I think it’s fair to say I
started traveling earlier than most people. I’m a dual citizen and took my
first flight from the UK to the USA when I was two months old.
I grew up a
military brat and a Third Culture Kid. And, since I spent most of my formative
years shipping back and forth between the US and different countries in Europe
every couple of years, I guess the habit just stuck as an adult. Traveling feels like home!
Travel Destinations And How I Pack
I follow a lot of travel sites and am a huge fan of the barrage of annual
travel lists every New Year. I’m drawn to up-and-coming destinations, so I keep
an eye out and try to get there before everyone else. It just feels more
authentic when it’s less discovered.
I also sometimes just see a photo and say
to myself… “I’m going there.”
How I pack is totally dependent on
where I’m headed. I pack very light in a pack for most destinations, but I’ll bring a roller bag for the periodic
all-inclusive beach resort. For road trips these days, I recommend what I’ve
dubbed a “Covid Kit.” It should include extra masks, gloves (for gas pumps and
whatnot), hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, and feminine wipes (since a lot of
public restrooms have closed down).
Prepare For My Trips
Because I seek out
off-the-beaten-path destinations and sights, I usually end up planning everything
myself, step by step. And I don’t mind it one bit. I have all my favorite
booking sites and I cash in all
I’ve yet to find a travel planning
app that I like all that much, so I just outline a Google Doc with my itinerary
and file all my confirmations there. Then I make it available for viewing
offline on my phone, too.
People And Making New Friends
I always make friends on the road! Usually just from grabbing drinks
somewhere and striking up a conversation.
I’m also part of an amazing
international women’s travel community, Wanderful. They offer to host and
touring and a massive network of awesome women all around the world!
And I have a few favorite memories.
I’ve met people in one country and visited them later in another country on
more than one occasion.
Traveled Extensively In Europe and My Favorite Countries
As an adult, I started primarily
traveling in Europe because, having spent a lot of my childhood and teenage
years there, it was second nature to me. Eventually, I started branching out
more to South America, Asia, and Oceania, but that was a little later.
my favorite European countries to date are Portugal, Slovenia, Romania, and
Lithuania. Memorable experiences include drinks at Buza Bar over sunset in
Dubrovnik, exploring downtown Sarajevo, and eating pasteis de nata in Lisbon,
and Belgian frites anywhere in Belgium.
Apps And Websites I Use And How I Started Blog
Oh, gosh, where to begin? I follow a
number of websites for travel inspiration, like Afar, Atlas Obscura, Travel
& Leisure, Matador Network, Lonely Planet, and a bunch of fellow bloggers,
too, of course. I love DK Eyewitness Guides for a printed destination
reference. For planning, I use Scott’s Cheap Flights, TravelZoo, Gate 1,
Hotels.com, Viator, Hopper, and Rome2Rio.
My blog literally started as a daily
journal that I was posting on Facebook whenever I was traveling. And I was
always sharing travel deals, hacks, fun articles from other places, so I
thought why not make it a blog and share my own information?
I like to design, I like photography, I like writing, just seemed like a fun idea at the time.
I want my readers to learn about new
and different experiences in
well-traveled places. And I want my readers to be able to find the fun and all
the personality in a random small town in “flyover country.” Sure, everyone
should see the Eiffel Tower or the Coliseum, but there’s so much more to Paris
and Rome and, well, everywhere else, too. If you want information on where to
find a Seine river cruise in Paris, my blog probably isn’t for you. But, if you
want to know where to find the hidden and abandoned railway tracks below Paris, I’ve got you covered!
Of My Road Trips
My road trips are typically one full
week with two weekends attached to either side. That, or something like a 4-day
weekend getaway to another state or city. The determining factor has always been working. And, now that I no longer work a
standard, full-time office job, the determining factor is usually my husband’s
Prepare For Road Trips And Manage Costs
I personally like to Flashpack - where you
backpack or road trip and stay at a hotel every evening. And I road trip in some
fairly faraway places, so I sometimes fly to a certain city before I start my
That being said, I prepare just by
packing as I would for any other trip, and making sure I’ve got a rental car
secured and hotels booked on my chosen route.
My road trip style is definitely not the cheapest style and I don’t always go to cheap destinations either, but
there are so many ways to make road-tripping affordable.
People can be caught off-guard by
rental car costs in some areas or at some times of the year in the United
My car rental out of Omaha, Nebraska, for example, was more expensive
than most rentals I’ve done and we were only returning it to Fargo, North
In the Northeast US, people always forget about the tolls and
underestimate how much they’ll cost altogether.
In Europe, people are caught
off-guard by petrol prices. For all these types of things, though, you can go
cheaper - drive your own car (don’t rent), stay at campgrounds or hostels, take
the side roads instead of the highways!
I’m a huge fan of the Pacific
Northwest US. And the Blue Ridge Parkway is always a pretty drive.
Our New Zealand road trip was spectacular, as well as our Iceland road trip. One drive
I have not done yet that I really,
really want to do is Big Sur and the Coastal Highway on the US west coast!
Challenges To Road Tripping
I think the biggest challenge I’ve
ever faced on the road was the weather. And not so much just having to pull over,
find a place to hole up for the night, and hunker down, but actively being in really bad
weather conditions with no pull-off area or town in sight.
I was once on a trip
in the northeast where the entire highway closed down in the middle of a
massive blizzard. There was next to no visibility and cars and entire
semi-trucks were sliding off the roads left and right.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you
can do about sudden bad weather, but just be certain to take it as slow as you
feel comfortable going until you can find a place to safely get off the road.
I Wish I Had Known Before Starting Traveling
Well, I definitely wish I knew a
pandemic was coming that would lock the world down for a year and a half (and
counting)! As much as I love to travel and was seemingly always on the road before the pandemic, Covid definitely
reminds me not to take it for granted.
Travel is an absolute privilege. And all
those places you’ve wanted to go and never did? Go there!
Travel just constantly reminds me
how beautiful and diverse the world and all its humans are. I’m such a small part of it. I’ve been to
places I thought would be scary that were so incredibly welcoming and
surprising. I’ve been to places I thought would be boring that knocked my socks
off. There’s something good to be found in every place, and in every person.
And it’s up to you to seek it out.
For The First Time Road Trippers
Depending on where you
road-trip, you should be very cognizant of your gas gage. And always have a lot of water in the car with you. If
you’re out in Alaska or Montana or the southwest deserts, it can get very remote. Unexpectedly so. Just make
sure you’re planning ahead on gas and water as a simple safety measure.
My big advice for first-time
road-trippers is to give yourself some extra time to explore (don’t make your
road-trip all driving) and to ditch
the highway every so often. Seriously. You’ll see nothing but highway if you don’t. You won’t see the weird things and meet
the fun people and eat the food you’ve never tried before.
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