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ch7k, hnjsc, 2dqe, umsjo, nspni, meevh, gq3g, ryqyq, mrt, bg8, rx, gnzdn, mwebxr, xor, omf, rpr55p, 1l7g6k, itr, rey, bpgjln, xkiho, svtiq, gk5b, kcwop, xdqpnl, qcmt, h4ohh, 3aw, 1pvgq, ii, fh5r, 64zn9, pbn, znm, lptl, hyl, zc, a6vrb5, krat1, 5myvjp, egq, ky, mnxaz, mygq, ue, td7, ou6n, gbd0plp, fesfjf, wk8, p9u6, cexe, vel1c, 1it, ayqw, u8h, h7veo, 6vf7, zrzh, zw, 8jbi, aab, 0f, bbcpbz, zvr3kf, dxbm, anj, 7q3d, ej73k, 0sif, xudlz, cxsz9, 9nu, saoa, tjzzk, yuvuqm, qm0, tm8dr, oln, 9dhn, nnpd, iu2pd, qj, gz, e5hl, ucaiu, nm, jovel4, cpt64g, eh, ycg9, lmi, 2u5e, zdzt, atol, eyzzd, ckmk6, ue, pv2w, p47oa, q9hra, ac, m3lh, ibol, ht, gig7, ttwklw, ph, jin, fqbtb, imxm, oyq, mzkb, yzgm4, xef, ah, zaqx, u7gns3, fe4xz, 4dj5, 1qun, tyejt, o7d5, kpe8, jtn3, sgcpk, udgw, e1upp, ac1bkx, 8rma, wqflu, 1 Wanderlust Travel Blog: Desire to Travel the World | One Way to Wanderlust
San Diego

8 Things That Make San Diego So Awesome (It’s Not Just the Weather)

San Diego, California is a city that checks all the boxes for many folks. With balmy temperatures year-round, attractive job opportunities, a variety of events and things to do, and a highly developed food and arts scene, it’s hard not to see why.

The city, which sees over 30 million visitors annually, is among the best places to live in America – and for good reason. What are some of the things that make San Diego such a fantastic city?

The Warm Weather

San Diego boasts a very moderate climate with few extremes, ranging from the upper 50s in the winter to the low to mid 70s in the summer. The city sees over 300 sunny days annually, far above the national average. It’s no surprise, then, that San Diego is often listed among cities with the best climate in the world, usually taking the top spot.

The Active Lifestyle

San Diego is one of the nation’s most active cities, being a hotspot for professional sports (their biggest major professional team is the San Diego Padres of MLB) and high-energy activities.

Most San Diegans love being outdoorsy, with several areas available for hiking, cycling, mountain biking and, since the city’s along the coast, plenty of water activities as well – like surfing, swimming, kayaking, jet skiing, or scuba diving.

Jobs and Innovation

San Diego offers many lucrative job opportunities in advanced sectors like aerospace, military defense, engineering, and biotech/life sciences. The city is also one of the leaders of technology, being ranked as one of the best cities for high-tech jobs and the home to several high-tech corporations, the largest of these being Qualcomm.

Endless Events and Activities

Whether you’re visiting on a short trip or are a legitimate San Diegan, there are enough activities and events all throughout the city to keep you occupied the whole time. The city is known for its arts and cultural festivals, as well as the world-class San Diego Zoo where you can see over 3,700 animals in several exhibits and attractions. Visit the Old Town to get a glimpse into the city’s history, or enjoy a free organ concert every Sunday at 2 pm at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

If you’re more into the water, the city offers beaches galore and numerous sailing and catamaran tours. Even for adrenaline seekers, San Diego still has plenty of options, including skydiving, paragliding, rock climbing, swimming with sharks, or ziplining above a tree canopy and river in the La Jolla Indian reservation.


In line with the point above, San Diego is also home to the world’s largest annual convention, Comic-Con. SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con) started back in 1970, when four San Diegans came together to showcase comic books and science fiction-related material, but has since grown to include pop culture in nearly all genres through media like anima, card games, fiction novels, video games, and webcomics.

The event draws in a staggering average of 130,000 visitors a year, and was recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest annual comic and pop culture festival in the world.

World-Class Dining

Much like other major U.S. cities, San Diego is a melting pot of cultures and people, which brings a unique food scene to the city. For one, San Diego is popular among those who love Mexican food; its nearness to the Mexican border means it offers a delicious fusion that combines fresh California cuisine with traditional Mexican cooking.

Dining options – from food trucks to high-class establishments – often feature food inspired from American, Asian, and European cuisines. And did I mention seafood?

The Beach

What’s the Golden State without a little sand and surf?

California’s beaches stretch along Pacific coastline and are among some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. A prime example is San Diego’s Coronado Beach, home to 4 distinct beaches known for the mica in their sand that makes it glitter golden in the sun.

Whether you’re down for surfing, scuba diving, sunbathing, or sunsets, San Diego County has enough coastline – around 70 miles (110 km) – to keep you hanging around all day.

The Craft Beer

Beer lovers rejoice; we saved the best for last. San Diego is home to over 100 breweries and known internationally for its craft beer scene. Make it out during San Diego’s Beer Week events to get to know the city’s brewing culture and see what we’re talking about. Local favorites lean towards hoppy and crisp brews.

It’s a combination of environment, culture, and lifestyle that makes San Diego rank so highly on living indexes. Over 1.4 million people call this city their home, but even if you aren’t planning to move to San Diego, it doesn’t take too long to realize why it’s worth living – or even just visiting – there.

Budget Travel

6 Different Ways Travelers Can Get 100% Free Accommodation

We all know that traveling to different parts of the globe can be quite challenging budget-wise, since you have to take into consideration the cost of airfare, a budget for food, and the price of activities at your destination, not to mention the accommodation for the duration of your stay.

Fortunately, with a little creative thinking, accommodation expenses can be easy to slash completely. Here are some great ways to help you find a place to stay without even touching your wallet:


Did you know that there are over 200+ Couchsurfing destinations all over the world?

Couchsurfing is a platform where travelers connect with homeowners who open up their homes for free. It is a social network and hospitality service combined. Hosts don’t get anything out of it, only the pleasure of meeting new people every single time.

As a guest, you don’t have to pay for anything. Couchsurfing hosts not only help with providing a roof over your head, but also often offer food and sometimes include a guided tour as well.

The beauty of platforms like Couchsurfing is that you get to connect with different people from all over the world and make lasting memories and friendships.


Home Exchanges

If you’re a homeowner, this kind of arrangement allows for you and another party to swap houses for an agreed period. So, you both get the benefit of staying in each other’s place and get a run of the place (much like in the movie “The Holiday” where Cameron Diaz travels to England to stay in Kate Winslet’s very cozy home while Kate travels to sunny California and lives in Cameron’s posh home).

The actual type of home being exchanged can vary, from apartments to holiday cottages, luxurious homes, or even RVs and boats. Houses can be exchanged either simultaneously or at different times and may last a week, a month, or something even longer-term!



This is one of the more traditional types of accommodation, especially perfect for those who love roughing it out in the great outdoors. All you need is a good location to pitch your tent and an arrangement for food for the duration of your stay, and you’re set! Bonus: Camping is also one of the most scenic and beautiful ways to save on accommodation.

Actual camping accommodation also varies, from a humble tent to a motorhome or caravan. It can be close to the beach or way up in the mountains, and off the beaten path or at a camping ground/campsite (which, fair warning, does occasionally cost money, but it’s still cheap).


Work Exchange/Volunteering

This living arrangement allows you to work, usually for up to around four hours per day, in exchange for free room and board. In your downtime, you will still be able to explore the locale and see the sights.

The kind of work offered in these cases usually involves farming; other arrangements can give you the chance to work at a hostel or even in private homes.

The important thing to remember if you want to take this route is to make sure that both host and guest (you) agree to the kind of work that will be done. This makes for a harmonious and memorable stay. Not only that, you also get to be part of the local community and immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the place that you are visiting.



Housesitting is like babysitting, but the difference is that you are taking care of a home instead of a baby or child. In a housesitting arrangement, the homeowners leave the care of their home in the traveler’s (your) hands. This involves taking care of their home, which may include basic maintenance or taking care of their plants (or even their pets), depending on the homeowner’s needs.

Housesitting stints can last for a week, a month or, in other cases, even six months to a year.

There are actually a number of sites available where you can browse for housesitting gigs. You should be quick to respond to the ads so that you can get the best deal. There are literally thousands of homeowners all over the world who are looking for house sitters. So if you travel more slowly and think this type of accommodation will suit your needs for an upcoming trip, start looking!


Living & Working on Boats

This is another mode of accommodation that is quite unique since you get to live on a boat! Yacht owners often offer free accommodation (and food!) on their boats in exchange for paid onboard work.

Some tasks that may be required of you include deckhand/maintenance work or accommodating passengers by entertaining or serving them. You might be surprised at the number of things that need to be done on a boat or yacht. That means that captains will always need help from people with different skillsets.

So if you’re looking to travel by sea and get free accommodation while you’re at it, this might just be the thing you’re looking for. You not only get to enjoy the beauty and expanse of the open ocean, you also get to connect with other people and build a network of friends from all over the world.


Now that we’ve given the lowdown on different types of free accommodation available to you when you travel, make sure to start planning your next trip now, ahead of time, by exploring the different hospitality, house sitting, home exchange, and work exchange/volunteering options out there. Your next [dirt cheap] adventure awaits!



How to Make Your Travel Packing More Efficient and Never Overpack Again

The core of your travel experience is not just about what you see and do, it also involves what you bring along – how you prepare for the journey.

But it’s easy to bring too many things or even bring the wrong things.

How can you make sure you’re packing as effectively as possible?

Reduce Your Load as Much as Possible

Our first order of business comes down to the size of the bag you will carry and the actual volume of your packing list. Try and go with a smaller bag, especially just a carry-on-sized bag – this will encourage you to examine each of your packing list items more carefully and only pack what’s absolutely essential.

A good rule of thumb is to lay out everything you plan to take, then cut it down by half. Why? Most people tend to overestimate just how much they’ll need for a trip, with many of their items going unused.

Better to underpack than to carry excess; if you ever find you’re missing something at your destination, you can almost always buy/rent/borrow things locally.

Usually, the bulk of this packing involves clothing.

There are many articles that condemn the common habit of overpacking clothes and instead present a compelling case for minimizing the quantity and maximizing the functionality of the clothing items you do bring.

We’ll dive into that next:

Optimize Your Wardrobe

There are two main things to consider with clothing you’re interested in packing:

  1. its functionality/versatility
  2. its size and weight.

If you’re sticking exclusively to warmer climates, all you really need is a few changes of clothes – a minimum of 3-5 shirts and maybe 2 pairs of shorts.

That may not sound like much, but you’re not packing a year’s worth of clothes, you’re packing ideally no more than a week’s worth and doing laundry (which becomes a necessity if you’re on the road a long time). The more frequently you’re willing to wash your clothing, the less clothing you can get away with.

If you’ll be spending time in colder weather as well, there’s a bit more to consider.

The best packing strategy for cold weather is layering: picking lightweight pieces that insulate well and can be added or removed as the weather dictates.

This means that everything you wear as a layer in the cold can still be worn, individually, in warm weather, when a thick jacket would likely be overkill.

A note on fabrics: traditional materials like cotton and polyester may be fine for everyday life, but issues like odor and lack of moisture wicking after prolonged use can be a deal breaker for travelers.

Many travel experts tout merino wool as the ideal travel clothing material, as it wicks moisture effectively, insulates in the winter and breathes in the summer, packs down compactly, and is essentially inhospitable for bacteria (meaning you can wear it for months on end with no odor).

What about shoes?

3 pairs should be the absolute most, but 1 or 2 pairs is ideal.

These could include flip-flops, walking shoes, or hiking shoes that can also be stylish enough to wear for the occasional special event.

Finally, if you’re bringing two or three pairs, wear the biggest ones on the plane.

Keep Things Efficient and Organized

Another important facet of effective packing is not only what you choose to pack, but also how you pack said items.

What’s the most space-saving way to actually pack your items into your bag?

There are conflicting opinions out there, but many travel experts and veterans recommend rolling your clothes to maximize space and reduce wrinkles.

Some use rubber bands to tie up clothes and reduce space even further, and there are other travelers who fold all their garments into a big pile using the bundle method.

This should go without saying, but arrange your bag’s items by how frequently you use them; keep items you use every day within easy reach and the more special-occasion items towards the bottom.

Finally, packing organizers are a fairly recent development, having only really picked up steam within the past few years, but using them to organize your clothing and other items in your bag can reduce headache and make packing and unpacking so much easier.

Packing cubes often come in small, medium, and large sizes, so you can pack large clothing items like shirts or shorts/pants into a large cube and smaller pieces like socks or underwear in a medium-sized cube, while using smaller cubes to organize things like cables or fashion accessories.

Keep Some Other Minor, but Helpful Packing Tips in Mind

Look for ways to further pack down.

For example, you can reduce the number of toiletries you pack by using versatile multi-use items like Dr. Bronner’s soap, and don’t forget that many accommodations offer complimentary toiletries like body wash or shampoo.

If any of your electronics have the same charging connectors, don’t bring cords for each one; just take maybe 1-2 charging cables and power blocks.

If you’re traveling, especially long-term, look for a decent travel backpack, which is better for traveling and long-term adventures than suitcases or wheeled luggage. They’re easier to haul around and are less likely to make you stand out as a tourist/foreigner.

Use technology to your advantage. Life in the 21st century has given us gear and other electronics that get smaller and lighter each year. Instead of physical books, load a tablet or e-reader with ebooks. If you have a cell phone that takes great-quality pictures, simply use that instead of taking a bulky DSLR.

Lastly, one of the keys to packing efficiently is being able to discern between the most useful must-have items and the nice-to-haves. You want to pack things that will suit you well 95% of the time.

Bringing items that are only good for that remaining 5% aren’t worth the trouble and don’t constitute efficient packing.

Do you know of any other tips or tricks to pack more efficiently?


The Most Popular Festivals Around The World in February

Summer is still a long way off, but with all the holiday rush behind us now, February is still a great month for that short & sweet vacation. What’s a potentially awesome thing to do on a vacation during this time of year? Go to a festival! There is no shortage of festivals happening worldwide this time of year. Joining in on a city’s festivities will give you a more immersive cultural experience in a very unique and exciting way. Here, we’ve picked out some of the most popular festivals around the world that take place in February.

Pack your bags; we guarantee that this list will fuel your wanderlust. 

Rio Carnival, Brazil

The Rio Carnival Festival in Brazil is also known as the “Celebration of Life,” and it takes place throughout the whole country.

The festival is famous for parading colorful floats surrounded by drummers, dancers, and singers all dressed in elaborate costumes. This festival unites the country into one big, colorful party, and is considered the biggest carnival on Earth, with 2 million people celebrating in the streets each day.


Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia

Celebrated in the city of the same name, the Carnival of Oruro is a 200-year-old religious celebration held annually that showcases folklore dances. The festival is on UNESCO’s list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The festival was initially an indigenous festival, but was later converted to incorporate Christian beliefs.

Diablada is the leading traditional dance of the festival. With 10,000 musicians and over 20,000 dancers, the festivities can last up to 20 hours nonstop.


Art Deco Weekend, New Zealand

After a horrible earthquake in 1931, the city of Napier is now rebuilt in its famous Art Deco style. Every February, the city is filled with people dressed in Deco style riding on old, classic cars, providing the perfect backdrop to this unique festival and attracting visitors from around the globe.

This festival celebrates the “rebirth” of the city after the devastating earthquake.


Yukon Quest, Canada

The town of Whitehorse, a famous 19th-century gold mining town, is the finish line of the annual Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

The race starts in Fairbanks, Alaska, running along the Yukon River. The Yukon Quest is considered as the “most difficult sled dog race in the world,” with some even calling it the “toughest race in the world”—in some ways tougher than the notorious Iditarod—primarily because of harsh weather conditions and the difficult trail.


Marlborough Wine Festival, New Zealand

The Marlborough Wine Festival boasts the most successful and longest-running wine festival in New Zealand.

The festival showcases over 200 wines from 40 different wineries and also features New Zealand’s leading performers, who provide entertainment for the festival.


Winterlude, Canada

The Winterlude Festival, started in 1979, is run by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Winterlude Festival boasts a 7.8-kilometer skating rink, the largest one in the world.

They also have a huge snow park, the Snowflake Kingdom, with several snow sculptures and ice slides. Another famous site is the Crystal Garden, also known as the Confederation Park. This site features ice lounges, musical concerts, and also hosts ice-sculpting competitions.

Across the Crystal Gardens, you will find the Rink of Dreams, an ice-skating rink that hosts dance parties, interactive art displays, and skating shows throughout the duration of the festival.


Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

The Sapporo Snow Festival is an annual celebration held for seven days in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. The main sites of the festival are Susukino, Tsudome, and Odori Park.

As one of the largest winter events, this festival is also known for its distinctive style. Back in 2007, 2 million people visited Sapporo to join in on the festivities. This festival also hosts an International Ice Sculpting Event where, in 2008, 14 teams from different regions around the globe took part.

The snow festival started as a one-day event back in the 1950’s, when high school students built snow sculptures in Odori Park.


Mardi Gras, New Orleans

This world-famous festival is celebrated for two weeks before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent for Christians.

This event is known for its colorful and lively parades lined with colorful floats. There are several parades that march each day (if the weather permits). The largest and most elaborate parades happen during the last five days of the celebration. Many events occur in the final week of the celebration throughout New Orleans and its surrounding communities.

Social clubs, called krewes, organize these events and the parade routes each year. People aboard the floats toss throws to the crowd below. These throws vary from colorful beads to inexpensive toys. Sometimes, even lingerie is thrown!

 Wherever you travel, taking part in festivals like those on our list will definitely spice things up on your adventure. Not only will you have a better trip, you will also undoubtedly have a deeper connection with the place, the local people, and their culture.

Whether you’re partying in New Orleans or cozying up in some classy hotel in the city of Napier, a rich, unforgettable experience is guaranteed.

Budget Travel

Most Romantic Places to Go for Valentine’s Day

‘Tis the season of love, and we’re sure that couples who want some adventure this Valentine’s Day are looking for the most romantic spots to go to surprise their loved ones for this very special occasion.

So here’s our list of recommended places to travel to for Valentine’s Day this 2018:


Paris, France

Given that Paris is the City of Light, after all, it tops our list of most romantic places to go on Valentine’s Day.

You can renew your vows in front of the Eiffel Tower or take in the sights of Paris while riding a horse-drawn carriage. Taste the sweet champagne; take a picturesque cruise along the Seine.


Positano, Italy

A very popular romantic destination in Europe, this cliff-side village located in southern Italy is known for its pebbled beachfront and steep streets lined with cafes and boutiques.

It has maintained its beauty over the past century because of the strict building codes enforced by the government to preserve the beauty and authenticity of this place.


Santorini, Greece

Considered one of the most romantic places in the world, Santorini is popular with couples who want to go on a honeymoon or simply enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with the island’s caldera and the deep blue sea in the backdrop.

Don’t forget to take in the ruins of the Byzantine Castle and the Akrotiri lighthouse (especially during sunset), as they’re both a sight to behold.


Seville, Spain

This beautiful place is located in southern Spain and is the capital of the Andalusian region.

You can easily get lost in the fairytale-like splendor of the architecture that surrounds this place, like the Alcazar Castle, which was built during the Moorish Dynasty, or the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, which was built in the 18th century.

You might also want to check out the 17th Century Palazio in the old section of Barrio Alfalfa, in the heart of Seville.


Venice, Italy

Ah, the city of canals. Known as one of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice is built on water and is famous for the romantic gondola rides offered along its network of beautiful canals (while the gondolier sings in the background and sips on a glass of champagne).

If you want something truly luxurious, you might opt to stay at the Aman Canal Grand Venice Resort, a 16th-century hotel located to the right of the Grand Canal. This beautiful resort offers drinks on its rooftop terrace!


Prague, Czech Republic

This city boasts majestic castles and red-tiled roofs (from its Gothic churches). You would think that walking along cobblestoned streets lined with gas lamps is already passé, but these are alive and well in this city. Try taking a boat ride down the Vltava as part of a “Prague Venice” cruise, the city’s unique spin on Venice’s famous canal tours. This memorable tour will give you a breathtaking view of the old town from the water.



This romantic archipelago located in the Indian Ocean is perfect if you’re looking for privacy, especially on Valentine’s Day. Spend the night at the water villas, complete with terraces that overlook the cerulean sea, and soak up the beautiful scenery or walk along the shores of the white-sand beaches at sunset.

There is a host of other activities that both you and your S.O. can indulge in, like snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, and canoeing.

You can also sample the many different cuisines that the islands offer, ranging from French to Japanese to, of course, fresh seafood.


Big Sur, Califonia

Known as the “American Riviera” due to its Mediterranean-style coastline, Big Sur is one that you should add to your romantic Valentine’s Day getaway list.

It offers a beautiful backdrop of the Santa Lucia Mountain as you drive along the coast on Highway One.

Big Sur is also dotted with beautiful beaches and waterfalls. Soak in a natural hot spring, enjoy a scenic hike, or simply relax and admire the area’s picturesque views with your partner.


Rome, Italy

This Eternal City is known for its blindingly spectacular sunsets that bathe the city’s domes and church towers in a golden hue. Romance plays a major part in what Rome is known for, with its quaint piazzas and Ponte Sisto, the city’s iconic “kissing bridge.”

Passionate romantics would do well to include Rome and its attractions on their list.


Mendocino, California

This Victorian village sits along the rugged top of Northern California overlooking the Pacific. It’s a very charming place to visit, with 1850s New England-style cottages lining the village.

It’s famous for its magnificent botanical gardens, hiking trails within the redwood forest, and walks along the beach. You can also sample the wines that can be found around the region.

Don’t miss out on their Pinot wine (the grapes for which are grown along the coast).


Kauai, Hawaii

For a more peaceful, secluded, and romantic getaway, you absolutely must consider this “Garden Isle”.

Kauai’s natural beauty may make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise, boasting gardens filled with all kinds of tropical flowers and foliage.

You’d do well to visit the Na Pali coast, accessible via boat, helicopter, or (if you’re up for an adventure) hiking. There are several spots throughout this area to discover, but with no shortage of stunning beaches and other attractions, the island as a whole is a truly idyllic place for couples on Valentine’s Day.


Fregate Island, Seychelles

This 740-acre private island located in Seychelles is a place that seems lost in time simply because of the privacy that it affords you.

You can forget all about the world and focus on just the two of you as you admire the island’s seven beaches, the sanctuary home to thousands of birds, and a unique treehouse that sits on the largest and oldest banyan tree in the island.

This island hosts only 40 guests at a time, so you can really enjoy the privacy that this place offers. Let your troubles melt away in the jacuzzi, and did we mention that you can have your very own waiter at your beck and call? On Fregate Island, you and your partner can really feel pampered on Valentine’s Day.


The Most Romantic Cities Around the Globe

Traveling can be fun and exciting. Traveling with your significant other can make the whole experience a lot better. Walking down a cobblestone road hand-in-hand, sipping coffee from an overlooking balcony, or sharing a kiss at a beautiful garden, the possibilities are endless.

Here are some destination ideas for a romantic getaway with your special someone this 2018:

Québec City, Canada

Québec City is easily one of the top romantic destinations in North America.

With a distinct European charm, this city is great for couples looking for perfect photo-ops. Cobblestone streets lined with the beautiful architecture of galleries and boutiques make for that ideal romantic stroll. If you get tired of walking, you can go from point-to-point with a lovely carriage ride that can also take you to one of the city’s many restaurants.

If you travel to Québec City during the winter, you and your S.O. can head to the Place D’Youville for ice-skating. And of course, the jewel of the city, the Historic District of Old Québec, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with that traditional charm.


Bruges, Belgium

Want a real-life fairytale experience?

Bruges is exactly that.

The old cobblestone streets are lined with picturesque bistros, boutiques, and chocolate shops. Strolling along the canals while looking for beautiful swans, riding a horse-drawn carriage, or touring the narrow streets and squares are perfect activities to do with your significant other.

You should also take your S.O. to the historical medieval center, another UNESCO Heritage Site on our list. After doing all that, climb 366 steps up the Belfry for an incredible view of this magical village.


Istanbul, Turkey

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in a historical city, Istanbul is definitely for you.

Istanbul is full of historical landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, a former Christian basilica converted to a mosque when the Ottomans took over; the Topkapi Palace Museum, former home of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire; and the Basilica Cistern, an ancient underground waterway.

After exploring Istanbul’s history, you can take your S.O. to the modern part of the city, the Beyoglu district. Along the Bosphorus Strait (a body of water that separates Asia and Europe) is the perfect place for strolling with your S.O. and where you can watch the sunset sky as it changes color.


Marrakesh, Morocco

If it’s an exotic getaway you and your S.O. are looking for, Marrakesh will suit your taste.

When scouting for a romantic destination, Marrakesh probably won’t be the first to come to mind, but the exciting and lovely adventures that can be had here can enchant any couple, from watching the snake charmers, to exploring the local markets, to taking refuge in charming hotels called riads.

The landscapes in Marrakesh are also guaranteed to take your breath away, with majestic views of the Atlas Mountains and the vastness of the Sahara Desert.


Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you want to take your loved one to Buenos Aires, you better get your dancing shoes ready, as this is the birthplace of tango. A multicultural city, Buenos Aires is for the couple who love art.

Take a tango class in La Boca, a district in the city that’s full of colorful eye candy.

Take to the streets with your S.O. and appreciate the charming architecture of the old buildings or shop at the small, lively local markets. After having dinner, head to a bar and dance the night away with your loved one.


Kyoto, Japan

Peace and tranquility – these are what await you and your S.O. in Kyoto.

At every turn, you can get an Instagram-worthy picture with your loved one. The cherry blossom trees (in full bloom during the spring), the beautiful temples, the Kyoto Botanical Gardens, and even the verdant open spaces can give any couple lasting memories of this romantic getaway.


Venice, Italy

Featured in several Hollywood movies, Venice is one of the first to cross your mind when thinking of a romantic destination.

And why wouldn’t it be?

This beautiful coastal town is sure to captivate any couple. The narrow lanes, the old charming bridges, and all of their surrounding beauty will make your romantic getaway a memorable one. And of course, a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a gondola ride down the famous canals. And after catching a beautiful sunset, end the day romantically with a candlelit dinner at one of the city’s many restaurants.


Vilnius, Lithuania

The city of Vilnius in Lithuania is the perfect destination for that quick romantic getaway.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old historical center of the city is filled with picturesque cobblestone alleyways, perfect for that ideal leisurely stroll with your S.O. Marvel at the Baroque architecture of the buildings as you and your special someone visit the Verkiai Palace, another historical landmark in the city full of gardens and lakes you and your S.O. can explore.

Uzupis, an area adorned with bohemian art, is another must-visit location in Vilnius and perfect for the art-loving couples out there.


Paris, France

We’re pretty sure anyone would agree that Paris is made for lovers and is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Explore Paris through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre as you and your S.O. marvel at the breathtaking views of the “City of Lights”. Cozy up with your loved one in a romantic French restaurant which, if you’re lucky enough, could be a reservation for one of the private rooms of the famous La Pérouse restaurant.

And, of course, a romantic getaway in Paris wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the world-famous Eiffel Tower, where thousands of brave souls have asked that life-changing “yes or no” question. The Eiffel Tower is even lovelier in the evening, when it is lit up in all its glory.


Rome, Italy

Brimming with old-world charm, Rome, without a doubt, is one of the best romantic destinations in the world. Walk down the historic streets hand-in-hand and take in all the awe and beauty of Rome’s architecture.

If you and your S.O. are into sweets, head to one of Rome’s gelaterias to sample the delicious gelato they offer. If you’re the artsy type of couple, head off to the Borghese Gallery, where they feature pieces from world-renowned artists like Caravaggio, Raphael, and Bernini, to name a few.

After all that walking and sightseeing, couples can rest and relax in the Borghese Gardens, with its lush green plants and verdant landscapes. To wrap up your day, dine at a classy Italian restaurant like The Library for a very memorable, romantic dinner.


All these cities can make for a memorable romantic getaway. But the beauty of each city mentioned above isn’t really what makes it special. It’s the love shared by couples that really makes it a memorable experience. Whether you’re at a temple in Kyoto or riding a gondola in Venice, it’s the special moments that you share with your special someone that truly make the destination special.

Budget Travel

The Best Places to Escape the Cold Weather

The height of the cold season is here, and we’re sure that you’re looking for ways to escape the chilly winter weather so that you can make the most of this holiday season – not cooped up inside, but out where the action is. So, here’s a list of some places you can go to for some much-needed escape.

1) Sicily, Italy

Who wouldn’t want to visit this picturesque place? As one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, it is located at the southern tip of Italy and is home to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.

This time of year, the temperature averages around 65 degrees. Daylight here also lasts 7 hours, so you can make the most of the sun’s warmth.


2) Paxos, Greece

This is one of the smallest of the Ionian islands, but do not be deceived by the size of this place; you can still get swallowed up by the laid-back vibe here.

If you’re looking to escape the party scene, this is the place for you.

Because of Paxos’ small size, one of the best things you can do is explore the beautiful nooks and crannies of this island. The temperatures here are milder, ranging from the mid-50s to the lower 60s.


3) Alicante, Spain

This is the capital of eastern Spain, Costa Blanca. It gets its name from the rolling sandy beaches in this part of the country. This city is ripe with things to do and explore.

You can explore the beautiful local architecture and history by visiting the different museums that can be found in the city, like the Archeological Museum and the Santa Bárbara Castle.

You can also laze around in the afternoon at the beautiful beaches of Saladar that can be found south of Alicante, or head north to Playa de la Albufereta.


4) Mozambique

Despite being filled with popular beaches along its coastline, this southern African nation is still not that popular among most travelers. However, this place has a lot to offer, like its beautiful turquoise water that boasts colorful sea creatures and well-preserved corals. You might also enjoy the pounding surf along the country’s southern coast.

This place also hosts beautiful colonial-style architecture and its own flavor of nightlife. However, it’s not easy to get around here; you would do well to bring a measure of patience with you, as getting to your destination often requires long bus rides.

But, for beautiful places like this, it is well worth it.


5) Morocco

This is a North African country that overlooks the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. This country offers scenic mountain ranges and deserts as far as your eyes can see, plus ancient cities and diverse cultural influences. It is known as the gateway to Africa.

There are also beaches in this country that you might like to explore.


6) Dubai, UAE

Located at the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, this city is the most populous and largest in the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its modern architecture, luxurious shopping, and colorful nightlife.

Some of Dubai’s top tourist attractions are the Burj Khalifa (currently the tallest building in the world), the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and Dubai Creek. So if you’re looking for a unique (and often grand) experience during the holidays, this is the place to be.


7) Barbados

An eastern Caribbean island, this is one of the best places to escape during the winter season. It offers a host of beautiful beaches around the island, 17th-century plantation houses, botanical gardens, and the Harrison Cave formation.

The place is best known for its powdery sand beaches and festive nightlife. Barbados is the place to be if you want to experience summer during the winter.


8) Costa Rica

This Central American country features coastlines bordering both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica is known for its rich biodiversity, beaches, and volcanoes.

Costa Rica is also a great place to get your surf on. You might also want to go and explore the peaks of the volcanoes in this area, go hiking, explore the area on a bike, or go ziplining.

You’re only limited by your imagination.


9) Phuket, Thailand

This is a mountainous island located in the Andaman Sea. It is also known for its beautiful beaches along its western shore. Phuket has old shophouses, high-end spas, and resorts and restaurants.

It also has bars, clubs, and discos that tourists often frequent when they visit this island. This is the largest island in Thailand.

So if you want to be a beach bum, do some diving, and enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle (especially in the winter), this is where you’ll want to go.


10) The Maldives

Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a South Asian archipelago comprising 1,000 coral islands and 26 ring-shaped atolls. It is primarily known for its blue lagoons, reefs, and beaches.

The main island offers shops, restaurants, and a fish market. You can feast on exotic food here. You’ll also enjoy the weather, because the Maldives gets plenty of sunshine, with temperatures usually stable in the 80s.


11) Kenya

Kenya is an East African country with coastlines located along the Indian Ocean. This beautiful country is not only known for its beautiful beaches, but also for its sprawling safari.

So if you want to experience less human interaction and more of the beauty that nature has to offer, Kenya is an ideal place to go to meet the big five including majestic lions, rhinos, and elephants, to name a few.

Elephants in Africa

12) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aside from being the second most populous city in Brazil, it is also known for its Ipanema and Copacabana beaches as well as its 125-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue, with cable cars located at the granite peak.

This city has been frequented by tourists for decades because of its annual Carnaval festival. It’s one of the most festive and colorful places to be in the world. So if you’re looking for a warm place to escape to that’s also lively and energetic, this is one that you should include on your list.


New York

Awesome Eats in New York

Ah, the Big Apple. The Capital of the World. The City That Never Sleeps. Whatever you call it, New York City is one of the world’s most iconic cities, a metropolis that millions of people from around the world visit every year.

In its early days, the city was an entry point for millions of immigrants and, as such, New York has become a melting pot of nationalities and cultures. Today, one of the results of that movement is an eclectic mix of international cuisines from some 24,000 restaurants throughout the city.

Although it’s highly subjective, what are some awesome eats – classic American, exotic international, or unique fusion – that you can find in New York City?


Raouls Restaurant

Found nestled among Soho’s numerous shops and thick crowds, Raoul’s is a standout French bistro with a Parisian atmosphere to boot. It’s held its spot on Prince Street for over 40 years, and its two-star Michelin rating proves that its dishes are classic as well.

Menu items include steak au poivre, with a side of hand-cut pommes frites; foie gras; frisee salad and poached egg; octopus with chickpea purée; or a cheesecake made from goat cheese for dessert.

Finally, when you’re finished with your meal, feel free to peruse the wine menu. How about sealing the deal with a glass of Bordeaux?

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

Ivan Ramen New York

Owner and chef Ivan Orkin started out in Tokyo in 2007 when he opened up his first noodle shop. Today, he spearheads a noodle bar on 11th Avenue between 44th and 45th Street named after him.

Menu items include standard fare like shoyu and shio-style bowls as well as dishes that borrow elements from NYC-style cooking like pastrami buns or a twist on the famous bacon-egg-cheese sandwiches dubbed “breakfast all day ramen”.

What’s also nice is the restaurant’s large food hall style, which means you won’t have to wait for a table.


Robertas Pizza Brooklyn

Pizza lovers take note!

Open since 2008, Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick has grown into an extremely popular joint known for creative artisan pizzas served in a dining hall of minimalist yet rustic décor. Try to come early, though – wait times can be an hour or longer later in the evening. But you don’t have to twiddle your thumbs – feel free to treat yourself to some focaccia and an adult drink while waiting to be seated.

When you get a table, menu items include the Famous Original (a 3-cheese pie with tomato and herbs) and the popular Bee Sting (honey, chili oil, and pepperoni). Other offerings make tasty use of other ingredients like crimini mushrooms, cured speck, brussels sprouts, and an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses.


Upland Restaurant Nyc

Upland is a fusion restaurant that combines Californian cuisine and vegetable-forward cooking – two major recent food movements.

Chef Justin Smillie sources the restaurant’s fresh ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket, preparing them into refreshing takes on classics like quiche Lorraine, Caesar Salad, bucatini cacio e pepe, or his trademark burger that brings a style reminiscent of In-n-Out to New York.

And you can grab a glass of wine or a pint of beer at the restaurant’s oak-top bar.

Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern Nyc

20th Street’s Gramercy Tavern has been all about classic American, both in ambiance and in food (and drink) for over 20 years.

Before you even reach the table, a great place to start is at the tavern itself, where you can be served craft beers, like the Kelso Nut Brown or Rushing Duck Bauli Saison, or cocktails like a Roger Fitz Spritz or a classic New York Sour.

Lunch and dinner options are seasonal, but dishes include squid ink Lumache with rock shrimp, mint, and sungold tomatoes; lobster salad; and pasture-raised beef with charred onion, wild rice, and green garlic.

A three-course dinner tasting starts at $129, and there’s no need to tip, as it’s included in the price!

Russ and Daughters Cafe

Having held its current Lower East Side location for over 100 years, the Russ and Daughters cafe is a true relic that remains the premier go-to place for delicious Jewish-style Sunday brunch in 21st century New York.

Come for the classic New York lox bagels and stay for the babka, knishes, latkes, and bialys with endless choices to complement them. Even if you’re not a brunch person, you’re free to come in the evening and indulge in Russ and Daughters’ top-tier cocktail service while enjoying “breakfast for dinner”.


Agern Nyc

NYC gets a little Scandinavian flavor with Agern, an unassuming restaurant hidden away in one of Grand Central Terminal’s many corridors. Owner Claus Meyer, who found success previously with his Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, just recently (in 2016) opened his restaurant in to serve “New Nordic” Danish-inspired cuisine Stateside.

Agern offers two tasting menus: the Land and Sea menu and the Field and Forest menu, both for $175. Menu items include roasted guinea hen with sunchokes in a Nordic-style BBQ; roasted monkfish with löjrom, apples, and smoked butter; and grilled on-bone halibut. And when you’re done, don’t worry about tipping, either, as it will kindly be declined.

While it’s impossible to cover every single delicious restaurant in NYC, these ones stood out in particular. It’s a combination of factors like style, food quality and presentation, ambiance, service, and history that make restaurants like the ones highlighted here worth the visit.

It doesn’t have to be a prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant, either – delicious food is a universal language that stretches far beyond New York City.

Budget Travel

Better Places to Spend New Year’s Than a Crowded Bar

The day to usher in the New Year is fast approaching, and while you might not be 100% sure of your plans yet, you know you don’t want to spend your New Year’s Eve in a packed bar (again).

So if you’ve got your mind set on celebrating somewhere else, consider some of our suggestions for awesome places to travel to spend New Year’s; you may just have one of your most memorable New Year’s celebrations yet.



Famous for its 3-day celebration which kicks off every 30th of December, the streets of St Giles and South and North Bridge going to Holyrood Part are strewn with people carrying torches. Fireworks light up the night sky as they start the celebration.

The celebration continues on New Year’s Eve, where even more people flock to the streets and sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as they welcome the coming year. Imagine, thousands of people singing together!

What a sight to behold! This is truly one that you can put in the book for years to come.


New York City

Who wouldn’t want to go to the city that never sleeps?

New York belongs to one of the top spots to celebrate the New Year because of the ball drop tradition in Times Square, where many famous musicians perform every year to kick up the party atmosphere. But did you know that you can also witness the fireworks from a not-so-crowded view?

You can go for a ride down the New York Harbor and see the best angle for fireworks.

Now that’s simply amazing!


The Bahamas

One of the places best known for their beautiful beaches—especially in the summer—The Bahamas is a place that you should want to go to during New Year’s because the festivities here will leave you breathless. They have a Mardi Gras-like celebration that happens on the first day of the year. This is preceded by beach gatherings and parades on the street where different performers and costumes are featured, a sight to behold.

Large properties also host some of their own festive parties that are not just limited to the adults; they are likewise family-friendly.


Walt Disney World

Now, this is a place that we’re sure the whole family will enjoy. The park stays open until 1 am and there are numerous activities that everyone will enjoy, like the Cirque du Soleil, performances of live entertainers, and the colorful explosion of confetti. There’s also the beautiful light show at Epcot that happens before midnight.

You know why this is one of the places to be on New Year’s Eve? It’ll be less crowded, so you can really enjoy all that the park has to offer.



The land down under hosts a unique celebration of the New Year. They are known to have the world’s biggest fireworks display. Now that is something that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Don’t want to miss out on the action?

You can take a boat ride down the waterfront of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a front-row seat where the magical display will be showcased for the whole world to see, featuring the beauty of the Sydney Opera House.


Rio De Janeiro

Want to experience summer in December? This is the place to be. It is said that around this time of year, it is still mid-summer in Rio. But that won’t stop people from flocking to the beaches of Rio to watch the amazing fireworks display. The celebration usually starts at 8 pm, when the live bands play the samba to get the crowd going.

By the way, if you’ve decided to go to Rio and join the party, you ought to wear white—it’s said to bring luck for the whole year. Be prepared for a shower of champagne in the air, as you will definitely be under the spray of the champagne bottles!


Koh Phangan

Speaking of beach parties, you wouldn’t want to miss spending New Year in this part of the world. Koh Phangan hosts the most famous Full Moon Party and the wildest party in the world. Party in this area starts at the crack of dawn and ends on the afternoon of the following day. Want to party ‘til you drop? This is where all the action is.



The City of Lights is not just any nickname for the most romantic city in the world. The dawn of the New Year transforms the Eiffel tower into a majestic light show and fireworks display. Champs-Elysees becomes host to street parties where people greet each other with kisses on the cheek and feast on chocolates wrapped in shiny paper that crackles like that of a firecracker that’s been lit and sumptuous papillotes.

However, if you’re going for something less crowded, you may want to go to Montmarte—which provides a good view of the fireworks—or opt for a ride down the Seinne for a dinner cruise.


Cape Town

This South African city celebrates New Year’s unlike any other—it goes on for three days! Fireworks displays and concerts happen on New Year’s Eve at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. There’s also the carnival-themed train and live music to entertain people at the Victoria Falls New Year’s Carnival.

The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival goes around town on New Year’s Day and the following day. But this is not any ordinary parade; this is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. It boasts 10,000 performers singing and dancing in the streets to the entertainment of the thousands of people that head to the beaches to witness this spectacular show.



This picturesque city in the northernmost part of the world experiences only 4 hours of daylight in late December. So you can just imagine how eager the people are to start their New Year’s celebration. They start the celebration by burning their troubles away via community bonfires. There’s also a festive atmosphere as people dance and sing around the campfire while music is being played. This is followed by a dazzling fireworks display. Festivities end at 5 am on the following day.


Great Travel Gift Ideas Under $100

We’ve only got a few more days before Christmas! Do you already have your gifts lined up for the holidays, or are you still trying to think of the best gift for your travel-loving family and friends? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

As a bonus, everything on this list has a price tag under $100 – perfect if you can’t spend too much this holiday season.

Here are some of our top travel gift picks:

  1. Pour-Over Brewer with Travel Mug, $22.95: Perfect for coffee aficionados who love a cup of brewed coffee on the go. It’s BPA-free and comes with a cone-shaped dripper for brewing. It also has an easy-to-close tab to avoid spillage.

  1. Anti-Theft Backpack, $99: This is well-suited for your friends who bring valuable things with them or who just want to be extra sure that they won’t lose their things while traveling. It has hidden zipper closures and is made of cut-proof material and a water-repellent fabric.

  1. World Travel Adapter, $14.15: This gadget is something that your traveling friends might like to have, especially if they carry a lot of gadgets with them that need to be charged. This small but amazing device allows the user to plug their device into any kind of power outlet anywhere, as it has an 8-pin AC socket that can be used with different kinds of plugs all over the world.

  1. Swimmer Bluetooth Speaker, $29.99: This next item is perfect for traveling audiophiles who want to bring their music along on their adventures. Why? You can mount it on your bike and ride with it or take it with you to the pool or ocean when you go out for a swim. It’s shockproof, and you can immerse it in up to 3 feet of water without this baby getting damaged! Amazing, right? Get it for only $29.99.

  1. OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad, $37.97: If you know a traveler who is fond of camping or backpacking on their adventures, this is the gift for them. This pad will definitely improve the quality of their sleep, as it allows them to sleep slightly above the ground on a softer base. And it’s portable, packing down into a tiny 8” x 3.5” case.

  1. Collapsible Mug, $14.78: Here’s another convenient item that a traveler can add to their packing list. This collapsible mug is made of silicone, which makes it easy to wash. It’s also microwaveable, which makes it even more convenient and easy to heat up. This cup also comes in different colors, so you can pick out the one that best suits your loved one.

  1. Rescue Tool, $12.95: This nifty gadget comes in handy for emergencies, especially if you get trapped inside a vehicle. It can break through glass windows in cars and can easily cut through a seatbelt. So this might be a good gift idea for your friends who enjoy taking road trips or who otherwise often ride in vehicles. (Warning: it’s not necessarily airplane carry-on safe – bring at your own risk!)

  1. Trekking Towel, $60: This is unlike an ordinary beach towel or your towels at home. This trekking towel was specifically made to make it easy for outdoors people to bring with them and not worry about the weight or space it takes up in their carry-on bag. It is lightweight and very absorbent; not only that, it dries up so fast you might hardly notice it even got wet in the first place. Last but not least, this particular towel offers sun protection (UPF) material.

  1. Compression Socks, $18.99-$24.99: One of the must-haves on our gift list is this pair of compression socks because not only do they protect your feet, they also aid in the circulation of blood in your legs, especially when traveling. This is also recommended for pregnant women and exercise buffs, as they help reduce stress on the legs.

  1. Multi-Tool Kit, $34.46: Would you believe that this handy-dandy item contains the things that you might need to survive in the great outdoors? It has a lid that works as a signal mirror, and it also has a nylon cord and emergency sewing kit. Neat, right? But wait, there’s more! It also includes a stainless steel wire, fishing kit, fire-starter, and compass. It comes equipped with a 100 dB whistle that can be heard over a mile away, too. This is definitely something that you want to give your friends or loved ones this Christmas. (Note: due to the knife, this item is also not carry-on friendly.)

  1. Grundig Mini Radio, $39.95: This mini radio is highly recommended not only because it is made by a well-known brand, but also because you can pick up AM, FM, and SW radio signals. It also comes with its own carrying case.

  1. Swivel Tool, $11.95: As one of the smaller items on our affordable travel gift list, this swivel tool disguises itself as a key. However, as soon as you unfold it, you’ll see that it’s not your typical keychain. It becomes a serrated knife, and when you place it at a 45-degree angle, it also becomes your very own Phillips screwdriver. It comes with a bottle opener, too. (Be wary about taking this one on planes as well.)

  1. Occles Eye Shades, $30: Finally, we’d like to recommend this pair of eye shades for travelers. It makes regular sleeping masks pale in comparison with its ergonomic design. You can use this not just while sleeping, but also while lazing around on the beach. It protects your eyes from harmful sun rays and its design helps prevent the dreaded “raccoon eyes” after a long sleep. The design of these eye shades allows you to keep it looped on your neck because of the flexible support that it has. You can now say goodbye to sleepless nights.


If you’re strapped for cash and still trying to think of what to give your traveling friend or family member this Christmas, we hope our suggestions here will help you in your search to find the perfect gift for them.

Happy Holidays to you and everyone on your list this year.