bag pack
packing, Planning, Posted by Amanda, Types of Travel
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How to Pack for a Long-Term Trip

When I decided to take a 7-month trip I was terrified at the thought of traveling with nothing but a backpack. Before I left I compiled a list of everything I thought I would need and it turns out that only half of it fit (after I packed my beauty supplies, some things are necessities that could not be skipped)! Even after removing a few things, it turns out that I still packed way more than was necessary. Here is the list that I put together after my return with the only items I really needed while I was away. I’ve added some links of some of my favorite products because they made life on the road so much easier and I absolutely loved them!  In a future post Amy and I will tell you why we love some of these products so much.  This packing list is a combination of necessities if you plan on staying in hotels, hostels or other basic accommodations.

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St. Regis Punta Mita
Planning, Posted by Amy, Types of Travel
2

The Difference Between Travel and a Vacation

Recently at a wedding in Madison, my friend Val asked if I had any upcoming travel. I told her I was going to spend a week at a resort in Mexico in December. I added “I’m going to lay on a beach all week, so it’s not real travel.” Immediately, I started wondering what “real travel” meant, what I event meant by it, and if you could define such a thing.

Luckily before I could get too deep into a rat hole of my own thoughts, Val said something that was both simple and profound: There’s a difference between travel and a vacation.

“There’s a difference between Travel and a Vacation”

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zurich
Food, Planning, Posted by Amy, Travel Activities
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Exploring Food & Drinks While Traveling – Part 1: Food Tours

Food is such an important part of culture and experiencing food and drinks the way locals do can be one of the most memorable parts of travel. This is the first in a 4-part series on how to really experience food culture during your travels. Stay tuned for Parts 2 through 4, coming soon!

Part 1: Food Tours
Part 2: Cooking Classes
Part 3: Wine, Beer, Liquor, and other Drinks
Part 4: Other ways to Experience Food

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delta plane
Miles and Points, Posted by Amy
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Getting Elite Status and How Loyalty Pays Off

I was looking at my upcoming itineraries the other day and realized I had booked a flight from SFO -> SEA on the wrong day. Oops! But no biggie… I just called the special Delta Diamond Medallion Line and an understanding agent changed my flight for free.

Usually when you make a flight change, there’s a steep $200 change fee. However, the customer service representative changed my flight and waived the fee. Why? Well, I can’t say for certain but as a Delta Diamond Medallion, I get some really great customer service.

I’ve had a lot of good experiences recently due to having elite status in various programs, and I wanted to post about a few of them so you can see the real, tangible benefits of sticking with one hotel, airline, or car rental program.

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Pokhara Nepal
Accommodations, Planning, Posted by Amanda, Traveling Alone
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Finding Accommodations Mid-Travel

The first time that I ever looked for lodging while on the road was in Indonesia. A friend had told me about this perfect, incredible, fabulous, wonderful, amazing, cheap little place she found on this tiny island but there was one problem…..she forgot the name of it! Since it was such a small island, she told me that all I needed to do upon arrival was ask for a man named Ronni, who was the owner, and I would be pointed in the right direction. After walking around for 20 minutes barefoot up and down the beach in 95-degree heat, a 40lb bag on my back and asking about 30 strangers for Ronni, I finally found the man of the hour! And she was right, his bungalows were perfect, incredible, fabulous, wonderful, amazing and cheap!

Finding accommodation mid-travel does not always have to be this hard. Here are 3 easy ways to easily find lodging while on the road.

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switzerland_serenity
packing, Planning, Posted by Amy
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5 Ways to Travel More Efficiently

After oversleeping, handling a small crisis, and making sure my house was in pristine condition for weekend renters, I had exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes to pack and make it to the airport in time for my flight this evening. I was so busy all day I didn’t even have time to brush my teeth.

This was a stressful situation, but because I’ve optimized every part of packing and getting to the airport, I actually made the flight with about 15 minutes to spare before the boarding door closed. WHEW!!

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Gili Meno sunrise
Posted by Amanda, Traveling Alone, Types of Travel
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10 Benefits of Traveling Alone

Traveling alone to a foreign land can sometimes seem daunting. But you’ll find that solo travel will be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Here are the top 10 benefits of traveling alone.

Do What You Want, When You Want

Spontaneity is the spice of life! The freedom to do what you want is much easier when you don’t have to ask for someone else’s input, whether that’s skipping out on the castle tour that sounded like a great idea yesterday or staying a few extra days in your current location. You are in control and can go wherever the wind blows you. One day I arrived to a beautiful city in the Philippines and I was so tired from moving around that I spent 24-hours in my hotel room, watching BBC and surfing the web. It was exactly what I needed!

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india_birds
Miles and Points, Planning, Posted by Amy
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Booking Free Business Class Flights with Credit Card Points

The miles and points world can be a confusing one – I spent months researching how and when I could get my family to Europe an Africa on business class award flights. However, there are actually some very simple ways to go from using your credit card to booking an amazing free flight. In this post, I go step-by-step and show you exactly what I did to book a free business class flight within Europe.

There are many different points programs and airlines, and the process for redeeming points and miles is highly dependent on the rules of each program. Sometimes it’s very complicated, but it can also be very quick and easy. In this example, I use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a Business class flight on United, and it took less than 10 minutes.

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old ladies in delhi, india
Planning, Posted by Amanda
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Finding the Perfect Travel Partner

Finding the perfect travel partner can be tough. Just because you are friends with someone doesn’t mean that you will automatically be a great fit if you decide to go on vacation together.

When I decided to go to India, I knew that I needed to find someone to go with me because I was warned that it could be very challenging to visit on my own.

I reached out to many people that I knew (Ok I reached out to EVERYONE I knew) and no one was interested in going with me. It turned out that most people in my network were not attracted to a challenging trip where the possibility of getting sick and swindled was a daily threat. This is where my partner in crime and partner for this website, Amy enters.

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copenhagen_header
Planning, Posted by Amy, Transportation
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How to Use Public Transportation in any City

Copenhagen was the first place I visited outside of New York and San Francisco that had a train system, and I was determined to figure out how to use it. I poured over the maps every day to learn all the stations and directions and how to get to every place my coworkers and I wanted to go. We took a lot of trains in Copenhagen because it’s an efficient way to get around.

Udgang Exit Sign in Copenhagen
A sign pointing to a wondrous, magical place. Or the Exit.
It seemed like every train station we were at had a sign pointing to “Udgang,” and I spent the entire week thinking about Udgang and what a cool and special place it must be for there to be so many signs pointing travelers towards it. I made a mental note to look up what Udgang was so I could make sure to see it before I left. Imagine my disappointment when I found out on my last day in Denmark that Udgang means… Exit.

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