Know More About Belgium Travel Guide

Belgium’s central location in the heart of Europe and its Dutch, Austrian, Spanish, and French political ancestry make it a perfect example of blended European sensibilities—probably why its most famous city, Brussels, is the capital of the European Union. With delicious food and beer and a dense history of influential art and music, Belgium offers a wide range of historical, cultural, and culinary adventures.

Transportation

As Belgium is a member of the Schengen Agreement, it’s easy to access as part of a larger European vacation, whether by air, rail, cruise, or car. As long as you have met the visa requirements for entering one Schengen Zone country, you are generally allowed trips to other countries within the zone, as long as they’re under 90 days. Keep in mind the Schengen Zone and the European Union are not the same thing, and make sure to fully research your visa requirements in advance, as there may be exceptions.

Within Belgium, the train is by far the best way to get around. Belgium is a small country, only 300km at its largest distance, and its train system connects not only its towns but also many of its towns to international train routes. A Go-Pass or Rail Pass booklet is an incredibly cheap way to travel to multiple cities, as it can be used for up to 10 trips per year, including train changes. In the cities, a reliable bus, tram, and metro system is available.

Food & Culture

French and Dutch are the two main languages spoken in Belgium, Dutch in the northern province of Flanders and mostly French in the southern province of Wallonia. Flanders is well known for having produced an amazing number of famous painters, including Peter Paul Rubens, Anna Boch, and the cartoonist Hergé, creator of The Adventures of Tintin. The country still continues to produce a great number of influential artists, musicians, and architects.

Belgians are well known for both their chocolate, so much so that European laws have been passed to protect its reputation! It tastes especially good drizzled on Belgian waffles, which you can find and enjoy as a street food. To drink, you can find hundreds of local, specially-brewed Abbey beers, which carry on the techniques and traditions of brewing them that were developed in the monasteries which have lasted since the middle ages. Definitely choose a local drink over the big names like Stella Artois—you won’t regret the experience.

Sights & Activities

Eat & Drink in Brussels — Brussels has several pubs who offer beer tastings, over thirty chocolatiers, and numerous bars and restaurants. Take a Beer Tour or a Chocolate Tour to get a wide sampling of everything this delicious city has to offer.

Ghentse Festeen — This annual festival in Ghent is a ten-day riverfront party of music, dance, and theater. In actuality, it’s made up of several smaller festivals such as the Ghent Jazz Festival, the Ten Days Off electronic festival, and the International Puppetbuskerfestival for puppeteer enthusiasts.

Cathedral of Our Lady — Probably one of the largest and most impressive cathedrals in Northern Europe, this church is in the downtown historical area of Antwerp and houses a number of Rubens’ famous paintings.

Cellar Restaurants in Antwerp — The cellar restaurants in Antwerp were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. From the medieval menu and beer tastings at De Pelgrom to the authentic Belgian cuisine at Estro Armonico, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Let’s Learn About Packing Tips for World Travelers

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If you are going on a backpacking trip where you will be lugging your bag around constantly, you will want to keep your bag as light as possible. We like to keep our bag weight below 30 pounds, so it’s important to find a backpack that is light to begin with. This pack is great Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack.

You don’t want to be stuck with a bag that weighs 7-10 pounds by itself. Check out our post on choosing the best travel backpack to find out more about bags that we suggest. If you can’t manage to keep your bag under 30 pounds, shoot for under 40 pounds. If you keep it under 40, you won’t have to pay baggage fees on most airlines.

This packing list will vary depending on where you will be traveling and what the weather will be like. If you will be traveling to both warm and cold regions you are better off not lugging around the heavy warm clothes for the entire trip. You can either ship the warm clothes home once you reach warmer climates or buy the warm clothes along your trip if the cold destinations are at the end of your travels.

I won’t leave home without these items:

* Charcoal Pills Activated Charcoal Tablets, 250 mg, 125 tablets – These work wonders for traveler’s diarrhea! Instead of just keeping you from pooping (which is what Imodium does) the charcoal absorbs the bacteria in your body so you can get rid of it on your next bowel movement. They use a stronger dose of this for people who overdose on medication and I’ve also been told it can work for people who are allergic to certain things. If you take it, it helps with the allergic reaction.

* Antibiotics for Traveler’s Diarrhea – A back up for bacteria that is beyond the help of charcoal pills. (Cypro or something similar) I’m personally allergic to Cypro but this is what is commonly prescribed for traveler’s diarrhea.

* Hand Sanitizer – Travel Size

* First Aid Kit

* Bug Repellent

* Poncho or Travel Umbrella

* Vitamin C

* Coco Luxe Moisturizing Coconut Oil (Travel size!)

* 1 or 2 Combo Locks – eBags TSA Accepted Lock 4-Dial Combo (2pk) (Blossom)
You can use this for lockers and while sleeping on trains or buses. I always use one to lock my valuables in a section of my bag and the other to lock my bag to something secure.

* Camera – This camera is great for traveling and takes amazing pictures! Canon Powershot G10 14.7MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

* Camera Battery Charger & Extra Batteries

* Camera Memory Cards

* Voltage Converter SIMRAN 200 WATTS DELUXE STEP DOWN VOLTAGE CONVERTER MODEL SMF-200 FOR FOREIGN TRAVEL.

* Small External Portable Hard Drive – Toshiba 640 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Dive HDDR640E04XR (Rocket Red)
We use this for backing up photos. Some people bring DVD s and have a camera store transfer their files to the DVD. However, we have not had much luck finding competent places to do this in many 3rd world countries.

* Hidden Travel Wallet – Rick Steves Silk Money Belt, Natural
Keep your passport, money, and travelers checks in your money belt at all times. I wrap them in a Ziploc when I’m in humid areas otherwise my passport gets soaked with sweat.

* Pacsafe: Pacsafe PacSafe C25L Camera Bag Protector This is a much safer route than locking your bag with just a combo lock since somebody can easily cut the canvas.

* Earplugs – This will save you many hours of sleep!

* Ziploc bags – These can be used for many things and it’s really nice to have a few on hand.

* Headlamp – I can’t tell you how many times we were thankful that we brought one of these Petzl E41 PBY Tikkina 2-LED Headlamp, Black and Yellow

Toiletries – Small shampoo, conditioner, razor, soap, deodorant, brush, nail-clippers, half or less roll of toilet paper, sunblock, toothbrush/paste

Misc Items – Ipod touch & charger, earphones, lighter, notebook, small roll of duct tape, 2-3 pens, 1 book which gets swapped while on the road, guidebook if needed, waterproof watch

So now that I have filled my bag with all the necessities I usually set out my clothing on the floor. This is where most people tend to over pack and I have been guilty of it many times in my life. Once I have decided what clothes I want to take, I put half of it back in my closet. Trust me you will not need it. You can get by with just once change of clothes if you really want to. You will not regret your decision to take less clothes, but your back WILL regret taking too many!

I usually separate my clothes into a couple of small vacuum bags. Travel Space Bags – No Vacuum Needed!

They keep my bag organized so I’m not constantly digging through the entire bag when I need something. I like to bring an extra small bag for dirty clothes. They also compress your clothing to create more space.

Here is what the rest of our packing list looks like:

Ladies Wardrobe

Hiking/Trail shoes and a pair of sandals
5 Shirts – including 2 tanks, 2 t-shirts and one long sleeve (You can get away with less if you are prepared to wash your clothes in the sink)
7 Pairs of undies – These don’t take up a lot of space.
2 Pairs of socks – 4 if I’m going somewhere that I will be wearing them every day
1 Sundress – Good for beach days and to throw over a swimsuit
1 Pair of shorts
1 Pair of pants only if I’ll be going somewhere cold
Swimsuit
Hat
Towel

Men’s Wardrobe

Everything the same as the ladies minus the sundress and add an extra pair of shorts.

Know More About Checklist for Overseas Travel

Before traveling to another country, I always consult my travel checklist. Here are 8 essential things to do before traveling abroad.

Overseas Travel Checklist:

1. Get Visa Information: Do you need a pre-visa for the particular country you are visiting? We just recently went on a trip to South East Asia. We did not need a visa for the length of time we were staying in Thailand, and we planned on getting our Laos visa at the border of Thailand and Laos. Luckily, I stumbled upon the information that Vietnam’s requirements are a little different. They require a pre-entry visa, which you can get in Thailand or Laos, but only if you are staying in one place for about 5 days. We didn’t want to take any chances, so we rushed an application to the Vietnam Embassy in D.C. and got our Vietnam visa shortly before we left on our 6-week trip.
2. Register with the nearest Embassy: Before you leave, it is wise to register with the Embassy of each country that you will be visiting. It helps the Embassy to better assist you in case of an emergency, such as a lost or stolen passport. It will also be easier for the Embassy to help you in the case of a natural disaster.
3. Travel Medical Insurance: I always purchase a travel medical insurance policy before I travel to another country. This will cover important things like emergency medical evacuation, trip cancellation, and baggage delay. We use and trust World Nomads for our travel insurance policies.
4. Required Travel Vaccinations: Check with your local travel clinic about any vaccinations that are required and suggested for that particular area.

5. Copies of Important Documents: Make a copy of your passport, any credit cards you will be bringing, drivers license and travelers checks receipts. I usually keep a copy with me and also scan a copy to send to my email. Also, bring extra passport photos of yourself for visas.
6. It’s a good idea to join airline mileage programs to earn miles for all the flights you take. We have a couple favorites such as Continental and American that we use whenever we can. If I am taking a flight and they are not partnered with either of my main airline mileage programs, I always create an account with that airline. You never know when you will be taking that particular carrier again and it doesn’t hurt to get credit for those miles. In order to be sure you get all of your mileage points, keep a copy of your boarding pass!! The mileage program will ask for a copy when you call them to find out why they have not credited your miles.
7. Print out some currency conversion charts for the currency of the places you will be visiting. If you are bringing an ipod, download the conversion rate and you can use this instead of carrying around a bunch of paper.
8. Print out common phrases for the language of the country I am visiting. If you have a guidebook, they usually have this information in them. But I don’t always want to carry around my guidebook and knowing how to say, “thank you,” “hello,” “I’m sorry” and a few other phrases are a necessity whenever I’m visiting a country.

How the Welk Timeshare System Stands Out Above Many Others

Getting away on vacation is one of the best ways to relax and recuperate. Those who enjoy their vacations the most often discover that the right kinds of preparation can make these special times even more satisfying.

Buying a Welk Timeshare, for example, will open up many possibilities that help make vacations a lot more enjoyable. With many benefits to offer to owners, this is one program that consistently stands out.

Ownership Brings Many Sources of Satisfaction and New Options

Not every timeshare program is created alike, and that offered by Welk Resorts has some particularly distinctive features. Some of those that owners most commonly single out for praise include:

  • A variety of options. Many who would otherwise consider timeshare ownership end up declining because of the need to be tied to a particular unit or resort. Under the Welk system, owners can instead select from whichever of the company’s various resorts where they would most like to spend time. That allows for both all of the security and predictability that ownership delivers and also a satisfying range of choices.
  • A simple means of management. Many other timeshare programs are still stuck in the past in various respects, and that can leave owners feeling put out. Instead of needing to wait on hold until a representative becomes available, Welk Resorts owners can make use of a powerful, convenient online dashboard. From making reservations to checking a rewards account balance, everything that might need to be done is easy to accomplish.
  • The ability to branch out. Should a timeshare owner ever tire of Welk’s own selection of resorts, plenty of other options await. By making special arrangements with other properties in various areas, the company allows its timeshare owners to stay at these resorts, as well. Owners also enjoy discounts on activities, restaurants, and other desirable options.

A Better Type of Timeshare for Many

Because of benefits like these and a number of others, many end up deciding that buying into the Welk Resorts system makes the most sense. That can be an especially important decision with regard to making each vacation that follows into the kind of rewarding experience for which just about everyone hopes.

Some Rocomendation Places to Visit in Wales

Pembrokeshire county is full of gorgeous small towns with rich, unique history. It’s also home to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is Britain’s only coastal national park. I spent a week exploring this area of Wales at the end of March this year and fell in love with many of the stops along the coastline.

All of these places — with the exception of Skomer Island — can be reached by either hiking the coastal path, by car, or by public transportation. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path was recently voted the second best walk in the world and it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list. Whether you are hiking or driving, make sure not to miss these eight stops along the Pembrokeshire coast.

8 Places to Visit in Wales

St. Davids

St. Davids is the smallest city in the UK, but it’s more like a small village. Besides the cathedral — with is definitely worth a visit — I highly recommend taking a drive (or walk) out to the Chapel of St. Non where you will also find St. Non’s well. This spot marks the birthplace of St. David and near the ruined chapel sits a gorgeous modern chapel and retreat. This rugged part of the coastal path is also worth a stroll.

While in St. Davids, I recommend booking a dinner reservation at St Davids award-winning restaurant, Cwtch. I stayed just a short walk from the St Davids Cathedral at Penrhiw Hotel — a lovely 19th-century mansion turned boutique hotel. This 7-room hotel is decorated with tasteful modern art and the staff really goes above and beyond for their guests.

Abereiddy

I searched for photos of Wales before my visit and multiple images of the Blue Lagoon kept popping up in my search. Despite its name, this lagoon always has a deep green hue, which is caused by slate in the quarry. In the summertime, you’ll find kayakers and swimmers — and even cliff divers — enjoying the lagoon. You can continue on the coastal path here and following it north will take you to Porthgain — about a forty-minute walk.

Porthgain

Porthgain was once a small commercial harbor used for exporting stone from the nearby quarry, but is now a popular spot for tourists and locals. If you don’t have a car, you can reach Porthgain by taking the Strumble Shuttle coastal bus service. Porthgain has a couple of restaurants, art galleries, and it’s a great spot for launching kayaks.

Tenby

Tenby is a gorgeous medieval city, which has been named the “People’s Favorite Place” in Wales. Even for a popular tourist destination, I didn’t find Tenby to be overcrowded, however, I didn’t visit in summer. Tenby overlooks two islands, the closest of which is St. Catherine’s. This island can be reached by foot at low tide. The harbor, North Beach and South Beach are all worth a visit.

Skomer Island

Skomer Island is a photographer’s paradise and one of the few places in the world where you can get up close to Puffins. During certain times of the year, you can even stay overnight on the island. It’s a great getaway for those looking for some peace and quiet

St. Govan’s Chapel

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to love this place as much as I did. I visited on a windy day in March and I was the only one around for miles. This thirteenth-century chapel was built into the side of a limestone cliff.

I tried to imagine what it must have felt like for Saint Govan to live in a cave where the chapel now sits. As an introvert, I’m intrigued by hermits and wonder if that could have been me in a past life.

Saundersfoot

Saundersfoot, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Colorful buildings, long stretches of sand, harbor boats, Mermaid on the Strand, St. Brides Spa Hotel, and Glen Beach come to mind when I think of this adorable seaside town. I stayed at St. Brides for three nights with a view overlooking the town and I didn’t want to leave.

Solva

I first viewed Solva from the air on my helicopter ride with Fly Heli Wales and it definitely caught my attention. Lime kilns from the medieval period are preserved in the harbor area and can be seen if you look closely toward the upper left of this photo. This harbor village is a great spot to spend the day hiking, shopping, or tasting fresh seafood.

Trip to Norway

Norway is one of those travel destinations where you need to be ready for weather changes in an instant. We took a road trip in the Fjord region in late August and our days would range from sunny and warm temps to snow on the ground while driving from one fjord to another.

Our Norway Travel Details:

 

Time of Year: Late August

Location: Western Fjord Region

Length of Trip: 9 Days

Weather: The weather varied between pouring rain, 75 degrees and sunshine, and snow in the higher elevations.

Temperature: Ranging from 20 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Norway Packing Guide

When visiting destinations with fickle weather, like Norway, it’s always best to bring layers — even when visiting in the summer months. We consulted our Alaska packing guide before this trip, but added a few different items for the days we spent in Bergen and Alesund.

We got so accustomed to clear skies during our visit in late August that we found ourselves unprepared on an extremely long hike to Feigumfossen waterfall in Lusterfjord. At the top of the steep climb, buckets of rain began pouring down on us and we were in for a very wet and extremely muddy shuffle down the mountain. We used the only warmth we had to cover our camera gear because we even forgot our backpack rain cover in the car!

If you plan on doing any intense hiking in the fjords, make sure to be prepared for colder temperatures at the top! I cannot stress this enough. Bring WARM layers and rain gear, even if it means carrying a larger backpack.

Trolltunga, one of the most famous hikes in Norway, is known to be extremely cold at the top. We hiked Molden in Sognefjord and the temperature dropped at least 30 degrees from the bottom to the top of the hike.

Women’s Packing List for Norway

  • Rain Boots (These are great if you are visiting during winter or spring.)
  • Waterproof Hiking Shoes
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • 2 Dresses (Both the red & blue dresses you see in our photos were from Lulu’s.)
  • Down Jacket (Not too bulky for layering.)
  • 2 Thermal Tops
  • 2 Pairs of Fleece Lined Leggings
  • 1 Pair of Slip On Comfortable Shoes or Flip Flops (To go with dresses on the warmer days.)
  • 4 Other Tops
  • 1 or 2 Pairs of Jeans
  • Waterproof Pants (You can layer these with leggings for hiking.)
  • Beanie
  • Scarf
  • Hat
  • Pajamas
  • Bikini
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Women’s Trail Socks

Men’s Packing List for Norway

  • Waterproof Hiking Boots
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Pants (We got ours from e-outdoor.)
  • Hat
  • Beenie
  • Long Underwear
  • Swim Trunks
  • Down Jacket
  • Gloves
  • 6 Short-Sleeved Shirts
  • 5 Long-Sleeved Shirts
  • 3 Pairs of Pants
  • Scarf
  • Wool Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Pajamas

Norway Camera Gear

Norway is an amazingly photogenic country, which means you don’t want to forget your camera gear. We’ve recently switched to the Sony A7II full-frame mirrorless to cut down on weight when traveling and we absolutely love what this camera can do!

  • Sony A7 or A7II (The best full-frame mirrorless camera. Great for hiking because it’s light!)
  • 16-35mm Wide Angle Lens (You will want a wide angle for landscapes! This is the best wide angle Sony makes.)
  • Compact Tripod
  • Remote
  • GoPro (For kayaking and other shots where you don’t want to bring your DSLR or mirrorless.)
  • Camera Bag (I’m listing the bag we bought after Norway because it comes with a built-in rain cover and it’s a much better bag than our previous one.)
  • Camera Rainsleeve

Other Gear to Bring

  • Headlamp
  • Small Backpack for Hiking – We use this one and it’s the perfect size.
  • Dry Bag (If you want to do any kayaking.)
  • Backpack Rain Cover  (If you don’t have a bag that has one attached, like the camera bag mentioned above.)
  • Insect Repellent (We didn’t have a problem with mosquitos in the areas we visited, but it’s never a bad idea to carry repellent.)
  • Toiletries
  • Solar Chargers (To recharge your phone while hiking.)

Learn More About Packing Guide for Airplane Travel

Packing for a trip can be overwhelming. You don’t want to bring an unmanageable amount, especially in a carry-on bag, but you don’t want to miss anything important. To make sure you’re prepared on the plane, bookmark this carry-on packing guide with a list of our favorite products to help make your next flight a breeze.

Carry-On Bags

I travel with a lot of camera gear as well as a laptop, so my carry-on bag is packed full of electronics. This means I have to carefully consider every item that goes into the small top compartment of my backpack. I use the Lowepro Fastpack backpack, which has enough room for all of the items listed below as well as a Sony A7II camera body, 3 lenses, and a GoPro.

If you don’t carry around a lot of camera gear, then this bag is perfect for carry-on items, plus it doubles as a cute handbag for day trips once you are at your new destination.

Passports & Credit Cards

First, and most importantly, don’t forget your passport when traveling abroad (and any other important identification documents). You’ll need them to go through airport security checkpoints as well as in emergencies like missing belongings or canceled flight re-booking. It’s a good idea to make copies of your passport and credit cards and keep them separate from the originals in case they are lost or stolen.

Medications

If you have prescription medications or supplements, packing them in your carry-on bag is the safest way to ensure you’ll never miss a dose.

Bringing relief meds for headaches, allergies, or motion sickness will also give you the means to reduce such symptoms right away, and vitamins like Vitamin C and acidophilus can help protect you from germs.

Activated charcoal pills are a good idea for mild stomach bugs and allergies. I never leave home without them!

Electronics

Are your cell-phone, laptop, or other electronics flying with you? Make sure they’re secured in your carry-on and don’t forget their chargers!

I always pack a portable charger (we use this one) for times when I don’t have access to outlets, such as on the plane itself or when exploring during a long layover. Finding outlets in some airports can be tricky and you don’t want to be stuck without power on your phone — especially if you are traveling solo.

Bring Clothes, Just in Case

Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with lost luggage, but it never hurts to be prepared. A change of underwear, socks, and an extra shirt can help you stay fresh until your belongings are returned. If you’re traveling to a tropical destination, consider bringing your swimsuit in your carry-on, too, so you won’t have to miss out on any water time.

A comfortable cardigan or light jacket can also double as a blanket during air-conditioned flights. I’ve found the perfect long cardigan for travel and it always comes on the plane with me. Don’t count on airlines carrying blankets for every passenger — even on overnight flights.

Hygiene

Toiletries are a must for long flights. Travel deodorant, gum or mints, and a travel folding toothbrush are standard items that I bring on all flights.

Stuck without a shower? Biodegradable Wipes keep you clean and smelling great with tea tree oil, peppermint, and ginseng.

Clean & Clear’s oil-absorbing sheets are one of my favorite things to pack in my carry-on because they keep my face oil-free and can even be used over makeup to restore a matte finish.

I also like to carry a travel-size package of antibacterial wipes to clean my arm rests and food tray on the plane. It’s a great ice breaker if you offer one to your neighbor as well.

Liquids

You can easily bring your preferred lotions and other liquids from home by using your own travel-sized containers. I fill small contact cases with my favorite lotion for the plane.  If you have a few different creams, lotions, or liquids essential to your self-care, you can get a pack of 3 for under $7.

Comfort Basics

We all know how dry airplane air can be. Pack some chapstick and eye drops to keep you moisturized and comfortable.

Sleep Essentials

An eye mask and earplugs are essential for helping you get some sleep, whether you’re taking the red-eye or just catching a nap. I always pack a pair of comfortable, noise-isolating headphones to play white noise or music to help me sleep. Most airlines don’t offer headphones free of charge, so I use these to watch movies as well.

Stay Hydrated

Carry a reusable water bottle to fill up after security. This reusable water bottle is something I’ve recently added to my carry-on packing list. I don’t have much space in my carry-on backpack due to camera gear, but this one can be rolled up and crammed into small spaces.

Stave Off Hunger

Airplane snacks can be unhealthy, unfulfilling, and may not take food allergies into consideration. Packing your own snacks means you’ll have what you like and what you need to nourish your body, without paying extra for food.

Important Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Europe

Traveling to Europe can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be! If you keep these ten things in mind, you’ll be a smarter and more relaxed traveler, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

10 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Traveling to Europe

Call Your Credit Card Company

If you don’t call your credit card company before traveling, there’s a good chance that their security teams will see some red flags when your card is suddenly used in Italy. Go ahead and let them know you’re traveling so that you don’t have any issues paying for important items such as train tickets and hotel rooms or purchasing unique mementos throughout your trip.

A Rail Pass Can Save You Money

A Rail Pass is a great way to travel to multiple locations in one trip without spending tons of money. Plus, if you haven’t experienced travel by train before, that in itself is an adventure. However, if you plan to purchase one, it is cheaper to buy it online and easier to have it delivered to your home address – rather than dealing with it on your trip.

Make Reservations in Advance

Sure, taking a gamble might work out, but making your reservations in advance, especially during peak travel season, is the smart way to make sure that your trip goes the way you want to and that you’re staying at that quaint hotel by the river instead of the fifth one on your preferred list. Booking airfare and hotels in advance also often ensures that you’re getting the best price.

Don’t Over-Plan

The urge to do and see everything can be overwhelming, but who wants to spend most of their vacation in transit? If you overload your days, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up doing even less than you want because you’ll get burnt out. Make sure that you allow sufficient time for sleep and adequate rest between activities. Your body will thank you, and at the end of the trip, you’ll find that you’ve had a more fulfilling experience.

Don’t Avoid the Cliché Sites and Activities

The popular sites are popular for a reason. You don’t go to Paris and pass up on the Eiffel Tower. Just because everyone else is doing it and you’ll seem like a tourist, which by the way, isn’t a big deal, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t just go for it. The cliché sites and activities are tried and true, offering their own important experience to a trip.

Don’t Only Visit the Popular Spots

That being said, you shouldn’t allow for only the popular spots in your trip. Make a point to hit up some more overlooked areas where you may run into some locals. Often, you’ll get a better glimpse of the culture of the country you’re in, and you’ll have a story to tell that few others do. Picking up travel books or just looking online yields plenty of ideas for experiences off the beaten path.

Pack Light

Not many hotels in Europe have elevators, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re capable of really lugging your suitcase around. This goes double for traveling by train as you’ll encounter similar moments wherein elevators are just not available. Every wonderful new country you see is another time you have to move your belongings around, so carefully consider what you really need and cut out the rest to save yourself the hassle. Also, don’t forget your electrical plug adapters!

Be Prepared to Go Over Your Budget

Even the most budget-conscious among us struggle with spending on trips. It’s nigh impossible to account for all of the various scenarios in which you’ll incur extra costs. So go ahead and add a decent cushion when planning and realize the likelihood with which you’ll go over.

Be Cell Phone Savvy

Some cell phone plans allow international travel and use without extra costs and fees. Others will require you to activate an international plan and pay accordingly. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your cell carrier’s plans before leaving if you intend on using your phone abroad. You wouldn’t want to unknowingly rack up the extra costs or find yourself unable to use your phone at all.

Check Visa Requirements

Most of the time, you won’t find yourself needing a visa just to make a short trip. However, it’s still incredibly important to check the visa requirements before you take off, especially if you are planning a longer trip. You can easily find such information online. We consult this checklist for overseas travel before every trip abroad.

Travel Expensive Countries Affordably

When you’re on a budget, travel to typically costly countries can seem out of reach — but don’t let the generalization that travel has to be expensive stop you from marking these destinations off your bucket list!

We’ve collected our best money-saving tips for some of the most expensive countries in the world, so even the most frugal traveler can enjoy time in these gorgeous countries.

How to Travel Expensive Countries Affordably

How to Travel England on a Budget

England has some of the most beautiful cities and landscapes Europe has to offer, but typically at a hefty price. However, classic tourist attractions like Big Ben, Changing the Guard ceremony, Abbey Road, and all of Britain’s national museums are free! London’s beautiful SkyGarden is free to tour (although you should definitely reserve tickets ahead of time), and you can enjoy sweeping views of Central London from the royal Greenwich Park.

When to Fly: Traveling in winter months between November and March to save an average of about $300-400, or book flights well in advance for as little as $500 round trip (!) with discount European airlines. For example, a summer flight from the US, booked 6 months in advance, comes in at around $1,150, vs. an autumn flight booked 10 months in advance for $499 with WOW air.

Where to Stay: B&B’s or small hotels with an included breakfast; Claredon Hotel at $122/night vs. centrally located Sanctuary House Hotel at $245/night. Airbnb’s are a great option here too. (Sign up through our link and get $35 off your first booking!)

Where to Eat: Fish & Chips and standard pub food are much less expensive than restaurants, as is Indian food. An express lunch at popular Jar Kitchen will run $20 USD, vs. a burger at The Rocket pub, $5.50.

When to Splurge: Thames Rocket; take a sightseeing tour on the Thames River by way of a roller coaster-like speedboat. You’ll hit up all the big tourist attractions, and have a seriously wild time doing it!

How to Travel Switzerland on a Budget

Switzerland is consistently rated as one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit, which can deter potential travelers from choosing to visit. If you stick to inexpensive activities like taking cheese and chocolate tours, admiring historical cathedrals and checking out the seasonal folk markets, you’ll have plenty to do at little to no cost. National parks do not impose an entry fee, so go explore the Swiss Alps and natural scenery!

When to Fly: During winter months, before prices start to rise again in April.

Where to Stay: Modest city-center accommodation at Hotel St. Gervais $119/night vs. moderate Hotel Montbrillant at $211/night.

Where to Eat: Dine at supermarket “cafeterias.” While this might not sound as appealing as mountain-top restaurants with sweeping views, you’ll be saving an average of $20 USD per meal! Migros, Denner, and Coop are the top places to get inexpensive meals (by Swiss standards) for around $10-$15 USD, vs. traditional meat-centered Swiss restaurants like Zeughauskeller that will cost $35-$45. Remember, tipping is included in the cost of the meal.

When to Splurge: Skiing the Swiss Alps. Winter months mean less tourism and cheaper prices, plus fresh snow makes for the best winter activities! The higher the resort is the more expensive it’s likely to be, so check out some lower locations like Grimentz and Villars-sur-Ollon.

How to Travel Australia on a Budget

Because of their location on the southern hemisphere, Australia’s “summer” season falls between the months of December and February; book your flights accordingly! Although it may be a bit cooler than your typical summer getaway, Australia is the perfect place to go during the summer months.

Even in the off season, you can still go whale watching, explore the desert on an Australian safari, or dive the Great Barrier Reef.

When to Fly: May through September. A sample round trip flight from the US costs $1,050 in June, vs. a whopping $2,425 in December, so timing is key!

Where to Stay: Housesit through Housecarers.com (very popular in N. America and Australia), $0 vs. standard hotel in Melbourne Causeway 353 Hotel, $127/night.

Where to Eat: Grocery shop, especially if you choose to house sit and have access to a full kitchen. Grocery shopping or even picking up quick picnic lunches at the store is the best way to eat without blowing all of your money, and alcohol is EXPENSIVE so skip wine or beer with dinner and pick that up at the store instead too!

When to Splurge: Snorkel the Reef. If you do anything in Australia, this should be it! Snorkeling will be cheaper than certified diving but can still cost around $200/person, so make this your trip’s splurge activity.

How to Travel New Zealand on a Budget

New Zealand is gorgeous year round and packed with plenty of natural beauty, so it doesn’t take a lot of money to have an enjoyable vacation here! Fall foliage, lambs, penguins, rich marine life and active Southern Lights make NZ a country not to be overlooked.

If you plan on exploring up and down the islands, book bus tickets well in advance for cheap fare or rent a camper van and drive yourself! Flights from one city to the next are very costly and there are more affordable alternatives.

When to Fly: Similar to Australia, New Zealand’s summer season falls in December through February so come during the months of May to September for cheaper prices. You can expect flight prices to be comparable to Australia as well.

Where to Stay: Hostels (or “backpackers”) with private bathrooms like Nomads Auckland Backpackers, $74/night vs. SKYCITY Grand Hotel Auckland, $230/night.

Where to Eat: A chicken roll at Bird On A Wire is $10, vs. dinner plate at Depot Eatery averaging at around $30. Keep in mind that tipping in New Zealand is not customary, so there’s no need to leave one.

When to Splurge: A “Hop On, Hop Off” pass.  A city pass — available for purchase in most popular tourist cities in the U.S. and around the world —  will offer entrance into main attractions for a discounted price but will leave you to navigate the city on your own.

For about $32 USD per adult, you can tour Auckland’s main attractions buy purchasing an all-day pass that will drop you off at sites like the Auckland Museum, Sky City, and the Auckland waterfront with pickups available every 30 minutes. This is a great, quick way to see New Zealand’s largest city in a short amount of time!

How to Travel Austria on a Budget

Summer in Vienna offers free classical concerts and open-air outdoor movies, and the historical attractions of Vienna Ringstrasse are accessible year round. The free-range Lainzer Tiergarten zoo is also unique and worth a visit, as is relaxing at The Donauinsel — a strip of land between two channels of the Danube River, frequented by nude sunbathers. Now’s the time to cross skinny dipping off your bucket list!

When to Fly: Springtime, particularly April and May — just before tourist season starts. A sample flight in May costs $1071 USD roundtrip, while the same flight just two months later is $200 USD more.

Where to Stay: Check out various Motel One options in the area your are looking to stay in. Motel One is an international hotel brand with modern — if generic — decor and inexpensive nightly rates as low as $90. This is a great deal in comparison to independent hotels that often run over $200/night.

Where to Eat: Austrians are very fond of their picnics, so pick up snacks at a nearby cafe or market and settle into a spot on the grass for lunch. As for dinner, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that eating out is not particularly expensive! For the best deals, eat early in the evening when specials are still available. Otherwise, you can expect meal prices to be similar to that of American or Canadian restaurant meals.

When to Splurge: A performance at The Spanish Riding School. This architecturally stunning building is located right in the city center and is home to the most iconic shows the city has to offer. Performances cost between $55 and $155 depending on the seats, but regardless of where you’re seated you’re surely to be in awe of the authentic cultural experiences that take place here.

How to Travel Sweden on a Budget

Modern Scandinavian countries with thriving economies and expensive tastes don’t make for an easy time budgeting, but inexpensive daily activities can offset pricey food and drinks.

Head to Katarinahissen for stunning views of Stockholm, and Stadsbiblioteket — Sweden’s largest public library with half a million books and gorgeous architecture. Many museums and attractions offer discounted (or even free!) entry at specific times on certain days, so plan your visit well!

When to Fly: Winters are long in Sweden, giving you plenty of time to avoid peak tourism season. Late August through September is this best time for budget travelers to visit, given the amount of tourists has significantly lowered and the weather hasn’t reached full-blown winter yet. You will obviously see even lower rates if you do visit in winter, but traveling in fall will still give you the opportunity to do outdoor activities and won’t make you tempted to splurge on taxi rides in the snow.

A sample RT flight in late August/September is estimated at $810, vs. $1339 just two months earlier in July.

Where to Stay: Airbnb is a great option in areas where hotel accommodation might be more expensive. You can find entire apartments and houses for under $100 USD/night in the fall, vs. city-center standard ‘luxe’ hotels like Collector’s Victory Hotel at $227/night during the same season.

Where to Eat: Avoid buying alcohol, especially at clubs. Going out in Stockholm may sound like a great idea, until you look at your credit card charges the next day! A beer at a restaurant will cost about $9-$10 USD, and even more  — around $14 — at nightclubs. Mixed drinks? Expect double the price. Cutting out — or cutting back — on alcohol will significantly reduce your spending.

Eat at outside food vendors rather than sit-down restaurants; a hot dog, sausage, or gourmet-quality burger can be found at food trucks for $10 USD, whereas just an appetizer at any given popular restaurant will run you in the $15-$20 range. Expect $40+ for an entree! Asian and ethnic food markets are also great alternatives if typical Swedish food truck cuisine is not your thing.

When to Splurge: I would recommend a trip to the Drottningholm Palace or Stockholm food tour — whichever interests you more. The culture and history of the country are evident in both, and with the food tour you get the added bonus of tasty Swedish delicacies! The palace entrance is much less expensive than the food tour, making it possible to do both for under $70 USD/person.

How to Travel Iceland on a Budget

Northern Lights, thriving nightlife, and hiking the Icelandic glaciers are just a few of the awesome things Iceland has to offer in its off-season winter months. With proper attire, you can also hike the volcanic Mount Esja or join a free walking tour of the capital with City Walk Reykjavik.

When to Fly: The newly popular Iceland-based discount airline WOW air makes flying to Reykjavik affordable enough for even the biggest penny-pinchers! A round trip flight from the US in June estimates at only $740 USD, but you can save even more by traveling later in October/November for under $500.

Where to Stay: Airbnb. Iceland has topped the world’s safety index at #1 for many years now, so even female or solo travelers can feel safe making friends and sharing homes with the locals. Booking a room in someone’s home on Airbnb will not only save you money on accommodation, but will also likely connect you with people who will gladly show you the coolest places and things to do in the area! In comparison, hotels will cost no less than $250/night; for example, the mid-range hostel Hlemmur Square charges $239 USD/night for a room during the summer months.

Where to Eat: Iceland’s cuisine is seasonal and largely consists of meat-based entrees, but ordering steak or seafood at a local favorite restaurant will cost over $35 USD. Kebabs, falafel, and soup stations are all great, cheaper alternatives for under $10.

When to Splurge: A soak in the Blue Lagoon. Buy a standard ticket in the off-season winter months for $54 USD and get your own picturesque snapshots in the milky blue geothermal spa! If a day soak isn’t enough, you could really splurge on a snowmobiling tour of Iceland’s frosty landscape. Prices for 2-3 hour snowmobiling adventure can cost between $200-$300 USD depending on what company you book through.

Stay Stylish While Traveling

Packing clothes for a trip can be an incredible hassle. With many airlines charging growing fees for checked baggage, packing light has become not just an issue of space but of economics, too. In my twenties, the only thing I cared about was how much my bag weighed. Now, in my thirties, I carefully consider what goes into my suitcase — so I can save luggage space and still remain stylish.

Travel Style: How to Look Stylish While Traveling

Pack Mostly Basics & a Few Statement Pieces

About 70% of the clothes you pack should be basics, not statement pieces. Dark blue jeans, a black skirt, a cute sundress, shorts or a warm coat, depending on the local climate, and a few dressy-casual blouses can all be mixed and matched to fit any occasion. By stocking the majority of your suitcase with basics, you remove the need to pack a different set of clothes for each activity.

For example, wearing a plain black or white tank top with some dark jeans or shorts can be perfect for physical activities like hiking, biking, or just exploring a city by foot. That same tank top, when tucked into a black skirt and covered with a cardigan and a scarf, becomes a cute and flirty outfit for a dinner in town.

Dresses

While most of my clothes are solid colors while traveling, I do have one or two colorful dresses and pairs of shoes to brighten up my outfits. For instance, this dress goes with me almost everywhere.

From the vineyards of Emilia Romagna to the beaches in Mexico, this cotton dress pairs perfectly with a cardigan (I love this cardigan) or long-sleeved solid top — and it doesn’t wrinkle in my suitcase.

Shoes

Another way to spice up an outfit is by packing a colorful pair of shoes to go with solid colors. These are my favorite travel shoes and I get compliments every single time I wear them — even from men! They go with jeans, shorts, dresses — basically any  solid-colored outfit — and they have an extremely cushioned insole with amazing arch support. I found them at a surf shop in San Diego, but they sell them cheaper on Amazon!

Boots are another great item to liven up an outfit. Not all boots pack well, but I found a cute pair of knee-high boots that don’t take up too much space in my luggage. I normally end up wearing them on the plane, anyway, because they are so comfortable.

These ankle boots are a good option if it’s too hot for knee-high boots and you prefer more of a heel.

Scarves

I’m slightly addicted to buying cute scarves and have a drawer full of them at home. It can be tough to pick just one scarf to bring on a trip, so if I’m traveling somewhere cold, I might sneak two or three into my bag.

Work with Layers

Layering is the key to dressing your outfits up or down. A little black dress for that night on the town, for example, becomes a lot more appropriate for day wear when it’s topped with a shrug or sweater and worn over dark stockings. Similarly, dark jeans with a plain blouse can quickly become dressed up with a well-fitted colorful jacket or long scarf used as a shawl.

Dress Up Your Outfits with Accessories

Like with your clothing, keeping your accessories fairly simple means they will fit more easily with any outfit. Small gold or silver studs, a nice pendant, and your favorite charm bracelet or watch should cover most of your needs, whether you’re going dressy or casual. You would be surprised how easy it is to do a lot with just a few accessories!

I have a few cuff bracelets that always stay packed in my toiletries bag — so I never forget them when packing for a trip. Turquoise and silver bracelets go great with solid-colored clothing.

 

If you need something flashier or realize you have forgotten something at home, there’s always the opportunity to shop for souvenirs at your destination. Whether it’s a necklace, sunglasses, or a new scarf, chances are that the place you’re going has its own unique style. Purchasing your accessories at your destination can be a fun way of incorporating that local style into your wardrobe, as well as getting a nice memento to bring home with you.

Consider Your Destination

Obviously if you’re going to Yakutsk, Russia, you don’t want to pack shorts and a swimsuit. Similarly, a trip to Mauritius is not the place for heavy winter coats and turtlenecks. I always joke that it’s easy for me to pack for a tropical destination — I just throw in a few sundresses and five bikinis.

It’s much more difficult to pack light for a cold weather destination, so this is where layering really comes in handy. Don’t forget scarves, gloves, a beanie, and warm socks. This slouchy knit oversized beanie keeps me warm and — depending on what color you choose — it can brighten up an outfit.

 

Considering your destination while packing involves more than just packing for the geographical climate — it also means being aware of the cultural and political climate of your destination, too.

If you’re visiting Istanbul or another location whose culture sports a more conservative style, be respectful and wear longer shirts, skirts, or pants. While it will matter less in more cosmopolitan areas, in rural areas your different style of dress might be considered rude or inappropriate. Research your location before you pack to get an idea of what other travelers have found works best.