24 travel hacks for a safe & stress-free trip

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? It can be a lot of work to prepare for a getaway. From finding coverage at work and making plans, to air travel and all that site seeing – it can be exhausting.

Here are some tips that can make travel worry-free so you’ll have more time for fun. Continue reading “24 travel hacks for a safe & stress-free trip”

In my bag: 9 travel-sized beauty essentials

Unless I’m heading out on a business trip, I’m not a high-maintenance traveler in terms of my beauty routine. I don’t need a hairdryer, curling iron or flat iron while I’m on the road. While I use those products at home, they only weigh down my bag and take up space that could be better used for souvenirs.

When it comes to toiletries, I prefer airplane-approved, multi-tasking products. Even if I’m traveling with a huge backpack, I prefer carrying my toiletries with me.
Here are the 9 essential beauty products that I can’t travel without: Continue reading “In my bag: 9 travel-sized beauty essentials”

Review: Colonial Colombia with Intrepid Travel

As I mentioned in previous posts, I went on 9-day tour through Colombia with Intrepid Travel. If you want some travel inspiration, check out some of my favorite photos from Colombia.

The itinerary
This tour is actually the second part of a 15-day Colombia tour called Complete Colombia. The first part of the tour starts in Bogota and ends in Cartagena. My portion of the tour started in Cartagena and ended in Bogota. Some of my fellow travelers joined the full 15-day tour and had great things to say about it. If you can swing the time off, I highly recommend it. Continue reading “Review: Colonial Colombia with Intrepid Travel”

How to save for your next vacation

I’m a firm believer that just about anyone can go on vacation, even if money is tight. If traveling is your biggest priority in life, you can get there with a savings plan and a bit of creativity.

Don’t let other people discourage you. Saving for a vacation is all about trade-offs and priorities. Someone else’s priority might be saving for a new car or buying a new house. I have a few savings accounts but I put the bulk of my savings into my travel fund since it’s a huge priority for me. Fancy designer shoes and going to movies? Not so much. Continue reading “How to save for your next vacation”

Two days in Cartagena, Colombia

In a previous post, I talked about the beginning of my Colombia trip and how it wasn’t exactly the start I was looking for.

My trip started in Cartagena, Colombia and I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I would’ve liked due to my luggage issues. I only had a couple of partial days to explore but I tried to make the most of them by seeing as much as possible. Indigenous people founded the city known today as Cartagena as early as 4000BC and it was officially founded in 1533. Cartagena’s colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

I arrived in Cartagena on Friday, February 21st and a wall of hot, humid air greeted me as I stepped off the plane. Since I didn’t have any checked luggage, I quickly made my way to the taxi stand, paid around $7 USD for a cab and checked in at my hotel, Villa Colonial, which is just outside the walled portion of Cartagena, in Getsemani. The hotel is a bargain at around $35 for night and the staff were some of the nicest hotel staff I’ve encountered in all of my travels.

Hotel Villa Colonial, Cartagena
Hotel Villa Colonial

My first order of business was to buy some new clothing since I arrived wearing a thick sweater and winter running tights, not ideal in 90-degree weather. Also: I didn’t follow my own advice and pack a change of clothes. I wandered around the cobblestone streets and managed to buy a couple of outfits and some replacement toiletries using my broken Spanish. I almost left my passport in my hotel room but in hindsight, I’m glad I brought it with me. In order to use my credit card, I had to provide my passport. Compared to the rest of Colombia, Cartagena is expensive and I spent much more than I would’ve liked on replacement clothing. Thankfully, I purchased travel insurance before I left and it covered most of the cost.

I spent the next couple of days wandering the streets, people-watching and trying delicious Colombian cuisine. Don’t try to rush through an itinerary in Cartagena – part of the beauty of this destination is wandering the streets and getting lost. At every turn, there’s another colonial building, a street vendor selling snacks or a plaza with a set of comfortable chairs. Plus, the heat is pretty intense and chances are, you won’t feel up to rushing to tourist attractions.

Everyone in Cartagena that I encountered was warm, friendly and very patient when dealing with my abysmal Spanish skills. If you’re from the U.S., you’ve probably heard over the years that Colombia is a dangerous, scary place to visit. I took the normal precautions that I would anywhere in the world and I didn’t feel threatened or unsafe at any point.

I recommend visiting Cartagena in combination with some other cities in Colombia but if you’re short on time, it’s a location that can keep you occupied for a few days. It’s also a very short (2.5 hours) flight from Miami, making it one of the most accessible South American destinations.

Here are some more photos from Cartagena:

Popsicles Cartagena
The most delicious popsicles I’ve ever had. Can’t remember the name of this place.
Cartagena Colombia
Lime seller
Cartagena Colombia
Typical street scene in Cartagena
Cartagena Colombia
The plaza just on the other side of the clock tower
Cartagena clock tower
The clock tower in Cartagena
Colonial building Cartagena
One of the many colonial buildings in Cartagena
Cartagena Colombia
A fruit seller on the street.
Cartagena at sunset
Near the city’s seawall at sunset.
Plaza Santo Domingo, Cartagena
The naked bronze lady in the Santo Domingo plaza.



































































































Two Days in Cartagena, Colombia





Packing light: From a reformed over-packer

I’m about to take my third trip to Italy later this month and could not be more excited. Especially since this time, I’m going with my new husband and close friends. I love thinking about all of the adventures we’ll go on, the amazing sights we’ll see and the delicious (hopefully) food we’ll eat. The one thing I dread: Packing. Continue reading “Packing light: From a reformed over-packer”

Half of Americans don’t use their vacation time

I read an article about Americans and vacation time that made me sad. According to a survey by Glassdoor, the average U.S. worker only takes half of his or her eligible paid vacation time and 15% of U.S. employees don’t take any vacation time at all. Perhaps even worse, nearly 60% of workers who take vacation time check email and stay connected to the office. Continue reading “Half of Americans don’t use their vacation time”

8 reasons why cruises aren’t for me

The cruise ship swayed with the waves while my sister and I watched Up on repeat. It was the third day of our four-day cruise to the Bahamas and we were at sea the entire day. The motion sickness medication wasn’t working; walking, sleeping and watching TV didn’t help my nausea either. It was 3 pm and I wanted off the boat but our cruise ship didn’t return to Cape Canaveral, FL until 4 pm the following day. I’ve never wanted a vacation to be over with so fast. While I enjoyed the time spent with my sister, we both decided that in the future, we’ll skip the cruise and head straight to a destination. Continue reading “8 reasons why cruises aren’t for me”