Tag: travel inspo

Travel Hack: How to Plan Your Trip Like a Travel Pro

By: Natalie Austin

This year, you’re probably planning an ultimate, life-altering, Instagram-worthy trip to somewhere out-of-the-ordinary. You may spend the next few months dreaming about soaking up the sun on a beach in Thailand. But while your journey may have been planned down to what drinks you’ll have with each meal, you may be making some huge mistakes even before booking your flight. Since booking travel is now done almost exclusively online, there are countless ways to get scammed or not get offered some of the best deals. Even if you’re not worried about spending a few extra hundred bucks, that cash could be put towards a shopping spree or trip extras. Here are sure-fire ways to guarantee your trip is a hit, even before you go through airport security.

Learn to Book like an Expert 

Online Banking

Courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

With so many booking engines, it’s easy to get caught in a tornado of bad information. While we may think we’re getting the best deals available, online consumers are often aced out of not just the best deals, but correct prices of flights and hotels. The biggest mistake people often make is starting a search with booking engines like Expedia, Priceline and Hotels.com. These booking engines often work with larger hotel companies and can only offer their discounted prices. Also, it’s much harder to find charming, cleaner mom-and-pop hotels as big booking engines don’t seek out business with these types of accommodations. For better hotel prices, use sites like Hotels Combined, who show you smaller, more charming stays at your desired destination.


Courtesy of https://novoed.com/venture17/reports/172619

Booking flights at the right time and place is crucial to find the best deals. According to travel expert Reid Bramblett of ReidsGuides.com, “The secret to landing the least expensive plane tickets every time is to know where the deals are, search wisely, and never pay retail if you can avoid it.” To ensure that you get the best deals, never book flights more than four months in advance. Search for flights 8 to 12 weeks before you plan to go. Also, when you’re searching, compare flights leaving a few days before and after your outbound date to make sure you’re getting the lowest fare. For the best rates, use an aggregator like Momondo.com. Aggregators don’t work for the airlines, like Expedia or Priceline; they work for you, the consumer. That way you’re getting a comprehensive survey of airline prices, not just prices from popular commercial airlines.
While saving money may be at the forefront of your mind, it is important to remember when not to skimp on travel features. Many individuals get caught booking hotel rooms with seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices. Especially for American tourists heading to European destinations, travelers often don’t pay attention to hotel details that can put a huge damper on their vacation. When booking a hotel, it is often best to spend a little extra money in order to stay close to the city center. Don’t be tempted by rock-bottom tourist-class hotels out on the edge of town. Anything 30 minutes or more by public transportation from the historic center is a mistake,” says Bramblett. Especially in destinations where the city center is the focal point of the trip, it will save you transportation costs and headaches if you book slightly pricier rooms closer to tall the action.

How to Pick Your Destination: Affordability and Adventure

Picking a destination is hard. People want adventure, but not one that’s going to break the bank. If you want to have an unforgettable experience, there are destinations to choose that are both out of the ordinary and still allow you to get the most for your money. It is important to be mindful of both the experience you’re seeking and your budget so you don’t have to spend any time stressing about money once you’re there.  

BC @

Courtesy of http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/tag/okanagan-valley/

For example, Canada is a travel hot spot this year for both its charm and affordability. Several destinations within its borders have been named the best places to visit for 2016. According to Travel & Leisure, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is a must-see spot for 2016 for both its gorgeous landscape and epicurean indulgences. While the area’s stark beauty and hot, dry summers have always drawn outdoorsy types, there’s now an increasingly sophisticated scene revolving around food and local wine.”  The New York Times also mentioned Squamish and Quebec City on their list of 52 Places to Go in the coming year. Both places are off the beaten path and offer unique experiences that are quintessentially Canadian. An added bonus to your Northern adventure? One U.S. dollar will get you $1.40 Canadian dollars.


Courtesy of https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/de/okinawa-japan-cruises

In Japan, one U.S. dollar will get you  ‎¥117, allowing you to fully indulge yourself in some of the most unique locations. If you’re looking for a tropical getaway, discover Okinawa Prefecture, a must-see destination for 2016 according to Conde Nast Traveler. The prefecture is at Japan’s southernmost point and comprised of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands with a climate that rivals the Caribbean. “Okinawa and its islands aren’t just a scattered, reggae-sweetened necklace of islands closer to Taiwan than to Tokyo, but one that actively seeks to turn Japanese congestion, industry, and formality on their heads.” Of course you can never go wrong with the mainland either. With Japan’s bid for the 2020 olympics, new developments and advancements are underway as cities are already ramping up in preparation. With its world renowned technology and century-old structures, Japan provides captivating sites that are both ancient and the modern, cultivating a travel experience like no other.  

Do Your Cultural Research

© Joel Barbitta D-Max Photography joel@dmaxphotography.com.au

© Joel Barbitta
D-Max Photography

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably heard varying testimonies of different locations and cultures when talking to different people. A common belief is that the “French are unbearable,” and “Puerto Ricans are like long-lost friends.” The reality is that this was probably the attitude of the traveler that impacted the value of their experience. While many people research the best places to shop and eat, people often forget to learn about the culture of their vacation destination. Appreciating a culture before you’ve even visited can set you up for more interesting discoveries and authentic connections with locals. If you, “show a modicum of respect to people and their culture, and you’ll be blown away by what you get back,” according to Huffington Post Travel Writer Clayton B. Cornell. If you’re an American and you walk into a French patisserie using the words “Hello, how much does this cost?” you’re probably going to get a far different reaction than if you walk into a Puerto Rican cafe and say “Hola, cuanto cuesta?”.

Before you arrive at your destination, make sure to learn the most common phrases needed while abroad. Even though you may not be able to hold a legitimate conversation, locals will recognize your attempt at trying to connect and will appreciate your efforts to learn their culture. This shows you’re not just a tourist, but you actually care about their customs. Also, make sure to learn common courtesies of shopping, dining or drinking. This will ensure you and your travel companions won’t be lumped into the typical  “tourist” category. Ultimately, you will enjoy yourself far more if you have learned and understand indigenous culture.





Twippers of the Week: Mike and Luci from  The Fighting Couple.

Luci and Mike

Total countries visited:  40

Current city:  Boise, Idaho.

Age:  Gen Xers

What is your Travanality: Luci is a Culturist and Mike is an Altruist.

What makes you interesting: We are the Fighting Couple!  We encourage couples to leave the kids at grandma’s house and get out and see the world together.  We are convinced that investing in time as a couple is essential to creating and maintaining a vibrant relationship.  We share relationship ideas, travel destinations and the details of our many fights on our blog.

What brands do you love:  In terms of travel, we are fans of Canon cameras, all things Apple, ScotteVest jackets, Tripadvisor, Clarks shoes and Delsey luggage.

Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling:  That is a great question.  We met an innkeeper in Swaziland that is simply incredible.  She hires employees from the local area that are going through difficult times, pays them well and trains them in valuable skills.  This kind woman made a difference in the lives of so many.  Our time with her was short, but the impression she made on us was huge.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: The best part of traveling with someone that you love is sharing experiences.  One of Mike’s favorite parts of traveling with Luci is watching her discover a new culture, food or vista.  Travel is an investment that makes you a better person today, tomorrow and forever.

Next travel destination: Taiwan


Twippers of the Week: Nikki and Dusty from Two For The Road.

Nikky Dusty

Current city: Austin

Age: We’re both 42 years young.

Total countries visited: 6 continents (can’t wait to hit Australia!) 32 countries and counting.

What makes you interesting: We spend 24/7 with each other and we haven’t killed each other yet! Nik was the first traveler ever to make chicha with the ladies of the community in the Amazon. If you’re not familiar, it’s a process that involves a little bit of spit swapping. Yep! Spit swapping. You should check it out. Dusty has done the polar plunge in Antarctica, Alaska, and Lake Titicaca.

Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Wow, that’s a hard one. There isn’t one person in particular. There are people everywhere that stick out in our minds. One of the most interesting experiences was living with a Huaorani tribe in the Peruvian Amazon. Fascinating people!

What is the best part about having a travel partner: Sharing amazing adventures all over the world with your favorite person. Getting to experience it for yourself, but also see the joy in your partner’s eyes as well.

What brands do you love: Mountainsmith, Keen, Canon, and GoPro.

What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: Honestly this is a tough one for us, because we just can’t seem to think of one. We travel lightly anywhere we go – but still, our bags are absolutely jam-packed with camera gear, mics, cables, computers, hard drives, of course all our clothes and toiletries and all the standard travel-ly stuff. So we really can’t afford to spare the space to bring along something impractical. Not much fun we know, but unfortunately true.

What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: It really depends on where we are in the world, but we love all forms of transport. Particularly trains. There’s just something about kicking back in a seat, feeling the gentle motion as the cars roll down the track, and watching the world pass by outside the window. In fact we’re in China right now and just took our first trip on a bullet train, which was just too stinkin’ cool! Truth be told, whatever gets us from point A to point B safely and (relatively) on time is our favorite.

Best thing you have bought during your travels: 

Nik; Bracelets. I love buying bracelets all over the world, almost always in local markets or from local artists. My wrists are full of bracelets and I have a story for each one. Good stuff!

Dusty: I’d have to say the blow dart gun I bought from a local family in a Huaorani village deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It’s just the coolest thing.

 What does “Travel” mean to you: Okay. Not to get too deep here, but… travel is our love, our passion, our addiction. To us, travel represents real freedom. It means adventure. It means exploring new horizons. It means living life to its absolute fullest. Travel will open your eyes, your mind and your heart to new places, new cultures and new experiences. And it will force you to break free from everything you thought you knew about the world and make you start learning again from scratch. Without question travel has transformed us, the way we live, the way we think about life, the way we think about money, and the way we look at the world. And we hope through our videos, photos and blogs to share the gospel of travel with anyone and everyone.
Next travel destination: Southeast Asia.


Twippers of the Week: Ashray and Zara from Backpack Me.


Current city: Rome, Italy.

Age: Ashray 29 and Zara 33.

Total countries visited: Together we’ve been to 36 countries. Apart from those we’ve been to a bunch of others individually.

What makes you interesting: We’re from India (Ashray) and Portugal (Zara). Our travel blog offers a multicultural perspective on travel. We experience things differently because of our distinct backgrounds and the world sees us differently too. This reflects on the way we go around the world and share travel stories.

Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: It’s always hard to pick just one answer for this type of question. Andy, a British guy we met while road tripping in Patagonia, was indeed interesting. He started traveling around the world solo with his bike 7 years ago. We had been all over the place and had plenty of stories to tell. Funny enough, we kept on bumping into him each other at different petrol pumps as we were all road tripping around the same areas.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: Years from now you’ll have someone to reminisce on your travels with you. Just like the quote from Into The Wild, “Happiness is real only when shared”.

What brands do you love: When you travel you can’t be too particular about brands or products you may or may not be able to get where you are. A couple of brands we’re pretty loyal to, even though not travel related, would be Nintendo and Converse.

What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: A “travel towel”. We were naive to spend any money on such a thing over 4 years ago. Now, we pack a regular towel. Keeping it light is key!

What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Our feet! Not that we travel far on foot but once we are in a given place walking around is always the best method to soak up the local vibes!

Best thing you have bought during your travels: We don’t buy much stuff to carry around with us. So the best things we’ve bought during our travels are probably meals in certain countries. A few meals we’ve had in Mexico, India and Thailand have achieved legendary status in our lives.

What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means expanding our horizons and never stagnating.

Next travel destination: After a few weeks exploring the South of Italy, we’ll be heading to Jordan to visit Petra and do a road-trip around the country.

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