Category Archives: Travel Tips

Renting a Car in Iceland

Iceland 467

I’ve talked before about the value of renting a car while traveling – I think it gives you the ability to really see a country in way that you can’t with a tour bus. On our trip, an Iceland car rental was no exception. We rented a car from Route 1 Rental Car for our last three days and used it to explore the countryside at our own pace. So what advantages did the rental car provide? It allowed us to explore on our own schedule. Iceland’s tour operators offer trips to almost every single destination on the island, with … Read More

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More Deal for Your Dollar: Tips on Finding Affordable Accommodation

Lin Mei (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

  When traveling, the two things that will eat up your budget the fastest are transportation and lodging. Many, many articles are written about finding cheap flights – but what can you do in your search for affordable lodging? Can you afford that perfect Mexican Seaside Villa? Will you find an amazing Toronto Furnished Condo? How can you keep prices down while not staying in a slum? Shop for your size This is one that actually took me a while to learn.  Usually, traveling with one or more people will mean you get cheaper lodging but that’s only if you … Read More

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Hotel Safety when Traveling Solo

Creative Commons photo credit: Hanumann

If you find yourself staying in a hotel, rather than a hostel, as a solo traveler, there are certain precautions you shoud take to stay safe. Although most hotels are relatively safe, single travelers can become targets if they aren’t careful. Before Booking: Look for a hotel that offers rooms the open into an interior hallway. Avoid motels and other establishments with outdoor corridors. Research the location of the hotel. Make sure its a well populated area. If you are using public transportation make sure the station is located nearby. If you will be driving, try to understand where the parking … Read More

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What to do with Foreign Coins?

a.drian via Flickr under the following Creative Commons Licence

  Every time I travel I come home with a hand full (or four) of foreign coins. Usually I find a few in my suitcase, some tucked into pockets and a bunch in my purse. I blame being from the US. I’m not used to coins being worth anything and I forget to spend them. Seriously though, coins are so annoying – they take up a ton of room, make noise and are heavy. My wallet is just not built for coinage. So I throw them in my bag and forget about them. So whats the issue with foreign coins? Banks … Read More

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Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe

Adding Coffeee on top of the Sugar Cubes

Right off the Powell-Hyde Cable Car line is the Buena Vista Cafe, a San Francisco establishment famous for its (very potent) Irish Coffees. Since it was literally just one minute north on noon we figured it was high time we treated ourselves to a drink, so the three of us grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered a round. The most interesting part of the experience is that the Irish Coffees are made with a nifty little process that is performed right at the bar (almost continuously in fact due to the number of orders). Step 1. Line up … Read More

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Renting a Car while Abroad

Road in Israel

When I first started traveling internationally, transportation fell into one of two categories: public transportation and my feet. The thought of renting a car never even crossed my mind – for some reason I had already ruled it out as overly complicated, expensive or even dangerous. It wasn’t until I was planning my trip to Israel in 2010 that a light bulb went off. I had been staring at the complicated schedule of buses that ran sporadically through the northern part of the country when it occurred to me that I was adding on extra DAYs to my travel time by depending on buses.  … Read More

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Return of the Mark: Common Travel Scams

Popular tourist locations like this are common scam sites

The popularity of my story about getting scammed in Morocco led me to thinking about other common scams that travelers seem to fall into. Below is a collection of the most common scams I’ve seen or heard of while traveling. Keep in mind that in every country, there are good people and bad people. But sometimes when you travel, you become so excited by all the new wonderful experiences; you are less aware of your surroundings and more likely to fall for scams. You are a prime target to become “the mark” for some clever scammer. All the Single Ladies … Read More

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Any Room in the Inn? Searching for the Perfect Travel Lodging.

Photo: ciccioetneo via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

Nothing can put a damper on a trip faster than bad accommodations. Many travelers show up to a new location and end up wandering the streets carrying heavy backpacks searching for an empty bed. Others book in advance and wind up in a dingy, creepy hotel. In my experience, the key to a happy hotel situation is doing your research ahead of time. Whether you are looking for an apartment for your holiday in the UK, or hoping for a romantic bungalow for your honeymoon in Bali, knowing what you will find when you show up can mean the difference … Read More

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Oh the people you’ll meet: The three LCDs

New Friends at a Hostel - Can you spot the LCDs?

One of the best parts of traveling is all the amazing people you meet along the way. I have met wonderful new friends throughout the world in hostels, in restaurants, in churches and even in the Jordain Desert. Of course, one of the worst parts of travel can be dealing with the less pleasant people you also sometimes encounter. I like to refer to these people as the Lowest Common Denominators of Humanity - the LCDS. Often disguised as other travelers, locals or service industry professionals, the LCDs will try and ruin your trip just by existing. They might be in … Read More

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SkyMall Slam Dunks


Ahh Skymall, the always companion of travelers. Admit it, you read it on every flight. But I know you all are busy people. Sometimes you just don’t have time on that 20 hour flight to carefully peruse every SkyMall offering. So, in the spirit of the Holidays, I’ve taken it upon myself to find and review the highlights. If you don’t have any travel planned, no worries - these are all available for order online. You can thank me by getting me one of those replica Lord of the Ring’s hobbit feet.Face Gator – $14.99 Stop Germs with Style Lucky you, the … Read More

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