all the erotic carvings on the temples.” Because, is there any cooler historical site than 1,000-year-old naughty carvings?

It's a bit out of the way from common tourist destinations Agra and Varanasi.

Getting to Khajuraho

Khajuraho is kind of out of the way. It’s not really near anything else in India and not on any of the normal tourist paths. Once you get there though, you’re rewarded for going out of your way. Khajuraho is small. It’s not crowded. It’s relaxed, and there aren’t many tourists to fight for viewing space with.

We flew on a short flight from Agra on Air India, and left on an overnight train to Varanasi 2 days later. Our travel agent warned us that there was only 1 flight a day and it was very unreliable.

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old town in Jaiselmer India
Culture Shock, Destinations, India, Posted by Amanda

What to Expect on a Trip to India

A year ago today Amy and I were twelve days in to a month long journey through India. Our travels took us north, south, east and west to the cities of Delhi, Amritsar, Jaiselmer, Varanasi, Cochin,  Mumbai and more. Before leaving we had a few reservations, as many people had warned us that traveling to India could be difficult and that we should expect the unexpected. They couldn’t quite put it into words but they always said that it would definitely be a challenge. After spending a month there, we now understand what they meant. India is a beautiful country steeped in history with deep religious roots, countless languages and customs and rituals dating back thousands of years. It is sensory overload simply walking down the street. Bright colored clothing, a multitude of markets, dust so thick you can taste it on your tongue, tuk-tuks barreling down the street, spicy aromas that tickle your nose and the constant scent of incense wafting through the air are some of the things that you can expect to experience. The poverty, corruption and pollution are everywhere yet there are times where pockets of beauty peak through, confirming why people love it so much . That being said, anyone traveling from the west will definitely go through some culture shock during a visit to this enchanting country. Here are a few things to expect, if a trip to India is in your near future.

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Photo Dec 16, 12 41 12 PM
Destinations, Miles and Points, Posted by Amy

Getting Started With a Miles and Points Earning Credit Card

Right before Christmas, I went with a couple of friends to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a week to stay in a beautiful luxury hotel on the beach. The most basic room at this hotel is $700+ a night, but for us, it was free using points I saved up on one of my credit cards.

A gorgeous, relaxing vacation in Mexico. For free.
If you’re looking to start the new year earning miles and points for a free trip, getting the right credit card is a good first step, but it can be overwhelming. There are so many different cards out there, and they all have different benefits, downsides, and ways to use the miles.

If you already have an affiliation with an airline or hotel program, it might be a no-brainer to get a credit card associated with your program. Fly United? A United credit will get you more miles. Stay at a Marriott? Marriott has a good card.

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bangles in an indian market
Bargaining, Posted by Amanda, Southeast Asia, Travel Activities

Bargaining at Markets in a Foreign Country

Shopping in local markets is one of the best ways to explore a country. It’s a great way to interact with locals, try new foods and get unique souvenirs that will remind you of your trip for years to come. There are also amazing deals to be had! Souks, Marchés, Bazaars, Night Markets whatever their name, they are all similar in that they carry everything under the sun, you name it they’ve got it! Traditional clothing, spices, key chains, bowls, delicacies, scarves, paintings, jewelry, sculptures, rugs, bags, shoes, lamps, wallets, postcards, even animals are a just a few of some of the hidden gems that you can find! Most vendors in markets sell their goods for about half the price of items sold in store fronts or at the airport but there is a definitely an art to bargaining and getting the most bang for your buck. It is a challenge and can sometimes be overwhelming since there are no fixed prices. At times you may feel pressured to buy things you don’t even want and all of the sudden you are walking back to your hotel with not 1 but 5 throw pillows that you had no intention of buying and no room for in your luggage. Here are some tips for bargaining when shopping at international markets.

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Planning, Posted by Amy, Transportation

10 Differences Between International and Domestic Travel

Normally I’m cool as a cucumber packing for a trip, but right now, that’s not the case. I’m headed to Costa Rica for a few days and because it’s so close to the US, I’ve been thinking about it like a domestic trip. Only as things get closer, like packing-right-now-plane-leaves-in-3-hours closer, I’m realizing how unprepared I am for this international trip.

Here are 10 differences between international and domestic travel to be aware of and think about before you go.

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Lotus flower in water
Destinations, Posted by Amanda, Travel Activities, Travel Quotes, Traveling Alone, Types of Travel

Vipassana Meditation: A Trip Into My Mind

When I first arrived to New Zealand I met a girl from Finland whom I hit it off with immediately.  After hanging out for a few hours, she apologized for acting a little weird.  “What do you mean”, I asked. “Well I just finished this 10-day silent Vipassana meditation course yesterday and it feels strange to be back in the real world.  “10 days of silence, that sounds horrible, I can’t even imagine, tell me more,” I urged.  “It’s hard to explain and I can’t even begin to describe it although I will say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but the most rewarding experience of my life, everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime.”  She left it at that so I made a mental note to look it up upon my return home.

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Photo Nov 28, 5 25 55 PM
Posted by Amy, Travel Activities

Travel Souvenirs and Holiday Traditions

Like many people, I like to purchase some memento (or maybe a couple of mementos) of my travels. You can look at a something you brought back and recall all the great memories of your trip while getting excited about your next adventure. The problem for me is that I hate clutter. I hate stuff. Stuff stresses me out. Everything displayed in my home is purposeful or useful. It’s unlikely when traveling you’d always find something you already needed, so what is a girl (or guy, or family) to do?

For my first few trips, I brought home no souvenirs. I wasn’t going to buy something I didn’t need that would just clutter up my home and life. But that kind of sucked, so I came up with a solution to this problem: every place I go, I bring back a Christmas tree ornament.

The result has been better than expected.

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Photo May 17, 1 54 25 PM
Accommodations, Family Travel, Posted by Amy, Travel Activities

Spending the Weekend in a Treehouse

Earlier in the year, I was looking for something interesting to do for a non-typical (aka not Vegas) bachelorette party for a good friend. At some point in my googling, I stumbled across a treehouse for rent. A treehouse? My interest was piqued, and after some additional research (basically geeking out over treehouses) we decided to book a weekend at the Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort.

The Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort is basically a Bed and Breakfast in Cave Junction, Oregon run by nice people who love tree puns. And your bed is in a treehouse. And it’s awesome.

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