Tag Archives: Travel

Travel Cosmetics -How to pack

19 Mar

Whenever I travel I always try to pack a little better than I did the time before. And important group of items I carry is of course, cosmetics. From face wash to mascara, these items can get pretty bulky and cumbersome if you aren’t careful. This post lists items I typically take on a trip and how I pack for minimum space usage.


Some of the cosmetics I travel with

A major tip for packing you travel cosmetics is mini. If you can get every item in mini size that would be perfect. Most supermarkets and beauty stores sell minis of many items. For those things you can’t get a mini version of, invest in some mini travel pots and bottles.

FACE AND BODY

These are the essentials.The things you might need along the way on your trip. The things you don’t want to leave home without. Packaging these first.

○ Toothbrush and toothpaste 

○ Mouthwash

○ Deodorant (Secret)

○ Face/body wash(Cetaphil)

● Daily moisturizer(Oil of Olay Daily moisturizer)- I squirting a few days worth into a travel size container.

● Hand cream(BBW Black cherry merlot)

● Sunblock(Coppertone)

● Cleansing wipes(Wetones)

HAIR

○ Hairspray by Rave

○ Hair moisturizer by Garnier

○ Dry shampoo-I hardly ever wash my hair on short trips (I havethick, curly natural hair prone to dryness) so I don’t pack shampoo or conditioner but I do pack dr6 shampoo to keep things clean.

○ Hair gel by Tre Semme

MAKEUP

As tough as it may be, you have to use extreme discretion and only pack what you need. Think of all the makeup items you typically wear on an everyday basis to decide what to take.

● Foundation (Maybelline fit me matte and poreless in coconut)

● Eyeshadow palette (NYX Natural) – A fairly compact palette with enough shades to create multiple looks is ideal

● Blush (Milani American Rose)- A blush that will likely match your eye and lip colours.

● Lip colour (Milani Confident matte) – One that will go well with your eye colours

● Mascara (Too Faced Better than Sex)

● Brown pencil(ABH Brow definer in dark brown)

● Eye liner(Kat von D tattoo liner in Trooper)

● Setting mist(NYX matte)

● Rollerball perfume(Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb)- These are perfect for travel because they don’t spill.

○ Brushes- pack them in a flat brush holder like this or in a thin cosmetic case.

PACKING

I legit pack most of my cosmetics in a massive zip lock bag. Why? Because it holds a lot, it’s clear so it’s cool to go through airport security and if it gets messed up with spilt product you can bin it when you’re finished. 

Everything laid out



Packing things this way also save space because you can lay it flat on top of your clothing.

All packed up

Thanks for reading, happy travels and have an awesome day!

Where to Travel- Orlando

23 Jan

Hello and welcome to my “Where to travel” series. Throughout the first part of the year, I will be posting on various travel destinations,  giving my personal reviews, experiences, and advice on where to go and what to do.

This concept began as an idea for a single post where I would simply list a few places I thought would be great to travel to, stating what to do there etc, but alas it became way too involved. So instead I decided to break it down into multiple posts doing one place at a time but doing it in depth.

Today we begin with Orlando

 

Wonderworks, an attraction found on International Drive Orlando 

Orlando, FL

Orlando is a city located in central Florida and is probably best known internationally for the presence of dozens of theme parks. But this popular vacation spot has so much more to offer.

I have been visiting Orlando on and off since I was six years old. In more recent times, my family and I have been going yearly and with good reason. Orlando is a great place to have a vacation.

 

 

WHY:
Orlando is fun! For a lot of younger, hardcore travelers looking for organic deep cultural experiences, an Orlando visit may seem almost laughable, but don’t knock it till you try it. Orlando has a lot to offer and I think of it as a slightly more family-friendly version of Las Vegas. There is something there for everyone no matter what your specific interest is. There are things to do and see for the art lover, the thrill seeker, the foodie, you name it!

 

 

WHEN:
Any time of year. Orlando is in Florida and because of this, it enjoys fairly warm weather year round although it does get cooler from December to February. Additionally, Orlando has events going on all year so you pick whenever works best for you.

 

 

WHERE (to stay):
A hallmark of Orlando is the plentiful resort/villa/condos up for rent. Many of these are timeshare locations so if you or a family member owns one, be sure to check and see if the company has a location there. I think staying at a resort adds the overall Orlando experience. Many of them are located in a similar area which is close to lots of attractions particularly Disney parks. There are also a lot of hotels to chose from. They go from 2 star to 5 star and you chose based on your budget and preference. The areas I recommend staying include  Lake Buena Vista area (close to Disney), International Drive and Kissimmee, but really anywhere is pretty close to most things.

 

WHAT (to do):
Theme Parks

Theme Parks are probably what Orlando is best known for and indeed it hosts a massive number of parks with all the Disney parks and Universal Studios as well as lesser known ones like Wet and Wild water park and Bush Gardens. There is something for everyone whether you like roller coasters or prefer more relaxing rides.

 

Shopping

Orlando also has some great shopping especially if you like outlet malls. There are two major outlet malls: Orlando International Premium Outlet mall and Orland Vineland  PremiumOutlet mall. There are also multiple other malls and shopping complexes dotted around, for example, the mall at Aventura.

Premium Outlet mall at Vineland 

 

Entertainment

Apart from theme parks, there are lots of ways to be entertained in Orlando. If you like shows, there is a Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs and the Blue Man Group performs at Universal Studio. There are a number of art galleries including Pop art Gallery at Disney Springs

Pop art Gallery at Disney Springs 

 

DINING

You cannot go hungry in Orlando that’s for sure. There are clusters of all the popular American eateries such as Golden Coral, Applebees, Olive Garden etc. There are also numerous dining experiences at places like Disney Springs and Universal Boardwalk and International Drive.

A few examples:

Disney Springs

Bongos Cuban Cafe

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

Morimoto Asian Cafe

Wolfgang Puck Cafe at Disney Springs 




International Drive

Banshoo Sushi Bar

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

 

TIPS

If you are particularly interested in the theme parks, a visit outside of the summer months is recommended. Many families vacation in Orlando because it is kid friendly and the most popular time to travel is summer so everywhere gets extra packed. However, everywhere is always kind of packed so be prepared for lines no matter what.

If you are doing the Disney Parks, there are buses that transport you free of charge to all the Disney Parks and Disney Springs so you can get around easily that way

IRide Trolley- This is a bus service that uses these cute San Francisco trolley-style buses. The iRide trolley has two routes that basically run the length of International Drive (I-Drive). On this route, you can get to major shopping areas including the two main Outlet malls, as well as the countless attractions, restaurants, and stores along International Drive.

I-Ride Trolley

Lynx- This is the other common bus service in Orlando. While iRide is more tourist oriented, Lynx is used by everyone including locals and that means it goes a fair amount more places than the iRide trolley. You can get to some of the theme parks as well as other malls using Lynx. Be sure to buy a day pass or even multi-day pass as you will likely have to switch buses a number of times while there.

Car Rental- This isn’t an absolute must when visiting Orlando. I have done trips with and without renting a car. Thanks to iRide trolley, Lynx and the fact that many things are clustered together e.g along I-Drive, you can have a great trip without renting a car, however, it definitely makes things easier. It means you can leave whenever you want and avoid long wait times and multiple stops. This is important especially if you have a tightly packed schedule.

IDrive website- International Drive has a website where there are loads of coupons offering savings and deals at the many businesses along International Drive as well as ideas on what to do there. Check it out.

 If you’re thinking about visiting Orlando be sure to use some of these tips and be sure to have an awesome day! 

10 Christmas Traditions around the World 

13 Dec

BLOG-Mas Day 12

Hello and welcome to the 12th day of Blogmas. A number of years ago (more than I care to remember)  I did a presentation on Christmas Traditions around the world and during different time periods. I found it so interesting how many things were so different yet how many were almost identical . 
This is just the tip of the iceberg with Christmas Traditions to pique your interests . 
HAITI

NORWAY

NIGERIA 

PHILIPPINES 

ROMANIA 

VENEZUELA 

GREECE

CHINA

FAULKLAND ISLANDS

KENYA 

Did any traditions sounder familiar? We’re any surprising ?  Thank you for reading and have an awesome day ! 

Travel Tips- Transport

3 Nov

Oli Oli Bus in Oahu Hawaii 
Hello
Today I will talk about transport options to consider while travelling. I have touched previously on money saving transport tips but I wanted to take a more in-depth look at it.
I really love travelling but as I’ve said before you can easily spend half your vacation budget on transport and for me that’s not good. I will take a look at the major forms of transport and some tips on how and when to use them.
1) RENTAL CAR

Rental vehicles are useful if you are traveling in a group or visiting someplace not easily explored via public transport. For example, I had a family vacation earlier this year to Orlando FL. There were five of us and we went to various theme parks and malls. Due to the layout of Orlando and the number of persons, a rental vehicle was our most feasible option. We split the cost and shared the driving load and it worked out well.

TIPS

Shop around– There are dozens if not hundreds of rental car companies out there. Don’t just rent the first thing you see. In some instances you can even bid for a car. Also, most rental companies don’t charge you on booking but only once you actually rent the car so even when you arrive at your destination you can check out different companies for the best deal.

Read Contract/Policies carefully– This is so important. Make sure you are fully aware of the company’s policies on gas, tolls and damage.

Be wary of upgrades– I fell so hard for this the first time I rented a car. I see upgrades the way I see the tactic fast food companies use when they offer you fries with every meal or convenience stores that offer you gum or water: Trickery via the power of suggestion. 

If an upgrade is recommended be sure to get all the details needed. Sometimes the upgrade ,often sold as being a better deal excludes important and mandatory aspects and it is only revealed when you receive your final bill.

Consider Insurance – All rental companies will offer you insurance for extra money per day. This can drive up the cost of your rental in a major way. 

I say consider because the truth is most of us go through most days without having any accidents at all so the chance of one happening in the few days you rent the car are slim. That being said, in the off chance something should happen you may regret not having that insurance. My advice is to clarify how much the insurance covers and if it seems appropriate then get it and protect yourself.

Nix GPS-By this I mean do not rent the company’s GPS  system for $15 per day. In 2016, you can use Google maps or waze or a similar app and use it for navigation. If you are travelling outside your country you can invest in a sim card so you can use the apps.
2) TAXI

This refers to original taxis, not services like Uber. Taxis are typically safe because taxi drivers are lisensed and members of associations and companies. They have to display their names and credentials and rides are either metered or list preset prices for various destinations to avoid overcharging . However ,  taxis are expensive and this is what has fuelled to popularity of  Uber et al. 

For me I use taxis to take me to and from the airport on trips where I haven’t rented a vehicle or on the off chance I am out someplace after buses have stopped running. Apart from that I am very wary of taxis.

TIPS

Ask about average prices beforehand– Getting a vague idea of how much it costs to go from point A to B prepares you for what you will pay and can clue you in if it seems too pricey.

Get an idea of the fastest routes– The meters go according to distance. If your driver takes a more convoluted route, your price will go up. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the routes via Google maps etc so you know if you’re both literally and figuratively being taken for a ride . This has happened to me before.Don’t let it be you!
3) UBER/LYFT

These are known as ride sharing services. The original and best known is Uber but there are now many similar services available worldwide . For anyone unfamiliar, the service involves using an app where you request a ride from a driver nearby. You are aware of the cost of the ride prior to getting in and payment is via credit card. If you don’t take the ride, you aren’t charged.

The major difference between this type of service and a traditional taxi service is that the drivers are not lisensed taxi drivers. This results in lower fares and makes it a preferred option for many because of this. On the downside there is minimal regulation of said drivers and there have been some unfortunate incidents involving drivers. 

I say use these services with caution. Obviously I advocate for the most cost effective options but safety always comes first . 

TIP

Read reviews – This is a saving grace where users rate drivers and vice versa. This can direct you away from problematic drivers and towards the good ones.
4) PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This refers primarily to buses and trains. This is likely the second most cost effective way to travel. In most well planned cities and even in rural areas there are regular reliable bus/train services.

 I recommend using public transport if you are travelling to a busy city or of you are on a leisurely vacation where you aren’t rushing to go anyplace (’cause public transport can be tedious!) I also recommend this mode of transport if you are alone or in a small group of maybe two or three persons where it is less expensive than car rental.

TIPS

Get a schedule– So you know when and where the bus you want will be arriving. Many bus services now have apps where you can see in real time the current location and estimated arrival time of the next bus or train.

Plan to leave well in advance– As I said , public transport can sometimes be tedious. As the day wears on there tend to be more and more delays. Additionally ,  buses and trains make stops, a lot  of them. This means that a trip that may take twenty minutes in a taxi could take an hour by bus due to these factors. So leave home well before you want to arrive at your destination.
5) WALK

Sometimes this is the best option. If you’re going someplace nearby and you aren’t in a hurry this can be ideal . It is certainly the cheapest as it’s completely free not to mention getting that cardio in.

TIPS

Know your route-Make sure you know where you are going. Google maps etc can help you plot your course.

Make sure it’s a safe area– Keep to well lit, busy areas especially if you are alone.

 I was once the person who took taxi everywhere and it burned my pockets and my very soul, so I know how important it is to choose the right mode of transport on the right time on your trip.

I hope my breakdown and tips have offered some help to anyone planning a trip and I hope you have an awesome day!

Travel Tips- Visiting a Museum

21 Sep

Outside museum in Costa Rica



Hello

I love museums. I think they are an excellent way to learn alot about a particular country or region or art style in a short space of time. I can’t think of any major trip I’ve taken where I didn’t visit at least one local museum. A museum is a great way to spend a morning or while away an afternoon. It’s chill, entertaining and pretty cheap compared with other tourist activities.
Here are some tips I have if you’re thinking of visiting a museum on your next trip.
1) Decide to go

Museums are one of the most budget friendly vacation activities for the following reasons: 

Many museums charge no fee or a very nominal fee asking only for a donation,  so if you only have $5 to spare that’s usually okay.

A lot of museums offer discounted fees to various persons e.g. students, teachers, senior citizens. 

Many museums offer discounted fees after a particular time e.g The Museum of Art and Design in Manhatten offers “pay what you wish” after 6pm on Thursdays.

 
2) Research

Choose

Museums come in all shapes and sizes. There are massive national museums, art museums, fashion museums, military museums etc. Spend a little QT with google and tailor your selection to your interests so you don’t waste time, money and energy.

Temporary Exhibits 

Many museums have exhibits that last for only a few weeks or months. They’re often interactive and very in depth. It might be worthwhile chosing a museum with a temporary exhibit you might be interested in. A few years ago I visited a temporary exhibit at Museum of Natural History in NY  (my absolute favorite in the world). It was based on using more natural foods and it was outstanding. I got to sample a lot of different foods especially honeys, there was one with elderflower and to this day I’ve never had another opportunity to taste elderflower honey, so I’m glad I went then.

Other Activities 

Most museums have a calender of events for the upcoming month and even year which include exhibits as well as other events like musical performances, films or even workshops often for small additional fees.

Display from Temporary exhibit in Gold Museum in Costa Rica


Statue in museum


3) Pack Light

This is standard travel advice.You’ll likely be on your feet for quite a few hours .Some museums will make you put your bags away allowing only phones and purses. However, if they don’t , you won’t want need to lug around all your belongings at once. So pack minimal items keeping the load down.
4)  Eat before you go

Or after you leave. The truth is that most museum restaurants or cafés are exceptionally overpriced. Now if you specifically want to eat at the museum by all means go ahead but there is a pretty good chance you’ll be paying double the amount for the same wrap or salad you could get from a cafe around the corner.
5) Caution in the Gift shop

This is a sure way to have your money sucked .Gift shops are bright and shiny and make you feel encouraged to buy. Either set a spending limit e.g no more than $30 or decide precisely what you want e.g a commemorative book and stick to it.

I hope these little tips encourage you to visit a museum on your next trip. They really are enjoyable places and you can feel your mind expanding. Happy Travels and have an awesome day!  

Ten (money saving ) Travel Tips 

31 Aug

Bags…CHECK

Passport… CHECK

Money saving tips..CHECK,CHECK,CHECK

Hello

I’ve done my fair share of traveling -on a budget of course and I wanted to share a few tips I’ve curated and cultivated along the way. Some may seem obvious and others may be something new, so read on…

1) Book your ticket early

I cannot stress this enough. Typically flights, train tickets,  boat tickets go up in price the closer it gets to the date of travel. I have paid 3 times the normal amount for a ticket because I waited 2 days before the flight to book it.Don’t let that be you!

2) Use multiple sources/sites to book your hotel/ticket /rental car

I remember back in the day in order to get a flight you had to make an appointment with your travel agent, pay whatever price he or she gave you and get a thick wad of papers (your ticket) in return.

I also recall that in order to get a hotel room you flipped through brochures looking at pictures of a room boasting vistas and furniture that was far better quality than the one you would actually end up staying in while the travel agent “booked” you in.

Now, you just go online and find your flight, your room and your car sometimes on the same website.

However,  don’t just book the first thing you see. There are dozens maybe even hundreds of websites you can use to view, compare and even bid for your hotel rooms and tickets. Use these. Also ,never completely rule out the usefulness of a travel agent,  they have unique access to certain packages and sometimes remain the best option.

Some websites I have had good results with are Kayak and Expedia.

3) Recheck your flight !

Do this for the date, the time and the carrier.

My sister ended up completely missing the wedding of a family friend because she thought her flight was 7pm when it was really 7am.Don’t let this be you!

 Always recheck everything a few days before then again on the day of travel. Also make sure you read any emails or text messages informing of flight changes.

4) Plan your activities 

Museum visit, shopping, tour, dinner. All of the wonderful things we experience when on a trip. Depending on where these things are located you can find yourself traveling very long extended distances and using loads of money in gas or taxi fare.

Before you venture out, take a good look at Google maps and plot your course so that all the things you do in a day are close to each other or form a loop.

5) Use Public Transport 

Do this when feasible,  when reliable and when safe.

Certain places especially large cities or areas that cater to tourists have excellent,  affordable public transport. For example trains in London or the iRide Trolley buses in Orlando. Often times you spend a literal fraction of the cost when using these methods rather than a hired ride whether taxi or Uber or Lyft. 

It is worthwhile to compare the cost of public transport with that of a rented vehicle, in some instances it is more feasible to rent than use public transport.

6) Buy your food from the supermarket 

This might sound counter productive especially if you’re a big time foodie like myself. Isn’t eating out and about half the fun if a trip? Yes, however you don’t need to eat ALL of your meals from gourmet cafes. Sometimes all you need is a yogurt and apple for breakfast and a protein bar for lunch. 

Purchasing breakfast items and snacks as well as water from someplace like a supermarket where things are cheaper can conserve your coins for a real feast. 

If your hotel includes breakfast you can also take a long some of the fruit, muffins etc to last throughout the day.

7) Use coupons!

I started doing this about five years ago and I can’t believe I wasn’t doing it my whole life! I use coupon codes for everything from $10 off at clothing stores to free appetizers with dinner to discounts on tours. They are very useful and you can opt to print them or just download them to your phone.

A website I often use is retailmenot.com

8) Check the weather

You can often get a predicted forecast up to two weeks ahead of time. This is important, you don’t want to show up with shorts and a bikini expecting to lay on the beach when there is cold weather or a storm coming. A particularly concerning weather forecast can even mean having to postpone. Additionally also have an idea of things like civil unrest, certain customs, dresscodes etc.

9) Price check (BEFOREHAND)

As much as we hate to think it, tourists are targets for price gouging. You want to buy something or do something and you have no idea of the cost so you pay whatever is asked. Don’t do it. You can look up different tour prices online beforehand, you can also peruse the many travel blogs where people give this kind of information and you can ask an unbiased local. I usually approach police officers or hotel workers and verify predicted costs of certain things . Don’t get taken!

10) Be safe!

I mean this in all senses of the word. Physically safe and financial safe. 

If you get a bad feeling about the way a hotel looks or the street you’re about to go down, trust your instinct! 

Also, watch your money and cards. Be careful pulling out large bills and be careful who you give your credit card to, even the cashiers. A few months ago I discovered charges made from my credit card in New York (where I hadn’t been in two years) and Texas (where I’d never been). I had spent a few days in Miami and I didn’t lose my card, so who knows who got that information and how.

I hope my tips are useful and that you have a great trip and an awesome day! 

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