Spain By The Parador

Parador de Almagro

In a quiet corner of La Mancha, we arrive to our accommodations for the night, a 16th century convent. Our rental car dips beneath an archway and instantly grumbles. The stones below the tires are old and bumpy, producing a sound only medieval stones can. We park in the courtyard, next to a bubbling fountain. Some other guests are arriving at the same time of the gray hair variety. The couple takes one look at my husband and I in wonder. “What are these young people doing staying in such grand digs?,” they seem to say. Tonight we aren't staying in a crumbling guesthouse, hostel or budget Continue Reading

The Long Way Around: Rookie Car Rental Mistakes To Avoid in Europe

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We picked up our car rental in Rome from a double-parked position. I should have known this was in fact a metaphor for my car rental experience in Europe this summer. Having rented vehicles in Ireland, Italy and Germany before, I figured that I had the process down. Hidden expenses and catastrophes along the way wouldn’t surprise me. As we jumped in our rented wheels in the middle of Rome’s swarming chaos, I knew right from the first seat belt click, we were already making rookie rental car mistakes in Europe. To prevent seasoned pros and also rental car rookies in the truest sense from making Continue Reading

The Rule of 7: How I Am Fashionably Carrying On For Three Months in Europe

Trying to look like a Roman goddness at Ostia Antica outside of Rome

The first time I traveled to Europe for an extensive period of time, I brought two large suitcases, a small duffle bag and a large tote. Since those early days of over-packing, each time I head to Europe for more than a month, I try to pair down how much I carry. Lugging suitcases on trains, planes and across cobbled cities while dodging tour groups is every traveler’s hellish, sweaty nightmare. Those condensed packing lists advising to just pack two T-shirts, one tank top, three dresses and four pairs of underwear aren’t up any sort of alley I want to be on in the first place. Traveling Continue Reading

To Cube or Not To Cube? Revelations on Packing Cubes

Packing cubes

When I first used packing cubes, my motives were for one reason and one reason only. I wanted to bring more without taking up the extra space. I would load up packing cubes until they seemed more like packing bowling balls, heavy and cumbersome. At times I worried they would burst open due to the overloading. As these cubes ended up being more of a hindrance, I wrote off packing cubes, concluding they were actually space hoarders and that simple and careful placement of items in a bag could allow you to bring more instead. As I prepare to spend three months in Europe this summer, I am Continue Reading

The Root of The Matter: How To Pack For Your Mane

Regular Sized Hair Appliances vs Mini Sized Hair Appliances

For most women, travel can take its toll on our heads of hair. From weird curls that spring up without warning to hair dryers that take down the electricity at your bed and breakfast overseas, traveling and packing for your mane can end up being your main packing problem. At the same time, packing for your hair can take up a great deal of space in your suitcase. From hair appliances to bottles of shampoo, I wanted to get to the root of the matter. For my upcoming three months in Europe, I need to be as compact as possible. This week I’m sharing how I go about packing compactly and smartly for Continue Reading

Avoiding Bankruptcy When Shopping For a Summer Flight To Europe

European Boarding Pass

As I shopped for my flight to Europe this upcoming May, I read article after article about how to score the best-priced flight. Some experts told the day, the very hour in which you should book your flight overseas. Others recommended going in the off-season. The flights will be cheaper and so will the accommodations, car rentals and meals. I didn’t want to go in the off-season. I wanted to experience Europe in the summer, when places are actually open and the scenery can be at its most bright and vivid. The true challenge of shopping for a flight to Europe is scoring a good deal in the Continue Reading

Packing Predicament: How To Keep Your Shoes From Taking Over Your Luggage

Shoes all folded up

This post is part of a new series I am introducing in which I tackle a packing predicament. If you have a packing problem in need of solving that you would like to see featured here, shoot me an email and I might feature an answer for you.  Time and time again, I pack up my suitcase with a sense of accomplishment. I gather up all of my clothing items and fit them accordingly, admiring just how easy the whole process seemed. When I reach the end of the road, the end of the line with my clothing items to pack, there is always dread over what comes next. I must then find space for shoes, those Continue Reading