While in Botswana, safari camping was at the top of our travel list. But it wasn't without challenges, like how to stay clean.
This picture of me, taken after one day of Botswana safari camping, says it all. I'm wide-eyed and smiling but you can see the worry in my eyes. You can also see plenty of sweaty hair and a cooling, wet handkerchief draped around my neck. And that was my northern Botswana and Chobe safari experience in a nutshell: awe-inspiring, monumental, a bit overwhelming, and really, REALLY sweaty.
In so many ways, I was ill-prepared for the rigors of Botswana wilderness safaris. I had done exhaustive research. I had been camping dozens of times. Heck, I had even lived in southeast Africa before. But the heat, sand, dirt, and sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't that I was unhygienic, per se. I was just out of my element in so many ways and feeling cruddy sure didn't help.
Ryan, I suspect, was absolutely in his element. But I was at the outer limits of my comfort zone. And, trust me, life does NOT begin there, no matter what the philosophers say! This is the blog post about keeping clean on camping safaris I wish I could have read before my trip.
Just outside Perth (Western Australia), we discovered a Fremantle coffee spot that is nearly impossible to find - unless you're in the know.
Want to know my formula for the perfect travel day? It's not first class tickets + champagne = luxury. It's more like tiny spot + jaunty bright colors = coffee heaven. While visiting the Perth (Western Australia) suburb of Fremantle, coffee heaven was in full force. We had the good fortune to visit the tiniest of all tiny cafes, featuring the jauntiest of all jaunty colors (bright orange!) and it was heavenly indeed.
My heart swooped the minute I walked through the door of the Leake St. Cafeteria - and so will yours! But first you have to find it. This is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it stop but read on and you'll see why I think a visit here is one of the best things to do in Fremantle.
Changi Airport's free Singapore tour is famous. But is it more trouble than it's worth? Here's what you need to know before you go.
I love layovers and I love great deals - and everyone knows it! As such, the free Singapore tour out of Changi Airport has been on my radar for a long time. During our first visit to Singapore in 2013, our lengthy overnight layover of nearly 24 hours called for a hotel and some independent time exploring. But during our recent 2018 trip, our layover was closer to 12 hours - just the right amount of time to enjoy the free Singapore tour and explore the city a bit. What could be better?
Turns out, there's a catch to this story. Or rather, there are several. We soon learned the hard way that there are a lot of important rules that are rarely mentioned. If you're planning a layover in Singapore and keen to take in the free Singapore sightseeing tour, here's what you should know before you finalize your plans.
Readers always ask us "Which country has the best food?" and "Where's the best place you've ever eaten?" Here are the most delicious and undeniably amazing meals we've had around the world.
Our meal at Black Tartan was sponsored by Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization and we thank them for their support.
Some links within this blog post are affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase .
Do you remember the time we feasted on desserts across Budapest, including some showstopping plates at a Michelin star'd restaurant? Or that time when we had an incredible meal at a near empty Parisian restaurant after a late night river cruise? We sure do! We love eating our away around the world and our list of good meals, restaurants, and experiences is endlessly long.
But what about GREAT meals and restaurants? No, not just great. How about the absolute best? People ask us all the time about the best meal we've ever had or the best restaurant we've ever visited and we always struggle to answer. I've realized it's not just that food enjoyment is subjective. For us, it's also about having our expectations surpassed, about being overjoyed to discover that a meal we anticipated would be merely satisfactory is actually sensational. Sometimes it's been an order from room service that blew us away so much that we are STILL talking about how perfectly creamy the sauce was. Other times, it's an unassuming country bistro, the last place we expected to find a cheese lover's heaven. In every case, the food isn't just good - it's surprisingly, unexpectedly fantastic.
After much debate, we've finally narrowed down our list of the best meals we've had around the world, using the criteria above. None of those incredible restaurants in Budapest or Paris made the list. They were wonderful - but we expected them to be wonderful. An element of joyous astonishment just wasn't there. We also eliminated any experiences that we enjoyed solo - this list is all about the places that Ryan and I have enjoyed together and have the same reaction to. Looking back on all our delicious destinations has been a fun trip down memory lane, but also a sad one. Should we go back? Would things be just as great a second time round or are our expectations now skewed? It's a good reminder to always savor the moment as much as the food!
I'm so excited to be telling CTV Ottawa Morning Live viewers (and all of you!) about our amazing upcoming Aeroplan round the world points trip.
I'm so proud and excited to have presented travel information (and hopefully a little inspiration too!) with my friends at CTV Ottawa Morning Live. I've had the pleasure to visit them before to talk social media in my role as the owner of Sculpt Social - on my last segment, we chatted about the best designed apps for organization.
This visit however was extra special as I got to talk about the first love of my life - TRAVEL! Specifically, crafty travel that allows regular folks (like you and me) to maximize their frequent flyer miles. In case you didn't get to see the entire segment - or if you loved it so much you want a recap - this mini post is for you!
What's the secret to minimalist packing? Maximizing the space in your bag by using straps and paracord, the stealthy workhorses of the travel world.
Five shirts - never four, never six - some brightly colored packing cubes, a couple of hot chocolate sachets... You probably know my minimalist packing list as well as I do! But there are a few items among my otherwise discerning selection of gear that may just catch you by surprise. One of them is a stick of menthol body glide. It keeps blisters and chaffed skin at bay. Another random addition is the handful of colorful pens I always toss in my purse at the very last minute. After all, you can't have ill-coordinated lists, even when traveling! And the most unexpected item of all? Rope.
Yes, this light packing, anti-adventurist gal carries rope in her backpack. Well, not rope exactly, but, depending on the trip, webbing, straps, and paracord might come along! No, I haven't secretly taken up mountain climbing or hang-gliding or even off the grid camping. Can you imagine? Yet this unusual gear is one of the unsung heroes of my packing success. And with our incredible round-the-world trip looming on the horizon, it is going to be more important than ever before.
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....
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?!?!
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.
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