This gorgeous, sun-soaked Spanish city is the perfect cozy escape.
What does the perfect holiday abroad look like to you? Does it conjure up images of sun-soaked coastal spots? Maybe it involves getting in touch with your inner art connoisseur, as one can expect with a tour of Barcelona’s famed art museums. Personally, we're partial to cozy locales. And one spot we haven’t been able to stop thinking about is the charming city of Seville, Spain.
Below are a few attractions we highly recommend, especially for first-time travellers, as well as some packing tips to keep in mind.
Sure, it's hard to resist cool travel stuff but these are nine things you really don't need weighing down your bag.
Within my travel-loving soul, there lies a contradiction.
I love packing light. Like, I really, really love it. You know that joke "How do you know if someone travels carryon? They'll tell you!"? It was written about me. I not only love packing light. I equally love being insufferable about it. Oh, you just took one suitcase for your resort vacation? Well I used one backpack for a six week round the world trip and half the space was taken up with camping gear.
Like I said, I'm insufferable.
But I also love, and I mean LOVE, specialty travel gear. The more task and trip specific, the better. I am obsessed with travel supply catalogues and I haven't met a packing cube that I don't love. But the truth of the matter is that much of this stuff is, well, how do I put this? It's garbage. It's poorly constructed mass produced stuff that preys on our fears of being unprepared, the uncertain nature of the open road, and the shame that comes when you don't keep pace with fast fashion. All of this stuff has weighed down my bag at one point or another and I am here to tell you that you don't need it. Any of it.
Going on vacation? This 33-point check list will make sure you get out the door with everything you need (including your sanity). Your to-do list has never been easier!
A long time ago, I saw a funny quip online that said something to the effect of how if you wanted to see someone get six months’ worth of chores done in a day, check them out the day before they leave for vacation and, let me tell ya, I felt seen.
I’m aware that there is absolutely no reason I need to wash the guest room curtains before we leave for a week of camping. I understand that all those platitudes about how “it feels so good to come home to a clean house” come from the cesspool which is productivity culture and patriarchal expectations. Yet I know, deep within my heart, that if anything horrible happened to me when I was on the road and the team from Criminal Minds came to my home to investigate my life to see what kind of person the unsub was targeting, I would die a second, more painful death when they concluded: “Clearly this serial killer was targeting slovenly women who dare to leave their house without tackling the basket of unmatched socks in the laundry room.”
As such, it goes without saying that the day before you leave for vacation is THE DAY in which you need to get every single thing you’ve ever needed, wanted, or considered for your life in order. As if you were going to leave for Florida without alphabetizing your spice drawer. Like you were really going on a summer road trip without finally steam-cleaning those weird spots on your carpet. Sure, that bag of clothing for the donation centre has been rolling around in your trunk for six months but are you really going to ignore it for an extra ten days while you're in Cleveland? I didn't think so.
The day before you leave for vacation should be your life’s busiest, most productive, most incredible list-checking day. It needs to render you so exhausted that anything else feels restorative, even being trapped for ten hours in the middle seat with a screaming toddler kicking your kidneys. See, your front hall closet is organized AND you're grateful for a $6 cup of instant coffee from a machine in Terminal F.
However if for any reason you can’t quite commit to that, here is a list of the most important tasks to get done when there are 24 hours or less to go.
The trick to never getting lost again lies in some very old travel wisdom.
It's not everyday that you get to use a piece of travel advice that's been rolling around the back of your head, well, for a few decades at least. However, on my recent trip to Honolulu, a very old travel tip popped in my head at exactly the right time and I'm glad it did.
The old advice goes something like this: When you check into a new hotel or guesthouse, pop its business card or a box of branded matches in your pocket. (This is how you know it is old advice - what inns have personalized matchbooks these days?) When you inevitably get lost on the winding streets of Barcelona or in the medina of Rabat, you don’t have to rely on your sense of direction or ability to describe a featureless property in a language that isn’t your own. You can just show said address to a taxi driver and you’ll be on your way.
This advice is repeated in Marybeth Bond's book, Gutsy Women (which is still a superb resource for female travellers, even if a few passages are now a bit out of date). In her entry, she also emphasizes that having a hotel business card is invaluable in countries like Thailand or China where you are unlikely to read the language and your English-language notes aren't going to help the local residents when you ask for assistance.
Well, I FINALLY used this advice, albeit in a modern, updated way. Here's the story.
So you want to go to Paris.... May I suggest some travel advice, recommendations, hints, tips, and unbreakable rules from someone with a life-long love affair with the City of Lights?
I've spent one month and half a lifetime in the City of Lights.
The part about one month is very true. From mid-October to mid-November, 2022, I lived in Paris. I found a wee apartment with sloped walls and wooden beams and made the city my home.
The reference to half a lifetime is a bit of hyperbole but, in its own way, equally true. I first visited the French capital in 2001 and I've made at least half a dozen visits in the years since. I'm never not wanting to be there.
I believe you could live in Paris your entire life and not discover all of its secrets. As such, I am far from an expert. On the other hand, I know Paris better than just about any travel destination and I've learned quite a lot in 20+ years of adventures. And that brings me here, in an effort to wrap up my very best Paris travel advice, suggestions, recommendations, tips, and tricks. For everyone who has said that they absolutely have to get my advice before planning their own big trip - here it is. This post is for you. I'll accept macarons in lieu of thanks.
Planning a budget trip to Hawaii? These are our favourite frugal and free things to do in Waikiki for $5 or less.
When Ryan and I took our first international trip together as a married couple, we went to Hawaii. While we had long dreamed of warm weather getaway, we hadn't exactly spent much time planning and saving for the trip. A combination of fortuitous factors meant that we snagged a last minute departure and a great hotel deal at the final hour - but we didn't have a lot of money to splurge on Hawaii's biggest temptations, like submarine rides, helicopter tours, and famous luaus. Instead, we put together a list of extremely frugal and free things to do in Waikiki, our main base. The result was an incredible week in a tropical paradise and a very affordable one as well.
My goal for this list was to limit costs at $5.00 per person or less and to concentrate primarily on the Honolulu neighbourhood of Waikiki but you will find great value at many price points across the state. Whether budget travel is a necessity for you or simply a preference, I think you'll love this affordable take on Hawaiian travel.
I've been obsessed with cozy airport sleeping pods for years. I finally got my chance to try one when I stayed at YOTEL Paris. Here's what I wish I had known in before my trip.
For as long as I can remember, I've had one very specific, very peculiar thing on my travel bucket list: To sleep in airport sleeping pods. I bet you've heard about them before. They're teeny-tiny hotel rooms designed to offer airport based travellers a place to sleep - if only for an hour or two. Some are so tiny they really do resemble a pod, or perhaps a bunk bed-turned-bunker. They're not unlike the berths you find on overnight trains, albeit with solid walls, a door you can lock, and an external ladder that leads you to your perch. Other airport sleeping pods are a bit more generous. They're like micro-rooms, offering ensuite washrooms and a few feet of floor space. In every case, they're adorably, maddeningly tiny and cute and I'm just obsessed with the concept. They're cozy, in every sense of the word.
Maybe it has something to do with all those bargain basement overnight flights I've taken throughout the years which have been me walking around terminals like a little zombie. I've just always wanted to stay in a pod and, on a recent trip to France, I finally got my opportunity. After flying overnight into Paris, I had a suitably long layover before I had to board my plane to Bordeaux. My moment had come!
Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport is home to a branch of YOTEL, a UK based hotel chain that has airport sleeping pods around the world, as well as micro-hotels in cities like New York. After so many years of anticipation, I finally had my moment - and I learned a whole lot during the process. This post is a little bit of a review of the Paris YOTEL, but more generally it's about what I wish I had known before booking any airport accommodations. I hope it helps you have sweet dreams!
Updated in 2022! Who says a day in Paris isn't enough time to see the sights? Whether your Paris layover is 3 hours or more, you can still have an incredible trip to the City of Lights.
Paris, more than any other city, is a destination meant to be savored. This is a haven for the lazy and the lackadasicle, a place where sitting and doing nothing isn't just encouraged but revered as an art form. As such, when I had the opportunity to plan a day in Paris - and just one day - for travelling friends, I was initially stumped. But then I remembered how much readers love my piece on seeing London in just three hours (yes, THREE) and how my last trip to Paris was indeed so short that I actually made notes for a future three hour Paris layover guide - and naturally promptly forgot about them, until someone else was in need.
If you dream of a sleepy Paris sojurn but your reality is a lickity-split layover, I've got you covered. Who says a day in Paris (or even much less) can't be wonderful?
There's an easy way to make your hotel room feel more organized and homey. Here's why your ironing board is a travel hero.
Have you seen the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”? There’s a great scene in which the lovelorn Peter gets some unusual advice. Family members tell him to iron his shirts—even his t-shirts!—in order to feel better. I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say it takes more than sharp creases to turn Peter’s vacation around.
Though their advice didn’t help Peter, it has worked for me—albeit under less dramatic circumstances.
Whenever I’m feeling a bit rundown on the road, I know that some serious laundering and even the occasional ironing session will help put a spring in my step. Since those occasions are few and far between, I usually ignore hotel room ironing boards. However, a recent podcast had me rethinking ironing boards in general—and how handy they can be for travellers.
Here are five great reasons to set up your hotel ironing board on each and every trip, even if you’re not trying to rebound from a broken love affair!
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