6 Tips for Traveling the World with Only a Personal Item

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Sometimes a handbag comes along tooWe see travel tips all the time for packing light and think: Pft! If you can’t fit it all under the seat in front of you, then you haven’t packed light enough. We pack so light that we frequently get stopped at customs and asked if we forgot our bags. Nope! We just don’t like to be weighed down. It doesn’t matter how long or in what season we are traveling. Continue reading

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Travel Tip #3: Look at the bulkhead seating on SW

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If you are a solo traveler on #Southwest don’t forget to check the bulkhead! SW was amazing at accommodating is when LiAnn broke her ankle. Often times there’s a special-needs traveler (like she was when we realized this) and a companion sitting in the bulkhead seats, which leaves an aisle or a window seat open, but everyone looks ahead and fails to notice. Sometimes there are two seats open. So our tip today is: Notice! #igottotheairport5minutesafterboardingstartedandstillgotthefirstrow

A Magnificent Drive to Vik

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Our drive to Vik was the highlight of our trip. It is an easy ride along the ring road and unless you want to hike or find hot springs, you don’t have to map and plan much to see the sights along the way – they are right by the road.

There are beautiful waterfalls, strange lava formations, glaciers atop large mountains and looming volcanoes. There are fields full of vibrant shades of green, yellow, red and brown. There are black sand beaches, Icelandic horses and lots of grazing little lambs.

It’s about a five hour round trip drive from Reykjavik to Vik. Our only regret is that we didn’t make a hotel reservation in time to drive an extra 2 ½ hours east to the glacier bay at Jokulsarlon. By the time we decided to do this, the few hotels and guesthouse in the area were already fully booked. We decided it was just a bit too much to do in one day, so we had lunch in Vik and made the scenic journey back to Reykjavik.

I would say, if you only have time to chose one: golden circle or drive to Vik – definitely drive to Vik!

Click here for a great article on traveling light!

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People wonder how I can travel for two weeks (in the winter) with just a day pack.

1. The first thing I do is find the bag I want to carry and then fit what I can into it – if it doesn’t fit, it stays home.

2. I find a color scheme and stick to it – mixing and matching pieces.

3. I pack a travel size bottle of laundry detergent to wash things in the sink if needed – although in some parts of the world, like SE Asia, laundry service is so inexpensive, you can just send it out every few days and pack even less!

4. I bring as many light weight, quick drying items as possible and just one sweatshirt and one sweater to wear over light weight clothes (usually only either the sweater or sweatshirt can be in the pack)

5. I don’t spend a lot of time packing, but I always do spend time thinking about what I’ll need and want to wear and how it can all be coordinated.

6. If I really want to do some serious shopping, I ship it home – usually for less than the airlines’ baggage fees.

It’s so liberating to be free of luggage when I travel that it’s well worth the extra thought I put into it. Plus, with all the added baggage fees these days, it’s nice to know I can fit everything under the seat in front of me!

Click here for a great article on traveling light!

Tour Review: G Adventures, Australia in Style

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This 21 day trip started in Sydney, travelled up the east coast to Byron Bay, Whitsunday Islands, Cairns, and Port Douglas, then moved on to the Outback traveling through Alice Springs, Uluru, Coober Pedy, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Grampians National Park, Warrnambool, and Melbourne. That’s a whole lot to see in three weeks, but it’s a perfect introduction to Australia, and I felt like I got the most out of my experience.

I thought this trip was fantastic. It included quite a few fun activities like surfing lessons, yachting, and hiking through national parks, and there were a few really great optional activities like snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and star gazing in the Outback. I highly recommend all these activities. We also got to see koalas, kangaroos, and emus.

Activity level: although this trip has a physical grading of 2, some days were much more like a 3 (hiking, snorkeling, surfing, sailing) – so keep that in mind – I loved it, but if you don’t want a lot of activity, this may not be the trip for you.

Trip Specifics: Our CEO, Nick, was great. He was knowledgeable, down to earth, fun, organized, and helpful. The hotels were fantastic, especially on the east coast portion. There were more motels in the Outback portion, but that’s to be expected, as the areas are less populated. There were also many included meals that were quite good. This is a “comfort” level trip and you really do feel the added cushiness compared to the “standard” level tours.

There were only 6 of us on the east coast portion and 8 in the Outback. Most travelers were in there 20s and 30s and were from Canada, US, England, and Ireland. It was a really great group that got along well.

My only complaint is that there was too much driving time in the Outback. Driving is really the only way it’s possible to go to all the places we visited, but it was a lot. If I could design my own trip, I would have flown from Uluru to Adelaide and skipped the odd opal mining town of
Coober Pedy – sure, it was interesting in a “been there, done that” sort of way, but for me, it wasn’t worth the drive to get there. The Outback is exactly as you would imagine – vast semi-arid brush, simple roadhouses and motels, but well worth seeing – I just could have spent a little less time checking it out 🙂

Overall, this was an amazing trip. I absolutely loved Australia and the scenery changed so much from region to region, that you really do have to spend a significant amount of time there to see it all. From the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne, to the laid back beach town of Byron Bay, to the breathtaking views in the Red Center, the wine country in Claire Valley, and the unbelievable Great Ocean Road – this is a scenic trip like no other!

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A lovely final 24 hours in Asia spent on the water with a Singapore Sling