3 Islands to Escape Winter

As the next blizzard blows in, and the roads in your locale ice over, you might be fantasizing about escaping to a tropical paradise until the snow melts. If white sandy beaches, palm trees gently blowing in the breeze, and brightly colored beverages are more your style than snow, you’re sure to love one of these beautiful island locations. Pack up your sunglasses and leave the parka in the closet, as you travel to one of these beautiful islands.

1) Key West, Florida
Rather than boarding a plane to travel to a distant land, you may just find yourself wintering on the Southern most island in The Florida Keys. Key West offers the ultimate collection of water sport adventure packages, all in the crystal clear water this area is known for. From swimming up close with dolphins to glass-bottom boat tours, you won’t run out of things to do during your stay in Key West, Florida.

2) Aruba
From extreme vacation adventures for those who need an adrenaline rush, to a romantic escape for two, Aruba has it all. The island’s population is made up of over 90 different nationalities, which makes it a favorite for the foodies who love exotic cuisine. Out of all the Caribbean islands, Aruba enjoys the most days of abundant sunshine, making it a top choice of those looking to enjoy the sunshine and beaches.

3) San Juan, Puerto Rico
Watching the sunset over the blue Caribbean water, with not a thought of snow in sight. is how you deserve to spend the winter. If you prefer a more exciting atmosphere, January can find you on a little street in Old San Juan, celebrating the San Sebastian Street Fiestas. Dancing, food and art can be enjoyed all night during this celebration, which draws together nearly 500,000 visitors and locals alike. Whichever type of vacation experience you prefer, spending the winter in 70 degree weather, beats shoveling snow, any day.

From the Florida Keys to the Caribbean, there is a perfect place for anyone who dreams of spending their winter on the beach soaking up the sun. The only problem is, which destination to visit this year!

Packing Tips for Trips with Different Climates

Do you love to travel, but hate the packing part? Maybe it’s just the approach that messes up the ease of packing. It can be simple when you have tips to get you through the process in an organized and fun process.

Step One:

Determine the weather for the area where you are going. Choose pieces that are interchangeable. That allows you to pack light, but you will still have a variety of looks. Make sure you have layers of clothes. That way you can take off layers that you don’t need. Weather can change anywhere you go, so it’s best to be well prepared.

Step Two

You need plastic bags. These are the extra large ones. After washing and drying the clothes. Lay them flat on the plastic bag. Roll the plastic bag until you have a long roll. Carefully place this in your bag for your trip. It’s simple and your clothes will be fresh when you arrive.

Step Three

Use a travel suitcase or bag that is smaller than you would normally use. When things are packed tightly they are less likely to get wrinkled. You don’t want to overpack too tightly, but a good fit where there is no room to slide around should be the goal.

Step Four

Make sure that you have your toiletries with you. Call ahead to ask about which things you can pack and which ones you can’t. Take those with you in your carry-on. Be sure to take one pair of pajamas and one layer outfit in that carry-on. That way, you have packed well with any type of weather.

These tips will help you pack quickly and easily. That makes the whole process more fun. You might enjoy planning the wardrobe that you will wear to your new destination. That can take packing from dull to a fun process.

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5 Things You Should Do in London

London is known for its travel and tourism. Whether you are visiting London for the first time or you are visiting for the first time, there is plenty to do!
Avoid traffic

London is also well-known for being a busy city, riddle with traffic. The city itself is composed of narrow maze-like Roman streets and can experience a significantly high amount of traffic.

Most people would use taxi’s or a car service to travel from to get around an unfamiliar location. However, with the extremely high traffic congestion that occurs in London, traveling by taxi may be time consuming and pricey. You can avoid spending the majority of your vacation stuck in traffic by using London’s underground transportation system or even walking.

Go shopping
What fun is a trip if you don’t take the time to do a little shopping? London has plenty of shopping areas that can accommodate any budget. Some of the best shopping areas include:

  • Oxford Street
  • Bond Street
  • Knightsbridge
  • Westfield

London is also home to many markets where you pick up antiques, flowers, and vintage gems. Check out:

  • Brick Lane
  • Portobello Road
  • Columbia Road

Sports
Go out and attend a live sporting event. Home to the most professional football teams in the world, London has a variety of sporting events for you to enjoy! If you’re not into football, you can also visit Cricket Lord’s Cricket Ground or a Rugby game at Twickenham.

Eat
Due to it’s cultural diversity, London is often referred to as “the world in one city”. The diversity of the city is quite often reflected in its food, and with over 6,000 restaurants, you are sure to find a delicious meal.  

Enjoy your trip
London is not a small city and it is impossible to see and experience all it has to offer during your vacation. That’s okay! Enjoy as much of the city, as you can without exhausting yourself. After all, you can always plan a return visit.

Flight Survival Tips

The holiday travel season is among us and many of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the best ways to reach our destinations. Depending on where you are traveling to and time constraints,  it may be easier for you to plan a flight rather than take a road trip. While flying may seem better than driving long-distance, it can still be uncomfortable. Here are some holiday flight survival tips:

Reduce discomfort

Plane seating can be terribly tight and cause an extreme amount of discomfort. Try to minimize your discomfort by:

  • Drinking  plenty of water to keep your body hydrated
  • Standing up and walking around the cabin once every hour or so. This will be particularly helpful if you are on a long flight.  *Be mindful of the seat belt sign.
  • Do some light stretching in your seat
  • Use a neck pillow

Ask for an upgrade

Airlines often offer upgrades upon check-in and sometimes at the departure gate. Take the initiative to ask your airline agent if they do not offer you an upgrade.  It doesn’t hurt to ask and many times will be able to get a good deal on a seat upgrade.

Wear comfortable clothes

Dress sensibly! It is always possible for your flight to get delayed or canceled. Be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind spending several hour or maybe even entire day in.

Entertainment

Don’t forget to pack reading material and your headphones to block out any unnecessary noise distractions. Many airlines offer free on flight movies, tv shows, and on-screen games for passengers. This can help with any anxiety or discomfort you may feel and help to pass the time

Women’s Travel Fest Schedule

The Women’s Travel Fest in New Orleans is quickly approaching and in case you are considering going but are unsure what the event has to offer, I have included a schedule for you below.

Women’s Travel Fest Schedule 2017
Date: Friday, March 3
Time: 6:00p – 9:00p
Location: House of Blues Foundation Room
Event Type: Networking
This pre-party gathering will allow attendees to get to meet and know each other.

Date: Saturday, March 4
Time: 10:00a – 6:00p
Location: Jazz Market
Event Type: Festival Main Day
During this day, guests will be able to enjoy the offerings of various vendors, keynote speakers, network, and find out more about travelling.

This day includes a welcome from the Women’s Travel Fest founder, Kelly Lewis, keynote speakers including Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie, Courtney Scott, Nneya Richards, and much more.

Keynote topics of the day include:

  • Travel Hacking 101: How to Travel for Free -Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie
  • Our Biggest Travel Mistakes (and What We Learned From them) -Megan Elieen McDonough/Courtney Scott
  • What I learned From Every Country In the World – Cassie de Pecol
  • Play With the World: Your Dreams Matter with Shannon Kaiser – Shannon Kaiser
  • How I Built a Business in Travel – Mickela Mallozzi/Deidre Mathis/Gillian Morris/Daria Rebenok
  • Travel + Your Love Life – Mickela Mallozzi/Nneya Richards

The main day of the festival will close with a networking after party!

Date: Sunday, March 5
Time: 9:00a – 2:00p
Location: Jazz Market
Event Type: Festival Closing Day  

The day will begin with another warm welcome by founder, Kelly Lewis, followed by more exciting and informative keynote speakers including Pauline Frommer, Alyssa Ramos, Sarah Dodd, and much more!

Keynote topics of the day include:

  • See More, Spend Less: Planning Your Next Vacation With Pauline – Pauline Frommer
  • Traveling as an American Woman Today – Kelly Lewis/Nneya Richards
  • How to Be a Snapchat Influencer – Cailin O’ Neil
  • Travel Writing: Getting an Editor’s Attention – Marcia DeSanctis/Lavina Spalding
  • How to Be A One-Woman Camera Crew-Juliana Broste
  • How to Kill it on Instagram – Alyssa Ramos
  • Our Favorite Travel Gear- Courtney Scott
  • From 1 to 1 Million: A  Q&A with Scott Eddy- Scott Eddy

To see more information about the keynote speakers, topics, sponsors, and exhibitions, visit womenstravelfest.com.

Tips for Women Traveling Solo in Brazil During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

woman travelling solo

I love absolutely love traveling! There are very few things in life better than being able to take a road trip or hop on a plane to a new location with the intention of gaining new experiences. Food, culture, and language are some amongst some of the many things you will be exposed to and you are guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime.

A popular location for many to travel to next month is Brazil. You may be asking yourself, ‘why Brazil?’. Here’s why: The 2016 Summer Olympic games.

This year the games will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and with over 11,000 participants and over 5 million tickets sold for the events, let’s just say there will be a lot of people traveling to and around Rio in the coming weeks.  

As always, you should do your research before traveling to any foreign country, especially those with a high rate of violence in cities such a Rio de Janeiro. With that being said, this in no way means that you will not be able to enjoy yourself and have a safe trip.

Here are a couple tips, specifically for women, regarding transportation and money while traveling solo during the Rio 2016.

Public Transportation:

Similar to many cities, public transportation is the most efficient way to travel around the city. However, travellers must be cautious when traveling during late evening hours. On weekdays, Sunday through Friday, the subway closes at midnight and on Saturdays the subway closes at 1a.m.

Should you opt to take the train or bus during evening or late night hours, be sure that you are not doing so alone. Although I have not heard of many incidences occurring regularly, you still want ensure you will get to and from your destinations safely.

When researching transportation options in Brazil, I learned that cabs are also a safe and efficient method to travel from point A to point B. The downside is that there may be a communication barrier between passengers and the driver unless you are well-versed in Portuguese. It might be helpful to write your destination on a piece of paper so you can show the driver where you would like to go.

Something else to you should be aware of is that very few cabs in Brazil accept payment in the form of debit or credit card so it would be ideal to have cash on hand and ask the driver for the rate of your ride prior to arriving at your destination. Apps like Uber are always great to have in situations like this when travelling.  

Money:
Although many cabs will not accept debit or credit as form of payment, many -in fact almost every restaurant, hotel, or shop will. There is no need to have a huge wad of cash on you during trip.

Regardless of how much money or how many cards you are carrying, be sure that the bag you are holding them in is tightly secured and keep it in front of you, in your line of vision at all times. Try your best to remove money from your purse tactfully before and after making purchases.  

TIPS FOR WOMEN TRAVELING SOLO

woman travel

Recently, there has been an increase in solo female travelers. Women are daring to go where they have never been before and they are doing it alone. As invigorating and adventurous as this may be, we must keep in mind that safety is a number one concern.

While any solo traveller, regardless of gender, may face dangerous situations, women who are traveling alone are more likely to be affected than men.  The popular website, BuzzFeed, took the time to ask a few women about what they do to feel safe while abroad. Below you can find a few of the tips they gathered.

Travel Tips:

Crowdsourcing
When using sites like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Hostelz, it’s important that you research and find reviews as well as pictures posted by people who have actually stayed in the hotel and have spent time in the area.

Itinerary
Someone back home, whether it be a parent, spouse, or a friend should have a copy of your itinerary. This way,  someone who know you will have an idea of your whereabouts  during your trip.

DropBox Documents
How many times have you heard stories of someone losing their ID, passport, ticket numbers, phone, etc.? Losing any item of identification can be dangerous especially if you are traveling internationally. Scanning or taking a photograph of your important documents and placing them in locked site like Dropbox or something similar will help you in the long run.

U.S. Department of State
Register with the U.S. Department of State’s and download their app, Smart Traveler. Doing so will keep you informed when you about the country you’re in as well as your homeland.

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
Registering with the International Associations for Medical Assistance  (IAMAT)will assist you with locating medical clinics approved by doctors who speak English.

International phone plan
Depending on how long you will be traveling internationally, you may or may not want to invest in an international phone plan. If you choose not to purchase a full plan, you can also buy a few phone cards for your trip.

Travel insurance.
The cost of Travel insurance varies. However, it would be wise to purchase some, especially if you’re traveling alone. Your insurance will cover most of or all of any unexpected costs. This includes medical and dental emergencies, as well as reimbursement for lost baggage, trip cancellations, or delays, rental car damage, and much more.

Stash Your Cash
It’s always a good idea to keep a few dollars and a credit or debit card on you at all times. You should also keep some stashed in your purse/bag and in your hotel room. A few unsuspecting places to keep your money are the bottom of a tampon, pad box, or empty shampoo bottles,

Charger, charger, charger
Your phone will probably be the item you use the most on your trip. It is important to remember to pack your charger, and extra battery if possible.

SnapCab?
Snap a quick photo of the cab before you hop in. This is not only for your safety but it will also help you track the car down if you happen to leave something in it. Once you get in (or begin walking to your destination) the cab say something like, “alright, I’ll be there soon” or “in 10-15 minutes”. This will make the driver or those around you believe you are meeting up with someone.

Fake it til’ you make it.
It is recommended by U.S. State Department that single women traveling in the Middle East should wear a wedding ring. Try to research the location you are visiting and see what is customary for solo female travelers to do there.

hotel1

Hotel Tips:

Keep your keys
Hotels always provide you with 2 keys. Keep one key on you (on your pants or coat pocket) and the other in your bag.

Do not disturb
Whether you are in the room or not, leave the “do not disturb” sign on the door and leave your tv on. Thieves will not want to risk breaking into your room if they think someone is inside. If you happen to order room service, do not fully open the door. And should someone ask if you are alone, say the other person stepped out for a minute and will be “right back”.

 

For more tips and information on being a solo female traveler, visit BuzzFeed.com