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.
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.
Kangaroos and Koalas? What Could Be Better?
You don't have to be an outdoorsy person to fall in love with baby rescued animals! Even the most nature averse person can't help but melt when confronted with a small and cuddly critter! Our recent visit to Australia provided us with the chance to meet some of the most unusual animals we'd ever seen and we were grateful for the opportunity to see a different side of the country after spending so much time in Sydney.
Snorkeling and Exploring Sydney with EcoTreasures
If you're looking for an amazing day trip from Sydney, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful destination than Manly Beach. We're talking gorgeous blue waters, endless white beaches, and amazing views - plus a great food scene! But I must confess, my first glimpse of Manly Beach was not an encouraging sight.
On the day of my visit, the high winds and rough waters were pretty intimidating. I bet they were heaven for the crowd of seasoned surfers but as someone who was there for a snorkeling experience, I have to say I was feeling pretty nervous. I was concerned about getting in over my head (literally and otherwise) but I put on a brave face and continued on down the path. For I wasn't in the Manly area for an ordinary visit. I was scheduled to meet up with Damien from EcoTreasures for a guided nature walk and snorkel session at nearby Shelly Beach.
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The Perfect PEI Road Trip Travel Plan.
My Favourite Churches in London.
Fighting off Wild Boar (or, why I love my headlamp!).
One Day, Four Ways in Thessaloniki.
Sailing Down Burma's Irrawaddy River.
Maple Memories in Montebello Quebec.
Saving and Splurging in Edmundston, NB.
Lighthouse Tours and More in Thunder Bay.
Oxford, Ontario's Epic Cheese Trail.
Ferry or Flying?