5 Cruise Misconceptions Debunked!

5 Cruise Misconceptions Debunked!

Breaking Down 5 Cruise Misconceptions on a European River Cruise We’ve always prided ourselves on the fact that we’ve never been on a cruise. Technically, we can’t even make this claim due to a not so fab two night Yangtze River cruise we took in China back in 2009. But, I don’t think it counts. I mean a real cruise. One with a cruise director, buffet meals, and pre-arranged activities, on a boat with a bunch of other people. I’ve always stuck my nose up a bit at cruise goers, that was until our recent French river cruise experience. Yes, Viking River Cruises hosted us on this experience. And I’m glad they did. I never would have thought of doing this type of river cruise otherwise. We not only had a great experience, but it certainly dispelled some of the misconceptions I had about cruising in general. 1. Cruise Misconceptions: Cruise Ships are Crowded Close your eyes and say the words “cruise ship” and what images pop into your head? For me, it’s always been large cruise ships, the size of a small city, where it’s nearly impossible to find a lounge chair near the pool. Where I would be one of a thousand people clamoring for a server’s attention at dinner. I knew this wouldn’t be our experience on a European river cruise. First, the rivers can’t hold ships that big. There were less than a hundred staterooms on our Viking Buri longship. On our cruise, from Avignon to Lyon, I believe there were about 150 passengers on board. That meant there were always seats available at dinner,...
How to Survive Your First American Road Trip

How to Survive Your First American Road Trip

When we came up with the crazy notion of driving across the Southeast on a culinary road trip, the first thing we started concerning ourselves with were destinations. What cities did we want to explore for the best food. Then it dawned on me. We’ve never taken a road trip like this before, so how well prepared were we to take our first American road trip? Turns out, not so prepared. But after spending 6 weeks zooming across the Southeast US on our #USChowDown, it turns out, we’ve learned a thing or two about surviving an American road trip. 5 Tips for Surviving Your First American Road Trip Tip 1: Find a Comfortable Car For many Americans, bigger is always better. For us, that is just not the case, despite the fact that Eric is over 6 feet tall. We worked with Kia America during our road trip, so we were blessed that we did not have to rent a car for our 6 week road trip. Initially, Kia offered us a Kia Sedona, which looks like a cross over between a minivan and an SUV. Most people would jump at the chance to drive a comfy SUV on an American road trip. For us, though, we are used to small cars. We’ve never owned an SUV. This was not the time to start. So, we asked for something smaller, and they offered us the Kia Optima. It was a sedan that was still a lot bigger than we are used to, particularly because most of our rental cars are small European models. But, it was comfy, even on our...
What to Do in Chengdu

What to Do in Chengdu

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Before going to Chengdu, China, I had no idea what there would be to do in Chengdu. I associated Chengdu with pandas, spicy food, and nothing more. I was stunned to learn just how much there is to do in Chengdu. So What is There To Do in Chengdu? Check out our YouTube Video of what to do in Chengdu: Of course I will say some of the must dos in Chengdu include pandas and spicy food, but there is more to do in Chengdu than that! This is just a little teaser on what there is to do in Chengdu, because I will be sharing a lot more details on a lot of these experiences over the coming weeks. So, if this list doesn’t provide enough specific information, stay tuned! Experience Panda Conservation There are several ways to see the pandas in Chengdu, including visiting some of the panda parks that are only thirty minutes outside of Chengdu. We figured that this could be our only trip to hang with the pandas in Chengdu, and we wanted to make the most of it. We wanted to get up close and personal, and we did. We arranged a day as volunteers with the Dujiangyan panda base, about 90 minutes outside of Chengdu. It was a full day program, cost $100 a person, and was well worth it. We got right up close to the pandas and had a much more interactive experience than some of the other panda centers. In order to volunteer, it is necessary to contact the...
4 Years of Travel With Husband In Tow (But Really 15)

4 Years of Travel With Husband In Tow (But Really 15)

I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post. I felt too much stress to write something fantastic. I mean, how often does a person reach such milestones in one week: 4 years of travel and 15 years of marriage. But, last week we celebrated our 4 year travelversary (yes, that’s a word) and our 15th wedding anniversary, within a few days. I liked receiving messages on Facebook from people wishing us “Happy Anniversaries,” but I couldn’t wrap my head around what that really meant. Happy Anniversaries I wanted to share our favorite travel experiences over the last 4 years of travel. Or, share our tips on how to survive 15 years of marriage when we spend 24 hours a day together. But nothing seemed, well, fabulous enough. I wanted wise words of wisdom. To inspire people to travel. To commit to traveling together. To commit to spending time together. This is a hard time for me to share wisdom. The last few months have been difficult. We run four businesses together, and the one that provides the majority of our income has had a lot of stumbles the last several months. Other opportunities that were showing a lot of promise have been stalled. I still feel confident that our life is sustainable. I just don’t think I have as many thought provoking insights as I should after 4 years of travel and 15 years of marriage. List to us talk about our 4 years of travel on our travel podcast. 15 Travel Tips From 4 Years of Travel Instead of sharing my wisdom, I’ve decided to share my 15 best travel...
What is Affordable Luxury Travel

What is Affordable Luxury Travel

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. We recently received some great feedback from folks who love our new profile photo. It is a great photo. The colors. The pool. The view. But, there is a story behind the photo. For me, this photo explains, in one single snap, our philosophy on what is affordable luxury travel. The Concept of Luxury Travel The luxury travel industry is vast. If you search twitter for luxury travel accounts, your search results won’t be limited to luxury hotels, private jets, and luxury tour providers. The industry reaches further than that, to fashion (what to wear on your next luxury holiday), to watches (how do you know whether you are late for your Michelin Star dinner), and more. The concept of luxury travel encompasses a luxury lifestyle. Think Robin Leach and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But, at the heart of the luxury travel industry there are the hotels. Sure, there are loads of luxury hotels, or million dollar villa rentals, all over the world. But, if you ask someone in the industry to name the luxury hotel brands, they are limited. The Ritz-Carlton. The Four Seasons. The Peninsula. The Mandarin Oriental. Maybe there are a few others, but these are the tops. For us, luxury travel means something a little more than just staying at the luxury hotel chains. Of course, we would love to stay at one of these luxury brands in every city we travel to, but it’s just not an option all the time. More importantly, not everyone can afford that level of luxury on every trip...
The Best Neck Pillow for Travel – Surviving an Overnight Flight

The Best Neck Pillow for Travel – Surviving an Overnight Flight

Recently, our Facebook Page, and certainly Eric’s #AvGeek Instagram feed have been loaded with fabulous photos of us traveling first and business class between Asia and Europe. While we have plenty of interesting tales to tell from these upper cabin flights, particularly from our Emirates A380 business class flight, we don’t always fly in the lap of luxury. In fact, we often do find ourselves in economy class with everyone else. And, I’ve found one interesting way to survive an overnight flight, even in economy, with the best neck pillow for travel. Almost 100% of our flights within Asia are, in fact, in economy. It’s one of the reasons we love living in Asia. We fly Air Asia everywhere, and enjoy the chance to book cheap flights for travel to the Thai islands, or to Hong Kong. We also end up flying economy when we are working with clients in the region. We don’t (yet) have the clout to ask for business class. Here’s hoping. A few months ago, we flew round trip from Bangkok to Seoul to work with a partner. Roundtrip economy airfare was included. The flights were each roughly 6 hours, which is usually right about our threshold where we start thinking about cashing in some miles for business class, particularly on an overnight flight. I really don’t enjoy flying economy on an overnight flight, particularly when I am expected to land in the morning and start being productive. I can handle flying economy for six hours. I would just prefer not to. I mean, if offered the chance, would you fly economy instead of business class?...
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