Caminito Del Rey used to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. It’s not anymore, but it was one of the best experiences I had in Spain!
For the third time, I visited the City of Angels. While the past two times I visited I did very touristy things, this visit was far more chilled out. I spent time with friends - old and new, explored the city, and ate plenty of food. While i don’t think I could live in LA, I love traveling there. Each time it’s different and each time I appreciate the city more. Here’s what I got up to during a long weekend in LA.
I stayed with my friend Katya, who I met while studying abroad in Singapore. She lives just outside of LA itself, and she let me crash at her place during my stay. She also drove me around all weekend, so thank you Katya!
The first day in LA was spent hanging out in Santa Monica. Katya was off volunteering for the day so I spent some time wandering around and shopping. Santa Monica is fun - they have the beach, the peer, so many food options, and so many cute dogs to watch. We started the day with breakfast at Philz Coffee before parting ways. I got the vegan donut and a Ambrosia Coffee with soy milk. It hit the spot. I had been deprived of Philz for MONTHS.
After some coffee, I wandered around alone before meeting up with a new friend, Jordan. We have some mutual friends, so it only made sense to say hi when I was in the area. We got lunch together at Huckleberry. Sorry, I didn’t get any pics. I thought it would be weird to photograph food around a new friend. Here’s the link to Huckleberry’s website in case anyone was wondering about it! Would definitely recommend! We walked around the area after lunch. It was vert needed after stuffing my face.
Later in the day, Katya and I headed over to Griffith Observatory to catch the sunset. We did a mini hike up to the top, and I’m so glad we did. We got there just at golden hour. It was insanely beautiful. The sun was glowing, LA was shining, and it made me so happy
We spent some time enjoying the views before hiking our way back to the car. And of course, we had to get In N Out after. In N Out was another West Coast delicacy that I haven’t had since moving from Palo Alto back to Boston. It was just so good.
Double double, animal style with fries and lemonade. Duh.
Day 2 started off with a trip to the farmers market and a mexican food stand! I tried a tamale for the first time. It was good. I would eat it again. Katya also made me try Elote. It’s Mexican street corn covered in mayonnaise, crema, and chili powder and cheese. Holy guacamole it was good.
After a small feast, we headed over to the Huntington Library. It’s a bit outside of LA, but definitely worth a visit. They have extravagant botanical gardens. My favorite was the Chinese Gardens or the Desert Gardens. I suppose I am partial to desert plants. And I am half Chinese, so it was only fitting that those were the two I enjoyed the most. The weather was beautiful, too, so we had a great time strolling around!
We spent a lot of time in the sun, so by the end of the day, we were ready to sit for a while. We drove back towards Malibu and ended up going to Moonshadow, a restaurant on the water. We had some oysters and wine while enjoying the best sunset ever. It was really spectacular. You could see the waves coming in, the boats floating along the horizon, and seagulls scavenging along the shoreline. It would be a great date spot ;)
This was my last full day in LA. I technically was there for 4 days because of some flight cancellations, but no one wants to hear about that disaster. So, for your sake and mine, let’s call this my last day in LA. One of my good friends, Ashley, lives outside of LA can drove in to meet me. We ended up in Santa Monica again, but I didn’t mind. I love the ocean, so any chance to be close to the water is always welcomed. Ashley was running a bit late, so I had some time in the morning to myself. I took a Bird scooter down the beach and ended up a bit south of Venice Beach. I just spent a few hours people watching. I spent some time by the water too. I sat in the sand and watched the surfers. I could have spent all day right there.
Ashley and I love Acai Bowls, so we walked over to Backyard Bowls. SO GOOD. Thanks to Jordan for the recommendation! After that we just did some shopping and wandering around before dinner. For dinner, Katya, Ashley, and I got tacos from Leo’s Taco Truck. Again, SO GOOD. God, the food in LA was amazing.
And then it was time to leave. Yeah, my flight home was cancelled and then it was a STRUGGLE to get home, but I had such an amazing time in LA. Don’t worry, I’ll be back before long. Thanks to all my LA friends who made the trip that much more special! Xo, until next time.
In November, my friend Brian and I flew out to Seattle for a long weekend to visit our pal Emma. Here’s what we got up to!
CrossFit is the best. Hands down. Here’s my experience with the sport so far.
We spent a day exploring the beaches in LA and Malibu. Highlight of the trip was definitely Malibu.
One of my favorite hikes! This is the quickest way to hike to the Hollywood sign!
Mount Tallac, skiing for the first time, and the best times with the best people. We visited Lake Tahoe in February and it was absolutely amazing
A friend and I spent a weekend in Yosemite Valley exploring. It's one of my favorite trips I've been on and it was an amazing time.
Well, gee whiz. The year is nearly complete. In a traditional nostalgic fashion, I'm taking a second to reflect on the year past. It's been the best of times. And it's been the worst of times. (at least that's what the people say, right?)
But for real, so much has happened. I moved to NYC for an internship, I lived that startup life, I returned to Boston for classes, I found some great new friends, I dealt with all the boy problems, and I'm still here. Anyway, here's the 17 things I've learned in 2017.
- Boys are important, but always put yourself first.
- Trust your gut. It's almost always right.
- Eating well and exercising make a world of difference.
- Money does not grow on trees. Unfortunately.
- Paying rent sucks a lot. It sucks your money, and your soul. Make sure you have a good landlord.
- Good friends will stick around.
- Suck up your ego and apologize, even if you think it's too late.
- Try new things alone. No one cares that you're there by yourself.
- Ask for help if you need it.
- It's nice to come home and hang out for a while. Don't forget about family and friends.
- Make coffee at home because buying it everyday is expensive AF.
- A good cry can fix a lot.
- Updating your social media is a great way to get attention. Thank God I didn't peak in high school.
- Reconnect with old friends. It's amazing how much you will both appreicate it.
- Eat real food
- Surround yourself with people who make you want to be a better you.
- Hard work pays off.
Thanks for a great year. Cheers to the next!
Let's be real here for a quick second. Exercising is hard and it can sometimes feel tedious. Why would I go to the gym when I can just sit here on the sofa and not move? Ok ok, yeah I am victim of an occasional lazy day (who isn't?), but I do have some tips to stay on the fitness bandwagon.
So over the last 4-5 months I've really upped my fitness game. Growing up I was always playing sports. But like many, once I got to college I enjoyed a new life of parties and not working out. Aka, I gained the freshman 15. But, over the summer and past semester, I've negated a lot of the damage I've done. Basically, I lost about 10 pounds thanks to exercise. Here's how I've stayed motivated for the past few months:
1. Follow motivating people on social media
I'm a huge sucker for social media. But, following people who inspire you to workout and get into the gym has really helped me. If they can do it, I can too! a few of my favorite accounts are:
- Niomi Smart - she's a vegan, model, British Youtuber, I want to be her, #1 love
- Sarah's Day - Paleo, advocate of natural health, a ninja in the gym, Australian fashion princess
- Kayla Itsines - creator of the BBG program, and fitness god omg she's amazing
- Anouska - Not sure of her full name, Irish, her aesthetic is everything, I want to be her best friend
- Angelique Cooper - She makes me want to move to LA, get fit, and live the dream.
- Follow your fave local gym - it makes you feel more connected to your local fit community, and seeing others you know work out really makes it motivating for you to get your butt in the gym
2. Find a workout you love
Every single fitness blog will tell you that you need to find an exercise that works for you. I like running, but I can't do it everyday. I hate the treadmill. I absolutely LOVE boxing. I've found that finding what works best for you will make you want to get better at it. Boxing has absolutely changed my life. I could go boxing everyday and not get tired of it. My favorite boxing gyms are Overthrow Boxing in NYC, The Ring in Boston, and Everybody Fights.
3. Switch Up Your Routine
I will admit that I get bored super easily. For me, it's important to keep things exciting. I rarely do the same workout twice in a row. I like my main exercise of the week to be boxing, but I'll supplement it with other activities. I love intense boot camp classes (Barry's Bootcamp is AMAZING). I like at-home HIIT Workouts (TheBodyCoach on YouTube is a favorite). I like doing Yoga (Alo Yoga's videos are wonderful). Or even just talking a walk around your neighborhood is a great way to keep things interesting. At the end of the day, do what you love, and make sure you don't lose interest.
4. Get Cool Workout Gear
I love getting new workout clothes. It makes me want to put them on and workout straight away. There's this great thing about confidence. If you think you look good, you'll feel good, and want to do good. So whenever I'm in a workout slump, I go and get myself a new pair of leggings or a sports bra or something. I want to use it straight away! If you have cool gear that you are pumped about, the more likely you are to want to work out.
5. Find a Workout Buddy
This goes hand-in-hand with accountability. Making plans with a friend is a perfect way to make sure you actually get your ass to the gym. Whether you go for a run, go cycling, or to the gym, having someone to make plans with is a huge help. It can also be a fun and productive way to socialize. You get friendship and health all at once.
When I was living in NYC, me and my friend Emma would have a weekly monday date at Overthrow Boxing. We would meet up after work, have a healthy dinner, and then go box. It was great because we got to see each other and catch up, but we were also getting in shape. And when I was in Boston for classes, we had a group fitness group chat where we would all make plans with each other to workout. That way, none of us would have to brave the gym alone! It also holds you accountable for your pre-class workout. Misery loves company. Find someone to suffer with at the gym.
6. Make a fitness instagram/social media account
I have an instagram account dedicated to healthy eating and working out. It's @healthformia. (Feel free to follow). Basically, I use it to document workouts, food, and rant about anything that's affecting my health. It's one place where I can share my health and fitness journey and be surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals. It's also great to have a space dedicated to this part of my life. If you make your health a big deal, then you may just find some motivation.
I love shopping and clothes and fashion. I was getting fed up with the way I looked in the mirror. Use your appearance as a motivating factor. Of course, you should always love yourself. But always strive for the best version of yourself. Exercising is just another way to improve yourself and your health. You may also like the results in the mirror.
8. Learn to love it
Getting back into shape sucks. It sucks so much. I can't even begin to describe how much getting in shape sucks. But if you keep it up, you learn to love the soreness. As much as it physically pains you to drag yourself to workout, it's worth it. And eventually, you'll love it. I'm at a point where I feel as though I need proper exercise. Otherwise, I'll start to feel a bit funny and off. I need exercise to stay sane and feel my best.
9. It Helps Your Mental Health
I'm prone to bouts of depression, especially in the winter. I dislike being stuck at home because of the bad weather. But, I've found that exercise really truly helps prevent some seasonal depression. The wave of endorphins after a workout makes an enormous difference in my overall mood. Without it, I'd probably be in a slump right now. I need exercise to keep me mentally healthy and alert.
10. Just do it. Don't think about it.
Here's a secret. Don't think about your workouts. Just do them. I like to work out in the morning because I just roll out of bed and go. If I wait until later in the day, there's a smaller chance that I will actually do my workout because I have all day to dread it. When I do it in the morning, I don't think about how painful it will be or how miserable I am. I just go. Another tip is to lay out your workout clothes the night before, so you just pop them on and head out the door. Don't give yourself an opportunity to make excuses.
At the end of the day, exercise because you want to. Because you want to be a better you. It's your decision, but it's something that I've learned to love again.
Also, a quick shout out to Max's Best Bootcamp for getting me back into shape and helping me love working out again!
I've been flying a LOT lately.
Especially on longer flights, airplanes can be a bit of a pain. Even if you are an experienced flyer, the hassel of flying never seems to lessen. I've compiled a list of my most useful tips for flying. Enjoy!
1. You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do.
Take it from someone who is always over-packed and under-prepared. Those fancy heels that have lived in your closet for the past year do not need to come with you. You will not wear them. Trust me.
2. Don’t get coffee on the airplane
Airplane coffee tastes like dirt, makes you dehydrated, and you will be sad. Use those calories and get a ginger ale. That way, at least your stomach will be happy. And if you are lactose intolerant, the airline will not carry soy or almond milk. Just a heads up.
3. Download more than one genre of music
On long flights, you definitely don’t want to get caught with a limited music selection. Sure, Kanye West may be the greatest artist of all time and his albums are groundbreaking, but 5 hours of straight Kanye is too much. Maybe throw in some Chance the Rapper? Venture out further and get that new generic pop album or chill indie music. You’ll appreciate the options.
4. Headphones and a sleeping mask will go a long way
Having a pair of comfortable headphones and a sleeping mask will save you. The headphones will help block out the screams of crying children and a sleeping mask will come in handy if the person next to the window refuses to shut the blinds.
5. Be nice to the airport and airline employees
They deal with terrible people all day. A please and thank you is the least you can do.
6. Wear socks
Don’t show up to the airport in flip flops, or even flats. You’ll have to take off your shoes during security, and who knows how clean the floor is. When on the airplane, you can also take off your shoes. You definitely should not walk around an aircraft with bare feet.
7. Figure out how to get to your destination before you arrive
Yes, the people in the airport can be EXTREMELY helpful if you are not sure exactly how to get to your hotel. But, you don’t want to miss anything or cause yourself any unnecessary stress if you don’t know where you are going. Airport website will usually list the best modes of transportations. When in doubt, there is always uber or taxis.
8. Make sure all your electronic devices are fully charged before getting onto the plane
While most planes now boast about their personal seat power outlets, they will not all have them. So, take it from someone who thought they could charge their phone while 39,000 feet in the air, charge ahead of time. I am currently charging my phone though my laptop because silly me was overly confident in the marketing ploys of airlines.
9. If you are new to flying, this is how not to piss people off:
- At security, take your laptop out of your bag. No other electronics need to be removed. This includes your tablet or camera. Also be sure to empty your pockets, remove your jacket/sweatshirt, and take your shoes and belt off. There’s no need to take off jewelry or watches.
- Don’t be loud on the plane. Chances are that people are trying to sleep. Just be mindful of others.
- When boarding begins, don’t rush up to the gate immediately. It takes a long time to get everyone and all their things on the plane. Just chill. When they call your boarding number, proceed to the gate. No need to fight people to get in line first.
- If you have a window seat, close the window shade during the majority of the flight. Of course, watch take off and landing, but during the majority of the flight it’s just bright outside with nothing to see. Shut the blind, let people sleep or watch a movie without glare.
- If you are ever unsure about anything, just ask. People are willing to help.
10. Airplane food is sad, so bring your own onto the plane
This last time resonates most with me. I’ve had some pretty terrible airplane food. Unless your comfortably lounging in first class, chances are that you will be hungry and disappointed after your meal. If I know that I will be in the air during a meal, I will purchase something in the terminal and bring it onto the aircraft. Just be mindful that its not something too smelly (ex: a burger). I tend to get a wee bit motion sick on planes and having a full stomach definitely helps. So, if that means shelling out $15 on some food so I’m not hungry or nauseous, I will gladly do so. This is also important for people with dietary restrictions. Airplanes try to cater to food needs as best as they can, but it’s not always the best.
Thanks for reading and have safe travels!
It may seem silly that a 21 year old with only a bit of experience is writing an article about blogging tips. But, I assure you, these tips have helped me survive my first few jobs.
I started blogging sometime during my freshman year of college. I had just returned from Dublin and was pretty bored, so I started my first blog. Let me tell you, it was a mess. Content was all over the place, the writing was haphazard, and frankly, it was boring. But, here’s the thing about my first blog – it showed me how much I love writing.
From there, I took my first full time position at a company doing social media and digital marketing. I was writing content every single day, learning about a new industry, and honing my skills. This first job ultimately set up the foundational blogging skills that I still utilize every day.
After leaving my first job, I did a 5-month study abroad semester in Singapore. I had the opportunity to travel around Asia and experience all this new culture, food, and people. Naturally, I had to start a blog. This is what you’re reading now! It started as a travel blog, but as I continue to grow and develop, so does my writing.
After returning from an amazing time in Singapore, I took on my next job. While I was hired for product marketing and development, my role soon switched to content creation. In this role, my writing had a mission. This content was no longer my voice, but the voice of our mission. So each day, I hack away at writing and I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good over the past three years.
Okay, so before I bore you with the details of my blogging history, here are the tips:
Write about content you care about.
Writing about things you are passionate about is always the most important thing. If you do not care about your content, why should anyone else? Your passion, whatever it may be, will shine through in your writing. Your enthusiasm will compel others to enjoy your content too.
For example, I love travel, fashion, and food. While I have mainly focused on travel, I am moving towards additional topics. I reached a point where I was burned out from only writing about one topic. And though I am truly passionate about travel, I really wanted to talk about other aspects of my life. And so I'm going to incorporate fashion and food into travel. After all, these are important for traveling. I like to take pictures while on my trips, so I want to look my best. I also love finding new food in new places. This shift is not a departure from travel blogging - it's an expansion. This change not only re-inspires me, but I’m sure my readers will be glad I’m no longer droning on or putting together careless content. In the end, passion will always shine through.
Don’t be a thesaurus
Of course it’s good to incorporate vocabulary into your writing. It shows sophistication and knowledge. But too much vocabulary can be a turn off. No one wants to pick up a dictionary just so they can understand your content. It’s better to be straightforward and to the point, rather than mindlessly inserting big words because they sound intelligent. As you continue to blog and write more, your vocabulary will naturally expand. There’s no need to look up synonyms for every simple word you use.
Always, always, ALWAYS add pictures. No one clicked on your blog because they wanted to read a textbook. If I wanted to drown myself in writing, I would have flipped open my 3,000 page dictionary.
While it is completely up to you on how you want to break up text, using pictures between sections is a great way to do it. If you save all your pictures for the end, no one will end up getting to them. Chances are, they will give up and exit your page before they scroll all the way down. Dispersing the images is great for keeping readers engaged.
Make sure that the images are relevant to the content and their placement. You don’t want a picture of a penguin located in the section about lions. Now that’s just confusing. I prefer to put the relevant picture below the text that it’s related to. Chances are, your reader will go through the text before scrolling down to the image. If you put the image first, then they may end up scrolling back up and then down again to see what the picture was relating to.
Break up the Text
As mentioned above, seeing a full page of text is not appealing. Breaking up the text with pictures helps make the piece easier to digest. Make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long either. Readers tend to lose interest quickly, so adding bullet points or numbering items helps condense the text.
Call to Actions!
In every piece, you should have a call to action. It doesn’t need to be aggressive or obnoxious. It can be subtle. Something simple can do the trick. When I write posts for my personal blog, I like to include suggestions:
- "Go here if you are looking for a great brunch”
- “You 100% need to do this hike”
- "Visit here immediately!”
On the other hand, a call to action can ask your readers to subscribe or follow you:
- "Follow us for more travel content”
- “Comment with your favorite coffee place in NYC!”
- "Follow us on Facebook and Instagram”
Call-to-actions keep your content engaging, and if your readers like your content, they are more likely to perform those actions. It can’t hurt to ask.
I want to HEAVILY emphasize this. Take an extra 2 minutes and read back what you wrote. I spend way too much time editing other people’s writing just because they don’t read what they wrote. Start at the beginning of your piece and read it out loud. It doesn’t need to be loud – whisper to yourself. It makes a huge difference to read what you wrote. You might find that some paragraphs make no sense at all. Or, you may realize you forgot to add punctuation.
Not only does proofreading increase readability, it makes you look more credible. Do you see the New York Times making silly grammar mistakes? No, and that’s because they take the time to edit their articles. If you have spelling mistakes everywhere, people will assume that you are not credible. A error-free piece of writing seems more intelligent and accurate. If the writing itself isn’t accurate, the piece feels unreliable and unprofessional.
This is going to sound like some cheesy university sponsored post. But, cross my heart, it's just my honest opinion. So, without further adieu, let's jump into it.
I'm a fourth year student at Northeastern, and no, that does not mean I'm a senior. I'm a 4th year business student with a dual concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship. This school has given me unparalleled opportunities. It's given me experiences I didn't even know could exist. I'm going to break down my experience so far to better explain what I mean.
I am so incredibly lucky to have studied abroad twice. My freshman year I was a part of the NUin program. This is basically a freshman study abroad program. I spent my very first semester of college in Dublin, Ireland. Sure, it was absolutely terrifying going from a small suburban town to a whole new country, but I would not have it any other way. Dublin has a place in my heart forever, and I'm trying to go back in the near future. I was able to travel around Ireland via school-sponsored trips. We went to:
- Aran Islands
- Northern Ireland
And on top of all that, I was able to travel around Europe with some of my closest friends. We went to a bunch of places on our own, including:
After a year in Boston, I decided it was time to try a new destination. This time, I would be traveling to Singapore for another study abroad. I went during the fall semester of my third year. Singapore was a whole different experience. Asia is it's own world. I learned to deal with different people, I traveled to places with language barriers, and I saw the world, but differently this time. In addition to exploring Singapore, my friends and I went to these places:
- Koh Phi Phi
- Chiang Mai
- The Gili Islands
- Hong Kong
And there are still so many places I need to go back and visit! Cambodia, Vietnam, and Japan are at the top of my list.
Studying abroad isn't just about the amazing trips you get to take, it's also about the people you meet. I've met some of my best friends abroad. And I have connections around the world. There's always someone to reach out to. You meet the most peculiar characters abroad. And you meet those who you learn to deal with along the way. If I did not study abroad, I would not be the person I am today.
Every single Northeastern Student has a co-op. It's probably the only reason people go here, if I'm being honest. Co-op, short for cooperative education, is a 6 month internship that every student must do to graduate. For business majors, most students complete 2 or 3 by the time they graduate. I'm doing 3 co-ops and graduating in 5 years. Co-op gives you that advantage over others when applying to jobs. It also helps you learn what you love doing, and what you hate doing. It's a good way to try out your intended career path before it's too late and you are stuck there.
Co-op for me has been an opportunity to live in different places and try different things. I did social media marketing in Boston. Turns out the insurance industry is not for me. I worked on a 5-person tech startup team in NYC. Not sure if that was for me either, but I absolutely LOVE living and working in NYC. And this January, I am moving to Palo Alto to work at a software company. I'm so excited for this new chapter!
I think Boston is the perfect place to go to college. The whole city is comprised of college students. Everyone here is here for the same goal - academics. It gives a nice backdrop to your experience. Boston itself is a great city and there's always something to do. It's not too large and overwhelming, but it is also never boring.
Northeastern is also extremely motivating. The people who go here want to accomplish something. Everyone is driven, passionate, and here with a goal. You come here to work hard, get the career you want, and have some fun along the way. Surrounding yourself with other motivated people makes you a better person.
I really don't have much else to add other than that. Sometimes I crave that traditional college experience - football games, huge frat parties, and long summers off. But at the end of the day, the opportunities I've had are far more spectacular than a tailgate party. I wouldn't give this experience up for anything.
I'm a student. I'm a broke college student. But, I also love traveling and going on adventures. I've learned a thing or two about traveling as cheaply as you can, while still enjoying yourself. It may not be the glitz and glam of staying at 5 star resorts, flying first class, and taking private yacht cruises, but it's still good fun.
The thing about traveling is not the size of your budget, it's about the adventure and the company you're with. As long as you approach traveling with a positive perspective and appreciate the journey, you will have a good time.
With that being said, here are my tips to saving money while traveling (especially if you are a college student like me):
1. Use Google Flights and Skyscanner when searching for flights
These are the two best resources for searching for the most affordable flights. I definitely prefer Google Flights over Skyscanner, and I'll tell you why it's the BEST:
- if you have flexible travel dates, you can use the graph or the chart to find the best days to fly out and return.
- If you are not picky on a destination, you can use the map to browse the cheapest place to visit. This is great when you don't have an exact set location, but want to visit and area or region.
- Google Flights typically has better rates than Skyscanner. But not always! Be sure to check both before committing.
2. Check Budget Airlines Websites for Deals
Often times, budget airlines will not show their rates on travel comparison sites, such as Google Flights or Skyscanner. Google budget airlines in the area you live and see if any of them offer good rates on flights to your destination. It might be a pain to check out their website individually, but you could potentially be saving hundreds of dollars.
3. Check to see if there are buses or trains that run between cities
If you want to check out multiple cities in a country, or if there are major cities not too far from each other, chances are that there are buses or trains that you can use. Buses are usually, the cheapest way to get from place to place. Sometimes they are not the most fun form of transportation, but they work just fine.
4. Airbnb or Hostels make for great cheap accommodation
Hostels are the budget traveler's dream. They are dorm-style rooms that 4+ people share. Hostel prices can range from $8-100 depending on what country you are staying in and which hostel you select. CHECK THE REVIEWS BEFORE YOU BOOK A HOSTEL. Go on Hostelworld, and read through the reviews and comments. Some hostels can be dirty, and you don't want to stay anywhere unsafe. Do the research. Another alternative is an Airbnb. People rent out homes or rooms for travelers. They can be a great way to get a homey-feel in a foreign place. Again, check the reviews to make sure you are not getting scammed in any way. All my experiences with Airbnb have been absolutely wonderful, and cheaper than staying in a hotel.
5. Minimize Food Costs
Food costs can add up no matter where you are. Minimize food costs by eating local food, or buying food from a grocery store. Local cuisine tends to be cheaper, so try to eat at places the locals do. Be careful about cleanliness though! Sometimes our bodies are not used to the local food or water, and you can get sick. Another money-saving option is to buy food from a grocery store. You can buy ingredients to make a sandwich, or salad, far cheaper at the store than you could at a restaurant.
6. Maximize Luggage Space
Here's the thing: most airlines will not weigh your carry on luggage. I've been on over 12 flights in the past 4 months, and only once did they weigh my carry on. And, I think they only did that because my backpack was suspiciously full. That being said, when flying, put all your heavy items in your carry on luggage. When packing your check-in luggage, there are ways to maximize space (and here's a helpful graphic):
- Roll your clothes
- Use pants to line the bottom of your suitcase
- Stuff socks and underwear in shoes and other nooks and crannies
- Lie bulky items on top
- Packing cubes can be a great option as well
7. Make sure your web browser is in private browsing mode when buying tickets
This is also known as incognito mode on the Chrome browser. Websites track your cookies (messages from the website to your computer) and may raise the price if they see that you have been searching for flights or tickets. By being in private browsing mode, websites cannot see what you've been searching for, usually resulting in better prices. The price difference could be a few dollars to a few hundred dollars!
8. Prioritize your activities
Write down all the must-do things on your trip. If you want to see this ancient temple, eat at a famous restaurant, go on a tour, etc., prioritize those activities. See how much they will cost, and from there, budget the rest of your trip. You can save money on other areas that aren't as important to you. If you know you wanna go on an awesome jungle tour, try saving money on drinks or shopping. It's all about finding a balance.
9. Travel in 4s
This may be a weird one, I know. Bear with me. Everything is made for either pairs or for 4s. Odd numbers just don't work as well. If you are booking a hotel room, it's cheaper to book a room with 4 people than it is for 2 people since you need two beds anyway. Taxis typically can hold 4 passengers. Hostels often offer 4 bed dorm rooms, and by traveling with 4 people, you can have a private room! I've traveled with 3 people, I've traveled with 6 people, I've traveled with 2 people. Trust me, 4 people is the ideal number.
10. Travel During Off-peak Season
During the less popular times of the year, you'll be more likely to get deals on transportation and accommodation. Look up the peak travel season at the location you plan to visit, and see if it is possible to visit at a less popular time. If you're going to Southeast Asia, beware of monsoons. While it is cheaper to travel during the monsoon season, the rain could interfere with your plans
Back in October of 2016, my friends and I had a week off of classes, so we took the opportunity to go explore Bali!! Instead of creating a photo diary of the pictures I took, I made a quick video about our time there.
We started in Ubud in the northern region. We then headed south to Seminyak and Kuta where we stayed for a few days. Then we ventured even further south to Uluwatu. Following Uluwatu, we took a ferry to the Gili Islands. Gili T became our home for 3 days until we reluctantly had to return back to SIngapore. Had to get back in time for my Monday 8 am :(
Until next time, thanks and enjoy the video!
Niagara Falls - the popular tourist destination. Half American, Half Canadian. It's this giant waterfall. Like, really giant. And, it's really incredible. My family and I took a trip to the Falls in your classic American road trip style. First leg of the journey was Niagara Falls, and the second leg was Toronto. That'll be in the next blog, but until then, here's a recap of Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls is located right near Buffalo, on the border of the New York and Canada. There are viewing locations from both the United States side and the Canadian side. As everyone always says, the Canadian side is better. While I completely agree that the falls is nicer in Canada, it's worth stopping on both sides.
We stopped at the American Side first. The park is clearly in development, and soon it'll be stunning. But even though it may not be as beautiful as the Canadian side, it's still enjoyable.
We took a ride on the Maid of the Mist, the boat tour on the falls. They give you ponchos to keep you dry, but the falls is so great that you'll get a bit damp. You get pretty close to the actually falls and it's amazing to see all the water rushing down.
After the boat ride, you can walk along the observation deck. The deck has the best view of the entire falls as well as Rainbow Bridge. It's great for photo ops.
Next was the Canadian side. Canada not only has the best views of the falls, but they have a beautiful park that runs along the length of the falls, a fun carnival-like entertainment street, and lots of chain restaurants. This side is definitely the best for photos.
At night, there are fireworks over the falls. Unfortunately, there were strong winds while we were there so the fireworks were canceled. However, we did enjoy a fantastic concert performance by Michelle Treacy. She was great - check her out!
Niagara Falls is truly a feat of nature. The sheer amount of water the passes through The Falls is unimaginable. It's no wonder that people from all over the world come to see it. I'd 100% recommend.
Some quick tips for anyone who wants to visit Niagara Falls
- If you can only visit one side, go to the Canadian side
- There are limited dining options on the American side
- Both the American Side and the Canadian side have boats rides on the falls.
- If you decide to take the boat from the American side, buying tickets online is the same price as in person. There is no advantage.
- There are lots of hotels on the Canadian side if you want to stay for more than one day
- You really only need one day at Niagara Falls. But, if you decide to stay for more than one night, the Canadian side has lots of hotels.
- Bring a gopro if you have one! It's useful for the boat ride!
- Wear something nice - you'll have lots of amazing photo opportunities.
- The Fireworks start at 10 pm during the tourism season.
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