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:
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.
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).
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:
It doesn't matter how many times I see them – the Northern Lights are nothing short of magical. On this particular outing with Tromso Friluftsenter in Northern Norway, clouds and clear skies battled it out until the aurora eventually burst forth in a dance of green and purple across the sky. It was so beautiful, I found myself close to tears. Just WOW.
A photo posted by Amanda (@dangerousbiz) on
No one can seem to agree on just how many steps there are to get to the statue of the Virgin Mary that sits 1000 feet above the town of Banos, Ecuador. Some sources say 600, some say 800 – it depends where you start counting. But no matter the number, you really can't beat this view!! ?
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?
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.
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.)
- 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!