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5 Things Travel Has Taught Me

Twenty-Something Travel via rss - 1 hour 31 min ago

This week in honor of Twenty-Something Travel’s 5 year anniversary all members of the staff are writing about 5 things they’ve learned from travel. Here’s Steph’s take:

When I assigned this topic to Kay and Jessica, I thought it would be an easy one to write. After all this blog itself is a testament to all the things travel has taught me. Distilling all that down to 5 reasons without sounds incredibly sappy though, is harder than it sounds.

Nothing Ever Goes As Planned. Ever.

In China, in the rain.

This is one of those lessons that I have to just keep learning, over and over. I thought I was going to backpack around the world solo, then I didn’t. I thought finding an apartment in Mexico would be easy, then it wasn’t . Around this time last year I was sure I would be living in Italy right now, and I am clearly not.

In a way, travel is specifically an exercise in making plans, then having them totally blow up in your face. This happens on both a large and small scale, and the outcome really depends on how you choose to deal with that upheaval. You can fight it, and end up disappointed and cranky, which I have certainly done on more than one occasion. OR, you can embrace the uncertainty. It’s not always easy, but it is what makes life such an interesting adventure.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

No matter where you are going, travel invariably involves a lot of time spent on your feet. Fancy shoes might look good in pictures but man, you will pay for it later with blisters and more. Life is too short, and travel is too exciting to be distracted by foot pain.

Being a Picky Eater is a Waste of Time and Food

I would never have eaten this beet carpaccio 5 years ago.

One of the greatest gifts travel has given me, was that it broke me of my deeply-ingrained picky eating habits. I met up with some friends from college last month, and they were shocked to hear that I now eat exotic foods like “vegetables” and “shrimp.”

I’ve always liked to eat but travel awakened a deep love for food. From the complex stir frys of China to Argentine asado to Vietnamese banh mi, I don’t want to miss a single amazing culinary experience this world has to offer. In truth, I will now eat, or at least sample, most anything. Even if I don’t know what it is! My life is so much more interesting and exciting this way.

95% of Bad Moods Stem from being Hungry, Stressed or Tired

Beer can help too

Early in our relationship Mike and I spent two months backpacking through Thailand and Vietnam. It was a true trial by fire situation, and we got to know each other so intimately, so quickly. I won’t lie: we argued. A LOT. So much that I started to worry that maybe things weren’t going to work out with us.

It took awhile, but finally we cracked the problem. Mike gets extremely cranky when he’s hungry. I get extremely cranky when I’m stressed out. We both get cranky when we’re tired. Unfortunately, travel tends to lead to these situations quite frequently. Now when we start snapping at each other, we run down the checklist. So many absolutely inane arguments can be diffused with either a snack, a nap, or a hug.

Sheer Willpower Can Get you Really, Really Far


It never ceases to amaze me. I was a 23 year old office worker bored with her job, and now I’m a travel writer, who has been to dozens of countries. I created this change through sheer willpower, nothing else. Nobody offered me a change of lifestyle, I didn’t win the lottery, I just decided this is what I wanted to do, and then I did it.

Willpower is so powerful, and so necessary when it comes to traveling. Whether it’s lugging your backpack an extra mile, talking yourself out of debilitating homesickness or yes, creating a top 20 travel blog, the challenge is completely mental. This last lesson is my favorite, because if you can effect that kind of change just by putting your mind to it, what else can you do? The possibilities are endless.

And that is probably the best thing of all that travel has taught me: the world is full of incredible people, amazing adventures and endless possibilities. It’s just a question of getting out there.

What has travel taught you?

5 Things Travel Has Taught Me is a post from Twenty-Something Travel

Travel to Shanghai Bund Area China

Travel Articles - 7 hours 9 min ago
When you are visiting Shanghai, the prosperous Bund area should never be missed. The following is focused on travel guide of Bund Area for travelers, which would be a great guide for the travel-addicts.

Some Pointers For Planning Your Island Wedding

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:00
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a destination wedding? Is it the blue waters of the ocean in the background? It may even be two people getting married barefoot in the sand. No matter what you envision when you think of your wedding, always keep that in mind throughout the planning process. Your island wedding should be exactly what you want instead of what others want.

Top Tourist Attractions In Kampala, and Uganda

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:58
Although Uganda is the smallest country in East Africa, it certainly has a lot to offer. Known as the 'Pearl of Africa' the country is popular for many reasons, one of them being the mountain gorillas.

Walt Disney World Resort WOW Experiences!

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:28
So many things at Walt Disney World seem special, but a handful of experiences really take the cake. Plan on at least one or two of the following excursions to make your stay extra-unique, a memory to last a lifetime.

Go Down the Aisle in Style at One of These Wedding Venues in Newcastle

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:15
Read on to find out about the wedding venues in the North East that I recommend and to see what makes them so special. Wallington Hall...

5 Must-Dos For a Luxury Walt Disney World Resort Vacation

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:47
With so many things to see and do at Walt Disney World Resort it can sometimes be a tough decision as to which choices to make. But there are really are several must-dos to make your Disney vacation ultra special.

The Best of the Best of Walt Disney World Resorts

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:46
Looking for the best of the best at Walt Disney World Resort? There are so many choices to choose from that it can sometimes be very difficult to make a decision. Here is a list to go by:

Santorini Island: A Hallmark of an Immaculate Beauty

Travel Tips and Destinations - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:10
Graceful Santorini Island is one of the demanding creations of the Creator. It is a dreamland of all the wanderlusts.

5 Things Travel Has Taught Jessica

Twenty-Something Travel via rss - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 07:05

As part of Twenty-Something Travels 5 Year Anniversary this week, all of the writer’s are counting down 5 major things travel has taught them. Here is Jessica’s list:

I sat down in front of my blank laptop screen thinking that this would be an easy post to write. After all, I feel like I’ve learned more over the past few years of traveling than I did in all the years leading up to leaving Canada. Instead, I found it difficult to describe just a few things travel has taught me because truly no other experience has shaped my life to the degree that travel has and continues to.

How to Cook

Even after graduating from university, I was still a pretty typical student when it came to culinary skills, with my idea of cooking involving either baking frozen mini-pizzas or reheating take-out leftovers. Then I arrived at my first work exchange in France and learned that my host family assumed I would be able to pluck a few veggies from the garden and put together a reasonably palatable meal. Once I was thrown into the deep end of the kitchen, I realized that cooking, at least the ability to prepare a few simple meals, wasn’t nearly as challenging as I had always built it up to be. After learning the basics in France, I ended up cooking for many other host families, until I can say I’ve reached a point where I feel pretty comfortable in the kitchen, even learning to rework recipes based on the local ingredients available. The strange part about learning to cook on the road, however, is that back when I had my own kitchen I never used it; and now that I can cook a decent meal, I never have a kitchen to do it in.

That Train Travel is Always the Best

If there’s a place where train travel isn’t the absolute best way to travel from city to city, or even country to country, I have yet to go there. I look forward to whole days of train travel almost as much as I look forward to actually arriving at a destination, whether it’s on a sleek high-speed train in Europe or run-down old one in Asia. I love the almost motionless speed of bullet trains in Japan, and watching all the other passengers simultaneously unwrap their meticulously-assembled bento boxes. Likewise, I love stepping onto a neglected Thai train, nudging the dusty overhead fan to create a wisp of breeze, and listening to the vendors walk up and down the aisles selling fried chicken and beer. It’s a beautiful way to watch the country’s landscape unfold. You miss all of that speeding overhead in a plane or rumbling down the ugly highway on a bus.

How to Stand Up for Myself

I’ve always been a pretty shy person, and that was sometimes challenging when I first started traveling. I regularly got railroaded by aggressive touts, got lost because I didn’t want to ask for directions, and even experienced conflicts with host families because I was reluctant to confront issues head on. It’s been a gradual change, but I’ve learned to be assertive when it’s necessary. Even when I compare my last experience in Thailand (a country where you really do need to stick up for yourself sometimes) to my experience now, I surprise myself with my willingness to insist on a lower price when the songthaew (share taxi) driver tries to charge me double the usual fare; or even with my confidence in approaching locals to ask for recommendations. I think I’ll always be introverted and I’m totally fine with that, but travel has given me the strength to speak up when it’s important.

How to Sleep Anywhere

I really didn’t know the meaning of the words dirty or uncomfortable until I came to Asia. Don’t get me wrong, I love Asia, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for those $7 guestrooms with floor-hard mattresses, dusty, exposed wiring, and moldy, cockroach-infested bathrooms. Beyond guesthouses with seriously questionable hygiene, I’ve slept curled up around my belongings in airports, on buses filled with mosquitoes, and on pretty much every other kind of transportation. Traveling overnight saves money on guesthouses, plus leaves more daylight hours for exploring, so it’s often just the most logical choice. Now I usually carry a few sarongs to use as blankets and pillows, so I can pretty much create my own semi-cozy sleep nook wherever I am.

That Anything is Possible

I feel this is a mantra that a lot of travel blogs preach in one way or another, to such a large extent that it can start to sound like a bit of a cliché. But I’m saying it anyway, because it’s so profoundly true, regardless. When Brent and I started traveling, I’d never read a travel blog, I’d never met anyone traveling long-term the way we were, and I honestly thought we must be a little bit insane to leave our jobs behind and take the risks that we were taking. Since then I’ve met countless people living their lives in so many different ways, and it’s been downright inspiring to see how they’ve managed to shape a life around their dreams. I’ve met backpackers who spent years saving up for their round-the-world trips; expats working as teachers, au pairs, cruise ship workers, or odd jobs on working holiday visas; and digital nomads earning a living online by writing e-books, doing web design, continuing a previously location-based job remotely, and even playing online poker. The overpowering message I’ve taken away from all of these people is that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and no matter what your circumstances are right now, you have the ability to do whatever you want with your life and become the person you aspire to be.

5 Things Travel Has Taught Jessica is a post from Twenty-Something Travel

Visiting Amsterdam: 5 first-time mistakes to avoid

EuroCheapo via rss - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 05:21

Amsterdam can be a breeze for first timers to Europe in many ways. Everyone speaks English, and the city is small enough to get around by foot. At the same time, the streets are curvy and confusing, taxis are expensive and the Dutch language is a mouthful.

It’s also important to find a good location to stay and know how to navigate the city’s biggest attractions, so you don’t get stuck in long lines for half your trip. To help shrink your chances of starting an Amsterdam adventure on the wrong foot, here are five rookie mistakes to avoid.

1. Sleeping in the Red Light District

No, we don’t mean literally on the streets or benches of course, because there are a handful of hotels that offer acceptable rooms in the Red Light District. But many accommodations here can be a grim experience. The stairs to your room are small and steep. Some staircases have handles on the walls to pull up with. Add the mission of carrying your suitcase, and it becomes a fearful climb up Jacob’s ladder. Rooms in the Red Light District can be cramped, damp and in need of serious renovation. Why? This is the oldest part of Amsterdam, and there are strict laws on modernizing historic sites from 500 years ago.

Check our hotel list for some great finds inside and outside the Red Light District. Don’t be afraid to venture outside the center for comfort and contemporary; neighborhoods like Museumplein, the Jordaan and De Pijp are just as scenic and enjoyable.

Related: Simple tips for finding affordable hotels in Amsterdam

There’s usually a very long line at the Anne Frank House, so plan accordingly. Photo: Lauren Rauk

2. Eternal waiting in the Anne Frank House line

As a guide in the summer, most of my tours ask to end at the Anne Frank House. Like clockwork, as soon as we arrive at the entrance a disappointing sigh falls among the group. Their eyes set upon the long line, and I hear startled mumbles of “Oh no!” and “I can’t believe it!” It’s so bad, people actually post YouTube clips about this line. By summertime it’s a crazy wait that averages about 2 to 3 hours, and that’s on a weekday.

My advice: don’t do it. I know that’s a taboo tip, and Anne Frank’s diary is an important WWII story, but there’s more than the Anne Frank House that commemorates Jewish culture in Amsterdam. The Jewish Historic Museum, The Dutch Resistance Museum, the National Holocaust Memorial, the Portuguese Synagogue and even a Children’s Jewish Historic Museum are all located in the Jewish Quarter of the city. These museums exhibit in English and are brimming with educational experiences. They are worth a visit and probably a better use of your time if you’re only in town for a short time.

If you can’t be persuaded, or if Anne Frank is your only chance for a famous WWII monument, there are ways to avoid the wait. Buying your tickets online will send you to a shorter line. Otherwise get there an hour or two before closing. In July and August the museum stays open until 10 PM and until 9 PM in April to June, September to October.

A boat tour along the canals is a much better way to see the charming streets of Amsterdam than a bus ride. Photo: Moyan B.

3. Taking a bus tour

Amsterdam, Brussels and Bruges are the most walkable cities in Europe. They’re small, quaint and impossible to sightsee by bus. Okay, maybe not impossible, but definitely unnecessary and incongruent to the city layout. The Amsterdam center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, mostly intact from the 1600s and 1700s. Trying to absorb this vibe via a 21st century tour bus just doesn’t mesh. The buses don’t fit, and you’ll end up sightseeing in circles around Amsterdam.

Opt for renting a bicycle before a bus. If you are into the “hop on hop off” strategy, there are boat tours that offer the same service as a bus would, but by beautiful canal cruises. Need to take a seat for a while? The electric tram system here runs all throughout scenic routes. And for €2.80, the tram is a lot cheaper.

Related: The perfect weekend trip for the first-time visitor in Amsterdam

Grocery stores don’t take credit or debit cards in Amsterdam, but Albert Hein stores do have ATMs. Photo: Alix G

4. Using a credit card for groceries

It sounds crazy but it’s true: you can’t pay by credit or debit in supermarkets here. If you’re from the EU, your Maestro debit card works fine, but North Americans have a different debit system that won’t match. Luckily most Albert Hein supermarkets (our main grocery chain) stock an ATM or two inside. Withdrawal before you shop: the best exchange rates are via ATMs anyway.

The Dungeon Museum is touristy fun, but there are several other spots that you and the kids will enjoy as well. Photo: Edwin Hermans

5. Going to the Amsterdam Dungeon Museum for the kids

This attraction isn’t really special to Amsterdam, nor is it cheap. And yet families wait for hours because they can’t think of another “kid friendly” destination. Try NEMO, the hands-on science museum that’s doubles as a playground of interactive stands. In addition, the Artis Zoo is a huge deal for kids in The Netherlands. Equipped with a planetarium, insectarium and aquarium, it’s not the average zoo. (Not to mention the unusual additions of black spider monkeys, penguins and zebras.)

The post Visiting Amsterdam: 5 first-time mistakes to avoid appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Say cheese: Top five British cheese festivals

from Go travel via rss - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 04:46
Ronnie takes us gastronomes on a tour of the UK's best local cheese festivals. The post Say cheese: Top five British cheese festivals appeared first on HomeAway Blog | Travel Blog.

Visit the blog for the rest of this post.

For an ultimate sailing experience – Indonesia yacht charter

Travel Articles - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 03:19
Sailing is truly a great adventurous activity while you are on a vacation. Everybody loves the water and what better than the calm and peaceful untouched by modern world – the Indonesian waters.

Goa – Best Honeymoon Destination in India

Travel Articles - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 01:21
For each couple in India Honeymoon bundles ought to be something uncommon. It is all the more so on the grounds that memories of special night stay for lifetime for any couple. Recently wedded couples frequently pick Paras Holidays Honeymoon Packages for their special nights.

Best Shanghai Travel Guide for Tourists

Travel Articles - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 00:54
Shanghai is known as culinary city endowed with many palatable local dishes, which hosts thousands of featured restaurants serving everything from local palatable food like Steamed Crab, Smoked Fish Slices, Soup Bun, Pepper Duck and Yangchun Noodles to international specialties like Italian, French, Japanese, Korean and Thai.

The Leading Luxury Train of India

Travel Articles - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 00:06
Maharajas' Express is owned and operated by the IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways. The train was launched in 2010, with the aim to recreate the royal aura and avant-garde hospitality exclusively available to the Indian royalty.

Exploring the Mystical Facet of Nepal Tours

Travel Articles - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 23:25
Nepal is nestled amidst highest peaks, which contribute to its mesmeric scenic beauty. The country is blessed with natural scenes and picturesque landscapes, featuring eight out of ten highest mountains of the world.

A Nice Quiet Break in Lanzarote

Travel Tips and Destinations - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 13:41
A review of my recent trip to Lanzarote. If you are intended to go you will find some great tips in this article.

How To Get To Positano, Italy

Travel Tips and Destinations - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 13:09
Want to visit Positano but not sure how to get there? Here are several ways you can travel to the town of Positano by ferry, plane and bus!

Wildlife Wisp With the Glorifying Golden Triangle

Travel Tips and Destinations - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 12:28
Golden Triangle is one of the most preferred touring packages by every tourist across every nation. Inclusion of the rare sights to the Royal Breed of Indian Tigers is only a bonanza for them.