Category Archives: Travel Planning

How to Book Apartments Online: 24 Websites Like Airbnb

websites like AirBnB alternatives booking apartments vacation rentals online

Looking for websites like Airbnb? Here is our guide to booking apartments online that provides a list of over 20 websites where you can search and book apartments and vacation rentals online. Getting a great place to stay is key to a good travel experience and if you are looking beyond hotels and hostels, renting an apartment, a house, or a private room can be a great alternative. Staying at an apartment versus a hotel can be great way to save money, have more autonomy, and connect with the local people. Most of these apartment booking websites also allow you to list your own property so that you can earn money while you travel or rent out a spare room or second home. Airbnb may be the best known vacation rental website, but there are a lot of Airbnb alternatives out there, and many have been on the scene for a Read the Rest…

One Week Sri Lanka Itinerary for Couples: Luxury, Wildlife, & Tea

1 week Sri Lanka itinerary for couples romantic honeymoon

We wanted to share a one week Sri Lanka itinerary that we think is perfect for couples, which focuses on wildlife, romance, luxury, and tea. Specifically it includes staying at the top luxury resort in Sri Lanka, soaking up the beautiful scenery of Sri Lanka’s hilly Tea Country, exploring ancient sites, admiring waterfalls, staying in a luxury tented camp, and searching for leopards on safari. We were in Sri Lanka last summer speaking at a conference and afterwards we decided to head off on our own on a short trip around Sri Lanka. Laurence had already been to Sri Lanka twice so wasn’t interested in many of the main tourist spots and I wanted a short luxury trip that focused on tea and leopards. We checked out a number of tour companies and found Jetwing Eco Holidays who helps plan and execute customized and tailor-made trips. We’ll share a one week Read the Rest…

Tips on Using & Buying the London Pass: Is it Worth It?

buying The London Pass tips advice

If you are planning a trip to London and want to spend some time admiring great artwork and visiting grand royal palaces, you’ll likely save money and time by purchasing the London Pass. The London Pass not only allows for free admission to over 60 of the top-visited attractions in London (i.e., Windsor Castle, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey), but it also allows you to skip the long entrance lines at several of these attractions and includes a 1-day free Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour ticket. In many cases, the London Pass is a good value and will save you money; however, in some cases, the London Pass may not be a good deal for you, especially if this is not your first visit to London or you have very limited time in the city. We’ll help provide all the information you need to know to decide if the Read the Rest…

Guide to Planning a Route 66 Road Trip

Route 66 road trip

A Route 66 road trip is a driving adventure along what is probably the most famous road in the world. Historic Route 66 spans over 2,400 miles and crosses 8 states, starting in Chicago, Illinois and terminating at the Pacific Coast in Santa Monica, California. Given its “66” designation in 1926, it became a well-traveled highway, bringing together people from all walks of life. John Steinbeck would refer to Route 66 as “the mother road, the road of flight” for those trying to escape the Dust Bowl and ravages of the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Later it would support a countless number of vacationing families from the Midwest heading to the Grand Canyon or Disneyland. As more Americans took to the highway, a roadside culture would spring up along Route 66—motels, diners, gas stations, tourist attractions—to cater to a population that was increasingly mobile. Today it is that classic road Read the Rest…

Wedding at Sea: Our Cunard Queen Mary 2 Wedding

Cunard Queen Mary 2 wedding at sea cruise

I have been wanting to write a post about our Queen Mary 2 wedding at sea for a few months. In August, Laurence and I got married at sea aboard the Cunard Queen Mary 2 ship as we sailed from New York City to England. We had struggled for a few months to decide on a wedding location given that we have different nationalities, residences, and family and friends spread out across the world. We already wanted to do a transatlantic cruise aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2 as a way to get to the UK and once we booked this, we decided to also hold our wedding here. We were married by the ship’s captain, Captain Kevin Oprey, about halfway between the United States and England while sailing on the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean. It was a wonderful experience for us, but a wedding at sea is not for Read the Rest…

Travel Advice: A Guide to Passport Photos and Visa Photos

visa photos cheap passport photos

Recently we’ve been needing to apply for several international visas for travel in Asia and Africa, which means we’ve been filling out application paperwork for each country and obtaining a lot of visa photos. Even though biometric passport and visa photos are just simple digital photos, most people have them taken professionally because they need to meet the country-specific requirements of the destination and in the case of passport photos, may be accompanying a person for a full 10 years. Ethan and I have each needed almost a dozen visa photos over the past several months, and we became very frustrated with the cost of passport and visa photos at our local drugstores. After paying almost $50 for 8 photos (ridiculous!), we started researching the various places where we could get visa photos taken and exploring the do-it-yourself options where you can take and print your own photos. After our research, we have Read the Rest…

Win a Free Hotel Stay of Your Choice in the TravelPony Contest

TravelPoney contest TravelPony hotel review

Want to use your travel knowledge to win a free hotel stay in the new TravelPony contest? All you have to do is guess the location in the photo and each week you’ll have the chance to win a free hotel stay of your choice valued up to $250!! In case you don’t happen to know about TravelPony, it is a new hotel booking website and you can read our prior review of TravelPony. We had a really good experience booking a hotel on TravelPony and are happy to present this contest to all our readers. Enter the TravelPony Contest to Win a Free Hotel Stay by Guessing Where in the World the TravelPony is! While The Big Travel Sites spend Billions on TV commercials and traditional advertising, TravelPony offers way better prices on hotels when you share them with your friends. Just tell one of your social networks about TravelPony.com and save Read the Rest…

Travel Research: How Much Travel Stress Do People Experience on Vacation?

Most people plan trips and take vacations to get away from the stress of home and work; however, very few people take travel stress into consideration. While traveling can indeed be an escape or break from the day-to-day routine, planning and taking a trip can also be quite stressful. Where should I go? How do I get a visa? Do I have enough vacation time at work? Do I want to dip into my savings to stay in a nice hotel or find a hostel? How am I going to manage public transportation? How are the children going to handle two weeks of traveling to new places?  Can I survive a week in the car with my parents? Not to mention potential travel hiccups along the way such as bad weather, traffic jams, strikes, cancelled flights, language-related miscommunications, and illness. Some people can plan and take a trip with very Read the Rest…

How to Use Airbnb to Save Money on Accommodations and Meet Locals

Italy websites like AirBnB alternatives booking apartments vacation rentals online

Using Airbnb to book accommodations during your travels can not only help save you money, but it can also help you meet people and bring you closer to the local culture. While hotels and even hostels can offer more services than most Airbnb hosts, the chance to stay in someone’s house or apartment can lead to some wonderful conversations and experiences. We have found that it can also help us save a lot of money when compared to booking a hotel room in the same location. Sometimes it can even be cheaper than booking a hostel! While Airbnb is not for every traveler, we’ll provide a review of Airbnb that can help you decide if it is right for you. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of what is Airbnb, our personal experiences of using Airbnb (including how much we’ve paid for various accommodations), and provide a list of Read the Rest…

Travel Research: Are Travel Guidebooks Still Useful in the Digital Age?

travel guidebooks

As more and more people use the Internet to do travel research, are travel guidebooks still useful and relevant? Do we need travel guidebooks anymore? With giant travel websites like Tripadvisor and Expedia, it made me wonder how much people use guidebooks these days. Recent research suggests that although most people are using the Internet as a source of travel information, most people still rely on travel guidebooks during their travels. Let’s take a look at a research article in the Journal of Travel Research. Research Study: A 2011 published research study collected information from 196 overseas travelers from Hong Kong. The majority of travelers were traveling for leisure purposes. Travelers completed surveys about what information sources they used to help them plan their trip prior to travel, what sources they used while traveling, and what sources they used after travel.  They were also asked to rate how influential each travel Read the Rest…

Missing the Boat on the Canal Saint Martin: Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out as We Planned

Saint Martin canal boat

Sometimes our perfectly planned travel days don’t work out as we planned. Sometimes the weather, public transportation, or our own health derails a perfectly planned day. And sometimes we just get lost and miss our reservations for a boat ride down the Canal Saint Martin. This is what happened to us during our last visit to Paris. During our first trip to Paris, we had taken the obligatory boat ride on the Seine River. We saw all the major sites – the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, etc.—as we plied along the famous river. So we wanted to do something a little different on our second trip to Paris together. We decided to take a boat ride down the Canal Saint-Martin, which is a 4.5 km long canal in Paris that connects the Canal de ‘Ourcq to the Seine. I am much more of a planner Read the Rest…

When you Still Want to Hold a Real Book: Tips for Traveling with Books

suitcase full of books

Do you like to travel with books? Ever thought that if you packed every book you wanted to take along, your books would need their own suitcase? Welcome, you are not alone my fellow bibliophiles. I love traveling with books and this article provides tips on how to travel with books (yes, actual physical books!) while still packing light. In the 1700’s, young men and women embarking on a Grand Tour throughout Europe may have traveled with a trunk full of books to aid in their search for enlightenment and culture. Times have changed and traveling light is key to reducing hassles while traveling. Not to mention avoiding pricey airline baggage fees. Books are deadweight in your bag, they aren’t collapsible, foldable, and don’t serve a million purposes. So what do you do? Friends have suggested Kindles, Nooks, and other e-book readers. I could read books on my IPad, laptop, Read the Rest…