Tag Archives | couples

Seven Questions with SimplyTravelled.com

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:

Blog:  www.simplytravelled.com

twitter: @simplytravelled

Facebook: @Simplytravelled

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).

Kim and Rob of Simply Traveled

Kim and Rob of Simply Traveled

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!

Couple's cooking school

Couple’s cooking school

5)  Tell us about the Philippines.  It is on our list.  What were some of the highlights?  Sights?  Food?  Culture?

He said:

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!

Love birds!

Love birds!

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.

 

2

The Perfect Maine Roadtrip

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.

Maine one

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.

maine two

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.

maine three

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.

maine five 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.

Maine six new harbor

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.

Maine seven harbor pic

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.

maine map

 

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

 

6

Travel-the best V day gift!

Tis the season of Love!  Valentines day is just around the corner.  We are all facing the age old question, what to give our loved one?   Why give chocolates or flowers?  Give them the world!  We asked a few of our friends to submit “Selfies of Love.”  Hopefully this will inspire you to invest in your relationship and see the world together.  Even better, we are giving away $50 for the best couple travel selfie!  Below are the best of the best we have received to date.  Think you have a better one?  There is still time to enter!  Read below for all the details on entering.  Happy travels!

Don’t forget to vote for your FAVE “Selfie of Love” below!

 

Volcano in El Salvador

Beth and Ben on a hike up the Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador. Check out their blog:  www.mytraveltools.com

 

Happy Baha couple!

Happy Baha couple!

 

A room with a view! Paris Opera House

A room with a view! Paris Opera House

 

Kennedy space center

Robbie and Carrie at Kennedy Space Center.

 

Hamlet Depot, Hamlet, North Carolina.

Hamlet Depot, Hamlet, North Carolina.

 

Love at the Louvre with Olly & Jo of @ollyandjo

Love at the Louvre with Olly & Jo of @ollyandjo

 

The couple behind @onlymypassport in Valencia, Spain.

The couple behind @onlymypassport in Valencia, Spain.

 

Charlotte and Cameron at Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

Charlotte and Cameron at Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

[poll id=”2″]

Its not too late to enter!!!!   Just zing us a picture and tell us in less than 10 words where it was taken.  Send them to SelfieofLove@gmail.com

 

The fine print (sorry, we don’t look good in stripes):

1) Pictures must be travel themed and feature at least two people.  (No cat pictures allowed.)

2) Void where prohibited.  (Void is such a weird word…..Void.)

3)  All pics must be “tastefully” done.  (Ummm… no weird stuff, ok?)

4) Contest rules are subject to change.  (Unless Luci changes her mind….which NEVER happens.)

5)  Contest ends on February 10, 2016 at midnight MST.  (All good things must come to an end.)

5.5)  18 years old and above only to win.  (This is the most fun adults get to have…no kids allowed!)

6)  The expert judges at 1000 Fights will pick the winner!.  (There are no rules against crossing your fingers.)

7)  Submitting pictures to www.1000Fights.com means we can use them.  (We will use them in our post if you win.  Thats all.  We promise.)

0

Castles, Cars, and Compromise

We always get into the same fight about vacations – agreeing to do doing things we both enjoy. Usually, we have very different ideas about what to see and how long to see it. Rarely, do you find the perfect location for couples where ladies get their fix and men can do their own thing. After years of research, we have found the ideal place, and it’s in ….Germany?

Let’s talk romance first. Ladies, what is more romantic than a stroll through the lush woods and ending with a breathtaking view of a fairy tale castle? Berg Eltz Castle is perhaps one of the best kept castles in all of Europe. Its ideal setting in an enchanting valley makes for some great handholding and eye gazing with your prince charming. Once you arrive, park your car and take a short mile hike through the woods. As you walk around the bend you are given a postcard worthy vista.

Berg Eltz Castle

Berg Eltz Castle

If you are impressed with the exterior of the castle, wait until you step foot inside. The family owned castle, started in 1100s, was miraculous saved from destruction. Visitors are able to explore many of the over 100 rooms inside with original furnishings and authentic tapestries. Each room speaks to the history and way of life of medieval lords and ladies. The castle is also home to a treasury that features collections of fine porcelain, sparkling jewels, and weapons used to defend the castle.

The next stop on our castle quest is the Marksburg Castle. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Rhine River, Markburg offers romantic river views that will make any Downton Abbey devotee swoon. One part Romanesque and one part Gothic; the castle is one of the best preserved fortresses in Germany. The castle offers regular guided tours of the grounds and rooms. Beginning with a climb up the “riders stairway” the tour includes a visit to the grand banquet hall, the bed chamber, as well a rather macabre reproduction of a torture chamber. Marksburg conveys an understanding of what privileged life during the Middle Ages might have been like.

IMG_5347

Hotel Castle Liebenstein

 

After a hard day of castle questing, it’s time for a hardy meal and a good night’s rest. And where should a princess rest her crown? How about her own castle? Yes! Many small castles and noble residences have been converted into bed and breakfasts.   We stayed at the Hotel Castle Liebenstein (Castle Love Stone), which offers rooms with incredible views of the Rhine for only 125 euros a night.   This cozy bed and breakfast offers comfortable beds with Middle Age décor and a generous breakfast. This castle has its own tale of intrigue. Its twin sister is just a few hundred yards away. The two castles were occupied by warring brothers. Today, one is home to the bed and breakfast; the other is a delicious restaurant! We enjoyed both. It’s probably best not to bring up one whilst at the other. The entire area offers a number of castle stay choices limited only by your euro collection and imagination.

For the gents, let’s head a few miles up the road to Nurburg. The Nurburg area is a man-cation all by its self. Nurburg is home of one of the most challenging race tracks in the world, the famed Nordschleife (Nurburg Ring). With its 12 miles of 147 twist and turns, and steeped history the ring is the place to be for any auto lover. What’s wonderful about this course is you can actually drive it! For a few euros and a bucket load of courage away you go! While the ring is amazing, we found something even better. It is a well-kept secret that the same engineers that designed the ring, also made the roads in the Nurburg area! You just need a road Sherpa to help you find them, enter RSR Nurburg.

The Nurburgring

The Nurburgring

First, experts at RSR Nurburg set you up in your pick of a performance cars including: Alfa Romero, BMW, Lotus and even Ferrari! We selected the classic Ferrari 308; the perfect car for getting around the corners. You then begin your quest in search of the long forgotten Sudschleife or south track. Along the way we caught views of the main track, with a glimpse of infamous corners featured in Ron Howard’s film Rush.  The winding roads through the Eifel region not only help you appreciate the rich racing tradition of the area…but it is flat-out beautiful.  As an added bonus, our guide drove us by top-secret research and development facilities of Porsche, BMW, and Range Rover. This tour of the area is a must.

What’s best about cars, castles, and compromise? You can see castles and drive fast cars in a day, as the area is roughly 30 miles apart. Both partners can get what they want.

11

A Ticket to South Africa

“All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa.  We had not left it yet, but when I would wake in the night, I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.”—Ernest Hemingway

They say that you shouldn’t start blog posts with a quote.  They say that it some how takes away from rest of the post.  I think that is bunk.  Hemingway was onto something.  His thoughtful comment completely captures how we feel about Africa.  While our visit to South Africa was short, it changed us forever.  We want to take you along on our discovery.

Township south Africa

A view of Soweto

The Soweto

Our African experience began in Johannesburg, South Africa, affectionately known as Jo’Burg.  We endured the long flight from the States.  It continues to amaze us that you can board a flying tin can and travel half way around the world in less than a day.  Once we got our feet underneath us, we joined up with our guide Henry and headed for the Soweto.  Soweto is short for “South Western Township.”   The sprawling shanty metropolis is the home to 1.3 million people.  It has a rough and difficult history that we won’t dive into here; needless to say, we felt that it was important to see and attempt to understand first hand.  Our guide drove us around the Soweto, pointing out the hospital, when electricity came to the area, and how all the city functioned. Our guide took us into a couple of homes. We met the families that lived there.  Our “abundance guilt” bubbled up in our hearts.  A visit to the township was powerfully instructive. We ended our tour at Nelson Mandela’s house and mentally exhausted.

The next morning we hired our rental car for our adventure.   You would think that we would engage a Range Rover for the self-guided safari that we were embarking on?  No, we went cheap.  We opted for the four-cylinder Chevy Aveo.  Bad decision.  But we will save that story for a little later.  We headed north on highway one.  Our destination:  Zimbabwe.

Going into Zimbabwe

Crossing the border into Zimbabwe

Destination Zimbabwe

One of Luci’s lifetime goals is to visit Zimbabwe.  Why would an Idaho farm girl set a crazy goal like that?  We do not know.  The journey took a little over 5 hours.  As we approached the border crossing, we began to have second thoughts.  Zimbabwe does not have the friendliest relations with our fair country.  We parked at the South African checkpoint on the south bank of the Limpopo River.  We went in and were greeted by a grim-faced bureaucrat.  We explained our intent to cross into Zimbabwe, get our Passport stamped and return.  We both saw the blood kind of drain out of his face.

“Why are you doing this thing?” He politely asked.  We smiled and tried to explain.  Rather than attempt to counter our stupidity, he instructed us to do a number of things for our safety.  “Pull your car around to the front of the building, it will likely be stolen or broken into.  Go there, come back quickly and see me when you return so I know that you have returned safely.”

Zimbabwe border

Welcome to Zimbabwe

At this point, both of us were having second thoughts.  If our rental car company didn’t want us to drive across this river into this country, why in the world are we going across?  Like walking the plank, we bravely marched across the baboon ridden bridge.  We were headed by foot to Zimbabwe.  We were obviously tourists. Luci had her camera around her neck.  We didn’t have our belongings wrapped in a sheet or carrying grocery sacks across the bridge on our heads like others crossing.  As we approached, we were welcomed by camo-clad militia men with AK-47s strapped to their backs.  Each in turn looked at us with healthy suspicion.  We nervously whispered back and forth to each other…”keep walking, keep walking.”   We entered the run down custom’s house.  It was sheer craziness.  Crowds pushed forward to face the three to four border agents that were behind bars.

The heat that day was blistering.  Humidity was off the charts.  The air was close in the steamy small room.  We were unsure of ourselves.  Our naivety was written on our faces.  A couple of different agents came from one of the back rooms and pulled us aside and suggested that we pay them to make the process go faster.  We declined.  The price was adjusted.  Again we opted out.  In the developing situation, it soon became clear that the likelihood that we were going to make it out of the experience without our wallets being lightened significantly was highly unlikely.  Was it worth it for the Passport stamp?  I said, “Let’s go.”  We walked out.  We dashed back across the bridge to check back with our caring friend and find our car unmolested.  We had accomplished our goal.  We had set foot in Zimbabwe.  The adventure was just beginning.

South Africa Safari woman

The view from the veranda of the lodge.

 

A peaceful outpost

We made our way back into the savanna of South Africa.  We had done our research and found a quaint bed and breakfast on a small reservoir, the Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge.  This was our first taste of the night sounds of Africa.  It was wonderful.  We had our dinner on the veranda overlooking the water and listened.  We recounted our brave adventures that day and started to connect with the place that we had traveled so far to see.

The next morning we would head out on our self-serve safari to see some of the most incredible animals in the world.

Africa was truly a grand adventure!

 

  • Explore

    P&O Cruises are the trusted cruise experts, so a holiday with us is sure to be a holiday of a lifetime.

  • From Southampton

    Forget the stress of the airport and let your holiday begin the moment you step aboard one of our Southampton cruises.
    For more information, click here

  • Cruise Ships

    Our ships offer a level of service that you might have thought died out with cruise liners of the ’20s – no request is too much.
    For more information, click here

  • Cruise Deals

    Find our most popular cruise deals and start planning your next adventure by visiting the P&O Cruises website.
    For more information, click here

  • Mini Cruises

    If time is short, try a mini cruise – it offers all the same benefits as a longer cruise, but can be enjoyed over a long weekend.
    For more information, click here

 

0

10 Questions to Ask Your “All Inclusive” Resort

All inclusive.  What does that really mean?  Is EVERYTHING included?  All inclusive resorts are a great travel idea for couples that don’t want to sweat all of the details.  All inclusives range from your classic sun and sand resorts to all inclusive winter skiing holidays.  We put together a little guide to help you ask the right questions before taking you first all inclusive adventure.

1)      Getting there-Believe it or not there are some all inclusive resorts that actually include airfare to and from your home!  Wow!  While this is truly a rare offering, you really need to know this upfront.  Travel to and from your destination is often the most expensive portion of your trip.

2)      Meals-This is one of the most common offering for all inclusives.  Meals are most often spelled out as breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is critical to get a clear understanding, if one of the three is not included, ask about the on and offsite resort food options.  If you or your sweetheart have food concerns including: allergies, limited food likes, or have other food related medical/religious concerns its always best to call ahead before booking.

3)      Meals II-Another important consideration is how good the food is. If you have pre-paid all your meals, you are “locked” into limited options.  Ask questions like: how many food venues do you have on site?  What different types of food do you offer: Chinese, French, fast food?

4)      Booze-This is an important question.  Ask if beer and wine are included only with meals, just dinner, or for a short “happy” hour after dinner.  Ask if spirits and liquors are included, and if they are not, where they can be purchased.

5)      Fine Dining-Are you noticing a common thread on a number of these questions?  Food!  Another key question to ask is about the fine dining options.  When traveling, we always love to spoil ourselves a little one night.  Ask the resort of they have any fine dining options included.  If not, ask about restaurants in the vicinity.  It just might be worth it to venture off “campus” to get some really good food.  Again, know your options.

jet ski

Image via Wikipedia

6)      Fun!-Is fun included?  Sure there is unlimited use of the jet skis…but…you must rent a helmet $$$.  Ask about massages, spa treatments, access to swimming pools and saunas.  Most include the basics and then you pay for the extras.  Find out what is included before your get your final bill.

7)      Kids-Some all inclusive resorts really specialize in traveling with children.  Some resorts even have infant and toddler programs!  For a new parent, an all inclusive is truly a relationship savior.   Keep in mind, not all inclusives are family friendly.  Many such resorts cater to adults.  Everything from evening entertainments, libations, and even the dress code might shock you.  Know before you go!

8)      Sight seeing/side trips–  While sitting on a white sand beach all week sounds great, you may want to see the locations further afield.  Are these side trips included?  Do you have to pay for the guides?  Is the transportation to and from the side trip included?

9)      Taxes/Fees-We saved this one for the end, we don’t want to rain on your parade, but this is a key factor in selecting the best resort for you.  Many resorts advertise with a sexy “base” rate that looks too good to be true.  Take the time to read the fine print.  Be aware that if you are going to an offshore resort, the fees and taxes might be a true shock.

10)   Tips/gratuity-this is certainly one area where you would not expect to be included in the all inclusive, but it never hurts to ask and understand what the standard practice for the resort is.

If your are looking for a vacation from your typical vacation, an all inclusive can be a great couple travel option for you.  Regardless if you are seeking the beach or all inclusive winter skiing holidays, ask the questions.  We just want you to enjoy your hard earned vacation by asking the right questions before you go.  Have fun!

 

1

5 Secrets to get your “Indoor Girl” Outdoors

Amazon River trip oneSo how do you get you indoor girl into the great outdoors? Not as simple as it sounds.   (I must first do a shout out to all of your outdoor girls, you rock!)  Luci’s idea of roughing it… is a hotel without room service! Seriously, I salute Luci, she has braved everything from taking a canoe up the Amazon to sleeping in a yurt in the African savannah. We came up with a few hints to make venturing into the wild a little easier.

Be Prepared

We have found an ounce of prevention can equal a pound of cure. Going into the wild, you are going to meet two arch enimies to indoor peoples: Dirt and Bugs. While you can’t pack all of the creature comforts into the woods, you and pack a few things that make the go of it loads easier. Item #1 insect repellant. This stuff is perhaps the most important thing in your pack. Buy the good stuff. If you are going into the really adventurous areas (see Amazon, Nile and other non-blackberry functioning areas) you need a strong concoction with lots of something called DEET. DEET is magic. If you are going in a little less extreme area , find some non-scent insect repellent. The pros of DEET juice: protects the really bad stingers. The negatives of DEET: it smells to high heaven, and it is sticky. YUCK! If the areas you are headed to don’t have mosquito borne illness threats, use the non-scent stuff.

Set Expectations

Some of our best/worst fights came from different expectations. One of the keys in bringing someone that is not an outdoors person into outdoors is they tend to see what they fear most. If they hate bugs….then they will see the bugs. They will see the dirt. They will “think” they hear the dangerous critters in the night. One way to help your spouse is to say paint the picture for them: “There will be bugs. We have the spray to minimize their presence. We will be sleeping in nets to prevent them getting at us at night. Yes, there will be dirt. But, at such and such a point, we are going to shower and at another point we are going to swim under waterfalls.” Building what to expect can go a long way to make the trip bearable for the non-out-of-doors folks.

Share Your Glasses

One of the main barriers for indoor people is that they flat out don’t understand what drives outdoor people to go out doors. We encourage couples to find ways to communicate effectively. Sharing ones passion for the great outdoors can really help one spouse understand the other. One of our experiences in the Amazon really highlights this understanding. It was evening and we had been out on the river the entire day. Luci was swatting bugs in fine form. I invited her to sit on a bench overlooking the river and watch the sunset. Candidly, it was one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. The sky was lit up with dramatic reds and yellows. We just sat and watched. All of the sudden, the dirt, bugs and hungry jaguars in the distance didn’t really matter. She was looking through my glasses, she understood (for a few mili-seconds) why I love the jungle.

Wonderful Amazon SunsetMix it up

One of our little secrets for couple travel is to amplify. As our voyage progresses we go to better and better places. Start off with the camping trip, then end the trip at the lux resort. This does two things; it gives your spouse something to look forward to after roughing it. It also makes them remember the positive. Great idea huh?

Wanna see some more Amazon pics?  Including some spiders and creepy crawlies?  Just like us on Facebook.

Be a Hero

If your sweetheart isn’t really into the more adventurous destinations, and they suck it up and sacrifice for you, you gotta make it up to him or her. Slip her favorite luxury item into the pack. Do they love honey covered almonds? Stow some away in your pack and at the right time, bam! You are a hero. Even better, pack their favorite elixir… perhaps a bottle of 2009 Txomin Etxaniz (Basque country wine) and break it out at the right time and …..BAM! You are a hero.

That is it!  Our 5 tips for getting your “indoor” girl into the great outdoors.  Be prepared in advance of your trip, build realistic expectations.  Help you sweetheart understand what you love about nature.  Perhaps the best hint is to be a hero, look for little things along the way that will make the outing more pleasurable.  In the end, regardless if you are in the Amazon Jungle or taking touring caravans in the UK. Make the most of your adventures by following a few of the steps spelled out above.

4

A Room with a View

We need your help.  So we were fighting the other day.  You have no idea how many times we have said that!  But then again you are on this site.  We were having a “discussion” on which of our fave hotels had the very best views?  Hotel rooms are just that to us, rooms.  What is important to us is what you can see from the room.  Great views are travel porn.  One of Luci’s all time fave shows is “A Room with a View”.   In this “chic” flick, the heroine Lucy Honeychurch and bumbling chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without a view.  In the end, she gets the man, and they get a room, oh and it has a view.  As a result of this show, as we travel one of key requirements is an amazing view.

Our four contenders are:  Conrad-Istanbul, Hiton-Nice, Cavalieri-Rome,  and the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge-South Africa

Conrad-Istanbul

This is an amazing property!  It lands overlooking the mighty Bosporus.  (click on the pic below to get a better feel of the immense view)  You can see two continents (Europe and Asia) with this view! How many hotels can claim that?    The unique shape of the hotel makes for views of some amazing land and seascapes. What makes this hotel’s view special is your are treated to views with two senses: sight and sound.  Every morn and night you are greated with haunting renditons of the call to prayer for nearby mosques.

Please click on photo to get the entire view!

 

Hilton, Nice, France

What is better than a view of the French Rivera?  Nice offers some ob the best water and beach front  on the globe.  We understand the hotel sold to another chain.  Can anyone confirm that?  Regardelss the view of the swaying palms, the fine eye candy on the beaches and of course the azure water are not to be missed.  You are literally a hop, skip and a jump to world class beaches.

 

 

Cavalieri-Rome

Ok we weren’t going to reveal which is favored by who to let you the reviewer an unbiased opinion.  But this is Mike’s fave hotel in the world.  The mighty Cavalieri is one of the ugliest hotels on the outside.  It is about as glamorous as a cement box.  But what it lack in outward appearance, the inside and of course the views more than makes up for.  Located on a perch overlooking all of Rome and especially the Vatican, the view is breathtaking.   As luck would have, as we opened the siding door to our patio, there was a rainbow over the city!   The hotel is located in a 50 acre parklike setting.  We understanding that during conclave, rooms go for astronomical prices.  You could see the white smoke from your room!

 

 

 

Fairmont Zimbali Lodge-South Africa

Lastly, but certainly not least is the the Zimbali.   While our room offered a jungle obstructed viewof the Indian Ocean, a few steps down the path to the pool affords one of the most impressive ocean front views!  We visited the Zimbali at the end of our safari trip trough South Africa.  The resort lodge is an oasis for the soul.  The hotel has a number of freshwater pools right on the edge of the ocean.  We timed our visit on the shoulder season and had the entire pool area to ourselves.  Beat that view?  I dont think so!

There are some many great locations out there: an African Lodge, a Mediterian escape or even take in Kensington apartments for that matter!  Regardless if they are hotels, hostels, or even serviced apartments treat yourself to a great view!

Now is your chance to weigh in with your opinion.  Which is the best view?  Just leave a post below.

2

7 Questions with Here, There, and Elsewhere

Do you ever get a kind of insight when you meet someone for the very first time? You say to yourself, this person is going places?  Is it charisma?  Well we feel this way about our 7 Questions featured couple this week.  They are really destined for some great adventures!   So… meet:  Bryan and Laura.

Blog:  Here, There and Elsewhere

Twitter: The DeLuca’s (follow them as they have hit the “2000 barrier”)

 

1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

Team DeLuca has been to 22 countries collectively…Bryan having visited 12 and Laura ten. Not too shabby for a pair of (strong to quite strongly attractive) amateurs.

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: Morgan Freeman, so he could narrate my entire journey.

She Said: I would travel with one of my best friends, Katie. She and I met six years ago at an alumnae gathering where I proceeded to unknowingly make fun of one of her high school acquaintances, and we’ve been friends ever since. She and I have similar interests – could sight-see one day, then watch a Real Housewives marathon the next while ordering room service in our PJs – and get into quite a bit of trouble when we are together.

3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?

He said: Switzerland because it’s so tranquil and picturesque. And the sheep are cute, too.

She said: I feel like such a typical girl when I say this, but definitely Paris. The sights, the smells, the random men in their underwear splashing around in fountains. It’s just delightful.

4) If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

He said: This is a tough one, but I’d have to pick steak and lobster at a really nice steakhouse. You know, man food.

She said: Hands down, I would have a Tex-Mex feast. A little queso here, some sour cream chicken enchiladas there, and a nice margarita to wash it all down.

5)How do you pick the places you visit? Spontaneous vs. planned?

He said: A little bit of both. I like knowing what I’m doing but I like getting lost, too.

She said: I spontaneously let Bryan plan most things.

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: Cancer, that bastard.

She said: Human trafficking, those bastards.

7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: Well, I was working until the 11th hour prior to a weekend jaunt to New Orleans. Apparently I was the cause of us not only almost missing our flight, but also our bags having to travel on a later one. Then I got food poisoning and my husband went to a vampire party without me. I’d say that was quite the travel adventure and fight. Oops!

He said: Fighting about the fight Laura just mentioned.

 

1000Fights: Wow!  This couple has spunk! Ok, lets get the obvious out of the way.  We know that they are likely the odds on fav for our Hot Blogger Contest.  Luci says that they are going to make beautiful babies…I am not really sure what that means.  Anyway.  H T & E are headed on a whirlwhind trip and we wish them the very best in their travels and adventure together.  As a parting shot, we want to share one of their recent tweets:

HTandE The DeLuca’s
30 minutes ’til our guests arrive, and my hubs and I just slow danced in our kitchen. #lovebirds
5:27 PM Aug 27th

Bryan and Laura-Come back and tell us when the fighting starts!

 

 

 

 

1

101 “Other” Things to to in Holland

One of our fave European cities is the “AMS” (Amsterdam, Netherlands).  Amsterdam is a collage of different feels-old and young.  After our first visit, Luci commented:  “this is the youngest oldest city I have ever been.”  She could not be more right.  Despite the fact that the architecture is so historic, the population of the city is decidedly dominated by the 25-35 set.  AMS loads of fun at all hours.  We recently did a post on great layover plans for the city.

Many travelers today taint their view of the country based on two vices: Pot and Prostitution.   Unlike other “escape” locales like Las Vegas, with AMS take away the “SIN” and you are left with an amazing “CITY”.  Holland has depth.   Holland has a multicultural, vibrant and rich history and tradition.

In part to counter the unsavory image being projected to the world, legislation was introduced recently to prevent foreigners from patronizing the “coffee” shops.  To counter the notion that all  the Netherlands is good for is a “weed-cation”, the Netherlands Board of Tourism enlisted  New York comedian/filmmaker, Mark Malkoff to show Americans that there’s way more to do in Holland than smoking pot in coffee shops!

Here a four short clips from youtube  that are hilarious!!!  Watch every one, they are sooo funny!



 

 

 

0