How to Spend a Day in Paris in Winter

How to Spend a Day in Paris in Winter

 

I have always had a love for Paris. Even before I ever visited the city, I knew I would love it. I’m convinced I was a Parisian in my past life 😉 Four years ago I was finally able to visit the city of my dreams. We would be going to Barcelona, London, Paris, Rome, and Naples and I was ecstatic! The moment I stepped off of the train I knew this was my city. From the romantic feel in the air to the fresh baked baguettes you could get every morning, I loved it all.

Fast forward to this year- I wasn’t able to go home for Christmas and was telling a friend I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then she told me her mom had just moved up to a city only three hours from Paris and would be going home for Christmas. She then went on to invite me to her family Christmas and suggested we stop first in Paris. I immediately said yes! Paris was amazing in the summer so I figured around Christmas time it would be a great time to visit and boy was I right!

So today I share with you how you can spend your day in Paris!

Check Out the View From the Arc de Triumph

The picture above was taken from the top of the Arc! It gives you a 360 view of the city and it is amazing. The entrance was only $9 or is free if you are an EU member under 26. When we went there was also no line which I think has to do with the time of year.

Head Over to Montmartre

How to Spend a Day in Paris in Winter

This little city inside a city was the hub for artists back in the Impressionist period! You can visit Sacre Coeur, pictured above, and Moulin Rouge. I definitely suggest taking the metro over and checking out this neighborhood!

See the Eiffel Tower

Of course! What visit to Paris doesn’t include the Eiffel Tower? You can go up the tower to see the view of the city also. I would suggest going during the day and also at night to see it light up.

See the Decorations at Galeries Lafayette

How to Spend a Day in Paris in Winter

Embarrassing story: at first I thought this was a museum until we walked in and it was a mall. Every year the mall has elaborate decorations and I have to admit, it is pretty cool!

Walk the Champs Elysees

How to Spend a Day in Paris in Winter

Not only is it famous for all of the shops, but in the winter it is decked out in lights! Grab a coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy a nice stroll!

See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre

This museum is huge and you could honestly spend all day looking around. I would suggest if you only have a day in Paris to stick to one section of the museum and also go early so you have enough time to explore the city.

 

When we were planning what to do with our time in Paris, my friend and I were joking about “how many times do you have to visit Paris to do all the things you want to.” But seriously! I’ve been twice now and there are still things that I want to do that I didn’t have time for! I guess that means that I will just have to plan another trip 😉

Do you have a city you love even before you visited?

 

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Four Countries You Need to Visit in 2018

Four Countries You Need to Visit in 2018

And just like that we are in 2018! I still can’t believe it. But with a new year comes new travel plans! Have you already started planning your trips for this year? I have a couple planned, but only until May. When I start thinking of my next trip it feels almost overwhelming. Like where do I even start? There are so many places that I want to go that it’s hard to choose. Today I’m here to help you choose the countries you should visit in 2018!

Estonia

Four Countries You Need to Visit in 2018

The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, is like what you would imagine a city in a fairy tale would look like. It gets even better because not only is the city beautiful, but it’s also cheap! What more reasons do you need? 🙂

You can read my blog post on my trip to Tallinn HERE.

Georgia

Four Countries You Need to Visit in 2018

Georgia lies right on the boarder of Europe and Asia. It’s capital, Tbilisi, is filled with old winding streets and beautiful architecture. While in Georgia you can visit the Black Sea and also the Caucasus mountains. This beautiful country is definitely one to check out this year!

Photo was found here.

Chile

Four Countries You Need to Visit in 2018

Located in South America, Chile is a country that should be in your travel plans this year. Chile really has everything! There are mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, and big cities! So if you want to surf, you can surf or if you want to go hiking, you can go hiking. Chile is also home to Easter Island. What more could you want?! Chile is the perfect destination for 2018.

Picture found here.

South Africa

Four Countries You Need to Visit in 2018

This picture alone makes me want to buy a plane ticket! South Africa is located at the southernmost tip of Africa. You can enjoy beautiful weather all year round here in South Africa, so it’s perfect for whenever you plan your trip! South Africa is another country that has so much to offer with beaches, city life, safaris, hiking, and a vibrant culture. You do not want to miss out on this country!

Picture found here.

What are your travel plans for 2018?

 

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Three Things to Remember When Planning a Trip to Europe

Three Things to Remember When Planning a Trip to Europe

When you’ve never been to Europe before it’s hard to plan because, you’ve never been there. You don’t know how things work or how easy they can be. I remember people telling me that traveling around Europe is cheap and easy, but how?! After helping a friend plan out her first trip to Europe I remembered what it was like planning that trip for the first time. To help you plan your first trip, here are three things to remember!

Don’t Over Do It

I know you want to go everywhere possible when you’re in Europe. I remember wanting to fit as much as possible into the trip. Because if you’re there then yo might as well go. But this isn’t the case. Pick an area or country you want to see and try to stay around there. You will spend less on travel time and money getting to those places.

Here is an example of wanting to go to too many places in two weeks!

After showing my friend this map of how far every country she wanted to visit was and that she would need a plane for every trip, I helped her plan a better route.

Utilize Trains, Ferries, Buses, and Public Transportation

In America these things are not that common to use to get to places. But in Europe they are so easy, convenient, and cheap! I would have never thought to take a ferry to Tallinn from Helsinki, but it was cheaper than flying and a cool experience. Look at all the options you have to travel to your destination when planning. Also, public transportation in awesome. You can get where you need to be quicker than walking. Don’t be daunted about trying to figure out a metro system in a different language. You will probably get lost, but that’s normal and you will figure it out!

Take Time to Go to Less Touristy Spots

While of course I think you should check out the famous tourist things, because those things are really cool! But also there are so many other cool things that are not as famous. You can also really see a culture better when it’s not overrun with tourists.

Wherever you go, have a blast! And I hope these three things help when you are planning your trip 🙂

What advice do you have for first time travelers? Or where is your first trip to?

 

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What to Do When You Are Spending the Holidays Away From Home

What to Do When You Are Spending the Holidays Away From Home

This year I will spend the holidays away from home for the first time! My whole family is together on Thanksgiving and on Christmas so it will be really different for me. I am thankful though that I do get to experience a new culture. And I will also be in France, so no complaints here 😉

Since I have already spent Thanksgiving away from home and Christmas is coming up I thought I would share what you can do when you are spending the holidays away from home!

Share Your Traditions

Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the U.S. so I knew coming that I wouldn’t be celebrating it. Luckily though my host family said they would love to celebrate it with me. They invited some friends over and I was able to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal for them. We also went around the table and said something that we are thankful for. Everyone loved the meal and the celebration and it was awesome for me to share a part of my culture with them!

Create New Traditions

If you are staying were you are for a while try creating new traditions that will keep you excited about celebrating the holidays! Even if you are not staying for a while in that location it could be fun to start a tradition that you can bring home.

Celebrate the Holidays Like Locals

If you get the chance, you could also celebrate the holidays like the locals do! Doing this you can also learn more about their culture. And as said above you can create a new tradition.

Find a Group to Celebrate With

If you came alone and are worried about spending the holidays alone start looking for groups to spend them with. Join Facebook groups for travelers or for example I’m a part of “Americans in Tampere.” So look for groups like that. There were people in the group offering to celebrate Thanksgiving with each other. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make the first move either!

Take a Trip

Maybe none of the above appeal to you and you want to do something different. Take a trip over the holidays to make them exciting!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday celebration!

How do you celebrate holidays when you are away from home?

 

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How to Stay in Shape While Living Abroad (or try to)

How to Stay in Shape When Living Abroad (or try to)

To me, living in Finland is like living in a candy land. Most likely because it is a new environment all they food and especially the deserts sound exciting. Meaning I have to try them! Also since I travel I need to try other countries local food and deserts too, right?! And then that’s how you get into trouble.

So how do you stay in shape while living abroad?!

Walking

I don’t really have a choice on this most of the time. I have to walk or take the bus places I need to go. When I take or pick up the kids from school I have to walk also (and up and down stairs). This helps me burn an extra 100-200 calories depending where I’m walking. I think walking has really saved me from gaining weight since I’ve been here.

Join a Gym

If you’re like me and only staying in a country for a certain amount of time go to a local gym and talk to them about what they can do for you! I went in to the local gym and was able to get a shortened contract and found out more about the packages they have. This gym has a discounted rate if you only come in before 3pm, which is perfect for my schedule. The trick though about joining a gym is to actually go 😉

Balanced Eating

I love food and deserts so I don’t see a point in not enjoying them. But I do know that I need balance. I can’t only eat junk all the time because I won’t feel good or look good. If I know I’m going on a trip I try and eat extra well before and also try and eat some healthy things while traveling.

Water

This is probably one of the hardest things for me. I really only drink water, coffee, tea, and wine but I’m not a thirsty person. I really don’t know why but I rarely feel thirsty or like I need to drink something. So I usually have to actually think about drinking water.

Find a Hobby

If you don’t like going to the gym find a hobby or sport you like! This will keep you moving and also help you meet new people.

Staying in shape can be hard at times when living abroad, but remember to enjoy your time abroad and that it is more important to be healthy!

What’s your favorite way to stay in shape?

 

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Three Things You Should Know Before Traveling Abroad

Three Things You Should Know Before Traveling Abroad

I remember stepping off of the metro into Barcelona like it was yesterday. It was a completely different world that we had never been exposed to before. Your first time abroad you make mistakes and learn a lot! Every country is different and it’s important to remember that. Just because it’s not the way you do it, doesn’t make it wrong- just different. I see a lot of people who have never been to another country not realize that things can be done in completely different ways, that’s why I think traveling is important. You learn so much.

I could honestly go on about that forever, so here are three things you should know before you travel abroad!

Food Customs

This is one that I see surprises a lot of people. In Europe and other countries as well, they eat different things for breakfast. For example for breakfast in Europe you will most likely find a spread of bread, cheese, meats, and vegetables. This may seem really weird at first, but trust me it will grow on you! Go ahead and grab some bread, butter, add cheese, and put your favorite veggies on top and enjoy! Trust me, you’ll wonder why this isn’t a thing in America.

Some countries also eat dinner at different times. This really varies country to country. In Spain you most likely will find that restaurants are closed in the afternoon for “siestas” and then not open again until dinner. But dinner for them usually starts at 7-8pm, or even later.

The way you eat may also be different. In some Middle Eastern countries you should not eat with a certain hand. In some countries, like France, you will notice they even eat pizza with a fork or knife.

Garbage disposals are also not a thing. So save yourself the time ( getting grossed out touching wet food) and make sure all your food is in the trash or recycling before you rinse your plate.

Bathrooms

I think this one is also something that is really different for some people. In Europe you will find that the bathrooms are smaller, sometimes are separate rooms for a toilet and then the sink and shower, the sinks are super tiny, and the toilets are not filled with water. To flush the toilet you also have to hold down a button depending on what business you did; this changes the amount of water used.

In many countries to use public bathrooms you need to pay to enter. If you plan on exploring the city a lot be prepared and bring coins or plan your bathroom visits around meals.

Some countries may also have bathrooms that are really just holes in the ground. For these you need to learn to master the “squat.”

Because water prices may be high, remember to keep your showers shorter than you normally would while at your own home. The water may not be as hot, so that may encourage shorter showers 😉

Social Customs

I’m sure you have heard someone in your life say “the people in blah blah country were so rude.” While to you they may be “rude” because they are not as outgoing, to them this is very normal. Waiters will not check on you every second (and yes you need to ask for the check, yes it will be weird at first), people will be direct about how they feel, and people won’t smile at you on the street. While this is not true for everyone, it’s just an overall generalization of what to expect. I’ve had really friendly waiters and also locals who have talked to me and were really outgoing, but not everyone.

I think the most important thing is to remember what I said at the beginning, just because it’s not how you do it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. That’s what makes this world so amazing is that we are all so diverse. Traveling wouldn’t be fun if we were all the same!

Wherever you’re going I hope you have a blast!

 

Where was or is your first trip abroad? What surprised you the most?

 

 

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Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

 

This past weekend I made my way to Copenhagen, Denmark. A beautiful city that has it all, the old cobble stone streets, great food, and also great views. My plane landed on Friday morning and I didn’t leave until Sunday night, so I got a full weekend and I thought it was a perfect amount of time to explore the city.

I had so much fun exploring this city! It should definitely be added to your bucket list and here are four reasons why!

Delicious Food

Since I was here close to Christmas, I was able to enjoy the Christmas Markets around the city. They had churros, waffle sticks, glogg (mulled wine), and many other foods to try!

In an old paper factory there is now food stalls called, Paper Island, with so many different food choices! I got an open-face sandwich with pork, potatoes, bacon, and fried onions. So good! Some other food options there are: Korean street food, sushi, and even a place that specializes in ostrich! This place is actually closing down soon, so even more reasons to visit like now!

Another restaurant I went to was The Union Kitchen. I really recommend checking this place out. They do tapas and specialize in meatballs. I had the wild boar meatballs and the cauliflower with ricotta and cranberry! There were so many other things on the menu that I would love to try. They also have many speciality drinks that are hand-crafted there.

 

Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

 

Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

 

Beautiful Views

From the views from The Round Tower to Nyhavn, I could just sit and enjoy the views for hours!

Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

So Many Things to Do

Copenhagen offers so many things to do! There are museums, castles, The Little Mermaid statue, and many cafes and restaurants to enjoy. I went to the Danish Design Museum and for students and people under the age of 26, it is free! I am not sure if this is the same for other museums in the city.

If you go during Christmas time you can also enjoy the Christmas Markets around the city. Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

Easy to Get Around

From bikes, trains, to metros or just walking; you can get around Copenhagen very easily. The train and metro both go to the airport and are very cheap. I thought this was very convenient because some cities don’t have this and you have to figure how to get to the city from the airport.

While the city is very walkable, you can also rent a bike to explore the town! Copenhagen is very bike friendly and they separate the road just for bikers.

Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Copenhagen

 

Copenhagen is now on my list of favorite cities and hope to visit again during the summer so I can enjoy the outdoors more!

What’s your favorite city to visit in the winter?

If you want to know how I planned my trip, download my Copenhagen trip planner here:

Weekend in Copenhagen

 

 

 

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4 Travel Books That Will Give You Wanderlust

This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are my own.

4 Travel Books That Will Give You Wanderlust

Reading about people finding themselves is one of my favorite types of books. I think your 20’s is basically trying to figure out who you are and what the heck is going on, and the authors of travel books share their own experiences with it. Like Eat, Pray, Love and Wild, or my favorite The Alchemist. All these books have characters that are searching for themselves and I think we all go through that.

Today I’m sharing four travel books that will give you wanderlust!

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

 

Watching her friends settle down and start families, but not ready to do the same herself, Kristin sets off on trips around the world. Mostly by herself on these trips, she shares her stories of travels where she meets and even sometimes falls for the locals.

 

 

 

 

A Year Without Makeup by Stephanie Yoder

 

Fed up with the 9-5 lifestyle she was living, Stephanie quit her job to backpack around Asia. In her book, Stephanie tells her crazy adventures and also gives advice for others wanting to make the change.

 

 

 

 

A Thousand New Beginnings by Kristin Addis

 

This is a story of a girl who left her job and boyfriend behind to travel Southeast Asia. The book includes excerpts from her diary and blog during her travels alone and how it made all the difference in the world.

 

 

 

 

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

 

When good girl Rachel on a whim buys a plane ticket to Ireland, by herself, she didn’t realize the trip she was about to take and what she will learn about herself.

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite travel books?

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Travel Picture Backgrounds

Travel Picture Backgrounds

 

I always love opening up my computer or phone to see a beautiful picture of a place I’ve been or is on my list. If there is an inspiring quote that goes along, then even better! I think I always need some motivation to stay on track. A couple of weeks ago I started creating my own phone and computer backgrounds with pictures I’ve taken and free ones on the internet. I wanted to share some that I’ve created with you today, so I hope you enjoy!

Click on the link below the picture to download! Make sure you are a subscriber before you download!

 

Travel Picture Backgrounds

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I took this picture at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and still love it today! One of my friends wanted to see the sun set here and I’m so glad she did. It was an unforgettable experience!

 

Travel Backgrounds

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So I fully realize this one isn’t “travel related” but it’s currently my laptop background and I love it! Just a reminder that you are a Girl Boss.

Travel Picture Backgrounds

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This is from a trip to Colorado! When my friends and myself came across this animal, we first thought it was a moose! Turns out is was just an elk 😉

 

If you enjoy these please let me know and I will keep creating and posting them!

 

 

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How to Spend Two Days in Prague

How to Spend Two Days in Prague

How would I describe Prague? WOW! That’s all I really need to say. If you are looking for a cheap, but also beautiful city rich with history then you need to visit Prague. I think Prague can be done in a day if you want to add it to a trip, but also there is enough to do if you want to stay longer. Here are things to do and eat while you are in Prague 🙂

Day 1:

What to do-

  • Go see Prague Castle
  • Walk across Charles Bridge on your way to the Castle
  • Check out the painters on the bridge
  • Take a boat tour!
  • See the John Lennon Wall
  • Petrin Lookout Tower

How to Spend Two Days in Prague

Where to eat-

  • Get a trdelnik plain or with ice-cream or chocolate (soooo good!)
  • Strahov monastic brewery
  • U Betlemkske Kaple
  • On your way to the castle there is a cafe that overlooks the city of Prague. I didn’t catch the name, but it’s in the wall as you are walking up the steps to the castle. It is also cash only.

Beer is really good in Prague. I don’t even really like beer and I drank a lot of it here. And it’s even better because it’s cheap. They have a dark beer that is sweeter and worth a try and of course Pilsner!

 

Day 2:

What to do:

  • Check out all the shops in Old Town
  • Astronomical Clock
  • Check out one (or two) of Prague’s many museums

I went to the Music Museum and it was pretty cool! They had so many instruments and how they have evolved over time. Music fans I would definitely recommend checking this out.

Where to eat:

  • Cafe Louvre
  • Sisters for open face sandwiches
  • Gingerbread at Pernickuv Sen

Cafe Louvre is a pretty famous cafe in Prague where Einstein, Kafka, and Capek were said to visit. There was a line when I went, but it went pretty fast. I ordered the pancakes (shown below) and they were amazing! Someone told me to get a Turkish coffee, but I totally forgot about it. So, if you go please order it and tell me how it was 😉

 

 

Where to stay:

I stayed at Sophie’s Hostel which was only a fifteen minute walk from Old Town. They offer a five bed women’s dorm and they are like mini apartments! I didn’t realize when I got there that it would have a kitchen and a bathroom just for that dorm. I think this would be awesome if you are staying longer because you can make your own food. The rooms also do not have bunk beds, which is a plus.

Every night the hostel has a happy hour where beers are only 1 euro! The bar and reception are open 24 hours also. You can pay 6 euros for a breakfast buffet, traditional European breakfast and coffee, or you can pay more for a hot brunch along with the buffet.

 

Are you planning a trip to Prague? If not you should 😉

 

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