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summer

Europe

Why A Scandinavian Tour Is Your Best Bet This Summer

Scandinavia, the region of Northern Europe encompassing Norway, Sweden and Denmark, has long been touted as a paradise on earth, having the highest quality of life, happiest people and some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. When it comes to travel tours, most people, especially young travelers tend to forget about the region as an option, or intentionally swerve it due to the famously eye-watering prices. However, the region, and the wider Nordic area which encompasses the equally amazing countries of Iceland and Finland, have a huge variety of experiences to offer adventurous travelers. Here’s why you should set yourself off on your very own Scandi tour this summer.

Smorgasbords Of Culture

People often tend to conflate the various Nordic countries together as a homogenous entity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The closely Germanic culture of Denmark is legions apart from the more Russian culture of Finland, or the Inuit-style culture of Iceland. However, at the end of the day, the cultures of each country are unique to themselves and difficult to compare to anywhere else on the planet. You’ll find vastly different cuisines, architecture, histories, natural scenery and social attitudes throughout Scandinavia and the Nordic countries, and a trip to all five will constitute a cultural extravaganza on par with inter-railing across Mediterranean Europe or road-tripping across the United States.

Easiest To Organize

Although we would never encourage lazy travelling, there’s a lot to be said about the ease and efficiency of travelling through Scandinavia, especially if you’ve experienced travelling through less developed parts of the world. Everyone speaks English, transport and visas (if you need them) can all be done online with amazing ease and user-friendliness, and the countries are all tightly interconnected with ultra-modern infrastructure. In addition, all of the most wired countries in the world are in Scandinavia, so you’re likely to have a strong internet connection wherever you are. This means that if you’re camping out in the Norwegian wilderness or doing a 7-hour train journey from Stockholm to Copenhagen, you’ll still be able to Skype your friends or even play online casino games with bonuses, like Party Casino, from your phone, which you find out more about from here. The fact that you can play online slots from basically the arctic circle highlights just how developed and efficient this region is, and how it’s a safe bet for those looking for a stress-free travel experience. The fact that these are also the safest countries in the world for solo female travelers is also a major plus!

Not As Expensive As You Think

Whenever you mention to friends that you’re heading to Scandinavia, they’re likely to give an eye-roll and start lecturing you about 8 euro pints of beer and how even waiting in line is expensive. However, a little bit of savvy and research can ensure that your Scandi trip doesn’t end up costing much more than anywhere else in Europe. The number one rule is to live like a student and hit up all the great bars, restaurants and venues in the great student neighbors of the Nordic capitals, where prices are often less than half of what you’d pay in the stylish city centers. The region also has a proud reputation for free museums and cultural activities, so do your research beforehand!

 

Advice Europe Pack Perfect What to Pack

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Greece is the ultimate chic summer getaway… don’t you think? Think glamorous, warm nights sipping local white wine, soaking in the sun with your girlfriends while noshing on fresh fruit and exploring the iconic white-washed coastlines. Should you find yourself booking a dreamy trip to Greece, it’s important to pack items that will keep you cool while also looking lovely and put together. After all, the refined style of European women is so incredible. Here’s how to not look like a tourist in Greece!

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A Cool Slip Dress

We love a midi dress for travel because it’s the perfect combination of glamorous, yet conservative and cool. This v-neck style is effortless and can be worn alone, as a slip under a layered tee or underneath a cardigan after the sun sets. Plus, the pop of teal will have you looking one with Santorini/Greece’s iconic architecture.

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A Midi Eyelet Skirt

A fit and flare skirt ripped right from an old black and white film. We love this flirty, feminine little number – especially because it pairs well with so many different looks and is super lightweight. It’s the perfect choice for wine tasting or shopping in boutiques.

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Vintage Inspired Sunglasses

Greece’s harsh sunlight is no joke – so be sure to pack a pair of vintage-esque sunglasses with great UVA/UVB protection!

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A Nautical-Inspired One Piece Swimsuits With A Feminine Twist

This one piece has the perfect amount of coverage, while still remaining classic and subtly sexy. It’s the perfect choice to wear underneath a coverup or airy dress knowing that you’ll be near the oceanside later in the day. When choosing a swimsuit for Greece, I like to ere on the side of slightly conservative (for my own comfort) with unique details, like a cool belt or a ruched fabric detail like this one. If you’d rather rock a two piece, I love this athetlic option with denim looking fabric!

A Romantic Ruffled Top

This crisp white, ruffled top has a nod of romanticism while also being functional. Pair it with denim on a cooler day or layer it over a swimsuit after dipping into a pool during the mid day heat. Greece is well known for its romance (it is considered to be one of the ultimate honeymoon destinations for a reason), so be sure to dress in tandem with its vibe!

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Packable Sunscreen Spray

To protect your precious skin during your long walks around Santorini’s beaches or the harsh sun while exploring ancient sites like the Acropolis, be sure to pick up a packable sunscreen spray. We love this one because it can easily slip into your bag and is TSA approved! (P.S. if you’re looking for eco-friendly products we love, check this post out!)

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Platform Wedges

We love wedges for travel because they inconspicuously add some height while being comfortable enough to wear all day. European women are known for wearing sky high heels (even on cobblestoned streets), but you won’t be looking like a tourist in these bad boys. These wedges are so comfy because of their thick ankle straps support your ankles and keep your feet from sliding around.P

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A High Waisted Bikini

Go for a vintage look with a chic high waisted, belted bikini bottom for the perfect amount of coverage, paired with a classic, supportive top. The paradise blue color will have you blending in with the Santorini skies with ease!

An Easy Mini Bag

This chic little bag is has ultimate cool-girl look. The crochet detail feels artisan and its mini-size won’t have you feeling weighed down.

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Hoping you have the most glamorous, romantic time in Greece! With these looks, you’ll be looking like a local in no time. Happy packing!

Asia Insider Tips

The Four Distinct Seasons of Japan

I’ve been connected to Japan for almost all my life, and I have been living in this wonderful country for over 5 years. My daily adventures can be found on Instagram, but this time I would like to show you about 4 distinct seasons that are very unique in Japan. I hope my little stories will inspire you to plan your next trip to this beautiful country!

Did you know that winter is the best time to enjoy mount Fuji? The most famous pictures of this symbol of Japan as well as its world heritage are taken during this season! While most of the snow happens around the northern part of the Japanese archipelago, the rest of the mainland has an average temperature of 1-5°C with a clear and crisp weather for pleasant walking. Although many travelers prefer to visit the country during spring or autumn, winter has its own share of unforgettable activities and sights. Just don’t forget to soak in traditional Japanese hot springs (onsen) along your way! For example, one with a view of the majestic mount Fuji!

Although for most people in the world Japanese spring is a synonym to sakura, this season is so much more than just cherry blossom. Once white and pink petals from sakura trees gently floated to the ground, a season of various flower festivals will definitely catch your attention! Have you ever heard about shibazakura (“cherry lawn”)? Moss pink is a flower that grows close to the ground in bright colors of magenta, pink and white. The season for shibazakura starts from late April and lasts till middle of May taking place in a variety of locations such as Saitama or Yamanashi prefectures. If you didn’t have time to catch sakura blossom floating from above, why not catching it from the ground?

Summer in Japan is unlike summer in any other places in the world: it’s humid, it’s suffocating and it’s terribly hot. Although it might be difficult to cope with such conditions once in a while, summer nevertheless gives you a lot of opportunities for fun like fireworks, festivals, and, of course, travelling. What stop you from escaping typical boiling jungle of Japanese cities, and go, let’s say, into past? Located in the northeast of Chiba prefecture about 70 kilometers away from Tokyo (and 27 kilometers away from Narita International airport), Sawara town managed to preserve a touch of the old era with its streets remain as much as they were 200 years ago. Traditional residences, warehouses and merchant shops once flourished as a viable commercial center provide a terrific sense of nostalgia about the past.

We’ve finally made it to autumn, my favourite season of all. In Japan, colorful leaves are of the same importance as cherry blossoms in spring. Viewing of autumn leaves has been a popular activity in this country for centuries and continues nowadays. Starting from the middle of September, colors slowly changing from the northern island of Hokkaido and reach the lower elevations of central and southern Japan towards the end of November. Some trees around Tokyo and Kyoto remain colorful during December. In Japan, autumn brings a color to some strange plants as well. For example, these kochia leaves turn from green to bright red around the beginning of October creating a terrific scene of burning bushes. Just one of many more exciting views from a beautiful country of Japan!

Follow more of Katerina’s adventures here:
@life_in_tokyo

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