Home For Travelers Travel Tips

Something about the summertime – being outdoors, firing up the grill, heading to a cookout with a homemade dessert, trying your hand at some alcohol-infused popsicles – something about the summer brings out the adventurous chef in all of us. We’ve hooked up with a half dozen of our favorite food bloggers to give us their best summer recipe to try before the hot days turn into cold nights permanently. So bust out the charcoal, go grab a huge bag of sugar, and let’s get this party started while we still can. Click the title or the accompanying picture for the full story and recipe:

Food Nouveau: Israeli Couscous Salad with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette


“Ever heard of Israeli couscous? This “couscous”—in fact a pasta made with wheat flour—is a wonderfully versatile foundation on which to build tasty warm or cold dishes. Also called Jerusalem or pearl couscous, the chewy pasta absorbs surrounding flavors without ever losing its shape and texture or clumping together, possibly making it the ultimate ingredient for prepare-ahead salads. In this recipe, the beads soak in the rich roasted tomato dressing and elegantly mingle with crunchy cucumbers, pungent black olives, earthy parsley, and peppery arugula. It’s a bright and gorgeous salad: one that screams for you to put together a picnic on a warm summer day. Bring along a bottle of rosé wine from Provence, and you’re in for a treat!”

Global Table Adventure: Malaysian Herbed Rice & Samoan Tropical Salad

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“I’ve made more than 650 recipes from every country in the world, but in the summer I keep things simple with salad. When I have a big appetite I go for a bowl of Malaysian Herb Salad. Packed with rice and loads of bright green herbs, this room temperature salad makes a lovely picnic. When I’m in the mood for something lighter, I go for a Samoan Tropical Salad – made with baby spinach, sweet papaya and cantaloupe, buttery avocado, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Totally nutritious and addictive.”

Legal Nomads: Spicy Baked Feta


“Regardless of mysterious etymology, the recipe is simple and contains two of my favourite things: Feta, and chilli. There are different versions of this recipe around, but I chose the one I ate first, with green pepper (capsicum) and the spice coming from the chillies themselves.”

The Gastronome: Radicchio with Anchovy Dressing


“It’s a complex, extremely flavorful salad (bitter lettuce! salty anchovies! garlic!), that can really be an entire meal, especially with some thick bread to slide through the leftover dressing.”

The Mija Chronicles: Green bean and chayote salad with queso cotija


“Green Bean and Chayote Salad. It’s fresh and crunchy and excellent with juicy summertime tomatoes.”

The Road Forks: Healthy Tropical Granola


“I love waking up in the morning to guilt-free granola. This tropical granola is filled with sunshine, with minimal fat and bright chunks of coconut, pineapple, and mango.”

Visiting a Spanish-speaking country like Mexico can be exciting. However, if you don’t speak the native language well, you may not have as much fun on your vacation. If you don’t understand at least some of the local words, you may not be able to read signs, talk to people or even find your hotel. Learning some basic phrases and vocabulary in Spanish will help you get the most out of your trip. Use the links below to get started.


Spanish Grammar Activities – This page lists exercises to practice grammar from the most common grammatical themes found in the typical Spanish curriculum. You can also access the activity as a worksheet by clicking on appropriate link.

Spanish Grammar – We created more than 100 short, easy-to-understand explanations of Spanish Grammar topics. Then we paired the explanations with 40 practice questions so that you can test your knowledge and ensure you’ve mastered the topic. Beware: the quizzes can be addictive.

Verb and verb tense exercises – The exercises on our site are designed for beginners and intermediate level students. These particular ones will help you practice using and conjugating various regular and irregular verbs and verb tenses in Spanish.

Spanish Grammar Exercises – Use the menu on the right to choose your activities and exercises, created by a college professor.


Spanish/English Word Match – Connect the English words on the left with the matching Spanish words on the right.

Spanish dictionary – A picture dictionary with a picture for each Spanish/English entry (with links to related pages)

Spanish Vocabulary Activities – This page lists exercises to practice vocabulary in many of the most common themes taught in a typical Spanish curriculum.

Vocabulary Training – Looking to learn new Spanish words or just to brush up on the vocabulary you already know? Our collection of exercises can help you do both! The exercises are divided by topic and will teach you common Spanish words and expressions. Although there is a stronger emphasis on Latin American Spanish, we’ve tried to include words that would be understood throughout the Spanish speaking world. ¡Suerte!

English-Spanish Vocabulary Quizzes – Quizzes to Help You Learn and Review Vocabulary

Spanish Language Vocabulary Quizzes

75 Most Helpful Spanish Cognates to Know [Infographic]

Reading & Listening

Interpretive Reading Resources – Click to find a selection of over 200 Spanish reading comprehension passages with quizzes. These Interpretive Reading resources provide students the ability to interpret information, concepts, and ideas from a variety of culturally authentic sources on a wide variety of topics.

Reading Comprehension in Spanish Exercises – This Spanish Reading Comprehension page features printable resources and web-bases reading comprehension resources that you can use to teach, practice and/or assess reading comprehension in the Spanish language.

Spanish Reading Comprehension Skills – Featuring reading comprehension exercises and much, much more.

Beginner Practice Readings – These readings have basic spanish grammar and vocabulary to practice every day topics such as: introductions, how to answer simple questions and how to talk about your family, ocupation, likes and dislikes, etc.

Spanish Listening – Learn Spanish in four easy steps.

Audiria – Online tool which freely supports your learning of Spanish, offering podcasts to increase your knowledge of the language.

Interpretive Listening for Spanish – More than 400 authentic Spanish monologues and dialogues for novice, intermediate and advanced students. Each lesson is accompanied with an mp3 audio file and a quiz with answers. These scientifically tested resources provide students the opportunity to interpret information and ideas from a variety of authentic sources on a broad range of topics.


Spanish keyboard – Type Spanish accents without a Spanish keyboard.

Spanish alphabet – Enjoy these free printable Spanish alphabet materials:  coloring pages with matching color posters, and handwriting practice tracers featuring standard block format.

Writing prompts – PDF of 365 writing prompts to practice Spanish essays

Sentence scramble – Improve your writing skills by unscrambling the sentences in this game.


Spelling Bee – Simple, interactive spelling game for all types of Spanish words.

Spanish spelling game – Click here to play Spelling game with Latin American Spanish as spoken in countries like Mexico and Argentina.

Spanish Spell Out – Spanish Spell Out builds up vocabulary, and allows one to identify the correct spelling of words.

Common Phrases

Spanish phrases with audio – These common Spanish phrases are your Spanish language survival kit essentials. Listen to the free audio lesson and repeat these basic phrases after the native speaker – it’s that easy!

Useful Spanish phrases – A collection of useful phrases in Spanish. Click on the English phrases to see them in many other languages.

56 Useful Spanish Travel Phrases Every Traveler Should Learn – Now, here are the bare essentials, the most common survival Spanish travel phrases that will set you up to get your point across.

Common Spanish Words and Phrases – It’s a great idea to study Spanish so you can develop your conversational skills. Being able to communicate in Spanish will make travel experiences richer and more memorable, and there are many other benefits of speaking Spanish, too.

Travel Spanish – Whether you’re traveling to Buenos Aires, Bogota, or Baja California, you can use this phrasebook either to brush up on the Spanish you already know, or to learn all the useful words and expressions you’ll need for your trip.

Gritty Spanish – A series of videos designed to teach Spanish via actors and actresses from Latin America & Spain.

Face it: we all need a little help on vacation. Even if we’re weekend warriors primed with a double miles card, or a Monday-Friday business person perpetually living out of a suitcase – we need innovative products to help make our travels a little less stressful. We compiled a list of our favorite new travel products that will make any trip easier. Some help with flights, some help when you’re on-site and others even work if you’re just hanging at home. After reading about this list of unique, game-changing products you won’t be able to stop yourself from booking your next trip, and buying some of these award-winners.



Blah. Blegh. Blerch. That’s how you feel after flying for more than a couple hours. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it’s a stale feeling you can’t seem to shake for a few days. 1Above wants to combat those flying ailments with a new aerotonic flight beverage. This security compliant drink and/or dissolvable tablets helps support your circulation, fights jet lag, props up your immune system and delivers the essential nutrients your body needs all throughout your flight (not to mention it is low-cal and highly refreshing.) You can purchase different amounts of 1Above depending your flight length so you can ensure you’ll be hydrated throughout. For even better results, drink some a few days before and after your flight. Tablets cost around $18 and the concentrated bottle is $9.

Blackout Bands


Look awesome while getting some shut eye with Blackout Bands. Whether you’re on the bus, a plane, or chilling on the beach and nursing a hangover, Blackout Bands will make you feel like you have complete solitude. The lenses are between 95% or 98% tint giving the user total solitude while eyes are closed and allows for only shapes when open. With a “flat-to-the-face” design, Blackout Bands are trying to do away with those old, scratchy, for-your-grandma sleep masks. They’re created with a noble mission in mind too, understanding and intaking information on eye diseases with Photophobia’s. A portion or profits is donated to charities to help blindness. These glasses retail for $25-$50.

Compressed Towel Tablets by Prospector Co.


Remember those old spongy dinosaur toys you’d soak in water and they’d grow to 10x their size? The Compressed Towel Tablets by Prospector Co. are created with the same concept in mind, but they’re actually useful. These travel friendly, cotton fiber compressed pills decompress with water and expand to a dish towel size rag for convenient personal care when you don’t have the conveniences of home. I can’t think of a scenario where these wouldn’t be useful. Cleaning off mud-caked hands while camping, doing a quick wash up after a long flight, wiping down a table after a messy meal, cleaning up the face/hands/torso/feet? of a baby after a long day of being a baby. At a price point of six tablets for $5, you’re basically stealing them.

Davek Mini Umbrella


Let’s be real: weathermen are unreliable. Even your favorite weather-tracking website isn’t always 100% sure when there’s a 100% chance of rain. Be prepared with the Davek Mini Umbrella. There’s nothing worse than looking your best, ready for a big night out on vacation, when it starts to downpour and you look like a drowned rat. The Davek Mini is unbelievable compact, so it fits in most hand bags, purses or pockets – which is wonderful – since all three of those things keep getting smaller. It measures less than seven inches but looks stylish for such a small accessory. Never be caught in the rain again with this extremely useful umbrella. Currently retailing for $49 and available in four colors.

Dry Lite Towel by Sea to Summit


Staying dry when on vacation can be quite the challenge. If you’re camping alongside a flowing river or laying out by a tropical pool, you should be using a top-of-the-line item to stay dry. The DryLite Towel is the perfect travel towel: it’s soft, compact and quick drying. It doesn’t smell, it doesn’t transmit germs and it stays fresh after multiple uses. Take it to the beach, pack it in your bag, and move along to your next destination with ease. Don’t let your next trip leave you feeling all wet. You can purchase the DryLite Towel online from $15-$40.

GorillaPod by Joby


The perfect vacation picture is hard to come by. Someone usually is giving “bunny ears”, someone is usually blinking, or you just don’t have arms long enough to capture the sunset properly. If you’re a traveler seeking adventure, it can be even harder to take a flawless shot without a little assistance. The GorillaPod by JOBY is here to help you grab an iconic image from your trip. Whether you’re lugging along your iPhone or a more professional camera, this bendable, magnetic stand can be manipulated to attach to any surface, creating a unique photo angle you would not have achieved alone, or even with someone else holding the camera. If you take your travel photography seriously, then you should show up for your next trip with some serious help from these tripods. A GorillaPod for a smartphone or normal sized camera is around $25.



Shark Tank (ABC) lovers will remember the Hoodie Pillow fondly. A super-comfy, oversized hood that blocks out light and has a convenient pocket for your smart phone with a headphone opening. There’s the Inflatable Hoodie Pillow, which easily deflates and stows for travel use. The HoodiePillow pillowcase for more home usage, and the Memory Foam HoodiePillow for those cross-country flights. HoodiePillow products provide comfort wherever you are. Whether you’re a light sleeper, college student, night-shift worker, frequent traveler, looking for added warmth or privacy, or just trying to catch some shut-eye. Retailing for $20 to $25 the HoodiePillow products are an affordable way to keep comfortable when abroad.



If you tell me you sleep comfortably on a plane, I’ll tell you you’re a liar. Even those darn horse collar type pillows aren’t enough to keep neck crinks at bay on a red eye. Catching some z’s anywhere while traveling is a pain (literally) which is why J-Pillow might be here to save us from crazy high chiropractor bills. Retailing for $60 on Amazon and its own website, J-Pillow gets its name from the unique shape. Cradling both the side of the head and UNDER the chin, this plush accessory will leave your entire neck and head supported avoiding any uncomfortable sleeping positions. It also makes an ideal life-style pillow and is great to use around the home when relaxing on the sofa or reading in bed. The J-Pillow is available in regular, inflatable, and kid-size options.



LifeStraw® is an idea so genius, yet so basic, there was no way it could be excluded from our list.  Fresh water is the #1 source of life. In an emergency situation, or even a remotely inconvenient situation where tap or bottled water is not available, you need LifeStraw. These water filters make water contaminated with bacteria and protozoa safe to drink. Some LifeStraw water purifiers also remove viruses. All LifeStraw products are durable, lightweight, and require no electricity or batteries to operate. Your options for purchase are the titular straw itself (best for individual use), a rather large bucket (think family camping trips), a water bottle (perfect for your desk at work) and a roll bag (for more remote destinations) Here’s a final bonus: For every LifeStraw product you buy, one school child in a developing country receives safe drinking water for an entire school year. The price is very affordable with the original LifeStraw retailing for $20 and the biggest purifier, LifeStraw Family, at $75.

Minipresso by Wacaco


Don’t let your coffee habit take a vacation. Instant coffee or drippy, watery sludge from a gas station shouldn’t be your drink of choice to stay pepped up when you’re on-the-go. Minipresso by Wacaco offers you a delicious espresso shot in a container no bigger than a smart phone. You can fit it into your suitcase or backpack, the Minipresso is portable and leak-proof. The device is hand operated which means Minipresso doesn’t require compressed air, N2O cartridges or electricity for its operation. It also uses different water tanks so you can prepare your favorite types of espresso without changing anything. With a retail price of $49 it’s an affordable option too. Now you can get your coffee buzz even when you’re way out in the wilderness, you’ll need it for those long hikes.


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The sharing economy now comes to parking spots. Find or rent parking in cities around the world with MobyPark. It can be a real pain finding parking at a busy urban or even vacation destination. Parking spots are also expensive for their owners if not wrapped into their mortgage or rent. MobyPark solves both those problems with online booking for parking spaces, helping car park owners as well as private home owners. Save time, money, and aggravation by using MobyPark instead of driving around endlessly, all to put your car in a $25 per hour lot. MobyPark is only available in Europe at this time.

Shadow Wireless Earphones by Sol Republic


There seems to be a semi-monopoly on headphones between two companies. Let’s allow a third worthy contender into the race, shall we? Shadow Wireless Earphones by Sol Republic are lightweight and fit your ear like an old pair of tennis shoes (they don’t smell like an old pair of tennis shoes, though.) The fully flexible design allows the headphones to rest comfortably on your neck (like a small horse collar style) even when you’re moving quickly. Since it is wireless and connected via Bluetooth, keep your phone in your pocket all day while you listen to music and chat on the phone with Shadow. The sound is powerful and the minimalist design fits with any outfit. Ideal for plane rides, walking around a new city or taking a run on the beach. These headphones retail for $100.

To-Go Ware


Safe, innovative, environmentally friendly, convenient, and affordable To-Go Ware offers bamboo or silicone kitchen products like utensils and pans meant for outdoor use. Perfect for camping, general travel, and even in-home use, they have a whole suite of products for online shopping. The utensils are especially awesome. Super lightweight, they come in a convenient package WITH a carabiner that you can attach to things when on-the-go. The bamboo isn’t flimsy at all and you can even cut apples without worrying it might break. To-Go Ware items range from $8 to $50.



In the airport or on the road traveling, you’re always on the move. You need your coffee to keep you pepped up, or you need some type of liquid to stay hydrated. It’s impossible to zip through the terminal with a drink in one hand, two carryons, a stroller and whatever else you may be pushing. The tugo® is an ingenious cup holder that keeps your drink suspended between the upright handles of your rolling bag. Its unique design keeps your cup level to prevent sloshing. Easily attached and removed, tugo collapses to fit in any pocket of your carry-on luggage. This way, you’ll keep spills at bay while you cruise through to your layover gate. tugo cups are $10-12.



Nothing improves a long flight or a stressful vacation like getting drunk. Unfortunately glass bottles break and plastic bottles leak if not stored and shipped carefully. Enter WineSkin, a transport bag is the first and only way to safely and securely transport wine and other bottles no matter where you go. Created with two strong brand-name adhesive seals, WineSkin secures 750-ml (or smaller) bottles for the trade and public by incorporating strong, shock-absorption materials with leak-proof confidence. Certain options have handles for easy carrying, and you can buy a skin in your favorite color. WineSkin is available at fine wine and spirits retailers worldwide, as well as wineries and tasting rooms. A 2-pack of this super charged bubble wrap retails around $6.


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Zolt Laptop Charger Plus is the world’s smallest, lightest and smartest laptop charger that delivers streamlined, intelligent, multi-device charging for life on the go. Four times smaller and three times lighter than traditional adapters, Zolt allows users to simultaneously charge their laptop and two additional devices – such as tablets, smartphones, digital cameras, portable speakers and more. The innovators at Zolt have blended revolutionary design with trusted engineering – such as Zolt ERC™ (Efficient Resonant Control) technology, which prioritizes and analyzes each device to provide optimal charging delivering a new breed of power adapters to today’s always connected consumers. The Zolt retails for $100.


I want my wedding to be just like everyone else’s and as expensive as possible…said no one ever.

Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the best days of your life, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your own personal style or break the bank to achieve wedding day bliss. One way to meet such perfection is to rent a vacation home as the venue for your nuptials. Vacation rentals offer unique, cost effective solutions when it comes to the details that are important to you as you plan your momentous celebration.

To start, the sky’s the limit when it comes to location and an ideal setting for your wedding if you decide to book a vacation rental. This is because rentals come in all shapes, sizes and locations making it possible for you to turn your dream into a reality. Sites like FlipKey offer thousands of rental options ranging from rustic countryside farms to charming castles, so you won’t have to settle as you plan your big day. Picking a private vacation rental will ensure that you’re in your preferred location and that only invited guests are in attendance.bridesmaids_backyard_home

Once you’ve chosen the perfect vacation rental for your wedding, you’ll have the flexibility to handpick the vendors you want for your special day. That mouthwatering filet mignon from your favorite restaurant or the famous BBQ from a local establishment become possible meal options when you use a vacation rental as your venue. This is because you won’t have to go with more expensive options that a generic reception hall or bustling hotel might need.

Since most wedding-friendly vacation rentals offer affordable nightly and weekly rates you’ll save a buck or two that you can put toward a romantic honeymoon. You’ll likely need to book the rental for many days at a time, which will help you save on separate fees and charges that you’d typically rack up on rehearsal, ceremony and reception costs at a more traditional venue. The extra time on the property, especially before the ceremony, will reduce any last minute stress and give you time to put any finishing touches on the décor.

Finally, having the vacation rental for several days also means that the reception doesn’t have to end early or at a designated time. You can continue to dance the night away with family and friends for as long as you’d like. You and your wedding party can even crash at the rental saving money on costly hotel rooms. Vacation rentals offer all the comforts of a home away from home so don’t be afraid to take advantage of amenities like a gourmet kitchen or hot tub to keep the party going.

Keep in mind that not all properties have to feel like you are hosting your wedding at someone else’s home. From sprawling Cape Cod beach houses with room for the whole family to reconnect throughout the wedding festivities, to organic farms with rustic barns and a farmhouse for the couple to stay after a night of dancing under the stars and a bonfire, you can rent a property that feels authentic to your personal style.

If you envision your fairytale wedding to be unique, personal and affordable then start browsing vacation rentals for your perfect venue.



Guest post by: Ritani

Whether you’re planning a surprise vacation proposal or dreaming of the perfect destination wedding, it is so important to keep your jewelry safe and secure while you travel. The emotional significance of engagement rings, in particular, means that careful precautions should be made to ensure that they don’t go missing during transportation.

Look at your existing jewelry insurance coverage to check whether it will be applicable if you take the pieces outside of your home state or country. If not, consider an additional plan or upgrade that will protect you from theft, loss or damage while you are away. “If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to bring some form of proof of ownership (i.e. a copy of the receipt or insurance policy). This could prevent any potential trouble when going through customs,” says Courtney Cox, an editor at Destination I Do Magazine.

If you are popping the question to an unsuspecting partner, it makes sense to keep the engagement ring somewhere secretive but safe during your travels. Don’t pack the ring box in checked luggage, and keep an eye on your carry-on bag as you go through security. Once on the plane, either keep the bag under the seat in front of you or take the ring out and keep it on your person before using the overhead bins. You really don’t want that ring to disappear!

While traveling to a destination wedding, you’ll want to keep both wedding rings safe and secure. The advantage here, unlike with a proposal scenario, is that you don’t need to keep the box hidden from your partner. Communicate clearly over which bag should hold the rings, and who should be primarily responsible for carrying that bag. Again, don’t pack the rings in checked luggage: keep them on your person and if you have to remove them while going through security, take care. Ritani-Wedding-Bands

For honeymoon trips, it is standard to take some precious jewelry along. Even if your trip is more casual in nature, or an action-packed vacation, you may want to dress up in the evenings and wear some sparkle. Whether it is your engagement ring, wedding band, or a beautiful pair of diamond earrings, take care to pack your jewelry appropriately so that it is not damaged during transportation.

If you are truly concerned that your jewelry might be damaged or lost during a honeymoon or destination wedding, consider leaving it at home or in a safe deposit box. It will be there when you return, ready for you to enjoy through all the years ahead. “If you’re a forgetful person who might leave your ring on the bathroom sink, it might be wise to leave it at home. A great middle ground might be to wear a less-expensive or less-meaningful ring on your wedding finger while traveling,” Courtney at Destination I Do Magazine advises.

Packing suitcase

As fun as traveling is, nothing is worse than being unprepared for a trip the night before you are scheduled to leave or when you have already departed for your destination. Here are some valuable tips to stay ahead of the curve for your next big vacation.

  • Choose your rental type wisely. Not every hotel is great or affordable. In fact, vacation rental sites like Flipkey and TripAdvisor offer hundreds of thousands of great rentals that are often priced at lower rates and offer a more personal vacation experience.
  • Before you depart, make sure your iPod or musical device is charged and up to date with your new favorite playlist that is suited for your trip. As an example, I am taking a trip to the Southwest U.S. next month and have a full slate of Motorhead,Pantera, and U2’s “Joshua Tree” album ready to go.
  • Save images of anything important (i.e. identification, travel documents) to your phone or laptop to avoid carrying/losing hard copies.
  • “When in doubt, throw it out.” If you don’t need something for your trip, don’t bring it. Use that room to buy goodies on your trip and give your suitcase breathing room. The lighter you pack, the easier of a time you will have getting through airport security as well.
  • Keep hygiene products with your carry-on. If you notice no one has walked within 10 feet of you for an extended period of time, there might be a problem. Deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cologne, and tissues are just some recommendations to avoid a worst-case scenario.
  • Iron your clothes ahead of time, or just wear non-ironable clothes. Roll the clothes in your suitcase so creases are less likely to occur and you have more room.
  • Universal power adapters, chargers, and batteries are highly recommended. For those looking to go all out, bring a power strip. Hotel frontdesks often have spares and will let you borrow one during your stay as well. Some vacation rentals may not however, so make sure you have backup.
  • Pack to adapt so that whatever the forecast is, you will be ready for it. This will apply to some locations more so than others, but make sure to have that extra lightweight jacket, sunscreen, or umbrella saved.
  • Prepare a budget for your trip. If you are traveling to a different country, research the exchange rate ahead of time. Make a souvenir list that you want for yourself and friends. Plan day-by-day budgets so you won’t be bankrupt.
  • Use Google Earth or Google Maps to research your location and the surrounding area before your trip. Not only are you less likely to get lost, but both applications include nearby restaurants and attractions that you can visit. Travel services such as Uber are also extremely valuable to get from point A to point B, so make sure you have those apps downloaded.
  • Bring Ziploc bags to preserve any valuable items or to keep toiletries organized. This will prevent losing items and will help to avoid scratches.
  • Don’t be afraid to go old school. If you want to rock a fanny pack to stay organized or buy a few disposable cameras for that must-save Kodak moment if your phone is dead, these could come in handy when you might least expect it.


I have always found the first step in planning a vacation to be the most difficult. That step is deciding what destination to visit. Once you’ve researched different locations and chosen your destination, the rest of the planning can be accomplished with the help of a comprehensive vacation checklist. Check out FlipKey’s below, organized by the different stages of a vacation – planning, traveling, and returning home.

Planning (3-9 Months Out):

  1. Once you’ve decided where to go, set a budget for your vacation. This sets the tone for the rest of your vacation planning.
  2. Research the location to find out what the best time to visit is, so you can pick your travel dates. Pay attention to the seasons and predicted weather patterns that could affect your vacation.
  3. Make sure that all forms of identification are current.
  4. Research flight prices on different travel sites.
  5. Request the time off from work.
  6. Book your flight. Booking in advance will save you money that you can put toward sightseeing.
  7. Research accommodations that meet your needs. For example, are you looking to stay in a vacation rental or at a hotel?
  8. Book your accommodation and confirm the check-in time.
  9. Arrange transportation from the airport to your accommodation or reserve a rental car.
  10. Schedule tours and excursions and print out tickets ahead of time for these activities.
  11. Print out your itinerary and travel documents and store in a folder for easy reference.
  12. If necessary, make sure to get any required vaccinations or shots before traveling.
  13. Arrange pet care ahead of time in case a visit to the vet is required first.

Planning (2 – 4 Weeks Out):

  1. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail or ask the post office to hold it while you’re gone.
  2. Email your itinerary to family or friends so people know where you can be reached in an emergency.
  3. Make copies of your ID and credit cards and add to your travel folder.
  4. Call your bank to let them know you’ll be traveling, so you don’t run into any issues using your debit or credit cards on vacation.
  5. Create a travel itinerary that includes an overview of your trip details as well as a daily plan of attack for seeing all the desired sights.

Planning (1 Week Out):

  1. Confirm your reservation and check-in/check-out time at your accommodation. Don’t forget to request early check-in if needed in order to coordinate with your flight arrival time.
  2. Fill any prescriptions needed for the trip, and purchase snacks that you can eat while you’re on-the-go.
  3. Call your cell phone provider to adjust your plan if additional coverage is needed during your trip.
  4. Read up about any baggage fees that the airline charges and decide about checking luggage.
  5. Buy quart-size baggies for liquids and other travel size items.
  6. Check the weather for an idea of what you will need to pack.
  7. Start putting aside outfits that you plan to wear on your trip. If you’re not going to wear it in the next week, it can go in your suitcase.
  8. Arrange return transportation. A smooth return home will eliminate some of the post-vacation blues and stress that can come at the end of a great trip.
  9. Withdraw a small amount of cash or get traveler’s checks to have on hand while you’re traveling.

Planning (1 Day Out):

  1. Set a timer for at least one light in your house. This will give the appearance that your home isn’t empty while you’re gone.
  2. Put on your out of office responder at work.
  3. Finish packing the baggage you plan to check. Don’t forget items, such as chargers, comfortable shoes, Band-Aids, sunscreen, a bag for dirty laundry or an umbrella.
  4. Put together a small carry on with the essentials just in case your baggage were to be lost. Carry on items like your folder with travel documents, medications, and a pair of underwear.
  5. Check in for your flight and print out your boarding pass.
  6. Take out the trash to avoid coming home to a smelly home.
  7. Unplug appliances (except the freezer) so you can be worry-free on vacation.
  8. Adjust the thermostat to keep air circulating, or program it to set and hold at a certain temperature.
  9. Check in for your flight and print out your boarding pass.

Planning (Day Of):

  1. Pack last minute toiletries.
  2. Check the status of your flight.
  3. Turn off all lights, set your alarm and lock the doors.
  4. Arrive at the airport with ample time to check bags and get through security.

While Traveling:

  1. Browse through guidebooks for your destination while you’re in transit.
  2. Keep your camera and phone charged each day to avoid missing out on a great photo-op.
  3. Bring a journal and jot down experiences and key moments as you travel.
  4. If you’ve brought a computer, upload your photos and caption them so you don’t forget the significance of each photo.

Upon Return:

  1. Unpack immediately. Don’t fall into the trap of living out of a suitcase.
  2. Pick up your pet.
  3. Wash all of your dirty laundry.
  4. Grocery shop and use the fresh start to get back into a good routine.
  5. Catch up on sleep.
  6. Print out photos and share your trip while the experiences are fresh in your mind.

Couple Travel Map

Traveling domestically or abroad with your significant other can be a wonderful experience, bringing you closer together with your partner while expanding your cultural appreciation. Whether you spend a week on a beach together, or two weeks traveling from city to city in Europe, vacation time with your spouse can be relaxing, fulfilling, and a whole lot of fun.

Honestly though: it can also be a royal pain too. “Where do you want to eat?” “Where’s the hotel?” “Where do we exchange money?” “Did you pay that cab driver too much?” “Seriously, WHERE is our hotel?” “If I have to tell you one more time to put on sunscreen I am going to lose it.”

While some couples have a sick goal of bickering on every continent, others want their trip to run as smoothly as possible. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top 25 couples travel blogs to follow this year – that way you can emulate their successes, learn from their mistakes, and keep your next trip in the “fond memory” category and not remember it as the start of your breakup.

1000 Fights

1000Fights.com offers an irreverent take on travel, relationships and what happens when you combine the two. The Fighting couple bring their edgy perspectives on some of the most gorgeous places on earth. – Mike & Luci, 1000 Fights @1000fights

A Cruising Couple

Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds behind A Cruising Couple – adventure travel with a dash of class. Not only do they have a great personality that shines through their blog, they also have some impressive adventure stories and first-rate travel photography. – Dan & Casey, A Cruising Couple @ACruisingCouple

Captain & Clark

Chris and Tawny met while climbing Kilimanjaro, dated in Thailand and South Korea, and eventually got engaged at the Taj Mahal. These two share an addiction to adventure and a lust for exploration. Follow along on their journey through videos and posts on their blog, Captain and Clark. – Chris & Tawny, Captain and Clark @CaptainandClark

Contented Traveller

Paula and Gordon travel their own way in search of authentic local experiences. They believe in serendipity as many of their unique adventures have come from random events and situations. – Paula & Gordon, Contented Traveller @GordyandPaula

Don’t Ever Look Back

Don’t Ever Look Back is a travel blog written by Amy and Kieron. We’re a couple in our twenties that were born, raised and currently reside in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. After our first international trip together in 2007, the travel bug bit us hard and it’s always been a case of “where to next?” – a question we often get asked by friends and relatives. Our dreams and our priorities right now revolve around travel and our aim is to significantly expand on the 13 countries we’ve visited over the past 5 years. – Amy & Kieron, Don’t Ever Look Back @AmzKiz

Enjoy the Journey

After meeting at Leeds University in England, Gaz and I, decided it was time to see the world. So we sold everything we owned and packed what was left into a 65l rucksack. Working and saving hard for a year prior to our leaving date on 01/11/11 meant we’ve been able to explore some fascinating places and learn more about the world, and ourselves, than we could have ever imagined. Since then we’ve visited the USA, the Caribbean, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Vietnam, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. We’ve both become Advanced Divers and fallen in love with life by the sea; surfing, kite-surfing, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing and of course, scuba diving. We’re currently soaking up the sun and perfecting our surfing skills in Bali. We always travel slowly, often spending time living and working in each country, so we usually have at least a tip or two to offer! – Beth & Gaz, Enjoy the Journey @etjourney

Four Jandals

Four Jandals offers top Travel Tips, Adventure Guides and Travel Photos to help you step outside your comfort zone, in comfort! Our posts aim to not only inspire you to travel, but be helpful and a little humorous at the same time.It doesn’t matter if you are a travelling couple, independent traveller or a family, whether planning a weekend getaway, annual holiday or your very own year long career break. Learn from our years of combined travel to get the best out of yours. – Moss & Rebecca, Four Jandals @FourJandals

Goats on the Road

“Our website is designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. We’re masters at making money abroad and have turned our travels into a way of life! We’ve been on the road since 2008 exploring some of the least visited regions on Earth, and have lots of stories and great advice to share. Follow us to learn how you too can make money on the road and travel forever. Nick & Dariece, Goats on the Road @GoatsontheRoad 

GQ Trippin

G & Q are a Bay Area couple who simply love food and travel. Check out their site for RTW planning tips and good eats across the globe. – Gerard & Kieu, GQ Trippin @GQTrippin

Green Global Travel

Mary and I founded Green Global Travel because we’re passionate about ecotourism, and believe in its potential to help save the world’s indigenous nature, wildlife and cultures. People should visit our site for our amazing adventures around the world, from getting face-to-face with polar bears in Canada to taking the polar plunge in Antarctica, from hugging a moose in Sweden to sleeping in a Bedouin camp in Jordan. Our goal is to show that sustainable travel can also be a lot of fun. – Bret & Mary, Green Global Travel @GreenGlobalTravl

Hecktic Travels

We aren’t much for giving travel tips, but if you want to be swept away to a foreign land with choice photography and video, stories of meeting new people, feasting on new foods and experiences, then that is what we are here for. – Dalene & Pete, Hecktic Travels @HeckticTravels

Latitude 34

Having already traveled to over 34 countries in 2014, Jeff and Marina of Latitude 34 use their blog to inspire those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. While they focus on off the beaten path travel, it doesn’t mean they do it on the cheap as they focus on luxury adventure around the world. So whether ice swimming in Finnish Lapland or roaming through the Great Pyramids, Jeff and Marina will show you all you need to know to enjoy an amazing holiday while in the comfort of some of the most beautiful accommodations in the world – Travel Like You Mean It! – Jeff & Marina, Latitude 34 @Lat34Travel

Living the Dream

Living the Dream is a long-term travel planning resource run by husband and wife team Jeremy and Angie. The site covers stories, tips, and planning advice from 66 countries (and growing) to get you out exploring the world for months or years on end! – Jeremy & Angie, Living the Dream @LivingDreamRTW

Mr. & Mrs. Globetrot

Following their wedding a few years ago, Julia and Yuriy took off on a 6 month trip around the world. Ever since, they are constantly looking for an opportunity to hit the road and escape home. They are photographers for a living, so you can expect a lot of beautiful imagery on the blog. – Julia & Yuriy, Mr. & Mrs. Globetrot @juliamanchik, @yuriymanchik

Positive World Travel

Positive World Travel was created by us-couple Anthony Milotic and Elise Reeks. We are two Australians who worked hard at saving for 3 years and while these years of saving were to be for a house, in the end, we decided rather than a mortgage we  wanted use that money to travel the world! So thats what we did! We quit our jobs, packed and sold many of our belongings and started our indefinite travels around the world. Anthony is a Chef by trade and I am a Primary School Teacher and we both strongly believe that traveling allows us to not only explore these passions further but to discover new ones too. We have both always loved to travel and have been overseas many times before we met one another, so when we travel together it is always a great adventure! We love to learn about the world, how others live their lives, find people and places difference to our own, enjoy these experiences, then take it all and live the most positive life we can! – Anthony & Elise, Positive World Travel @positivetravel

The GypsyNester

GypsyNester.com offers travel insights on both “Bucket List” and off the beaten path destinations from an active baby boomer / empty nest perspective. Join us in our adventures and we’ll do the crazy stuff like eat bugs and jump out of airplanes, so you don’t have to. – Veronica & David, The GypsyNester @GypsyNester

The Travel Manuel

Follow us as we travel around the globe in search of real coffee, coastline ( preferably with waves) and stories to tell. We also share helpful tips for expats, seasoned/newbie travellers and couples on the road. – Vaughan & Lauren, The Travel Manuel @thetravelmanuel

Trans-Americas Journey

This married team of road trippers has spent nearly 8 years and more than 150,000 miles on the road in the Americas with no end in sight. They combine their talents as a professional travel journalist (Karen Catchpole) and professional photographer (Eric Mohl) to bring readers of the Trans-Americas Journey travel blog comprehensive information about independent travel in North, Central and South America told with veracity, humor and an eye for the unexpected. – Eric & Karen, Trans-Americas Journey @transamericas

Travel With A Couple

There can’t be two opinions on love for travel. Everyone agrees to agree and waits for an opportunity. And there are a few good things about blogging as well. For instance, no disappointments when an editor of a magazine rejects a piece. Or there is no restriction to write a story in 600 words. And certainly one can be enough of a narcissist with as many photographs of oneself. So here we are. Bitten by the travel bug many years back, but have been traveling only since 2004, after coming to Mumbai.  With treks, road trips, back-pack trips and adventure camps we have utilised almost all our weekends. We have been doing ‘photo-blogging’ – blogs with only photographs from each of our trips. The links can be found elsewhere in this blog. – Unny & Bindhu, Travel With A Couple

Traveling 9 to 5

Traveling 9 to 5 is for travelers who are tired of the 9 – 5 lifestyle and want to get out from behind their desk and see the world first hand. We offer stories from our own experiences, budgeting tips and inspiration to overcome the fear and excuses holding you back, and begin traveling! As a couple you see the best and the worst in each other, and we try to write honestly about how to travel together and stay together 🙂 – Caroline & Josh, Traveling 9 to 5 @traveling9to5

Turtles Travel

With a decade of nomadic experiences together around the globe, we encourage people to break out of their shell and explore our amazing world. Making travel a priority is the first step, and TurtlesTravel is filled with advice on where and how to go from there! – Heather & Donny, Turtles Travel @turtlestravel

Uncornered Market

If you’re interested in adventure, food and the transformational power of travel, then Uncornered Market is the place to find it all, including how to do all this as a married couple. – Daniel & Audrey, Uncornered Market @umarket

Vagabond Quest

Hi! We are Dina and Ryan. We are backpackers. We have been on the road since April 2009, and we have hit more than 20 countries. We are fascinated by the differences between places that we’ve been. The traditions, the norms, and the behavior. We love to see the new things that are not usually found from where we are, like the remnants of ancient civilizations for example.Us, the two backpacks, and the clothes that we are wearing, that’s all what we have, and we certainly enjoy this simplicity. Some people ask, when will be the end of our journey? When are we going to settle? Our answer is, we don’t know yet. The world is a big place to explore, who knows what happen in the future. We will continue to explore while it’s possible. – Dina & Ryan, Vagabond Quest @vagabondquest

Wandering On

Travelling is something that we are both very passionate about and we have built our lives around it, travelling full time since 2009. We love having adventures, getting off the beaten track and spending time in places rather than doing whistle stop tours. Travelling as a couple, we get to share all these amazing experiences with each other such as trekking for 23 days in Nepal, diving World War 2 wrecks in the Philippines, visiting remote tribes in West Timor, teaching English in South Korea, spending 6 months backpacking through India and climbing volcanos in Sumatra. On our website, Wandering On, we offer travel tips and guides and do our best to share our travel experiences through stories, photos and videos. We hope to inspire others to get out there and see some of what this amazing world has to offer. – Brian & Noelle, Wandering On @wanderingon_bn

World Walk About

We embarked on our second big adventure soon after our wedding–we quit our jobs as a marketing copywriter and a high school science teacher, put our wedding gifts in storage, left our home in Seattle and moved to South Korea to teach English. We spent a year learning Korean, trying new foods, using a lot of make-shift sign language and exploring as much of Korea as we could squeeze in! After our contracts in Korea ended, we took off on a nearly three-month adventure through Southeast Asia–eating street food, wandering through temples, and sunning ourselves on impossibly beautiful beaches. Now we’re back in the USA and seeking out travel and adventure in our own country. We’re not sure where our wanderlust will take us next, but we can’t wait to find out. We hope you enjoy walking about the world with us! – Matt & Andrea, World Walk About @andreasherrodd


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Trinidad & Tobago

Background about the country

Trinidad & Tobago are composed of two tiny islands, it is a relatively “new country”, with only 52 years of independence from the UK. Trinidad is considered the financial capital and Tobago is mostly known for its breathtaking beaches and relaxed environment. Their population is 1,223,916, which is approximately the population of Dallas, TX and they are also considered one of the most ethically diverse countries in the world. Random fun fact: believe it or not, Nicki Minaj is Trinidadian.

Their currency is called the Trinidad & Tobago dollar and it is worth approximately 0.16 USD. That being said, here are some tips to enjoy the most this beautiful country within a small budget.


Since there is not much information about T&T online (seriously) it can be kind of hard to find a place to stay. But don’t feel so lost! Flipkey offers a variety of options and prices for vacation home rentals in Trinidad & Tobago.


All the public transportation within the island (taxi, mini-vans, bus) costs $1 to $3 dollars, which gives you a lot of mobility to go everywhere. The best way to get transportation from anywhere in Trinidad is from Port of Spain (the capital, located in Trinidad). From there you can go to amazing places such as Maracas Beach, Las Cuevas Beach, the National Academy of Performing Arts, many parks, restaurants and more.

To move around Tobago is a bit more complicated, the ferry from Trinidad to Tobago is around $8. There are not many taxis around, so I would recommend you just set a time with a local tour agency and they will make sure to find someone to take you around the island. Since this would be like a private driver experience, they would probably charge you around $20 to drive you around for the whole day, so you get the chance to experience Castara Beach, Mt. Irvine Beach, Pirate’s Bay Beach, and its many waterfalls and lakes – all for free entrance!


Due to Trinidad & Tobagos ethnic diversity you can find all types of food in the area. I stayed in a city called St. James and we would walk on the streets for 4 blocks and find varieties of fresh fruit, baked goods, Chinese food, fancy Italian food, a lot of Indian food and typical Trini Food (Shark & Bake, Doubles). Street food normally costs $1 to $7 (you can get a combo of gyros, sandwiches and Doubles, depending on how hungry you are); there are some “set meals” restaurants that are also really popular and cost you around $8 for a good amount of food and a drink. And if none of the options above entice you there is also a Supermarket nearby in which you can buy “familiar” food, but believe me, you won’t want to miss the street food.

Party Life:

Trinis are really excited and proud about their Carnival, which happens every February. At this time of year, the locals wear typical Carnival clothes, drink a lot of alcohol and dance to Soca (typical Caribbean music). But, if you are not there during February, you can simply go to Ariapita Avenue and choose one of the many bars around. Their typical beers are Stag and Carib and they would cost approximately $2. Some other fancy drinks can go up to $4 on big nightclubs such as Aria, Zen and 51. Women get in for free at clubs, but men have to pay around $5, and they are really strict about your outfit. Ladies, please wear heels; gents, wear nice shoes and don’t forget your polo shirts.

Community Service:

I do feel that it is important to pay it forward for any type of experience that you have. It is good for the mind and soul, and you don’t have to spend a dime. That being said, one amazing experience of community service that I would suggest is the Trinidad & Tobago Red Cross National Society. They provide all types of training for volunteers from disaster relief to clowning for cute kids at the hospital.

Overall, Trinidad & Tobago is an amazing and lively country, full of friendly people and places to explore. Since it is so small, you can definitely visit most of it in one month. Nature is everywhere, people are always smiling, it is a one of a kind experience –  don’t miss it!

Why stay at a hotel when you can stay at an accommodation that feels like home!? Not only do vacation rentals make for a more relaxing experience, but they give you that go-at-your-leisure pace that we all crave when taking a vacation. Of course that at home feeling makes us all comfortable; but the issue at hand is maintaining that comfortable feeling throughout the booking process. Please read on for warning signs and red flags that can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare.

Hacker in a balaclava

Before You Book…

1. Beware of Photoshopped Pictures

Does the saying “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” ring any bells? If all the photos presented on the site look professional and extra glossy, you may want to ask the owner or manager to send you more. Thanks to today’s technology you can also check the property on Google Earth to make sure it exists and looks like what is displayed online.

2. Think Twice about Super Cheap Rates

There is a reason why this particular rental is uber inexpensive as compared to its competitors. If the property you are looking to book is offered at a deep discount, you may want to reconsider. Fool the scammer by doing your homework: check out other properties in the area and see what they are quoting based on the number of rooms, amenities and attractions. Remember, a deal you cannot refuse can ultimately turn into a costly scam!

3. Read Up on the Reviews

Did you know TripAdvisor was built on customer reviews? Owners are unable to read a review before accepting it. How much more authentic can you get!? That being said, please keep in mind that not all reviews posted on an account are going to be excellent. You should raise an ear if you notice all five star comments.

Safe banking

While You Are Booking…

1. Be Sure to Pay via Credit Card

Look at it this way: If you pay with cash, how will you ever trace the transaction if necessary? If an “owner” is asking you to wire money or use a cash transfer service such as Western Union or Money Gram, walk (or better yet run!) away now. Most credit card companies give you the option to dispute the charge which gives you the option to recover fraudulent purchases. Also note that FlipKey holds your funds in an escrow account and then releases them to the owner one business day after you check in. **Learn more about the Payment Protection Guarantee (link).

2. Gauge the Owner’s Responsiveness

At first the “owner” was probably following up with you within minutes. If the “owner” begins to shy away after you have been asking more specific questions about the check in process or the location of the property, proceed with caution. Scammers prey on those who are not too savvy. Once they feel you are catching on, they will back off.

3. Go with Your Gut

Do not ever do something that you feel uneasy about. While you should keep your guard up and watch out for red flags, you should feel a certain level of comfort with your travel arrangements. If you have questions about the property, ask them! It is always best to ask later than never at all.


When on Vacation…

1. Secure Your Cell Phone

This is a top target for thieves due to the precious notes found inside: financial and personal information. Ensure your mobile device contains a password and set a low number of login attempts. You may also want to download a security app to lock your phone, locate it and/or erase the data.

2. Surf Safely

We all want to post our vacation photos on Instagram and Facebook as soon as possible. Please beware: Oftentimes scammers will make up their own “free” Wi-Fi network. From here they can access your emails as well as your bank account. As tempting as these hot spots are, refrain from doing any banking or anything that has to do with sensitive information. Verify with the owner what his/her wireless connection is and how to access it.

3. Lookout for the ATM’s

As prepared as you can be in regards to taking out money before leaving for your trip, at some point you are going to need to take out cash. Were you aware that scammers can put devices inside of the slot where you swipe your card? Be sure to cover your hand while punching in your PIN numbers! These devices contain hidden cameras that can snap a quick shot of you entering this sensitive information. Trust me it is worth walking the extra blocks to find a trusted bank than to take a risk at an unfamiliar provider.