4 Ways to Save on Summer Travel!

luxury travel tips.jpeg

Spring is the perfect time to plan a trip or take a last-minute getaway! Its early enough to catch a deal for a summer trip and the weather has warmed up in a lot of places so you'll have plenty of options. Here are my tips for planning a bucket list worthy trip on a budget!

travel on a budget .jpeg
affordable travel tips.jpeg

Be flexible on location

If you aren’t set on a specific destination you can easily find deals because you'll have so many options. You can look for flight deals or hotel specials and end up somewhere amazing for a bargain. It’s especially easy to save when you are going to a destination in the off season, which may be even more fun because it will be less flooded with tourists! You may have had your heart set on Paris in the summer but may be able to get that Parisian feel in another European destination. 

 

Look for deals in unexpected places 

If you are a seasoned traveler, you already are on the most popular deals and steals email lists. If you are looking for even more discounts or ways to sweeten the deal before buying, check out cash back sites like Ebates. Yes, you can earn cash back on your travel purchases! I’m also a big fan of browsing Amex Offers and members only deals in their travel section. They may not be big discounts, but you can often find things like free room upgrades or perks that will make your stay a special one. 

 

Plan based on a favorable currency exchange

Make your money go even farther by picking a destination with a favorable currency exchange! I recently went to Toronto for work and stayed at the super stylish Bisha Hotel, a boutique hotel with incredible ambiance. The exchange rate worked in my favor, saving on everything from the hotel, to meals, transportation and even shopping! If you really want to stretch your dollar, think about destinations in South America, Africa, or even Asia, and avoid Europe, especially Switzerland!

 

Go with a group

As much as I enjoy solo travel, costs can add up pretty quickly when you don’t have anyone to split things with. If you can round up 3 or 4 friends, you will save a ton sharing costs for accommodations, which is usually the biggest expense.  When I went to Colombia with a group of 8 we were able to get an incredible luxury villa that ended up costing around $100 a night each! Plus there were plenty of less fancy options for a fraction of that cost. Round up your squad and get to searching! 

 

Let me know what vacation destinations you have in mind this year! And follow me on Instagram to stay tuned to all my summer travel! 

 

4 Ways to Save on Summer Travel

What to Do in Savannah (If you DGAF About Plantations & Trolleys)

Savannah Shopping Tips

I went on my second trip to Savannah a while ago and was once again enchanted by the beautiful city! If you have never been you seriously need to add it to your list! It’s full of charm, history, and fantastic food. A lot of the activities revolve around historic trolley rides, ghost tours and visiting plantations. I’ve heard great feedback about that kind of stuff, but it just isn’t how I’d like to spend my vacation. If you are thinking about going to Savannah but have no idea what to, here are a few ideas for how to spend a weekend, without once setting foot on a plantation! 

Savannah Nightlife Guide

Must-See Shopping in Savannah 

Savannah has some amazing shopping! There are so many cute boutiques for everything from fashion and accessories to honey. Check out Satchel, and if you are staying at the Perry Lane Hotel take advantage of the VIP experience. Hotel guests can have the concierge set up a meet and greet with the boutique’s owner and the chance to design your own leather bag or wallet. Also, be sure to stop in City Market, an open-air shopping center with boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. I also love The Paris Market for charming French goodies and the Savannah Bee Company for honey and honey infused beauty products. 

Explore the Tree-Lined Streets of Savannah 

The city is full of charm and is perfect to explore on foot. Wander aimlessly down River Street for scenic views and don’t miss Jones Street, which was voted one of the most beautiful streets in North America! 

Rooftop Parties in Savannah

Have a Beach Day

Tybee Island is just 20 minutes away and has a gorgeous coast and fresh seafood. If you’ve got time and are up for a longer drive, head down to Saint Simon Island, a gorgeous strip of beach about an hour South. There are also beaches on Hilton Head Island, if you aren’t up for the longer trek. 

Eat the Best Southern Food in Savannah 

Savannah is a great foodie destination! For fancy dinners check out the  Olde Pink House. Five Oaks Taproom or 700 Drayton. Don’t miss Café M or Two Cracked Eggs for a casual fun and yummy breakfast or lunch. And be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Leopold’s Ice Cream or Savannah Candy Kitchen!  

Get the VIP Experience with a Professional Photo Shoot

Commemorate your trip with a pro photo shoot! Destiny Creations Photography is an amazing husband and wife team that will get you unforgettable photos from your trip! If you want to take the experience up a notch, bring in Charisse Styles, a fantastic stylist that works with the team! I worked with them on my last trip and she did a great job putting together these fun looks so I could get great pics without overpacking. It’s definitely worth it if you want to make the trip extra special!

Where to Eat in Savannah
Savannah Travel Guide

Let me know if you guys have been to Savannah and your favorite ways to pass the time there! 

48 Hours in Milwaukee

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel Review

I recently came back from another trip to Milwaukee! I’ve been there several times for work and on most occasions we are in and out of meetings all day so there isn’t much time to explore. However my most recent trip I had a little bit of extra time, so got to take advantage! Milwaukee may not be the most obvious choice for a domestic vacation, especially not in the Midwest. However I’ve found that it has a certain charm, an impressive food scene, and lots of trendy boutique hotels popping up that promise a stay you won’t forget. Check out a few of my tips for how to spend some time there!

48 Hours In Milwaukee Travel Tips

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

I’ve stayed at both the Iron Horse Hotel and the Kimpton Journeyman and both are amazing! They are stylish, comfortable, trendy, and in prime locations. Stay at the Kimpton if you don’t want to miss out on your IHG rewards and access to the unforgettable rooftop with a tabletop fireplace.

Blue Bat Milwaukee
Rooftop Cocktails Kimpton Journeyman

Restaurants to Try in Milwuakee

Both Iron Horse and Kimpton have fabulous restaurants! Make sure to stop in for drinks and dinner no matter where you end up staying. I also paid a visit to Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria, a taco and tequila bar a few blocks from the Kimpton. The fish taco and salmon bowl were amazing and the margaritas strong and cheap, just like I like them!

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel Review
milwaukee-4080_1920.jpg
milwaukee-1809393_1920.jpg

What to Do in Milwaukee

Just being honest, the winters can be brutal! It was so cold even when I had time to get out I just couldn’t stand the weather. If you go in a less frigid time of year, the riverwalk is supposed to be a great place to explore, and there are plenty of brewery tours if you are into the beer scene. You can also explore the Historic Third Ward, which has a fun, artsy, vibe and lots of beautiful architecture. And don’t forget to wander through the Milwaukee Public Market for shopping, snacking and of course, drinking.

If you do bring any one thing back, definitely make it the cheese! Seriously! I picked up a few bricks of cheddar at the airport and it was to die for! if you have time grab it at one of the markets for something that will probably be even better.

That’s it for now, or at least until my next trip!





3 Savannah Travel Tips You Need Now!

Savannah Travel Guide
Malikah's Picks-7.jpg
Forsyth Park Savannah
Savannah Travel Ideas

Happy to be back home from a lovely weekend in Savannah! I’m making so much progress on my goal to do more domestic travel this year, and I can only say I wish I made it to Savannah sooner. It was my first time exploring the city, and I got a beautiful couple of days to experience the charm, beauty, and incredible food. We kept our itinerary light, even though there is so much to experience there. You could spend over a week here easily, just taking it all in! Here are just a few highlights of the trip!

Eat and Drink Everything

Some cities can be hit or miss with the restaurant scene, but not Savannah. I didn’t even have one single mediocre meal in town. Definitely do breakfast at 2 Cracked Eggs, brunch or lunch at Cafe M, and dine at 700 Drayton or The Olde Pink House. Plus there is no open-container law in Savannah so feel free to take your drinks around town with you.

Skip Plantations, Explore the Parks

We made it a point to avoid any plantations or related tours. As a woman of color it was not something I felt motivated to see, even though there are SO MANY options if you are into that. The parks and streets of Savannah are just as gorgeous and I didn’t feel like I missed anything by avoiding them.

Enjoy the Shopping (or Browsing)

Downtown Savannah has the cutest collection of local boutiques, antique shops, and mom and pop stores. I’m not big on souvenir shopping, but loved wandering in and out of the charming shops exploring all the little goodies.

SAVANNAH TRAVEL Guide.jpg

Let me know if you visit this charming city! And if you are in town and want some professional shots to commemorate your trip, check out Destiny Creations Photography. I decided to leave my tripod at home, save my Insta-Hubby the trouble, and partner with a pro instead, and I’m loving the results!

3 Ways to Travel More in 2019!

San Diego Beaches

What are the things that keep you from traveling more? For most people it’s a combination of financial resources or not having people to travel with. Since this was requested in my last Instagram story survey, I’m sharing a few of my tips for affordable travel on your own!

Holy Matcha San Diego

 Save for It

In addition to my main savings account, I regularly stash away my coins in a travel fund. I’m never saving for a specific trip or destination, more just making sure I always have funds set aside for when the opportunity arises. I use a savings app called Digit which skims your checking account and quietly transfers small amounts of money into a separate bank account. The transfers are usually small -$5 here, $10 there and they include overdraft protection just in case one of their withdrawals accidentally causes you to into the negative.  I’ve saved thousands of dollars in the years I’ve been using them! Since transfers back to your back account typically only take a day, when I book a trip on my credit card I can immediately transfer money from my Digit account to pay it off.  I also loosely follow a great tip I read in one of R29’s Money Diaries – pop $20 a week into an envelope that you keep in a secure location in your apartment. At the end of the year that’s $1000! So when you see a super-cheap fare sale to an amazing destination, you can jump on it!

Old City San Diego
Aruba Renaissance Island

 Try a Travel Group

Instagram travel groups are pretty much everywhere, from Travel Noire to Sisters and Suitcases. If you don’t have a group of friends you can travel with but don’t necessarily want to go alone those are a great option, albeit not the most affordable. I do think it’s worth paying a bit extra since they are conveniently organized and include some great experiences, but there are also a ton of travel groups on Meetup that organize different trips, and usually have get togethers in their city so you can get to know the squad before hopping on a plane with them. 

 

Mallorca Spain

Choose Your Destination Differently

You may have your heart set on an adventure with your squad in Thailand or somewhere far-flung and exotic, but if you are on a budget and going solo you need to think about destinations that make sense for you. Think about destinations you’d like to visit and how you would spend your days there. If you’d be happy to lay on the beach with a good book, cocktail and seaside massage, the Caribbean or even Southern California would be perfect! If you are an art buff and love museum and gallery hopping, there are plenty of affordable cities that are art nerd friendly, like Philadelphia in the US and London abroad. It’s not the cheapest, but fare sales are plentiful if you are flexible on timing and all the museums are free. Start trip planning not by thinking about the destination, but activities you would like to do and would be comfortable doing alone. I made a New Year’s Resolution to do more domestic travel this year, and I’ve been enjoying fun little weekends to classic destinations like Savannah and random spots like Hawley, PA.  

 

And now that you’ve found your dream solo-trip, this post has everything you need to make sure you still get amazing travel photos! Also let me know in the comments or on Instagram if there are other topics you’d like to see me cover! 

Pin me for later!

Pin me for later!

3 Ways to See Flamingos in Aruba

How to Visit Flamingos in Aruba.jpeg

First things first – if you’ve never been to Aruba add it to your list immediately! The desert island is a quick 4 hour flight from NYC and is home to beautiful beaches, amazing food, and lots of rugged island terrain begging to be explored. You have probably seen lots of pictures of Aruba, and I bet some of the most iconic shots include flamingos on the beach. It’s one of the most well-known sites in Aruba, but there are a few things you need to know if you want to see the flamingo beach. I’ll be blogging more about the trip overall next week, but for now, here are 3 things you need to know if you want to see flamingos in Aruba!

Flamingo Beach Aruba.jpeg

They are only on one private beach

‘Flamingo Island” as it is sometimes called, is actually Renaissance Private Island, a private island owned by the Renaissance Hotel. It’s a beautiful private island with 2 strips of beach, a restaurant, bar, spa cove, and private beach front cabanas you can rent for the day. The flamingos, all 6 of them, live on one strip of beach on the island. There are also baby flamingoes that live on the other side, but we were told they like to hide from visitors so we didn’t get to see them. 

 

Swimming with Flamingos in Aruba

Access to the island is kind of a pain

If you are determined to see the flamingos, you either need to be a guest of the hotel or purchase a day pass. I was with a group of 8 so we had a villa instead of hotel rooms, but I did debate booking a room for one night just so we could go to the private island. However only one other person wanted to join so it wouldn’t have been as cost-effective. The hotel also sells a limited number of day passes to non-hotel guests. Those will cost you $100, and since they are so limited you will need to be up in line at the crack of dawn to make sure you get one. The hotel staff starts selling them at 7, and they are gone within minutes! The concierge said that typically there is a line wrapped around the lobby, with the first people arriving at 5! Some of you might be early birds, but for me, getting up that early on a vacation is out of the question, especially since you have no real guarantee you will walk away with tickets.

But I did some further digging and found out that the only other way to access the island without being a hotel guest or having a day pass is to book a spa appointment! The hotel operates a full service spa, and a beach front cove on the island that offers a few different massage packages. Me and my friend booked a couples massage with lunch (it was cheaper than doing 2 individuals!) and that was our way to definitely get in without sacrificing sleep! We booked appointments for 11, and rolled up to the hotel to catch the ferry around 9:30. That gave us plenty of time to wander the island, get to know the flamingos and get some great shots, then enjoy a relaxing massage before lunch.

Flamingos in Aruba

It's pricey but worth it

The spa package set us back about $200 each, which is in line with what you’ll pay for spa treatments at a high end hotel spa, but still was A LOT to spend in one day on a trip. But I do have to say it was worth it! The massage was great, scenery beautiful, and seeing flamingos up close and personal IRL is really a unique experience. 

Pin me for later!

Pin me for later!

 

If you go to Aruba, let me know if you visit the island, and how you get in! 

The Instagrammers Guide to San Diego

San Diego Beaches.jpg

Back from a fabulous weekend in San Diego! It was my second time in the city and I fell even more in love. It's absolutely beautiful, with amazing food, stunning beaches, and super friendly people. What's not to love! I'm more of a travel blogger now than I was when I went a few years ago so obviously I wanted to hit up as many Instagram worthy spots. Priorities,  I know! If you want to make the most of your San Diego trip while also getting as much #content as possible, here are my go to spots in the city!

Coffee and Flowers San Diego.jpg

Wander around North Park

North Park is to San Diego what Brooklyn is to NYC - cute, trendy, and getting more and more buzzy. Start with a healthy bite at Communal Coffee, a coffee shop that sells classic hipster fare lie bowls and vegan baked goods. They also share a space with Native Poppy, the cutest florist, and next door is Pigment an adorable shop featuring a giant pink wall, a build your own succulent station and plenty of other social media bait. 

Native Poppy Flower Shop San Diego 2.jpg

A few blocks way is Holy Matcha, or the place of my dreams! The decor is all pink and green, and the menu is full of beautiful and refreshing drinks and snacks. When I was there pretty much everyone was taking advantage of all the photo opps, and the staff didn't mind at all.

Holy Matcha San Diego.jpg
Holy Matcha Rose Lemonade.jpg

After you've gotten a healthy bite, wander across the street to Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream. All of their flavors are incredible, so get a tasting flight so you can sample them all! 

Hammond Ice Cream Flight San Diego.jpg

Take the Ferry to Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado San Diego Beach.jpg

The Hotel del Coronado is a San Diego icon. It has a rich history, beautiful beach, and cute restaurants and bars with beachfront views.  If you are in a rush you can take a taxi or drive, but the ferry is also a great way to get to the island if you want to take in some views on the journey. 

Hang out in Pacific Beach

Acai Bowl San Diego Beach.jpg

Pacific Beach, or PB as the locals call it, is a laid-back surfer town near the beach. Grab an acai bowl from The Mad Beet to snack on while you catch some sun, and when you are ready to dig in, stop by Kono's, a low-key beach front restaurant serving breakfast all day.  

Explore the Old Town

Old Town San Diego.jpg

The Old Twn is the historic heart of San Diego. It was established in 1769 and was California's first settlement. There are lush gardens, great restaurants, and a charming, old world Mexican-American feel. 

Old Town Restaurants San Diego.jpg

There is so much more to experience in San Diego, from Sunset Cliffs, to Balboa Park, and even day trips to Mexico. I only had a few days so had to choose carefully, but I will definitely be back to this charming city. Let me know your favorite places in San Diego for when I plan my next visit!

Pin me!

Pin me!

Summer Staycations: 3 Quick & Easy Road Trip Ideas from NYC

Road D Beach Hamptons.jpg

As much as I love to travel, I kind of enjoy staying local in the summer. There are literally 1000 things to do every day, so it's nice to have time here to explore the options.  Plus you can always do a day trip! I love escaping the city for a quick day trip. If you don't have a ton of time off, or are getting a little bit of travel burnout from taking too many longer trips, check out some of these ideas for quick day trips you can take from the city! 

Southhampton Day Trip.jpg

Southampton

If you slacked on getting a rental and only have 1 day for the Hamptons, I suggest Southampton! It's a quick 2 hour drive, and has both a quaint town with great shops and restaurants and amazing beaches. Do yourself a favor and skip the popular Cooper's Beach and head to Road D Beach instead. It's just down the road but way less crowded, and parking in that area is free, while at Cooper's it's $40 a car! 

Lavender by the Bay North Fork.jpg

North Fork

Wine country that's an hour and a half away? Sign me up! The best way to spend a day in North Fork is vineyard hopping. There are a ton of wineries in the region where you can taste to your heart's content. If you are heading that direction check out Lavender by the Bay. It's a beautiful little farm with English and French lavender that blooms in July & August. Check out their website for updates on what's in bloom! 

Prospect+Scribners+Lodge+Brunch.jpg

The Catskills

If you are up for some scenic hikes, gorgeous views, and AMAZING food, check out the Catskills! It's about a 2.5 hour drive from the city, and the scenery is super pretty as you head north. Make sure to stop at Prospect at Scribners for lunch, and if you are thinking about an overnight, definitely stay there! I went in April and it was just incredible! 

Pin me for later!

Pin me for later!

Let me know where you end up heading!

5 Tips to Save for Your Mallorca, Spain Experience!

I'm back home from an amazing week in Spain! I think Spain is one of my favorite places to travel. I've been several times to several different cities and I always have a blast. Of all the cities I've been to, Seville was my favorite and Mallorca is now a close second! It's a large island in the Mediterrean full of gorgeous beaches, hikes that range from beginner friendly to expert only, amazing vineyards. Check out some of my tips for exploring this stunning island!

Hiking In Mallorca Spain.jpg

1. Rent a Car

Driving is definitely not my cup of yea, ESPECIALLY not internationally! But both of my travel buddies had experience on the roads so we rented a car for only 200 euros for the week! There are so many beautiful things to see on the island, and renting a car is the cheapest and most flexibile way to get the most out ouf your trip. If that's not an option for you, stay close to Palma since that's the biggest city, and you can look for guided tours that will take you around by bus and make set stops. The roads and little towns are so scenic, you can spend a perfect day just driving around and stopping to explore randomly. 

Beaches Mallorca Spain.jpg

2.  Go Shopping!

Most people are surprise by this, but I really hate shopping. I packed with only a carry-on since I prefer packing light, and I really wish I had bought a bigger bag or came with it half-empty! Between the amazing wine we picked up at local vineyards, the jamon and cheese we desperately wanted to sneak past customs, and beautiful boutiques with locally made clothing and jewelry, I was in heaven! I bought back the two-piece set in the photo above and another dress from a boutique, but I only had room for 1 bottle of wine :(

Learn from my mistakes and leave room to bring stuff back. I promise you will want to! 

Hiking Beaches Mallorca Spain.jpg

3. Take a hike

There are so many beautiful hikes to choose from, so definitely add this to your to do list! There are easier ones that lead to beaches and little towns and other more intense routes for those that want a challenge. Whatever you decide, your body will thank you for the exercise after a few days on the jamon, cheese, and wine diet! 

Natural Hair Braids Ideas.jpg

4. Move slower

There can be alot of pressure when you are traveling to see and do everything. This trip reminded me to slow down, relax, and really savor my experiences. Maybe it was the long sun-filled days since the sun didnt set until around 9. Maybe it was the fact that we had a list of things we wanted to do, but no set daily itinerary. But there was a definite appeal to having long leisurely days, seeing a lot, but having the energy and state of mind to really take it in. 

Park Guell Barcelona Spain.jpg

5.  See more

Even though Mallorca was our main destination, there are no direct flights from the US, so you have to stop somewhere. We decided to book our main flights in and out of Barcelona and spend a day there on either leg of the trip. It was a quick and easy way to explore more since instead of just doing a layover on the way in. 

Pin me for later! 

Pin me for later! 

Couples Trip! How to Survive Sharing a Suitcase with Bae

Away Luggage Carry On.jpg

TGIF guys! The boyfriend and I are just back from an amazing weekend trip in Bermuda! A few weeks ago as we were planning he had the interesting suggestion to share a suitcase. Obviously when he proposed this, a few thoughts ran through my head and the debate went a little something like this:

Me: Why, the airline will definitely let us each have our own bags

Him: It will be fun! And besides you need to practice packing lighter

Me: (in my head) YOU HAVE A STRANGE DEFINITION OF FUN

Me: (out loud) I pack pretty light actually! But half a carry-on suitcase babe?

Him: Yea! You can rough it a bit.

Me: Why would I be roughing it at a resort in Bermuda?

But I love him and sometimes relationships require compromise right? So I went along with the plan! Here is what made the final cut! And for the record he packed his half in 5 minutes, while I tried on about 8 bikinis.  

  • 1 Romper that can go day to night
  • 1 Maxi dress 
  • 1 pair of palazzo pants
  • 1 crop top
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 pair of denim shorts
  • 1 kimono
  • 1 one-piece swimsuit and 1 bikini, each with a cover-up
  • 1 pair of pool slides
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking sandals
  • 1 pair of dressier flat sandals
  • 1 mini straw bag

On the plane I'll be wearing a simple black cotton dress, white sneakers, and a light jacket. And since Dictator Bae didn't say anything about how big my purse can be, I'll be packing all my toiletries, and makeup, an extra sweater, and magazines in a cotton tote that will also be what I carry to the beach. His list was way shorter, just a few pairs of shorts, t-shirts/polos, and flip flops.

In all honesty, it wasn't as tough as I thought it would be! We are both beach bums, so spent most of the day on the beach and his Away carry-on was surpsingly roomy so it worked out pretty well. I didn't even end up wearing the maxi dress, but it was still nice to have an extra outfit, just in case.  Now he thinks this is the only way we should travel! What do you guys think, should we make this a trend? 

And stay tuned for my next post with some tips on traveling to Bermuda!

Packing Tips Pinnable Graphic

 

 

 

4 Perfect Picks for a Spring Getaway!

Cozy Knit Cardigan.jpg

Spring is starting to bloom and one of the things I'm most excited about is Spring travel! Winter travel is fun, but can be so unreliable and downright annoying between the frigid temperatures and massive amount of snow we've been getting. Spring means longer days, a little bit more sun, and easier packing since you don't need as many heavy sweaters and boots. 

TravelStyle.jpg

If you are itching for a Spring getaway, here are a few of my favorite places that are perfect for an easy long weekend!

Nico+Schinco+-+Scribners+Lodge-26.jpg

The Catskills

This area is a go to destination for most New Yorkers, for good reason! It's close and easy to get to and full of beautiful scenery pretty much anytime of year. Stay somewhere super hip like Scribners Lodge, and leave plenty of time for everything from scenic hikes to wine tasting. 

Cartagena .jpg

Cartagena

It seems farther than it really is, but in a quick 5 hour flight you'll be in one of the most beautiful, charming city I've ever seen. I've been twice, and each time it didn't disappoint. Plus by the time April starts to roll around I'm pretty much dying for some beach time, so the location is just perfect! 

Rome Sunsets.jpg

Italy

Flights into most major cities are easy to be found, and you'll beat peak tourist season by going this time of year. I don't love the beaches or coastal cities in Spring, but Florence, Rome, Tuscany, and Milan are all great options for a getaway. 

Bermuda Pink Sand Beach.jpg

Bermuda

If the islands are your thing, Bermuda is the best choice for a long weekend trip. It's a smooth 90 minute flight to pink sand beaches and charming colorful scenery. It can be a little pricey, so try to look out for deals that will make it more affordable. 

Let me know if you are planning a Spring vacation and where you end up going! 

Switzerland Calling! 4 Tips for the Perfect Zurich Vacation

Zurich Switzerland Old Town

I’m back from another amazing trip! If you haven’t been to Zurich, it was wonderful, but definitely not what I expected. The city is a very important financial hub, so I was expecting it to be a bit of a bore. However we found unexpected fun, amazing food, and easy access to skiing the Alps! Here are a few things to note if you are planning a trip!

Zurich Flower Shops Tour

It’s super easy to get around

There were plenty of direct flights and it was a smooth trip of about 7 hours. Once we landed, we got introduced to the amazing Swiss public transport system. The network of trains, trams and buses is the most efficient I’ve ever seen, making navigating the city a breeze. We did a 3 day Zurich card which gave us unlimited travel in the city. In retrospect, the card wasn’t necessary because we didn’t spend a lot of time taking advantage of the museums and tours it gives you free/discounted access to. However, if you plan on going to even 2 or 3 museums during your trip it will def be worth it! 

Swiss Italian Cuisine Zurich

The food is fantastic

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Zurich has a lovely mix of classic Swiss, German, Italian, and French food, so you pretty much can’t go wrong. Definitely eat the fondue and sample Swiss wines and local sausages. I also developed a habit of eating heavily buttered bread with every meal because it was just so damn good! 

Zurich Day Trip Ideas

 

It’s wildly expensive

I remember Switzerland being pricey but it had been many years since I went so I guess my memory was fuzzy. But believe the hype, it’s one of the most expensive cities I’ve ever traveled to. The amount of money we spent in 4 days could have easily covered another international vacation! So if you are hoping for a Swiss adventure, make sure you save up! You want to be able to go there and enjoy it, not worry about the money you are spending. 

Swiss Alps Ski Day Trip Zurich

Getting out of the city is a breeze

As pretty as Zurich is, it’s also a great base point if you want to add a couple of day trips while you are in town! You can hop over to Lucerne, spend a day skiing, or explore the Rhine Falls. Getting around by train is fast and easy, and everyone is super nice and helpful in case you do have any trouble.

Zurich Winter Street Style

Have you been to Zurich, or anywhere in Switzerland? Let me know how your experience was! 

Zurich Travel Tips


 

 

3 Things You Need to Know About Solo Travel

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa

I finally posted my 5 things about me Insta-Story and got a lot of questions about 1 post in particular – my week alone in South Africa. I got so many questions about that story, how I ended up traveling there alone, and what it was like as a woman being along in a foreign country, I decided to do this quick post about my experiences as a solo traveler.

Tips for Traveling Abroad Alone
Strolling along the beach in Cape Town

Strolling along the beach in Cape Town

South Africa wasn’t the only time I traveled on my own. In that case, I ended up catching a fare sale for a round trip ticket for only $500 so I had to jump on it. But all of my friends missed the boat or didn’t have the money to spend in the moment, so I decided to not miss out on an opportunity to have a bucket list trip for an amazing price. Before that adventure, I had already travelled solo through several cities in Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the South of France, so my fear factor was pretty much nonexistent. Yes, South Africa is farther away and some areas have a reputation of being dangerous, but I had an amazing time and no regrets about making it a solo journey. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get about solo travel, in general and in regards to my Insta-story!

The end of a hike through Cinque Terre

The end of a hike through Cinque Terre

What do you do all by yourself?

Whatever you want! That’s the beauty of it. You can wake up as early as you want without worrying about your travel buddies, or sleep until noon if your heart desires. You can do every tour on your list if you want, or just wander aimlessly and sit in a café and people watch. Traveling alone gives you an indescribable sense of freedom to experience a new place on your own terms. I usually set up a loose itinerary to make sure I don’t forget anything, and check days/opening hours for things I know I want to see so I don’t miss out. But other than that, I give myself plenty of time to wing it.

In Soweto, Johannesburg

In Soweto, Johannesburg

How do you stay safe?

I think the biggest fear women have about traveling alone is security, and you definitely need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. You probably already know to not dress conspicuously or wear anything flashy or expensive, but here are a few other tips. When I’m alone I typically opt for an international chain hotel instead of a small boutique inn or AirBnB, just because they usually have better security. I also never tell anyone I’m alone – if someone asks just say your friends are doing a different tour and you are meeting up after. In most cities you can find a free or super cheap guided walking tour. I like to do those on one of the first days of the trip to help familiarize myself with the city. I also recommend the hop-on-hop off bus if you are somewhere that isn’t pedestrian friendly or you are too nervous to walk around alone. I did in Johannesburg and got to see everything on my list in a safe, efficient way.

When I am walking around I try my best to avoid pulling out a map or navigating on my phone. Before I leave the hotel to walk anywhere I go over the route and memorize what I’m looking for so I don’t have to stop and double check too often. And if you are somewhere that doesn’t have Lyft or Uber available, make sure you know how to recognize an official taxi, and don’t be afraid to take a picture of the license plate before you get in! I have done that several times and sent the pics to my group chat so friends at home would know the deal.

 

Stunning views in Capri, Italy

Stunning views in Capri, Italy

Who is taking your pictures

Pics or it didn’t happen! When you are traveling alone, the best way to get photos is to ask other tourists. I usually look for a couple or small group of girls and offer to take a shot of them, then they’ll take one of me. If the pic they take is awful (and it usually is) politely thank them, wait for them to leave, then ask someone else. Or if you join a group tour you can always ask the guide, and they tend to be pretty good since they are used to it. Depending on the location, you can also travel with a portable tripod. I’m a huge fan of them for shooting outfit posts. Just be careful to place it somewhere that someone couldn’t easily grab it and run, and avoid using it on windy days. The lightweight ones can easily be knocked over and you don’t want your phone to go flying.

Paris is always a good idea!

Paris is always a good idea!

That’s it for now, but let me know in the comments if you have more questions about solo travel that you want answered! 

Tips for Women Traveling Alone



3 Ways to Actually Enjoy a Long Layover

Beach Resort Isla del Rosario Cartagena

I’m just back from another amazing trip to Cartagena! The city was just as beautiful as it was when I went in April for my birthday, but this time felt so familiar, almost like it could become a second home. On the way back we ended up with an 8 hour layover in Panama City, so we were able to explore the gorgeous Casco Viejo before flying home. Sometimes long layovers are unavoidable, but if you end up having one here are 3 ways to make it worthwhile! 

 

If you’ve got 3 to 4 hours

Get lounge access. If your credit card or airline perks don’t get you in for free, the passes usually only average $30 and are totally worth it. The space is way more comfortable than waiting at your gate, there is always free Wi-Fi and snacks, and sometimes complimentary drinks. Use the time to catch up on emails and social media in a more relaxing environment before finding the best restaurant in or near your terminal for a proper lunch or dinner before boarding.

If you’ve got 5-6 hours

Hop in a cab to the hippest part of town, the one every guide says can’t be missed. Even if it’s an hour away from the airport, you’ll still have time to explore a bit, get some #content and find a quaint spot for lunch and/or cocktails before heading back to the airport. Just make sure you check your luggage through to the final destination before leaving your origin city. 

If you’ve got 7+ hours

These are my favorite because once you take out travel time to and from the airport, you still end up with a good 5 hours to explore.  You can spend an hour or 2 taking in sites, museum or gallery hopping, and even a bit of shopping. Just make sure your phone is fully charged before you get off the plane so you’ll be ready to take loads of pics and look up activities or sites near you as you make your way through the new cities.

 What are your favorite tips for getting through long flights and/or layovers?