Best Of Europe

With endless options of incredible travel experiences, planning a trip to Europe can be a daunting task. To make your decisions a little easier, here’s a short list of some must check boxes on your bucket list for 2017.

Zagreb, Croatia

As you plan a stop on Croatia you’ll be drawn to the Adriatic coastline, but it would be a mistake you overlook the country’s flourishing inland Capital. It is home to a blossoming art, food, and craft beer scene you won’t want to miss.

Gotland, Sweden

The ancient Baltic island boasts the most sunshine, historical sites, and restaurants per capita. It also has breathtaking scenery ranging from sandy beaches and fishing villages to mysterious forests and pastoral countryside. Leisurely explore the island by bike for an idyllic adventure.

Galicia, Spain

This northwestern corner of Spain is almost a country unto itself, with its own language, history, culture. A scenic dream with dramatic plunging cliffs, hundreds of beaches, and quaint fishing villages that yields some of the best seafood you’ll ever experience.

Northern Montenegro

Montenegro’s Adriatic coastline is stunning, making it a hot destination for cruise ships. Escape the crowds for an off-the-beaten-track adventure in Northern Montenegro instead. Cycle through lunar landscapes or raft down Europe’s deepest canyon at Tara to add some thrill to your trip.

Leeds, UK

Development of Leeds’ Victorian city centre have made it a must-see destination for night owls, art, and craft beer lovers alike. With innovative restaurants, coffee houses, and stylish boutiques Leeds is the new leading alternative to London. Plan your visit to coordination with the two-week long indie food festival in May to make it a truly tasty trip.

Experience Vietnam’s Coffee Culture

Vietnam probably conjures up many images in your mind – from the breathtaking scenery, images of a tragic war, or thrilling, fast paced, cities. Recent travelers to the region though will tell you of another blossoming theme throughout the country — a coffee culture.

Although this may at first sound surprising, this trend actually makes sense when you consider Vietnam’s history. As a former colony of France coffee was introduced to the region in the mid-19th century. However, Vietnam has expanded it’s coffee repertoire well beyond France’s cafe lifestyle, creating their own unique drinks and culture surrounding coffee.

You may have already been fortunate enough to sample traditional Vietnamese coffee. On a trip to Vietnam you may never be more than a stone’s throw away from a cup. Simple but delicious it is brewed through a metal filter, with the ground coffee added first and then seeped with water into the cup below. If you prefer not to drink your coffee black condensed milk is typically added, another relic from the French.

However the country has many more inspired variations for you to delight in. Egg coffee is a very rich coffee made with – as the name implies – egg yolks, condensed milk, and of course coffee. Coffee is often mixed with both coconut milk and coconut meat and even more daring fruit combinations can be found including coffee smoothies with banana and avocado.

If you’d like to fully immerse yourself in the world of Vietnam coffee consider a trip to Dalat. The highland region boasts the ideal combination of altitude, soil, and climate to grow Robusta coffee plants. Visit a coffee farm and explore among the plants and learn from the growers about the best brew types and tasting notes. The gorgeous scenery of the countryside will be as much of a treat as your favorite coffee concoction.

Discover These Hidden Gems In Paris

French’s capital is undoubtedly the world’s most iconic city, with it’s beauty and charm attracting millions of visitors every year. With even Parisians participating in much of the cliche tourist-faire it can be a challenging for a non local to spot lesser known local hotspots. Here are some tips to enjoy Paris away from some of the crowds and admire it’s culture from a local perspective.

 

The Eiffel Tower

Undoubtedly the most touristy spot in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, is a must see on a trip to Paris, however it can be admired without elbowing through the herd of tourists flocking to the Champs de Mars. Instead take a stroll through the Avenue du Président, picturesque in it’s own right. Enjoy the sights and smells of the open air market while you head to Pont de l’Alma with a picture perfect river view of the Eiffel Tower.

The Seine

Nothing could seem more Parisian than strolling along the Seine, baguette in hand or enjoying some wine and cheese at a cafe along the water. And although it is a idyllic postcard worthy moment you will certainly be required to share it with many other non-locals and Parisians alike. Canal Saint Martin in northeast Paris boasts a bohemian charm with boutiques, restaurants and bustling bars that make it a youthful local favorite. The scenery may be familiar, it was featured in French movie favorite, Amélie.

Montmartre

Montmartre is certainly charming, however its popularity with tourists has cost it much of its village vibe. Another favorite area Butte-aux-Cailles in the 13th arrondissement will supply a similar throwback ambiance away from the crowds. With charming cobbled streets and houses dripping with ivy it is a picturesque escape from the rush of the city.

Experience a little of both, the tourist and local, Parisian life by planning a mix of traditional outings with these off the path favorite mixed in and you’ll have a truly memorable and unique trip to look back on.

What Are The Rates For House Sitting?

As a starting point to keep in mind, typical house sitting rates are in the $25-30/day range, more  for overnight stays. Here’s  list of factors to consider when determining the right payment for your house sitter. And if you are the house sitter, these factors can also help you determine how much to charge.

Location

Do some online research, ask in a local online forum or chat up friends and neighbors in your area to get a good estimate of the local going rate.

Responsibilities

Stopping by in the evening to turn on lights and bring in mail and feed the pets? Or every other day to water the plants? Do you want them to dust and vacuum while they’re there? Every responsibility requested is grounds for a higher rate.

Time

Jobs that require the sitter to stay overnight are best charged by a daily rate, while smaller tasks, like once-daily visits, can be billed hourly.

Size of the residence

Large homes require a lot more effort than, a studio apartment. Therefore, the amount you’ll pay for house sitting should vary depending on the size and type of space.

Commuting costs

It’s necessary to consider the distance of the commute to your home. Calculate gas and tolls, public transportation fees, and any other factors that might affect their travels. If you’re a house sitter determining what to charge, this could definitely come into play on your profits.

Provisions

House sitting rates should also include provisions for any day-to-day house-related needs. If you think there’s a chance your sitter will need to make a grocery run, make sure you’re prepared to cover those costs in your pay rate. Or better yet, offer up a decent per diem (for food and other essentials) as part of your payment so you never have to worry about reimbursing.

Amenities provided

Lastly, before you tally up your final number, take into account what amenities you’ll be providing for your sitter—i.e. a fully-stocked fridge, free Wi-Fi, beer, swimming pool access—to get an idea of what you’re already paying for.

Successful Packing Tips

When living out of a suitcase, there are those who pack everything but the kitchen sink, and then struggle with horribly cumbersome bags.Then there are those who try to pack light and end up with a very limited wardrobe. There is a happy medium if you follow these tips.

Think about the weather.

Take into account the weather—and not just casually looking at the forecast and packing accordingly. Really think about how it’s going to feel being wrongly dressed in that kind of forecast. Make sure you zero in on the weather of your trip and choose materials that will make it easy for you to survive in.

Chase a feeling, not a look.

On a basic level, what makes you feel beautiful? Do you get a little swagger when you wear a jumpsuit? Do you feel lovely in flowy tops, or like your personality is personified while clashing patterns? What specific item coaxes out that secret smile when you do the last check in the mirror before heading out the door? Pack only that the next time you grab your passport.

Don’t bring anything that can’t be mixed and matched.

Are you tempted to bring a top that only goes with one pair of pants? How about a pair of sandals that only work with two dresses in your suitcase? Don’t do it. It might seem like a good idea and like you don’t mind lugging that dead weight around from dusty buses and down long roads, but you will. If you can’t make at least three outfits with the piece, then forget it.

Only pack things you don’t mind getting ruined.

If you’re going somewhere only for a week and you can dry clean afterwards, cool, go to town. But if you’re going somewhere you’ll probably have to do your own laundry, then save yourself the heartache and don’t pack anything that would make you sad if it got ruined.

Remember that the weather takes no prisoners, clothes are meant to get frayed, things have to mix and match, and it is better to feel beautiful than fashionable.