Green Travel Tips To Reduce The Environmental Impact Of Your Next Vacation

Eco Travel Tips

An unfortunate side effect of traveling is that it can have a negative impact on the environment. One study by the University of Sydney found that global tourism accounts for 8% of total carbon emissions. According to a TripAdvisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers say they “often” make eco-friendly travel decisions, such as their choice of hotel, transportation, or food source, so it’s definitely something that travelers are aware of. Thankfully, with a few simple changes to the way you travel, it’s easy to limit the impact you have on the Earth as you adventure around it.

Avoid The Airplane
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, aircraft produce 12% of all U.S. greenhouse gases generated from transportation. The next time you’re planning a trip, think about all of the great places close to home that you haven’t yet explored, and that you can get to by luxury motorcoach, instead of flying halfway around the world just to see something new.

Don’t Forget About Home
We go in depth into all of the things you should do to Prepare Your Home For Your Next Trip but it’s important to remember that not only are these tips good for your home, they’re good for the environment as well. Turning down your water heater, adjusting your thermostat, and unplugging appliances while you’re away can help reduce the amount of energy that your home uses while you’re away, so it’s not consuming unnecessary resources.

Take Your Toiletries
It’s fun to sample a new soap or shampoo brand when you travel, but those tiny hotel toiletries come in plastic bottles and other packaging that create a lot of waste. Pack your own soap, shampoo, lotion, and other essentials to keep them out of the trash, and if you happen to forget something and do need to use the hotel’s offering, you can always bring it home to use on your next trip by refilling the bottle with your own products. Even better, save space AND the environment with non-liquid toiletries like Dr. Bronner’s All-One Bar Soap that can be used for everything from shampoo and body wash to shaving cream.

Green Environmentally Friendly Hotel

Stay In Green Hotels
One of the biggest decisions you can make when planning a vacation is where to stay, and picking a location that’s committed to green practices like recycling, serving local and organic food, cleaning with non-toxic products, and providing electric car charging stations can go a long way towards reducing your carbon footprint. An easy way to find somewhere green to stay is TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders Program which showcases eco-friendly hotels and B&Bs, from budget to luxury.

Skip The Laundry
You don’t wash your towels every day at home, so why change that routine just because you’re traveling? Getting a fresh set of towels each day means that the old set has to get washed, and laundry is one of the most environmentally damaging parts of hotel operations. Save water, and energy, by just using the same sheets and towels for the duration of your stay.

Green Travel Utensils

Eat Clean
When you travel, chances are you’re going to be eating out and on the go a lot, and that can mean a lot of single-use plastics and other disposable goods. One easy way to reduce your environmental impact is to bring along your own reusable bags, straws, utensils, and food containers.

Pack A Water Bottle
Traveling often means a lot of activity, which means you’ll need to stay hydrated. Instead of buying a bunch of plastic water bottles to quench your thirst, bring along your own bottle that you can refill regularly. Even better, if you’re in a place where the water might not be 100% safe to drink, even if you’re getting it from a restaurant, you can bring along a water bottle with a built-in filtration system like the LifeStraw Water Bottle.

Collapse Your Coffee Cup
If traveling means you’re staying out late and waking up early, then you’re probably starting each day with a cup of coffee, and many travelers love to start their day by visiting the local coffee shop since it gives them a sense of what the locals do on their regular schedule. Unfortunately to-go coffee cups create a lot of waste, but you can avoid that by bringing your own, like this Stojo Silicone Collapsible Cup that packs down into a small container so it’s easy to throw in your day bag and it’s always available.

Travel Walking

Walk It Out
Instead of taking a Taxi or an Uber from one destination to another, consider walking. It’s better for the environment, and gives you a chance to get up close and personal with different parts of a city, seeing things that are off the ‘Must See’ list for most tourists, and giving you a more cohesive experience instead of just jumping from one activity to the next.

Eat Locally
It can be tempting to grab a familiar bite to eat at an international chain restaurant, but many of those restaurants source ingredients from far away, and ship them around the world just to fill up their menu. By eating at smaller local establishments, you’re more likely to support a restaurant that sources ingredients locally, which is better for the environment, helps support more of the local economy, and probably tastes better and more authentic anyways!

Avoid The Animals
If you want to go out and see nature, you need to get out into nature. Plan a hike, hire a guide, or just keep an eye out for the natural wonders that surround you. If you go somewhere that promises hands-on encounters with lions, tigers, bears (oh my!) or other wild animals, chances are those animals weren’t captured in the most humane way, aren’t being kept in conditions that are suitable for their needs, or are being mistreated.

Trash The Tchotchkes
If you’re looking for something to remember your trip, buy locally made (preferably handmade) products, rather than those that have been imported from other countries just to fill up a gift shop. Items that are flown or shipped in have a much larger carbon footprint, and who wants yet another cheap, cookie-cutter souvenir made on an assembly line? Instead, check out these 6 Unique Travel Souvenirs To Remember Your Experience.

Travel Bucket List Ideas

Travel Bucket List

There are plenty of ‘Travel Bucket List’ ideas that are filled with dreamy destinations, but those usually require a specific trip just to check them off. We wanted to put together a list of ideas that you can apply to almost any trip, so that you can do a little something extra the next time you travel. Here are five bucket list ideas for how to make the most of your next vacation:

Travel Solo

The idea of traveling by yourself can be daunting, but you don’t need to plan a month-long solo journey right off the bat! Start small with a weekend trip to see if you like it, and then plan something bigger if you enjoy the experience. Traveling solo will teach you a lot of things about yourself, and get you out of your comfort zone, which can often result in some of the most unique and memorable experiences you’ll have when traveling. Plus, it’s a great chance to meet a new travel buddy along the way and share some experiences together. Best of all, you’re in complete control of the trip, so you can decide what to see, when you want to see it, what to eat, and even just decide to sleep in one day and enjoy a relaxing morning of room service. It’s all up to you!

Learn To Cook A New Cuisine

What better way to learn how to cook a new food than to take a cooking class in the place where that food was invented? Take a creole cooking class in New Orleans, toss a pizza in Chicago, or BBQ a pig in Texas. You’ll get to learn something new, eat something delicious, and share cooking stories with some of the best chefs in the country.

Go Camping (Or Glamping!)

If you’ve never spent time outdoors, then consider a tent instead of a hotel room the next time you’re visiting a new place. If you’re on a road trip, you can bring your own (Ozark Trail offers a 22 Piece Camping Combo Set with literally EVERYTHING you’d need to get started) but if you’re not sure of what to bring or how to set everything up, check out one of the many “glamping” destinations that are available, where someone else sets everything up for you (usually with gear that’s a little more posh, and a little less “roughing it”) so you can just enjoy your stay in a non-traditional environment. You might find that you enjoy the opportunity to disconnect from the world, turn off your smartphone for the weekend, and spend time enjoying the company of others around a roaring campfire.

Overcome A Fear

You’re already going to be seeing and doing new things when you travel, so why not use that opportunity to overcome a fear? Maybe you’re scared of flying, but you decide to go skydiving at your next destination. Or you’re afraid of sharks, but you plan a scuba diving class that lets you explore a beautiful reef. Or you’re afraid of heights, but the views offered at an experience like the 360 Chicago Observation Deck are too good to pass up! Either way, you’re guaranteed to have a trip you won’t soon forget, and you might find that you just needed a little push to get over your fear and try something new.

Stay In A Unique Airbnb

In our list of 2019’s Top Travel Trends we highlighted Bite-Sized Travel, where three-day weekend road trips and micro excursions are the perfect way to get away without taking a whole week of paid vacation, and unique Airbnb locations can be reason enough for a trip. A lot of people try to save money when booking a hotel if their main goal is to get out and explore, but if your goal is just to stay somewhere fun and unique, you can spend a little more to stay somewhere fun, and then spend your time enjoying your surroundings. Options include a Pirates of the Caribbean Getaway, a Tropical Tree House, an Airstream ‘Land Yacht’ In Joshua Tree, an Off-Grid Adobe Dome In The Desert, a Ritzy Tiny Home By The Lake, and more. By the end of your trip, you’ll have enough Instagram-worthy photos to fill up your feed for the next year!

Road Rules For Road Trips

Road Trip Tips And Tricks
Photo by Averie Woodard

Traveling on the open road is one of the best ways to see this amazing country of ours. Whether its aboard a luxury motorcoach on one of our pre-planned trips, or cruising down the interstate behind the wheel of your own vehicle, there’s nothing like the experiences you have when the journey is just as much fun as the destination. From sea to shining sea, the spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties will remind you why this is America the Beautiful.

You can also learn a lot about the country you live in by taking a road trip. Unlike an airplane trip, where you hop on in one location and magically hop off in a completely different location, skipping over time zones, mountain ranges, and all of the surprisingly beautiful places pejoratively called ‘flyover country’ while staring at a movie on a small screen strapped to the back of the seat in front of you, a road trip allows you to get up close and personal with the people and places that don’t land on any ‘Must Visit’ lists, but are still worth the time and travel it takes to get there.

We’ve already covered The Best Road Trip Gear that you should bring on your next trip, so now we wanted to share a few ‘rules of the road’ that will help you enjoy your time more, and make the most of every moment:

Plan Ahead – You don’t have to create an itinerary for every hour of every day, but it helps to at least have a general idea of where you want to stay each night, so that you can plan the amount of driving you want to do each day, and also build your list of roadside attractions, diners, drive-ins, and dives that you want to stop at, and friends to see along the way.

Ignore The Plan – While plans are great, it’s hard to plan for everything, so you should also give yourself the freedom to go off script if you see somewhere you want to stop, something you want to see, or someone you want to talk with. The unexpected moments can be the most memorable part of a road trip, so account for the occasional whim.

Rest Up – Drowsy driving is dangerous driving, so make sure to get plenty of rest each night, so you’ll feel fresh and refreshed when you’re back behind the wheel. If you get tired, it’s always better to stop for the night and get back on the road again in the morning, instead of trying to push through and finding yourself with bigger issues than an unplanned hotel stop. If you’ve got an event to catch on the other side of the country, you may need to plan some longer driving days, but we’ve found that 4-6 hours of driving per day is a good balance of covering distance, while still giving you enough time to enjoy your stops along the way, and have time in the evening to explore your destination.

If you’d rather leave the driving up to the experts, give us a call to find out about our upcoming trips, where you can see the sights from a luxury motorcoach, and make your next vacation easier and more enjoyable: (828) 595-9691

Stay Nourished – Is there anything better than a road trip snack? While we also love a good Slim Jim or a fresh bag of Fritos, you should try to pack some healthy snacks as well, like protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit, beef jerky, or popcorn. If you want to bring along some fresh fruits and veggies, or some hummus and crackers, you can also invest in a powered cooler like this Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler that plugs into your 12V outlet and can keep fresh food fresh while you’re on the road. And when you’re loading the cooler, don’t forget to pack some bottled water so you can stay hydrated without stopping for a 64oz Big Gulp that will have you pulling over every hour to use the bathroom.

Be Entertained – There’s no shortage of ways to stay entertained on the road, and with small computers in our pockets, you’re not limited to the License Plate Game or singing 99 Bottles. Before you leave, load up on a few new podcasts that you’ve been hearing about, download a book on tape from your favorite author, or invest in a good travel camera so you can capture the sights you’re seeing out the window. Or you can bring along a few Conversation Starters and really get to know the person sitting next to you on a deeper level. Just remember to spend some time actually enjoying the sights and sounds around you, and don’t just bury your nose in your smartphone as you scroll through the latest batch of Instagram Stories.

Strike Up A Conversation – Travel is a great way to get outside of your comfort zone, so use your road trip as an opportunity to practice your socializing skills. You’ll see plenty of new people when you stop for food, shop in a small town, or pick a spot to sleep for the night, and a few friendly hellos can easily strike up fun and interesting conversations that will expand your understanding of the people that make up this great country of ours, the differences that make us unique, and the similarities that bring us all together.

Have Fun – Above all, road trips are meant to be fun! Snap some pics and share them with #RoadTrip, hold your breath as you go through tunnels, stop by the world’s largest garden gnome, and sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs when it comes on the radio! If you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’ll make memories that can last a lifetime, and take a trip you’ll never forget!

10 Tips For Better Sleep When You Travel

10 Tips For Better Sleep When You Travel

A recent global study commissioned by IHG found that 80% of travelers say they have trouble sleeping when away from home, with the biggest causes being the different environment and unfamiliar noises.

“It’s no secret that travelling can be challenging for our health, particularly when it comes to maintaining our normal sleep patterns. Light is the major environmental time cue that resets the circadian clock in our brains each day, which is easily thrown off when travelling.”

Dr. Steven W. Lockley, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Since feeling well rested can improve any trip, and feeling tired is sure to make things more difficult, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep when you travel. So how can you improve your chances of getting those all important dream-filled hours? Here are 10 tips that can help you catch a few extra zzz’s:

Adjust Your Bedtime – If you’re traveling across timezones, you should start altering your bedtime a few days before you leave to adjust your body to its new location. It takes about a day per timezone to adjust, so move your bedtime an hour earlier (or later, depending on direction of travel) three days before you’re set to depart, and then another hour the next evening, and then a third hour on the night before you leave.

Sync With The Locals – When you arrive at a new destination, you want to sync with the local schedule. If you get there in the middle of the day, you’ll want to stay awake until the locals would normally go to sleep. If you arrive around nighttime, avoid the temptation to stay out late that first night, and try to get some sleep earlier in the evening so you can get back in sync.

Watch The Sun – If you’re traveling east, make sure to bring along a pair of sunglasses so that you can reduce your early morning light exposure. Heading west? You want to get extra light exposure in the early evening, so plan an outdoor activity like a walk or al fresco dining.

Stay Facing West – One way to control your sun exposure is to request a hotel room that faces west, since that will prevent the early morning sun from blasting into your window and waking you up prematurely.

Get Help From Your Hotel – Another hotel option is to call ahead and let them know that you have trouble sleeping, and request a quieter room. That can often help you avoid low-level rooms or high-traffic areas that are going to have increased noise and make it harder to stay asleep.

BYO Pillow Case – The goal is to make your sleep area as familiar as possible, and since smell is one of the biggest sources of comfort, you can bring along your own pillow case that smells like home to help remind your mind and body that when you lay down in bed and put your head on your pillow, it’s time to sleep.

Keep It Cool – An hour or two before bedtime, turn your hotel thermostat down a few degrees into the 66-68 range, which is the optimal zone for a good night’s sleep.

Make Friends With Melatonin – When you’re on a regular sleep schedule, your body releases a hormone called melatonin about two hours before bedtime that signals it’s time to get sleepy. If traveling has knocked your body’s clock out of whack, you can take melatonin as a sleep aid to help get those signals back in sync, like these 5mg Solimo Melatonin Gummies. David Hamer, director of the Travel Clinic at Boston Medical Center, recommends that you start with a low dose of .5 milligrams at bedtime, advises against more than 5 milligrams per night, and says to use melatonin only for the first few days of your trip while your body is adjusting.

Sleep Sounds For Sound Sleep – When you travel, new locations can be filled with new sounds that can keep you up at night, or worse, wake you up when you’ve finally managed to drift off. To help mask those sounds, you can use an app with different white noise sleep sounds to help you fall asleep, like rain, waterfalls, laundry machines, and cicadas that are available in the Rain Rain Sleep Sounds app for iOS and Android.

Start Your Engines – If you’re feeling a bit groggy that first morning, take a warm shower and then head outside and try to get some exercise. Increasing your body temperature is a trigger that tells your circadian rhythm that it’s time to get going, so it’ll help clear the cobwebs.

Lastly, it’s important to practice many of these techniques before you leave, like cooling down your bedroom or sleeping with a white noise machine, so that your body associates them with getting a good night’s rest. Traveling is going to break a lot of your natural routines already, so don’t make things even more complicated by trying out something new the day you arrive at your destination. With a little practice and preparation though, you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time, regardless of your location.

How To Prepare Your Home For Your Next Trip

Prepare Your Home For Travel

You’ve checked off your packing list, printed out your confirmation emails, and taken one final browse through your ‘Must Do’ Pinterest lists. You’re ready to go on your next trip, right? Not so fast! One thing a lot of people forget about when they travel, especially for an extended amount of time, is that it’s equally important to prepare your home and get everything in order before you lock the door and head out on your travels. Having your home as prepared for your vacation as you are can take a lot of stress off your next trip, so to help, we put together a guide with the steps you can take to make sure your home is ready for your next vacation.

Hold Your Mail – Nothing says “I’m on Vacation and this home is empty!” like an overflowing mailbox. Thankfully the USPS has made their Hold Mail service easy to use with a simple online form, so you don’t have to plan a trip to the local post office just to get your mail held for you for up to 30 days.

Stop Newspaper Delivery – A driveway full of old newspapers is another invitation to potential thieves, so make sure to call any newspaper services that you subscribe to and have them stop delivery while you’re away. If you get a daily paper, it’s probably best to stop delivery a day or two before you leave so that you can make sure it actually gets processed appropriately.

Look After Pets and Plants – Any living thing in your home is going to need another set of eyes to keep them alive while you’re away, so if you don’t have a friendly neighbor or family member that lives close enough to care for them while you’re away, check out a service like Rover to find someone who can look after your pet, and invest in some Plant Watering Globes or Self-Watering Terracotta Spikes to keep your plants watered automatically while you’re away.

Pre-Pay Your Bills – If you’re not already on automatic payments, make sure to review all of your recurring bills, like cable, power, water, and your cell phone, and pre-pay any that will be due while you’re away. That way, you’re not hit with any surprises when a bill reminder letter is sitting with the rest of your mail in the hold at the post office.

Empty Your Refrigerator – Make sure to check all of your perishable food and toss anything that will expire while you’re away. Food will actually last a few days longer than usual when you’re not opening and closing the refrigerator door regularly, but you don’t want to come back to a refrigerator full of rotten food that you have to deal with when you’d rather be relaxing after you return.

Unplug Appliances – You can unplug any non-essential appliance, like your TV, computer, microwave, stereo, or internet router, to make sure they’re not using any zombie power that you’ll have to pay for, and also to protect them from any unexpected issues like a power surge that could damage them while you’re away.

Adjust Your HVAC – Unless you live in a temperate climate, you probably don’t want to turn your heater or air conditioning off entirely, since homes don’t like extreme temperatures, but they can survive a much wider range of temperatures than what we humans comfortably like to live in, so you can turn down the heat setting, or turn up the air conditioning setting, to make sure that they only kick on if the house gets really hot or cold. A safe range is 60 for the heat, and 80 for the air conditioning.

Turn Down Your Water Heater – Another appliance you can adjust to help save money while you’re away is your water heater. Most water heaters need to regularly turn on to re-heat the water as it cools, so if you dial down the temperature, you can give it a break and save yourself some electricity in the process.

Turn Off Your Water – Water leads are pretty rare, but they can happen, and the worst time for one of your pipes to spring a leak would be when you’re away on a trip and unable to catch it in time. To help prevent any potential water damage, you can turn off the taps at your sinks, toilets, and washing machine to make sure no water is flowing to potential weak spots in your water system.

Set Up Timed Lights – One easy way to deter thieves is to have a few lights that still turn on and off regularly, so it looks like someone’s home. These Mechanical Outlet Timers are cheap and easy to use, and you can put one in a main living area, and then one in the bedroom, and set them to different on and off times so it still looks like people are moving around within the house.

Leave A Key With A Trusted Friend – Even the best planning and preparation can overlook something simple, so make sure you have a backup plan in place with a trusted friend that can access your home if needed. Give them your itinerary so they know when to expect you back, and then if you think you might have left a curling iron on and can’t get it out of your mind, you can give them a call and have them go take a look, so you can get back to relaxing on your vacation and not worrying about your home.

Making The Most Of Micro Trip Travel

Travel Trend - Micro Trip
Photo by Dino Reichmuth

Everyone loves a week-long vacation, but sometimes you want to get away without all of the planning, packing, and expense of an extended trip. Enter: The Micro Trip! This travel trend sees people planning bite-sized two and three-day excursions that are the perfect way to escape for a long weekend, and you can get out and see the world without cashing in all of your saved up vacation days. So how do you get in on this Micro Trip trend?

Have A Plan

Unlike an extended trip, where you can arrive at your destination and then spend a few days getting the lay of the land, a Micro Trip works best when you plan ahead. If there are any ‘must do’ items on your to-do list, you’ll want to make reservations so you can be sure a spot will be available. (And if a spot is not available, that you’ll have time to put a backup plan in place.) That’s true for restaurants, museums, tours, and tickets to anything where other travelers or even locals are competing for limited spaces.

Have A Neighborhood

If you’re visiting a new city, you also won’t likely have enough time to explore every part of it, so make sure to do some research ahead of time and pick a few neighborhoods or areas where you want to spend your time, and then find activities in those areas that sound appealing. It’s better to embed yourself in one area and really explore everything there is to see, than spend your entire time in a car or taxi driving from one place to another as you criss-cross around town.

Have A Backpack

When it comes to packing, remember that you’re just going for a couple days, so you don’t need to bring your entire closet to prepare for any weather. Keep an eye on the forecast for your destination a day or two before you leave, and pack accordingly. You can get by with a small backpack that contains a pair of pants, a couple shirts, a jacket, toiletries, and a phone charger, and you won’t waste time unpacking and picking out each outfit, so you can get out and start exploring instead.

Have A Budget

Another advantage of Micro Trips is that you can usually save on accommodations. The whole idea is to spend time out of your hotel exploring, so you don’t need to spend more for a premium room that you’re just sleeping in once or twice. If you plan your travel right, you can also cut out one full hotel night, which also helps keep costs in check. If you’re planning a weekend getaway to a place that’s within driving distance, you can get up early on the first day, arrive before noon in your new destination, spend the day exploring, crash for the night in your hotel of choice, and then check out the following morning, with a full day of exploration ahead, before returning home that evening. It’s two full days of exploration, bookended around a single night’s stay.

Have A Good Time

You’re not trying to do everything in one trip, so feel free to get creative with your time, and focus on things that you’re going to really enjoy! A Micro Trip is the perfect time to book an experience with a local, get closer with friends as you explore a new place together, set an outlandish goal like eating appetizers at ten different restaurants in one night, or just giving yourself permission to sit by the pool for a whole day with your cell phone off and a good book in hand. The whole idea is to make your trips more manageable so you can take more of them, so don’t feel pressured to do everything at once.

Bite-Sized Travel was one of our favorite travel trends of 2019, and we love the idea of maximizing your time off with a Micro Trip. Vacation days were made to be used, so stop saving them up for a ‘someday, maybe’ trip, and start using them to explore the world around you, today!

7 Inspirational Travel Videos To Help Inspire Your Next Vacation

There’s just something about a good travel video that makes you want to pack your bags, call in sick to work, and visit a new place that you’ve never been to before. The sights and sounds that a video provides can inspire you like no photo or written article ever could, and a good storyteller can bring you along for a shared escape that lets your mind wander to far away places for those few minutes, and imagine yourself traveling the world and seeing new sites, tasting new foods, and meeting new people.

If you’re in need of some travel inspiration, or just a little extra motivation to plan your next trip, check out these seven videos:

Make It Count – Casey Neistat
When Nike gave Casey Neistat money to make a movie about what it means to #MakeItCount, they probably had no idea that the result would be a travel video that has inspired millions of people to travel more and see the world. If you haven’t seen it yet, Casey Neistat’s Make It Count video will make you want to drop everything, grab your passport, and see as much of the world as you possibly can:

Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives – Prince Ea
Part poem, part music video, part inspirational speech, Prince Ea’s Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives will get you out of your seat, planning how to chase your dreams, ignore doubt, and travel more:

Travel More & Buy Less – Luis Vargas
In his TED Talk, Luis Vargas wants to inspire and enable others to have transformative travel experiences, with the knowledge that travel can be a force for good. He reminds you that before you buy your next item for your “man cave” or “she shed”, remember that adventure and exploration is the best way to learn and expand your horizons. We live in a world of consumption, but a passport full of stamps is better than a house full of stuff:

Watchtower of Turkey – Leonardo Dalessandri
The editing that Leonardo Dalessandri does with his travels through Turkey (3500km in 20 days) create a beautiful and breathtaking travel video that will make you feel like you are right alongside him as he captures the colors, sights, foods, and people of a place that doesn’t always make it to the top of traveler’s bucket lists. After seeing the Watchtower of Turkey however, you may find yourself checking ticket prices and planning a trip:

A Story For Tomorrow – Gnarly Bay
Gnarly Bay spent 5 weeks exploring Chile and Patagonia with his girlfriend, and then took the travel footage and edited it over top of an inspirational narration that will make you want to get out and travel your own adventure:

My Year 2016 – Sam Kolder
In 2016, Sam Kolder decided to spend every day meeting new people, seeing new things, and experiencing new adventures. He created a video to document his year, and if it doesn’t inspire you to travel more, maybe nothing will:

Join The Adventure – Louis Cole
Louis Cole makes daily vlogs about traveling the world with friends, having fun, and inspiring others to travel as well. In his video, Join The Adventure, he shows what you can do and see in a single year if you focus on traveling more, and then invites everyone to live more adventurously:

Ready to travel somewhere new? Check out our list of Travel Destinations, and then give us a call to start planning your next trip: (828) 595-9691

5 Photography Apps That Will Make Your Travel Photos Pop

Photography is a big part of travel, since you’re seeing new sights, eating new foods, exploring new cultures, and meeting new people, so it’s natural that you’d want to document those experiences for your own personal memories, and also to share with friends, family, and the world through social media. We’ve highlighted 14 Instagram Accounts To Follow For Beautiful Travel Photos, but what’s their secret to capturing amazing images that stand out from the crowd? Part of taking good travel photos is having a good eye and knowing what to photograph, but a big part of it is also knowing how to get the most out of your phone’s camera, and make your images pop.

If you’re ready to take your travel photography to the next level, check out these 5 apps that will help you make the most of your next trip:

A Color Story - Travel Photography Smartphone App

A Color Story
The right colors are what make the photos of your favorite Instagram Travel Stars pop, and A Color Story will help you add that pop to your own travel photos with 300+ filters that have been designed by top photographers and influencers, 100+ movable effects you can add to any photo or video, and 20+ advanced tools you can use, like HSL, curves, and selective editing.

Foodie - Travel Photography Smartphone App

A big part of what makes traveling fun and exciting is enjoying new food, and a big part of enjoying new food is sharing that food on social media to make your friends and family jealous! (Don’t worry, we do it too…) Foodie is a camera app that’s designed specifically for taking pictures of food, with over 30 different filters that match the type of food you’re eating, as well as an easy and accurate smart guide feature for taking top-down photos of food! With Foodie, it’s fun and easy to spice up the perfect memory of a perfect meal.

Facetune - Travel Photography Smartphone App

If you like taking selfies when you travel (who doesn’t?) then you’ll love Facetune, which allows you to retouch and add artistic flair to selfies and portraits with ease. Whiten teeth, smooth skin, remove red eye, color gray hairs, add makeup, and more! There’s a reason Facetune is the #1 photo app in the App Store!

VSCO - Travel Photography Smartphone App

VSCO likes to say that its app was made for creators, by creators, and with extremely customizable options for everything from shutters speed to ISO, as well as a wide range of film-inspired presets and filters, VSCO can help take your travel photography to the next level. There’s also a great photo sharing network within the app itself, so you can get inspiration for your next location, or just check out the amazing work of talented photographers from all around the globe.

Pixelmator - Travel Photography Smartphone App

Everyone’s heard of Photoshop, but if you ask us, Pixelmator is the app to use if you’re looking for a full-featured photo editor for your iPhone. With everything you need to create, edit, and enhance images on the go, you can improve image colors with pre-designed color adjustment presets, add breathtaking effects, wipe away unwanted objects (like other tourists that wander into your perfect shot!), reshape areas of an image, clone, blur, sharpen, desaturate, and do so much more. If you can imagine it, you can do it with Pixelmator.

New Year’s Resolutions – Travel

New Year's Resolutions - Travel

For many people, a new year means new goals, and those goals often include traveling to new places. If you’re thinking about traveling this coming year, here are a few New Year’s Resolutions that we recommend:

“I will use my vacation days!”
Did you know that American workers let more than 700 MILLION vacation days go unused every year, according to a study by GfK-Oxford Economics? Not taking time off probably means that your work-life balance is off, and it’s time to re-prioritize! Pick out some times that you want to take a break, put them on the calendar, and then request those days off early! Then you have something to look forward to, and you can make sure everything’s taken care of at work so you can be stress-free while you’re away.

“I will start planning early!”
Sure, there are plenty of ‘last-minute deals’ that can save you some money when you travel, but why risk it? Instead of procrastinating, start planning your next trip early, and it will give you a chance to track prices and jump on any deals that pop up. Planning well ahead of time also means that you can make sure to snag reservations at hard-to-get-into restaurants, your must-see shows won’t be sold out, and you won’t be stressing about how much the trip is going to cost, since you’ll already have everything booked.

(Ready to start planning your next trip? Give us a call and find out about all of the great trips that we have planned for this coming year: (828) 595-9691)

“I will be more spontaneous!”
While it’s great to have a plan, if your schedule is too strict, it can prevent you from the joys of unplanned adventure. It’s fine to have a to-do list with some places that you just have to see, but make sure to leave yourself time to just get out and explore, since you never know what you might find, and those unplanned times are often when the best travel stories happen. Alternatively, like we highlighted in our post about 2019’s Top Travel Trends with Bite-Sized Travel, you can find a fun-looking place to stay that’s close to where you live, and just spend a weekend relaxing somewhere fun. Not every trip needs to be to somewhere far away, and there are unique accommodations that are worth a trip just to try out that different lifestyle for a while.

“I find one of the biggest killers of fun while traveling is forcing yourself to adhere to a strict daily schedule.”
– Kayla Matthews, Productivity and Technology Expert

“I will explore America!”
You might be jealous of your jet-setting friends who always seem to be posting pics from some new country in a far off land, but don’t forget that the U.S.A. is FILLED with amazing places to visit, from big bustling cities and charming little towns to tranquil forests and breathtaking beaches. As road trip experts, we can tell you that it’s amazing how much you can see in a day when you hit the road and travel this great country of ours. Plus domestic travel means you don’t have to worry about passports, jet lag, or learning a new language, and you’ll be supporting the economies of your fellow Americans.

“I will go solo!”
It’s fun to travel with friends and family, but you can learn a lot about yourself when you get out of your comfort zone and travel solo as well. Traveling solo means you can set your own priorities and relax and recharge on your own schedule, and it also makes planning easier since you don’t have to manage multiple calendars. Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean you’ll be traveling alone however, as many solo travelers love how they meet new people on their trip, and often make new friends that last a lifetime.

“I will stop overpacking!”
On your next trip, challenge yourself to pack everything you need into a small carry-on sized bag, or better yet, fit everything into a backpack you can throw over your shoulder as your explore a new destination! Yes, you will need to leave a few of those ‘just-in-case’ items at home, but you’ll probably find that you never needed them anyways, and if you really need something, you can usually find it when you get there. To get started with packing less, check out our list of 10 Travel Accessories To Make Your Next Trip A Breeze.

Bullet Journal For Travel: Getting Started Guide

A Bullet Journal is a way to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future. It’s also super trendy, as you can tell by looking through some of the BEAUTIFUL posts tagged with #BulletJournal or #BuJo on Instagram.

What Is A Bullet Journal?
Bullet Journal (or BuJo for short) is a physical notebook, but it’s also a methodology for organizing your life. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:

Basically, a Bullet Journal is organized around topics, and each topic contains bullets paired with short-form notations.

Bullets can either be Tasks (represented by a dot ‘•’), Events (represented by a circle ‘O’), or Notes (represented by a dash ‘-’).

Each topic page gets a page number, and as you fill up your Bullet Journal, you create an Index to keep track which topics are on which pages.

It sounds simple, but it allows people to create some amazingly beautiful journals that are basically works of art:

Plan Your Next Trip
When planning for an upcoming trip, you can use your Bullet Journal to keep track of destinations, routes to take, possible detours, travel and hotel reservation information, dates, sites to see, inspirational quotes, and much more. Even if you’re not an artist, you can print out a map of the US like Kara (aka Boho Berry) has done, and use that as the starting point for your route planning:

Or just keep things simple, and make a list of places you want to visit, like this list of coffee shops in Portland from Jennifer Reyes:

Make Sure You Pack Everything
Of course no travel journal is complete without a packing checklist, and if you’re creative with how you put yours together, you can reference it for each new trip, and see what you might need to add, or make note of what you can leave behind next time:

Keep A Travel Log
If your next trip has multiple stops along the way, plan out your route, and then make it easy to keep track of where you’ve been, and where you’re going, with a travel log. Becky from @painted_illustrated created an outline of the United States in her Bullet Journal, and then colors in each state as she visits it:

Entertain The Kids
Hitting the road and need a way to keep the kids entertained? Why not create a few road trip activities for them to do, and then as they fill out each page, it becomes a fun way to remember the trip:

Create Your Own Keepsake
In our post 6 Unique Travel Souvenirs To Remember Your Experience, we talked about collecting postcards as an alternative to yet another forgettable tchotchke, but another great way to remember your travels is to collect little mementos along the way (tickets, stickers, guidebook pages, menus, leaf pressings, etc.) and then incorporate them into a travel diary, along with drawings of what you’ve seen and done, and descriptions of things you want to remember:

What You Need To Get Started
Since you only need a journal and something to write with, it’s pretty easy to get started with Bullet Journaling, but if you want to turn your Travel Bullet Journal into a keepsake that will last, you’ll want to pick up some quality materials. Thankfully you don’t need to spend a lot to get a lot, as you can get started with a Dotted Moleskine Notebook and a set of Colorful Journal Pens and you’ll have everything you need to make an amazing Travel Bullet Journal:

Just remember to look online for inspiration, make it your own, and then have fun! The goal is to make the most of your travels, so a Bullet Journal should be a fun addition to your trip, not a burden that you try to avoid.

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