We’ve had some amazing adventures as we explored the great outdoors of the United States over the last 15 months from the safety and isolation of our own rental car (or our old reliable Subaru Forester). But one thing that always shocks us about U.S. travel is how expensive (and crappy) hotels are. A rundown motor lodge on the side of the highway with stale bread for breakfast costs at least $150 a night. That same crappy room will cost $250 or more if it’s close to a popular national park. Yuck!
So we wanted to share our favorite stays from around the world that cost less than $100 a night (including all taxes and fees). Of course, prices change over time and vary depending on the time of year, but this is what we paid.
We are celebrating with different shots in 2021 than in this 2013 photo—but we are celebrating just the same 🥳 As someone who is missing an organ and nearly died from sepsis, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome 13 years ago—all things that COVID can cause—I am so happy to be vaccinated, to lift the PTSD veil I’ve been living under for the past year and to start getting back to life. Thank goodness for science, medicine and the amazing health care workers who are getting us through this. It’s not over yet, so please continue to stay safe 💜💜💜 And if you are partaking in the other kind of shots, always get a Lyft 🚗
London is one of our favorite cities, and it’s so hard to believe we were wandering her streets, fighting through holiday crowds, eating street food and going to live music venues in December 2019—just a few months before the pandemic changed the world.
As we reminisce about that trip and dream of international travel, we thought we’d share some of our favorite restaurant experiences from our last trip. A local will certainly provide better insights into off-the-beaten-path treasures—but here are some popular spots showcasing the variety of cuisine available that a first time visitor is bound to enjoy.
We walked to all these places from our Soho hotel except for Borough Market—we hopped an Uber for that. Note that some places are temporarily closed or only offering takeout right now.
1. Borough Market
You’ll find Borough Market near the top of many travelers’ London itinerary. Wander through the many shops and food stalls to find exactly what you’re in the mood to eat, whether that’s scotch eggs, cheese toasties, oysters, tapas, pastries or something else entirely, you’ll find it here.
After lunch, we explored the Southwark area a bit before crossing the Thames and checking out the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
2. Punjab Restaurant
You can’t go to London without trying the best Indian food outside of India. Punjab is a North Indian restaurant in the Covent Garden area that has been around since 1946 and has the most amazing cuisine and excellent staff. You may have to wait in line for a table (or order takeout during the pandemic) but the line moved quickly, and it’s well worth the wait anyway.
3. Patara Soho
Patara is an international chain that serves up contemporary Thai dishes in an elaborately decorated dinning room that sets the perfect ambiance to begin or end a night out on the town. You will find traditional Thai dishes, modern interpretations and tastes from other Southeast Asian regions on the menu.
4. Radio Rooftop
We had a plan when we arrived on our early morning flight into London: drop our bags at the hotel and find a place for brunch with a view. The idea was to keep ourselves entertained and distracted from the jet lag until we could check in and take a nap. Radio Rooftop is a swanky bar and restaurant at the top of the ME Hotel and was a short walk from our accommodations. The brunch menu was fantastic, as were the cocktails and the view.
5. Dog and Duck
You can’t go to London for the first time without trying fish and chips, a game pie or chicken tikka masala, right? Our hotel was right next door to this wonderful, traditional pub with a tiny dinning room on the second floor. Dog and Duck has delicious ales and pub food, including vegetarian options, and is located in the heart of everything.
Bonus: Where to Stay
We stayed at Mimi’s Hotel Soho and can’t recommend it enough. Mimi’s, like Dog and Duck next door, offers the perfect central location. The hotel has an amazing staff, a great little bar and comfortable rooms—and it’s surprisingly affordable for the location. The rooms are tiny and some don’t have windows, but that’s all very clear in the description, so make sure you read carefully before you book. We got the Lux room with a window, and it had all the space we needed including a foyer!
What are your favorite hot spots in London? Let us know in the comments.
The vast and diverse terrain of Alaska is impossible to explore in its entirety. We barely scratched the surface—and we didn’t even leave the beaten path—but we still had a genuine and unforgettable experience. Here’s what we did on our first trip to the last frontier.
Have you been going a bit stir crazy lately? Us, too. Five months into isolation, we were ready to get out into the world again, but we wanted to do it as safely as possible. Although there’s still so much we don’t know about COVID-19, we do know a lot about limiting the spread. So we decided to very carefully plan a road trip from Washington, D.C., to New England, and we hit the road for 9 days starting on on Aug. 8.
Here are some tips based on what we learned on our road trip.
We take on additional risks every time we leave our front door. As the survivor of a horrific accident, I know this as well as anyone. But at this point in time in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks are greater.
Everyone’s risk tolerance and circumstances are different. Personally, I’m about as likely to go to a concert or crowded beach as I am to dance with a metal pole in an open field during a lightning storm. There are certain CDC and WHO guidelines I think we all should be following: maintaining social-distancing recommendations, wearing masks at indoors public places (and outdoors when distancing is not possible), washing hands, cleaning surfaces, etc. After that, the decisions may be a bit different based on personal circumstances.
Well, our big lovable dog’s name is actually Nico. He’s always been a bundle of energy. Of course, he slowed down a lot when he turned 12, and we thought it was just because of his age. He lost a bit of the spring in his step and stopped cheering when we came in the door. We didn’t realize that the COVID isolation was affecting him, too.
After a grueling two months of studying and several days of test taking, I took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly. Everything was done. My law degree had been officially conferred. The bar exam was over. I just had to wait for my results.
Since I graduated a semester early, I had a few months off before I started my new job with the law firm where I had been a summer associate the year before. So I did what many other law grads of privilege do: I took a post-bar-exam trip around the world while I awaited my results.
China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia. This was my dream trip.
“Well, Australia sounds nice, but I don’t know about those other places,” a friend’s mom said to me at a dinner party.
As a world traveler, I am fascinated by culture and food and music and history. I am amazed by the similarities and differences that unite and divide us all. More than anything, though, I feel that we are all one tribe in this great big world, and all around the globe, we are each dealing with this pandemic that is keeping us physically apart. We can still be united, though, through technology and memories and optimism about the future.
Theo and I have said many times over the past few years that we wanted to travel like mad while we could, because you never know when circumstances will change and keep you grounded. Well, now, I am so happy that we followed through on our crazy travel agenda for so many reasons. We have a wealth of experiences together over the last seven years with memories that will last a lifetime. And during this time of isolation, we’ve also learned that we can simply be at home together 24/7 and enjoy each other’s company. Sure we bicker at times and need our own space, but we are really fortunate to have a solid friendship and comfortable life.
Comfortable or not, staying grounded isn’t emotionally easy. We all have fear or uncertainty and suffer from boredom or stress that we didn’t have before the pandemic. So to keep me from going too stir crazy, I’ve been posting some travel memories—one each day—from A to Z. I thought I’d put them all together and share them here.
Our trip to Guatemala exceeded our expectations in so many ways. Not only is it a gorgeous country with beautiful scenery and the most amazing ruins, but we also found the roads and infrastructure to be very good for travelers and the people to be super friendly and hospitable. As with everywhere, there are places to avoid, precautions to take and upsetting levels of poverty in some areas. We donated to a dog rescue that helps take dogs off the streets and get the care they need. In fact, we adopted our dog, Nico, from this program years ago.