The Essential Guide to Visiting Cuba

The Essential Guide to Visiting Cuba

The largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba’s unique history and natural beauty have been captivating the travelers’ interest for decades. Remnants of colonial history dotted around its cities, Baroque palaces, vintage American cars, white-sand beaches and streets echoing with salsa rhythms are just a few of the reasons why you should add Cuba to your bucket list.   Before you start planning If you’re planning on visiting Cuba for pleasure you’ll need a tourist card (simple visa), that can be purchased from the Cuban Embassy. While nationals from other countries are free to visit for leisure purposes, there are still restrictions in place for US citizens. Their reason for visiting must fall under one of 12 special categories, such as visiting relatives or educational purposes. Tour companies get around this by including an educational activity (e.g., school visit) in the itinerary. Don’t forget to take your travel and medical insurance certificate with you, as you’ll need to show this on arrival.   Planning Your Trip Whether you’re hopping over to Havana from Florida, or you’ve got a 10-hour flight ahead of you, plan ahead to keep stress to a minimum. Use a comparison site to discover the cheapest flights and book yours. If you’re driving yourself to the airport, pre-book long-term economy parking close to your departure terminal; you’ll save time and won’t get stuck with ‘drive-in’ rates. You can use dedicated comparison sites such as Looking4Parking.com to search for the best parking deal and to make our booking as they often offer massive discounts for booking through their site. Don’t rely on plastic to finance your trip, as...
The One Travel Essential We Wouldn’t Dare Leave Behind

The One Travel Essential We Wouldn’t Dare Leave Behind

We often get asked questions about what to pack for trips around the world. With limited suitcase space and weight, it can be hard to determine between the essentials and the nonessentials. If we had to pick just one item that outweighs them all in importance, we’d choose our sunglasses. A good pair of sunglasses is, in our opinion, the one thing you just can’t go without when traveling.   Why Sunglasses Are The One Travel Essential You Need     1. It’s not about all the style: Yes, sunglasses are a great fashion statement and the perfect touch to any outfit. Tourists almost look incomplete without their favorite pair sitting atop their head. But, the reason we think it’s crucial to travel with sunglasses isn’t primarily for fashion, it’s for safety. Most everyone is aware of the harmful effects the sun’s rays have on your skin. While many people may not heed the warning and use proper skin protection, it’s common knowledge that UV rays are dangerous. What doesn’t seem to be common knowledge is that UV rays are just as dangerous to your eyes as they are to your skin. A huge portion of Cataracts cases (eyes that become gray/blue and blurry) are caused by UV exposure. Not to mention, the sun’s rays have been linked to macular degeneration (one of the leading causes of blindness in the US) and Pterygium (a tissue growth that causes astigmatism.) (1.) Moral of the story: your eyes need protection in the same way your skin does. If you want to keep seeing the wonders of the world, you’d better start...
Wedding Anniversary Recap: Our Past 5 Travel Celebrations

Wedding Anniversary Recap: Our Past 5 Travel Celebrations

For the last five years, we’ve celebrated our wedding anniversary in a new destination, and year #6 will be no different. We can’t imagine a better way to spend our anniversaries than by exploring a new place together. This May 21st, we’re popping the champagne in Portugal. We’ll be taking a road trip from Lisbon up to Coimbra and Aveiro, then stopping in Porto and driving the Douro Valley, finally going up to Ponte De Lima. It’s going to be a road trip filled with romance, lots of yummy food and wine, of course. If travel experiences aren’t your cup of tea, don’t forget to spend time exploring a rich selection of gifts for your 5th wedding anniversary. Or, take a little inspiration from our past 5 destination wedding anniversaries: Wedding Anniversary Recap: Our Past 5 Travel Celebrations     1. Bohol And Apo Island, Philippines The Philippines will always hold a special place in our heart since it’s the destination where we spent our very first wedding anniversary! Our first stop was Apo Island, world-renowned for its scuba diving. The dives were gorgeous, and we can confidently say that Apo Island had the best diving we’ve experienced yet. We felt like we were in a real-life version of Finding Nemo. 2. Macau And Hong Kong For year number 2, we opted for a cosmopolitan-style anniversary in lieu of an exotic beach. We loved every minute of our time in Hong Kong and Macau. We went during the summer, which we think is the best time to go, and enjoyed everything from fine-dining to street foodie tours, seeing the...
8 Things You Need To Know Before You Plan A Europe Road Trip

8 Things You Need To Know Before You Plan A Europe Road Trip

  We’re gearing up for our next adventure – a road trip through Portugal! We’ll be heading from Lisbon through the Douro Valley up to Ponte de Lima, and we couldn’t be more excited. This will be the start of our six weeks in Europe, so be sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram for live updates along the way. ;) Road trips are one of our favorite ways to explore a destination. While it’s undeniably easy to get around much of Europe with public transportation, having four wheels offers another level of freedom and flexibility, while also making off-the-beaten-track gems much more accessible. Portugal marks our fourth Europe road trip. While of course we’re not experts on what it’s like to drive through every country on the continent, we have picked up some essential tips and tricks from our various (mis)adventures on the road.     Don’t be like us and end up with an expensive ticket in Italy or a potential fine in Finland. Before you jump behind the wheel, here are a few handy tips you’ll want to keep in mind for your Europe road trip:   8 Tips For An Epic Europe Road Trip   1. Find The Right Car     Obviously, the first step to a Europe road trip is finding the right vehicle! When renting a car, keep in mind that most Europeans drive manual. If you’re not comfortable with a manual, be prepared to pay a bit more for an automatic. For our last two road trips, we partnered with Economy Bookings. They’ve got some of the most affordable rates...
20 Postcards From The Garden Island: Kauai, Hawaii

20 Postcards From The Garden Island: Kauai, Hawaii

It’s always great when you have family living in picture-perfect tropical locations. We would know, because we get tons of family and friends who come visit us in Costa Rica—and we absolutely love it! In our case, Dan’s sister is currently calling Oahu home, which means we always have a legitimate excuse to adventure to the always stunning Hawaiian Islands. On our last trip to Hawaii, we explored Maui and Oahu. This time around, we were joining Dan’s family for a vacation to Kauai and The Big Island. Kauai, also known as The Garden Island, is home to the second wettest spot on Earth. It receives a staggering 460+ inches of rain per year. So, it should come as hardly any surprise that it down-poured nearly our entire time on the island! Since we were joining Dan’s family a few days late, we only had two days to try to do Kauai, Hawaii justice. The rain made it a bit more difficult, but we didn’t let it slow us down too much. From waterfalls to beaches to canyons to Hawaiian monk seals, we did our best to experience the best of Kauai in a short time period. There’s no denying the lush beauty of Kauai. Even through the rain, we had an amazing time exploring this beautiful piece of Hawaii. However, in order to show the true beauty of Kauai, we recruited Dan’s sister to add a few of her personal Kauai photos to the mix. We’re sure these postcards from Kauai, Hawaii are going to inspire you to adventure to this wet and wonderful paradise yourself!   20...
The Chrysalis Cardi: My Ultimate Travel Essential (And How To Use It)

The Chrysalis Cardi: My Ultimate Travel Essential (And How To Use It)

  I’ve always been a notoriously horrible packer. I wait until the very last minute to decide what I should throw in a suitcase. I pack ridiculous items that I never use at home, but for some reason feel like I must bring along just in case of an emergency. (You know, the shoes/lotion/sunhat/other miscellaneous items I found tucked away in the back of the closet hiding beneath a blanket of dust.) And, without fail, half the things I end up toting around—or, let’s be honest, Dan ends up carrying—don’t get used at all. In recent years I’ve gotten a little bit better at packing. I won’t say I’m an expert, but I’ve written enough articles about it (and had practice traveling to 30-some odd countries) that I’m no longer completely embarrassed by my luggage. Without a doubt, one of the reasons I’ve been able to pack far less is by learning how to make the most of multi-purpose items. Why pack three dresses, a scarf and a cardigan when one classic piece can be worn all three ways? Enter: The Chrysalis Cardi I first stumbled upon Encircled, the company behind this versatile piece, around three years ago. I rushed ordered a Chrysalis Cardi so it would arrive before we headed off to Europe—and since then, it has been a constant travel essential for all our trips. From Sweden to France to Costa Rica to Hawaii, my Chrysalis Cardi has racked up quite a few miles—with much more to come in 2017 and beyond.   “Pack lighter. Do more with less.” Rockin’ my Chrysalis Cardi as a Cardigan in...