In 2013, we created the most incredible reward trip with Aeroplan, circling the globe with Star Alliance. And in 2018 we're doing it again!
TurnipseedTravel debuted nearly six years ago (and does anyone else remember our very first green and grey template?). Nearly 18 months later, that debut became a fully fledged launch when Ryan and I took our readers along for the journey of a lifetime.
We cashed in all our points for what was technically a trip to Australia but instead embarked on an amazing round-the-world trip fueled entirely by Aeroplan. See, we had learned about all the reward flight loopholes needed to "hack" our travel plans and create a mini round the world trip with Star Alliance partners. With stops in Europe, Asia, North America (and, of course, Australia), we had 9 flight segments on Star Alliance flights (and visited about 15 different locations) and paid about $300 each for taxes and fees. As you can tell from our nostalgic photos, thanks to Aeroplan, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Or so we thought....
Looking for the best hotels in Bagan? We asked top travel writers for their recommendations for the best hotels, guesthouses, inns, and hostels that Bagan has to offer.
Bagan is synonymous with magic. This small community in Myanmar was once the capital of a mighty kingdom. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 pagodas, temples, and monasteries were built. Today, some 2,200 structures remain, the greatest concentration of religious sites in the world. It is an absolutely essential stop for all travelers in Myanmar and you'll never regret adding an extra day or two onto your Bagan itinerary.
Since our visit in 2013, the travel industry has grown exponentially in Bagan, with hostels, hotels, and guesthouses springing up seemingly overnight. Eager for my readers to have the best possible experience in Bagan, I asked my fellow travel writers to weigh in. Here you'll find their reviews of different properties - from $20 to $200 + a night - to help you make the best possible decision based on your travel style. It's time to pack your bags!
This is our airport delay playbook... just in case!
Delays are an inevitable part of the travel experience and, believe it or not, not all delays are bad. After all, they're often caused by safety concerns or are the result of an earlier accident - both circumstances that will make you grateful you're only aggravated, not injured. But an optimistic attitude can only go so far, especially when you're in an airport.
Airport delays are the frustration of all frustrations. Maybe it's the pressure and panic of how a delayed departure will influence the rest of your travel plans. Or perhaps it's being surrounded by the general anxiety and grumpiness of hundreds of other passengers. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that airports and airlines still have a ways to go when it comes to customer service. Or maybe it's a little bit of everything, rolled in with jet lag, bad coffee, and scratchy toilet paper. No matter the cause, a little planning, preparation, and research can go a long way to help with delays.
It's not a hoax or a hack. It's a helpful hint that will change all my future travel plans.
I've said it a hundred times: The great thing about travel is how you're always learning. But today I'm not talking about learning history or geography or languages. Nope, I've been schooled in a whole new way and it changes EVERYTHING!
It all started with my friend Andrea, who blogs at WanderingiPhone. She's an all round lovely gal who appreciates a savvy bargain as much as the next person. Andrea was telling me about an amazing trip she took to South Africa, "hacking" her points to get free layovers and stopovers in Ethiopia, Israel, and Poland along the way (much like we did in 2013 - seriously, we flew around the world for $350.)
And then Andrea told me that Ethiopian Airlines gave her a free night's accommodation at a Hilton in Addis Ababa, plus meal vouchers and ground transportation. Uh, WHAT?!?!
Flying with Turkish Airlines has opened our eyes to a different style of travel.
Lemonade, mint soda, or fruit punch? Step inside the most colorful, coziest, loveliest way we've ever gone from point A to point B! Traveling from Montreal to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines business class was an unforgettable experience and a wonderful lesson in travel elegance. We will never look at travel the same way again!
This trip marked the one and only time we've ever flown in business class (well, okay, there was that time Ryan managed to weasel his way to first class while on route to Las Vegas but that's a sore point). And, just like you'd imagine, it was absolutely divine! But it comes as no surprise that flying in business class is "nice." We wanted to bring you behind the scenes to see just what our experience was like so you can decide for yourself if the upgrade from economy to business is a smart move for you.
Every trip is unique but this one is truly like nothing else we've ever done.
If you've been following along on our social media channels, you'll know we have been stirring the travel pot and have a big trip to Europe in the works. And I mean BIG! This is officially the longest amount of time that we've been on the road together. Five weeks is nothing to sneeze at!
Long time readers might remember that we talked about doing this trip back in the fall of 2015 but for a number of reasons we just had to postpone things. They might also remember that the letter "S" figures prominently - Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland! We swear, this is just a coincidence (...... or is it......?)
As we make our way through an alphabet's worth of countries, we can't wait to have you all along for the ride. Here are five neat things you need to know about our five week trip.
Are hostel showers gross? No! Or, at the very least, usually not. This is what you need to know about showering in hostels.
I dare any traveler to come up with a better spa treatment than what I experienced in Italy. The country's polished marbles had nothing on my skin after a beautiful, yet breezy day at the beach in Finale Ligure. The salt spray, the repetitive layers of sunscreen and blown sand, finished with a hearty dose of sweat from climbing the 300 plus stairs up the hillside to my hostel made for the world's most powerful exfoliate. The hostel showers may have been humble that day but my skin has never felt so good!
I get why the issue of bathrooms and showers is a sensitive one to so many travelers. It's not just about being hygienic. It's also about the ritual of refreshment and relaxation that helps start and conclude a day. It can wash away a horrible day or, like my case in Italy, make a good day even better. And it just feels darn nice.
And that's probably why so many of my readers who want to try staying in hostels or budget accommodations for the first time (or are interested in giving them another shot after a long hiatus) are sheepishly and nervously asking...."Um..... How do I shower in a hostel?"
In honor of Pancake Tuesday, we asked our travel blogging friends to tell us: where are the best pancakes around the world? Don't read on an empty stomach!
In the summer of 2010, we embarked on a 2 week road trip to Eastern Canada. I was determined spend less than $1,000, which meant a lot of camping. I came up with a plan to prep the majority of our food in advance, freezing it Ziploc bags and finalizing the cooking at the campground. Sounds like a great plan, right?
Everyday we had whole wheat caramelized banana pancakes for breakfast. I would take the frozen batter out of the cooler to thaw at night and, in the morning, I simply had to snip the edge of the bag and squeeze the pancake batter into the waiting hot pan. I thought (and still think!) they were delicious but the novelty soon wore off for Ryan who even today will shudder if they're on the menu more than once in a trip. Happily, his hesitation doesn't apply to other pancakes and their culinary brethren around the world!
Pancakes are a hot, hearty meal that's both comforting and familiar and yet curiously exotic no matter where you go. And they're always affordable! I asked my travelling friends to share their favourite pancake spots around the world and they didn't disappoint. Stay tuned for an amazing recipe at the end - and Happy Pancake Day!
Looking for a hotel in Athens? Or maybe you're looking to hostel, Athens style? We've got some great recommendations! And we asked top travel writers to weigh in with their picks too.
Athens is one of the world's great cities and you'll want to make the most of your time here. Finding the right accommodations is a big part of that. You'll want a comfortable, clean, centrally located property where you can enjoy a good rest - and maybe even a great view. And you'll probably want to get a great deal too! Maybe you're searching for one of Athens' affordable hotels. Or perhaps you're keep finding the best hostel Athens has to offer. Either way - we're here to help!
We were thrilled with the property we stayed at, the Athinais Hotel, and would highly recommend it to others. But we wanted to include plenty of options in this post, so no matter your travel style or budget, you can find accommodations that are perfect for you. Thank you to the talented travel writers who weighed in with their opinions! I think you'll enjoy their reviews as much we did.
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