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Advice Travel Planning What to Pack

7 Things You Must Not Bring in Your Carry On to Have a Hassle-Free Travel

Airport security can be pretty strict about their set of rules and regulations. For safety and security of all travelers, these rules are intentionally made for passengers to follow. They important reminders to make all plane travel safer. So, if you don’t want to be the talk of the town for making a scene at the airport or inside the plane… just remember these seven items that you should not bring in your carry on baggage!

Liquids Over 3.4 ounces or 100ml

Travelers are permitted to bring one quart sized bag filled with liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in their carry ons…  it’s a universal rule that everyone is pretty much aware of. Any liquid that is more than 3.4 ounces or 100ml is not allowed in a carry on – only with a checked bag. Airports are straightforward about bringing liquids on the plane.

So if you’re a really heavy water drinker, you may just bring your container following the required size. If it’s still not enough yet, you can always purchase a bottle of water on the plane.

As for your toiletries like shampoo and conditioner, opt for the travel-sized bottle. Or you can just ditch them altogether since most hotels would probably provide you with these essential.

Sporting Equipment

If you really must bring your sporting equipment, check your items, put them inside your checked-in baggage or be sure they fit in a bin during security check. However, balls and smaller equipment are allowed (given that they fit inside a carry on-sized bag).

Self-Defense Items

If you feel the need to bring your self-defense items (like pepper spray) for your own peace of mind, it’s important to note that they are not allowed in your carry on luggage. ​​​​​​​Most major airlines will allow you to pack up to 4 oz of pepper spray in a checked bag only.

Offensive Shirts

Remember that you are visiting a foreign land. You should be respectful of other people’s feelings… especially if it is offensive. Your shirts are no exception! Shirts printed with offensive statements is highly discouraged. In fact, flight attendants have the right to ask you to change into something more appropriate according to your destination.

Flammable Items

This is a no brainer! Anything that can cause alarm inside the plane is strictly prohibited. Some examples are fireworks, bleach, paint thinner or anything that can cause a fire inside the plane.

Heating Pads

Heating pads can be helpful when enduring long-haul flights. But then again, heating pads have a gel inside which is technically liquid. So it’s not allowed inside the plane no matter how tempting it is to be cozied up with the warmth of this pad during your flight.


Even if this is your favorite thing to eat before boarding a flight, just don’t bring it inside the plane! You can always just eat it while waiting for your boarding time. 

Outdoors Travel Planning

The Most Breathtaking Natural Locations Around the World

The world is an incredibly beautiful place with all kinds of stunning natural sights in every area. There are so many breathtaking, natural locations to see around the world and anyone with a love of nature should look to tick as many of these places off of their list as possible. With so many fantastic places to visit, it can be tricky to decide where is best to visit but here are a few ideas for the most awe-inspiring places in the world.

Great Barrier Reef – Australia

With so many astonishing colours, it is sometimes hard to remember that the Great Barrier Reef is a natural coral reef system and not manmade. The largest coral reef system in the world is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands over a gigantic area of roughly 344,400 square kilometres. In addition to the mesmerising colours, the Great Barrier Reef is also home to all kinds of stunning and majestic creatures which only adds to the appeal.

The Most Breathtaking Natural Locations Around the World

Cliffs of Moher – Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher tower some 214 meters into the sky and make up around 14 kilometres of Ireland’s wild, dramatic and incredibly beautiful coastline. Located on the southwestern edge of the Burren Region in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are home to around 30,000 birds which are fantastic to watch as the waves crash into the imposing cliffs. Ireland is sometimes overlooked in terms of natural beauty, but it is quite unlike anywhere else in the world and somewhere that any nature lover will feel at home.

Grand Canyon – USA

One of the 7 natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon in Arizona has an average depth of one mile and an average width of 10 miles with amazing views and surrounded by natural beauty. The gorge has been carved out by the Colorado River over the last 5,000 years and left behind layers of colorful rock which show the great history of the area.

Iguazu Falls – Argentina

Found at the Brazil/Argentina border, the Iguazu Falls are one of the most famous and breathtaking sights in South America. A chain of mini waterfalls spanning nearly 3 km, the Falls are quite unlike any other waterfall on earth as you can see water plummeting to earth as far as the eye can see with some of these being incredibly powerful and impressive – on average, there is about 1,500 cubic meters of water flowing ever second. To make this experience even more special, you could look into private jet hire so that you can arrive in style and feel calm and relaxed when you arrive in one of Argentina’s most gorgeous natural locations.

Moraine Lake – Canada

Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park has postcard-esque scenery which will take your breath away. The blue waters of the lake are fed by a glacier and surrounded by imposing snow-capped mountain peaks and thick forests for a serene, diverse and incredibly beautiful setting. 

The Most Breathtaking Natural Locations Around the World

Salt Plains – Bolivia

Spanning a jaw-dropping 4,086 miles, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the entire world and an otherworldly, natural landscape that has to be seen to truly appreciate. A prehistoric lake which went dry and left behind an enormous landscape of white salt and rock formations as far as the eye can see. The reflections allow for some surreal and stunning sights and the opportunity for some amazing photography so don’t forget to pack your camera.

There are many amazing sights to behold in every region on this very beautiful planet, but the above are a few of the best natural locations which anyone with a love for nature will adore and give you a greater appreciation for the world.

Advice Budget Insider Tips Travel Planning

4 Affordable Destinations To Add To Your 2020 Travel Plans

A new year is approaching, and with the new calendar date comes new excitement and (if you’re like me) new bucket list destinations. As 2020 creeps closer each day, there are some absolutely stunning cultural cities that I’m dreaming of visiting in the new year. Luckily, many of these places are affordable destinations too!

For those of us who have a budget in mind… good news! With the increased demand for affordable transportation, It’s a pretty incredible time to be a budget traveler. Here are four affordable destinations I’m adding to my 2020 travel plans …and you should to)!​​​​​​​

Mexico City, Mexico

With affordable, direct flights connecting it to many popular US cities, Mexico City has quickly become a cultural hub for budget travelers! Flying from New York is a grand total of five hours, making it an excellent choice for a long weekend or over a holiday break. 

Mexico City is a perfect affordable destination for cultural travelers. So, if you happen to be a traveler who longs for meaningful, historical, authentic experiences – look no further. As one of America’s earliest cities, Mexico City is stocked with many artifacts of the ancient world, museums, art exhibits and more. 

4 Affordable Destinations To Add To Your 2020 Travel Plans

Be sure to check out Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood, dotted with beautifully aged architecture, as well bright and vivid colored homes and foliage. Mexico City’s culinary scene is also top notch! Foodie travelers will love its traditional, family-owned restaurants and appreciation for authentic flavors. Some of my personal eatery favorites? El Moro’s churros, Azul Historico’s one of a kind gaucamole with crickets and Cafe Don Porfirio for one of the best views in the whole city!

Johannesburg, South Africa

After just returning from a whirlwind trip to Johannesburg, I can confirm that the city is truly one that will​​​​​​​ always have me coming back for more. Johannesburg city is rapidly changing… making it a joy to rediscover time and time again. Johannesburg was my first solo trip I ever took, and it has a nostalgic and meaningful place in my heart. That said – I think the city is one of the most contrasting and intriguing environments out there.

Jo’burg’s friendly, chilled out vibe is incredibly welcoming to outsiders. Check out the city’s Apartheid Museum to learn about its troubled past and gain and understand of the context in which the city views its future. It’s a seriously moving experience. Also be sure to explore its up and coming neighborhood, Maboneng… its hipster feel will have you questioning where in the world you are! Feeling a bit more adventurous? The city’s relativity to some of South Africa’s most amazing wildlife reserve and game lands makes it a very special location for safari departures.

Budget travelers, something to keep in mind – your flight will perhaps be your biggest purchase for this trip! However, I’ve found that after landing, costs are very cheap (when exchanging the US dollar)… making it a relatively affordable destination all things considered.

4 Affordable Destinations To Add To Your 2020 Travel Plans

Cairo, Egypt

Real adventure seekers, 2020 is your year to discover the mystery of Cairo! Egypt is so much more than just ancient pyramids and camel rides through the desert. Trust me on this. Cairo is rich with wonder and adventurous excursions galore. Better yet, the country of Egypt is a relatively affordable destination for the adventurous soul with an innate curiosity for our ancient human history.

4 Affordable Destinations To Add To Your 2020 Travel Plans

Egypt’s large and expansive capital, Cairo, set on the Nile River, is filled with some of the world’s most prized and studied relics. After visiting the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx At Giza, and the Step Pyramid of Djoser At Saqqara – be sure to take a jaunt over to the city’s Antiquities Museum & Mummy Room. I truly believe that traveling responsibly means also investing in educating ourselves about other cultures – so I absolutely recommend taking an Islamic tour of the area to gain a greater sense of Cairo’s history and perspectives.

Cairo’s flights are extremely affordable if departing from parts of Europe! So, if you just so happen to be on holiday exploring – see if you can add an extra leg to Egypt at a cheaper price. Quite like Johannesburg, I’ve found that the exchange rate makes Cairo an incredibly affordable destination options based on day-to-day expenses.

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal has stolen the hearts of international travelers in the past few years. And I have to say, after experiencing the magic of Lisbon, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for many of us to discover it! With its Western location along the Atlantic and many low budget airlines that connect in the city’s airport, there are many affordable flights popping up these days. (P.S. Lisbon is another hub of connecting flights to greater Europe – making it an excellent “long layover” choice!)

Lisbon is truly the hub of goodness – from its slow approach to living, delicious eateries, fresh, natural wines, and a serious appreciation for architecture and tile work. Lisbon’s laid back vibe is the perfect affordable destination for any traveler who wants to soak in the good life while also discovering one of Europe’s hidden gems.

Some of my favorites? A lunch at the Time Out Market, a breezy walking tour of the Alfama district’s homes, an excursion to Tower Belem (with a pit stop at the original pasteis de nata bakery), and a delicious, traditional Portugese dinner by the water! Imagine yourself exploring the hilly cobble stoned streets, popping into antique markets, eating delicious pastries and espresso and finishing the day off with port wine by the city’s waterfront area. Sound like your dream? Add Lisbon to your 2020 bucket list stat!

I don’t know about you, but my bucket list is ever-evolving and changing. But, there’s one aspect that I always find myself valuing – and that’s price! No matter what type of traveler you are, a budget-conscious destination is the best.

Do any of these affordable destinations make your 2020 bucket list? Did you ever consider these four destinations to be affordable options? Or are there other cheaper cities that have you drooling?

Advice Guides Travel Planning

A Guide To Planning A Mother-Daughter Trip

Have you ever taken a mother-daughter trip? I’m not sure of your relationship with your mother… but for me, my mother is my favorite traveling companion. She has always encouraged me to travel and as a single immigrant mother, I am still in awe of how she put me through college and a study abroad program.

When I was in college, it was before we had smartphones, Airbnb and other travel apps. More than ten years ago, she planned my post study abroad trip to Italy from Switzerland. I had used the excuse that I was busy studying, which we all know isn’t entirely true but at the time, my exams seemed urgent and important. She booked the hotels, trains and flights. ​​​​​​​

It was only years later when I planned a mother-daughter trip that I realized exactly how much she had undertaken without the conveniences and ease of today’s technology. Since that first big trip to Europe we have traveled to Japan, Canada, Mexico, France, the UK, U.A.E. and Sri Lanka. 

I’m currently planning a trip with her again this fall to attend a friend’s wedding.​​​​​​​ Here are some of my biggest suggestions for planning an amazing mother-daughter trip!

Find what you have in common

It may not be what you think you have in common. Get to know her as a person. What does she enjoy? What are her pet peeves? Use this as a way to figure out where to stay and what to do while you’re in said location.

While you may be fine sleeping in a private hostel room, your mom probably desires much more comfort and cleanliness. I have always booked an Airbnb for us. I’m in my 30’s now so I’m not up for hostel hopping and my mom has probably never stayed in one, which is why booking an Airbnb is a wonderful option. You can brew your own coffee, make breakfast and have your privacy.

Book Transportation & Accommodations As Soon As Possible  

This will remove a great deal of stress on your part. With your friends you might be okay having booked the first night of your stay, but you want to make your mother-daughter trip as stress-free and fun as possible. Part of this is to get the two largest expenses and possibly challenging aspects of the trip out of the way. 

3. Do your homework

Will you need to know a foreign language? I have found that in my travels, English isn’t always as common as you think. Non-verbal communication makes up a large portion of overall communication. Being clear in your actions even if you don’t know the language will be helpful. Additionally, speaking louder doesn’t mean that you’ll be understood unless they are hard of hearing.

I am fortunate to be skilled at learning new languages and while my mother is bilingual, her languages she heavily relies on me to communicate our needs. My favorite language app (it’s free!) is Drops. I find it far superior to Duolingo as it starts you from the very basics and uses topics that make sense in day-to-day conversation. On the contrary, maybe your mother is the linguist in the family and she has the time to dedicate learning some phrases for your trip.

Will you need a visa beforehand or is there a visa on arrival that you can buy? How is the political climate? While I personally don’t check the U.S. travel alerts, it is likely that you’ll have a friend or family member that will be concerned about your travel destination. The destination I personally get the most questions about is Mexico. “Is is safe?”

Again, do your homework so you can avoid certain areas or situations. Use your gut instincts. As women, this instinct is quite intense, but it is always useful to hone that strength. For example, you might not want to walk around after a certain time at night. Whatever rules you follow at home, you should follow while you’re on vacation. 

What is the appropriate attire? Are there customs that you have to follow to remain respectful? Taking off your shoes, covering your shoulders or head, dressing conservatively as to not attract extra attention, asking to take someone’s picture etc… Religious sites tend to be where you will have to be most aware. You do not want to put you or your mother in an awkward or uncomfortable situation. 

Research Places To Eat, Things To Do, etc… 

My mother’s favorite part about traveling is to eat food that she doesn’t get to eat when she’s home. She also has a dietary preference. This is where knowing the local language will be essential. Does your mom have allergies, special requirements or preferences? You and/or her will need to be able to communicate this effectively. In my experience, some countries in Asia do not think that chicken is meat. If you’re vegetarian for example, this would limit what you can have, but if you can’t communicate this preference then you will have to adjust your mother-daughter trip itinerary accordingly.

Choose one or two places per day for the length of your stay. Don’t be too stringent with these choices as your local Airbnb host or someone you meet during your trip may recommend something that outweighs whatever you found on a blog/Yelp/Instagram post. Airbnbs not only offer privacy, but save you from having to go out and buy breakfast if you pick up a few things and make your tea/coffee in your room or apartment. In Sri Lanka, our hosts provided breakfast, but we had to make sure they knew my mother’s food preferences. 

As far as places to go and what to do. This is a trip for the both of you so while I don’t necessarily recommend separating from your mother, it might depend on where you’re going. Personally, I need some alone time no matter who I travel with. But that’s something you can do during the day like waking up before your mom or going to sleep later.. as long as you’re safe.  

You and your mom may like different activities. Maybe you love to lay on the beach and relax because your work week was stressful while she doesn’t like much sun. Find some middle-ground so that you can both enjoy your mother-daughter trip and each other.

Ask for recommendations from locals because it’s likely you’ll discover a hidden gem that might be something only locals know of. Then plug these activities into your itinerary while allowing for some flexibility. If you and your mom both love a detailed itinerary, then go ahead and do that, but it’ll reduce stress if you don’t have to worry about being at a certain museum at a certain time when your taxi driver doesn’t understand where you’re going for example or you’re caught in traffic.

Make A Packing List 

Not to draw too much of a blanket statement, but women really like to shop. Keeping this in mind, pack less. If you don’t live in the same city as your mom, talk about what you’re planning to bring based on the climate, season and local attire. If you happen to have the same shoe size or can wear the same tops then bring even less. That way you can alternate or share even if your fashion style isn’t the same. Unless the trip involves a fancy gala, you won’t need formal attire. Plan a list based on comfort and what you’re doing. Nothing ruins a mother-daughter trip quite like too much luggage!

You might not want to risk the time wasted or stress over lost luggage so you may only want a carry on. What is the drinking water like? I’ve loved having a filtering water bottle from REI to fill up at the Airbnb so I can save time, money and reduce waste. However, if you’re somewhere where the tap water might be unsafe then plan accordingly.

You and your mom will probably buy trinkets, gifts or hand-made items during your trip. Maybe she’s a collector of wooden bowls and wants to buy one. You’ll have to account for this before your trip. If you have a rendezvous before you fly somewhere together then pack together, combine, edit your things so that each of you is carrying an even amount. And for carry-ons, if you’re young, a backpack might work for you especially if you’ll be somewhere will a lot of cobble- stone streets, but that might not be practical for her. Carry things for her even if she’s a super fit, it’s just the right thing to do.

Leave Your Worries Behind

Depending on how long you two are traveling, things may come up in that time and you might have a disagreement or argument, but don’t go into the trip with emotional baggage and leave anything that happens on your trip behind you once you’re headed home. The trip may create a deeper bond and you don’t want to risk that by bringing up unpleasant things that happened on the trip or blame one another for anything. Unless an awkward situation could be funny, it isn’t worth bringing up displeasing things once you’re around other family members. Be advocates for one another, uplift each other as women and find that friend who also happens to be your mother.

Advice Budget Giving Back Insider Tips Travel Planning

5 Alternative Ways to Travel

5 Alternative Ways to Travel

I think it’s safe to say that social media has bitten most of us with wanderlust and travelers are now exploring unimaginable corners of the world. As travel continues to become more people’s motivation, they will seek experiences that are completely unique whilst being affordable. With that said, it’s why we are seeing a rise in alternative travel.

Alternative travel, or termed also as anti-tourism, is a new way of experiencing travel to make it more meaningful and not conventional in nature. There are a number of reasons why people find alternative ways to travel, but I think the biggest determining factor is attainability. Budget is often something we consider when book flights and accommodation. Alternative travel makes things a bit more affordable as you save money or even make money along the way. Secondly, you learn empathy through authenticity. It’s a deeper dive into the culture and it’s people, and so you become hyper-aware of the way people eat, think, worship, and work. Finally, alternative travel brings accountability as we might look for ways to decrease our footprint, volunteer, or support locally.

Now that we know the benefits of alternative travel, let’s dive into some of the best ways to do it!

1. Volunteer

There is no better way to travel the world than by saving the world! There are a number of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that act as the middleman between volunteers and local communities. All you have to do is cover the cost of some of the logistics and food per month!

2. Wellness Retreats

5 Alternative Ways to Travel

Travel teaches us so much about ourselves as we are oftentimes put in the most vulnerable of situations. There’s something so special about coming back from our travels with a peace of mind and reconnecting with ourselves. Think about ashrams, camps, and spas!

3. Teach or Study/Learn Abroad

5 Alternative Ways to Travel
5 Alternative Ways to Travel

The beauty of traveling abroad is exposing yourself to so many different cultures, why not partake in that? In college, I spent a year studying abroad and used it as an opportunity to learn a language and travel the region. There are also options to go abroad to teach English or learn/teach whatever you’re passionate about! Languages not your thing? Why not learn to cook up a Moroccan feast with La Maison Arabe?

4. House-sitting

5 Alternative Ways to Travel
5 Alternative Ways to Travel
5 Alternative Ways to Travel

The easiest way to get accommodation covered is house-sitting! You can find house-sitting jobs from a weekend to a year in length! It allows you to travel slow, live like a local and save an enormous amount of money. It’s how I was able to getaway to Haapsalu for a weekend in Estonia for free!

5. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

5 Alternative Ways to Travel
5 Alternative Ways to Travel

This has become a growing trend among young people who want to do good for the world by promoting sustainability and I got to partake when I went apple picking in Kent. WWOOF is a global movement that connects people with organic farmers to exchange cultural, social and educational experiences without monetary exchange. Ecotourism allows people to truly live, learn and share organic lifestyles!

So, are you considering an alternative way to travel in 2020? What’s on your itinerary?