I arrived in Anchorage during August. My body was well-adjusted to the hot, humid days of summer in Ohio, and the 50-60 degree days were a slight shock to my system. Even though I thought I thoroughly researched what to pack for my Alaskan vacation, one of my first thoughts when beginning to explore was “Wow, I didn’t pack very well.” The most troublesome problem I experienced was a lack of warm layers because most of the articles I read on the subject of packing instructed me to only pack a couple of long sleeved shirts. I ended up wearing the same couple nearly every day. Seriously. In 75% of my pictures I’m wearing the same thing.
There are five main categories for vacation spending. These include food, sightseeing, transportation, lodging, and souvenirs. Unexpectedly over spending on just one of these categories could be detrimental to your vacation budget. Because cost plays a factor for about 99 percent of us who take vacations, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the most out of your money while not skimping on experiences.
As discussed in my Italy Travel Guide, you can spend weeks in Italy and still not see everything. Having never been to Italy, I decided to get the most bang for my buck and visit three of the most popular cities in Italy: Rome, Florence and Venice. They are the most popular for a reason – because there is an immense amount of things to do and see, so keep your energy drinks close at hand or at least keep your eyes peeled for a Bar (we Americans call them coffee shops). Also, as a way to see as much as possible in my limited time, I chose to go to the market each morning and pick up a picnic lunch. Meals in restaurants can take more than two hours in Italy, so picnicking allowed me to eat much quicker and maximize my time. Below is an outline of the exact itinerary I used when visiting Italy. If you need a more detailed itinerary with the “play by play” please read my 4 Days in Rome and 3 Days in Florence posts.
I wish London weren’t so far away. It is one of my all-time favorite cities, and it’s not just because they have delicious bangers and mash, pubs around every corner, or use fun words like dodgy, knackered, and rubbish. I love London because it has a rich history, the city is easily navigable by foot and public transport, the museums are top-notch, and the locals are genuinely friendly. There is no shortage of things to see or do, and even if you go on a simple walk through the city I’m sure you will find it enjoyable. I spent five days in London, but I could have easily spent a few more.
I’m sure you know the phrase, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” right? Well, it seems to me that everything is also bigger in Las Vegas, Nevada. The casinos are large enough to get lost in, the nightlife is reminiscent of the movie The Hangover, and the conventions draw tens of thousands of people. Every casino is vying for your attention and cash, and they do this with flashing lights, show girls and free entertainment. Take advantage of this healthy competition and enjoy some of the many “freebies” Vegas has to offer. Below are my favorite free shows, some of which are nice enough to charge admission (don’t get any ideas Las Vegas)!
Don’t let anxiety and unwarranted fears prevent you from traveling to Europe and diving into its rich cultures. Planning a trip to Europe can seem like an intimidating task, but Europeans really aren’t that different than Americans. They are really kind and inviting when approached politely and most even speak some English! Use my list of 34 tips to travel Europe like a pro!
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Two of the most iconic sights in the world lie in Paris: the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Movies like An American in Paris, Moulin Rouge, Midnight in Paris, Amelie, and even Ratatouille display the beauty of the city on the big screen and inspire us to see it for ourselves. And let’s face it, everyone is dying to taste the escargots, foie gras, crepes, French onion soup, and French fries, right? Just a tip on the fries – dip them in mayonnaise, not ketchup – Que magnifique!
Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is a place you go to take it slow. If you don’t wish to follow an itinerary and prefer not to know what time it is while you’re on vacation, this is your paradise. The locals are incredibly friendly and helpful, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the island. This is a great place to relax and spend time either alone or with your family. Enjoy the sand, sun and ocean breeze as you unwind and adapt to island time.
How does a vacation from cooking, cleaning and worrying sound? To someone who does all of these on a daily basis, it sounds like Heaven. But if I said you could also explore a new city every day, watch and entertaining show every night, and even drop your kids off to get some peaceful adult time? Hallelujah! Experience this and so much more on a cruise vacation! Cruising is the easiest vacation to plan in my opinion, and it’s also one of the most rewarding. Below are just a handful of reasons why I truly love cruising and how I definitely get all of my money’s worth.