Two trips for the price of one? It's not a scam! It's a layover and it's how we see the world.
Istanbul, New York, Singapore, San Francisco, Stockholm. We've seen all these cities (and more!) for free, thanks to flight layovers. Layovers happen when a plane touches down for less than 24 hours in one city while on route to another and embracing them has become a key part of our value travel philosophy.
Layovers allow us to explore new cities without spending any extra money to get there. In fact, sometimes we even save money! Most travelers avoid long layovers and indirect routes like the plague and thus these undesirable flights are often less expensive. Seeing more and playing less? We'll chose that option every time!
If you're ready to fall in love with layovers like we have, here are some practical considerations for getting the most from the experience.
A week in the Adirondacks taught me some important lessons in sustainable travel.
As a value focused traveler, how do you take your travel experiences to the next level without your spending habits following you there? There's an easy way to get incredible bang for your buck, no matter what your travel style may be, and that is through embracing sustainable travel.
Sustainable travel may conjure up visions of a bohemian nomad sleeping in a solar paneled yurt, chomping down on sprouts and kale. And some days that doesn't sound half bad! But you don't have to dress like a hippy or love the great outdoors to embrace sustainable travel and reap its many rewards. To me, it is simply supporting locations, activities, attractions, and businesses whose philosophies and practices balance ecological, economical, and community needs.
Doing so doesn't cost you any more than non-sustainable travel. In fact, it might save you money! But you won't just be feeling the benefits in your wallet. You'll feel it in your heart as well, as sustainable travel makes marvelous memories. Here's how I made some of mine in the Adirondacks region of New York.
We found a great place to stay just outside Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.
Value travelers will be familiar with this struggle. Sometimes it feels like there aren't many options between the realm of luxury hotels and bare-bones campgrounds, especially if you're searching for a property that comes with a bit of character, as well as great value. But when Ryan and I were exploring one of the 'hottest' spots in Hawaii, we discovered an inn that's decidedly cool. Kilauea Lodge, in the village of Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, is a beautiful property but that's not why we enjoyed it so much. We found some cool things here that you just don't discover every day.
In Ingersoll, Canada, step inside a shop where homemade chocolates meet international teas.
One of the sweetest things about travel - literally - is the chance to discover delicious bakeries and cafes around the world. You don't always have to head to Europe to satisfy that sweet tooth either. Some of my favourite delectable treats and treasures have been unexpectedly found in small towns and Chocolatea is the perfect example of that. Frankly, you'd never expect to find gourmet homemade chocolates in a town as small as Ingersoll, Canada, but Chocolatea isn't one to play by the rules.
By the way, in case you're wondering where, exactly, Ingersoll is, you aren't alone! This small town is in southern Ontario, approximately 30 minutes east of London and 2.5 hours southwest of Toronto. In other words - Ontario roadtrippers have no excuse not to visit!
I love the water and I couldn't wait to try submarine tours in Hawaii. But how would I feel about hanging out on the ocean floor - in a tube? It was time to take a trip with Atlantis Adventures Kona.
Submarine tours in Hawaii have been on our travel bucket list for a long time. There's absolutely no way you can go to Hawaii and not explore the ocean! The water is lovely, the scenery is great - and what lies under the surface is even better! The snorkeling and scuba diving in Hawaii is fantastic. The Big Island is arguably less famous for underwater activities than the other islands but we have always enjoyed ourselves and have several beaches we call our favourites. There's great ocean experiences there - don't let anyone convince you otherwise!
But not everyone is comfortable in the water and fortunately there's a great alternative for those who prefer to keep dry while they explore the ocean depths. We did a submarine tour of the Kona harbour with Atlantis Adventure Kona Tours and we really enjoyed our experience. But what was it like stepping on board a submarine for the first time? And did the tour offer good value compared to other things to do in Kona? Read on to learn more about our adventures (from the anti-adventurist herself!)
Wheat flour, winning food, and Will Ferrell come together...
Have you ever seen the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Will Ferrell? There's a great scene where Ferrell's character, Harold Crick, presents Gyllenhaal's baker character, Ana Pascal, with a huge basket of flours - buckwheat, oat, whole wheat, you name it - as a peace offering. "I brought you some flours" he deadpans.
Of course, as a baker Ana Pascal knows that blossoming flowers are nothing compared to baking flours. The 2006 movie was well ahead of its time, exhaling the virtues of diverse flour and food before words like locavore or farm-to-table had even entered our vocabulary. And the southwestern Ontario county of Chatham-Kent has its very own Harold Crick.
Who's watching you from the trees at Annapolis Royal's Historic Gardens?
Have you ever had that unnerving feeling that someone or something is watching you while you travel? Knowing that a set (or several sets!) of eyes are on you but you just can't tell where they're coming from? That was definitely my experience while visiting the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia - but it wasn't scary at all. In fact, the garden actually wanted it that way!
Here's what's making August a happy month for me.
It's a bee barn!
How cute is this wee wooden barn? Outfitted with drilled wood and bamboo tubes, it's perfect for bees in need of short term accommodations. I absolutely feel in love with it when I saw it!
We found our bee barn at Coyle's Country Store near Tillsonburg, Ontario but crafty readers can likely make their own with scrap wood and bamboo. To give the bees extra encouragement to use it, we placed it low on our fence, at flower level, where the bees are likely to linger. Next up for us: I want to get a Toad Abode, since we had a toad sighting in our garden just last week!
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