Tag Archives | South America

5 Unwritten Rules for Being an Elegant Traveler

Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.-Coco Chanel

Rule #1 Manners-

Japan bowI know, I know…you knew that we were gonna start here.  For good reason.  The easiest way to be an “Ugly ( Aussie, Brit, Yank….enter country of choice)” is by completely tossing all convention of what is classy and what is not to the wind whilst on holiday.  Don’t be that guy/gal!  One of the beauties of traveling is exposing yourself to new cultures, social norms, and new viewpoints.   As a part of your trip prep, don’t skip of the chapter on local traditions and customs.  No need to go over board and bow to the Japanese waiter every time he returns to your table to fill your water glass.  But you might use “Nin” instead of “Ni” when speaking to someone in China to show respect.

The elegant traveler treats the bellboy with the same respect as the hotel’s CEO.

 

Rule #2 Dress-

This is likely one of the more obvious aspects of traveling with elegance.  I remember the first time I traveled abroad and saw a gentleman wearing a sharp tweed jacket, tasteful kerchief in the pocket, button down shirt and cotton pants.  He looked so sharp.  A great example of an elegant traveler.  It doesn’t take much to go from blah to vavooom.

Beautiful woman black dress

Guys–  OK guys, I know, this is vacation and all, but let go of the jeans with paint on them from the last remodel project.  Leave the grubby ball cap at home.  No need to go overboard here either.  You don’t need to pull a Mike with his preppy kakis and button down shirt.  Spiff it up a tad gents.

 

Gals–  Lets start with hemlines.  Harken back to rule #1.  Just because your wardrobe is acceptable where you came from, does not mean that it will be ok where you are going.  Conservative countries in the Middle East, Asia and even parts of Europe frown on too much exposure.  Know your location.  The elegant traveler plans ahead, and has the right ensemble for every occasion.  And for heaven sakes leave the fanny pack at home!!!  Better yet throw it away!

 

Rule #3  Courtesy

Common courtesy is an international language.  Unlike manners, it is not requisite to be fluent in the local customs to show courtesy.  One simply must put others needs before their own.  Ideas include holding doors open for others, accommodating those that need “a little extra time down the jetway”, patience in trying circumstances.  Some of the stuff your grandmother tried to teach you.  Show respect to seniors, give a harried mother a hand in the airport, lift a bag for someone.  And of course the golden rule of courtesy …please and thank you.  These should be the first words you learn in the new language.

 

Rule #4  Dress for dinner

montecarloTake a lesson from the popular TV show “Downton Abbey” and dress for dinner.  The Elegant Travel Dame always has a little black dress.  The Traveling Gentleman always has a fine dinner jacket.  One of our most elegant travel moments came in Cusco, Peru of all places.  We try to include at least one really nice meal when we travel.  During our Peru adventure, we elected to have dinner at the il Monastery in Cusco.  Highly recommended! We had just come out of the jungle, and we cleaned up and had an amazing meal dressed to the nines.  It made us feel like a million bucks.

 

Rule #5  Do the Homework

Our final rule is to do your homework.  Truly seek to understand what you are seeing on vacation.  Find destinations that really interest you.  Plan a trip to Turkey!  Dig a little deeper.  Ask questions.  Do all of this before you get on the jetplane.  Learn a little bit of the language, enough to show respect for you host country.  We typically plan our trips 6 months to a year out.  We do this on purpose, it gives us enough time to do the homework.  We learn the language, a little of the dominant religion and culture as well as search out the off the beaten path locations.

So those are our rules for becoming an elegant traveler.  Did we miss anything?  What advice can you give to others?  Leave us a comment below.

 

 

 

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7 Questions with Landing Standing

One of our favorite parts of hosting a couple travel blog is getting to know other like-minded couples.   We posed our 7 questions to fellow couple travel bloggers Meg and Tony of LandingStanding.com.  In January of this year, the brave couple left jobs, family, and friends and set off on a grand adventure to explore the world.

So what does exactly does Landing Standing mean?

Landingstanding

Land-ing Stand-ing: The act of leaping without looking, loving without fearing, and dominating anything life throws at you while never losing balance (well almost never).

 Give their blog a looksee!

www.Landingstanding.com

https://twitter.com/landingstanding

http://www.facebook.com/LandingStanding

 

1)  We loved your post “Traveling with Women-Why every man should.”  What have been the greatest lessons traveling with the opposite sex?
He Said: You run into a ton of problems when you travel, big and small. My instinct is to try and fix them or at least offer a solution… definitely NOT something that women are always looking for. After numerous attempts and failures to get this into my head, i’m proud to say that I now, almost always, actually  listen to Meg and just say, “I totally understand,” instead of, “here is what you could do.” Total travel relationship saver.


She Said: The biggest lifesaver for Tony and I has been assigning roles to each other while on the trip that work to each of our strengths.  I am not sure if this stereotypically follows specific gender roles, but he is much better with handling our money, passports, and important documents, while I am in charge of hotel reservations and directions to get us from point A to point B.  I am more detailed oriented and like having a solid plan when traveling to a new place, whereas Tony is cool going with the flow and figuring it all out when we arrive.

 

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?.)  Why?

He Said: Anthony Bourdain. But not as buddies (no way I could  keep up with his partying when he was younger and probably still can’t), but as a special guest on his TV show No Reservations. We watched 2-3 episodes of his show per weekend when preparing for our trip because it was at the intersection of our two giant passions… travel and food. Especially food.

She Said: Harry Potter. Broomsticks, portkeys, apparition, and Floo powder are much cooler means of transportation than coach class on an airplane!


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

He said: We’re in Berlin right now and have been totally stunned by how awesome this city is. Who knew? We are currently in the middle of a project to start our own business and Berlin has an incredibly vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. We have been to a lot of amazing places, but Berlin has skyrocketed to the top of our list of foreign cities we could live in after our travels.

She said: I hate to sound cliché, but Paris was pretty magical.  We used my hotel points to stay in a fancy Hyatt Regency in the center of the city and spent 4 days pampering ourselves and eating our way around the city.  Coming from Peru after just hiking Machu Picchu, this mini-vacation in the city of lights was much needed.  Plus, we celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary while in Paris.. amour!

 

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

couple travelHe said: I’m worried about Meg with this question… her brain might literally explode trying to pick just one location, let alone one meal… For me it is super easy and simple. Some amazing prosciutto and salami, some wedges of great cheese like pecorino, bleu, and camembert, and the freshest bread I could find. Then drive out to a cliff, with Meg, overlooking some great expanse of nature and just chow down.

She said: Ahhh too many choices!  Tony and I have had some AMAZING meals together, but traveling the world has also made me miss the comforts of home.  For my last meal, I would have to stick to my roots and choose my mom’s famous baked mac & cheese and my dad’s succulent Korean BBQ spare ribs… And of course finish the meal off with a giant bowl of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Phish Food, New York Super Fudge Chunk, Half Baked… Any of those flavors would do!).  As far as where I would want to eat this last meal, it would be in my ultimate dream destination, Bora Bora, looking out over the Pacific Ocean in an overwater bungalow with my man by my side.

 

5) How has traveling brought you together as a couple?

She said: When we were back in the States, I travelled a lot for work and only saw Tony on the weekends.  We are now with each other 24/7, which has been both wonderful…. and eye-opening!  Yes, we sometimes bicker more than we ever used to back home, but we also have gotten to know a great deal more about each other during the past 6 months on the road and have become a stronger couple because of it.  There are some rare occasions where we want to strangle each other and put space between us, but every time I discover something new during our travels, I am so glad I have Tony there to share the experience.

He said: Still being attracted to each other after food poisoning in a Bolivian hostel = true love.

 

6) You guys have written a number of times about staying in hostels.  We have never been that brave.  What advice can you give to couples about staying in hostels?  How do you pick ‘em?  Seems like they cater to the single traveler crowd.  How do you find “couple” time?

He said: In South America you can definitely find cheap private rooms that are sometimes only slightly more expensive than the beds in dorm room. We always look closely at the ratings on the hostel booking websites before booking to make sure they rank high on location and cleanliness.

She said:  We actually haven’t stayed in a hostel for several months now.  We have become spoiled in Europe with apartment rentals, staying with friends, and leveraging my hotel points.  Hostels were a great option in South America – especially Patagonia where hotels were expensive (and often non-existent), but besides being a great place for meeting other backpackers, they can get old fast for a travelling couple.  Unless it was significantly more expensive than staying in a mixed dorm, we opted for private rooms and we always researched reviews on Hostelbookers.com and Hostelworld.com to find the most suitable hostel in our price range.

 

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

Couple TravelShe said:  It wasn’t so much of a fight as me being a complete bee-otch.  We were on the overnight bus from hell from Uyuni, Bolivia to La Paz.  The journey was supposed to be 9 hours long, but due to road floods, the bus had to go off-roading to get to La Paz and it ended up taking 15 miserable hours to get there. With little to no snacks packed, a bus seat that didn’t recline, and a broken window that blew freezing air into my face all night, I was devastated.  Hungry, cold, and tired was the trifecta to my perfect storm and Tony got caught in the eye of it.

He said: Very true. I think I blacked out from the sheer ferocity of it. Nail your windows shut and hide in the basement… Hurricane Meg is a once in a century storm!

 

1000Fights: That was a blast!  As you notice quickly when you discover their blog, in most of their pictures they are in each other’s arms.  You really get the impression that this is a strong couple.  Thank you Meg and Tony for sharing, and we hope we meet you guys out on the road someday.

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