Category Archives: Travel More

Odds and ends on how to travel (more) with a career!

Travelling? Check! The Art Of Ticking Things Off A Bucket List

Having a bucket list is a start, but it’s only the beginning. Unfortunately, too many people have a physical or mental list which they cram with activities. And, that’s right – they are still on there waiting to get discovered. Not to preach, but there is no point in developing a list if the person is not going to tick things off it once in awhile. Come on – live a little!

For the people who want turn pipe dreams into reality, here’s what to consider. These are the tips which help hone the art of bucket listing.

Regular Holidays
One vacation every summer is not enough. Sure, it’s a nice getaway and helps the whole family recharge their batteries. But, and not to judge, is a beach holiday on the list? Of course it isn’t, because it’s an experience an average person can have on a regular basis. To ensure there is ample opportunity to tick dreams off, it is vital to go on as many holidays as possible. That way, it’s a straightforward task to mix adrenaline filled experiences with lying on the sand sipping piña coladas. At least two to three a year should do the job.

Bigger Budget
Of course, to go on three holidays a year, a family needs a big budget. After all, flights and accommodation for five people aren’t cheap. Plus, the activities which are once in a lifetime cost a pretty penny, too. It goes without saying that money makes a bucket list spin, but how does one save enough? It’s simple really: put the holiday first. Things at home always get in the way, from a renovation to a new car. By placing a vacation first, it makes the family put aside cash every month. The kids can get involved as well.

The Science Element
Just because science isn’t an enjoyable subject doesn’t mean it won’t come in handy. If it is preferable, it is okay to call it logistics instead of science. The pertinent things to remember are the small details. For example, the Aurora Borealis is top five in the majority of peoples’ bucket lists. But, trekking into the Arctic Circle in the middle of summer is a sure-fire way to waste money. The science of the Northern Lights means hunters have to go in late autumn to early spring every year. Any earlier and the constant daylight will scupper the plan.

Risk It For A Biscuit
Finally, it doesn’t matter how much money and planning goes into a bucket list. If there isn’t an element of risk taking, the list will stay full forever. Let’s face it – doing the same thing every year is easy. Not only is it simple, but it’s comfortable and cozy. Trekking through the snow in the Arctic Circle is cold, strenuous, and not guaranteed to get results. But, when it pays off, there is no better feeling in the world. The key is to accept it’s a gamble and go anyway. After all, the majority of activities on a bucket list are once in a lifetime.

This post is a collaborative effort. While not written by me, Diane, I liked the content enough to publish it here on Wife with Baggage. I hope it encourages, educates and entices you to travel more!

Camping in the Caucasus Mountains

The South Caucasus is the cradle of the oldest civilizations, the region of high mountain ranges and snow-capped peaks. The Caucasian mountains have long become a popular destination for hikers and camping enthusiasts. So, today we’d like to tell you about the most attractive places for the camping in Armenia and Georgia – two hospitable countries of the South Caucasus.

Camping in Armenia
Your trip to Armenia will be undoubtedly full of new impressions. In the Armenian mountains you will find beautiful valleys and dense forests, mountain rivers and lakes. The palette of the sunset in an isolated place and the mountain air in the morning will be the most unforgettable moments of your camping. The large national parks of Armenia are the best choices for camping, the flora and fauna there are kept pristine and strictly protected.

Camping on Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Armenia. The largest freshwater lake in the CIS is located in the national park with natural and historical sites. Camping at the lake attracts ecotourism lovers. Here you can enjoy the most delicious fish, Ishkhan, stroll through ancient fortresses and monasteries, and of course, enjoy the colors of the sunset on the lake. In the park, you can find wild beaches, where you will be in a complete harmony with nature.

Camping in Dilijan National Park
Dilijan national park is the largest in Armenia with rich in flora and fauna. The national park includes forest landscapes and mountain ranges, the lakes Parz, Gosh, Bachnilich, Zhangotlich, as well as historical monuments of Haghartsin, Goshavank, Matosavank and ancient burial places, which are very important for the country’s history and culture.

Camping in Lastiver
Another popular destination for camping is Lastiver. In a small territory there are several unique natural attractions that should be definitely included in “must visit” list. Here is one of the most interesting caves inhabited in the Mesolithic Age. The entrance and walls of the caves have preserved traces of humans who lived on the territory more than 10,000 years ago. Below the caves, in dense forests, there is a cascade of waterfalls.

Camping in Georgia
Georgia amazes with alpine meadows, boundless forests, gurgling rivers, crystal lakes and celestial peaks of mountain ranges. Caucasian mountains in Georgia offer many popular places for camping with unique natural beauty as well as the mild climate for most of the year. Trips to Georgia are mostly organized in the places listed below.

Camping in Adjara
Do you want to combine two great activities in just one place? Camping in Adjara is an unforgettable experience on the seashore of the Black Sea. There are several places for camping on the shores of the Black Sea. Mtirala Park in Adjara is a small corner of the subtropical forest in a mountainous country. Camping in the area can be combined with trekking about the sights. Leave the tourist centers behind and head to the region of Guria. Here the subtropical climate changes to tropical with dense palm groves. One thing that will capture attention is the black color of historical monuments. Black is not only the color of temples and monasteries but also the color of national clothes and modern buildings. You can organize camping both in the Kolkheti national park and on the beach.

Camping in Borjomi National Park
The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is not only the most popular resort region, but also the largest national park in the Caucasus and Europe. This is a great place for trekking, horse riding and camping. Here you can enjoy the clean mountain air and coniferous forests.

Camping in Javakheti
Samtskhe-Javakheti is waiting for those whose hearts are in the mountains. Here are located the largest lakes of Georgia – Parvana, Kartsakhi, Madatapa. Khanchali, Samago and Tabatskuri. Camping in Javakheti will take place along the shores of lakes, through forests and mountain passes. While camping, you can go fishing or take a bike ride.

This post was a collaborative effort. While not written by me, Diane, I loved the content enough to publish it here, on Wife with Baggage. I hope you are as inspired, intrigued and interested in this content as I am!

Traveling Around The World On A Budget

Traveling the world is the dream. Of course, it’s easy to tell yourself that it’s a pipe dream when you consider the costs of such a venture, right? Well, maybe you don’t have to make do with lounging around on a sunbed in your back garden next time the summer break swings around. Traveling doesn’t have to be quite as expensive as you might imagine if you do your research. And that doesn’t just include budget vacations to seaside resorts. There are ways to see incredible places around the world without crippling your bank account.

So, next time your friend asks if you’ve been traveling lately, you don’t have to respond with the typical, “I don’t have enough money for that.” If you’ve been dying to see the world for a long time now then here are some pieces of advice that should help you see all the great sights you’ve only ever seen in pictures for a very reasonable price.

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America.

This is one of the most fascinating continents in the world when it comes to diverse and influential cultures. North America boasts a wide variety of culture across its many states (which are essentially miniature countries in their own right). Still, traveling to the Northern part of this continent might set you back a little bit with your bank balance. Of course, if you want to see something different (perhaps you already live in the United States so you’d like to venture further out into the world), then Central America might be a part of the world that you’d much rather visit.

For the explorer who’s on a mission to experience some of the most culture-soaked spots in the world, you’ll definitely find a lot of that in the center of this continent. Smaller Central American countries such as El Salvador and Nicaragua are fantastically low-budget with regards to accommodation and meals. Most importantly, however, you’ll be seeing fantastic sights for these low prices. Jungles, surfs, ancient ruins, and barely any tourists to ruin your sightseeing experience; this is the perfect part of the world to visit on your travels.

Europe.

Europe is one of the most beautiful continents in the world. Again, much like every other continent, its countries are diverse and proud of their individual heritages. Nonetheless, there’s some semblance of a bond and connection between all the countries in this part of the world. If you’re looking for a budget traveling experience, however, then Far Eastern Europe is definitely the part of this continent that you need to visit. Not only do you pay far less in countries such as Ukraine and Bulgaria than you would in western European places such as France or Germany but you get just as much charm. They’re definitely stunning countries with far more to their culture and story than people might assume from the surface of things.

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Asia.

Asia is a vast and sprawling continent boasting many diverse cultures. It’s hard to suggest any single place to begin but Indonesia is definitely a fantastic place to see if you’re on a budget. However, a low cost of living by western standards does not, by any means, detract from the sheer wonder of the country in itself. A full dinner may cost the equivalent of 1 dollar but the meals you can get for such a small amount of money are absolutely delicious. Chili spices, coconut milk, fish, and chicken are just a few of the staples that you’ll find in most Indonesian cuisine and you can’t beat the taste of their local, fresh delicacies. In terms of history and heritage, there are many beautiful and fascinating temples in the heart of Indonesia. The Prambanan and Borobudur temples, Toraja and Bali, are well worth a visit if you want an insight into Hinduism. Most tours come at incredibly reasonable prices too.

You could also look into a cheap room for rent in Singapore if you’re interested in the area of Southeast Asia. This city-state truly is a beautiful combination of modern city landscapes and ancient cultural heritage. If you want to see the world on a budget then this is definitely one of the places you should include on your journey; it’s low-cost and high-reward in terms of the experiences you’ll have. The ‘Lion City’, as it’s often called, is also a very unique place because it’s the only island city-state in the world. Of course, claims to fame such as this aren’t the things that make Singapore such a wonderful place to visit. It has wonderful sights such as Merlion Park to thank for that; home to the Merlion statue, with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, this park is just one of many jaw-dropping sights in this great place. The Macritchie Nature Trail, often notable for its incredible elevated walkway towering above the biodiversity of Singapore below, is another fantastic sight that you need to see.

Africa.

To be more specific, you need to see South Africa. Many Northern African countries are worth visiting if you want an eye-opening experience and have some time or resources available to help people who are struggling in places such as Nigeria and elsewhere. Still, if you’re looking simply to travel and spend as little money as possible whilst still having an enlightening and awe-inspiring experience then South Africa is definitely somewhere you need to visit.

It’s unbelievable that you can have a safari experience here that takes you through some of the most stunning locations in that part of the world at a ridiculously low-budget price. Gems such as Hluhluwe-Imfolozi are the perfect place to see creatures such as the white rhino; it’s a humbling and thought-provoking experience which might just inspire you to do more to protect these endangered species. Of course, you’ll also want to visit famous tourist hotspots such as Cape Town. Yes, some top tourist locations can be infuriatingly crowded but this one is definitely worth the visit.

This post was a collaborative effort. While not written by me, Diane, I loved the content enough to publish it here, on Wife with Baggage. I hope you are as inspired, intrigued and interested in this content as I am!

The Top Countries You Need To Visit At Least Once

Often when you have the travel bug, people can ask you where are the best places to visit in the world. Of course, if you have seen as many beautiful destinations as we have, you can often find it very difficult to answer the question. There are, however, some great places to visit and some of the best destinations are possibly already featured on your bucket list, but I thought I would give them a mention anyway and share some of the best bits about them. I hope it inspires you if you are searching for your next holiday destination.

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New Zealand
New Zealand is by far one of the best places filled with absolute splendour, clue lakes, green mountainous regions and very friendly people. You may have seen from some of our latest blogs how much we enjoyed our time there. But if you haven’t caught those blog posts, then here’s a little recap. There are two islands, north island and south island. Both have their own different locations and cities to explore. A quick hint of a great attraction would be if you are a fan of the Lord Of The Rings films as they have their sets there.

Mexico
Mexico is a country that has had a decline in tourists wanting to visit recently, but there really shouldn’t be a reason why you won’t want to visit this enchanting place. There are some amazing opportunities to explore. Head down to Cabo San Lucas and enjoy one of the Cabo yacht charters . Maybe exploring some of the temples in the Yucatan Peninsula is more your thing, full of history and allows your imagination to run away with you. The weather is great for holidays and relaxing, but you also have the hustle and bustle of Cancun if you want a vibrant and busy nightlife scene. There are plenty of options and destinations to consider. 

Canada
There are some great places to visit in Canada. It is a country in Northern America, and the capital city of Ottawa has much to offer. But There is also the huge city of Toronto and the film center that is Vancouver. However, there are amazing lake retreats and vast amounts of forest to hike that if you love the more adventuring type of holiday, then this country could be for you.

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Italy
If you are a fan of Italian food, then you may already have Italy on your list of places to visit. Perhaps you want to wander the streets of Rome, taking in Vatican City or enjoying the beautiful churches and museums. Or perhaps you want to head over to some of the other famous places like Venice, Naples or Florence. There are some amazing places in this country and definitely should be one for the bucket list.

Iceland

Finally, if you like the idea of checking out the Northern Lights, which is one of the natures wonders of the world, then Iceland is the place to go. The capital city of Reykjavík is vibrant and bustling with restaurants and bars, but heading out will enable you to witness the rugged landscape.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider some other destinations for your possible ever-growing bucket list. There are just too many places in the world to see.

This post was a collaborative effort. While not written by me, Diane, I loved the content enough to publish it here, on Wife with Baggage. I hope you are as inspired, intrigued and interested in this content as I am!

The Most Underwhelming Places in New Zealand

Drafting this post was tough. The title alone almost seems sacrilegious and offensive. With its turquoise blue lakes, green meadows, dramatic mountains, friendly locals and bustling cities, how in the world could anyone consider New Zealand “underwhelming?” Let’s be clear. I don’t; we don’t. As a whole, New Zealand is jaw-droppingly beautiful and we may or may not be making plans to return to the island nation soon.

But, there are “sights” that were just “meh” for us. This post isn’t about persuading you to skip these places, rather, this post is to help manage your expectations and give you our two cents. Because, after all, that is why you’re here, correct?

Te’Puia is an attraction in Rotorua. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity and forests. In its defense, Te Puia offers a glimpse at bubbling mud pools and geysers. However, in scope and grandeur, the geysers and bubbling pools are low and underwhelming. In retrospect, we should not have used road signs to help us make the decision and in many ways I felt the park was like the “Disney World of Rotorua.” Sure, it’s features were natural phenomenons, but you didn’t feel like you were in nature. Sure, there were clean bathrooms, but crowds and ticket prices went along as well. Case and point, there was bus parking. Mike and I usually shy away from places with bus parking. But, you live and learn.

Huka Falls is pretty. The water rushing through the rocks is bright blue and frothy. The sound of the water is like a roar and the green forests surrounding the falls is dense. You couldn’t ask for a more picturesque sounding place. But, for whatever reason, we did not see why it was New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction (according to www.greatlaketaupo.com) Maybe the website got a little carried away. Or, maybe the stat is accurate and Mike and I are just ignorant. With alllll of the great places in NZ, Huka Falls, while pretty, does not rank as high as the hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or cruising Milford Sound or a road trip to Glenorchy.

 

Tauranga is a coastal town with one good hike, but that is about it. Being a Florida girl, I am a sucker for coastal towns. They are usually busting with fresh seafood restaurants, quaint shops, and miles of beaches. Tauranga is not a town, it is a city, with a port and lots of traffic, especially for New Zealand standards. True, we were there during peak season, but except for our hike up Mount Maunganui, I did not see the appeal to the town/city at all. Our hotel was overpriced and mediocre, at best, and the restaurant selection was not what we had hoped for.

 

When it comes down to it, New Zealand is the opposite of underwhelming. Most of our moments in the land of Kiwis were full of overwhelming beauty, kindness and excitement. We spent two weeks road tripping around the islands and want to go back for two more as soon as possible. And when we do make it back, we will return to a few places, but these will not make the cut the second time around.

Hiking The Tongariro Apline Crossing in New Zealand as a Novice Hiker

To be honest, we are not super experienced hikers. First, we live in Florida, so even hills are impressive to us. Secondly, while we’ve hiked in Kauai, Namibia and Colorado, we don’t even own proper hiking boots. We have gotten better over the years, but we are absolutely, 100% novice hikers who seem to be the right mixture of physically fit, blissfully ignorant and outdoorsy-but-also-like-to-shower-every-night kind of travelers.

In our current age (mid thirties) and state of health (active and healthy) there are not too many trails we wouldn’t attempt. True, summiting Mount Everest is not on my list, but Kilimanjaro is, completing the Napali Coast Trail in Kauai is and hiking the Tongariro Trail is. Only now we can say was, since we finished the hike in just over 6 hours in December 2015. It is certainly one for the books and every bit as impressive as I’d hoped it would be.

Here is a synopsis of our 6 hour hike, in tennis shoes, on the Tongariro Trail.

Hour 1: Park, wait for the bus, ride the bus and then start hiking (Note, 99.9% of people do this. If you park and start hiking, then ride the bus back to your car you will be hiking against the flow of foot traffic.) The first hour is easy – both in general and in comparison to the rest of the hike. The first hour consists of gravel trails, well-kept boardwalks over marshy land and a slow uphill trek. There are also port-o-potties, or temporary toilets for you to use. These are the only facilities on the path, so take advantage of them.

Hour 2: Hour 2 is up and down and even perfectly flat at times. Leaving the toilets is almost straight up, but then you reach a crater like stretch suddenly the earth looks like Mars.

Hour 3: The third hour was the highlight for me. After reaching a high point and sitting a boulder to rest and eat a snack in the clouds (literally), we marveled at the Red Crater and the prismatic pools of water below. This is also a good stopping point for lunch.

Hour 4: Stopping for lunch bleeds into the next hour, but the trek through a valley and alongside other ponds is easy enough and allows your food to digest some. If this part of the trek looks like the land of Mordor, you’re a solid LOTR fan.

Hour 5: Rises and falls in the land create for changing views of the valley below and it is tough to not trip over the loose rocks as you forget to look down at your footing while staring at the stunning beauty that is all around you.

Hour 6: The last hour is the longest, because that is just how time and life work. HOwever, for me, this was the most rigorous as it is almost entirely downhill. My body is built for uphill climbs, but downhill over the course of an hour can really wear on your knees and ankles, so be prepared. The downhill trail brings you down from the mountains, foothills and ends in a forest. This forest is the only shade found on the entire trail.

Things to know before you hike:

  • Pack water and food – more than you think you’ll need.
  • Plan on spending a few days in the area as weather might not cooperate and this causes the trail to close for everyone.
  • Dress in layers. We added and peeled off layers all day long.
  • Socks were more important and helpful to us than hiking boots were. We had water wicking, warm socks that kept dirt and small pebbles out; which was paramount.
  • We did not have walking sticks, but I can see how they would be helpful.
  • Pack sunscreen and sunglasses/hat for sure! At some points you are in the clouds, but other times the sun is intense and there is no shade to be found.
  • Did I say to pack water and snacks? The average time is 7 hours.

New Zealand: The 6 Best Ideas for a Kiwi Getaway

New Zealand is a country that feels like a world away. It’s sprawling and untamed, a perfect balance between the manmade wonders of the big cities and the glorious wilderness surrounding them. Here are six ideas for when you’re travelling through the Kiwi paradise.

Take a cruise

(image credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/)

When the waters of New Zealand are so vast and glorious, it makes perfect sense to explore them with a cruise. Audley Travel recommends cruising to both the Bay of Islands and Milford Sound, two of New Zealand’s most magnificent natural wonders. The former is perhaps the less explored, a cluster of around 150 green islands surrounded by deep turquoise waters, so if you’re wanting to head off the beaten track this is the way to do it.

Seize the thrills of Queenstown

 (image credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/queenstownrafting/)

If you’re looking for adventure, Queenstown is where you’ll find it. Here, you’re able to jump from the tallest bungee platform in New Zealand in the form of Nevis Bungy; you can white water raft down the Tully River; and you can even skydive if you’re feeling that brave. Plus, Queenstown is the only place in the world where you can try the coveted Fergburger, a renowned culinary delight that goes down a storm with tourists and locals alike.

Explore the bustle of Auckland

 (image credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/)

It may not be the capital of New Zealand – that title belongs to Wellington –but Auckland really is a one-of-a-kind city. It truly does offer everything you could wish for – whether you’re wanting a spot of natural beauty or the bustle of a big city centre, you’ll find it here. Consider hiking through the Shakespear Regional Park, overlooking the deep blue ocean, before heading back into central Auckland to dine at one of its many fantastic restaurants and party the night away in a vibrant club.

Take a break in Christchurch

 (image credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/)

Although it’s a vast and big city, Christchurch is the perfect destination for a more relaxed New Zealand experience. Following a devastating earthquake in 2011, the city has quickly recovered through extensive efforts, blossoming into a hotspot that has a warm air of community about it. You’re able to visit some beautifully creative installations – such as the Cardboard Cathedral, erected as a placeholder for the original that was destroyed – as well as learn more about the earthquake through tasteful and insightful memorials and museums.

Indulge in the culture of Rotorua

 (image credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ks_marks/)

Rotorua is a town hardly any tourists have discovered. It’s baffling that it isn’t more popular considering just how beautiful a location it is – it’s full of geothermal beauty, with hot geysers and sprawling lakes throughout for you to discover. It’s a cultural hotspot, too, with a large part of its population being Maori. You’ll see it in the century-old buildings throughout the town, as well as in the Rotorua Museum – it’s currently closed due to an earthquake, but it should be opening again very soon.

Hit the open roads

 (image credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/)

It’s said to be the best way to explore New Zealand – hire a car and take to the winding open roads. By road tripping through the two islands, you’ll come across undiscovered treasures of your own accord – secluded bays, glorious mountains and endless lakes await. Consider driving from Christchurch to Queenstown, a route that will allow you to visit the beautiful Franz Josef Glacier on the way. It’s a majestic feat of nature that is just one of many examples of New Zealand’s true beauty.

Hiking and Tramping to Cathedral Cove Near Hahei, New Zealand

Ever get somewhere and think “This is not worth it” and by “it” I mean the time, energy or money used to get there. I’ve had those thoughts before. Bangkok comes to mind. As does Disney and most movies I’ve seen in the theater in the last 5 years. Thousands of dollars, too many hours and all of our energy went into our two weeks in New Zealand, but I never once had that thought.

Throughout our 14 days on the two islands, never once did I regret the time, money and energy we expended to explore New Zealand’s north and south islands. One of our first stops was Cathedral Cove, a very worthwhile stop! Each mile and dollar was worth it to soak up the sun rays, dig my toes into the powder sand, and shiver when realizing the turquoise water was a tad but cooler than the Caribbean Ocean.

Prior to hiking to Cathedral Cove we sea kayaked around cliffs and corners and through caves. We battled winds and waves and each other, because double kayaks will do that to even the best of couples! Cathedral Cove Kayaks took us on a great adventure.

Cathedral Cove Kayaking

But after 3 hours out of the water we wanted to relax. The only thing between us and that relaxation was a “short” little hike. The hike out to Cathedral Cove is no Tongariro Trail, but it is not a short little jaunt either. And don’t be the person who takes a boat here. If you want the views, do the work. (Rant over.)

Pack a small bag with a few beach necessities, snacks and water and then start hiking in Hahei. The path is wide and even. There are rougher off-shoots that you can take down to other small patches of sand or view points. They’re pretty, but we just wanted to sit and swim and sip our libations, so we kept walking.

The walk itself is 30-45 minutes based on your level of fitness and pace. Once there, do not expect to have the place to yourself. It is a favorite for a reason! However, when you finally sink into the sand and see the boat drop off a “boat load” of people you will instantly be angry that more people are in your “secret spot.” You’ll get over it quickly though; Cathedral Cove is too spectacular to let anyone ruin it for you! (OK, now my rant is over.)

You can easily spend any entire day near and around Hahei as we did. On land, in the water or on water, Coromandel and the surrounding peninsula are worth every mile, penny and ounce of energy it takes to get there.

Hiking the Napali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii

There is hiking. And, then, there is hiking the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast in Kauai.

As hiking trails go – there are smooth, flat lanes all the way to rugged, steep and rocky pathways. There are hikes along river beds and valleys, and those along mountain crests with 360 degrees views.

The Kalalau Trail in Kauai is popular and scenic, so we assumed it would be an easy, smooth hike. WRONG!

The trail is rugged. The trail is rocky. The trail is up and down.

That being said, I did the hike in Chaco sandals and Mike was prepared enough to have both, Chacos and his shoes. I wish I had closed toes, but I was thankful for sturdy Vibram soles. Mike liked the protection from pebbles in his shoes, but hated that be slipped around. Put our shoes together and we would be golden. Put our shoes together and you’ve got a decent pair of hiking shoes … go figure!

Even though you are at the beach and in a tropical paradise, pack and wear your hiking boots/shoes. The trail can get muddy, so slipping is a concern. The trail is rocky, so twisting your ankle is a concern. The trail has loose gravel in places, so small stones in your shoes is a concern. The terrain’s elevation often undulated and uneven, so blisters are a concern.

Pack plenty of food and water as the trail is long – even to the first major stopping point. If you’re on the trail, you might as well hike to Hanakapi’ia beach. Mike and I stopped here, drank water, ate our snacks, swam and then headed back. This took us almost 6 hours. It is a long day; be ready with nutrition and hydration.

Plan for a hike that takes the entire day. The earlier you arrive the better for a few reasons. First, you might find a parking spot. Parking is extremely scarce, so arrive before the sun comes up to make sure your spot. The trail runs along the western coast of the island which means it is in the shade until noon. The afternoons are brutally hot and little shade is found along the trail certain times of year. Bring hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, for sure!

Our hike time was not the best given our poor shoe choice and 500 stops for photos (it is that scenic), but we were not in a rush. Hiking Kalalau was one of our favorite adventures while on Kauai. In fact, I’d like to return to hike the entire trail, camping and everything. I know, I know. You probably don’t believe me. I barely believe me.Who knows, maybe they have a glamping option! 🙂

Tips for Saving Money on Food While on Vacation

You know my feelings about saving money for travel whenever you can, however you can and as much as you can! My brain is always thinking about another destination, another experience, another plane ride. Saving for a trip is “easy” if it is a priority. I do not mean that it is literally easy, I know most people work hard to pay bills each month and save for retirement; saving for a vacation can almost seem frivolous. I mean saving for a trip is “easy” if it is a priority in that making sacrifices to save is almost fun because you know a vacation will come to fruition if you save long enough.

Saving Money on food and drink while on Vacation

OK, a little tangent already. My bad! The focus on this post is not about saving money before and after a trip. The purpose of this post is helping you save money while you travel, specifically on food and beverages.

You bought the flights and booked the hotel rooms. You’ve (efficiently) packed your suitcase(s)! You are ready to have fun and unwind. A word of caution: Do not go crazy with vacation spending! So many splurge on first class flights or an upgraded hotel room. That is so awesome! If you can do it, you should! But, if you are looking to reign in your spending – but still have fun – here are my tips for saving money on food and drink while on vacation.

Packing a cooler saves money and time on road trips and driving vacations. Pack up any food you might have left over in your fridge before heading out of town. Use up that loaf of bread for sandwiches. Do not throw those peaches away. Take them with you! Plus, you can eat and drive (safely!) and get to your destination faster.

Buy a Steripen if you do not like to waste money on bottled water. I’ve written about the Steripen before, but it is worth mentioning again. A Steripen sterlizes tap water so that it is safe to drink anywhere in the world. Use it for drinking and brushing your teeth and your international water bill will drastically decrease! Saving money on water while on vacation will add up quickly.

Sterpien Handheld

BYOB works for vacation too! We save money on drinks while on vacation by bringing (or buying) our own. Going out for a bottle of wine and you are looking at $50+ bucks plus a tip. That same bottle while sitting on the balcony or with your toes in the sand at the beach is half the price if bought a liquor store or grocery store. It is easy to save money on food and drink while on vacation, just think outside of the box.

Speaking of grocery stores, use them more often while of vacation! We buy food for picnics all the time. We buy protein bars for breakfast replacements and fruit for healthy, cheap snacks while on vacation. Utilize the local markets and stores; you do not always have to eat out.

If you do go out, look at the restaurant’s portion sizes and consider splitting an entree. We do this often and we do not leave with too full bellies or too empty wallets.

Rye Bread baked using geothermal heat

And if you reeaally want to tick your server off, order water! Just remember to tip well because he or she is still doing the same amount of work for one entree and water.

Most restaurants also run Happy Hour specials that will save you money while traveling. Two for Ones and percentages off food and drinks is always a great way to save some serious cash.

Traveling does not have to break the bank. It is very easy to become absorbed in the “I’m on vacation” mentality. It happens to us to often too! But, if you consider budgeting your money wisely for food and beverages while on vacation you might be able stretch your overall budget and take that paddle boarding excursion or snorkeling trip. Happy Saving!