10 Modes of Transportation I Took On My Trip Around The World

10 Modes of Transportation I Took On My Trip Around The World

#1 A Camel in India

While exploring the Rajasthan region of India, I was most excited when I found out I would be taking a camel ride through the desert. I have wanted to ride a camel in a foreign land my entire life. My camel, whom I named Hump Phrey did not disappoint. I sat on him while he was lying down, and when he stood up it was a terrifying ride to the top. Camels are a lot taller than I imagined while he was on the ground.We trekked through the desert as the sun was beginning to set and he was very interested in kissing the camel next to me.  Our journey ended on a hill where we watched the beautiful desert sunset and then Hump Phrey’s human family invited my group and I in for a delicious Indian dinner.

20160205_170736

Hump Phrey the Camel

#2 A Snowmobile Sled in Norway

In Norway, I had the opportunity to stay in the snow hotel and take a king crab fishing excursion. In order to get to the frozen fjord where the fishing would take place, the group and I suited up and boarded the snow mobile sled. It was a trailer with four bench seats that each sat four people. The snow mobile, with the help of the man driving it, pulled us out into the center of the fjord, and surprisingly it never occurred to me that if the ice were to get one tiny crack in it, we were all doomed. However I don’t think that in -40 degree weather,  in a land in which the sun had not actually risen in 14 days, we were in any danger of this happening.

20160103_143553

On the Frozen Fjord

#3 The Tuk Tuk in India

Every ride I took in Tuk Tuk was a different adventure. We had to stop for cows, though that was the only thing anyone stopped for. Once our Tuk Tuk got stuck stuck in a giant traffic jam in Udaipur. People on the streets, along with dogs and goats, were climbing over the Tuk Tuks just to get through. The Tuk Tuk in front of us had somehow locked up with the one next to it, coming in the opposite direction.The side pieces were connected and there was no good way to rectify the situation. The tiny, narrow, curvy streets only made things worse. I did notice, that no one seemed to get angry. People were laughing, and carrying on as if they had nowhere to be. If this were in New York, someone would have killed another person by the time the traffic was flowing again.

20160205_145829

Tuk Tuk Traffic Jam

#4 The Ten Person Snorkel Boat in Pape’tee, Tahiti

When I showed up for my afternoon snorkel excursion in Tahiti, I was a bit shocked at the, um, conditions of the boat. A tiny aluminum boat, with exactly enough room for ten plus snorkel gear was waiting for me. However, when on an adventure, one must go where the adventure leads. I hoped as I boarded this boat, this particular adventure would not lead to my death. Fortunately it did not. The ten of reached our destination, in some of the bluest water I had ever seen, and the snorkel was on. I saw lovely multi-colored fish and a beautiful coral garden. The boat did exactly what it was supposed to do. It did not sink and it got us safely from point A to point B, so I’d say this mode of transportation was also a success.

20160412_112939

The Dive/ Snorkel Boat

#5 The Cycle Rickshaw in India

If the Tuk Tuk was an adventure, the cycle rickshaw was a feat indeed. Each one seats two on a bench, and the more luxurious ones have a small bench with a “security bar” in the back, facing the oncoming traffic. I rode in cycle rickshaws facing both directions and I am not sure which one was more entertaining/ terrifying. One of the pros is that it is much easier to come to a screeching halt when a cow stops in the middle of the road. One of the cons is that everyone in traffic, including the cows, is moving at much faster pace than you, especially if you have squeezed four people into the ride. Poor rickshaw drivers. They work all the time and some of them even sleep in their tiny rickshaws so they never miss out on a money making opportunity.

IMG_20160212_170206

Cycle Rickshaws

#6 The Radiance of The Seas, Cruise Ship

I had never been on a cruise before. I had no idea what to expect, and I was not disappointed. I had never even been to a resort, so when people compared being on a cruise to being on a floating resort, I had no reference point. This ship had 13 decks, 10 restaurants/ eating areas, 8 bars, shopping for days, a spa, a salon, two pools, a rock climbing wall, a casino, and so many other nooks and crannies. I was overwhelmed at the places to go and the mile long activity list. However, between themed dance parties, bingo and basketball, I managed to make incredible friends. I also managed to make friends with one of the bartenders, which is always good advice, and eat some of the most delicious food. I’m not sure I can afford the Cruise lifestyle very often, but those 18 nights at sea from Sydney to Honolulu, stopping in New Zealand and French Polynesia were certainly incredible.

20160412_100638

The Radiance of the Seas

#7 The Overnight First Class Sleeper Train from Jodhpur to Jaipur in India

If we were in first class, then I would be very interested to see what the lowest class car looked like on this train. That being said, I do love a good jaunt in an new vehicle. There were actually “beds” in the form of bunk beds, but each one had three numbers on it. If you didn’t have the foresight to purchase all three tickets, then you were likely to be cuddling with whomever also had a ticket for your bed. Our group had an entire cubby to ourselves, and two of them had the privilege of getting an entire bed to themselves. I was so amazed at the goings on of the trains in India. People would run across the tracks, climb on the train and board through an open window. People in the stations would stand near the train windows and sell you a variety of items while the train was in the station. Other people would get on with a cardboard box of various food and sell it while walking up and down the corridor of the train. The trains passed through remote villages and vibrant towns. They were over crowded. It is almost impossible to use the bathroom on a moving train while squating over a hole in the ground and looking at the tracks passing beneath you. However, without the details, adventures would be so boring.

20160130_104242

The Train Platform

#8 A Wooden Paddle Boat in Vietnam

I had always wanted to visit the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ride in one of these hand-crafted wooded paddle boats. We floated peacefully down the tiny channel, our boat being controlled by a woman, in one of those iconic Vietnamese hats, rowing us down the river with her oars. I saw people leaving their housing structures, climb down bamboo poles and get into their own boats, heading to work or the market, or I can imagine, any number of places. What an interesting way of life it must be to go to the market every day in your paddle boat?

20160225_112736

Wooden Paddle Boat

 

#9 An Elephant in India

Another mode of transportation I was excited to cross off my bucket list was riding an Elephant. This is another animal I have always wanted to ride in a foreign county. However, I wanted to make sure, as with the camels, that I was riding an elephant who has a good life and is treated like a member of the family that owns it. My tour guide took me to a place that he assured me was humane and the elephants get treated very well. My tour mate and I sat on the elephant in a little cushioned basket. Ernie, the elephant, took us up the hill to the top of Agra Fort. The views were spectacular and the rhythm of the elephant was different from anything, even the camel.

IMG-20160207-WA0061

Riding Along

#10 The Evolution, Cairns’ Number 1 Dive Boat (Australia)

Down Under Cruise and Dive, in Cairns, Australia has one of the best dive boats on the water. I was so impressed with the crew and my initial baby dive, that I signed up to get my Open Water License while on board this amazing boat. It has three levels, bean bags for lounging, air conditioned rooms, a kitchen, underwater cameras you can rent for the day, and state of the art dive and snorkel equipment. I spent three full days on this boat and while actually being a non swimmer trying to get her dive license was extremely challenging, I enjoyed every second of this adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Great Barrier Reef

 

 

 

A Cafe Conversation

This afternoon, in a cafe in Delhi, I had the privilege of enjoying a wonderful conversation with a 62 year old Irish writer. He sat down at my table without any invitation, as if I had been waiting there for him to meet me. We began a conversation as if we had known one another for years; almost as if we were picking up where we had left off previously. As I sipped my coffee, we talked of our travels, of his writing, his homosexuality and the world’s view of such; Ireland and the amazing adventures the world has to offer. We spoke of Greenwich Village in its heyday, as if we had been there together. We mourned the loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and I told him of the celebrities I had served drinks to in NYC. Within less than an hour, he knew about the death of my parents, as well as their entire medical history. He knew of every place I had visited, not only on this adventure, but on all of them. As he told me of the many lovers he had taken around the world, his eyes lit up as his mind danced with their memories and his heart fluttered at the thought of each and every one. I have mentioned travel horcruxes before, and by the joy behind this Irish man’s eyes, he knows about them; all too well. However, after he spent a few moments lost in memory, he informed me that he could never fancy actually being in a monogamous relationship because he genuinely enjoys being alone. “We only get one life that we know of,” he said, “so we might as well enjoy it.” We discussed politics, religion, and science and all of the notions that modern society has forced us to shy away from in conversations; especially with strangers. Yet, he wasn’t really a stranger to me, at least that’s how it seemed. We discussed the Kardashians and how shameful it is when we are here in India, surrounded by so many hard working people who are living in complete poverty, just simply working themselves to the bone in order for survival of the most modest and humble form.
He was intrigued when I told him of the love my parents had for one another, saying that he couldn’t actually grasp loving one person so intently everyday; forever. I told him that he had clearly never met my parents.
Then we spoke of all the places and people and moments with which we had left a tiny sliver of our hearts. I told him that I call them horcruxes and he liked that very much. Between his many years of travel and many countries and my comparatively few, the two of us have many people, places and moments in time that are protecting tiny slivers of our hearts.
We spoke of how easy it once was to travel to so many beautiful places that are now so heavily restricted. He told me that if Bosnia wasn’t on my bucket list already, then it should be added immediately, as he considers it one of the most beautiful places he has seen. He asked me how many horcruxes I had created on this journey and to be honest, there were more than I had taken the time to tally up. In Norway, as I stood under the dancing spirits of the Northern Lights; in Sweden in an apartment in Linköping with two friends I barely knew until I got there and we became family; in Belgium as I was feeding goats, watching amazing sun sets and becoming sisters with a girl while we bonded over TV, cigarettes, and beer while discussing matters of the heart; and now in India. India, I told him, has been very special. I won’t leave just one sliver of my heart with my time in India. There are four wonderful people (now family) from Scotland and an amazing tour guide (also now family) from Mumbai who all are now each protecting a tiny sliver of my heart. Within moments, a piece of my heart just leapt to each of them without my consent, because those slivers knew they would be well taken care of. I have also left slivers on a camel ride through the desert, at a revolving restaurant 25 floors up in Delhi, in Dharavi, on a late night motor bike ride through Mumbai, while dancing at the wedding party of absolute strangers in Udaipur after accidentally stumbling upon their party and in a very tearful Moment at the Taj Mahal, which is the main reason I chose India. It was the only place out of the United States that my mom had wanted to see her entire life.
Eventually, as it came time for my new friend to bid me farewell, he finally told me his name; Charlie. Charlie, the Irish writer from Donegal who leads a very nomadic, adventurous life while writing most of his pieces in Gaelic. We didn’t names in order to have a most interesting conversation. We were friends the moment he picked my table to sit down at. Knowing one another’s names was simply a formality as we departed. We didn’t need the small talk of asking basic questions because we immediately delved into the heart of all matters. Life, death, love and adventure.

The compost pile

My time in Belgium will be over in less that 24 hours. It has been an amazing experience. From the second I arrived at the train station in Namur, I have been welcomed as a member of the family. I have fed goats and chickens. I helped build a rabbit house. I have shared family meals, attended Badminton practice and orchestra rehearsal. I have shared wine, beer, cheese and chocolate. A piece of me is very sad to be heading out of Belgium tomorrow, though I know the three weeks in India I have ahead of me will be a kind of incredible that I don’t have the words for yet.
As this leg of my journey comes to a close, I find myself reflecting. Reflecting on the places I’ve been, the year that will infamously be remembered, and who I am as a person. I’m wondering why certain people choose to heal their hearts in different ways. For me, the call to travel; to experience something new is the way I’ve always healed. The call of the unknown. The desperate need to be somewhere else. Just the sheer excitement of planning an adventure can lower my stress level immensely and also raise my heart rate from numb and almost no pulse to full on excitement and vibrance in a matter of seconds. So I’m curious as to why everyone doesn’t take to the sea when they are weary?
I also had one more task yesterday that I didn’t mention yet. Yesterday the weather was finally nice enough to go outside and actually get our hands dirty. Daniel, my host, and I went out into the garden and pruned away all of the dead bits of earth. We cut branches, stalks, leaves, and every piece of the garden that would become a hindrance to the growth of the new vegetables. We then took every bit of dead earth and dumped it into the compost pile. The magical thing about compost piles is this: a pile of rotting, decaying, discarded pieces of the earth. Orange peels, coffee grounds, onion peel, leaves, dirt, etc. The things in the compost pile rot for a year and then they get returned to the garden. This pile covers the vegetables and protects them and infused them with the nutrients that have been retained in the process. These nutrients allow the new vegetables to become larger, more delicious, and better all because of things that discarded and deemed unuseful. Perhaps it is a giant stretch of the imagination, but I feel that it is time for me to prune my branches. I need to take all of the things that hold me back and put them away. They need to rest in a small corner of my mind until I can take the lessons learned from them and become a better version of myself; more vibrant, more full of life, more determined to continue seeking happiness.

image

image

The compost pile

image

image

image

My week in Linköping, Sweden

My week in Sweden is quickly drawing to a close. When I planned to come to Sweden after Norway, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I asked two friends, whom to be honest I had only met twice, if I could stay with them and they said yes. Sweden has been a very different experience from Norway. It has not been better or worse, simply different. In Norway I was welcomed by nature and beauty. In Sweden I have been welcomed by family. From the second I arrived here, my friends have been nothing but the best hosts. We have bonded and talked, laughed, eaten, danced our faces off, laughed and eaten more. They have taken me to see castles, museums, the old city, the ABBA Museum in Stockholm, fed me and welcomed me into their home as if I already belonged there.
I have eaten some of the most delicious food, most of which was home cooked. We have had Swedish meatballs, something amazing that sounds like Peter pan, moose tips and moose stew, Raggmunk, tacos, pizza, porkchops, red beet salad and so many other wonderful things. I have been welcomed not only into their home, but also into three of their family and friends. We have had coffee while chatting and truly getting to know each other, forever sealing the bonds of friendship.
They have been my tour guides, my chefs, my shopping buddies and have granted me a much different Sweden than I could have experienced otherwise. In Norway, I found inspiration in my solitude. In Sweden I have found joy in my friendships and the welcoming nature of two people I barely knew and now I consider to be true friends.
Tomorrow I head to Belgium for yet another entirely different experience. I will be working on the farm of a family I have only met through email for two weeks. They will house and feed me in exchange for me working for the farm a few hours every day. Here’s to my Swedish friends, to tomorrow, and to many more new experiences.

image

image

image

image

image

image

This year I vow to travel, even if I never leave New York

This year I vow to travel, even if I never leave New York

As anyone reading this may know, I love to travel. Last year I went on an amazing, two-week Ireland adventure. I certainly can’t afford that kind of trip every year, and some years I can’t even afford little tiny trips, but I am still burdened with wanderlust, whether my travel funds are low or not. My Gypsy blood starts boiling and then I just can’t continue until I have a new experience, a conversation with a stranger, a food I’ve never tasted before, or something that for a mere moment transports me to a mindset I’ve never been in before.  Even though my travel funds may be low as I jump head first into 2015, I have thought of a few ways that I might be able to at least create the illusion of travel.

This year I will:

Go to a coffee shop in a neighborhood I don’t ever go.

I live in New York City so an outsider would think that I am always surrounded by the newest, latest, hippest coffee shop. That is probably true considering we are the home of the cro-nut and apparently now something called a “bruffin” or something like that. We have amazing coffee shops here, the problem is that I live here, so I have a routine and standard neighborhoods and coffee shops that are near work and home. I rarely go off my own personal beaten path, so this year I will. I will go to Boerum Hill or Chelsea or some other neighborhood and I will drink its coffee and I will watch its people and I will expand my realm.

Go to a restaurant that I have never been to and will probably never be a “regular” at.

In NYC it is a very esteemed status to have become a “regular” at your bar. A tiny place in this vast mayhem of eateries where everybody really does know your name. You become a regular in bar or restaurant and even the customers who aren’t “regulars” know that your needs are simply more important than theirs. However, eventually I begin to feel uncomfortable with my comfortability. I love my status as a “regular” in “my” bar, but this year I am going to branch out. I am going to wander around and find a restaurant that I have never been in. I will not read a review or the menu before I go inside. I will find a restaurant and I will go in and order something off the menu that I have heard of or tried before.

Go to a town in the Hudson Valley and explore…

The Hudson Valley is full of quaint little towns that are full of history and charm. A few of them, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, and Cold Spring, I have had the pleasure of exploring in-depth. However, there are so many more that I haven’t explored yet. This year, I will pick one and take a day trip on the Metro North and go and explore. I Will have lunch, coffee and maybe even dessert. Perhaps I will find an antique store or a tiny little cove of artisans and buy their crafts. I will talk to a local, learn some of the town’s history and return to my Brooklyn abode refreshed and slightly satisfied.

Go to a no cover music venue in the village and listen to a band or artist I’ve never heard before.
I am fairly set in my music ways. I like what I like and I rarely branch out. This year I will take the plunge and force myself to listen to something new. I may hate it, but it may become my new favorite. Roger Clyne will be hard to top, but hey you never know unless you try.

These are just a few ways that I plan to experience the feeling of travel this year. What about you? Will you leave your comfort zone and have a new experience? I’d love to hear about it.

10 Amazing places I have marveled at

There are many places that I have been and thought wow, this is incredible. Obviously, travelers can find beauty in just about any thing, place, are attraction. This is only a brief list of the amazing places I have stood before, or inside or near and thought to myself “wow, this is incredible.” These places, for me, evoke a type of emotion that you cannot explain unless it is to someone who has had a similar moment in time, that they also cannot describe because any word just doesn’t seem to do a particular place and time justice.

#1 The sunrise at Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii, United States

In Maui, if you wake up around two in the morning and pile in car  that has been stocked with blankets and coats and hats and a thermos of coffee of hot chocolate, you are guaranteed to witness the most beautiful sunrise you may have ever witnessed. At the top of Haleakala, which is just over 10,000 feet above sea level there is an observatory where hundreds of people flock every morning, just to watch the sunrise above Hawaii and even above the clouds. You have to leave this early in order to beat the crowds, because the highest parking lot fills up early and then you can only gain access to the lower observatory. Why the blankets and coats you might ask? Because at two am it might still be 80 degrees down by the ocean, but as soon as you step out of your car at 10,000 plus feet above sea level it can be anywhere from 20 – 30 degrees and at certain times of year there is even snow on the ground. I have seen a few sunrises in my day, but this one definitely tops the charts. The clouds are below you as the sun begins to peak over the horizon and there are not enough words to describe it. Even the pictures do not do it justice.

020 030 041

#2 The line on which the Berlin Wall stood, Berlin, Germany

This is one of those places that is amazing, but in a different way. It doesn’t evoke a warm fuzzy feeling. Instead when I was standing where the Berlin wall had stood, and when I saw the few pieces of it that still exist, I mentally froze for a moment. I obviously  knew at least the US version of the history of this horrific time in Berlin and in the world, but there is no way of actually understanding something, even a tiny bit until you are there. Clearly I will never be able to understand any of the emotions that the people in Berlin feel, but I was at least able to listen and have conversations with people who do live there and who do have very strong emotions regarding this wall and the day it officially came down.

1058

#3 Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom

I love stone circles. I am borderline obsessed with stone circles. When I had the opportunity to stand and marvel at Stonehenge, I could have died happy, but thank goodness I didn’t. I would have missed so much since then. To stand in a spot, that has such a giant history and that no one can really truly explain is another moment that there are no words. All I really wanted to do was run through the center of the stones and hope that maybe somehow I could truly time travel, or that perhaps something even slightly magical might happen. I would have definitely run through the center if it were not roped off just far enough away to allow for the perfect picture, but to also allow the security guards to catch you just before you get to the center. Too bad I didn’t see it at sunset.

327 331 334

#4 The Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

About 45 minutes outside of Prague, there is the most amazing chapel. The Kutna Hora is a small chapel completely decorated with human bones. It sounds extremely macabre, and though it should be, it is actually stunning and beautiful. When the monks were excavating the land to build the chapel, they discovered piles and piles of human bones buried in the ground. They believed that these bones were from the victims of a plague that had swept over the land years before they arrived. So the monks took all of the bones and decorated the inside of the chapel. Some of them they even dipped in silver because the surrounding land around the chapel is rich with silver mines. Besides the skulls and crossbones that decorate the inside of the church, there are also simply piles of bones covering the corners of the building. It could be a bit creepy, but instead it is full of stories. Amazing and wonderful stories.

1515 1516 1524

#5 The Road to Hana Maui, Hawaii, United States

On Maui, there is also another amazing Marvel. The Road to Hana. When you arrive in the town of Hana, you will quickly realize that Hana is a tiny spot and in this case the journey is actually the destination. The road to Hana is a 64.4 mile trip through some of the most amazing scenery I have seen. There are approximately 620 around the winding mountain through the lush and vibrant rain forest. The road is filled with the most beautiful over looks and scenic moments. There are waterfalls and black sand beaches and red sand beaches and streams and pools and bamboo trees and the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. At the end of the highway is the ʻOheʻo Gulch, also known as the seven sacred pools. These are pools that you can swim in and even cliff dive in. There is also a camp ground where of course you can stay the night before waking up in the morning to hike to the Wailua Falls which is tall and massive. There is even a tiny sanctuary that you can drive through and take pictures while holding up too five parrots.

147 178 220

#6 The Sonoran Desert,  Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

When I was 24 I went to Mexico with some friends. I had never seen a desert before. I had never seen a cactus growing in its natural environment. We were driving from Phoenix to Puerto Penasco and I practically begged the man driving to pull over just so I could get a photo of my first time seeing a real honest cactus. I was in complete awe. While we were in Mexico I actually had the opportunity to ride for wheelers with my friends through the Sonoran Desert and I saw the place where the desert meets the ocean. Beauty in one of its finest forms.

092 099

#7 The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France 

It was 1998, I was 14 and I took my first airplane ride on my first trip and it was to London and Paris. Upon arriving in Paris we headed almost immediately to the Eiffel Tower. WOW! If you can’t remember the first moment you saw something that you had heard about your whole life then I feel sorry for you. The Eiffel Tower! There was a count down on the front, counting down the days, hours and minutes to the millennium. I stood under the center and took a picture looking up into the tower. I took the elevator to the top and had a coffee at the tiny café. I bought my grandmother a copper plate with a 3D scene of the tower. I looked out over Paris and I knew at that moment that I was destined to travel. I had felt this before, but not until this moment did I understand how traveling actually changes your life. Then I walked down the 1,710 steps to the bottom before taking a sunset cruise on the Seine River.

#8 The Sacre-Coeur, Paris, France

I walked into this church and was immediately overcome with this emotion. I’m not sure what it was, because I feel it very rarely, but anyone who has felt it will understand. It is this beautiful white chapel on top of a hill with a beautiful green lawn in front and a balcony over looking Paris with an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower. Inside is as close as I have ever felt to the face of God. The chapel was finished in 1914 and was consecrated in 1919 after the end of World War One. This is accessible by walking up a large amount of steps or a funicular car that takes you from the bottom of the hill to the chapel. It is stark white and the grounds are covered with street artists and buskers. I had my portrait painted and I didn’t have enough money to buy it so my sweet friend on the trip with me made up the difference. What an amazing day.

#9 A Sea Turtle, The Pacific Ocean, Off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, United States

This may not seem like anything to be amazed at, but if you think that, then you clearly don’t know me. When I moved to Hawaii for the year I was there, I was literally terrified of the ocean. I couldn’t swim and I had never even been in the ocean above my knees. While I was living there I did things that I honestly didn’t know if I was capable of. I am pretty brave and have at least always considered myself to be, but something about the majestic ocean has always tackled me. While I was living there I finally got brave enough to go into the depths of the ocean (all 25-30 feet of it). While I was down there I saw a sea turtle. I Petted him and honestly forgot about my fear of the ocean and death by shark and death by drowning and I actually enjoyed myself.  Then I realized how far down I was, which to me was like clearly 500 hundred feet and I almost panicked. However, I did it. I went scuba diving, I saw a turtle in the Pacific Ocean while scuba diving and by god, I will never forget it.

#10 The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again. The Cliffs of Moher was an experience that I will never forget and that I truly hope happens again in my life time. To stand on top of something that is naturally so high above sea level with nothing between you and the edge is completely and utterly breath taking. To stand and look out at the vast world around me and to realize for a moment how small I actually and that I am just this tiny molecule trying to see as much of this giant world as I can possibly can. It is these moments in life when we realize that perhaps our paths would be greater if we only took a giant leap of faith. Perhaps if we actually did stop working in a job that we hate, or if we did up and move to that city that has been haunting fro what ever reason, even though we have never been there, or if we just simply did that thing that for some reason we can’t or won’t or are scared to do. This was the Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Moher

 

Six travel tips to help you get more bang for your buck on a tiny budget

#1 Skip the fancy meals

If the place you are visiting is not known for its cuisine and you are not on a “foodie retreat”, skip the fancy meals. Find the local grocery store. Stock up on a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a plastic knife. This, along with the family sized box of granola bars and cheese and crackers you bought at home before you left, will save you money for one more museum entry or one more amazing souvenir photo.

#2 Skip the bottled water.

Going to a new place, even a civilized place, can cause concern regarding drinking the water. If you buy even one bottled water every day on a two week vacation it can remove a minimum of $45 from your vacation budget. In Ireland, $45 dollars got me a bus tour to the Ring of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsula and admission to Blarney Castle. Instead, invest in an individual Brita filtered water bottle. You can pick one up from Amazon for fairly cheap and it will last far longer than the average trip.

#3 Go for the flight (of beer)

I love traveling and trying new beer. There are so many places in the world that have amazing little craft breweries popping up all over the place. You may see all of these beers that you have never heard of before and think “I must try them all. This place has four beers that I will never try again.” Stop. Before you order one beer right after another, and spend roughly $30-$45 trying all the beer that this one place has to offer, ask the bartender if they offer a sampler flight. Most craft breweries usually do whether it is advertised or not and you can try 3-5 of their beers for just over the price of one beer.

#4 Free walking tours

Almost every city, at least in most of Europe, offers a free walking tour. The key is finding it. Most hostels have the brocheurs and phamplets right up front so whether you are staying there or not you can access this information. Sometimes the free walking tours are even hosted by certain hostels, or local college students who are trying to earn a few dollars here and there in tips. There are plenty of amazing, expensive walking tours, but the free ones are gauranteed to have passionate tour guides, the same key stopping points and the tip (which, I mean, it was a free tour. The least you can do is tip your guide) will cost you way less than the paid walking tours plus that tip.

#5 Book Online or at the Official tourist office of the location

Many major points of interest offer discounts for booking tickets online. You can look into your major stopping points before leaving home or at all spots along the way with free WIFI. The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin offers 10% off for booking online and another 10% off if you book an “early bird ticket” online which means you take the tour within the first two hours of opening. Also, the Official Tourist offices offer many discounts that are not in the printed literature and usually if you book more than one, the discount gets even better.

#6 The “True Traveler Discount”

I’m not positive this is a real thing, but I have received it more than once. I find that when I arrive in a new place, the first thing I do is hit up the tourism office. If I am loaded down with my backpack and all my gear, the person working the desk always seems to call the tour I am inquiring about and ask them if they offer the “True Traveler Discount.” Apparently all you have to do is ask. If I leave my things prior to heading to the tourism office, I have never once been offered the “True Traveler Discount.” It may not work every time, but it never hurts to try.