Tag Archives | travel blog

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.)

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The Do’s and Dont’s of Darwin

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.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

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.

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7 Couple Travel Profiles: Which One Are You?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news…

But stereotypes do exist, especially in travelers.

After spending nine months in South East Asia and a year in Central and South America, I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I were approached with this scenario:

  • Stranger: So are you guys [Australian/Canadian/British]?
  • Us: No.  We’re from the United States.
  • Stranger: Oh, cause most the Americans I meet are [overweight, rude, or only travel on the tourist trail].

Ouch, right?

But the good news is…

During my time abroad I met and saw countless couples (some cool and some not) who all seemed to fit a profile.

Now, this is just my opinion and I understand not everyone fits into a mold.  So, I’m happy for you to let me know if I hit the mark or totally missed in the comments below.

But first, let’s take a look at these seven traveling couple profiles…

Budget Backpacker Couple

These couples know how to stretch their pennies (not just dollars) as far as their money will take them.  They chose inexpensive travel destinations (such as South East Asia and Central America) and scavenge for the cheapest accommodations: hostels, guest houses, camping, or couches (e.g. couchsurfing.org).  Heck, even the really smart budget backpackers book overnight flights and buses so they don’t have to pay for accommodations at all!  Budget couples aren’t afraid to haggle or eat street food daily.

Adventurous (Get Me Off This Tourist-Trail) Couple

These couples avoid overly tourist destinations and activities (such as big European cities, resort beach towns, or bus tours) at all costs and wouldn’t be caught dead on a cruise.  They’re in search of the new, undiscovered destination that only the “cool” people know about (The Beach, anyone?).  Adventurous couples love the great outdoors and solitude.

couple nepal

Are you an adventurous couple?

Honeymoon Couple

Whether they’re on a honeymoon, still in the honeymoon phase, or just met a few hours ago at the bar, honeymoon couples have no problem showing public displays of affection like holding hands or stealing a kiss.  While it can be cute and acceptable in some areas such as the Americas, in Asia and Africa body contact is offensive.

Honeymoon couple boat

Are you a lovey honeymoon couple?

Long-term (We’ve Seen It All) Couple

There’s no shortage of seasoned couple travelers.  They have a level of maturity, experience and confidence in who they are (individually and as a couple) and where they’re going.  Why?  Because they’ve been around the block and have learned some hard lessons along the way.  These couples always dress appropriately for the country and situation,  are fluent with the necessary words to get by, and never seem to get lost.

Elderly (but Still Kicking) Couple

Perhaps one of my favorite traveling couples is the elderly who love to strike up a conversation with anyone willing to chat and always have smiles on their faces, even when the going gets rough.  Life’s too short after all.  These couples are in no rush and appreciate the smaller things such as a beautiful sunset, manicured garden or warm handshake.  While normally fugal, they splurge on the good stuff and often ties buy a younger traveler a meal or beer.

Are you a baby boomer traveling couple?

Are you a baby boomer traveling couple?

Green (Keep the Peace) Couple

These couples are on a mission to educate the world on recycling water bottles (a big problem with traveling), minimize waste, and volunteer to give back to local communities.  Whether they’re on a church mission, working for a Non-Government Organization (NGO) or volunteering at an elephant zoo in Thailand, they want to make a different and minimize their global footprint while encouraging others to do the same along the way.

Are you a "green" couple traveler?

Are you a “green” couple traveler?

Luxury Couple

We see celebrities on their yachts in Nice, beach lounging in Rio, and smoking cigars in Cuba (Jay-Z and Beyonce, anyone?), but there’s also less famous jet-setting couples that don’t make the magazines but still know how to travel in luxury.  They have money to burn and know how to party, but probably couldn’t survive one day on the streets of India or use a public WC in Europe.  These couples travel in comfort being shuttled around in first-class cabins and limos.

 So, how does this list of couples compare to the real travelers you’ve met on the road?  Let us know in the comments below.  Thanks!

 

About the author: Darcie Connell is the founder of Trekity – a daily newsletter and website inspiring women to travel.  She most closely relates to the Budget Backpacker, Adventurous, and Long-term traveler…  but is well on her way to the elderly.  Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

34

Two Days in Vienna

It must be said: two days is not long enough to see Vienna.   There are so many things to do in Vienna!  Vienna food, history and charm offer traveling couples adventure at every turn.  One could spend an entire lifetime as a student of Vienna.  For those of you looking for a two day itinerary for Vienna, here are our recommendations.

Vienna churchVienna:  An Overview

Our first recommendation upon arrival is to get a quick feel for the city.  We typically recommend the hop on and hop off buses when we see a city for the first time.  We ran into a problem with this in Vienna.  All of Vienna looks the same.   There is no Eiffel tower, No arc de Triumph to help with memory points.   We found a great solution on our last trip to Vienna:

Instead of the bus, we recommend an Iphone app called Gretl Goes.  Using Gretl’s handy app you can hone in on a quick walking tour that gives you a much deeper intro into what you will be seeing.  Vienna is one of the easiest cities to traverse on foot.  The metro and bus system is really second to none.  Armed with the maps and insights of this handy app, you will become a Vienna pro in no time.

Are you into WWII?  Take her WWII walking tour and hit the high points in roughly 3 hours.   (We are begging Gretl to make a WWI tour!)

If you are a foodie, skip to the gourmet walking tour.  It includes visits to the Kipfelhaus the birthplace of the Croissant, a pop in at the Sacher café and what food tour would be complete without a visit to the Naschmarket.  The foodie tour ends in our fave gelato joint in all of Austria, Zanoni & Zanoni.  Grab some lunch in a café and your gelato and get moving!  We only have two days!

Schonbrunn Palace

Once you have your bearings, lets dive into the must see of Vienna.  Your afternoon will be spent at the imperial summer residence: Schönbrunn Palace.   When you purchase your tickets, make sure and pick up a helpful Schonbrunn Palace map.  Schonbrunn ranks right up there with Versailles, Fountianbleau and Dolamache.  It is simply stunning and thus a must see for any visit to Vienna.   The humble abode boasts 1,440 rooms!  You could easily spend two days seeing the mansion and strolling the gardens.  A complete afternoon will offer you the highlights and are a great primer on the Hapsburg Dynasty and a little Austrian history.  We recommend that you take the helpful audio guided tour of inside the palace followed by some wandering in the parks.

 

Oldest restaurant in EuropeDinner: Griechenbeisl (The Greek Inn)

Dinner for your first night in Vienna will be at an establishment that opened in 1447!  America hadn’t been discovered by the western world yet!  The Griechenbeisl caters to tourist for the most part now, but the food is actually really good.  On the evening we dined there a piano player churned out some great tunes and the wait staff were very attentive.  We highly recommend the filet of beef with green beans.   The prices are affordable and the portions sizable.

The Spanish Riding School

Since you are only in Vienna for short time, we recommend seeing things that are uniquely Viennese.  The Lipizzaner Stallions of the famed Spanish Riding School fits that bill.  Seeing an evening Lipizzaner performance is quite expensive for those of us that are “Euro-challenged”.  A much more affordable option is viewing the practice session held in the morning.  It is open to the general public for a reasonable fee, check their website for specifics.  We do recommend that you get there early.  The early birds get the best seats. http://www.srs.at/en/  Hit the gift store on the way out and get your brood some Spanish Riding School swag.

King's crown

The Imperial Treasury

Just down the road from the stables is the Imperial Treasury.  This impressive collection of state offers the highlights of both the Hapsburg and the Holy Roman Empires.    Highlights of the museum include:  the crown of the Holy Roman Empire,  the Holy Grail (yes, it could be that one), as well as Napoleon II’s crib.  There are also vestments of royalty, gaudy jewel encrusted gloves, and historical arms and armaments.  We would skip visiting the royal apartment tour.  The Schönbrunn Palace tour you took yesterday is better organized and frankly more impressive.  Keep moving!

family statueZentralfriedhof (The Central Cemetery)

For your last afternoon in Vienna, we recommend that you visit some of Vienna’s best and well know composers and musicians.  No, we are not sending you to a concert.  We are sending you to their final resting place.  This last stop is a bit morbid, but for us it was one of the most interesting stops in Vienna:  the Vienna Central Cemetery.  We did an entire post about our visit there:  Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof: the Intersection of Beauty and Remembrance.  Visiting the central cemetery is a lesson is history as well as a Viennese tradition.

Trattoria da Angelo

This recommendation is going to sound a little strange…but hear us out.  We are going to send you to a Italian Trattoria in Vienna.  The Trattoria Da Angelo is a wonderful little (there are only a handful of tables) place just behind St. Stephens Cathedral.  The fare is southern Italian with really good seafood dishes.  The scampi dish is to die for!    The best part is that it is owned by a great couple!

Enjoy your visit to Vienna!

 

8

Six reasons to skip Santorini for Samos

Spend any time on Pinterest and you are likely to stumble across a pictures of the blue domes and white sandy beaches of Santorini, Greece.  Wow, you are thinking.  That is where I must go.   We know it sounds a little preciouses to favor one Greek Island over another, but hey, you may only get to Greece once in a lifetime.  We want you to pick the right place for your couple’s getaway.  We want to introduce you to a Greek paradise you likely have never heard of: Samos.

Greek Island1) Small Island Slow

We elected to arrive in Samos as one should, on the water.  Our ferry motored into the small protected port of Vathy.  From the second that we set foot on the island, we felt the pace of life slow.  Take it from two driven type A nuts, this place is laid back.  Truly, that is what makes the island special.  Forget staying in a hotel, stay in a villa !

2) Visiting the Island will make you smarter!

One of the little known facts about the island paradise of Samos, is that it is the home to some of the greatest thinkers in history!  The great math genius Pythagoras, called Samos home.  While sunning himself on one of the sandy beaches, Pythagoras developed the Pythagorean Theorem.  The Theorem is important in ways, we just can’t remember from grade school.  The isle was also home to Epicurus, the astronomer that came up with the idea that the earth should revolve around the sun, and it has done so since then.    Just like Luci, Samos just goes to prove that you can be both smart and beautiful.

3) Samos Side trips

If it were ever possible, once you explored every inch of Samos Island, the options for exploration further afield are plentiful.  Take a regular scheduled ferry west for an hour and you can explore ancient world of the Ottoman empire.  Today Turkey offers more Roman ruins than Italy!   There are a number of islands within a short distance of Samos include Rhodes and Lesbos.

Samos Greece4) The Food-

The Greeks do a lot of things well:  Olympics, togas, and transport strikes.  Perhaps the best product to come out of Greece is the food.  Samos offers the foodie a virtual plethora of yummy victuals!  Due to is location just off Asia Minor is takes the very best of Ottoman and traditional Mediterranean cuisine.  How could you visit Greece without taking in the amazing fish and olives.

5)The Sun!

If you are a sunshine seeker, look no further than Samos.  The sun shines in on Samos 76% of the year!  Bask in the warm rays on one of the Island’s white sand or pebble beaches.  The Mediterranean sun is special.  It wraps around you and takes you in.   Samos has over a dozen pristine beaches, some remote and secluded, others right in the center of all the action.

6)The Heart of Samos-The people

We saved the very best of the Island for last, the people.   The Greeks have a word: Xenia, roughly translated it encapsulates friendship, welcome, and hospitality all into one.  From the second that we set foot on Samos we felt welcome.  People stopped and helped when we were a little lost.  We arrived at an eatery earlier than the posted opening, the proprietor engaged us in conversation and ordered the cook into early service.  Samos is one of the friendliest places out travels have taken us to.

Have questions about Samos or Santorini?  You can “Ask us Anything“.

Why not make up your own mind.  Visit both!  Have you been to Samos or Santorini?  What is your take on the two?  We would love to hear your feedback.  Just leave us a comment below.  See you on Samos Island!

3

Spring Break Europe 2013

Spring Break Europe 2013: What is Hot right Now?

If you’re wondering what European destinations are still making the top slot when it comes to spring break, look no further.

We’ve enlisted our friends at beatthebrochure.com to help give us brief rundown of what’s hot in Europe for 2013:

Iceland

It may not score highly for hot temperatures, but give Iceland a go for its stunning architecture and scenery of glaciers, ice fields and volcanoes.  It’s also a prime position to catch glimpses of the Aurora Borealis, that’s the Northern lights to you and me.  There’s fantastic terrain for hikers to conquer, The Winter Lights Festival in February to enjoy, volcanic thermal spas to luxuriate in and capital city, Reykjavik.  The best news is that holidaying in Iceland is still relatively affordable.

Holland Museum

Willet Museum Amsterdam. One of our faves!

Amsterdam

We have long used Amsterdam as a stopover in route to destinations afield in Europe.  We always like to build in a day or two in the city.  There are so many things to do in Amsterdam!  Spring break is the perfect time to take in Holland’s famous tulips.  Yes, the city is noted for it’s dark and seedy underside.  But the Dutch capital has so much to offer for the arts, history and culture lover.  The city is home to an amazing Van Gough Museum.  2013 marks its 40th birthday and no doubt will be honoring the country’s most celebrated artist, Vincent van Gough on what would be his 160th birthday.  Take a morning and visit Anne Frank’s home.

Barcelona

Barcelona is still as popular as ever.  Could this be due to the fact that it is crowded with fantastic architecture, is the place to indulge in guilt-free café culture and has its very own beach?  Whatever the reason, Barcelona is a must-visit destination for spring breakers, if only to appreciate architect Antonio Gaudi’s own inimitable style of architecture throughout the city.  Check out our post about the 10 Best of Barcelona.  The mild temperature of the area makes this the perfect spring break location.  Better yet take in the Barcelona and Real Madrid match!

Istanbul Carpet

One of our treasures being wrapped up at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Turkey

The next pick is a Fighting Couple favorite  Istanbul.  This welcoming city is an interesting blend of old and new.  A contemporary art scene, boutique hotels and plenty of retail therapy opportunities rub shoulders with historical places of interest.  Enjoy the best of both worlds, but be sure to check out Turkey’s latest discovery, the ruins of Göbekli Tepe.  As well as Istanbul’s Old Town, Midyat and Mardin are also worth exploring.  Don’t forget to get an unforgettable Turkish bath!

Berlin

The once imposing Berlin Wall, now reduced to remnants and the city’s chequered past, are of course huge pulls for visitors.  After all who isn’t fascinated by Berlin’s history and this now physically undivided city?  You’ll also find the Reichstag and great art galleries and museums to explore here.  Berlin is no longer dark and cementy? (Is that even a word?)  It is now a vibrant metropolis offering couples romantic parks, and tasty eateries.

You cannot go wrong choosing any one of these lovely locations.  Get out and enjoy spring!  So do you have a fave European city to welcome in spring?

Drop us a line below in the comments section if you have been to Iceland, Berlin, Amersterdam or Barcelona!

1

Do I Need an International Driver’s Licence?

One thing that the Fighting Couple loves… international driving.  We get asked lots of questions about the infamous “International Driving License.”  What is that?  Do we need one?  Do I have to pass a driving test?  Do I have to own a Ferrari?  What if we get pulled over and don’t have one?  Will we spend a month in a Russian Gulag if we don’t get one?  Where does one get an International Drivers License?

Do I Really Need an International Drivers License?

First off, Lets define what this is and isn’t.  First off, you cannot buy an International Drivers License.  You can buy an International Drivers Permit.  This is an important difference. Candidly, an International Driving Permit is a collection of your driving and identification information translated into ten languages.  It must be accompanied by your government issued driver’s license to be valid.

Italy policeHow did the International Diving Permit come to be?

The whole International Driving Permit movement came into being on Nov. 8, 1968 with the signing of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.  The treaty outlined the duties of drivers from foreign lands visiting their respective counties.  It spelled out what is contained on the permit.   Over 70 counties signed on to the treaty.  Notable counties that did not agree to the treaty: Japan, China, Israel, and the Holy See (forget driving that Pope-mobile.)  Each of these countries have special requirements for foreign drivers.  Please confirm the regulations before you book a trip to Japan or other non-signatory countries.

How do you get one?

Getting an International Drivers Permit….It’s really pretty easy.  Each participating country has their own procedures to acquire a permit.  We will give the low down on both the USA and the UK.  If you know the procedure for another country, would you give us the process in the comments section below?  In the states, there are two non-governmental agencies that issue the permits:  the American Automobile Association or AAA (http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html)  and the National Automobile Club NAC (http://www.thenac.com/idp_faqs.htm) .  Both of their websites offer helpful info on the ins and out of acquiring a permit.  For our good friends across the pond in the UK, you can visit your local AA (http://www.theaa.com/index.html).  (That acronym has a little different meaning here in the states.)   You are required to have passport style picture fixed to the permit.  A driving test is not required.  A current and valid driver’s license issued by the state is required.

Speaking of international driving….Have you checked out our Couple Road Trip Survival Guide?

Car Hires

So do I need a permit to rent a car?  Probably not.  We cannot definitively say no, you will never, ever need one.  We can tell you in our extensive travels in Europe, North & South America, South Africa, and South East Asia, we have never been asked for one.   In visiting with the major car rental companies, all recommended the permit.  Should you get one?  Probably yes.  It also gives you one more form of identification.

car hire

Should you get a permit? Mike says yes.

What if I get pulled over?

This is where the value of the permit really shines through.  You can’t select the language ability of the law enforcement that pulls you over.  Trust us, you definitely want that conversation to go smoothly.  Having an international permit can be the difference between a ticket or not.  Most permits cost $20ish USD.  Why not have one?  The Fighting Couple has had two run ins with the law whilst traveling.  We admit it.  One was passing in an “unmarked” passing zone (Mike still thinks he was in the right one that one) and on another occasion we did not have the appropriate sticker on our car (again Mike’s fault.)  Both of these occurrences happened in non-English speaking Euro zone countries.  We were not asked for the permit.  We of course had to provide our insurance and USA issued driver’s license.  During the entire experience…not once were we asked for an International Driver ID.  Crazy huh?

So that’s the skinny on international driving permits.  Avoid the hassle, and buy one before you head out.  We would love to hear from you on this topic.  Have you been pulled over abroad?  Have you been turned away from renting a car?  Leave us a comment below.  Do you have any questions about an international drivers license?

5

A Couple’s Survival Guide To Long-Term Travel

Guest Post by Sofia von Porat: Sofia writes forAsWeTravel, a travel blog sharing travel tips, videos, guides and inspiration from around the world – you can follow her at www.aswetravel.com.

Before you consider getting married, starting a business or moving in together – there is a way to find out how all that will work out: go traveling!

Traveling together on a round the world trip is the most effective way to figure out if you’re suited for each other – when you take your first long-term trip together, you will either break up, or grow stronger as a couple.  Nothing puts as much pressure on a relationship than the uncertainty and stress of traveling, which tends to bring out the worst in people.  But there are ways and secrets to make traveling with each other easier.

After years of full-time travel and running a business together, these are the 5 things that have helped us the most…

traveling coupleIf I Like You Today, I Want To See You Tomorrow

We believe that one of the things that have made staying together so much easier is a simple mindset about our relationship.  Every rule you have is like planting a landmine on the road in front of you, and laying out too many of them increases the risk of stepping on one and blowing up the whole thing.  The fewer rules you have – the fewer rules you will break.

When we first met, Nathan explained his thoughts on relationships in a simple sentence, one that we have lived by ever since: I like you today, and I want to see you tomorrow.   If a day comes when we no longer feel that way about each other, we know it’s time to go our separate ways.

Play On Each Others Strengths

We try to stick to what each of us does best, and play on each other’s strengths.

I usually do the travel planning, while Nathan keeps track of our budget – same goes for work, one of us usually does the writing, the other does the coding and so forth.

K.I.S.S.

Knowing and being strict about your core values is important, but make sure you get rid of the “fluff” and keep it simple.  One thing  many solo travelers say they enjoy is that they can choose what they want to do and where they want to go without having to discuss it with someone else first.  We’ve found that when we keep it simple and don’t get attached to everything those kind of discussions become less and less frequent.

One thing we try to always live by in every aspect of life – especially in relationships, is K.I.S.S – keep it simple stupid. ;)

travel loveDon’t Expect Anything In Return

Doing something that you might not enjoy for the sake of your partner is crucial in a relationship – but only if you don’t expect anything in return.  Compromising by saying “I’ll do this for you if you do that for me” might work in the short run but will build up resentment and create unnecessary fights.

Knowing that you make the other person happy is enough, besides, you’ll often find that you get more in return when you don’t expect anything back.

Ask Yourself “What Else Could This Mean?”

Anyone can be the most amazing person in the world when they’re relaxed and happy, but when we’re stressed, hungry and tired, the worst in us gets brought into the spotlight.  We do and say terrible things that we don’t really mean. Something which has helped us solve fights faster is to ask ourselves “what else could this mean?”.  When people get angry they tend to let the anger out on those they love the most, or sometimes whoever is closest to them at that moment.  For example, if a waiter is rude to you, it’s usually not about you at all but about something completely different – the same goes for your partner.

Try not to take anything personally, from each other or anyone else.

When All Else Fails…

… a handhold and a kiss will be worth more than a thousand words.

Sometimes, when the world is upside down and chaos surrounds you, it’s nice to let each other know that no matter what happens, you will be there to hold each other’s hands.

The best thing about traveling as a couple is that all your experiences are magnified when you get to share them with the person you love the most, and that handhold can make all the difference in the world.

1000Fights:  A sincere thanks to Sofia.  We especially like the last suggestion.  Sometimes a little tenderness goes a long way.  Please give their blog a look:  www.aswetravel.com .  Not sure we could survive traveling together long term…

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The Fighting Couple’s 10 Best in Barcelona

If you spend much time on our blog you know we write a ton about Barcelona, Spain. Why? There are so many layers to Barcelona. The wonderful city has so much it wants to tell you.  For us, it is one of those places that around every corner is something new.  As we walked down the Las Ramblas, retracing the steps of Orwell and Hemingway you can’t help be feel a connection to the history of this place.  As you stare in wonder at one of Gaudi’s playful architectural creations you begin to understand the city and it becomes a part of you.

Those of you that have yet to visit this incredible city, here are our top picks:

Camp Nou

For you football fans Camp Nou is one of the world’s great cathedral’s of sport.  It is the home of the mighty FC Barcelona.  The sheer size of the venue is what is so unbelievable   Even if you are not super interested in athletics, you must tip your hat at the impressive expanse of facility.  Take a tour of the storied FC Barcelona museum.  It is a bit over priced, but for the exuberant fan, it is a must.

Yellow Tram

Tram to the top

Montserrat

Our next recommendation is not in even in Barcelona…It is the must see day trip outside of the city:  The monastery at Montserrat.   Pack a lunch for you and your loved one and board the train for the hour long trip north of the city.  We did a post recently about visiting the benedictine monastery check it out here.  Go for the views and the tram ride up and down the mountain.

The Opera House

We have a tiny confession   We have never been into the opera house.  We have stood in line for tickets twice, took pictures from the lobby, and dreamed about what it looks like on the inside.  But due to circumstance beyond our control we have never made it in.  That is why it is on this list.  We want to see it too!  If you do go, please let us know what you think.  Should we keep it on the list of must sees in Barcelona?

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia Exterior

Sagrada Familia

We exited the underground right in front of the grand cathedral, walked out into the sunshine and there towering over me was one of the most interesting structures I have ever seen.  I stood looking at the exterior for nearly 30 mins!  It is a collage of biblical proportions in more ways than one!  The detail, the stories, the cast of characters just on the exterior of the church is impressive.   Then we walked inside!  I couldn’t help but feel dwarfed by the soaring ceilings inside.  This is one of those places that the pictures simply does not do it justice.  It is a must see on any visit to Barcelona.

Park Guell

Barcelona

Park Guell Barcelona

We have done a couple of posts on this famous park.  It is a bit of a hike to get to the park but it is so worth it.  The views from the plaza of all of Barcelona is breathtaking.  The park is another creation from the mind of Gaudi.  It is one of those iconic places that is on every tourist map for the city.  But  there is so much more than meets the eye.  Gaudi outdid himself on the design and function of the park.  The serpentine benches that line the upper plaza are a work of art.  The lower plaza has unique little design details that make it fun.  The columns that support the upper plaza are actually hollow and are used to collect rainwater from above!  The beauty of the park is that a visit any time of day delivers a great experience.

water feature

Magic Fountain Barcelona

 

Monjuic

We are lumping a bunch of different sites under this one heading.  There is a good reason for this.  We want to you see it all!  A great primer for seeing the mountain is to start at the Olympic museum atop the hill.  Wander around the many displays.  Get your bearings on where and what events were held.  Your next stop is of course the Olympic stadium.  Take you pictures and move on not much to see there.  Take in the views of the swimming and diving centers.  Walk through the parks and gardens.

The Magic Fountain

A great evening attraction is the magic fountain of Barcelona.  The mix of water, lights and if you time your visit right… music is highly entertaining.   On most evenings you can watch as water is launched into the air in a choreographed display that is memorizing   A word of caution, watch you belongings.  This is a favorite spot for the el pickpocket-itos.

La Padrara

We could of filled this list with just Gaudi related locations.   He is that good.  And there are enough Gaudi locations to fill many a list.  We are offering our recommendations for the best.  La Padrara is a wonderland.  There really is no other word to describe the feeling of wandering the bends and bumps within the apartment complex.  Being there reminds us the power of the mind to create beauty.  At every turn during your tour you are going to smile and be amazed at the level of creativity that Gaudi possessed.  Our hint, look for the details, they will amaze you.

People watching in an anarchist bookstore

If you know us well, you know we love to people watch.  There is no place better in Barcelona than in one of the many revolutionary bookstores.  This is where the red-blooded revolutionaries come to get more….. revolutionary.  Sip your beverage, read some Hemingway.  Take it all in at your own pace.

Barceloneta Restaurant

Calle L’Escar, 22, 08039 Barcelona, Spain (La Barceloneta)

Our last recommendation involves food.  The perfect ending to any visit to the inviting city of Barcelona is a dinner at the Barceloneta.  You are going to have to save up your Euros to splurge on this one but the return on the investment is huge.  Located on the city’s harbor, this seafood out of this world.

That is it.  Our quick recommendations for Barcelona.  Getting to Spain is easy.  There are direct Barcelona flights from all of the major hubs in the states and Europe.  Barcelona also has one of the most user-friendly airports.  Enjoy your stay in Barcelona! Send us pictures!

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