Tag Archives | adventure travel
The best things in life are the perfect mix of two ingredients: strawberries and cream, jam and toast, peanut butter and jelly. We have found the perfect combination of the carefree Caribbean and the flair of Latin American: Belize.
We’ve put together the perfect couple’s itinerary for your visit to this paradise. We found 10 days was ideal to relax and see the key sites.
The exchange rate with United States dollar is set at one dollar for every two Belizean dollars. This makes monetary conversions very simple. Most places take American dollars and credit cards. English is widely spoken, it doesn’t hurt to have a little Spanish in your back pocket.
Belize has one major airport in Belize City. It is easily accessible from just about anywhere in the lower 48 states. Major departure cities include: Miami, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Houston. We elected the three-hour flight from Dallas. It could not have been easier.
Once you arrive, take a taxi into Belize City. The airport is a ways out-of-town, about 10 miles. It should cost US $25. Don’t pay more than that. (You are already paying double what the locals pay.) Candidly, we didn’t find much to see in Belize City. There are some rough spots, make sure you take precautions for personal safety, especially at night. Have your taxi drop you off at the boat terminal. From here you can purchase tickets and board boats to the many island locations. We elected to take a boat to Ambergris Caye. If time is an issue you can also book a short flight from the Belize City to San Pedro. The boat takes roughly an hour and a half. The flight will get you there in 30 minutes. The boat ride can be a little rough depending on weather.
We highly recommend that you start your vacation on the beach. Select from one of many resort locations along the ocean. You can get everything from simple accommodations to five-star resorts. Definitely pick one with the pool. We elected to stay at the beautiful Costa Blu Resort at Ambergris Caye. It is an intimate resort that focuses on providing world-class diving. The staff is friendly, and the food on premises is really good. We highly recommend the conch ceviche!
Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. Definitely bring your Go Pro camera! Your resort can help you in booking snorkeling trips. We elected to use Tuff N Nuff. We went out for two different half day excursions: shark alley, and Mexico rocks. We would recommend both to you. The excellent dive masters were so helpful and patient. Eric was especially nice to Luci who had trouble with her mask at first. They provide all the gear that you need. They also offer insights into the flora and fauna you will see. If you are scuba certified or would like to become so, there are so many places that offer this service. Again they provide all of the equipment and excellent dive masters. On our visit to Mexico rocks, we swam with nurse sharks, turtles, and even an moray eel. It was incredible.
Chill at the pool/beach
Arriving in Belize you immediately go into relax mode. Whether it’s sitting by the beach or enjoying the sun by the pool, you cannot help at leave all your worries behind. We elected to have a couples massage right on the beach. Our resort arranged it and the cost was reasonable. We paid $90 for a 90 minute massage with the sounds of the sea and breeze tickling our faces.
Shopping at San Pedro
The major town located on the peninsula is called San Pedro. This rough and tumble beach town gives you access to a wonderful restaurants, souvenir shops, and more T-shirt shops and you can shake a stick at. We highly recommend Elvi’s restaurant for lunch or dinner. You’re not going to find high-end retail shops here. Just the sort that offer fun little trinkets to remember your trip.
Once your stress has melted away when you’re ready for adventure hop on the boat or plane back to the mainland. Here you’re going to need to rent a car. After doing our research there’s only one place that could offer the border transfer documents into Guatemala and that is Crystal Auto. They have a solid selection of vehicles, it is not a bad idea to rent a jeep Buy the GPS. Cell service is a little spotty there. The main roads in Belize are fine, but you have a lot of large speed bumps and potholes the size of Texas or a German Shepherd. There is one major road running north and south and east to west.
Day trip to Tikal Mayan Ruins
We highly recommend a side trip to Tikal, the ruins in western Guatemala. It is a beautiful four-hour drive from Belize City. Well worth the travel. You will need to have a rental car that allows you to leave Belize and enter Guatemala. Crossing the border is a bit of an adventure. The Belize side is fairly straightforward, the Guatemalan side not so much. You will need to trade some Belizean dollars into Guatemalan dollars. Keep in mind, border agents only speak Spanish on the Guatemalan side. Be prepared for a lot of gestures and pointing. There are a lot of teenage boys and men more than willing to help you figure out the border procedures, especially if you have a car. We let them help us and tipped them afterwards.
IMPORTANT: You also need some Guatemalan dollars in order to enter in the Tikal National Park. We made the mistake of not having cash, we had to drive all the way back roughly an hour each way to get cash. Do not make this mistake.
There are two hotels in the park. Accommodations are not stellar. Both are a bit rustic. We recommend staying inside the park as travel in and out of the park takes a lot of time. There are many guides that are available via your hotel. Please visit with them before you book your tour. The command of good English is not widespread. If you keep walking at a good pace you can see the entire complex in one day. You will definitely want to take pictures in the morning and evening, as the light is best. Pack gallons of mosquito spray and sunscreen: both will be an issue. We elected to take the sunrise tour. This was a mistake. We did not check the weather. Eight out of ten days you will not be able to see the sunrise. The fog is too thick. Have your hotel check the weather forecast for the morning.
There is definitely a different feel in Guatemala. The language barrier is significant at times. The culture is remarkably different. With that said, well worth the adventure.
Hands-down our favorite activity in Belize was visiting the ATM cave. You will need to book a trip in advance with a tour company that leads small groups through to Cave. You will need to be able to: swim, climb, and be ready for a significant hike. The ATM cave complex is ancient Mayan religious site. The cave is filled with archaeological artifacts and geological formations. Cameras and video cameras are not allowed in the cave. Sorry we don’t have any pictures. You begin the morning about 8 a.m.. Your guides will pick you up from your hotel. From the main parking lot, your guide will take you on a short jungle hike, which includes a river crossing. There is a rope stretched across the river to use your crossing.
At the mouth of the cave you guide will give you a short introduction of what you will see in the caves and the will emphasize importance of staying together. The company will supply you with a helmet and a flashlight for your helmet. There is a moderate creek that runs through the cave. At the mouth of the cave your swim roughly 50 yards The rest of the journey will be hiking and climbing.
Toward the end of the hike you will climb a ladder remove your shoes and walk into the main sacrificial chamber. There you will see a well-preserved skeleton of a sacrificed Mayan as well as interesting pottery and other ancient artifacts.
The entire experience was impressive. It was unlike anything we have ever done. We highly recommend it. It is a bit on the expensive side running roughly US$100 per person. The guide service provides lunch, and transportation to and from your hotel in the area.
If you’re up for another day of exploring Mayan ruins. We highly recommend Caracol ruins. Getting there is a wonderful adventure. You will need a high clearance or a jeep type vehicle to get there. There are several small river crossings as well as some jungle jeeping to get to the location. It is roughly 2 hour drive on a rough unpaved road. Toward the end of the journey you will need an armed guard to get to the ruins. Each day the Belizean army runs an armed guard service from the army base into the ruins. There’s no cost for this service but you have to be on time. There’s a sign in & out location there. Don’t let this scare you away, it is really straight forward and safe.
Make sure you have plenty of fuel as well as food as there are no services on the entire road into the ruins. There are guide services that can take you on this trip if you would like. Candidly, the drive in and out of Carocol is a lot of fun. What makes the ruins better than Tikal would be the number of people. There were only other 15 people at the entire complex during our visit. This makes for great pictures and you can take your time and seeing each of the ruins.
Enjoy your trip to Belize! The country offers something for the body and soul. Relax on the beach, swim with schools of fish, then explore the ruins of an ancient civilization.
Have you ever wondered how to stay fit while on the road constantly? The couple we are featuring this week are pros! Not only do they keep their bodies healthy, they also work hard on keeping their relationship strong. Meet Scott and Collette of Roamaroo.com. They recently penned a great article for Elite Daily titled: “10 Ways My Husband and I Keep Our Spark Burning While Traveling.”
Give them a follow:
Lets get to know them better:
1) How many countries visited between the two of you?
We’ve visited 45 countries together! Collette has visited 66 countries. Scott has visited 46 countries.
2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be? (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)
She said: Mike Rowe for his witty banter, incredible vocabulary, and carpe diem personality. How cool would it be to be included in an epic Mike Rowe story? Maybe he’d even sing it in his Opera voice…
He said: Superman – I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for plane tickets again. Also, he could fly me around to get some cool “Drone” shots of all the great places.
3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings? Why? Any tips for someone that has never been?
She said: It’s a toss up between South Africa and New Zealand. When we visited South Africa, we went on a safari in the Sabi Sands area of Kruger National Park. There is nothing more primal than being surrounded by nature’s greatest beasts.
New Zealand will always have my heart for its pure beauty. We road tripped around the south island for 2 weeks, sleeping in a van and cooking beans and rice. It was romantic, it was intimate, it was exploration at its purest. No frills, no fuss, just two explorers finding meaning in Mother Nature. If you find your way to New Zealand, we highly recommend renting a campervan to explore the country. Don’t make too many plans and leave your options open to chance!
He said: Istanbul and Iceland. Istanbul is such a culturally rich city with a fascinating history. The Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are some of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. A great thing to do is to take an Uber boat down the Bosphorus. We took one to Reina restaurant at night. There’s nothing fancier than arriving to a turkish club/restaurant on a boat.
Another favorite location of mine is Iceland. The vast beauty, dramatic waterfalls, and welcoming people make Iceland unforgettable. We drove a campervan around Iceland for a week. Every morning we woke up somewhere new and beautiful. My favorite experience was when we cooked breakfast in our camper while overlooking the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Watching the brilliantly blue ice while enjoying our morning coffee was something no hotel or restaurant could offer.
4) You both are uber healthy! We are not brave enough to try Crossfit. Tell us, what are you secrets for eating and exercising on the road?
She said: For me, exercise is both a mental and physical necessity. Exercising is my own moving meditation. It clears my mind, keeps my body in tip top shape, and makes me a better person. I even wrote a book about staying fit while traveling called Passport to Fitness!
He said: I love to do Crossfit and it’s a great way to meet locals. We’ve made some great friends at gyms who have been nice enough to show us around or take us to dinner. One of my healthy travel tips is to fast on travel days. Most people hate the idea of fasting, but new research is showing some amazing anti aging benefits benefits to fasting. If we have a travel day filled with sitting on trains or planes, it’s easy to fast for the day since they’re no caloric need for large meals.
5) We really enjoyed your posts on Cambodia. Tell us what your impressions were? Any recommendations? How was the food?
She said: Cambodia was one of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had. From a 4:30 am cotton candy sunrise over Angkor Wat to visiting local Khmer villages on the Mekong River, it was one of the most gratifying and eye opening trips of our journey. One memory stands out above the rest and that is when we were cruising down the Mekong River and stopped at a remote village. We ended up having a dance party with the locals under the glowing Cambodian moonlight. Although we don’t speak Khmer and they didn’t speak English, we were all able to communicate via dance.
He said: Cambodia was a great country to visit, I especially loved Siem Reap. Climbing the temples of Angkor Wat with our local tuk-tuk driver was an unforgettable day. Due to the horrible actions of Pol Pot in the 1970’s, the people of Cambodia are struggling to rebuild the country. You can see this in everyday life as many people live without basic technology of developed countries. Tip for Angkor Wat: Most hotels will organize tours of Angkor Wat, but if you want to save money, book directly with a tuk tuk driver. You’ll save 75%. Just ask any tuk-tuk driver (who has a nice tuk-tuk) if they do tours of Angkor Wat. Then negotiate a good price. It’s best to ask a few drivers to find the best price.
6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
She said: I would love to absolve the fear that people have of other cultures, religions, and differences. Travel is about celebrating and accepting differences, learning other beliefs, and co-existing.
He said: As cheesy as it sounds, it would be world peace. If we didn’t spend the billions of dollars, time, and resources on defence we could solve countless problems within the world. We could dedicate resources to the hungry, creating better communities, advance society, and space travel. Call me selfish, but I would like to visit the moon!
7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?
She said: Setting the alarm! I am not a morning person, especially when you mix in jet lag. Sometimes I like to wake up naturally and not have to worry about an alarm waking me up everyday. Scott likes the regimented alarm, but he hardly ever wakes up from the noise. I however, always wake up from his alarm and have to wake him up.
He said: Every time we board a flight, Collette likes to be the first one in line. I’m a little more relaxed when it comes to getting on the plane. This always caused a rift between us in the beginning. Now, Collette just gives me my ticket and we meet on the plane.
1000Fights: Thanks again to our friends Scott and Collette for sharing a little about their adventure! Give them a follow!
|In our continuous quest to bring you couple travel ideas, we want to introduce you to Rob and Kim of SimplyTravelled.com.
How to give them a follow:
1) Tell us how you met? What inspired you to travel together? How do you make couple travel work?
They said: Kim was finishing her MBA in Tennessee and randomly met two guys from Australia at a conference. She asked them what it’s like to live on an island (yes, she’s part londe!), and kept in touch via email for 8 months. She clearly made an impression, as then she was invited to head over to Oz for a 3-month working holiday. She met Rob at work, here he fixed her computer. They fell in love, and now he fixes all her problems ;)
We were inspired to travel because we just knew we weren’t living the life we dreamed of. We were “stuck” – not that we were miserable – we were comfortable with good jobs and great friends and family near by. We just knew there was something more to life, so decided to act on it! More on this in question 6.
We definitely haven’t mastered couple travel yet, but we make it work by being open, learning and adapting along the way. Arguing, fighting, forgiving and moving on, It’s part of the fun of it all (most the time anyways).
2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be? (this person can be living, historical or mythical)
He Said: If it was long term it would have to be my mate Hearschy. We’ve known each other for over 10 years, lived together and both love adventure.
She Said: My beautiful sister, Jennifer! She’s a bit more organized than me, yet enough spontaneous to go with the flow. We see-saw from keeping each other on the straight and narrow to letting loose, knowing there’s a time for everything, so it’s a great balance. In the couple of trips we’ve been on together, we didn’t want to kill each other, so I think she’d make the perfect travel companion!
3) What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?
He said: It’s a close one but I’d have to say Hawaii. We only spent two weeks there, but it was an awesome place. I love being outdoors and Kauai especially tailored to this passion with stunning beaches, amazing hiking and picturesque landscapes. Oh and I had the best pork burritos ever!
She said: Ahhh, such a tough one! I’m absolutely in love with New Orleans – the food, music and culture are the perfect combination for a sublime getaway! Outside of that, the Philippines completely stole my heart – I’ll elaborate on this one in question 5 ;)
4) I know you guys recently went to the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh. Tell us a little more about the experience.
He said: It’s a sobering experience and definitely worth visiting. I found the S-21 audio tour and museum to be the more moving of the two sites to visit. The stories are gut wrenching and it makes you question how man can be so evil.
She said: An utterly heartbreaking reality! I’m reading the book now, and I still can’t wrap my head around how something so horrible happens. And the fact that history keeps repeating itself makes me incredibly sad. But, without harping on the obvious negatives of genocide, the Cambodian people were some of the loveliest people I’ve met on my travels, so it was great to see the country and its people getting back on top!
5) Tell us about the Philippines. It is on our list. What were some of the highlights? Sights? Food? Culture?
Highlights/Sights: Luzon in the North was amazing. The word famous rice terraces were unbelievable and I loved the hiking along the narrow pathways. Apo Island was an authenticate island experience and the snorkelling with turtles was really fun.
Food: Garlic rice with corned beef and fried eggs became a staple. I had it at our homestay and it was some of the best food I ate in the country.
Culture: I can’t think of anything specific but the people were very welcoming, helpful and had great English skills.
She said: Ok, to start on a negative, the food is not amazing (sad but true) – but it’s not horrible either, and actually, the mangos are to die for! The rice terraces in Northern Luzon were phenomenal, and definitely a highlight. Sagada was one of my favourite towns for the quaint nature and laid back mountain vibe. My favourite island was Cebu – we travelled top to bottom, learning to dive on Malapascua Island (home of the thresher shark), before heading south to Moalboal. Pronounced “mwoal-bwoal,” it is a beautiful beachfront town, where you can snorkel with sea turtles and thousands of sardines. I can say I found my real love for the water in the Philippines!
6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
He said: Pollution/rubbish. You really notice how bad of a problem it is when visiting Asia. A more sustainable way to fuel society and better practices around waste disposal would benefit everyone.
She said: Oooh, good one. Previously I’ve always thought of this question in the context of poverty. However, due to reflections on our current journey, I’ve got a different perspective on this one. The problem I’d solve is two-fold: 1. People realizing their potential and 2. Not being afraid of using it! I see so many people with the brains, the means and the support network to do incredible things that often just “settle” and it drives me crazy! I’m pretty certain if these same people (and I’ve definitely been one of them before) followed their dreams, the world would be a much better place!
7) You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?
He said: Generally our worst fights are after we have had a few drinks. Nashville springs to mind. I’m not sure what I said, though I dodged a bottle of water being thrown at my head whilst I was making my way to the vending machine. The next day it was all a big laugh!
She said: Haha, is it bad that I’m completely oblivious and didn’t actually see this question coming at all!?! Ok, let me think…it’s probably not our biggest fight, but it was recent, so timely. We took a 4 hour bus ride to Ho Chi Minh. Instead of getting organized for where we’d stay when we arrived (yes, we had free wifi on the bus), we read our books and listened to music instead. When we arrived, it was raining and Rob suggested we take a minute at the station to work out where to go while we had a signal. I was like – are you kidding? Hello! we just had 4 hours to get organized, but you want to do it now? Nope – lets start walking. So off we went. An hour and a half later we were still circling around the city trying to find District 1. To stop from killing each other, we decided to take a break to fuel our bellies and connect to wifi to get a grasp on where we were. Attempting to defuse the situation, I suggested to Rob we just ‘agree to disagree.’ He said, “Nope!” I called him some choice words and walked away. I returned to him and apologized, we ate, walked the 30 minutes to our final destination and lived happily ever after!
1000 Fights: A huge thanks to Rob and Kim for sharing their love story and a few tips for traveling together.
This is a guest post from our friends Chris and Laura of Trailsunblazed.com.
Laura and Chris’ Maine Roadtrip
The fact that we now have a blog dedicated to our trips and adventures is evidence that traveling has become a big part of our lives together. Every couple has their thing. Jay-Z and Beyonce have music, Hill and Bill have politics, Tom Brady and Gisele have human perfection. For us it’s traveling and getting outside and taking advantage of the great outdoors. So let’s take it back to where it all began: Maine. Before we even knew each other, we had spent our entire lives traveling with our families to South America, Africa, Europe, and every corner of the US. Since we’re from Massachusetts, a road trip to our northern neighbor may seem like the least exotic destination imaginable, but this is one of the most memorable trips for us since it was the first time we hit the road together.
First Stop: Acadia National Park
After we sat in endless summer traffic on I-95 and made the requisite Chipotle stop along the way, we finally arrived at our first destination. Acadia is probably #1 on everyone’s list of places to visit in Maine, and for good reason. Although, we only spent two days in Acadia, we took advantage of most of what we hoped to see and do while we were on Mt. Desert Island.
- Camp at Seawall Campground
- Climb Mt. Champlain via the Precipice Trail (below)
- Watch the sunset from Cadillac Mountain (below)
- See a bunch of seals at seal cove
- Eat dinner in Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor
We easily could have spent a full week in Acadia, and lucky for us we live close enough that we probably will in the near future.
Second Stop: Bold Coast
After leaving the most popular destination in Vacationland, we continued the journey north to a place that most people even in New England have never heard of: Cutler, Maine. Cutler is about as remote a coastal town as you will encounter on the east coast. It is located just across the Bay of Fundy from Nova Scotia and looks out across some New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island. Our phones actually thought that we were in Canada so we immediately turned them to airplane mode to avoid getting destroyed by Sprint and Verizon. The reason for venturing to this faraway, unknown coastal town was to hike along the Bold Coast in the Cutler Coast Public Reserve Land, which ended up quickly becoming one of our favorite hikes in the US. The trail, meandering along the rugged cliffs overlooking the ocean, is unlike any other hike we have done in New England. Not to mention, since it is so remote, and “unblazed” if you will, we only ran into a couple other hikers throughout the entire day.
One important tidbit worth noting about this trail is that there are only three official campsites along the way. With so few fellow hikers on the trail, we expected that snagging a tent site would be easy…we were mistaken. It didn’t end up being an issue, however, because with so many comfortable-looking rocks on which to pitch our tent, we had myriad options. I try to give credit where credit is due, and camping on the edge of a cliff over the ocean was 1,000% Laura’s idea. Other than the rocky surface and swarming mosquitos that forced us into our tent prematurely, camping on the cliff ended up being a far more memorable option than camping in the woods at a boring campsite. Seals swam below us, we watched the sunset from the tent, we woke up to the sun rising over Canada, and successfully survived the night without getting blown into the sea.
Third Stop: Mt. Katahdin
From Cutler, we drove inland to Baxter State Park to look for Moose and hike Mt. Katahdin. We spotted two moose down the road from our campground on our first night. It’s difficult to spend any time around Baxter State Park without seeing at least once moose.
The hike up Katahdin is no joke. This is one of the most challenging day hikes in New England and by the time we finished scrambling up boulders to reach the summit, we were exhausted. We were fortunate enough to have climbed on an extremely clear day, so the breathtaking views were a well-earned reward.
The descent down Katahdin is equally spectacular, at least for the first stretch along the Knife Edge (below). Neither of us fell off the edge of the knife; however, Laura did fall and then proceed to roll down the mountain shortly after we made it safely off the ridge. She had some bumps and bruises but managed to save the camera like a champ. By the time we made it back down to the car, we were completely kaput and made a b-line for the only restaurant we could find. Being in the wilderness of Maine, we had limited options and our tired, hungry minds clouded our judgement to the point where we ended up buying at least three pounds of Chinese food which tasted about as good as you might expect Chinese food from northern Maine to taste.
Fourth Stop: New Harbor
After the challenge of Mt. Katahdin, our fourth and final stop was much more relaxing. We drove back down the coast and took a puffin cruise out of New Harbor. Unbeknownst to us at the time, most of the Maine puffins have already migrated out to see by mid-August, and the naturalist onboard announced that it was very unlikely that we would even see a single puffin. Of course they announced this after the boat had already left the harbor. However, in what can only be described as a miracle, we spotted 11 puffins, two bald eagles, and won a free ticket to go on another puffin cruise. A fitting end to an amazing trip.
Although Maine is a long shot from being on par with places like Patagonia, Kenya, or Macchu Picchu, this trip will always be one of our favorites.
A huge thanks to Chris and Laura for sharing this amazing post. We cant wait to follow this path! Give them at follow at www.trailsunblazed.com
1) Nice, France WRONG: Nice RIGHT: Niece.
Trust us, Nice is Nice!
2) Phuket, Thailand WRONG: Fu-ket RIGHT: Poo-get
Read our post on skipping Phuket and visiting Krabi.
3) Thames River, UK WRONG: Th-AIMS RIGHT: TEMs
Don’t know about you, but I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch say “Thames,” All…day…long!
4) Nevada, USA WRONG: Nev-AH-duh RIGHT: Ne-VAD-Duh
Don’t worry too much…Americans on the east side of the USA don’t know how to say it either.
5) Copenhagen, Denmark WRONG: Co-pen-hay-gen RIGHT: Co-pen-hog-gen
Hey you! There is not no “hay” in Copenhagen!
6) Beijing, China WRONG: Pee-King RIGHT: Bay-JING
This one harkens back to very poor translation spelling.
7) Reykjavik, Iceland WRONG: Ray-ka-vick RIGHT: Ray-kia-vick
Ok…we struggle with this one. Think of the car brand?
8) Taipei, Taiwan WRONG: Tai-PAY RIGHT: Tai-BAY
Home of one of the tallest buildings in the world, Taipei 101.
9) Ibizi, Spain WRONG: eye-BEE-zuh RIGHT: eye-BEE-thuh
It sounds a little too much like I beat her.
10) Moscow, Russia WRONG: Moss-COW RIGHT: Moss-CO
No mossy cows in Moscow.
11) New Orleans, USA WRONG: New Or-Leans RIGHT: New Or-Luns
The faster you say it, the better it sounds.
12) Qatar WRONG: cut-TAR RIGHT: Kuh-TER.
There is plenty of tar in Qatar, just not in the name of the country.
13) Bangkok, Thailand WRONG: BANG-kock RIGHT: Bang-Gowk
This is another common mistake we hear. Anyway you say it, one of the best cities we have visited.
14) Budapest, Hungry WRONG: Budda-PEST RIGHT: Budda-Pescht
If you are headed there, drop us a line. We know the best goulash place. Mmmmm.
15) Iraq WRONG: Eye-Rack RIGHT: EYE-Rock
Watch the evening news, and at least half of the local reporters will get it wrong.
16) Versailles, France WRONG: Ver-sillys RIGHT: VER-Sigh
This is a great drinking game standing in line for tickets to the palace.
17) Dubai WRONG: Do-Buy RIGHT: Do-BAY
Please do buy the duvet, not the Dubai.
18) Newfoundland, Canada WRONG: New-Found- Land RIGHT: Nyoo-fn-Land
Ok…we cant say it right either. Here is a Canuck to help us:
19) Gstaad, Switzerland WRONG: Gee-STAD RIGHT: Sch-TOT
Theres no G in Gstaad.
20) Cannes, France WRONG: CANS RIGHT: CAN
Saying it right vs. saying it wrong will cost you a good seat at any good Cannes restaurant.
How many did you get wrong? Leave a comment below.
Known as Australia’s only tropical capital city, Darwin welcomes visitors with the best weather, beaches, and activities every adventure seeker would love. Perched on the very northern coast of Australia, the area doesn’t see the attention of its sister cities Sydney or Melbourne. This lack of attention is actually a good thing. It is one of the few places that live up to what you envision the land down under being.
Visiting Darwin was our first visit to Australia, we learned a few lessons from our visit. We want to pass on a few of the basic do’s and dont’s for the area to ensure a problem-free and enjoyable vacation. We want you to have the insiders guide when going to the northern territory of Australia.
Do Plan for Adventure
Darwin offers visitors plenty of activities they can do from daytime to nighttime. There are two amazing national parks within driving distance of Darwin: Kakadu and Litchfield. Both are must sees for any visit to the “Top End.” There are many tours that leave from darwin and take you to on a day trip. The tour we elected to take gave us passage on a croc viewing cruise and a day swimming in the waterfalls of Kakadu! There are many multi day camping excursions into the national parks if you wish to get a more involved adventure. For the history buff, there are many World War II sites in Darwin. You can take a harbor cruse that highlights the different points of interest. There is also a WWII museum which has many interesting exhibits just outside of Darwin.
Once the sun goes down in Darwin, the fun continues! We highly recommend visiting the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. It lines the beach with art, food and fun vendors. We absolutely loved just people watching along the path. You can also check out the Deckchair Cinema for an outdoor film viewing while resting in a reclining chairs under the stars.
Don’t Overspend on Accommodation
There will be plenty of things where you can put your money in, and accommodation shouldn’t be one of it. To fully experience the authentic atmosphere of Australia’s Northern Territory, consider signing up for a house sitting instead. According to a popular house sitting platform Trusted House Sitters, many homeowners in the area are in search for a loving home sitters to look over their humble abode including their pets while they are away. You get to stay in their homes for free, while enjoying the rest of your trip in Darwin. It will save you plenty of cash that you commonly spend on hotels or inns. This is highly beneficial for those planning to stay in the destination for a long period of time.
We stayed at the Bromeliad Bed and Breakfast and had a great time. The innkeepers are so kind and will definitely help you make your visit to Darwin an enjoyable one.
Do travel with insurance
Whether you are traveling to Darwin from another Australian location or internationally, the need to have a travel insurance will be highly helpful to you, especially when going on a trip with your family. A typical policy, based on the information shared by this travel insurance guide, can help you avoid any travel risk, such as:
· Hefty medical costs
· Airline and accommodation cancellation
· Lost, stolen or damaged items
· Legal liability
The same article also showed the ins and outs of making a claim, when the need arises, making it easier for you in case an emergency strikes.
Don’t Visit During the Wet Season
Given the plenty of outdoor activities you can do in the city, the best time to visit Darwin is during the dry season, which lasts from April or May until September or October. It’s the most beautiful weather to get around the city with clear blue skies, warm days and balmy nights. During the wet season, you have to endure storms that sometimes led to cyclones and floods. The temperature is less humid as it gets close to the wet season. The wet season starts around October to November, but rain falls more between January and March. According to resource page Outback Australia Travel Secrets, the wet season may still work for travelers who are more adventurous and flexible as it’s the time when wildflowers are blooming and waterfalls are raging.
Darwin’s geographic location made it a highly popular destination for travelers in search of peace of mind without the need to leave the city life. We hope this post presented you with all the preparation and safety tips you need before going to the capital city of Darwin. Feel free to add more tips to this list, by leaving a comment below.
The trouble with travelers is they are so hard to shop for! The Fighting Couple comes to the rescue. We have put together the perfect gift guide for your wandering colleagues. Trust us, a few of these items under the tree will have your traveler beaming like they just avoided a long TSA line!
The Perfect Pillow
Travelers are always dreaming of the lovely locations they have visited. Their homes are filled with pictures of the Colosseum in Rome and selfies at Machu Picchu. Ok… maybe that is just us… Regardless, the first stop you should make on your traveler shopping quest is to Finch and Cotter for a Custom Travel Pillow. There you will find a great selection of travel themed throw pillows. We get lots of comments on ours! It lists all of our favorite places. We can’t count the number of conversations that have started when our friends looked at the pillow. Each destination is a memory to us. Be a traveling friend’s hero! Simply start your customized pillow by listing at least seven of your favorite destinations. Finch and Cotter can make custom pillows in a week! How cool is that? Facebook: Finch & Cotter
The Traveling Pouch
Travel these days takes a bunch of stuff: Passport, ID, itineraries, phones, Visas, boarding passes, ect, We have found the perfect solution. The Leather Travel Wallet from House of LH. This handsome and useful travel folder keeps all of your travel goodies sorted and organized. They are the perfect size to handle your cards, papers and even a special pocket for your passport. There is even room for one of Mike’s spreadsheets! This handy item is a must have. They are handmade out of real leather so they are tough enough to hold up any traveler’s demands. Bon Voyage!
The Tough Bag
One of the most embarrassing situations we have had while traveling was our trek into the Amazon jungle in Peru. We were trekking novices. We showed up at the river bank with our roller bag suit cases. (Don’t do this.) Did they get wet? Yes. Did our clothes smell musty and river-ery? Yes. Were we happy about that after a week in the jungle? No. Since then, we have discovered the Dry Duffel from Lewis N. Clark. This handy bag looks small, but it is huge! There is plenty of room for your entire trip’s wardrobe. The best thing? It’s completely water-resistant. This bag is perfect for trips where weather can be an issue. Headed camping or in our case “glamping”? This bag is going to be your new best friend. While you are on their site, they offer loads of great stocking stuffers. We highly recommend a toiletry pouch. It is one of those TSA friendly bags that every traveler covets. Twitter: @lewisnclarkgear
A Tale of Two Cities
Just because you are traveling does not mean that you have to look scroungy. The challenges for every traveler is what to pack? You want to pack light, but you still want to look good. Actually, you want to look better than good, you want to look fabulous. One of the requirements we have for our clothing is that they serve more than one purpose. We give you the Book Scarf from Storiarts Not only does this little number make you look smart, you actually are smart! Each scarf displays a passage from a classic novel. Luci picked the Tale of Two Cities, which is her favorite book. Again, this is another perfect conversation starter. These are easy to pack, easy to wash. and can be worn with different outfits. The perfect compliment to your traveling wardrobe. Twitter: @storiarts
One of the hardest parts of being a couple on the go is the times when you are apart. Yes, we miss fighting with each other. Both of us travel a lot for our day jobs. Recently our friends at Gnoments asked us to give a Gnoment a try. Ok… at first we were a little bit skeptical. A talking gnome is a little out of the ordinary. I am sure the TSA agent that went through all of our unmentionables was wondering why in the world we were smuggling gnomes? So this is how it works. With your smart phone, you create a message, pictures, or even a map for your loved one. Next step, hide your gnome when only your lover will find it (suitcase, briefcase, car, ect). Once they find the little gnome, they scan it with their phone and up pops your message. Cool huh? This is the perfect gift for couples that spend time away from each other. Twitter: @gnoments
They created a little video on how it all works:
The Perfect Print
The traveler’s home is a museum of their adventures. We are always looking to surround ourselves with inspiration from our previous adventures. We recently added a new print to our “palace”: A World Travel Map Print from The Oyster’s Pearl. The thing we love about this little shop is that it is run by a husband and wife team! (Wonder if they fight?) Their work has been featured in: Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Southern Living, Country Living, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, Buzzfeed & more! They can do custom prints of just about any state. Isn’t that cool? What we love most about their store is that everything is custom designed. We love gifts that are personalized just for us. Be a winner this season and have something unique made for your loved one. Twitter: @theoysterspearl
Aren’t these some amazing ideas? This time of year is a wonderful season for friends and family. A thoughtful gift to your traveling loved one will mean more than you know. A word of warning. Many of these items are handmade and are in short supply. We strongly encourage you to not delay your order. We would love your feedback on any and all the items above!
A number of the items listed above were supplied for us to review. Does this affect our honest review and impressions? Not one bit. Happy Holidays!
Visiting a upscale hotel in New York is often an exciting experience, although sometimes the rules can really dampen your weekend plans and throw your itinerary off. However, many people don’t realize that hotels can, and often do, give out extra benefits to customers who simply request them politely. One such service is the late check-out, in which you can enjoy an extra hour or two in a luxurious room rather than waiting in a coffee shop or uncomfortable reception area. However, these benefits are seldom offered to rude customers, which is why we would like to offer some tips on how you can courteously get extra benefits when staying at a hotel in New York.
The following are some tips offered by Megan Wood, who works for a company that reviews and rates hotels and has more experience than most with hotels and staff. These will help you enjoy the late check-out time you need without causing a hassle for any members of staff.
- Always be polite: Staff and managers are more eager to go out of their way for customers who treat them with respect and dignity. While it’s understandable that long trips can be draining and even small irritations can get on your nerves after a long drive or flight, they are still human and not simply staff at a hotel.
- Choose your days wisely: You are far more likely to be allowed Late Check-Out at a Hotel with HotelsByDay in New York if you are staying during off-peak times. This is because, during NYC’s off-peak times, the staff don’t have to rush around to ensure each room is clean for the next guests who might already be waiting. They can rather plan to clean your room last and afford you an extra hour or two to snuggle in some high thread-count linen.
- If you have a loyalty card or visit often, make sure to let the staff know: Although this doesn’t guarantee you a late check-out, it will certainly help. Hotels don’t want to lose loyal members, so they often tend to accommodate them more. If you aren’t a member, see if you can sign up for it. Many hotels offer free memberships, which are ultimately mutually beneficial.
Because keeping the customer happy is a top priority in the hotel industry, you will almost never find front desk agents who are rude, snotty or seemingly against you. However, this is because they have far more control than most customers think, and don’t have to be rude to you to make your stay uncomfortable. So remember this before you raise your voice or demand more than you actually deserve, as the agent giving you your room knows precisely which rooms have cold drafts, broken curtains rails and television remotes with low batteries.
In an interview with a true veteran in hotels and hospitality, Jacob Tomsky shares some real insights on the matter: “At the front desk, I am a god of instant karma.” He explains that he has many “weapons” at his disposal, such as replacing rooms that include beautiful views with less exciting rooms, placing customers in room 1212 – the dialing code for New York – or the more complicated key bomb: dual initialized keys that ultimately get you locked out of your room.
So remember next time, the desk agent you are speaking to is just as human as you are and deserves some respect and courtesy – especially if you are thinking of asking for favors such as a late check-out.
Two Sides to Every Coin
While it’s always fantastic to receive more than you bargained for, you need to also remember that there are two sides to every coin. A benefit that you enjoy may lead to a drawback endured by someone else. Therefore, it’s courteous to never push the limits of a late check-out, as you may be simply causing other people to lose out on their fair share.
However, there are times when a reasonable request on a late check-out is fair, as featured in an article on Forbes with Michael Forrest Jones: “If you overstay your check-out, and we don’t know ahead of time, you drive everyone nuts.” Nevertheless, further down the article he goes on to state “If you call first and ask for the extra time, we can accommodate you if your request, the extra time you need, is reasonable; the housekeepers can plan around that contingency, and everyone is happy.”
So don’t hesitate to politely request extra time if you need it. Perhaps you didn’t notice the time while enjoying the high thread-count sheets in your king-sized bed overlooking Central Park, or perhaps your next meeting only starts at 3 p.m. and you aren’t overjoyed by the thought of having to spend a few hours waiting in a coffee shop. Regardless of your reason though, hotels in New York can be very accommodating at most times and all it takes is a small amount of courtesy and planning to make your travels so much more enjoyable.
The hayseed cult-classic, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” starring George Clooney has long been one of our favorite films. The film is set and was filmed in the American south. As the storyline loosely follows the Odyssey by Homer, it appeals to wanderlusters. During our recent visit to the south, we tracked several of the film’s most iconic locations.
Its has been a while since this film came out…. How about a quick review? Here is the trailer:
The Woolworth Store
Perhaps the only establishment that George Clooney has ever been banned from: the Yazoo City Woolworth. As the story goes, Clooney’s character Ulysses Everett McGill confronts his ex-wife and her new fiancé. Yazoo City is located an hour north of the State Capitol of Mississippi, Jackson. Getting to the city is fairly strait forward. Take 49 north. The “Woolworth” building today is actually an antique dealership and is located right on Main Street. Location: 128 South Main Street, Yazoo City, MS.
Yazoo City is a unique place, with colorful buildings lining an active Main Street. Try Tom’s on Main Street for lunch. He makes a mean cheese burger.
Movie Fun Fact: George Clooney practiced his singing for weeks, but in the end his singing voice was dubbed by country blues singer Dan Tyminski. -IMDb
Just down from the Woolworth Building is old Yazoo City Bank. It makes an appearance in the film as the boys and George “Babyface” Nelson rob the Bank of Itea Bina. The structure is small, just as it appears in the movie. There are Greek revival columns that frame the door. There is an engraved logo above the doors, that was whited out for the movie. The bank is located at the intersection of Main Street and Commercial in Yazoo City, MS.
WEZY Radio Station
The boys meet up with blues guitarist Tommy Johnson along the way, and form a signing group called the “Soggy Bottom Boys.” In an effort to make some quick cash, they head to WEZY Radio, where they “sing into the can” for a blind radio engineer. This was perhaps the most fun and frustrating location to find. I say “find,” but I was never able to actually find the location. The scene was shot in Valley Park, MS, west of Hwy 61. From what I have been able to track down, the radio station itself was made for the movie and destroyed after. What remains is just the radio tower. I wandered around town (a few farm houses and a post office open in the afternoons.) If you have found it and can give directions, please leave a comment below.
In Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, a baptism scene takes place at Alligator Lake located on Long Lake Road. The lake is located 20 minutes north of Vicksburg, MS. During my visit, the river was flooding, so I wasn’t able to get all the way in. The water was warm!
Movie Fun Fact: All of the records shown in the film are turning at 33-1/3 RPM. In 1934, only 78 RPM was used. The first 33-1/3 RPM album was released in 1947. -IMDb
At the climax of the movie, George Clooney and his cohorts, The Soggy Bottom Boys, sing at a political function in a community hall. It is here were the Homer Stokes for Governor campaign makes a major misstep and Mr. Stokes is run our on a rail. The hall is filled with tables and features a stage at the front of the building. This scene was filmed in the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Building. Scenes from the movie, Mississippi Burning were also set at this location. Interesting thing about this location, as you watch the movie, and they are carrying Mr. Stokes out on the rail, the sound of them marching is very loud. The floor of the hall is wood and sounds exactly the same as you walk on it! Loud! This location is 1302 Adams Street, Vicksburg, MS.
Movie Fun Fact: Although Homer is given a co-writing credit on the film, the Coen Brothers claim never to have read The Odyssey and are familiar with it only through cultural osmosis and film adaptations.
Governor Pappy O’Daniel, the flour magnate and proud governor, plots his re-election plans on the porch of a beautiful plantation. The plantation is one of many antebellum beauties in Natchez, MS. The plantation is aptly called, “Cedars,” and is located along the Mississippi River. A tree lined lane leads to the stunning home. It is privately held and there are heavy gates that block entry. We did our best to photograph the porch from a distance. The location is Cedars Plantation, 13688 River Road, Natchez, MS.
During out stay in the south, we elected to stay in Natchez and can highly recommend the area. The entire city is filled to the brim with stunning well kept plantation mansions. We used Flipkey to book this amazing cottage . This house has a ton of history of its own, and has been lovingly restored.
Movie Fun Fact: When Everett and Delmar are eating at the restaurant, Everett orders the restaurant’s “finest bottle of bubbly wine.” Though Prohibition was repealed nationally in 1933, Mississippi still prohibited the sale of alcohol until 1966.
River Sex Scene
Everett, Pete and Delmer’s harken to the Siren’s call. Three southern belles call to them along a trickling creek. The boys participate in debauchery in one of the most beautiful settings in the south, D’Lo Water Park. It is here that Pete gets loved up and turned into a horney toad. The location is D’Lo Water Park, 135 D’ Lo Road, D’Lo, MS. It is 20 miles south of Jackson.
The KKK Cross Burning
The Coen brothers, the directors of this movie didn’t feel that it would be appropriate to recreate the cross burning scene in the south. They elected to use a sound stage in Hollywood.
Movie Fun Fact: The song recorded by the Soggy Bottom Boys (“I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”) , contains the line “I bid farewell to ol’ Kentucky, the place where I was born and raised.” George Clooney, who played one of the Soggy Bottom Boys, was born in Lexington, Kentucky.
We hope that you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at a great movie. Each of these locations are close together so you can hit all the sites mentioned in one day. Now go R-U-N-N-O-F-T.
Disclosure: On occasion we are offered items to review on this site. Does this affect our honest review and opinion? Not one bit!