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Month: September 2016

FREE E-Book: The Complete Guide to the Best Travel Apps

Time for some real talk. I resisted the 21st century for a long, long time. I was convinced I’d have the last flip phone in America, and I was proud of it. My super basic, didn’t-even-have-a-camera Samsung phone held on for a whole seven years after the iPhone made its first debut. But when I had to change networks, the time to join the 21st century had come. And now that I know about all the great, free travel apps on the market, I could never go back.

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RTW Budget: Italy

Italy holds such an important place in my travel history. It was the first trip I took as a full-fledged adult out of college. It was the first international trip I started alone (even though I later met up with a group tour). It was the first place I experienced culture shock. Not many people realize that “Italy” is barely more than 150 years old. Even today, many Italians identify more regionally (e.g. Venetian, Florentine, Sicilian) than nationally. With that kind of history, where ancient regions unite, the result is a rich tapestry of wide variation. I knew on my RTW trip, I had to return to explore the southern parts of the country.

At the time of that first trip, I thought $800 for a 9-day tour was a rock bottom price. See how much I spent in nearly three weeks of independent travel through Italy below.

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5 Travel Mistakes I’ve Made in Three Months (and How You Can Avoid Them)

Sometimes, it seems like my RTW trip is an endless string of mistakes. This was especially true in my first couple of months on the road. I’ve gradually come to terms with the fact that I’m not defined by my mistakes. In fact, the last time I left my shampoo at a hostel, I barely batted an eye. All the same, travel mistakes can add up to a lot of stress and a lot of extra money spent, so take a moment to learn from my worst.

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Craft an Epic Italy Itinerary

Think you’re not creative? Maybe you can’t play an instrument or draw recognizable sketches. But if you travel independently, you are definitely creative. It would be far easier to hand over the reins to a tour operator, a guidebook, or a travel blog and follow their suggestions to the letter. But the beauty of traveling on your own is the freedom. You have full control over where you go, what you do, and how much you spend. Love ancient ruins? You can decide to focus almost all of your time on Rome. On a very tight budget? Maybe you’ll opt to save Venice for a future trip. And when it comes to working out the logistics of getting from place to place, experimentation can become your best friend. You can make your lifestyle – or even just your vacation – your art by crafting your own epic Italy itinerary with the info below.

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Racism at the Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay is easily one of my favorite places in Paris. The main collection of impressionist works, spanning everything from Manet to Van Gogh, is beyond compare. And housed in a Beaux Arts train station, the building itself is a work of art. But no place is perfect and one of the side exhibits comes with some troubling undertones. So kids. Let’s talk about art and racism.

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On Dating Myself; or How This Solo Traveler Got Over Dining Alone

When I first went to college, my biggest anxiety was probably dining alone. I had done enough of that in middle school, when the divisions between popular kids and losers started and I wanted nothing more than to wash my hands of the whole manipulative farce. Seriously, dealing with 11-year-old girls is like staring straight into the depths of hell. It was never the solitude that bothered me in those cafeteria days. It was the judgment.

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The Creative Professional’s Guide to Paris

Paris is a destination of endless romance and deep literary history. Whether you’re more inclined to read Ernest Hemingway or Gertrude Stein, Julia Child or David Lebovitz, chances are somebody has made you dream of dropping everything and moving to Paris, where you can while your day away in a cafe, working from your laptop.

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Bucket List Paris (and What to Do Instead)

Paris may be the most romanticized destination in the world. As an American, it’s probably one of the first foreign cities you learn of. Ask most people who have never traveled abroad where they’d like to go, Paris is sure to be a common response. If it’s not on your bucket list, you’ve probably already been.

The downside, of course, to visiting a famous destination you’ve dreamed of for years is the greater risk of disappointment. The more expectations you have, the higher your chances of being let down. I know so many people coming away from Paris hating the city. it was too big or too dirty or too crowded or too expensive. These things may all be true to a degree, but personally, I suspect most of these tourists simply come in with unreasonable expectations.

So how do you manage your Parisian dreams to avoid getting disappointed on your first trip? Visiting during the off season will make the biggest difference in terms of crowds. But no matter what time of year you make your getaway to the City of Light, you can plan an itinerary that balances the bucket list attractions you’ve always wanted to visit with some slightly less famous alternatives. Shake up your expectations with an unexpected discovery.

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RTW Budget: France

France is a vast and varied country. I’ll never get tired of visiting it. Paris was the first place overseas I ever traveled to, and 10 years later I finally got to go back! To break up the long ride from Barcelona, I stopped for a couple nights in Montpellier, one of the few French cities I had never visited before. Are you contemplating a vacation to France? See what I spent in five days.

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8 Things That Happen When You Travel Unplugged

Not long ago, I was asked if I had ever participated in a “digital detox.” Now¬†I’m all for consciously putting away your phone and your camera for an hour to experience a destination just for yourself. But I’d never dream of disconnecting myself entirely from all my tech. That is, I wouldn’t travel unplugged¬†voluntarily…

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