Tag Archives: Travel tips

Lunch boxes in Taiwan, budget traveler’s best friend

People, I am loving Taiwan so much.  Not only is this country busting out all over with gorgeous cultural heritage, but it is a traveler’s dream.  THERE ARE PUBLIC BATHROOMS EVERYWHERE.  Clean, safe, public bathrooms (heart heart heart smiley face exclamation point).  The transportation system is a snap with low prices and an easy-to-understand system […]

An open letter to my husband re: this 16 hour flight to Hong Kong

Dear HOB, How is it possible to sleep for 16 hours straight, waking up for meals and then instantly–poof!– back to slumber?  It is a cruel time to desert me, your insomniac wife who suffers from fear of flying.  Here I am, wearing knee high compression socks and watching an insufferable movie about wedding dates.  My […]

Mini-bus magic: tips for traveling in Albania

Followers of Picnic at the Cathedral will recall that this fall my husband HOB and I spent two weeks in the country of Albania.  If you haven’t had the chance to visit, allow me to highly recommend it.  Albania has spectacular (surprisingly mountainous) geography, an interesting mix of classic Ottoman architecture and Communist era monuments, and a […]

Culture is capital: personal finance for budget travelers

The worst grade I ever got was in high school architectural drafting.  I signed up for the class because I thought it would be a cool elective and had visions of studying the great buildings of the world through drafting their architectural elements.  This did not happen—instead we traced pre-designed building features from templates in various […]

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 […]

Argyle Street Chicago: get on the train for authenticity and ass cake

I recently asked for some advice from fellow blogger Sophia Hsiao, whose gorgeous nature photography has me longing to visit Taiwan.  In response to my inquiry about Taiwanese cities to visit, Sophia recommended a few and added “Each city has its streets”.  Sophia then listed the best streets in her recommended cities. As a smart traveler, Sophia knows you can’t just show up […]

Visiting the country of Georgia: advice for independent travelers and an attempt to answer the perennial question, is it safe?

Should you visit the Republic of Georgia?  Absolutely.  Can you travel independently in Georgia?  Yes, but only if you do your homework.  Focus your travel planning on transportation, finding great guest houses, and be prepared to respectfully appreciate Georgia’s religious culture. Transportation: Before I traveled in Georgia I was confused and intimidated by the transportation infrastructure.  From the outside […]

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 […]