Friday, January 4, 2013
With a new year of opportunity ahead everyone is set on making travel lists! I'm still working on my 2013 Travel Dreams but in the meantime I'm down for every chance there is to hop off U.S. soil! So...Why not travel for free? It's possible....idreamtravel is hosting a travel contest to win vouchers for 5 hotels in 5 cities for 10 days!!!! I'm usually not one for contests but you can't beat that. I always tell myself what's the worst that can happen? Check out the video below and enter! Wishing you all the best!
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The Traveling Brown Girls Carnival is back in town! This go round hosted by April Thompson of Absolute Travel Addict. The last time we all came together we blogged about our Travel Pet Peeves http://blackgirlinthebigworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/travel-etiquette-my-top-5-travel-pet.html and now we are coming together again to share insight on Travel Tips and Tricks for all our Travelista's on the Go!
It's easy for us all to get overwhelmed with our next trip and sometimes get so caught up that we do things that are so out of character, like forgetting to charge the camera, or loosing our passport at the last minute.... yes this happened to me the month before I went to India :-(
Since I know most of you are on the go here are some quick tips on ways to travel with ease!
Most travelista's know to pack light but some may not know how to do so and still feel fabulous. My secret? SCARFS! I usually pack simple tees and add a scarf to spice things up. A scarf and accessories can enhance the limited number of outfits you pick.
CHECK IN ONLINE
This may seem like the obvious but have you seen the lines at airports?! You will be surprised at how many of those people are simply checking in! For women on the go we have no time for unnecessary lines. Checking in online before arriving to the airport can give you an additional 30 mins at the airport. You can even get your boarding pass on your phone nowadays and skip printing anything at the airport all together!
SKIP FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Foreign exchange counters and centers are not only EXPENSIVE as hell but they are also time consuming most times. I like to use my debit card at an ATM and just receive my foreign currency that way. There is still a small fee depending on the bank $3-5 dollars but it beats the currency exchange fee.
PREPARE FOR THE WORST
No...do not think that you will star in your very own version of "Taken" lol but think ahead. A big part of travel is dealing with the unexpected. While there are some things you will never see coming your way there are the typical things like loosing luggage, your passport, or money that we can have a plan for.
- Luggage: If your traveling alone pack underwear, deodorant, and toothbrush/toothpaste in your carry on. If you are traveling with a friend each of you should pack an outfit in the others luggage!
-Passport: Make multiple copies of your passport and visa's. Most times if you do this you won't ever need to take your passport out once you reach your destination.
-Money: Travel with insurance and use a prepaid card rather than your most used credit or debit card if you feel comfortable.
HELPFUL TRAVEL APPS ( for iPhones)
-TripIt: (FREE) app that helps you track all your travel itineraries including flight/hotel/ and activity confirmations
-Camera+: (0.99) ultimate app for folks like me who can't afford a DSLR yet. It enhances your original camera app by allowing you greater editing features, clarity, and more.
-Postagram:(FREE and can be downloaded on Androids) allows you to use photos in your photo gallery, instagram, or Facebook to send physical postcards to family and friends for 0.99 cents each.
-WhatsAppMessenger: (0.99) the best way to communicate when abroad...it's texting for free! Send sms, images, etc. with other users.
Lastly, remember travelista's "If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness,selfishness,and fears"- Glenn Clark
These tricks and tips should help you on your next trip....do you have any tricks or tips for travelista's on the go? What are your travel secrets?
Monday, October 8, 2012
As you all know my mother and I went on a vacay to San Juan, Puerto Rico to celebrate her 40th birthday. #40andFabulous There's so much to tell you all but I'll start with my first impressions, and what usually creates your first impression on any vacation or trip?Your hotel and it's staff!
Long story short I LOVED our hotel .... El San Juan Resort and Casino. I was greeted by friendly smiles from everyone which immediately made me feel like I made the right choice. Nestled in the Isla Verde district we stayed in one of the city's most popular resorts. Known for it's bustling nightlife scene of gaming and dancing we were clearly in the right place for a good time. Oh but that's not all. There are also 2 salons, 2 night clubs, and 10 different restaurants, lounges,cafes, and even a sports bar. Let's not forget the casino! Momma came up on the black jack table lol. Can you say poppin?!
I can't help but sharing three photo's of my favorite part of the resort....the pool and beach!!!The hotel had three pools on the premises. The main pool has a swim up bar for guests to get wet and wavy! lol Which meant Mommy and I were bouncing around in the pool with mango mojitos heyyyy!!! The sprawling white sands of the Isla Verde beach were right outside our room which made lounging in the sun all the more convenient (although we only made it there one day). Both the pool and the beach are so beautiful and relaxing that you could spend not one but two days playing in both!
We spent most of our time out of the room ( which you will read about in later post) but the room was a simple modern design that left us with tons of closet space and comfort. In my opinion it was the average accommodation nothing over the top but just enough to keep me in the bed for a late wake up lol.
One of the greatest things about the hotel was the location! Under 10 minutes from the airport and Old San Juan. It was good to feel like we were central enough to walk around the streets and find a Walgreen's yet secluded enough to escape to peace and relaxation when we needed it.
All of this came for a little over $100 per night which is a steal in my opinion. I'm usually a budget traveler but it's good to treat yourself to a little luxury sometimes....especially when you call yourself treating your Momma ;-)
What are your hotel preferences? Do you like to be in the action or in a secluded environment? Share your thoughts!
Sunday, September 30, 2012
It was the night before leaving for PR and I realized I don’t have anything new to wear for my trip, so like most people I went shopping in the closet. I wanted to pack light but still have some style. My packing inspiration comes from travelfashiongirl.com ‘s Mexico Travel Outfit. I figured what can work for Mexico could work for Puerto Rico.
So according to this packing list you should only pack 10 things:
-Orange maxi skirt
This is what my packing looked like with the travel fashion girls suggestions with my own twist ….I think I did pretty good only 11 items ;-)
ü Jean shirt
ü Tank blouse: white/grey tank
ü Earrings ( pearls are my everyday earrings)
-High waist shorts: A good way to spice up the jean short option
-Day dress: I believe that every trip needs a day dress, they are so simple and cute!
-High wedge pumps: Duh! You never know when the music will call your name and you will end up partying the night away lol!
-Mustard blouse:Good for dressing up or down. You can pair it with the black skirt to go out to the club or the navy maxi to go to the beach.
-Black skirt: Another dress up or down piece that can be paired with the mustard blouse or with a tank or t-shirt.
Here’s a few photo’s to show you how I put it all together. I consider myself to have a classic style so if you’re looking for fanciness I can’t help lol!
I hope this helps for your next trip to the beach. Do you have any suggestions on ways to pack light for a trip?
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Greetings All! In case you didn't read my 12 things to do before the end of 2012 post I have been dying to get to a DC Embassy event.Considering I have no fancy international friends I had to go the commoner route and buy a ticket lol. So here's my review on the event titled " Evening at the Embassy of Costa Rica". This is what the night entailed....
I missed this part and I'm not sure if the greeting was from the current Ambassador Anne Andrew but let's just say if it did happen it was great lol.My favorite part of any event is usually the food!!! This event was no different! Everything was delicioso! The buffet included the following:
Costa Rican Artist and Film
Now this time it wasn't just that I missed it there was no artist and no film. I checked with many of the attendees and confirmed that this did not happen. I was actually looking forward to them both to learn more about the country and it's history. So much for that.
Costa Rican Sampler Buffet
Pollo de Santa
Grilled Chicken Breast Marinated in Coconut Milk
Black Beans and Rice
Picadillo de Plantano Verde
Hearts of Palm Salad
Costa Rican Corn Muffins
Tres Leches Cake
Grilled Chicken Breast Marinated in Coconut Milk
Black Beans and Rice
Picadillo de Plantano Verde
Hearts of Palm Salad
Costa Rican Corn Muffins
Tres Leches Cake
While I was dying to get to an Embassy event, and this one was definitely a lovely event, it was not worth the $49.00 that was spent on a ticket. I invested in the experience because I knew I wouldn't be able to move on without trying it out at least once but now that I have I don't think I would pay for another Embassy event. The food was the best part and I only got one plate of it and the salsa lessons were only for about 20 minutes of the 2 hour event so that left most of the time to get a drink and have mindless chatter. I did get to meet two cool people but no one that I would keep in touch with. Despite my overall impression I would recommend that everyone try to get invited to one of these Embassy events though lol! They are great ways to have a cultural outing that make you feel like you took a mini vacay because once your inside you are technically on the country's soil....so yes I went to Costa Rica last week lol!
Have you ever been to an Embassy event? If so what are your impressions?
P.S. I'm off to Puerto Rico in 2 days so check back to read all about my Mommy and Me adventures in San Juan!
Monday, September 10, 2012
Like Water For Chocolate has been a classic for decades now however if you have yet to read this book or waiting to get around to it (like I was) GO READ IT NOW! If you want to jump right to it go watch the 1992 movie rendition!
Like Water For Chocolate is a tale of magical realism. Set against the backdrop of the most important modernizing force in Mexican history, the Mexican Revolution of 1910-17,the book follows the life of Tita De La Garza. Born the youngest of three sisters her destiny from birth was to take care of her mother until she died which ruled out all opportunities for love, marriage, and a family of her own. The story surrounds the forbidden love of Tita and her one true love Pedro who marries Tita’s sister Rosaura at the request of Tita’s aging widowed mother. Pedro only agrees to be closer to Tita which only makes matters all the more tense on the De La Garza ranch. The book is divided into twelve chapters for each month. Each chapter is introduced with a recipe of Tita’s as cooking was the only way she knew how to express her emotions. The recipes are so central to the plot of the story because each one tells a part of the story and each recipe will have you craving Mexican with its intense detail to flavor!
Why do I love this book?
Because it’s SPICY!!! The title itself describes anger and passion. “como agua para chocolate”. In Mexico, hot chocolate is made with water, not milk. Water is boiled and chunks of chocolate or chocolate tablets are dropped in to melt. The saying "like water for chocolate," means to be hot like the water is hot enough to receive the chocolate. It means to be at a boiling point and is a metaphor for describing a state of anger, passion or sexual arousal.
There is so much sensuality throughout the entire story, between the love, war, and food everything is sizzling! This is a tale for anyone who has had issues with their mother, anyone who has questioned traditions, and anyone who dreams of true love. This book captivates the reader so much so that you will find yourself crying with Tita as Pedro marries her sister and smiling with Tita as she makes her favorite Christmas rolls.
Have you read this book before or watched the movie? What are your thoughts? Do you have any favorite travel reads or movies?
Friday, August 31, 2012
Don't get caught slippin!
Traveling alone might seem like a fun thing to do, but for some women it can also be stressful. Packing your bags and scooting off to strange new lands can seem to be an impossible task, but any girl can do it with a few tips here and there! As a destination, India can pose problems for female travelers, but offenses rarely happen. That said, don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from venturing on an empowering trip to Bombay, New Delhi, or any other destination in India with these tips.
First of all, India is a place of extremes. There are a lot of beautiful places to see, exciting dishes to try, Bollywood movies to watch, but you’ll also find barren lands, heavy traffic, filthy streets, and poor citizens who barely scrape by. You may be surprised, Bollywood films show women dancing with seductive costumes and yet when you actually visit everyone seems covered with social conservatism, something that a lone female traveler should take note of before packing her bags. In the west women are almost always free to wear what they want, but in India even if it’s sizzling hot you have to be careful so as to not attract trouble.
Upon arrival at the airport, you may see a lot of women like you, often traveling in groups or with companions. Some arrive through prearranged tours, and come prepared by dressing and behaving in a way that’s respectful to Indians. Shorts, skirts above the knees, tank tops, low cut, and tight fitting shirts are discouraged, unless you want to attract denigration from women or piercing stares (or worse) from men. And if you’re fair or showing a lot of skin, you might attract men who might actually be bold enough to pinch your skin or touch you. India is a place where tradition is still very much adhered to, so it’s important to be aware. You’ll attract the attention of thieves and other ill doers with your foreign looks alone, but you can immerse yourself with the local culture by purchasing loose-fitting pants known as Salwars and loose-fitting blouses called Kameez. Locals will even advise you to wear saris and dress properly so that you won’t look like you just got off the plane. At the airport, don’t ever let a stranger carry your baggage. In the blink of an eye everything you need for the rest of your trip may be carried away.
Dealing with the Public
When walking in public friendliness may be misconstrued as personal and flirtatious, so avoid initiating conversations. Even something as simple as eye contact may be interpreted as an invitation. If the inevitable happens, never let them know you are traveling alone—pretend someone else is with you. When traveling by train, which by the way lets you explore the beautiful countryside, do not doze off or else you might just find a hand making its way to your blouse. You’ll have a greater degree of privacy by asking for the upper berth where there is less congestion, or a women’s only car.
Book your hotel ahead. You are already traveling alone so be sure that you don’t arrive without a hotel in mind. Never be alone with a man and that includes the hotel’s staff or bellhop. Your next concern will be protecting your personal belongings. When traveling, keep your bags together by securing them with a cable lock, and use bags such as leg pouches, backpacks, and bags with a belt loop.
Avoid Being Overcharged
The most common problems women travelers experience are with servicers. Hotel desk clerks, tour operators, and taxi drivers tend to overcharge tourists. As in most destinations, if you’re foreign-looking you’ll most likely encounter situations wherein locals will try to overcharge. The same is true in India, where culture suggests the assumption that foreigners are likely to be richer than average citizens. And since foreigners make an easy target for scams, because of their lack of awareness, it’s best to research beforehand about the cost of a service before setting a price. To avoid taxi scams, choose pre-paid taxis where you purchase receipts or tickets at a prepaid booth. Wait until the taxi driver delivers you to your destination, and then hand over your ticket. Don’t give the driver additional payment apart from the prepaid slip no matter what he might say.
When shopping for souvenirs or local goods, pretend you don’t have much interest. The higher your level of interest the higher their price. Always bargain, and if they won’t give you the price you want then there are plenty of other shops that could offer a better bargain. Remember there’s no fixed price for most souvenirs.
Keep in mind that incidents are rare, and anyone traveling alone should be alert at all times. Learn how to say “no”, no one should coerce you in to doing something you’re not sure of. That said, nothing compares to that liberating feeling after exploring a place on your own, the streets of India included. If you’re careful, you’ll have a fantastic vacation ahead.
Although these tips are specific to India many of them are applicable to women travelling ANYWHERE!
I hope this post gave you some things to think about before your next take off to India! This is a guest post from RoomStays.com http://www.roomstays.com/. Check them out for for travel tips and hotel deals!