Fashionista's Travel editor Lindsay Carreiro is a Teacher in Providence, RI with a healthy addiction to Luna Bars and Culinary Mysteries. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, SHOPPING, and things that start with "S".
Traveling is expensive, that's no secret. From booking flights to hotels, cheap is never really a word we would use to describe traveling. When you can lighten the financial load, that's always a plus. I often find it helpful if I pack items that you might typically buy when you're traveling.
Most of these items will often cost you more if you buy them at the airport or once you've reached your destination. If you take a moment to check these items off your list you will be saving yourself time and money. (something we all need a little bit more of)
1. Reading Material
Whether it's a book or a magazine make sure you've got it ready to go before your trip. If you're a Kindle person like me and consequently have Amazon Prime, you will find that they offer plenty of free books and discounted magazines. I always make sure I stock up my Kindle with plenty of light-reads for each trip. Magazines are another staple of mine but can be very costly at airports. Your best bet is to check your local bookstore or see if any of your friends have old issues they will lend you.
I had to capitalize this one, not only because I'm a foodie but because airport food costs a fortune! I like to hit up my local Target and buy a box of protein bars, usually at a pretty discounted price. They pack easily and will fill you up for those in between waiting times. Trail mix is also another great snack to pack, it's even cheaper if you buy the nuts and dried fruit yourself and create small baggy's for them. You could easily spend $10 and more on airport snacks that aren't even that great.
3. Water Bottle w/Purifier
Now we all know you can't bring liquids through airport security BUT if you wise up and purchase a water bottle with built-in purifier you can fill your bottle up at the water fountain after you've gone through security. A bottle of water cost at least $3 at the airport--who feels like that?
Not traveling to some place tropical? Skip
However if you are on the verge of a tropical vacation bring your own sunblock. Tropical/warm climates realize that many tourists will not pack sunblock due to the size. That being said these area's will jack up the prices on sunblock, because they know they can make money on it. One of the best tricks I've used is to take a regular 60z bottle of sunblock and squeeze it into two 3oz travel sized bottles. This is very clever if you don't want to check your luggage. You'll be able to save quite a bit of money this way.
5. Headphones, Chargers, Accessories
These items you think would be a no-brainer but how many times have you seen people purchasing ear-buds and chargers from those Best Buy machines? Generic chargers (at least for the iPhone) can cost around $7, airport prices will charge at least double. The same goes for ear-buds just recently I purchased a second pair at Kohls for $10. If you don't spend a lot of money then you probably won't care if something were to happen to them. I will often keep these extra headphones and chargers in my carry-on so I know I will always have them when I travel.
Other items that I recommend you bring yourself:
- neck pillow
- travel blanket
- sleep aids
- headache/cold pills
If you take the time to purchase a few of these before your travels you will be pleasantly surprised how less stressed you will be not only mentally but financially as well. Having a snack handy and a good book can go a long way. Happy travels!
I love like New York City. I'm one of those people that really wants to LOVE New York but I just can't. Perhaps it's the crowds, the trash, the SMELL but I just don't love it. Don't get me wrong I like it enough to visit for a weekend or in my case 24hrs but I've said it once and I'll say it again I could never live there.
That's a pretty big statement for me to make because I'd pretty much want to try living anywhere just once, but I just can't do New York.
So if you find yourself in New York City with roughly 24hrs like I did this past weekend then here's what you could do:
Take in a movie or ten
The first stop on my 24hr New York City experience was to attend the Nomading Film Festival. This festival rocked! Earlier I had written about this festival and I might add it was everything I thought it would be and more!
The tacos were amazing-I don't think I ever ate so fast in my entire life.
The beer and wine selection was also top notch-Porkslap Pale Ale and some Moscato wine were perfect with our Nofff taco's.
Voting on 10 movies was awesome, especially since we knew one of the film makers-even though she didn't win it was still great to catch her up for noimation at this festival.
Add in a game of table tennis, a wall climb, and some more beer-well you've got yourself one hell of a Saturday afternoon.
Hungry? We've got you covered
We've got some serious pro's and con's going on with this restaurant.
Location, location, location! You can't beat the views at this place-right on the water, gorgeious views of the city.
Price-There is definatly something on here for every budget which make's it nice. Prices range from a $4 hot dog to a $26 steak.
CROWDED! Be prepared to feel like your at at festival when arriving. If you don't like dinning with a lot of people go somewhere else. By the end of the night it started to look like a homeless shelter with cans of beer everywhere and groups of people sitting on the steps.
Long wait time-on a weekend night you could wait up to 45minutes for dinner. My advice would be to get there early.
SMELL-It's a tad smelly, especially near the bathrooms.
Now this place is a must visit. This is probably one of the best meals I ate all weekend.
If you love Thai food your in luck-they make some of the best flat rice noodles I've ever tasted. Their chicken is soft and literally melts in your mouth. I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it!
I recommend ordering:
Grilled Chicken Satay
Chicken grilled in skewers served with peanut sauce & cucumber sauce.
Noodle Mao w/Chicken
Broad rice noodles sauteed with chili, sweet soy sauce, basil, tomato, pepper, onion, bean sprouts & lime juice.
I promise you won't be disappointed!
This is apparently New York City's version of In and Out Burger on the west coast.
I couldn't have been more pleased with the food-for burgers and fries it was simply awesome.
It's not the cheapest place on the planet but its one of those things you must try when visiting the city.
Our recommendation when visiting was to order a Shack Burger and Cheese Fries. And boy were they dead on! Lots of gooey cheese filled the burger and the fries, wash it down with a bottle of water and your looking at $11 meal.
Thirsty? We can help you there too
And no we aren't just talking about soda. If you want to try a few bars in the city then take a look at these two bars.
If your looking for a chill place to grab a few beers then this could be it. They have outside seating which is great for those nice summer days.
Grab a beer and relax-no frills-but they do have an extensive food menu which looked amazing.
This is a great place to catch the game. Lots of daily drink specials, especially on Sunday-all day specials! Cheap beers and awesome shots-how can you go wrong?!
Now it is in Time's Square so if you don't mind the crowd its defiantly worth the trip. Say hi to Brittany, a friend, and awesome bartender.
Need to work off all that food?
Head on over to Central Park West. This part of the park was a tad more quiet and full of families and joggers. Take a break and sit down on a bench and try to convince yourself you could move here-hey that's what I did.
Did it work? Could you move to New York City? I'm still on the fence about that one but it sure is fun to visit and catch up with friends. And now that I've had the most amazing Thai food I may just be back sooner rather than later!
You stay classy New York.
Have you ever stayed in a hostel before? Oh you have? Then I guess its just me. A 29 year old hostel virgin is what I was up until last weekend. I wish I could say that my first hostel experience was somewhere exotic like Thailand but alas it was none other than New York City. A city that is 3hours from my home state of Rhode Island. Why would I choose to stay in a hostel only 3hrs from where I lived? Well I'll tell you...
It all started when NaEun Park my buddy from Boston asked me to attend the Nomading Film Festival in New York City on Saturday June 23rd. Now if your loyal fans (which I'm assuming you are) you've already read that post and know all about it. If your just tuning in-go check it out! Anyways so she's like "hey lets go to New York this weekend and did I mention we are gonna stay in a hostel?" Ok so maybe she didn't word it quite like that but I was like HOSTEL???? Have you seen me?!
One of my favorite quotes regarding hostels is "You ain't seen hostel till you put me up in one."
That's pretty much how I was feeling until we arrived.
It's one of those situations that unless you've stayed in one before you have no idea what to expect. Here I was a 29year old "travel blogger" and I had yet to stay in a hostel. Uh oh this smelled like trouble for me...
I was so WRONG!! Hosteling International is like a freakn' hotel! It's super chic (almost W Hotel vibe). You are greeted with crazy cold AC which is a nice, loud club music, super friendly staff, and plenty of HOT travelers to go around. The question now is, why on earth haven't I been staying in hostels before!?!
So let me break Hosteling International down for you:
- Cheap $44/night
- Onsite cafe
- Free WiFi
- At least 3 lounges
- Pool table
- Internet room w/ computers
- HUGE outside area for reading, sunning yourself, etc
- Bathroom's are new and VERY clean
- Huge lockers to store your belongings in
- You could be sleeping in a room with up to 12 people
- You don't get to pick which bunk you get (but I hear if you ask nicely they can switch you)
- You have to pay to use the internet but WiFi is free
- Check in is at 4pm and check out is a 11am (not the most convenient)
We stayed in a room with 12 people and HONESTLY it wasn't really that bad. Thankfully we could sleep in pretty late the next morning which made it manageable. The girls in our room were pretty respectful, you can't really help what time you need to get up in the morning. Other than that it was actually pretty quiet in the building--although I am kind of a sound sleeper.
Here are a few tips we picked up:
- Bring your own lock
- When arriving grab the towels that are on your bed and put them in your locker (someone took mine, thank god I had bought my own)
- Keep your pajama's out on your bed--makes it easier when your stumbling in at midnight
- Headphones or ear plugs are a must if your a light sleeper
So its safe to say that my hostel experience was an excellent one. You can't beat the price for New York City--in fact I just might be more inclined to visit the city more knowing I can stay there. I should also note that staying in a hostel seems like a really great way to meet people, so there's that.
So if your still a hostel virgin and a little nervous, look into staying at one that's sorta close to where you live that way if it sucks you are closer to home!
Relieve Anxiety 3 Ways During Travel, Is there such a thing? Yes, and no I'm not talking about taking Prozac.
I can tell you first hand how difficult it is to travel when you are anxiety prone. All those thoughts about missing your flight, lost luggage, crying babies can be enough to really make you lose sleep over traveling. (especially the crying babies, kidding)
So what can you do to overcome such anxiety? Well I'll share some of my tips that I just recently used for trips over the summer-trust me they work!
If you are the type of person to get very overwhelmed with packing and missalaous things that go along with travel preperations then you want to make sure your giving yourself enough time to prepare.
- Enough time to book flights and hotels
- Enough time to pack and track down any items that need replacing
Try making a check list of everything that you could possibly need; even if it may seem silly at the time of packing, it will help curb anxiety if you decide you need it.
When traveling internationally make sure you've taken into account how long it takes to retrieve luggage, go through customs, and also immigration. You don't want to hear how I ran through Miami International Airport at warp speed. Those are the little things that can push your anxiety through the roof.
Its been said a lot but doing your research before you travel is often a must. I'm not just talking about the place your visiting; you may find it helpful to do some research about the airports you will be landing in and or having layovers in. Does that sound silly? Doing airport research? If it helps you figure out just where you'll be going then I say screw the silly!
It is also helpful to research the area surrounding where you'll be visiting. Finding out helpful tips such as, rental car locations and other hotels could end up saving you quite a bit of headache if such a tip is required.
This may seem a tad cliche to say but when you lack confidence your just setting yourself up for failure. Do you think that when I ventured to Costa Rica to teach a group of middle schoolers ESL and stay with a host family that didn't speak English, that I wasn't a nervous wreck? I believe my exact words when arrriving in San Jose where "what have I gotten myself into".
Anxiety is hard, traveling solo is hard, put them together and you may feel like a walking diseaster. It doesn't have to be. Pulling together just the smallest amount of confidence will take you very far. One of the things that makes me feel comfortable when traveling is having familiar items with me. Maybe its a great play list on your iPod or even a pillow from home. When you surround yourself with familiar items and reassure yourself that "you've got this" you will indeed GET IT.
There should never be anything stopping you from traveling, especially solo travel. It took me quite a few months to get up the courage to visit another country by myself. And before you leave thinking I'm someone without anxiety, think again.
I left my heart in Costa Rica. It's true. I can not tell a lie. As the Summer fades away I can't help but be saddened by how much I miss Costa Rica.
It's been a few months now since I've been home and back to the daily grind but almost everyday I think about Costa Rica and the children whose faces I miss (even when I didn't think I would).
So while I've been having nostalgia for this awesome country I thought I might share with you the things I miss about Costa Rica and the things I don't (I mean really don't).
Bad news first:
I hate to break it to you Costa Rica but I DO NOT MISS all the hills. If you've ever ventured to the city of San Pedro you know what I'm talking about. The hills are just EVERYWHERE.
I also DO NOT MISS no sidewalks. Its like your just walking in the middle of the street. And those streets that do have sidewalks are usually covered in construction.
Here's the big one: I DO NOT MISS not being able to flush toilet paper! This was probably the biggest adjustment I had to make while I was there. Pretty much only the airport allows for toilet paper to be flushed. I know what your all thinking, what about when you have to go "number 2"? Well it gets a tad awkward.
I DO NOT MISS having to check the numbers on the side of the cab to make sure it is a legit cab. True story, you have to make sure that your getting into a "real cab". They feed on tourists.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, lets talk about all the things I MISS about Costa Rica.
...My host family
...The children of the Abraham Project
...All of my new found friends in the Teaching English program
...Teaching my host family words in English (such as yummy)
...Drinking large glasses of orange flavored beer
...$1 Tequilla shots
...My amazing tan
...Finding Tom's brand shoes for $10
...Chasing the dog Bianca around the house
...Having the dog Bianca sneeze in my crotch
...Fresh squeezed juice
...Taking the time to appreciate life
So as you can see my list of things that I miss out weighs the things that I don't miss. Its easy to see why, visiting Costa Rica was hands down the best experience of my life thus far. Venturing out on my own took great guts and I have so much to show for it now.
So while I may have left my heart in Costa Rica, I know that there is always a part of my heart there, how many people can say that?
Receiving my Amazon Kindle as a birthday present a few years ago was one of the best presents. Not only did it excel my book-worming habits but it also made packing for travel a snap. So e-readers are not new but if you don't know own one yet you don't know what you're missing.
After all the extensive travel I did this summer and with my Kindle chock full of amazing books I thought I would share some of my finds that were great to read while on the road. Many of these are available in paperback too.
1. 50 Shades of Grey
by EL James
Yes I'm being incredibly cheesy by listing this but if you haven't gotten on the 50 Shades bandwagon I suggest you do so pronto! Now don't get me wrong the writing is nothing to write home about (pardon the pun) but the story line makes for a very easy read which is perfect for passing time on a trip.
2. The $100 Startup
by Chris Guillebeau
This book was given to me at a festival in New York City. I started it on my way home from that trip and was completely engrossed. It's a really great motivating book that you can relate to many aspects of your life.
3. Chasing Rainbows
by Kathleen Long
This was extremely uplifting to read. I've also heard its great to read when your feeling a tad down in the dumps. I read it and then have recommended it to many other people.
4. Twenty Miles per Cookie: 9000 Miles of Kid-Powered Adventures
by Nancy Sathre-Vogue
Seriously one of the BEST books I've read! If you love travel then read about this family who traveled North America on their bikes!
5. The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
If you've been living under a rock, The Help is still one of the best books I've read in years. It's an amazing story (movie wasn't too bad either) that will seriously melt your heart.
6. Happier Than A Billionaire
by Nadine Hays Pisani
This was the book I read before my trip to Costa Rica. This is about a husband and wife who pack up and move their life to Costa Rica. It's really a great read about moving to another country and also extremely helpful if you plan on visiting Costa Rica.
7. Romantically Challenged
by Beth Orsoff
If you're in the mood for a good chic book that's easy to read and fall in love with the characters then this is the book for you. I felt like it personally described my life.
8. Queen of Babble
by Meg Cabot
I love series and this is the first one in the "babble" series. Another set of great characters that will have you dreaming of backpacking Europe in seconds.
9. The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost
by Rachel Friedman
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Such an amazing memoir that will make you want to leave it all behind.
10. Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is the book that I always go back to. This is the book that made me fall in love with Rome. If you haven't read it or just haven't read it in a while I really suggest giving it another go.
Reading is one of my favorite past times and something that I particularly enjoy when traveling. I love stocking up on some great books for my trips and adventures. A few of these books were actually free on Amazon using the Prime feature. Others were simply less than $10.
I'd love to know what other books people swear by when traveling or are just great comfort reads.
New England cities are all the rage when its time for Fall and all that foliage. Being from New England Fall foliage doesn't excite me too much but I know for a fact that non-New Englander's are simply crazy about visiting this time of year.
There is a city for every type of person here in New England. We've got everything from small cities, large cities, and everything in between. We've also got something for the snow lovers, foliage lovers, and also BEER lovers. There is literally a town for everyone with something awesome to do there.
If your thinking about taking a plane, train, or automobile over to this side of the Earth than here are 5 New England cities worth visiting.
1. Portland, Maine
This has to be one of my favorite cities in New England. If you've never been, think cobblestones, fair trade restaurants, ocean views, and some of the best craft beer. This is one of those cities that will steal your heart and your taste buds. It's a perfect walking city with plenty to do and see. The breweries and brew pubs such as Sebago Brewing and Shipyard brew some of the best beers I've ever tasted. Portland is also a great city that prides itself on fair-trade organically grown foods and beverages. They like to keep it all in the family and really help out local farmers.
2. North Conway, New Hampshire
Want to see some foliage? This is a great place to do so. It's a perfect city year round as well. Spring, Summer, and Fall are perfect for hiking, kayaking, and of course outlet shopping! If Winter is more your speed then check out Loon Mountain that is perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. This city gives a whole lot year round for those that are visiting or live in the area. (I'm not kidding about the outlet shopping!)
3. Burlington, Vermont
Here is another great place for some leaf peeping and it also has quite the Portland vibe. Not only can you visit the Ben and Jerry's Factory that is nearby but there are some great breweries in the vicinity, a favorite of mine being Magic Hat. Here the people are friendly, laid back, and just a little bit "crunchy". It's defiantly worth a visit.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
For those of you new to the planet Earth, Boston is an exceptional city with INFINITE activities to keep you entertained. One of my favorite features of Boston is all the history that is associated with it. You can walk the Freedom Trail and visit Faneuil Hall. If you enjoy eating then the North End is home to some of the best Italian restaurants this side of Providence. Not to mention that this whole city is chock full of bars and restaurants for every appetite and budget. It's a great weekend away city with a lot to offer.
5. Providence, Rhode Island
Not quite as popular in the tourist department but since I'm from here I thought I'd throw it in and brag just a little. Providence is the perfect mix of Boston and Portland in my opinion. You get the city feel without paying out the nose like you would in Boston. You also get a taste of the "crunchy" vibe that is often associated with Portland. Providence is not much of a walking city however but since it is so small, driving and finding places to park isn't too difficult. The food here is also amazing with literally something for everyone. If you do plan a visit, check out Federal Hill for all your Italian needs.
So as you can see there seems to be a city worth visiting in each state of New England. Some people often forget about visiting us since we aren't tropical or have southern California weather; but trust when I say you won't be disappointed. We have something for everyone and before you ask, no I'm not working on commission. Happy travels!
Why is solo travel better than traveling with friends or family?
Well in my opinion there are many pros and cons to each. Many of us who are single tend to do most of our traveling solo. Until recently I wasn't sure how I felt about that but as of late I couldn't be happier than when I'm traveling alone.
If your like me and are on the fence about traveling alone or always trying to dig up a travel buddy, consider these reasons and you may just end up wanting to travel solo.
1. Less Baggage
And no I'm not talking about actual luggage. When I say less baggage I am referring to the amount of hassle that untimely comes with anyone you are traveling with. This could just be the age of the person (kids, elderly), the amount of luggage they bring with them and consequently drag through the airport, and also their personality. When you travel solo the only person's "baggage" you have to worry about is your own.
2. Sitting Alone
Sitting together on a plane always seems like a good idea in theory, it's always nice to have a familiar face, but in all actuality how much talking do you actually do with your traveling partner? In my case it is next to zero. I usually am way to tired to talk or end up putting in head phones to listen to music or catch the movie that's playing. So if sitting alone is your reason for not traveling alone, you might want to reconsider it. I LOVE sitting alone.
3. Less Stress Through Airport Security
I can't tell you how many times the line at airport security has gotten me into a tizzy. It's bad enough when it's just one person going through but if you've got a few people in your party then you can bet your ass your going to be waiting awhile. This also comes in handy when traveling internationally. Just recently I was in a predicament where lines through Customs and Immigration were very long, thank goodness it was just myself traveling or I probably would not have made my connecting flight.
4. No Back Seat Drivers
I can only take another person's opinion on what travel plans should be so many times before I actually start to get annoyed. Traveling solo is the perfect chance for you to do what YOU want to do. There is no one else telling you when to go, where to go, and how to do it. Consequently this is also excellent for solo road trips.
5. Come And Go As You Please
This pretty much goes hand in hand with the previous statement. It's really nice to be on your own schedule as far as your plans go. Traveling with multiple people or even just one can often make making plans seem difficult. While there is always compromise, there is just never enough time on a trip to get to see and do what everyone wants.
6. Having New Adventures/Experiences ALONE
It's good for your soul to try something new and different all by yourself. After my recent trip to Costa Rica, I learned the importance of just that. If you constantly feel scared or nervous to venture out by yourself, your life will not be as fulfilling.
7. Finding What It Takes To Be Your Own Person
Once you've decided to venture out on your own you will really see how far you can push yourself. Whether it is learning a new language or swimming with sharks you will really test your limits. I spent a good part of this Summer finding out who I am and I couldn't be happier. Perhaps you'll find out you don't like traveling alone but at least you can say you did it.
8. Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Push that threshold just a little bit, please? If you knew me 8 months ago you'd never hear me say that. I speak from experience when I tell you how good you will feel after. After embracing a new culture and language (which really pushed my threshold) I've come out of it a new person. The newness of life EXCITES me now!
9. Meeting New People
This is one of the best parts about solo travel. This could also push your threshold if you're a bit shy. It will force you to interact with others (something I'm still working on when traveling). You'll never know who you will meet and what they could potentially offer you in life. Whether its new friends or simply networking with other companies, putting yourself out there is one of the best things you can do.
Who doesn't love a good story? I have more stories from traveling this Summer then I know what to do with. The best part about this is you can put it directly into your website or blog. Not blogging? Well keep a journal of your travels, trust me you'll want to remember the details.
So whether or not solo travel is for you, you have to admit that it does sound pretty amazing. From finding yourself to networking you really can't go wrong. If you're not quite up to solo travel then I encourage you to start small. This can be simply taking a road trip to the next state alone. I would also encourage that if you are traveling with multiple people to take some time apart. Discover the city, town, or state you are visiting on your own. Finding simple ways to get your solo travel in, will not only fulfill you as a person but make you crave it.