The Best Gifts For Female Travelers

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Do you know someone who compares the cost of everything to how many nights they could spend at a hostel in Rome? Or someone who spends more money on flights than they do on groceries?

It can be hard to shop for people who enjoy traveling more than staying in one place. They tend to collect memories instead of things, and so finding that perfect gift that they will actually use can be tough.

Well, this list is a good place to start! These are the gifts that I wish someone would buy for me, or that I’ve bought for fellow travelers!

Indulgent gifts for travelers

When you are traveling (especially on a budget), you tend not to splurge on things that are a little pricey or indulgent. But, sometimes you want what you want, not what you need! Here are some fun gifts to buy the explorer in your life.

Best gifts for female travelers
Best gifts for female travelers
Best gifts for female travelers
Best gifts for female travelers
  1. Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit

    While a lot of people still use actual cameras while they travel, everyone takes photos on their phones! This kit comes with four lenses: 12x Zoom Telephoto Lens, 0.63 Degrees Macro Lens, 138 Degrees Wide Angle Lens, and a 198 Degrees Fisheye Lens. And, the lenses are compatible with any smartphone.

  2. The Combo Yoga Mat

    This eco-friendly yoga mat is gorgeous. It is designed in Bali and is a 2-in-1 mat and towel, which means that if you get sweaty during yoga (like I do) you won’t end up slipping. I always travel with a yoga mat so that I can stretch out after a long flight or find a class at a nearby studio. The mat comes with a carrying strap and is machine washable which is AMAZING! Available in multiple colors and prints (but this is my fave!)

  3. Watercolor Paint Set

    Art supplies can take up a lot of valuable space if you don’t have a travel set of paints and brushes. This set is made specifically for travel and contains 42 colors, three brushes, and is foldable for easy transportation.

  4. The Travel Atlas

    This is the first atlas that Lonely Planet has ever created and is the perfect all-in-one resource to plan your next adventure! According to the book description, “Each large page of mapping is accompanied with the area’s top sights and activities, while our themed itineraries, ranging from two days to two weeks, will ensure you don’t miss the best sights. You’ll also find trip planning tools like climate information and transport hubs to help you get there and away.” It’s definitely on my list!

Gifts for avid flyers

These are the perfect, practical gifts for people who are taking lots of flights, especially longer flights, throughout the year.

Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
  1. Cashmere Travel Set

    Okay, so maybe this one is a little more on the indulgent side than the “practical” side, but who doesn’t want a cashmere travel set?! This set comes with a blanket, eye mask, socks, and carry/pillow case that will make even the most cramped coach section of a plane feel luxurious! (It’s also available in black and a sandy tone.)

  2. Carry on Cocktail Kit

    A champagne cocktail on my long-haul flight? Ummmm, yes please! This TSA approved travel kit allows you to make in-flight cocktails from the safety of your seat! The champagne cocktail version contains elderflower syrup, 1/2 oz jigger, bar spoon, recipe card, and a linen coaster (fancy!). It also comes in versions for a bloody mary, gin and tonic, hot toddy, margarita, moscow mule, and an old fashioned.

  3. Marble Passport Cover

    I LOVE having a passport cover. It keeps my passport dry, safe, and tucked away. These cases come in multiple colors and patterns (I like the marble version best) and they have an interior pocket perfect for tucking away other travel documents or cash that you might need to access quickly.

  4. Classic Passport Cover

  5. Palm Fronds Passport Cover

  6. Reusable Memory Foam Earplugs

    Anyone who has taken a red-eye flight, stayed in a hostel, or slept in a hotel room with thin walls knows the importance of good earplugs. But, standard ear plugs can hurt or not actually block sound well. These actually have a noise certification rating with an average of 37dB and the memory foam in them means that they fit to the exact shape of your ear!

  7. Luggage Locks

    These TSA approved luggage locks are incredibly strong and are ideal for use on flights or if you are worried about your bags in the hostel or hotel where you are staying. The locks also come with a lifetime guarantee — if you can break them the company will replace them or give you a full refund.

Gifts for practical packers

These are practical items that I add to my packing list on every trip I take. They may not be fun and flashy, but I guarantee they will be welcomed by any traveler you’re buying for.

Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
  1. Mini Travel Steam Iron

    Having a mini steamer that you can use to make yourself look presentable after a long flight or when your clothes are all wrinkled after being packed for hours is every traveler’s dream. And, this one is only $17 and heats up in 15 seconds!

  2. Travel Storage Bags

    These sorting pouches are an awesome way to keep track of clothing that you will need for different parts of your trip or different times of day. I always like to make sure I have at least a few pouches to use for dirty shoes or clothing as well.

  3. Waterproof Phone Case

    Not just for the beach, these waterproof cases are perfect to use if you are traveling in London during the rainy season or wandering around canals in Amsterdam. It never hurts to protect your phone from water!

  4. Mini Umbrella

    I never seem to have an umbrella when I need it. This one is not only perfect for protection from the rain but also blocks UV rays to protect you from the sun. It weighs only 8 oz and is 6.7 inches long!

Must-pack toiletries for any traveler

Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
Best gifts for the female traveler
  1. TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag

    I love that these are TSA compliant. I HATE having to put all my gels and liquids in separate clear bags when flying, and this makes traveling through security SO MUCH EASIER. Plus, it keeps your carry-on bag organized and you can quickly find what you need when you need it.

  2. Microfiber Towel Set

    I truly believe that everyone should travel with a microfiber towel. They are antibacterial, quick drying and perfect when you need to wash and dry your hands or face, if you stay somewhere that doesn’t provide towels, or need to dry off quickly after skinny dipping!

  3. Aveda Travel Set

    Aveda products smell SO good, and this travel set is ideal to have at-the-ready for a spontaneous trip. It contains two bottles each of Rosemary Mint Shampoo & Conditioner, Rosemary Mint Hand & Body Wash, All Sensitive Creme Moisturizer Lotion, and two bars of Refreshing Bath Soap.

  4. Burt's Bees Mini's Travel Set

    Another awesome travel set to have at-the-ready, this contains six travel size products — cream cleanser, day lotion, deep cleansing cream, body lotion, foot cream, and hand repair cream

  5. Leakproof Silicone Refillable Travel Containers

    These squeezable travel tubes are always in my toiletry bag. They don’t leak ever, are easy to fill, and come in plane-friendly sizes.

  6. Mini First Aid Kit

    This first aid kit may be mini, but it is definitely mighty! I usually create my own first aid kit out of whatever I have in my medicine cabinet when I travel, but would love to have this one handy — it contains 92 useful and valuable hospital grade medical supplies.

  7. Purell Hand and Face Sanitizing Wipes

    I always carry hand sanitizer when I travel — it’s perfect for when you want to wash your hands before grabbing a snack from a street vendor or end up using a public washroom that has no soap in sight. The only problem is that, without fail, the bottle seems to leak all over by bag at some point. These wipes eliminate the chance of a spill and, though they may seem like a small gift, they will be appreciated by any avid traveler.

Pin Me!

The best gifts for female travelers
Best gifts for female travelers



Guest Post: How to Keep Your Dog Tick Free While Camping

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


This guest post is written by Jordan from the blog Natural Dog Owner. Read more about Jordan at the end of the post.

The leaves are starting to change, which makes it the perfect time of year to go camping. Hiking with your dog and enjoying the foliage is a fun time for the two of you. However, you need to make sure that you’re both protected while you’re exploring the wilderness.

Even though bugs are more prevalent in the summer, fleas and ticks are still around in the fall. (Side note, your dog should be on some form of flea and tick protection regardless of the season — your animal is susceptible to fleas and ticks just by exploring your backyard.)

Thankfully, there are many different options that you can choose to keep your dog tick-free whether you are on a camping trip or in your backyard.

Choosing your tick prevention medication

The best way to prevent fleas and ticks is through medication. There are oral medications, topical treatments, shampoos, and even flea collars.

Flea Collars

We have found success with the Seresto flea collar that also protects against ticks and has two active pesticides that are safe for your dog. If you are considering a flea collar, make sure that it doesn’t have any harmful chemicals for your pup.

A flea collar is a great solution for someone that doesn’t want to administer medication, but a collar can be pulled off and generally only protects the face and neck of your dog. When placing a flea collar on your pup, make sure to monitor for any skin irritation for the first few days.

Oral Medication

You can buy oral medication at a pet supply store or from your veterinarian. We recommend doing research on pills if you are going to buy them yourself or asking your veterinarian what fleas and ticks are in your area.

Some medication attacks immature fleas and ticks, others attack adult fleas and ticks, and there are those that repel fleas and ticks. Make sure to read the label closely in order to select the right product for you.

Medications listed as “broad spectrum” are effective against many different species with just one dose.

Topical Treatments

A topical treatment is one of the most popular ways to treat ticks, because they protect your pet for up to a month. You administer the medication by rubbing it on the back of your dog’s neck and that’s it!

You can buy these medications at pet supply stores, online, or at your vet’s office. Always make sure to ask your vet about any treatment that you buy before administering it to your animal.

My dog has ticks, now what?

Even with medication, it’s possible for your dog to come back to your campsite with ticks.

We recommend having a first aid kit handy that has materials to remove ticks. Your dog could potentially contract diseases from ticks like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis. So, you need to remove ticks from your dog as soon as possible.

Removing ticks from your dog:

  1. Make sure that you remove ticks within 24-36 hours of the initial bite. When your dog comes back to the campsite, make sure that you go over all of their body. If you see your dog biting at a certain area, they could be showing you that they have a tick. So, make sure you monitor your pet after each hike or trip in a wooded area.

  2. Ticks enjoy hanging out in warm places on your dog’s body. You should check eyelids, in between toes, the groin, around the tail, their ears, and near their bottom.

  3. If you find a tick, separate the hair and use tweezers to get as close to the head of the tick as possible. Then pull upwards away from the skin.

  4. After the tick is removed, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol, soap, and water. You can also use iodine. Wash your hands once you are done.

  5. Kill the tick by flushing it down a toilet or drowning it in rubbing alcohol. If you’re concerned that your dog has contracted a disease you can save the tick for testing. Drop the tick in a sealed plastic bag and take it to your local vet.

Don’t worry if the head of your tick stays in your dog’s skin, it will fall out in a few days.

Last tick tips…

Ticks can easily crawl back to your campsite if you throw them off in the woods, so they need to be killed.

And, if your dog has come back to the campsite with ticks, you could have them too. Check your body and your bedding to make sure that no ticks are hiding out in your gear.

Pin Me!

How to keep your dog tick free while camping

Meet The Guest Author

Jordan is the founder of Natural Dog Owner, a website dedicated to eliminating the headache that comes with developing a healthy and loving relationship between you and your dog. His main goal is to help give your four-legged family member the best quality of life imaginable. When he’s not in front of a computer he loves to spend time outdoors with his Goldendoodle, Carl, sharing stories and interacting with other dog lovers.



What to See, Eat & Experience in Lisbon, Portugal

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


See, eat and experience Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is one of my favourite cities in the world! Sun drenched squares, colourful architecture covered in elaborate tiles, charming locals, amazing coffee, bakeries everywhere, amazing views, and easy-to-navigate public transit — what’s not to love!?

Here’s everything you need to see, eat, and experience in Lisbon on your next trip.

Must-see sights in Lisbon

Praca do Comercio

The former gateway to the city, this main square is bordered by imposing looking lemon coloured buildings on three sides and the riverfront on the fourth. There are cafes and restaurants looking out onto the square and a statue of Dom Jose I in the centre.

The most stunning and eye-catching part of the square is the Arco da Rua Augusta, a massive arch that is the entrance to the pedestrian-only Augusta Street.

Augusta Street (and surrounding streets)

Leading eight blocks from the main square, this street and the surrounding streets, are filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops. They are packed with people, strolling, window shopping, and dining, at all hours and are lovely to wander through at any time of day.

If you are in shopping mode, keep your eye out for Zara. Even though this retailer can be found all over the world, the clothes are actually made in Spain and Portugal so (even with the exchange rate) they are often cheaper than they are in other countries and there are some unique items that you won’t find in any other location.

Elevador de Santa Justa

I know, I know, an “elevator” doesn’t seem like something worth seeing, but this outdoor wrought-iron elevator is definitely a sight to behold.

It was built by the apprentice of Gustave Eiffel (yup, that’s the man who built the Eiffel Tower), and gives amazing views over the central part of the city. A ride will coast you about 5 Euros — make sure to get there early to beat the crowds.

Convento do Carmo & Museu Arqueológico

This convent was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, and now the remains of it’s pillars and arches are exposed to the elements. It is an incredible sight from both far away and from the inside.

There is also an archeological museum attached to the site that is definitely worth wandering through. It costs around 4 Euros to enter.

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Towering above Lisbon, it costs around 10 Euros to visit the castle, but the breathtaking view is well worth the entry fee.

There is a cafe and restaurant, or a you can purchase a glass of prosecco from a kiosk and enjoy the view from the pine-shaded courtyard after exploring the castle ruins. 

Museu Nacional Do Azulejo

In Lisbon, tiles are everywhere, and they are ornate, detailed, and absolutely stunning. The national tile museum is where you learn the history behind tile making and why it continues to be an important tradition in the country.

The museum has a free app that accompanies all of the exhibits to give you extra detail about what you are looking at, and there is a charming courtyard where you can dine after you are finished exploring. Entry is 5 Euros.

Basilica da Estrela

I would suggest wandering into any church you come across (it’s free!), as the architecture and treasures inside these churches are absolutely amazing.

The Basilica da Estrela is a bit outside of the main tourist zone, but is definitely worth the trip. It is covered in pink and black marble and has incredible carved wood, paintings, and tiles throughout. There is a beautiful garden across the street, that reminds me of parks you see in New York, that has two spots to grab a coffee or snack.

Dos Prazeres Cemetery

I love visiting historic cemeteries in Europe! They are always so peaceful and there are eras of amazing architecture to see. This cemetery is located a short walk from the Basilica da Estrela and was originally built to handle the thousands of victims of the cholera epidemic in 1833.  Then in 1839, wealthier families began to build elaborate tombs and many important Portuguese figures have been buried there since. 

The Prazeres Cemetery became the model for most cemeteries in Portugal, and is considered to be “the most cosmopolitan cemetery” still existing in the country.

Belem

A suburb of Lisbon, Belem is a short tram ride away from the city centre and is home to two MUST-SEE sights. It also has a lovely waterfront promenade with some pretty impressive monuments and parks along it, and some fantastic art galleries and museums to explore. Here are the two can’t-miss spots:

1. Belem Tower

The Torre de Belem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a symbol of Lisbon and Portugal (you will see on postcards everywhere). You can pay to enter the tower, or just enjoy the stunning building from the outside, or from a one of the nearby cafes.

2. Mosterio dos Jeronimos

This monastery is absolutely stunning and completely took my breath away. I’ve been to monasteries all over Europe and this one was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The detailed architecture, view of the central garden, and attached church are definitely worth exploring. It costs around 10 Euros to enter.

Where and what to eat in Lisbon

See, eat, and experience Lisbon
See, eat, and experience Lisbon

Time Out Market Lisbon

Do you want to try a variety of different types of Portuguese food in one place? Look no further than the Time Out Market Lisbon! Created by the Time Out team in 2014, this gourmet food market has 24 restaurants, 8 bars, and a dozen shops. You can try food from different stalls and get an amazing sampling of some of the best fare the city has to offer.

Food Trucks & Kiosks

The waterfront is lined with food trucks and kiosks selling everything from cocktails to ice cream to entire meals. There are usually a few cafe tables available outside of each one and is a lovely way to enjoy some local food and watch the world go by.

Portuguese Tarts

You must try Portuguese Tarts in Portugal!! And you will have no trouble finding them, as they are literally sold everywhere. In my experience, the best ones come straight from bakeries (rather than restaurants or cafes). Pasteis de Belem is considered to be the BEST place to try these treats, so plan on stopping in there during your trip to Belem.

Can’t miss Lisbon experiences

Fado

Born in a working-class Lisbon neighbourhood, the melancholic, haunting music of Fado has been around for centuries. A lone voice is paired with a 12-string Portuguese guitar and the raw emotion of the songs, recalling broken hearts and lost youth, will bring you to tears. You can buy tickets to a formal performance, or catch one in a more intimate setting at a restaurant or cafe.

See, eat, and experience Lisbon

Checking out the tile covered buildings

The narrow, winding cobblestone streets in the centre of the city are lined with historic buildings covered in stunning tiles. They are definitely worth exploring, but make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes — some of the streets are incredibly steep!

Tram 28

This yellow tram is usually packed with tourists at all hours, as it travels between all of the major sites for less than 3 Euros. If you are short on time, this is a great way to get around and take in some amazing views. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings when riding this Tram, however, as it has a become a popular spot for pickpockets.

Wander along the riverfront promenade

Known as Ribeira das Naus in Portuguese, this promenade runs between the Praca do Comercio and Cais do Sodre and gives you amazing views of the river. There are spots to sit and read all along it, kiosks selling coffee, cocktails, and other treats, and excellent people watching!

A few Portugal travel tips 

  • Of all the countries that use the Euro as their currency, Portugal is by far the most affordable.

  • Almost all locals speak English, so don’t be shy about asking questions!

  • Portugal charges for wifi like we charge for cable in North America — there are different levels and packages. While most businesses have wifi, it is usually the basic package so while you will be able to check your email and access some social media, you won’t be able to access things like Google Docs, Dropbox, etc. Keep that in mind if you are planning on working abroad and needing access to certain websites.

  • The streets in the areas where all the main sights are located are mostly uneven cobblestones. These can be a bit of a challenge to walk, so keep that in mind. when choosing your footwear!

  • If you are taking the train anywhere ask for a first class ticket. The first class seats are only a few Euros more than regular class and they are air conditioned, have bigger seats, have free wifi (though this can be spotty depending on where you are traveling to), and are much quieter.

Pin Me!

See, eat and experience Lisbon, Portugal
See, eat and experience Lisbon, Portugal



How to NOT Gain 10 Pounds on Your Next Trip

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


There's nothing better than a new adventure, but staying healthy and not gaining weight while you travel can be a challenge. Trust, me — I, and a huge pasta belly that I brought back from Italy (and thankfully lost), know.

You're thrown out of your comfort zone, knocked out of your regular routine, and are no longer surrounded by familiar food, and your favorite workout spots. 

Whether you are planning on laying on a beach for a week or touring around Europe for months, these tips will ensure that the only extra weight you bring home with you will be from travel souvenirs. 

Go easy on the alcoholic drinks

There's nothing better than celebrating a new adventure with a beer at the airport, a glass of wine on the plane, and then a nightcap when you arrive — and then continuing the celebration with a drink (or seven) every day after that. 

Don't worry, I am not telling you not to drink at all, but I am reminding you that alcohol is packed full of empty calories and sugar. Over-indulging will, more than likely, leave you bloated, craving sugar, and often lead to over-eating high-calorie foods. 

Of course, you are going to have a few drinks, but instead of reaching for a beer at the end of a long day of exploring, try a cold glass of water first. It will take the edge off your thirst (meaning that you might drink fewer high-calorie beverages), prevent bloating, and keep you hydrated. All important aspects of your overall health, and also important if you are recovering from jet lag.

Cocktails may be delicious, but their high-sugar content can lead to weight gain. Opt for wine, liquor, or beer instead. 

Here are a few other things to keep in mind: 

  • Wine and hard liquor mixed with soda water/water are the "healthiest" options
  • Beer would be your next best option
  • Mixed drinks with sodas, juice, or energy drinks are terrible and will end in epic hangovers (cue high-calorie recovery eating the next day). 

Only eat out for one meal a day

Trying the local food is an important part of experiencing any culture, but you don't have to have huge meals out in restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — especially if this isn't the way that you would normally eat at home. Instead, eat out only one meal a day and eat the rest of your meals as you would at home — make them yourself or buy smaller portions from grab-and-go spots.  

Get a few dishes and share them with your travel buddies! That way you get to experience a variety of food without eating it all yourself. 

Share your meals

When you do eat out, instead of ordering appetizers, different courses, and dessert dishes all to yourself share your meals with your travel companion(s). Eating family-style will allow you to better control your portions and let you sample a variety of dishes without having to order them all individually yourself. 

Self-cater

Purchase things like fruit, nuts, and yogurt (if you have a fridge available), or pre-made meals, at the local grocery store or food market. These are the perfect things to eat for breakfast and lunches. 

Grab a piece of fruit from a local market to curb your hunger rather than sitting down for a full meal at a restaurant. 

Also, consider eating at local food stalls or trucks. The portion sizes will be smaller, the food will be fresh, and if you are on a budget, the meals at these stalls tend to be more affordable than what you would pay in a restaurant. 

Bring your own snacks

If you are someone who gets hungry between meals or eats a specific diet at home, I highly recommend bringing your own snacks with you. Things like nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, etc. are things that can be packed easily, have high nutrition value, don't take up much space in your day-pack or purse, and can easily sustain you between meals. 

It will also prevent you from indulging in the high-sugar, high-calorie treats that are often sold at tourist sites. 

Here's what I usually bring with me: 

  • Beef jerky
  • Low-sugar protein bars
  • Almonds, raisins, and dark chocolate chips (I make this at home and put it in zip-lock bags)
  • Dried fruit (usually nectarines) 

Move as much as possible

Are you visiting Rome for the first time? Skip the cab or metro and walk as much as you can. Spending a week at the beach? Go for a 20-minute swim every morning or rent a kayak and go for a paddle. Exploring New York? Rent a bike and peddle your way from attraction to attraction. 

Rent a kayak and go exploring while getting some exercise on your next trip.

Try to avoid taking a bus, car, train, or metro and walk as much as possible. Walking is fantastic exercise, and you will be so distracted by all of the new sights, sounds, and smells of your foreign surroundings, that you will meet and surpass 10,000 steps before you even realize it's happening!

Don't skip your workout

How long is a workout really going to take out of your day? 30 minutes? An hour?

If you are staying at a hotel with a gym, getting that 30-minute sweat in before you head out for the day, or before you go to sleep at night, could be the difference between gaining a few pounds and staying in shape. 

If you don't have access to a hotel gym, see if there are any local gyms near your AirBnB, hostel, or guesthouse that offers guest passes or short-term memberships. Or, plan ahead by bringing a skipping rope (Did you know that 10 minutes of skipping burns as much as a 30-minute run?! I take a skipping rope on every trip I take!), bands, or familiarize yourself with some workouts that don't require equipment and can be done from anywhere.

Check out the links below for some resources: 

Make working out a part of the adventure

Take the opportunity of being away from your normal routine to try something different. In South Korea? Take a taekwondo class. Visiting India? Sign-up for yoga. Touring Spain? Find a Flamenco class. 

Or, go hiking, scuba diving, learn to sail — do anything that involves moving your body and taking advantage of the natural wonders that can be found where you are. Not only will you get a great workout, but you will also get to experience part of the country's culture that you are visiting and maybe even meet some locals! 

To sum up...

Avoiding a vacation or travel adventure weight-gain isn't rocket science. It just involves some planning and being mindful of what you are eating, drinking, and how you are spending your time. To sum it all up, here are a few key things to remember: 

  • Walk as much as possible.
  • Don't over-indulge at every meal. Bring your own snacks and self-cater when you can. 
  • Drink water! 

Pin Me! 

How to not gain ten pounds on your next trip
How to not gain ten pounds on your next trip



13 Travel Quotes to Feed Your Wanderlust

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Travel quotes to feed your wanderlust

I have always loved quotes — those one or two sentences that can shift your perspective, inspire you to say yes to an adventure, or pull you out of a funk. 

These are some of my favorite travel quotes by writers, travellers, fictional characters, and people who just had something inspiring to say. 

“Coming back to where you started is not the same as not leaving.”
— Terry Pratchett

“Never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome. Keep your mind open and suck in every experience. And if it hurts you know what? It’s probably worth it.”
—Richard from the movie The Beach

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“But I am a born pilgrim. Even when I am feeling really lazy or I’m missing home, I need take only one step to be carried away by the excitement of the journey... I realize that I will never reach my goal by staying in the same place all the time. I can speak to my soul only when the two of us are off exploring deserts or cities or mountains or roads. ”
— from Aleph by Paulo Coelho

“If adventures do not befall a lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”
—Jane Austin

"If at some point you don't ask yourself 'What have I gotten myself into?' then you're not doing it right" 
—Roland Gau

“Travel is rebellion in its purest form. We follow our heart. We free ourselves of labels. We lose control willingly. We trade a role for reality. We love the unfamiliar. We trust strangers. We own only what we can carry. We search for better questions, not answers. We truly graduate. We, sometimes, choose never to come back.”
—Author Unknown

“The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them”
—Amelia E. Barr

“We travel because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something inside our minds has changed, and that changes everything.”
—Jonah Lehrer

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”
—Amelia Earhart

“Twenty years from now you will more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
—Mark Twain

“May you never be too busy to stop and breathe under a palm tree.”
— Unknown




15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Lagos in Portugal

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


Lagos Portugal Algarve

Stretching 150 km along the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve is arguably one of the most beautiful and varied coastlines in the world. 

You can find solitude on sandy islands, action-packed golden beaches with amazing nightlife, and the famous breathtaking cliff-backed shorelines that have taken over Instagram. There are also charming towns packed with cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and lots of cobblestone streets to wander through when the sun goes down. 

If you are looking for resorts and nightlife, the east and center of the long coastline is where you should base. The west is a little quieter and more rugged. If you are looking for the best of both worlds, head to my favourite spot — Lagos.  

 

Why Lagos?

Lagos sits right on the coast with an old town that is surrounded by a 16th-century wall enclosing picturesque plazas, cobbled lanes, churches, charming restaurants, fantastic nightlife and more. Many of the hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and rental apartments are located outside of the old town but are easy to walk to. There are also a lot of grocery stores and markets if you are wanting to self-cater. 

Nearby beaches offer every type of activity imaginable, but you are also close to the rock backed nooks that you can climb down to if you are looking for a more secluded spot for the day. 

Getting there 

Portugal has fantastic train and bus networks that you can use to get all over the country. You can access Lagos from Lisbon by train, and there are also coastal trains that run back-and-forth along the cost if you would like to visit different towns and beaches during your stay. 

You can pre-buy your tickets on the Comboios de Portugal website. (TIP: The first-class ticket is usually only a few Euros more than the regular class. If you are looking for more space, a quieter car, and free wifi consider sitting in a first-class car.)

When to go

As with any location with a beach, as soon as summer hits locals and tourists alike flock to the sand and clear blue water of the Algarve. The summer months will find towns and beaches packed with people and temperatures soar. 

By October, the tourists clear out, but if you are (like me) okay with hitting the beach in around 20-degree weather (78-degrees Fahrenheit), then the fall and spring are lovely times to visit. You'll be sharing the town and beaches with locals, some expats, and the odd tourist, and prices will also be significantly lower. 

Watch out for

The beaches and towns along the Algarve are some of the busiest areas in Portugal in the summer months and the pickpockets know it. Keep your eye on your belongings, especially when laying on the beach.

Be careful if you decide to search out a cliff-backed beach, as the cliffs can often be unstable. And, make sure you are aware of ocean conditions — some areas can experience dangerous currents and winds.  

Surrounded by a historic wall, there are only a few paved roads that cars, and pedestrians, can use to access the town of Lagos through curved entryways. 

The streets of Lagos are paved with unique patterns laid out in cobblestones. Buildings are painted white, orange, pink, or blue, or are covered in stunning Portuguese tiles. 

Sun drenched streets make the tile-covered buildings in Lagos look even more beautiful. This shot was taken on my visit there in November when it was still hot enough to lay on the beach all day, but not hot enough to be packed with tourists. 

Cafes, restaurants, and charming souvenir shops spill out into the cobblestone pedestrian street in Lagos. 

One of the famous cliff-backed, secluded beaches, Praia do Camilo is a bit of a hike to get down to but is SO worth it. It is about a 40-minute walk from the heart of Lagos, but there are also local buses that will drop you off near this spot. 

A rock face at Praia do Camilo from the beach level. To the left is a passage through the thick cliff that gives you access to a smaller, more private beach on the other side. 

The homes that are located outside the city walls are colourful, covered in stunning flowers, and are often available for rent if you are looking for a base to have a longer stay in the area. 

Because of the year-round beautiful weather, even in November, these stunning flowers were in full bloom. 

There are hiking trails along the coast from Lagos heading west to a historic lighthouse. They take you past incredible views, to the top of staircases that lead you to secluded beaches, and go for miles. 

Near the lighthouse, there are caverns in the rock that can be accessed by boat. If you aren't interested in the hike, there are boats that leave from Lagos that will give you the ocean-side view of the cliffs. 

Looking east from the top of the cliffs near Lagos, you can see other whitewashed towns dappled along the coastline. 

The golden sand and stunning blue waters of the Praia Dona Ana, located just outside of central Lagos. 

I was surprised to see how many unique and colourful shells are washed up on the beach every day — most of them completely intact. The beaches of the Algarve are a beachcombers dream! 

Gotta love having a quiet, secluded spot to set up a selfie at sunset! Nothing better than getting that perfect shot for Instagram :) 

Pin Me!

Lagos Portugal Algarve
Lagos Portugal Algarve



Your Guide to Literary Road Trips Across America [Infographic]

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Road trips are at the heart of North American culture.

From the pioneers who chased the Gold Rush out west, to college students who take to the open road at the start of summer, cross-country road trips are a rite of passage.

It’s one of the beautiful things about this giant continent — anyone with a car can go anywhere! 

There is nothing like the pull of the open road — a set of wheels provides you with a freeing feeling that can’t be obtained anywhere else. But road trips aren’t just about exploration, they are also symbolic. A car is the visible expression of freedom, a driver's license the ticket and the cross-country trip the destination. It’s no wonder a host of authors have written classic literary novels that document their experiences along the way!

Inspired by well-known works of literature, like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, this infographic follows the narrative arcs of six books to give us a guide to literary road trips across America.

Check out these awesome routes that recreate each authors' experience. Who knows — you may end up writing a literary road trip of your own! 



literary road trips

This infographic guide to literary road trips across America was created by and is being reproduced here courtesy of carrentals.com.  

Pin Me!

literary road trips across america
literary road trips across america