Stuff You Should Know About: March 2016

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Welcome to “Stuff You Should Know About” – a monthly collection of travel news, tips, photos, and other odds and ends that don’t really fit in anywhere else but that I still really want to share with you.

Random travel news

Cuba opens more to Americans

President Obama made a trip to Cuba earlier this month – the first U.S. President to do so in decades. And the country is about to further open up to American tourists. Starwood Hotels has been announced as the first American hotel chain that will return to Cuba. This follows announcements of several cruise lines adding more Cuba itineraries lately. NOW is the time to visit Cuba, Americans!

Europe travel alert

Following the recent attacks in Brussels, the U.S. State Department has once again issued a travel alert for all of Europe. The alert suggests that “U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. … Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.” This is all just common sense, though – you should do these things ALL the time! Hopefully this alert won't affect any of your travel plans (because it definitely shouldn't!).

Cool travel app/website of the month

I get a lot of emails every week — sometimes every day — about new travel apps and websites. I don’t write reviews very often about apps/websites (only the ones I really, really love), but some of them are still worth mentioning!

This month, check out:

Tourlina

Have you ever been held back from traveling because you didn't have someone to go with? Even though I go on and on about how awesome solo travel is all the time, I know that traveling alone isn't the right fit for everyone – or for every women.

Which is why I think the Tourlina concept is kind of awesome. Tourlina is a new app created just for women to help them (safely) find other females to travel with.

Tourlina

After you sign up and fill out your profile, you'll then plug in info on your next trip. From there, the app will match you up with other users that match both your interests and your travel dates/destinations. Then the app kind of works like Tinder – you see matches for your travels, and can swipe left or right based on whether you're interested in chatting more.

The app is free, and currently comes with unlimited chats in-app for the first three months. Beyond that, you need to purchase unlimited chat options (for either 3, 6, or 12 months).

Tourlina

It might not be for everyone, but I think the app is a great idea for females who want to travel but aren't confident in going it alone. (Plus, it could be a fun way to just meet other travelers, too!)

(The app is currently only available on iOS, but an Android version is planned for later this year.)

Top Instagram shots from this month

Instagram is one of my favorite social networks. I mean, who doesn’t love pretty photos?? If you aren’t following already, follow me on Instagram @dangerousbiz!

Here are some of my most-liked photos from the last month or so:

Wandering the streets of Old San Juan. ?

A photo posted by Amanda (@dangerousbiz) on

Norway definitely is NOT ugly. Even though it was very cold, I'm missing Northern Norway already!

A photo posted by Amanda (@dangerousbiz) on

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

Featured bloggers of the month

Check out this month’s Featured Blogs:

Nikki is a UK-based travel writer and self-confessed noodles addict with a passion for exploring the world. A quirky solo adventurer (with absolutely no sense of direction), she tries to fit in travel at every opportunity and has been happily getting herself lost in faraway lands since she was 19 years old. Now with 26 countries under her belt, she loves to ramble on about her past and recent travels to anyone who will listen. You can follow her adventures (with a healthy dose of humor and the occasional travel tip) at Where is Noodles?

Rachel is an outgoing English teacher from suburban New Jersey. She is an expert at finding ways to escape her job and explore the world. Her blog, Blond Wayfarer, discusses her adventures, love of books, and determination to beat anxiety – including a big flying fear!

My name is Angie Silver and my blog SilverSpoon London is a lifestyle, food and luxury travel blog following my adventures in my hometown of London and around the world. I aim to give the low-down on London’s hottest new restaurants as well as cool and inspiring destinations globally.

Interested in being a featured blog next month?
Go here to learn more!

You should pack this

Each month, I’ll feature one or two of my packing must-haves. This month, I’m recommending:

A mosquito jacket

I just went on a trip to Ecuador, which included two nights at a lodge in the Amazon jungle. Now, if you've ever been to South America (or any jungle, for that matter), you'll know that mosquitos are a real concern. And the mosquitos in the Ecuadorian Amazon will not only give you itchy bites, but they also could potentially give you other nasty things like malaria and Zika and Yellow Fever. I went armed with my 99% Deet bug spray, but I didn't want to rely on it too heavily (because, I'm sorry, but anything that can melt plastic can NOT be good to put on your skin). So I also invested in an insect-repellent-impregnated bug jacket.

The one I got is the Bugsaway Damselfly jacket from ExOfficio. It's made out of a lightweight, quick-dry mesh fabric (perfect for the sticky Amazon), and it's treated with insect repellant that will last up to 70 washes.

I LOVED this jacket in the jungle – it even helped keep the sandflies at bay! I came home with only ONE mosquito bite (and I'm pretty sure that was from the last morning, when I ate breakfast without my jacket on).

If you're headed to any area with lots of mosquitos and want to avoid the inevitable bites, I highly recommend a bug-repellent jacket like this one.

>> Buy one of your own!

What I’m planning right now

Because my blog runs a little bit behind of what I’m currently doing, I figured I would use this monthly update to let you know what I’m up to, and what adventures are coming up next! (You can also find more detailed info in my monthly newsletter.)

Coming up:

  • A trip to the American Southwest with Elliot in mid-April to visit as many national parks in Utah and Arizona as possible leading up to National Park Week. We plan to visit Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches in Utah, as well as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We'll also be stopping at Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend – be prepared for tons of photos from my favorite part of the U.S.!
  • AFRICA in May! My dad and I are going on a tour to South Africa and Victoria Falls with Style Hi Club, and then I’m joining an overland trip through Namibia and Botswana with Acacia Africa.

Which adventure are you most excited to read more about?

That’s it for this month’s edition of “Stuff You Should Know About!” Which section was your favorite this month?

 

 

*Note: There are some affiliate links in this post. If you buy through one of the links, you won’t be charged any extra, but I’ll earn a little bit to put towards running this site!

20 Comments

  • Laryssa says:

    I look forward to these posts since there’s always so much new stuff in the travelsphere that I miss..

    And wow–Norway, Puerto Rico, and Ecuador?! Sounds like you’ve had a busy winter!
    Laryssa recently posted..Travel Tips for Doing Comic-Con on a Budget

  • Stephanie says:

    Wow, sounds like you’re going to be quite busy! Namibia is high on my list of places to see. P.S. I had no idea mosquito jackets existed. This is amazing. Now I know exactly what to get my husband for our next trip because he always gets bit!!!
    Stephanie recently posted..On Getting Away & Disconnecting in Yosemite

    • Amanda says:

      Namibia is high on my list, too – I can’t WAIT for Africa!

      And yes, mosquito jackets are such a brilliant invention! I was super impressed with the one I bought in the Amazon.

  • Dominique says:

    There’s such a thing as a mosquito jacket? Why did I not know about this? Why did I never check? If it works, it will change my way of travelling immensely. I’m so tired of slathering on layers and layers of mosquito repellent only to get stung again 🙂 I’m definitely buying this jacket for my next jungle trip!

    • Amanda says:

      Haha, I know, right?? It definitely worked. I got a couple sandfly bites while wearing it, but no mosquito bites! You’ll still probably want bug spray for your hands and neck, but I didn’t have to slather it on my arms, which was nice!

  • Kelly says:

    The American southwest is one of my favorite regions in the whole world! I’m hoping to take a trip out west this summer, and planning to hit up some of the same parks. Do you have any idea how much time you’ll have for your trip?
    Kelly recently posted..Adventures in The City of Light: Part One

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, we already have everything booked! We’ll be there for a total of 9 days. Still probably not long enough, but it should be enough time to see the main attractions!

  • Kara says:

    Amanda! I just love hearing and following along with your adventures. I would love to get one of those mosquito jackets. The bugs were really bad when I was hiking in Cape Breton last summer. Keep going girl! Have fun on your road trip and in Africa!!

    • Amanda says:

      Definitely put that jacket on your list! It’s easy to pack and really does work! I have a feeling I’ll get a lot of wear out of it myself.

  • Ella says:

    I like the idea of an app for solo female travellers to find a travel partner for their trip. I love travelling solo, but I know that sometimes it would actually make things easier if I was travelling with someone else and you can’t always find a travel partner from your existing network of family and friends. A cool idea, maybe I’ll check it out one day 🙂
    Ella recently posted..Photo Essay: The Great Ocean Road

    • Amanda says:

      I think it’s a cool concept, too! And, even if you don’t find a long-term travel buddy, it could be a good way to find other female travelers to meet up with in a new city.

  • Elisa says:

    To toss this out there: for those who’ve booked or planning to book tours (ground or cruise) with Belgium as part of the itinerary, check to see if there’s been another European city or country to substitute. That way you’ll be go knowing about the itinerary change ahead of time.

  • It’s scary with the Europe alert, but I totally agree, this shouldn’t stop people from travelling. Looking forward to your posts on Africa!
    Amanda | The Backpack Lass recently posted..The Backpack Lass Goes MIA

    • Amanda says:

      I’m sure it WILL stop some people from going to Europe right now, but it definitely won’t stop me! 🙂

      I can’t wait to start sharing content from Africa either!

  • Stef says:

    Can’t wait to read about your national parks week as I am planning a roadtrip in the US in summer and I am mostly interested in national parks. Let me know which are your favorites!!
    Stef recently posted..Why now is the best time to start living your life

  • Rebecca says:

    I just got back from a camping trip is South Africa which was amazing. I can’t wait to read about your experience! (good call on the mosquito jacket. one guy on my trip even broke out of the fly net!)

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