Tag Archives | travel

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

Budapest in Three Days

Perched on the banks of the Danube river are the two cities that combine to make Budapest.  It has quickly become one of our fave travel destinations.   Budapest is a perfect couple travel destination.  A wonderful combination of history, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking vistas make it top of our list.  We put together a list of ideas for you to consider on your next trip.  We didn’t put them in any particular order.  Timing will depend a lot on where you stay.  Lets begin!

Government building in Hungary

The Hungarian Parliament Building

Tour of Parliament–

The Capitol of Hungary has the third largest Parliament building in the world.  Tours of the huge building are a must for any visit to Budapest.  At the heart of the building are the Hungary’s crown jewels which are guarded by two handsome and a bit unfriendly guards.  The building is equality grand for the inside as it is from the outside.  The ticketing process is a bit time consuming.  Allow some extra time as this is an extremely popular tourist stop.

Thermal Baths–

The largest medicinal bath in Europe, Széchenyi Bath, is also located in Budapest.  There are over 80 geothermal springs throughout the city.  Szechenyi Baths Budapest is in our opinion the best for couples.  (Some baths do not allow coed bathing… apparently Budapest women like to bathe without men?)  Make sure you get the details on with whom, and when you can, bathe.  Széchenyi has several indoor and outdoor pools.  After a hard day of sightseeing, letting the warm/hot water sooth your weary legs is heavenly!

Spa Budapest

Szechenyi Baths in Budapest. A relaxing place to spend an evening.

Make a Love Lock

Are you looking for something really romantic to do as a couple in Hungary?  No…not that.  The second best thing to do as a couple in Budapest is to make a “Love Lock”.  Simply find a store that sells locks and head to the love lock park (Erzsébet square) not far from the Chain Bridge along the Danube.  Couples declare their love here with inscribed love locks.  Write your names on the lock and walk hand in hand across the Danube and toss the key into the river.

Lover's lock

Couples leave locks as a sign of their love.

Eat some Goulash

One of the must do’s in Budapest is to eat the national dish: Goulash.  Our favorite purveyor of this yummy goodness is located just down from the Synagogue: Kadar Restaurant.  A warning, this place is uber popular with the locals, be prepared for a crowd.  Trust us, the wait will be soooo worth it.  Goulash is a sort of stew with meat and vegetables.  Then a truck load of spices are added, with emphasis on paprika.  Delish!  Please let us know what you think.  Are you scared of trying a new food?  Check out our post: “I am a Menu Coward.”

Goulash Budapest

Hungarian Goulash. Soooooo yummy!

The Dohány Street Synagogue

Our next stop in our little tour of Budapest is the second largest synagogue in the world the Dohány Street Synagogue. It can accommodate 3,000 worshipers and was a built between 1854 and 1859.  You can take thought provoking tour with an English speaking guide for a small fee.  You are required to dress modestly and men must dawn the cap, one is provided for you.

Communist statues

Memento Park, Budapest

Memento Park–

If you have a car, an interesting stop is located a few minutes from downtown Budapest: Memento Park.  When the communists left Budapest, the locals wanted to change things up a bit, so they took down most of the Soviet themed décor.  They ended up putting it all in a park just outside of city.  There are statues large and small.  Memento park can easily be seen in an hour.  The designer of the park, Ákos Eleőd, said this about his creation: “This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship.”  Seeing these statues helps give insight into the communist chapter of Hungarian history.

Hospital in the Rock

One of the off the beaten path sites is located on the backside of Castle Hill, the Hospital in the Rock (Sziklakórház Múzeum).  The hospital doubled as a nuclear bunker and was created for use in WWII.  I then say extensive renovation and use during the Cold War. There are over 6 miles of tunnels and rooms.  On display are the original surgical tools in the makeshift emergency rooms.  The hospital was completely self-sufficient. There are water storage tanks, ventilation systems and nuclear decontamination rooms.  There is a quality guided tour every hour on the hour.  It was fascinating.  Well worth the hike up castle hill.  One bummer is that they don’t let you take pics inside.  Not sure why?

If you can came all of this into three days without a couple fights….we salute you!  Have you been to Budapest?  Did we miss something?  Please leave us a kind comment below.  See you in Budapest!

6

Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof: the Intersection of Beauty and Remembrance

Finding a place that strikes you on two levels is rare, finding a place that appeals to the eye, soul and mind is exceptional.  The Vienna Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof), located just outside Vienna, Austria  is one of those special places.  Traveling as a couple, we enjoy visiting cemeteries.  We can see you shaking your head….I know, we are strange.   We enjoy celebrating those that have gone before us.  We love learning what contributions our ancestors made to mankind and paying tribute to their lives.  Most importantly, visiting sites like these gives us a chance for self-introspection.    We want to explore one of the most intriguing cemetery we have ever visited.

Lets begin our tour of the Zentralfriedhof!

Dr. Karl Lueger

The Dr. Karl Lueger Gedächtniskirche

The Eye

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.  Once you enter the main gate, what a beauty to behold!  The cemetery is in a park like setting with 2.5 square kms of manicured fields of grass, flowers and shrubbery.  To help you find your way around, the entire cemetery is divided up into sectors.  There are helpful free maps of the sectors at the main gate of entry.  Lanes, sections, and paths are marked clearly, so finding the headstone you are seeking is fairly simple.  Paved and gravel lined paths take you to different sectors within the cemetery.  Our visit was in early spring, walks were free of snow.

Our visit to the Zentralfriedhof held a surprising first for us.  At the heart of the cemetery is the Dr. Karl Lueger Church.   This wonderful shrine, built on the eve of WWI in 1910, is designed in the Art Deco style.  Trust us, we have been in a number of churches of all shapes and sizes, but this one is truly unique. We had never stepped foot into an art deco church or cathedral.  As you enter the nave your eyes are drawn up by the stately lines to the dramatic blue cupola.  The woodwork and glass inside the church is truly impressive.  The pews, alter and of course the glass are the result of master craftsmanship.

Dome of Vienna Central Cemetery church

The Dr. Karl Lueger-Gedächtniskirche Dome

Unique Tombstones

As you stroll through the endless tombstones, you take in the beauty and the art of the stone work.  Each stone is a work of art.  The Viennese take great pride in the construction and adornment of their burial sites.  Some of the elaborate tributes include chubby cherubs,  weeping nymphs, and marble and granite of every flavor.   Noteworthy physicists and chemists have their marquee chemical compound or formulas engraved on their stones!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Memorial

The Mind

While you are taking in the beauty of the Zentralfriedhof, hone in on some of the names chiseled into the stone.  At every turn in the cemetery, you come face to face with the names of artists, geniuses, villains, and poets.  Visiting the cemetery is a wonderful academic exercise!  At your feet lie some of the greatest minds in history.

Some of the notable permanent residents include:

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), composer

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), composer

Ludwig Boltzmann ( 1844-1906), Physicist. His famous equation on entropy is engraved on his memorial stone.

Richard Réti (1889–1929), chess grandmaster

Franz Schubert (1797–1828), composer

Johann Strauss (1825–1899), composer

Siegfried Marcus (1831–1898), invented the modern automobile

Kurt Waldheim (1918–2007), UN Secretary-General

Mercedes Jellinek (1889-1929), the inspiration for Mercedes Benz

Falco (1957–1998), rock singer

Mozart?-Nope.  There is a monument dedicated to him, but his grave is a bit of a mystery.

Did Mike really dance the Waltz on the ‘Waltz King’ Johann Strauss II’s grave?  YES!

Ludvig Von Beethoven

Ludvig Von Beethoven

The Soul

For the Fighting Couple, visiting this sacred spot is incredibly inspirational.  One cannot but question your own existence by visiting places like these.  You see the finite dates on the stones: born on such and such and Died on this date.  There is a finality about reading these stones.  Then you reflect on how much they accomplished during their sojourn on earth. It is so refreshing to connect the generations to see the impact one person had on humanity, both positive and negative.   A visit such as this makes you question your own mission, asking questions: “What have I accomplished?  Why am I here?” While these difficult questions are challenging to answer, the process is inspiring.  You walk out of the cemetery with a renewed sense of purpose and perspective (and a hunger for some Viennese  sachertorte.)

One of the most intriguing things about the layout of the cemetery is that it includes sections dedicated to different religious, political and social groups.  It is a melting pot of human history.  Sections include: Protestant, Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Bulgarian and Coptic), Catholic as well as two Jewish sections.   There is also a sizable Muslim section.  Zentralfriedhof is also home to the first Buddhist cemetery in all of Europe.  Most recently, a section was dedicated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons.  We were struck by inclusive nature of the cemetery.

How to get there:

With Vienna’s amazingly easy to use public transportation system, getting out to the cemetery is simple.  From the city center take the suburban railway (Vienna S-Bahn) to the Zentralfriedhof stop.  Just outside the main gates there are a number of flower vendors.

Vienna Cemetery directions

Click on map for larger view.

Address:

Gate 2 (Main entrance):  Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234 , 1110 Vienna

*You may drive into the cemetery with your car at a cost of EUR 2.20 (except on 1 November (All Saints Day) when no traffic is permitted).

The dedicated bus line for the cemetery (number 11) runs every half an hour from 9 am to 3:30 pm, and also at 4 pm and 4:30 pm on Saturdays.

Hours:

Click Here

Prices:

Entry to the cemetery is free, but you can rent an audio guide, by providing a valid photo ID and paying a rental fee of EUR 7.00 at the main gate.

Website:

www.friedhoefewien.at

 

We need to offer a hearty thanks to the Austrian Tourism Board for assisting with our visit.  Their help made the visit possible.  Danke!

9

7 Questions With the Cruising Couple

Every so often we highlight another traveling couple.  We pick their brain for travel ideas, challenges and their best fights!  We want to introduce you to our friends Dan and Casey of acruisingcouple.com.

First off, here is how to get on the “boat” to follow the Cruising Couple:

Blog:  ACruisingCouple.com

Facebook: CruisingCouple

twitter: Dan and Casey

Couple travel1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

We were both really lucky to have a lot of independent travel experiences before we tied the knot. I think the total count is somewhere around 22 countries on six continents (we’re still working on Antarctica) although we only visited about half of those together. We have a lot of travel plans lined up for the end of 2013 and beyond, so we’re excited to be adding to that tally soon! If you are following our blog, you’ll probably notice some dramatic changes in the fall!

 

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: Dumbledore. I mean, do I even need to explain this one? He can teleport in flashes of fire, eliminating any need for public transport. He is an epic dueler, so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting mugged. He can create objects out of thin air, so no need to sleep on the floor in an airport. Plus, a man who represents love and tolerance would probably have some pretty good insights on world travel.

She said: Nellie Bly. Not only did she travel around the world faster than anyone else before, she did it all as a solo-female traveler. When everyone else was telling her she couldn’t do it, Nellie Bly wasted no time in showing them wrong, And then she wrote about it in Around the World in Seventy-Two Days. She’s an inspiration to women, to world travelers, to writers, to anyone going against the status quo.  I can only imagine she’d be a pretty badass travel companion.

 

Couple Scuba3)You guys lived for sometime in Taiwan.  What was the best and worst part of being expats?

He said: One of the best parts about living in Taiwan is that everything is easily accessible and convenient. It’s a country the size of our home state, North Carolina, which means going from one side of the island to the other can easily be done in a day. There’s also the High Speed Rail, which makes travel even faster. We love how every weekend we can get out, explore, and see something entirely new, while still making it to work Monday mornings. The hardest part about being an expat is the communication barrier. It can be quite frustrating when we can’t understand what’s going on or express ourselves the way we would like to. We manage, but after nearly two years of living here our Chinese should definitely be a lot better. Of course, I have only myself to blame, and Taiwanese are extremely accommodating when it comes to speaking English.

She said: They say it’s the people that make a place, and when it comes to Taiwan, I totally agree. Taiwanese are extremely hospitable, friendly, and generous. The locals really want you to feel comfortable in their home country, and will do whatever it takes to achieve that. For example, when you ask for directions, it’s not uncommon for strangers to hop on their scooters and drive you wherever you need to go. During a recent cycling trip, we popped a bike tire in the middle of nowhere. It took twenty people to help us get the predicament sorted out, but every Taiwanese person who saw us made it their personal mission to fix the situation. It really is amazing how genuinely generous people in Taiwan are.  Of course, not everything is a walk in the park. Taiwan isn’t really a country that specializes in cheese and wine, two of my favorite food groups. You can find them, but you’re going to have to pay a small fortune for the good stuff. I try to just tell myself it’s contributing to my diet plan…

 

couple picture4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

He said: Maybe this is a cop out answer, but I’m going to say anything Casey made for dinner. She’s an amazing cook, even with our limited resources in Taiwan. As for where, anywhere with family and friends would be perfect.

 1000Fights: That is a cop out!  But we love it!

She said: Given my lamentations about the lack of cheese and wine in Taiwan, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. I would definitely want my last meal to be an Italian feast in Tuscany. Last time I was in Italy I literally gained twenty pounds. I just cannot control myself when it comes to pasta and wine and coffee and gelato and risotto. Gosh I think I’m starting to drool just thinking about it.

 

5) Holy cow! You guys had quite the honeymoon! Do tell!

Our honeymoon is where A Cruising Couple had its humble beginning. We knew we would be moving abroad right after we were married, so we didn’t really need all the traditional ‘stuff’ most newlyweds receive. We also didn’t want to just go to an exotic location for a couple days and that be the end of it.

Instead, we spent 8 weeks traveling across America in our Volvo station wagon, totaling around 9000 miles through 25 states. Our wedding registry included hotels, restaurants, gas cards, and ‘experiences’ to make our honeymoon possible. It was an incredible trip and start to our married life, as well as an amazing way to involve our family and friends in our cross-country adventure. We were fortunate enough to do things like hot air balloon riding in New Mexico, wine tasting in Napa Valley, and hiking in the Grand Canyon, just to name a few. Our honeymoon road trip was also the reason why we started A Cruising Couple, and realized people were actually interested in following along with our travel adventures. Two years later we’re still learning new things about travel blogging everyday, but loving it more and more!

 

traveling couple6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: Lack of Universal clean water is a drastically under reported issue. With human impacts becoming more and more detrimental to our environment, the hunt for clean drinking water will become increasingly difficult. Poor and rural areas are going to feel the greatest effects but there are already some nifty and optimistic sustainable solutions popping up at science fairs around the globe.

She said: Human trafficking. In light of celebrities taking a stance against trafficking as well as Hollywood productions bringing the issue to light, I think most people have much more awareness about the issue today. However, it still blows my mind that human trafficking is the third largest international organized crime; that people are bought and sold, held against their will, and forced to do unperceivable things everyday. Definitely a complex problem worth solving.

 

kissing couple7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: When we first arrived in Taiwan, for some inconceivable reason, Dan thought it was okay to drink water from the sink. We were both pretty experienced world travelers at this point, so I’ll never understand why Dan thought it would be a good idea to drink tap water. We argued about it for a while, until I finally gave in to Dan’s argument. Well, August in Taiwan is ridiculously hot, which meant we were downing that water left and right. I think we probably went through a couple liters before we read somewhere that, of course, you can’t drink unfiltered tap water.  That led to a whole different argument about whether we were going to be spending the rest of the night over a toilet or not. In the end, we decided to just get some rest at our hotel. 16 hours later we woke up, perfectly fine, and a little bit less cranky.

He said: We’re pretty lucky that we get along so well, and most of the time we’re able to talk through disagreements without them leading to fights. Or I just give in to Casey so I don’t have to worry about it ;-p I do like to give Casey a hard time for that popped bicycle tire she mentioned earlier. We were riding along that day, and I specifically told Casey to look out for some broken glass on the road up ahead. She claims she avoided it, but I swear I looked back and saw her run right over it, only to have a popped tire later that day. We’ll probably contest that until the day we die.

1000Fights:  a huge thanks to Dan and Casey for their candor!  What a fun couple!

1

Putting the Boom! in Boomer Travel

We are excited to introduce you to the next traveling couple in our 7 Questions series.  Meet the traveling “Baby Boomers” Wayne and Pat of Unhook now.  Wayne and Pat truly but the “Boom!” in Boomer travel.  So here’s their story:  after owning a business, teaching at the university level, they rented out their home and are spending two years visiting 100 countries!  They invite you come along and see the world through their eyes!  Candidly, Luci and want to be like them when we grow up.

 

baby boomer travelHow to follow these two:

Blog:  www.UnhookNow.com
Facebook www.Facebook.com/PlanYourEscapeNow
Twitter:  @wdunlap

Lets get to the questions:

1) Over 100 countries visited? Wow! How has travel brought you together as a couple?

Wayne said: “Travel has greatly improved our lives together with a renewed outlook on life. Traveling with only a suitcase has shown us that we do not need stuff to be happy. Now we find much more important the people, friends, and new experiences in our lives. Our travel experience has changed our life. Together we love to have more adventures, romance, learning, having fun, laughing, and waking up excited about the day.”

Pat Said: “Choosing to run away with my husband and best friend has been the most rewarding lifestyle change one can make. Life without routines is inspiring and renews your playful spirit and love of life. It’s brought us closer together.”

1000Fights: You two are incredible! 

 

Riding elephant2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be? (this person can be living, historical or mythical)

Wayne Said: “Marco Polo – He was amazing traveling to an unknown world returning 24 years later. He met Kublai Khan and inspired Christopher Columbus and others. As a travel writer, I am impressed that his book about his journeys became one of the most popular books in medieval Europe and had great impact.”

Pat Said: “Besides my husband, hum… I guess it would be my long time friend, Diane, who is a great artist and sees the beauty everywhere we go. She is so much fun and we laugh.”

 

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

Wayne said: “We do a lot of research before we take off so we have been pretty lucky in having most places have something special. With so many wonderful places in the world with such diversity of customs, food, history, beliefs, and architecture, it is difficult to pick just one favorite. So here are some favorites – Italy with its amazing culture, beautiful cities, history, cuisine, and diverse scenery; the Greek Islands for the people, astounding beauty of the ocean and white architecture, winding stone streets of the old towns, trellis-covered tavernas, and food; New Zealand with the amazing beauty and laid-back people; and Thailand for its warm people of Buddhist faith, amazing food, and architecture.”

Pat said: “I also loved China’s canal city of Suzhou and the very modern city of Shanghai in China blow us away. Uruguay is wonderful for its natural beauty.”

 

Hiking glacier4) If you had to eat one last meal, what/where would you eat?

Wayne said: “With the large diversity of great food around the world, best is hard to pick. Here are favorites that come to mind: food and cheese in France, free-range beef in Buenos Aires, fish head curry and chili crab in Singapore, sukiyaki and okonomiyaki in Japan, and the authentic version of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper in an English pub.”

Pat said: “I would add lobster from U.S.’s New England and lobster pizza in Bequia in the Caribbean Grenadines, real pasta in Italy, Greek food in the Greek Islands, and padang curry in Thailand. This has made me hungry.”

1000Fights:  Ok…we are hungry!

 

5) Looks like you have taken a number of cruises. What appeals to you both about cruises? Is there a line that you prefer?

Pat said: “As soon as I step on a cruise ship I get a sense of immediately being on vacation and leaving worries and routines at home. The experience is a playground for adults and a fantasy. Cruises can take you to many interesting places, you can do as little or as much as you like, and there is no need to move luggage around, wait in airports, or worry about finding accommodations and transportation. We like Holland American Line for its value-price cruises, good destination itineraries, and great service and food.”

Wayne said: “What surprises many people is that cruising can be an economical way to travel. Especially during less popular weeks, many cruises can be a bargain when you consider they are all inclusive including lodging, transportation, great food (and more food), entertainment, shows, movies, lectures, shopping, activities, dancing, swimming, work out and other recreational facilities, and a relaxing enjoyable travel experience.

We include cruises on our travel adventures for many reasons. First, we like to have some downtime to relax and plan our future travel. Also, we will take a cruise that goes to a unique area we are not sure we would be interested in spending a lot of time exploring. On one of our trips through Asia, we included a cruise out of Singapore to see some of Indonesia and Malaysia. Sometimes a cruise to a unique area will entice us to go back. Our passion for the Greek Islands was sparked by a cruise (on our honeymoon).”

 

Thailand girls6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

Wayne said: “We try not to live with regret or dislike. When it comes to world travel, we wish our government and news media would make less use of fear of the world when attempting to control people and sell media. You do need to use common sense and always be aware of your security but we learned that the world and the people you meet can be wonderful, generous, and lovely.”

Pat said: “I keep thinking about world peace. Everywhere we go people are kind, generous, and have the same problems we have. If people travel more, they will see that people around the world have more similarities than differences and hatred and war is not necessary.”

 

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

Pat said: “My intuitive sense of danger comes up once in a while that at first annoyed Wayne. We have never had any safety issues after traveling 100 countries together and he now appreciates the early warning system.”

 1000Fights:  Pat, you can travel with us anytime!  We need your talent!

Wayne said: “Spending all your time together for weeks can at times be overwhelming. I used to get disturbed when we would go to another shopping opportunity. So, we now occasionally split up and go your separate ways for a few hours or a whole day. This is great advice for couples. One might want to be active and explore while the other needs a rest and wants to read a book. One partner may want to go shopping while the other explores another museum or has a drink with friends. You can meet up later at lunch or dinner and will find your conversations lively as you share your adventures with each other.”

1000Fights:  Wayne, you and Mike are cut from the same cloth.

 

Wayne and Pat Dunlap are travel TV hosts (Plan Your Escape™) on the CW network and travel columnist for the Huffington Post. They have been fortunate to live their dreams and are members of the exclusive Travelers’ Century Club. In total, they have visited 100 countries and island groups on 6 continents as well as 44 U.S. states.

Thanks again to Wayne and Pat for sharing.  Please check out their blog at www.unhooknow.com.

0

On the Road Less Traveled

We took turn after turn on dusty lonely dirt trails, passing thick plantations of tall lush trees and seemingly deserted shanty towns.  The setting sun was casting a red hue on the trees that matched the color of the road.  We finally reached our appointed destination, a small bed and breakfast located on a small rise overlooking forest and meadow.

flat African tree

Beautiful Swaziland

Our travel weariness must have been written on our faces.  The welcoming attendant at the front desk dispatched two young women to mind our luggage and settle us comfortably in our assigned abode.  The service offered by this small establishment rivaled any 5 star hotel.  The proprietors were a lovely Dutch couple and was completely staffed by young women.  Our short stay at this little outpost of hospitality has forever changed Luci and I.  Our hearts were struck by the hospitality, generosity and sheer beauty of the place.  The paradise we have described is Swaziland.

“You are going where??!!”  is usually the typically response we get when we tell friends and family about our next adventure destination.  “Why would you want to go to (insert remote location)?”  The answer is in the paragraph above.  Now the rest of the story from the portrait above.  Swaziland suffers from a number of challenges, poverty, hunger, disease epidemics and numerous social ills.  They don’t tend to put those on the glossy tourist websites. As a traveler, you can choose to let this scare you off, or you can dig deeper and find a treasure as we did in Swaziland.

In addition to Swaziland, we want to introduce you to some off the beaten travel destinations that might change your life.  Strap on your walking shoes, its time for adventure!

Bosnia

We are often asked which has been our favorite location out of the travels, Luci will always say Turkey (stay tuned!).  Mine would be Bosnia.  Bosnia is frankly one of the most beautiful, intriguing, and difficult places we have been.  Our trip, which wasn’t an extended one by any stretch, gave me a taste for a land filled with lush forests, dramatic waterfalls, towering mosques, and war hardened residents.  Bosnia offer travelers historical insights, out of door adventures including hiking, rafting and camping.

Greek coloumnsTurkey

As a kid, I always dreamt of being teleported back in time.  I wanted to live history.  I wanted to see, taste, smell, and interact with the scenes of great literature.  Turkey has made this boyhood dream a living reality.   The characters of the bible walked the same streets as I did.  We drank from the same springs.  I ate wonderful olives, savory meats from a roadside kabab, and partook of the most amazing Baklava!  Turkey brings history to life.

Read about our Open Love Letter to Istanbul.

Turkey was a surprise to both Luci and I.  We were discussing where we might want to go in Eastern Europe.  Turkey came up and we both said, yea….Turkey.  We started our in-depth research about the country, began our quest to learn everything we could about the history, culture and language.  Turkey offers great shopping in the Grand Bazaar, delicious cuisine, ultra friendly natives, and a window into history that has no rival.

Maldives

“Where exactly are the Maldives?” Ask most people, and they might have a challenge pointing the country out on a map.  The collection of roughly 1000 islands is located due south of India and west of the African Continent.  The island country is bathed in the Indian ocean. The temperature ranges from 75 to 90 degrees year round, making it a wonderful year round destination.  It offer travelers seclusion that rivaled by few places.

beach

Lovely Maldives

The most difficult choice is which island and resort to pick!  There are so many options for holidays to Maldives.   Lodging offerings range from Spartan shacks on the beach to five-star full service resorts.  The warm clear waters offer great snorkeling and diving.  Rent a boat and go island hopping.

A few words of warning about traveling off the beaten path.  First, be prepared.  Do your homework. Then be completely flexible.  Things including hotels, roads, and people that were to be there for you might not exist.  This is truly the beauty of traveling where few do.   One of our tricks to traveling well is humility and openness.  You must be willing to try new food, smell new smells?, and be completely removed from your comfort zone.  In return the dividends of off the beaten path travel will greatly enrich your life.

Tell us, where have you traveled off the beaten path?  What lessons have you learned?  Where would you like to go?

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Couple Road Trip Survival Guide

How to survive a long road trip

Long road trips can be great couple time for busy couples.  They also can be an exercise in trench warfare.  We put together some handy tips to make your next trip a little more civil.

Bigger is Better

A confession:  I am a bit of a petrol-head so this is area that I feel passionate about.  One of the most often overlooked “secrets” to a happy road trip is the choice of car.  Now I know the first thing that you are going to say is…but I don’t have the budget to rent an S-Class Mercedes.  You don’t have to.  First off, when you do your initial car rental search, don’t just select the economy class only, search three or even four levels above.  Check out the luxury level.  We have found that at times the luxury or even the SUV price is cheaper than the mid size.  Crazy huh?

road tripIf you headed out on an extended road trip, don’t skimp on the car.  Pay a little extra for size.  You are likely to spend more waking hours in this metal box.  Skimp a little on the hotel.  Size does a number of things for you:  larger cars ride smoother, are more safe, give your more “personal bubble space”, and typically have dual climate controls (very helpful).  Although tempting, never, ever rent a convertible.  I know, they are sexy and the desk clerk is going to give you a great deal on one.  Don’t do it.  The problems with convertibles are many.  First off the are small.  Trunk (boot) space is at a minimum.  Convertibles (unless they are a BMW, MB, Porsche, ect.) are LOUD.  The outside noise is going to get annoying.   Driving in any sort of weather can also be harrowing. Convertibles are great for a day or two in places where going “topless” is a must.  Leave them at the rental agency on the long trips.    A few more pesos on the right car will go along way.

Lets recap:  cast your rental car search wide.   Price out a number of different car class options, and invest a little more than you would normally.  Rent the largest car that you are able.  Our last pointer would be to ask for an upgrade at the rental car counter as well.

Give America Car Rental a look for great deals on rental cars.

The Three F’s

We classify stops into three general categories: food, fuel and fun.  A word about food.  If you follow our posts at all, food is extremely important component to our relationship.  I know all of you health-nut types out there are going to mummer…but fast food makes for the best option on road trips.  You can defiantly make healthy choices at fast food places.  Get out of your car and order to go in the restaurant.  This gives you some much needed vertical  and lou time, but why sit in the restaurant and eat?  If it takes 30 minutes to sit and chow down the whopper you could be 30 miles down the road.  The sooner the road trip ends the better.  Fuel-let your blater define fuel stops.  Don’t wait till the tank is on E.  Fill up mid tank during a bio break.  Save yourself time.  Stops equal slow.  The last F is important.  Build in some fun on the road trip.  Find stops where you can get out, and do something active.  Get the blood flowing again.  We have found outlet malls to be great stops.  It gets you apart (very helpful).  They also get you walking.  Make the most of your food, fuel and fun stops!

rental car

We had a few problems with our rental car in South Africa.

Tunes

Many wars have been fought over control of the radio dial.  The Fighting Couple are not immune from this clash.  Luci loves Broadway tunes.  She really does.  She loves to sing along.  Me….not so much.  On the flip side…I do enjoy me some bluegrass on occasion.  Luci….not so much.   On our most recent auto expedition we chose an audio book: Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank Abagnale Jr.  Great book!  Books on tape are amazing “time killers”.  Most novels are 8 hours long and if you pick the right one, time flies.  It also give you a topic for discussion.  Cool huh?

The Little Things

couple road tripThe little things on road trips make a big difference.  Buy/borrow/rent a gps.  This small item has almost single handedly saved our relationship. This little devices of genius save time, prevents arguments (darn!) and most importantly they find food and fuel.  Gotta have one.  Don’t rely on an Iphone or worse a wireless connection to navigate.  Trust us.  The other small thing is keeping the car clean.  Junk and clutter are distracting to the driver and they invade on the “personal bubble space”.   The little things can make all the difference.

Couple road trips can be a ton of fun.  It gives you quality time to talk, listen and fight!  These are just a few of our hints to make the trip a little more enjoyable.  So what have you found that works?  How do you avoid killing each other on long roadies?

A couple more posts that you might enjoy:

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Men…While Traveling.

The Man’s Guide to Traveling with a Woman

 

 

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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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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Couple Travel

 

Traveling as a couple is rough!  We have been a couple for over 15 years, and traveled to 25 plus countries on 5 continents. One thing that we have learned traveling over this time is that traveling together can be the best and worst.  We thought that we would offer you some handy tips on how to travel together.

Traveling with a man-

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”  -Joseph Conrad

Traveling with a man is truly a test of patience and will power.  We want to arm you with some tactics that will make your next holiday much more enjoyable.  So let’s start with the basics: Hunger.

1 Hunger-One of the intriguing features of male physiology is the constant need for…..food.  In the bible of understanding all men aka: The Godfather note when big decisions need to be made…food is included ie  “Leave the gun bring the cannoli.”  A little known fact is that 61 scenes involve food.  Why?  Men need Man Fuel.  It makes everything go much better.  Those little mini-meals they serve on long haul flights?  Not gonna cut it.  Ladies in order to combat this challenge plan your meals.  Make time for food!  A little planning goes a long way.

2 Directions-Just like the pitiful scene of Napoleon at Waterloo or Lee at Appomattox, asking a man to hand over his sword and ask for directions is just as humiliating.  Admitting defeat, even in the face of insurmountable odds, is next to impossible!  Instead, might we suggest that if possible you approach by using rule number one.  “Hey I am starving…is there anyway we could stop by this store/café and grab a quick bite?” (see rule #1)  At the same time… this will give you a chance to inconspicuously ask for some pointers on where the heck you are.  The invention of GPS has quite possibly single handedly saved our marriage.  It is now a travel must.

Traveling Couple Love

 

Traveling with a Woman

“The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?”   -Sigmund Freud

It’s all about the journey, not the destination.  Men, for whatever reason have a “let’s get there attitude” when traveling and doing other things. As women, we tend to focus a little more on the path.  Men: build in a little extra time into your schedules.  Be flexible. Here’s an example from our recent trip to Venice which turned into another 1000 fights. We were driving from Triste, Italy to Venice.  We were looking through tourist books and spotted an amazing castle cradling the bay outside of Triste.  It wasn’t in our plan.  Mike had an Excel spreadsheet that kept a strict schedule with everything we were to see that day and the castle wasn’t on the list. He didn’t even know about the castle. Of course Mike was like, “Gotta get on the road, got to see Venice, got to obey the spreadsheet.” After a fight that resulted in zero pictures of Mike and I together at the castle (in fact, Mike wouldn’t even take pictures of me-our friends were the photographers), we went to the castle.  We ended up seeing one of the most incredible sites of our entire trip.  Mike admitted he was wrong three weeks after the trip, and I have a few pictures of a fairy tale castle in Italy. Guys take the hint.  Be flexible.  Slow down a little and enjoy the ride!

A little more talk and a little less action

Couple travelTalk.  Women need to talk.  We need to communicate.  We need to discuss.  Guys: a couple of different options for you.  Some of you are talkers as well, so no problem.  Some of you are good listeners, no problem.  If you are neither or your name is Mike, a few ideas for you.  Let your spouse known that you need some time to talk. You finally have some time together, and for women it’s all about communication. If you don’t know what to talk about, we suggest “The Book of If: Questions for the Games of Life and Love” by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell.  On a four hour drive through Croatia, we found out a lot about each other. Like, “If you could fire someone from work, who would it be,” or “If you could relive one romantic date from high school just as it was, which would it be.”  Some answers we had to plead the “fifth.” But overall, it’s a great way to get a conversation going.

Of course one of the most important part of a successful trip as a couple is the place.  Why not try one of the Club Med all inclusive resorts?  Sun, sand, and your sweetie what more do you need?

There they are, a few ideas to help you travel as a couple.  So get out there and explore the world together!

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