7 Iconic Photos You Have To Get In Europe

A trip to Europe wouldn’t be complete without photo documentation. If you’re planning to hit all the major haunts on the continent there are some exceptionally Instagrammable sights that just have to be taken advantage of.

Grab your camera, maybe a good friend or two, and get ready to be creative. These iconic photos are can’t miss opportunities when traveling in Europe. How many of these can you get in one trip?

Stand under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Is there anything more iconic in France than the Eiffel Tower? Get your camera at a low angle and strike your best pose under the monstrous monument. For a photographic bonus, pack a picnic and grab a few friends to pose with on a summer day under the tower.

Three London icons in one.

Venture across the river to where the London Eye is and find the perfect spot where you can get the London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey all in one shot. Time your visit appropriately and catch the sun setting behind Big Ben for an even more iconic shot.

A funny stance with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

This is a challenging photo opportunity. Everyone takes the classic photo of them holding up the tower, but try to get creative with it. Some of the most iconic shots of this famous landmark are the funniest ones. Scale is in your favor with this landmark, think karate kicks.

Looking really small at the Colosseum in Rome.

The Colosseum is an UNESCO world heritage site and a can’t miss stop in Rome. One of the best photos to get is a two-person job. One person walks the mile and a half trek to the other side or the base of the Colosseum while their friend snaps the picture of them looking teeny tiny in the gigantic monument.

Mimic the Beatles album cover at Abbey road in London.

Find the white stripes on Abbey road and do your best stoic walk across the street. Sure, you may get some honks as the street is still used as a street. Try dressing from the genre for an even better photo opp!

Drinking a Guinness in Ireland.

Is there anything more Irish to do in Ireland than drink a beer? Only if that beer is a Guinness. If you want the most iconic photo of all, drink a beer at the Guinness at the Guinness factory after completing one of their famous tours.

Tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Italy.

The Trevi Fountain has a slew of rumors surrounding its waters from drinking a glass of it to ensure good fortune to tossing a coin in to ensure a return to Rome. This iconic landmark has been the subject of many Hollywood films over the years so be sure to snap a picture of you tossing your coin in. Make sure to make a good wish, because, well, you never really know.

What Not To Pack: Things To Leave Behind

It is incredibly easy to over pack for a trip. That extra weight not only costs you financially it can add stress to your trip that you just don’t want to have. Yes, it’s good to be prepared for weird situations but coming up with creative ways to be prepared is the smart way to tackle packing.

Here are a few things that absolutely should not end up in your bag.

Fabrics the wrinkle easily or that need dry cleaning.

Yes, you should absolutely pack an outfit or two for classier, more dressed up evenings but find articles of clothing that are still low maintenance for these occasions. If you bring shirts or dresses that wrinkle easily, they will often wind up finding their permanent position a the bottom of your bag and may never see the light of day for the entirety of your trip. When a bag’s weight really matters for airport scales, every excess piece of clothing matters and should be carefully considered.

Any and everything white.

Laundry solutions abroad aren’t as advanced as they are in your home. Colors bleed in less than modern laundry machines and that precious bright white shirt of yours could become tie-dyed in no time. Also, stains happen more on the road than at home. Anything light colored is bound to find some dirt or a rogue piece of street meat at least once.

Detergent.

Unless you plan to do your laundry in a sink and have found some light weight dry detergent options, leave the liquid stuff behind. 7/11s will always have small bags of detergent for your trip to the Laundromat or send them to cleaner for a few dollars and your hands don’t even need to touch detergent.

Valuables.

Don’t bring expensive jewelry or a slew of pricey gadgets (unless necessary for work) on a trip. They make you an easy target for thieves and they add stress if something gets broken or lost. In warmer climates, small bugs can burrow into your laptops and create chaos or you could be trapped in a downpour with nothing to cover your bags. Leave anything that isn’t completely necessary at home.

Hair dryers or curling irons.

If perfect hair is necessary for you, perhaps traveling isn’t. Every hotel will have a hairdryer and if you’re staying at a hostel, it’s highly likely that one of your travel companions may have some kind of hot grooming device. It’s a great way to make friends. Embrace your natural locks and learn to love them.

How to Survive a Trip to Coachella

Coachella is one of the most well-known music festivals in the world. It takes place in Indio, California and draws in 200,000 people each year. It began in the early 90s with a concert by Pearl Jam who was boycotting Ticketmaster locations and now covers two consecutive three day weekends in April.

Coachella features huge music acts from rock to hip hop to electronica and often pulls in huge celebrities as well as festival goers. Attendees can choose to camp on the grounds for the weekend to get the full experience.

The festival takes place in the desert and can get exceptionally hot and features over 100 artists and sculptures and art installations as well. It can be challenging sifting through who to see, what to do and how to take care of yourself during the festival. Here are some tips for how to survive a trip to Coachella and how to make the most of your couple hundred dollar ticket.

Camp on-site.

The festival starts in the early hours of the day and goes late into the evening, staying on site is a key component to alleviating the stress that can come from finding transportation to or from the event. Make sure to make peace with the fact that you are probably going to be dirty and won’t get a ton of sleep during the festival. But it will definitely be worth it.

Drink a TON of water.

It gets very hot during the day and you will probably be dancing a lot and maybe drinking a little alcohol which also dehydrates you. It is easy to forget this basic human need but it is absolutely necessary. Don’t be the first time Coachella goer that has to take an emergency trip to the medic tent or even worse, hospital, because you decided you were super human and didn’t need water like the rest of humanity.

Wear sunscreen.

You may think you are immune to sunburn, but the desert sun is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Where your sunscreen!

Be comfortable.

Plan clothing that works for the heat and sun. It gets a bit chillier at night but still warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Pack comfortable shoes that you can dance all day and night in. Also, don’t wear anything you really care about. Breaks are typically had by sitting in the grass or dirt, so shorts get dirty and things are always spilled during epic dance sessions.

Eat well.

Finally, as important as water is food. Make sure to eat enough protein to give you energy to last through the whole day. Skip the empty caloried churros and go for the bugers and burritos packed with meat and veggies. You can even bring vitamin rich snacks for power boosts during your breaks throughout the day.

How to Make Friends When You’re Cruising Solo

Cruising is an incredibly popular activity for couples and families. For couples, it’s a great way to get some alone time and have the opportunity to branch out and meet other couples to dine with or to go on excursions with. When it comes to family, cruises offer activities for every member of the family while ensuring that everyone stays safe.

Believe it or not, cruises can also be a great place for solo travelers. They offer a great balance for cruisers traveling alone. There is plenty of opportunity to meet and bond with others as well as plenty of alone time if wanted. It can seem daunting, stepping foot on a cruise chock full of parents with kids or happy couples. Breaking into groups of travelers will seem extremely intimidating as well.

With a few tips, however, you can be well on your way to making friends as a solo traveler on a cruise.

Check for solo activities.

Depending on the cruise line and the size of the boat, many lines will offer programs directed towards solo travelers. Check the itineraries for these types of events. Try not to get discouraged if the first event you go to isn’t popping. Give it another go. A mingle in the evening may be better than a lunch during the day or vice versa. Try out different activities to find different types of solo travelers.

Find the late night hangout spot.

Most cruise ships will have a dance club in the evenings so follow the thumping music. Even if dancing isn’t your thing, a bar scene is a great place to strike up conversations with strangers. Alcohol always lowers the nerves and makes conversations a little easier.

Join a class or try something new.

Dance classes, painting classes or any other small group activity often lends itself well to making friends. Bonding with a fellow shipmate about the impossible dance steps or laughing over a failed skill is a great bonding exercise. If you embarrass yourself, fret not, you’re on a boat full of strangers that you will probably never see again so just relax and enjoy yourself!

Go on shore excursions.

These are sure-fire ways to stir up conversations with other cruisers. You’ll all be ushered into a shuttle or into an activity for the day and it’s a great way to strike up a conversation with a neighbor.

Choose the shared table options for dining.

Many cruise lines offer shared tables for dinner seatings. Make sure to ask to be seated with other solo travelers or groups looking to mingle with other cruisers. Is there any better way to make friends than over a delicious meal? If there are two seating options, stick with the later seating, that’s when more solo travelers will be likely to eat. Some cruise lines even offer solo travelers the opportunity to sit with a crew member or entertainer whose responsibility is to get conversation flowing at the table.

Above all enjoy your trip! A little alone time is good for a vacation, and you should have no problem making friends when you’re itching for some conversation.

What to Eat in Italy

Walking the streets of Naples, smells of freshly baked pizza will hit you in the face. Mosey by pasta shops in Florence and you’ll see grandmothers rolling out freshly made pasta dough each and every day. Italian culture has long been routed around food and many traditions have arose from this foodie culture.

From fresh seafood along the coastal towns, to little cookies intended to cleanse a palate between meals, Italy is full of delectable morsels it’s hard to decide where to start. The decision to visit Italy is an easy one but deciding what to eat in Italy in a short period can be daunting.

Use these tips to decide what to eat and where to eat it in the land of Italian cooking.

First of all skip anything from back home. If you’re craving a cheeseburger, don’t do it. It will probably be ok, but you will endure judgmental looks from Italians passing by and will be wasting a perfectly good meal opportunity on a less than perfect dish. Italian food isn’t all pizza and pasta, but it is all about the quality of their ingredients and the culture surrounding their meals.

Meals in Italy can last for hours. Lunchtime is typically a 2+ hour ordeal and a way for families to get together mid-day and for friends to bond into the late afternoon hours. Dinners are typically smaller bites and are just to tide you over until breakfast.

Eat gelato every time you pass it and in every city you visit. Look for signs saying the gelato is home made or made in house (produzione propria and artigianale in gelaterias) because that ensures you are getting the real thing with natural ingredients. Flavors vary from plain milk or vanilla to rum raisin or cherry biscotti.

For breakfast, skip the eggs and bacon. The Italians prefer to sip on a strong espresso with a sweet homemade pastry. Every town will have a bakery that opens in the early hours selling both of these concoctions. Skip the American way of takeaway and sit down and relax while you sip your caffeine and munch on your pastry. Italians savor every bite of their food; it’s more than just the food itself, the culture revolves around savoring the flavors and enjoying each bite.

Don’t miss out on Arancini. These are fried balls of risotto that have regional differences. Some areas of Italy will have peas inside while others top theirs with a creamy sauce instead of marinara.

If you’re a meat lover absolutely try a veal osso bucco somewhere in your Italian travels. The veal is braised extremely slowly and melts in your mouth once it is tossed with only the freshest tomatoes and herbs. Enjoy it over a bed of homemade fettuccini and don’t forget to scoop out the marrow from the veal bones, a delicacy!

Prosciutto is an ingredient that you must try in many different forms. This dry-cured ham is easily enjoyed as a part of a tagliere or meat and cheese platter or on top of a freshly baked pizza.

In Venice, don’t miss the opportunity to eat as much seafood as possible. Italians savor simple flavors and work to bring out the natural flavors of each ingredient which transforms the taste of seafood. Mussels will be dressed in a simple white wine sauce or try a salted sea bass that is prepared whole and brought to the table that way. (You can ask your waiter to de-bone it for you after they present it.) A white clam sauce or spicy seafood pasta is a great way to get the best of both the seafood and pasta worlds in Italy.

Whatever you do, stick with Italian classics when eating in Italy. It is far more than just a pizza and pasta destination; venture out to find steaks beautifully seasoned or whole fish that have been slow roasted. Vegetables are marinated in high-grade olive oils and the mozzarella is almost always home made. Try a little bit of everything and remember that each region has its own way of cooking and own set of ingredients so a risotto from one place will taste different at the next town.

Ways to Save Money in London

The iconic city of London is a must see for visitors to Europe. The city has been featured in countless films and novels over the years and is home to landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. It would take a year or more to fully experience everything London has to offer.

Because this city is so vast and spread out, London is also known for being an expensive destination to visit. From the price of tube tickets to dining out, London can be a hit to anyone’s wallet. With a few simple tips for ways to save money, however, London can be a very affordable place to visit.

Time your trip.

Choose to visit in a time of year that is known for being cheaper such as November or January through March. These are the colder months, but if you aren’t afraid to bundle up a bit, you can easily walk around and see the sights. Londoners are infamous for eating outside even when the temperatures are barely above freezing.

Also, if budget accommodations are up your alley, try to time your trip with a University holiday and stay in the Halls of Residence! They are a really unique opportunity to get a room for cheap and to see inside a university in London. Airbnbs and budget hotels or hostels are also great ways to save money on sleeping arrangements.

Get a visitor Oyster card.

This is something you can order even before you arrive. It saves you 50% on the underground and overground public transportation and in a city as spread out as London, that is a HUGE savings. Visitor Oyster cards also save you money at select restaurants, shopping centers and more, make sure to check online for up to date discounts.

Take advantage of FREE attractions.

Most museums in London are free to the general public! This includes the Tate Modern, National Gallery and even the British Museum. Other attractions like Hyde Park or the Changing of the Guard are also free to witness. A great way to explore London is by foot, and during peak transit times, it is often faster as well. By wandering around on foot, you can take in sites like Big Ben or Westminster Abbey or the London Eye without spending a dime. If you want to venture in to any of these landmarks, however, there will be an entrance fee.

Food can be cheap.

Street food in London is rapidly growing in popularity. Known as the most diverse city in the world, it is easy to find a meal from any origin within the city. Camden Town has a large network of markets with any type of food imaginable including Venezuelan, Turkish and so much more! Happy hours are also extremely popular in London, these aren’t always restricted to the 3-5pm time slot, many restaurants near Universities will do late night happy hours as well after 9pm. Ask at a hostel or check online for student club discount nights.

Saving money in London doesn’t need to mean missing out on attractions or activities. With some preplanning and research, you can easily enjoy a trip to London without breaking the bank and overspending.

Why You Should Choose the Philippines for your Next Beach Break

 

Beaches have drawn travelers for as long as there were travelers. The ocean waves, the many activities, and serene feelings of watching the sun dip into the water is a unique experience that many will travel to the furthest flung regions of the world to visit.

The Phillippines is an archipelago of over 7000 islands that offer visitors an unlimited number of beaches to choose from. There are infinite reasons to make the Phillippines your next beach destination, but here are just a few of the top reasons.

The People

Filipinos are world known for their hospitality, friendliness and culture. They are extremely helpful in getting you wherever you’re trying to go and you are always met wtih happiness and smile wherever you wind up in the Phillippines. Unlike many of the other countries of Southeast Asia, wandering around the Phillippines won’t feel like you’re a walking wallet. Filipinos aren’t likely to harass you to buy their goods or tip them for travel tips; they are genuinely friendly.

There’s a beach for everyone.

Where you’re looking for a luxurious resort or more rustic outdoor adventure, the Phillippines has a beach community for you. Boracay offers serene, crystal clear blue waters with barely a ripple at any time and pristinely white beaches. Adorning the beach you can find elaborate resorts and Western creature comforts like McDonald’s. El Nido on Palawan island offers a bit more rustic experience allowing visitors to sip beers with their feet in the ocean at a tiny bar or to go on hikes into the jungles.

The diving here is out of this world.

If you’re looking for a vacation with opportunities to dive, look past typical spots in Thailand or Australia and head to the Phillippines. Some the world’s best dive spots are located off the coasts of Coron island and it is home to the infamous Thresher Shark dive where you can swim with actual sharks!

A South American feel in Southeast Asia.

The Phillippines has had many conquerors over the years. In Manila, the capital, you can visit Intramuros, one of the most iconic examples of the Spanish occupation of the island nation. Throughout the entire country, however, you can feel that Spanish/South American vibe. Adobo is a popular dish and has many of the same flavors that are found in Argentinean meat shops. The architecture and colors also hint towards a South American landscape. It’s incredibly unique and paired with the beautiful beaches, makes for an unforgettable vacation.

6 Movie And TV Locations You Have To Visit In Europe

 

Many films and television shows over the years have been filmed in Europe’s many countries and historical sites. A fun adventure when planning a trip to this continent would be to check out some of the places where your favorite movies were filmed. From Harry Potter to romantic classics like Notting Hill, movies have been made by their settings and what better way to step into a scene from one of your favorite shows than by actually stepping foot in the location where it was filmed.

Here are a few of the most notable spots in Europe where famous films or television shows were shot. How many can you visit in one trip?

Christ Church College, Oxford, U.K.

The region of Oxford in the United Kingdom has been home to many films over the years like Italian Job and Howard’s End but it is Christ Church College and specifically its grand hall that is the most notably recognized. The Harry Potter films all feature the college from the grand hall to the windy staircases hidden in its grounds. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would not have been the same without these iconic grounds.

Notting Hill, London

The areas namesake movie, Notting Hill, is the most notably recognized film to be shot in this gentrified, pretty neighborhood in the heart of London. From an iconic blue door to a street that will live on in infamy, the Notting Hill neighborhood is a can’t miss stop for romantic comedy lovers visiting London.

Doune Castle, Scotland

One of the most iconic English films, Monty Python was actually primarily filmed in a Scottish castle. This castle will live on forever as Camelot and you can still view King Arthur’s sound table on the grounds.

Vatican City

The Vatican has been featured in many films over the years but Angels and Demons, Dan Brown’s first novel is the most iconic of them all to be filmed in the location. In the film, the main character runs around Vatican City unearthing hidden symbols and clues leading to the unearthing of a secret society, the Illuminati, in the real world, you will be hard pressed to find any of these hidden clues but it can’t hurt to check it our for yourself.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The Oscar-winning film Argo was surprisingly filmed in Istanbul not the film’s intended location of Iran due to political unrest. The Grand Bazaar’s brightly colored markets and bustling streets made for a perfect backdrop in the film, however.

Tabernas Desert, Andalucia, Spain

Home to the filming of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, the barren desert in the Andalucia region of Spain created the perfect backdrop for the film’s country western theme. The sunshine was fierce and the confederates and union soldiers fought to the death over their American soil in the Spanish countryside.

12 Cool Global Festivals to Add to Your Bucketlist

One of the best aspects about the human culture is how social we are as creatures. We come together to celebrate some of the simplest notions, even that of being a mother.

Festivals have been around for as long back as we can trace civilization as a means to celebrate different facets of society. From complex celebrations surrounding astrological findings to simple gatherings celebrating the food that brings the community nourishment, festivals come in every shape and size.

From fantastic light displays, to intricate dance steps, to huge feasts that feed large armies of people, festivals are sure to dazzle and impress any onlooker. There are easily more festivals in the world than can be visited during any one person’s life span, so here is a list of 12 global festivals that are not to be missed, one for every month of the year!

January: Snow & Ice Festival in Harbin, China (January 5th to February 5th)

If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing an ice sculpture of the Sphinx, this festival is for you.

February: Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (February to March)

From flashy colors, to wild parties, this festival draws millions of people to Brazil each year to dance until they drop.

March: Saint Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin, Ireland

There are events celebrating this day all around the world, but celebrating at its source is the ideal!

April: Coachella in Indio, California

Arguably one of the most well known music festivals in the United States, Coachella hosts some of the largest acts and celebrities alike.

May: Floating Lights Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii

This festival marks Hawaii’s memorial day celebrations by setting off thousands of floating lanterns to honor loved ones and give hope to the future.

June: Glastonbury Music Festival in Pilton, UK

Held on a dairy farm in rural UK, this music festival sells out in a few minutes and features some of the biggest acts in the world.

July: Boryeong Mud Festival in Boryeong, South Korea

A festival about mud? A popular cosmetic company actually started the festival as a marketing ploy for their new product containing actual mud from the area and it took off.

August: La Tomatina in Buñol. Spain

If throwing tomatoes at random strangers is your dream don’t miss this festival celebrating that exact action.

September: Cascamorras in Baza, Spain

Locals cover themselves in grease to reenact the stealing of a famous statue, but then a massive party ensues.

October: Ocktoberfest in Munich, Germany

If you are a beer lover, don’t miss this festival celebrating that hoppy libation drawing millions to Munich each year.

November: Dia de los Muertos in Mexico City, Mexico

Celebrated on November 1st, this day puts Halloween to shame in Mexico.

December: Winter Light Festival, in Nabana No Sato, Japan

The festival takes place in a flower park and has a famous tunnel of lights that is perfect for any Instagram photo.

What To Do With a Stop Over in Miami

Whether you’re from the United States and heading south to the islands in the Caribbeean or Central or South America or you are venturing out on a cruise, Miami is a common stop over point for a lot of travel routes. Luckily, this city has a lot to offer short term visitors.

From the beach to the city streets to its sports scene, Miami is a diverse city and can cater to visitors with any interest for a short stop. There are plenty of things to do, check out this list to plan ahead and maximize your visit.

Wynwood Arts District

This neighborhood is overflowing with street art and there are even tours of the murals that can keep you occupied for a couple hours. When hunger calls grab a seat at one of the farm to table spots or classic Latin inspired kitchens.

If you have a night to spare, this neighborhood offers a lot of cheaper Airbnb accommodations that can pair you with a local for an even more unique experience.

Hit up the museum

The Pérez Art Museum Miami offers visitors an extensive international art collection with both modern and contemporary art. The museum is perfectly placed in Biscayne Bay and lunch can be enjoyed at the museum overlooking the water on a beautiful day.

Take a tour

Miami is home to a slew of historic buildings and culture rich streets and there are a plethora of tours that cater to all of this history. Whether you choose a double decker bus tour of the downtown area or a tour of the art deco regions near South Beach, tour companies will take the leg work out of planning an activity for the day and may even offer airport transfer!

Head to the beach!

The beach is only a half hour or so away from the airport so escaping for a beach day isn’t out of the question. Plan your excursions for the early morning before morning rush hour or in off travel hours as traffic out to the beach can be a nightmare. On the same hand, make sure to leave plenty of time for transit either to the port or back to the airport. Many hotels will offer day passes to their pools for a small fee or with a purchase at their pool bar if the water is too rough for swimming.

Go shopping

In each neighborhood of the city, shopping areas are popping up. Near Midtown, the Design District is home to boutique shops or the Wynwood District is known for home made goods. Find an area that fits your style and go to town.