Category Travel tips

If I show you my vibrating alarm clock will you think I’m getting fresh with you?

Packing makes me happy and after last week’s picture deleting debacle I sure needed cheering up, so I got busy packing for our next trip.  Packing light is one of those things that’s great in theory but in practice I want to stuff too many things in my backpack.  Here’s what I’ve learned is worth schlepping around […]

That obligatory post about my travel mistakes

It’s like this; I could stay home, or I could travel a lot and make mistakes.  So yeah, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I’m ready to own all of them.  Cringe along with me, why don’t you? This coat. I visited at least four countries in this coat with it’s gigantic fur collar.  These days […]

The charm of interstitial cities

Getting around by public transportation as a budget minded, independent traveler can be non-linear and inefficient; this is why I love it. The phrase “you can only get there by car” activates my travel machismo and sends me straight to the internet, since I know there must be a way.  An email to a tourist information […]

Paper, plastic, and ATM machines: your plan for spending money while traveling

Shout out to all my fellow cheapskate travelers: you savvy penny-pinchers have taught me so much about budget travel.  In all the focus on saving money, though, the logistics of spending money during a trip sometimes get sidelined.  Every traveler, even a cheapskate—make that especially a cheapskate—should have a money plan.  You’ll need a combination of cash and […]

Language barrier? No problem. How to communicate while traveling when you don’t speak the language

This is me in every country: “Hello, excuse me, I am sorry I don’t speak [name of language] well.  Can you please tell me where is the bathroom/supermarket/train station/cool Romanesque church?  Thank you.  Goodbye.” In spite of being a glamorous international traveler, my foreign language skills suck.  Wait, I take that back, I can roll my […]

Funniest Travel Moments from 2015

This majestic portrait from our guest house in Vadu Izei should be an object of religious reverence. We did the pee pee dance in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges cathedral…. ….and the hands-up hairy man dance in the cathedral of Burgos. Don’t worry, we managed to avoid collisions with flying nuts and bolts in Split. Ah!  Fond memories of the Dracula […]

Hey budget travelers, where do you like to sleep?

Me?  I prefer a cheap, centrally located, private room.  These days—thank you world wide web—finding a cheap sleep is quite straightforward if you know what you want. Most people assume that since I’m a budget traveler I use hostels.  Hostels are cheap and often centrally located, but I don’t usually stay in them due to the lack […]

I (finally!) have travel gear

Let’s get right to the good part: I finally found waterproof walking shoes. My quest for waterproof walking shoes was more or less the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Aeneid, Njáls Saga and The Odyssey rendered in retail.  It was not pretty.  It involved a lot of returns.  And yet, just at the moment I feared […]

My ten favorite works of art in situ and why you should see art in its original context

Of course I had a conversion experience: it happened in Florence, back when I wasn’t such a prepared traveler.  HOB and I were on our honeymoon eating too much gelato and wandering through the art historical wonders of this Renaissance city.  We entered the Museum of San Marco on a whim and were instantly drawn […]

Walk like Stevie Wonder and other advice for managing jet lag

Every good story needs a villain.  The villain of my own life story is insomnia.  As someone eager to be the hero of her own story, I battle against insomnia with a combination of protestant work ethic and desperation.  During the past two years I’ve consulted four doctors, completed a 12 week sleeping class, taken three prescription medications, tried acupressure, light therapy, a […]