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10 Ways To Style Up Your Travel Outfit

By Dana Hughes

Travelling is always tiring and time consuming. Running through airports or train stations, checking maps and making sure we stop at gas stations for a refill, sucks up almost all our energy.  So we usually like to dress as comfortable as possible in order to reduce stress. But most of the time, comfortable means boring and it really doesn’t have to be like that when it comes to your outfits. Here is a list of 10 amazingly easy ways of jazzing up your travelling clothes.

Tips For Creating A Stylish Travel Wardrobe

1. Jewelry

jewelry for travel

One of the easiest ways to really bring to life a bland travelling outfit is jewelry. This means that you can basically wear whatever you want, even jeans and hoodies as long as you sport the right amount and type of bling. For example: are you wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan?

Then throw on a multilayered necklace that includes pearls, beads, chains and crosses. Embellish your wrists with heavy bracelets and nobody will even notice you’re wearing jeans. Or, are you wearing a simple cream colored top with pants? No problem. Gold is the answer. A big chain necklace will take you out of the boring zone and into the fun and luxury one.

2. Sunglasses

sunglasses for travel up style travel fashion

If you’re travelling by car, let’s say and you have a long drive ahead of you, you will definitely need sunglasses. But, as a trick of embellishing your outfit for that journey, leave your classic Ray Bans to rest at home this time and go for a big, dazzling pair instead. You cannot go wrong or unobserved with a pair of Lolita sunglasses from LoLoBu. They have a thick white frame which is why, if you pair them off with a red hot lip, the effect is guaranteed.

You can’t go wrong with a pair of round ones, the Harry Potter type, especially if you get them in a crazy neon color from, let’s say, Dior. But 2015’s star were definitely the cat eyes sunglasses. So rock a pair of golden ones, like Quay proudly introduced this year with a completely black outfit and a hat and watch as all eyes turn on you in the crowded airport.

3. High-heels

high heels for travel fashion

I know you’re going to wrinkle your nose at the idea of going on a trip in high heels, but hear me out first. High heeled shoes are empowering, luxurious and make a statement, especially when you’re travelling. They really say: “Wow, this girl is about to go on an eight hour flight to Rome wearing sky high heels. She must really have it together. Why can’t I do that?”

Watch as you become an example and an inspiration to women around you, because, indeed, attempting an eight hour flight in high heels is a feat of strengths and if you can do it, it must really mean you’re a strong, independent woman, who does have it all together.

4. Luggage

stylish luggage for travel

Another obvious point in order to style up your travelling ensemble is the luggage. Instead of carrying your stuff around in a plain, black bag, make sure to buy an interesting, colorful and stylish one. Go romantic, for example and buy a retro one, especially if you’re travelling light, or go diva with… Chanel.

5. Scarves

scarves and travel fashion

The accessory we all love and cherish is, probably, your best friend on a trip. It’s very versatile and can serve for many other purposes, not just to hang around your neck. Therefore, when travelling, don’t think only about the comfort and warmth a scarf comes with, but design and style as well. Therefore, instead of choosing a bland one, try a plaited blanket scarf, for example, a huge shawl-like one or, why not, a head scarf.

6. Maxi Dress

travel style maxi dress

The maxi dress or skirt may seem another odd choice for travelling. That’s because when we think about going on trips, we mainly think of pants, but, actually, maxi skirts and dresses are very comfortable. More comfortable that pants even, in hot weather. So, you can choose a simple, mono chrome maxi skirt, pair it off with a crop top and you have an amazing outfit for the airplane or train, no one else will have.

7. Casual Chic

casual chic travel fashion

Probably the most eye catching and, at the same time, most comfortable style you can adopt while travelling is the boyfriend style. Grab a pair of low-waist, baggy, tattered boyfriend jeans, a white tank top, a hoodie and a baseball cap and you’ve got yourself a head-turner outfit straight out of the hood fashion, as well as one you could probably climb a mountain in.

8. Stylish Boots

travel fashion stylish travel boots

Boots are another great way of combining stylish attires with being nice and comfortable while you travel those long miles. They are clearly the way to go, almost always. We don’t recommend you travel in, let’s say, sandals. Your toes will get dirty and crushed in no time through the airport or train station. However, with boots you run no risk of that and if you can find a dazzling pair, your success is guaranteed.

9. Oversized Sweaters

travel fashion and oversized sweaters

Oversized sweaters can save you a lot of trouble. They will keep you warm and you won’t need a supplementary piece of clothing, like a cardigan or a jacket. Just the sweater will do. The world has fallen back in love with them as they re-entered the trend this year. They are highly fashionable right now and the best part – you cannot go wrong with them, no matter what pattern or color you choose.

10. Hats

stylish hats for travel

And last, but not least, hats. Either you’re travelling during summer to some hot holiday location or in winter time to a snowy one, you will still require a hat. So why not make it a jazzy one and the main attraction of your outfit? If you’re feeling bold enough, you can try a funny one, with cat ears on it, for example, because they have been in trend this year.

 

So take these ten tips and go crazy and creative with them. The purpose here is to make travelling as pleasant as possible for you, and a well put together, sparkling outfit will certainly do that.

 


dana-hughesABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana K. Hughes is a travel enthusiast and a photography student, who loves to plan unforgettable trips. She is also a dedicated writer, who loves long walks through unknown cities and spying on people’s outfits. Dana is currently doing an internship at http://serbags.com, where she writes original articles that inspire readers to showcase their individuality and bring out their personal style. You can also find her on Twitter.


 

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10 Tips For Travel To Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand. Tucked away in the mountain valleys of Thailand’s northern countryside. A place where tranquil views of rice paddy fields and waterfalls attract tourists looking for a peaceful retreat, and perhaps some meditation, from more hectic cities. After we decided to travel to Pai ourselves, we understand the appeal it has for tourists and expats in the country: lazy morning walks, motorbike rides through lush jungle and stunning landscapes, afternoon indulgences in good coffee and food and evenings spent browsing the nightly walking street.

What To Know When You Travel To Pai, Thailand

The desire to visit Pai while in Thailand has been steadily growing, but there are a few things to know before you venture all the way to this more secluded area. We’ve made our way on our own by scooter from Chiang Mai to Pai, we’ve scoured for the best accommodations to suit our needs, we’ve explored Pai and the surrounding area for things to do and we’ve dined at some amazing restaurants while there… and through all of it we’ve come away with some tips we think are important for anyone who wants to travel to Pai.

1. Choose Your Method of Transportation Wisely

drive to pai, road to pai, chiang mai to pai, how to get to pai, thailand mountain roads

The majority of people who visit this mountain valley town, head from Chiang Mai to Pai and there are several ways to do so. If you’re looking to visit Pai, you’ll want to take a look at your options and judge which makes the most sense to you.

The most popular method of transportation is by minibus or larger air-conditioned bus. The minibus is the quickest way to get there but with 762 turns to navigate, motion sickness is incredibly common and driving on a tight schedule, you’ll not be making many stops. Though it’s only around a 3 hour drive, we recommend taking this only if you’ve got a pretty strong stomach and need to get there in a hurry! At approximately 150-200 THB each way, it is also one of the cheaper options for getting yourself to Pai

If motion sickness is sure to be a problem, the air conditioned bus offers a bit less sway, though those 762 turns will still be felt. This method will take longer but will be more comfortable and will ring in a slightly cheaper tab at 100-150 THB. If you can afford to take more time to get there, we’d recommend this as it offers some more comforts.

If you’re looking for adventure, you can always rent a motorbike and drive the exhilarating route from Chiang Mai to Pai. Be forewarned: This is not a method to be taken lightly and should only be attempted by those who have experience riding motorbikes and who are comfortable with long drives on uneasy terrain. It is a route known to be prone to motorbike accidents as drivers take corners at unsafe speeds not anticipating the difficulty of the road.

Having said that, we drove from Chiang Mai to Pai and back again on motorbike and had one of the most amazing times! We took it at a comfortable pace, made sure to gas up when we could and kept hydrated. If this is something you’re looking to do, we have even more tips on getting from Chiang Mai to Pai by motorbike, including where we rented our motorbike. This method will also cost you about 200THB minimum per day but will give you the freedom to come and go as you please and eliminate having to pay for transportation once in Pai.

You can also rent a car to travel to Pai and make the ride more comfortable all around but it will increase your expenses, so price this out beforehand and explore your options!

The last main method of getting to Pai is by plane and it is also the most expensive. You’ll save time on the actual trip (only about 30 mins from Chiang Mai) but will add on time getting to and from the airport as well as time spent in the airports themselves.

Whichever method you choose, think wisely whether it is the right one for you. There are pros and cons to all options and as Pai is not the most easily accessible of places, you’ll want to be sure you’ve picked a method of transportation that offers you the safest and most comfortable option that fits within your budget.

2. Rent A Motorbike In Pai If You Didn’t Drive Up On One… But Don’t Learn There!

If riding a motorbike to Pai is not your idea of a good time, you’ll be getting to Pai with only your own two feet to get you around. For the most part, this is all you need, but if you have an urge to explore, you’ll need to either hop on a tour, hire someone to take you around or rent a motorbike once you get there. Bike rentals will be a little more expensive here than in the larger city of Chiang Mai, but they’ll still be decently priced. There are however, some key details to consider before, and while, renting a scooter in Pai.

  1. The same rule applies here as anywhere else when renting a bike: do a full check of the bike before hopping on, you may want to take photo and/or video documentation of any scratches or dents before you leave the rental place with images of it in the background
  2. Ensure you have insurance or are insured by the rental company, and
  3. Make sure you have a proper and fitted helmet

Most importantly, when talking about Pai, is do not use this opportunity to actually learn how to drive a motorbike. We can’t tell you how many patched and bandaged people we saw walking around Pai when we were there. It is a popular place for people to rent their first motorbike and the combination of new drivers, small streets, hilly terrain and many, many people can create a less-than-optimal place to ride, especially if you’ve never done so before.

3. Book Your Accommodations Strategically

While this mainly applies to those who are driving a scooter or car to Pai, or those who plan to rent a scooter once there, it is a good idea for anyone heading to Pai. Though there is a main stretch of road with accommodations throughout, there are also outlying hotels and hostels. If you’re planning on having a motorbike with you, you’ll want to make sure the place you book has parking available as it is not always simple or easy to park along the walking street overnight. Since you will have a bike, you are obviously able to make your way to and from the main areas and have a bit more room to negotiate where you’ll be staying. If you have a car, you’ll definitely need to find an accommodation in Pai that has the space available.

If you’re not looking to rent and are relying on your own two feet or hiring transportation once in Pai, you’ll probably want to make sure you are located somewhat centrally to the walking street or the activities you are looking to do once there. We’ve put together some of the best accommodations in Pai and have also reviewed one of our favourites, right on the walking street, Soi One Bedrooms.

4. Explore Outside The Main Strip

Pai Mountain View THailand

Though it’s tempting to keep things easy and stay within the main area of Pai, you’ll be missing out on a ton of beautiful scenery and great things to do.

Head out and visit Pai Canyon, drive through rice paddy fields and beautiful mountain landscapes, explore the various waterfalls nearby and find marked, and unmarked, viewpoints that will leave you speechless.

There are various things to do and see like the War Memorial Bridge on the outskirts of Pai, Wat Phra That Mae Yen – the temple on the mountain, Pai Piranha Fishing Park, The Chinese Village and yoga classes or retreats.

Pai can be as eventful or as relaxing as you make it but getting out of the main area and walking street will give you a wide range of things to do in Pai, no matter your purpose for your trip there!

5. Visit Mae Hong Son

This is one thing we didn’t get to do on our visit to Pai, but really wish we did. Heading even further north, you’ll reach Mae Hong Son and if all the talk in Thailand was true, it’s a beautiful area not to be missed. If you can add this stop to your trip, you might want to do so! Though growing in popularity, it is still less tourist-packed as many other areas in Thailand and offers some of that classic Northern Thailand scenery and tranquility.

Mae Hong Son also borders Myanmar, so depending on the current Thai tourism laws (please check these before you travel to Thailand) you may be able to do a border run if needed or use this as an entry way on to visit another country! It’s only 2-3 hours drive from Pai and you can drive your rental car or scooter or take a bus straight from Pai. If you do go, let us know what you think and show us photos – we’re anxious to get back to northern Thailand and find out for ourselves!

6. Visit The Walking Street More Than Oncegrandmas pancakes pai vendor on walking street

If you can, depending on how long you are there and what your itinerary entails, heading to the walking street more than once is a definite must. Now, you may get there and think that you’ve seen all you can see with one walk up and down it… but you’d be wrong. We found that we saw new things, paid attention to different vendors and watched new stands pop up each night we ventured out.

Taking another walk along the street also allows you to try new food vendors that you may not have had a chance to try previously – whether you were just too full from the other food you bought, or you missed seeing them altogether! In fact, it wasn’t until our second night strolling the walking street that we stopped and bought something from, what is now, our favourite Pai Walking Street vendor – Grandma’s Pancakes! We liked it so much, we went back the next day to try a different flavour (because you just can’t resist some Nutella on your pancakes!)

7. Meet People

Whether you’re sitting in a coffee shop, in a common area of your accommodations, dining at a restaurant or walking the walking street, be open to talking to others – you’ll find locals and tourists alike are extra friendly and open to meeting new people! Of course, you’ll want to take regular stranger-danger precautions like you would anywhere (be smart!) but you’ll also learn quickly that the people who live and visit Pai are by large a pretty friendly and talkative bunch.

We met some travellers in a coffee shop looking for help with WiFi who we passed by several times while in Pai and said ‘hello’. We met a couple on the walking street one night who gave some amazing restaurant recommendations and we met two backpackers at our hostel with whom we became fast friends and still stay in touch with!

Pai is really no different than anywhere else – if you put yourself out there, you’re bound to meet good people and make friends – but because of the close proximity to, well, everything and the small space most people are occupying, it’s easier to keep bumping into the same people and getting to know the familiar faces!

8. Find Time to Relax!

This is a place for relaxation, meditation, yoga, etc and even if you’re not into that it’s not a bad idea to take some time to live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Chances are you’re visiting Pai from Chiang Mai or Bangkok, or are headed to one of the busier cities at some point. Though we love the activity of the large cities and can often be found in them, it is nice to take some time away from it all.

If you travel to Pai you’ll also get a good glimpse into life in the northern, and remote, areas of Thailand. That includes a more tranquil landscape and it’s nice to be able to tap into that and appreciate the beauty of the country.

9. Try The Coffee

Coffee Hill Rest on drive to pai

Northern Thailand does coffee good! So good, we’ve even listed 5 top cafes in Northern Thailand to find good coffee while you’re there. One of them just happens to be on the way to Pai, but even if you’re not navigating your own way there, there’s plenty of good coffee once you get there. We tried different cafes and coffees while in Pai and you’ll probably be hard pressed to find a bad cup of joe!

If you’re a coffee lover, this will be a paradise for you and if you’re not, there are plenty of fresh fruit juices and teas to satisfy whatever beverage craving you have!

10. Do Your Research Before You Take A Tour!

While walking the streets of Pai, you’ll probably see signs or be approached by someone for a tour to the outlying areas, particularly tours that include a visit to the “Longneck” people of the Karen Hill Tribe. Before you make a decision to go, we’d recommend doing some research into this industry. Much of the “tribe life” you’ll see, including the neck rings, are maintained for tourism reasons only and many people feel it is exploitation and harmful to the people of the tribe. Whatever you decide, it would be beneficial to look into the issue and decide whether it’s something you’re still interested in, and comfortable, doing or not.

 

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Choosing A Cruise: 5 Different Types of Cruises To Consider

If you head over to any of the sites by cruise experts – like our friends from Cruise Fever or CruiseLine.com – you’ll notice there are a wide range of types and styles of cruises as well as different classifications: from adventure to family, river to ocean. There are a myriad of different types of cruises and different combinations and it can be tricky figuring out which one is best for you.

Types of Cruises To Know

To help in the decision making process, we’ve put together a list of five different styles of cruises, some of which we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, the others we’re just waiting to try!

River Cruise

Deck on Viking River Cruise

Our very first type of cruise we went on was a river cruise. In fact, our second cruise was one as well and we enjoyed both so much, we fell in love with cruising altogether. Both of our cruises were with Viking River Cruises and with two different itineraries – one on the Danube visiting Christmas Markets in Hungary, Austria and Germany and one through Provence, France – we had a chance to really tap into River Cruising life and enjoy all that it’s about. And boy did we fall in love with it and with Viking!

We often find the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when the term “cruise” arises is a large ocean liner with pools and a casino, large masses of people and buffet dinners… at least that was the main image that was created whenever anyone talked about their experience. A river cruise however, is a much different type of cruise.

When asked, we usually explain the largest difference as this: Whereas an ocean cruise uses ships that can serve as a destination all on their own, a river cruise offers ships that take you, in comfort and style, to each destination and serve to help enhance those experiences.

You have small, intimate numbers onboard with a staff you come to know, almost wholly, should you choose. Because of the small numbers you’ll have a few dining options and for our Viking experience, onboard dining was spectacular! The food was some of the best we’ve ever eaten and the service was impeccable.

River Cruises also often travel short distances and mostly at night so you’ll generally wake up in a new destination ready to start the day exploring and chances are you’ll have some beautiful scenery waiting for you right from your stateroom window.

You’ll also find that entertainment ends early in the evening. Days are often filled with excursions or self-guided exploration and tend to start earlier in the day resulting in quieter nights as most people file off to bed. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in each stop as the focus of the cruise is really about each individual destination, rather than onboard activities – though there are those available too in the event you’d rather stay on board during the day.

River cruising is really great for those who are looking for more intimate, social settings where you have the opportunity to really interact with fellow passengers (should you choose), where you’re on land everyday as opposed to having days at sea, where most costs are already included in the price and where there is a calmer vibe, not to mention calmer waters, as amenities and entertainment aren’t available 24/7.

Luxury Yacht Cruise

ponant cruise in Brazil

This is one of the types of cruise we only recently learned more about. While looking at the itinerary for Ponant Cruises’ Ten Days At The Heart Of Brazil cruise, we made our way to learn more about the ships and became intrigued by what we found.

This is a style of cruise that seems to be part river cruise, part ocean cruise and all luxury. For instance, some of the amenities that Ponant yachts have include a well-being centre with spa and salon treatments, a pool and sun deck, lounges and bars, a theatre, a shop and leisure areas. While this is reminiscent of an ocean liner, the smaller numbers of passengers, fewer (but 5-star) restaurant options and overall feel seem to be more in line with a river cruise. It sounds like a pretty perfect combination to us!

Like ocean cruises, you’ll also have the benefit of both days at port and days at sea, allowing you to enjoy each destination while also offering time to fully explore the ship itself. For instance, with the “At The Heart of Brazil” cruise, stops are made in Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia and Recife while the rest of the time the ship is at sea. With this cruise, Ponant takes passengers on an exploration of various regions in Brazil, visiting historical and cultural sites, observing stunning landscapes and delving into the heart of the country while on land and offers a luxury travel experience while on the water.

Luxury yacht cruises give the feeling as though you are sailing on your own private yacht to incredible destinations in comfort and luxury… and that sounds pretty fantastic to us! We’ll definitely be looking into Ponant cruises for a cruise itinerary to go on next!

Ocean Cruise

MSC Divina Ship

As we’ve already mentioned, ocean cruises are often the most common cruise that comes to mind and while the large ships we often see exist, there are a range of sizes to be found cruising the ocean.

Ocean cruises, especially those with larger ships, offer a variety of amenities you probably won’t see in the other styles mentioned. It’s on these ships that you’ll find casinos and clubs, a host of restaurants and bars, game areas, many shops and activities galore. Our cruise on the MSC Divina had us experiencing this first hand and gave us the itch to ocean cruise more!

With often 24/7 dining options and entertainment, you’ll be able to find something to do at any time. These ships are a destination on their own. Vegas style shows, multiple restaurants to choose from, movie nights and dance classes and with so much going on, you never really have to leave the ship to have a good time!

You’ll also find that larger ocean cruises come with larger crowds of people so you’ll experience a different style of socializing as well then if you were on a smaller sized ship.

Ocean cruises offer a taste of each destination you visit with the convenience of an entire destination of a ship at your fingertips.

Impact Cruise

Fathom Adonia Cruise Ship

NOTE: Fathom will cease operation in 2017 though Carnival operated cruises that dock at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic may still offer impact excursions like the ones we’ve described.

We were able to experience an impact cruise first hand when we went on a Fathom Cruise to the Dominican Republic. A volunteer-based cruise line, Fathom passengers can experience a different side of travel.

Rather than cruising from port to port, we headed straight for the Dominican where we docked for the duration of the trip until we headed out to sea to return. While docked, we were able to participate in the typical shore excursions or be part of one of the activities meant to help facilitate growth and development in the local community.

Taking part in these impact activities, like teaching English, working in a cacao factory and planting trees, allowed cruisers to learn more about the economic, sociological and cultural factors that are found deeper than what you’d see just visiting the tourist destinations.

There has been much talk, for and against, this type of cruise. For us, we’re pretty sure the impact was more on ourselves and the understanding we have of the country and its people but that’s a pretty great thing to bring home and can make passengers more understanding and compassionate as they travel in the future. We definitely weighed the pros and cons of a Fathom Cruise before and after, and came out with a positive outlook overall!

Though a smaller size ship, The Fathom Adonia still had amenities like a pool and deck, spa and fitness room, restaurants and bars, lounges and regular entertainment. It is definitely a different style of cruise and it will be interesting to see if additional cruise lines pop up offering similar experiences.

Tall Ship Cruises

Tall ship Toronto

We’ve seen tall ships before. In fact, you’ll probably see one if you’re walking around harbourfront in Toronto as there are daily cruises during the warm season. But those are a couple hours, not a couple days. So when we heard that one of our friends went on a food cruise in Maine on a tall ship, we knew we had to find out more about this type of cruise!

What we’ve learned is that they take the term “intimate’ cruise to the next level compared to the rest of the styles we’ve mentioned. With small numbers, typically under 30, the setting is private and service can be incredibly personalized.

These cruises are remarkably unique and seem to bring some adventure to the experience as you’re getting really up close and personal with the waters.

It’s definitely a more hands on experience as you can really interact with passengers and crew, most often climb a mast, learn about the ship, involve yourself in the sailing itself and enjoy the open air and views.

It’s a cruise for those who want to travel the seas as we did in the past – travelling long distances, conquering new territory and navigating our way around the world – all while enjoying a personalized, often luxury, cruise experience.

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6 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

To all of you “Future Mrs.”, a “Congratulations” is in order. So now that the man has popped his question and the bride-to-be is going forward with planning, there’s so much to do! Time is ticking until the knot is tied. A destination wedding might be something you have always thought of. However, there are a lot of things to be aware of.

Planning Your Destination Wedding

Here are 6 things you should consider to have the destination wedding of your dreams.

1. The Location

destination wedding on the beach

You can’t have a wedding without picking a location! If you’re thinking of having a destination wedding, then “destination” could mean a few things. It could mean you want your wedding to take place five hours away at your favorite beach. It could also mean you want to fly over seas to a nice resort. Either way, the best destinations to have your wedding aren’t right around the corner.

Because your location will be farther away, you need to keep in mind that when you’re planning you’ll be making calls to the venue rather than driving there to see it in person. Give yourself a few options and then narrow it down. Ask yourself questions like “How far do I want my guests to travel?” and “What did I fall in love with about this location?” to help you make the final decision. You can have the sand between your toes on a Hawaiian island or a giant castle in Europe as the “wow” factor for your romantic ceremony. Dream big! It’s all about picking the right location.

2. The Guest List

Think about how many people you want at your wedding. Destination weddings usually have a lower numbered guest list due to the travel. It can also get expensive for guests when they pay for their own travel and accommodations, which is the reason why less people will attend. Most weddings like this have just a small number of family and friends, which keeps it pretty intimate. This can give the wedding a more relaxed feel, meaning less stress for the bride!

3. The Travel Items

wedding on beach bride

You will need to break out your inner minimalist when it comes to what you bring to your wedding. Most destination weddings are celebrated over multiple days, and you know you’ll end up packing a bigger suitcase. It’s a good idea to skip the DIY wedding decorations and leave it up to the wedding venue to give your ceremony some glam. The mother of the bride can travel with the wedding dress to ensure the groom doesn’t sneak a peak. Did you want your dog to be the ring bearer? Then you’ll need to make sure the flight allows pets before your book your plane ticket. The little details will come together at the wedding, but you should definitely leave the big stuff at home.

4. The Budget

What are you expecting to pay for? No, you don’t have to pay for the travel and accommodations for your guests, but if it’s in the budget you can make that offer. Typically the bride and groom pay for venue, the décor, and the food and drinks. If your wedding is at a location your guests can drive to, consider the gas and toll expenses they will have to pay. Don’t let the budget overwhelm you, and stick with what’s important. This will make it easier on the planning side, where the time and money is at the minimum level. You can use budgeting tips to plan your wedding and definitely cut down some of the cost.

5. The Invitations and RSVPs

beach wedding

Inviting guests to a destination wedding is more complicated than sending out invitations to a wedding in your hometown. There’s a lot of invitation etiquette you might not have thought about. You will need to send out the “Save the Dates” early enough to allow your guests to schedule their travel arrangements. They are usually sent 6-8 months before the wedding. Flights typically cost more when they are booked closer to the date. Save your guests money by sending out invitations earlier.

The RSVPs give you confirmation on who will attend your wedding. Give your guests a strict reply date, so you have time to plan accordingly. The more details you announce on your save the dates, invitations, and RSVPs, the better understanding your guests will have. This part of planning a destination wedding is all about the timing.

6. The Weather

Always, always, always have a back up plan! You can plan the perfect wedding, with the perfect location, but if a tropical storm decides to blow through your big day, you’re going to wish you had a back up plan. Beaches aren’t so beautiful in the rain. When you plan your wedding with the venue, make sure you come up with an indoor plan. You can’t control the weather, and that’s okay! You can still have a gorgeous destination wedding, and they say rain on the wedding day means good luck!

Don’t let the stress and expenses of a destination wedding scare you away from having the wedding you’ve always wanted. Keep your plans organized, and keep your guests informed. If you want a wedding on the beach then go for it girl! Say “I Do” at the destination of your dreams.

                                                


 Kacey Mya Profile Picture                                           ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                                                  Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter & Pinterest.


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A Guide To Highway 50 in Nevada: The Loneliest Road in America

The barren desert. Sand, rock and cacti. Mountains of dirt and sand protruding along the horizon. An unending winding road into the distance.

We left the chaos and bright lights of Las Vegas behind and headed off into the Nevada desert. With clear blue skies and the sun streaming down, we wove our way along Nevada’s Highways.

Though arid scenery first greeted us, we soon found ourselves passing a small lake, at first completely out of place in this dry and barren landscape, the greenery of the vegetation surrounding it a stark contrast and a welcome visual beyond the reds and browns around us.

We’d soon realize that various colour, even green, isn’t as unusual of a sight in Nevada as we had initially thought. In fact, when we finally made our way up to Highway 50 and started our journey across the state, we discovered that the terrain of Nevada is quite varied, quite colourful and altogether breathtaking. We also learned throughout our travels, that there are many reasons you should travel Nevada, outside of just Las Vegas!

Stops To Make On Highway 50 in Nevada

Highway 50 Nevada sign

Highway 50 is part of US Route 50 and the section that is in Nevada is coined “The Loneliest Road in America”. It is a stretch of road between the eastern and western borders of the state and is definitely not the most common road taken for traversing Nevada or getting from any of the major cities in the United States to any of the larger cities in the state. But while it’s not the preferred route for getting places quickly, like the Interstate 80 would be, it is definitely one of the best options for a road trip in Nevada and for exploring the out-of-this-world sights to be seen throughout. If you’re looking to take a road trip in Nevada, Highway 50 is definitely one of the best routes to include – whether you travel it from start to finish, or find your way somewhere along it during your journey.

To get you planning, here is the route we recently took and some of the great stops along Nevada Route 50 that you should consider to help make The Loneliest Road in America just a little less… lonely! Though there’s a lot more to this stretch than what we saw, this itinerary makes for a great road trip or romantic getaway in Nevada.

To find accommodation options along the route or if you need more information on things to do along Highway 50 (as well as what there is to do and see while you are visiting Nevada) check out the Travel Nevada site!

Ely

Northern Nevada Railway Ely Steam Engine Train

Depending on which direction you are heading, Ely may be the first or last of the cities in Nevada off of Highway 50.  One of the larger cities you’ll stop at on this route, Ely is like many in the area – an old mining town – saturated in history and charm. It is also where you’ll find your way onto the old Nevada Northern Railway with a steam engine ride along the tracks that are over a century old and were an essential part of the early mining settlements to this area.

We had such a great time on this 90 minute ride that took us past old mining areas and more isolated landscape but what really captivated us and captured our imagination was the dialogue explaining what once was. We learned about the importance of this route in the past and the amount of history accumulated in a short distance. Bringing that history into the present as we rode on the train was one railway crossing in particular, where a man named Dale comes to stand and wave as each of the trains pass . In fact, he is so reliable and dedicated to being at that crossing that it is named after him – Dale’s crossing. The significance of this passageway exists even now.

If you’ve got some time to spend in the area or are looking for a quick detour, you’ll find an interesting museum just North of Ely. Taking Highway 93 off of Route 50, sits the small town of McGill and as you drive the streets, you will most likely pass a Rexall drugstore. Be warned though, if you jump out and head on in, you won’t be finding any first aid items or pain relievers here. Well, at least none that aren’t well passed their expiry date! The McGill Drugstore Museum will transport you back in time as you step through the doors and observe a store that has been left virtually untouched from the day it closed its doors in 1979. You’ll want to contact them first to schedule an appointment to ensure it is open and to get the full story behind Ely and this time capsule that has been left there.

Ely is also the closest accessible city on Highway 50 to the Great Basin National Park, a popular destination for nature and astronomy lovers. Due to the great air quality in the park – some of the best in the USA – night brings dark, clear skies that are perfect for stargazing. In fact, there is even an annual astronomy festival that offers 3 days and nights of guided instruction and telescope viewing.

In Ely, you’ll find historic hotels and museums and many natural attractions nearby in addition to the events and activities in the city. You’ll find things like county fairs, bathtub races, and farmer’s markets as well and experience a place that straddles the city life of the present with the small-town vibes of the past.

Eureka

Eureka Courtroom Judges chair

Calling itself “The Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America, you’ll find that it’s a pretty accurate description. As of the last census, there were under 1000 people in Eureka and when you walk through the “downtown” or main area of the town, you definitely feel it – it is quiet, it is peaceful and it is most definitely friendly.

The pride the town takes in their past is obvious as we visited several old buildings that have been beautifully preserved and restored. It’s definitely worth it to take a tour of the opera house, old courthouse and the old Eureka Sentinel Building. The opera house, still in use today for community events and shows, has a remarkable history that can be seen from the 1924 stage curtain that replaced the original from 1880 which burned down. The ads on the backdrop still remain, the funds from which paid for the new curtain itself. Signatures of performers that have graced the stage are scrawled backstage along the walls and staircase. These tell their own story as dates from the early 1900s can be seen alongside more recent ones, a blend of new and old.

The courthouse is fascinating as well. Heading up the original wood staircases, we reached the courtroom, kept in pristine condition and making us feel like we’d stepped on set to some crime drama – huge velvet curtains draped on either side of the judge’s bench, the flag hanging prominently beside it, one could almost imagine the witness box filled, the judge’s gavel banging, the jury sitting to the side, attentive to the courtroom antics.

Another interesting stop in Eureka is the Old Sentinel Museum where you’ll find all manner of historical items and artefacts in what was the Sentinel Newspaper Building from 1879 to 1960. From the original printing presses and newspaper equipment on the main floor to the varied exhibits of life in Eureka when the town was just beginning.

Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area

View from Hickison Petroglyph Recreation area Nevada

Nevada is no stranger to petroglyphs as the state has not only numerous amounts of them, but also the oldest known finds in North America. Though Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area near Austin may not be the most extensive of sites for seeing petroglyphs, it is a great example of prehistoric rock art and is a site that allows a self-guided tour and some fantastic views.

We took our time along the trail, looking at the rocks with petroglyphs, working our way to great lookouts with views of mountains and more desert landscape and enjoyed the beauty of the area and the incredible history that was left, carved in stone, by those who once lived in the area.

If you do stop here, be sure to take a look for brochures at the information display at the entrance to the recreation area. These will help explain what you see as you walk along the trails.

Austin

Gourmet French Toast at Union Street Lodging Austin Nevada Breakfast

Though we’d be hard pressed to choose a favourite out of the stops we made along Highway 50, Austin would definitely be a serious contender.

With some of the best backyard views, Austin boasts mountain ranges, hot springs, historic sites and tons of small town charm. Here you’ll find bike trails and camping grounds, nearby caves and petroglyphs and even a castle, though uninhabited, that stands as an iconic image as you pass through the town.

We were there just one night in Austin and have already marked, underlined and highlighted it as a place we need to return to soon. The Union Street Lodging was the B&B we stayed at and, from the moment we arrived, it felt like a haven of relaxation and serenity. Learning about Austin and its history from the owners of the B&B and just enjoying the peaceful nature of the area, we settled in. That evening we enjoyed sitting outside and listening to the night sounds, void of the city noises to which we have become so accustomed. The following morning we woke up for breakfast and were served the most gourmet french toast breakfast we’ve ever seen – a double layer of french toast with cream cheese and strawberries in between, covered in more strawberries – it was delicious and a great way to start the day.

There’s definitely so much more to do in Austin than we had the chance to experience and we’d definitely recommend spending a few nights there while travelling the Loneliest Road in America. Hot springs are always a wonderful treat no matter where you are and with so much wildlife and natural beauty to see as you drive, you’d be able to make a whole day of it just exploring the scenery the area has to offer. Of course, there are also biking and hiking trails if you’re looking to get out of the car and stretch your legs a bit.

Strolling through the town, meeting people and learning about the history of Austin is also a great way to spend some time while there and for us, we’d love to head back and visit Stokes Castle – especially at sunset!

Sand Mountain

Sand Mountain in Nevada Hwy 50

What began as an exciting view – a sand dune in the distance, growing in size as we approached – turned into a truly moving and unexpected experience. Sand Mountain is one of the spectacular views off Highway 50 in Nevada and it only gets more impressive as you get closer to it.  Signs describe the area, the sand dune itself and the fact that it is a singing sand dune – the singing being the noises made as the sand shifts and slides – something that is unique and not found with every sand dune.

The area is obviously one of recreation – considered a popular off-roading site – we saw many OHV (off-highway vehicles) making their way around and up the dune. Though this seems to be the primary use of Sand Mountain, we encourage you to take the time to contact the local native community to learn some deeper history and meaning behind Sand Mountain.

For our visit, we spoke with Donna and Melissa from the local community (as well as the Great Basin Tour Company) who were able to provide some deep insight and some moving stories behind the significance of Sand Mountain to the native peoples of the area. With the loud engines of the OHVs roaring around us, interrupting our conversation at regular intervals, we learned that Sand Mountain no longer sings… it’s sand compressed by the weight of the tires and vehicles we were watching go by at that very moment.

Though you may not hear the mountain sing you’ll definitely feel it, especially if you get the chance to speak to those to whom the sand dune means the most. It’s by far a surprising and wonderful stop along the Loneliest Road in America.

Fallon

Frey Ranch Fallon Nevada mini wine barrel

If Ely feels big compared to the rest of the towns along Highway 50 in Nevada, than Fallon is enormous! With double the population, Fallon is a bustling town with a growing arts and culture, culinary and tourism scene. A stop here means you’ll have the option of immersing yourself in much of the elements of Nevada you’ve already seen along the way – nature and history – as well as art galleries and antique shops, theatres and recreational activities (like golf, roller skating and swimming) and some pretty phenomenal dining options with a couple farmer’s markets thrown in for good measure.

We ate lunch in Fallon at The Slanted Porch and were incredibly impressed by our meal. Farm-to-table ingredients meant everything used was fresh and the care and talent put into the dishes themselves was obvious. Buying local and creating inspired menu items based on the seasonal produce available helped make the culinary journey through the dishes that much more special. We ordered a slanted porch burger (because the way they treat and use their meat is spectacular) and a lamb, meatball sandwich (a special of the day) and were left wishing we were there longer to try more of the menu

You may be surprised, as we were, to find out that Fallon, Nevada is home to a successful vineyard and distillery, Frey Ranch, a family owned operation producing some great wines, gin, vodka and whiskey. It’s an interesting place to stop and tour, check out the tasting room and grab a bottle, or more, of your favourite spirit or wine!

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Cruise

If you’re driving along Highway 50 in Nevada, and have a chance to make your way as far west as Lake Tahoe, we highly recommend you take the time to stop and visit. Though there are lots of things to do, both in the summer and winter seasons, a boat cruise across the lake is a wonderful way to take in the scenery. We climbed aboard the MS Dixie II, part of Zephyr Cove Resort‘s fleet, and took a 90 minute cruise across the lake (to the California side and Emerald Bay). We enjoyed listening to the information provided, grabbing a meal on board as we went, and soaking up the beauty around us.

With cruises, beach activities and water equipment rentals, snowmobile rentals and skiing in the winter and other activities, like horseback riding, there’s lots to do in the area if you want to stay at an accommodation by the lake or drive yourself into the area.

A Little Extra Addition To Start, Or End, With!

Depending on where you’re coming from, making Reno or Las Vegas the start and end points of your trip is a great way to really see the diversity of the state – from big cities to small towns – and makes sense as either city are close enough to Highway 50 to make them accessible gateways.

Whether or not you add Las Vegas to your itinerary, you may want to consider tagging on a visit to Great Basin National Park. We had mentioned that it is close to Ely and while not on Highway 50, it is a great place to stop before starting out on The Loneliest Highway OR a great place to end after you’ve seen Ely and have finished your drive along the stretch of Highway 50.

If Vegas is on your itinerary, you can also make Great Basin National Park a stop on your way to, or from, Ely. We stopped there and took a tour through Lehman caves – a fascinating underground world of caves and cave systems we’d not yet explored. It is well worth it to visit, take a tour of the caves and explore the beautiful scenery of the National Park.

Become A Highway 50 Survivor!

In 1986, Highway 50 in Nevada was described as a stretch of road with nothing to see or do. Life Magazine suggested survival skills were needed in order to take on The Loneliest Road in America. Well, we don’t know what it was like 30 years ago, but our time on the road was filled with things to do and places to see – though it can be a pretty quiet and, yes, lonely route. With this decades-old reputation in mind, a ‘survival guide’ was created for travellers looking to take on Highway 50…

No matter where you start or finish along The Loneliest Road in America, you’ll want to make sure you pick up a Highway 50 Survival Guide and get the passport that’s inside stamped as you stop along the route! You can find more information from the Pony Express Territory website like what the Survival Guide entails and where you can go in each town to get your guide stamped!

Once you’ve collected stamps from 5 of the 8 locations, you can mail in the passport page and you’ll get an “I Survived” certificate!

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Why You Should Cruise

Whether we’re on a river or the ocean, exploring Europe or the Caribbean, we absolutely love cruising the waters from destination to destination. From two Viking River Cruises in Europe, to a social impact cruise with Fathom to a large ocean cruise with MSC, over the past year we’ve had a taste of some very different styles of cruise travel yet, through each one, we found one constant: Cruising is an amazing experience!

12 Reasons Why You Should Go On A Cruise

MSC Divina Ship At Dock in Mexico

Whether you’re planning on going on a cruise or just contemplating the idea we’ve put together twelve reasons why we think it’s a good idea to book that trip and sail those waters!

1. Cruising Offers Great Value – It’s Bang For Your Buck!

When you cruise, you are essentially getting your travel plans and expenses bundled up into one price – food, hotel, activities, transportation between destinations – it’s all included and oftentimes at a cheaper price than you would pay if you were to do it all on your own.

Seeing multiple destinations adds extra bang for your buck as you are often hitting up destinations for a fraction of the cost of any other method of travel. Imagine island hopping and paying for transit, hotels and food separately – it would definitely end up being a hefty amount and nowhere near what you’ll find you’re paying to do all that, and more, on a cruise ship.

Booking cruises higher on the luxury end will also find you with more inclusive options like excursions and drinks packages adding more value even with the prices paid for those high-end cruise experiences.

Whatever your budget is, you can tailor your cruise accordingly and really find ways to maximize your travel experience.

2. Travel while you sleep… or dance or eat or…

Transportation is usually the most time consuming part of travel with the least entertaining aspects. On a cruise, travelling from one port to another is all part of the fun. Where else can you fall asleep in a comfortable, fluffy bed in one country and wake up in another? All you have to do is board the ship, unpack your stuff once, and enjoy the ride.

Not only do you wake up in new destinations, you also get a chance to enjoy being in transit. While the ship is moving you are engaging in onboard activities and entertainment, dancing, swimming in a pool, sunbathing, enjoying cultural events, dining and socializing.

3. Hassle-Free Planning!

While cruises often have extras to be purchased or paid onboard (such as drink packages, excursions, gratuities, etc) the bulk of the payment and planning is a one-time deal. Choose the cruise line, stateroom and itinerary and make your payment. Meals, activities and all the rest are covered and planned for you. There’s very little scheduling or booking that needs to be done past that initial booking.

While you may choose to add on additional excursions, upgrade rooms or buy drink packages, your main responsibility after booking is to enjoy the experience and do what you want. You can do all or none of the activities, eat where and when you want with the dining options available and leave the ship or stay onboard when docked at a port. Everything else is taken care of for you – you just sit back, relax and enjoy!

4. Cruising is Like A Sampler Plate of Destinations

provenceviewresized

Perhaps one of our favourite parts of cruising is that it is basically a sampler of destinations. Like a fleet of beer, it offers you a taste of each stop. Take a look, get a feel, enjoy some highlights, test the waters and figure out if this is a place you’d want to travel to again, perhaps for a longer period of time.

Through the cruising we’ve done, we’ve added many cities to our list of places to spend more time in like Vienna, Budapest and Lyon, to name a few. We’ve also checked out a few ports of call as potential areas for us to relocate to for a short time. Our cruise to Mexico was enlightening and we definitely will be returning again for a longer stay to really explore the country.

We’ve been able to see many countries in a short time, at a great value, and have learned which ones we’ll absolutely love returning to and thoroughly discovering.

5. There’s An Option For Everyone

There really is a cruise option for everyone. Whether it’s a preference in size, length of trip, amenities available or destinations covered, there’s bound to be a cruise that meets all your wants and needs.

Don’t like open bodies of water? A river cruise is perfect! You’ll be able to pick an itinerary where you can see the shore on both sides of the water – like on the Danube. Prefer to have the ship as the destination rather than get out and explore each port? A larger cruise ship is like a small city and will have everything you need to make you feel like you’re travelling to a unique country without ever leaving the ship!

Whatever your travel preferences are, we can guarantee you’ll find a cruise that matches. You can find cruises for food, wine, music, art, social impact and virtually anything else you could possibly think of wanting. We’ve been on four cruises in the past year and each offered something different and unique because, and that’s the other thing about cruises, there’s so much variety you never have to take the exact same cruise twice if you don’t want to.

6. Relax, Recharge or Revel!

We found cruising to be a fantastic way to relax and get unplugged. Many times connecting to WiFi while cruising the open waters was just not possible, or not easy or cheap, so we did without. We unplugged from our gadgets and internet and plugged into the moment and each other. Though there is the option to do so, we found it a great excuse to just let go of all that online clutter.

With the choice to do as much or as little as you want, you really can relax and recharge or, if you want, revel! Enjoy the social activities, have fun and be the life of the party. It’s up to you how you spend your time but any, or all, of the three options are possible.

7. Enjoy Spectacular & Changing Views

chain bridge budapest hungary

You can often find a hotel room with a view. What you can’t often find is a hotel room that offers constantly changing, spectacular views. A cruise ship however, can.

We’ve cruised past beautiful shorelines on the Danube, stunning Provence landscapes in France and woken up to spectacular ocean sunrises. Each port offers a new view too and adds to the almost endless possibilities of scenery you’ll see from the comfort of your stateroom or one of the decks onboard.

8. Variety of Entertainment, Activities & Excursions

As we mentioned, what you do with your time on a cruise is totally up to you and that includes participating in any of the onboard entertainment or activities… and there are usually quite a few to choose from.

From language or dancing classes to board games or bingo, you can learn about the destinations you are travelling to, socialize or just have fun!

There are also excursions, whether included or additional, that will have you occupied while docked at port. We often switch between doing our own exploring at some ports and taking an excursion at others. This allows us the flexibility to travel as we choose but also receive some guidance in certain locales.

9. Incredible Service

Who doesn’t want to be pampered while travelling? Room service and turndown service, a large range of amenities with certified professionals, attentive wait staff and often a dedicated entertainment team ensure that you have a trip to remember.

In our experience, ocean cruises will offer an increased amount of amenities available, like gyms and spas, while river cruising will offer some spectacular attention to detail and guests’ needs. Though no matter which type of cruise you choose, there’ll be an option for it all!

10. Food. Glorious, Delicious Food.

cruise food lamb dinner

This one gets us everytime. Even when we’ve taken a cruise where food is not a primary focus, we’ve found our way to delicious meals and dining options. Most cruises pride themselves on their ability to create beautiful culinary choices and most have a variety of dining options for each meal.

There are buffets and casual eateries, formal dining rooms and room service – the options abound depending on how large the cruise ship is and which line you have chosen.

On our Viking River Cruises, we enjoyed some of the best food we’ve ever eaten as meal after meal offered us unbelievable dishes. On our MSC Cruise, we found additional options, like Eataly, to be a perfect complement to their included dining choices and loved the almost 24/7 availability of something to eat.

If food is your focus when you travel, you’ll have some deciding to do and it’ll become clear pretty quickly that there is killer culinary talent to be found on many of the cruises!

11. Great Opportunities To Meet New People

As we said, you can basically do as much or as little as you choose while on a cruise. Don’t feel like socializing? You don’t have to but if that’s your thing, a cruise offers endless opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.

With the activities and excursions, dining areas and entertainment venues, the chances to bump into someone new and strike up a conversation abound and we’ve actually met, and stayed in touch with, several people from the cruises we’ve taken.

12. A Perfect Chance For Romance

Though you can socialize as much as you want, you can also easily escape and focus on the people you came with. If you’re going as a couple, a cruise can be a perfect time for romance. With all those great views, amazing food and opportunities to unplug and focus on each other, we’ve found cruising to be incredibly romantic and the time onboard perfect for connecting with one another.

Think about it: sunsets and sunrises, intimate dinners, walks on deck or on a beach when at port, latin dancing classes, private verandas to enjoy some time alone – cruising offers a multitude of moments for just you and your romantic partner and it’s one of our favourite reasons to go on a cruise. We can socialize and have fun with the onboard activities and the excursions, we can meet people and enjoy learning about the destinations we are going to, but no matter what time of day, we can always find a time and place to just be together and enjoy each other’s company.


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