Check out some of the reviews I've written, on everything from small group tours to accommodation to travel books. Simply click on a title to see a drop-down list of related reviews.[accordion] [item title=”Tours”]
If “visiting Christmas markets in Europe” is on your bucket list like it was on mine, then you might want to consider checking it off with the help of a river cruise. I went on a Christmas market-themed cruise down the Rhine with Viking River Cruises in December 2015, and this is what it was like.
Everything you could want to know about using Busabout's hop-on, hop-off bus service to travel around Western Europe.
Southeast Asia is popular with backpackers from all over the world, but if you want to experience it slightly differently, consider a tour like this one. With stops in places like Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Saigon, and more, this is a great introduction to Vietnam, its history, its people, and its food.
Last summer in Scotland, I signed on to a 5-day tour around the Scottish Highlands. The tour, operated by sexy, adventurous Haggis Adventures, took me to places like Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye on a tour that is seriously one of the best I have ever been on. Read all about it here.
If you're a Lord of the Rings fan at all and dream of visiting some of the iconic locations featured in Peter Jackson's film trilogy, this is the tour for you. This 2-week tour of New Zealand is one of the best tours I've ever been on! Only a mild amount of nerdiness required.
Looking for a more low-key tour around the Highlands? I took my mom on this 3-day tour of the Highlands and the Isle of Skye, and it was *perfect* for us. We saw castles and lochs and some of the prettiest scenery. We also got to take a ferry from Skye and ride the Jacobite Steam Train.
In 2016, I went on a 3-week overlanding adventure with Acacia Africa through South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Overlanding is one of the best ways to experience Africa without breaking your budget, and this trip was memorable in so many ways. Read this post to learn all about the overlanding experience.
A review of an adventure-filled two-day tour around southern Iceland with Goecco.
Haggis and its sister companies are my absolute favorite in Scotland, and this 5-day tour around the Highlands and Hebrides is an amazing value for money. Highlights include the Isle of Lewis and Harris and the Isle of Skye.
This 8-day tour of Ecuador is a fantastic introduction to South America. We visited Quito, went to the Equator, spent a night in the Amazon jungle, and got adventurous in Banos. And the best part? It's super affordable!
Take a peek into the Black Sea Voyage with AmaWaterways to see what cruising down the Danube on a small ship is really like.
Even wondered what it's like to travel with small-group tour company Intrepid? I took an 18-day tour with them through Eastern Europe, and tell you all about it in this post. Read on to learn about how you'll travel, who you'll travel with, where you'll stay, and what you'll do on this specific tour.
If Belize is on your bucket list, check out this short tour with Intrepid Travel in Central America. Highlights included seeing Mayan ruins in San Ignacio, chilling out on Caye Caulker, snorkeling with rays and sea turtles, and an overnight visit to the ruins of Tikal in Guatemala.
Want to visit the Greek Islands but don't want to spend all your time on a boat? Consider this amazing 2-week trip with Intrepid, which includes visits to 5 islands in the Cyclades. If its beaches and amazing sunsets you're after, this is definitely a tour for you.
If you're going to Southeast Asia, don't count out Cambodia. While I had mixed feelings about the country, I'm really glad I went. Phnom Penh and its Khmer Rouge history is important to see. The Angkor temples are incredible. And seeing how people live in the Cambodian countryside was sobering.
Photo highlights from a 13-day river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg with Viking River Cruises. This was a GREAT cruise, and a perfect introduction to Russia.
I gave Busabout a try in summer 2012, joining one of their Eastern Trekker trips through the Balkans. The trip covered 5 countries in 9 days. Read on to learn about my experience — the good and bad.
Day tour reviews:
- A Taste of Tuscany
- Discovering Hidden Istanbul
- Exploring London's East End
- Belfast and its Troubles (Taking a Black Taxi Tour)
- Seal Swim Kaikoura
- Behind the Scenes at the Colosseum
- The Bohemian Side of Paris
- A Carriage Tour of Charleston, SC
- Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
- Why You Should Book a Tour at the Vatican
- The Lazy Person's Way to Bike to Golden Gate Bridge
- Of Sailboats and Sharks: A Day with Raggamuffin Tours
- An Adventure on the Emerald River (Slovenia)
- My Growing Love of Bike Tours
- Dolphin Encounter: Swimming with Wild Dolphins in NZ
- Finding Game of Thrones Locations in Spain
- Flightseeing Tour to Milford Sound from Wanaka
- A Photography Tour of Barcelona
The last time I was in NYC, I decided to explore a few of its most popular neighborhoods a little differently — through food. Read this review of a walking food tour through Little Italy and Chinatown with Ahoy! New York Food Tours. Just don't do it on an empty stomach.
Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza. But, on a tour of the city with new company Chicago Pizza tours, I learned that that's not the ONLY kind of delicious pizza in the Windy City.
Did you know that Toronto used to be known as “Hogtown,” or that Canada is the world's largest exporter of pork? I learned that and more on a fascinating (and beyond delicious) food tour of Toronto that focused solely on pork. From bacon to pulled pork to even maple-bacon taffy, this tour is the real deal.
London's East End is really interesting culturally, with a long history that is often reflected in its food offerings. On this delicious tour of London's newest up-and-coming neighborhood, I ate everything from curry to bread pudding to a corned beef bagel. It was all tasty, and the tour itself was about so much more than just the food.
Sister to the East End tour I mentioned above, this food tour with Eating London focuses on the lively Soho neighborhood of London. We tried everything from tacos to gin to jamon, and it was all delicious.
More food posts:
Glamping, dog sledding, and Northern Lights – what more could you ask for?? This was one of my favorite experiences in Norway in the winter.
While traveling around Europe for a month in 2013, I had the chance to stay at a bunch of hostels in the PLUS line. And, as someone who doesn't really *love* hostels, I was really surprised by these. Each property is unique, but each also pays attention to the sorts of things most travelers really care about. In the end, I decided that I could definitely stay at some of these hostels again — and definitely recommend the PLUS brand as a whole to my readers.
Looking to feel like a local in Paris? Consider a holiday rental through GoWithOh. They offer apartments in lots of Paris neighborhoods — including the artsy Montmartre. Check out my apartment review (linked above), or read about my time in Montmartre here.
While I enjoy trying out a variety of accommodation types when I travel, my favorite is probably the serviced apartment. Renting an apartment on the road can make you at least feel like you've got more of a “home” as opposed to just another place to sleep. I really fell in love with these apartments in Hammersmith the last time I was in London.
When I was in Iceland earlier this year, I tried out renting an apartment for the first time, as opposed to staying in a hotel or hostel. The verdict? I LOVED staying in an apartment! It was truly a home away from home, and this particular one was also in a fantastic location in downtown Reykjavik.
More accommodation reviews:
- The Solo Girl and the Hostel — Reviews of New Zealand Hostels
- Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage
- Living With a Local in Budapest with @Roomorama
- Hotel Luxe in Split, Croatia
- Booking a B&B in Bled with @Roomorama
- The Normandy Hotel in Washington, D.C.
An updated gear list, including packing cubes, my go-to travel shoes, my favorite gadgets, and more.
This post highlights the gear that always comes with me when I'm on the road — including my favorite camera, a versatile tripod, my go-to GoPro gear, and more!
Here's my list of must-haves for making long flights a little more bearable.
Ever wonder if it's possible to replace your laptop or cheap netbook computer with an Apple iPad on the road? I gave it a try on a shot trip to Canada, and concluded that it can, indeed, be a viable option. While I wouldn't travel long-term with only an iPad, it's a good alternative to a heavy laptop on shorter jaunts.
Want to travel with a laptop but get the most bang for your buck when it comes to features and portability? Check out my very own Mac vs. PC debate.
Reviews of accessories for the female traveler:
- El Camino Bracelets: Taking My Travels With Me
- Aroamas: Smell Good While You Roam
- Tieks: A Must-Have Shoe for Female Travelers?
- Speakeasy Travel Scarves: My New Favorite Travel Accessory
- Give Your Camera Character with an iMo Strap
- Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Underwear
J. Maarten Troost writes about the two years he and his fiancee spent “adrift in the equatorial Pacific” in this humorous travel novel. The title is a bit misleading, as the book isn't really about cannibals or their sex lives. What the book is, however, is funny, irreverent, and unbelieveable at times. But, in the end, it's also a smart, wickedly entertaining read.
After being fairly unimpressed by “Eat, Pray, Love” the movie (see review below), I decided to give the book a try. Many people told me it was better than the film — and I'm inclined to agree. But did I fall in love with the Liz Gilbert in the book? Read this short review to find out.
Wishing you could take amazing photos when you travel? It's actually easier than you probably think. In this fantastic photography e-book, Bethany Salvon explains in simple, understandable terms how you, too, can take awe-inspiring travel photos. I've never really understood concepts like aperture and HDR before browsing through this book. But Bethany breaks it all down in simple terms and makes it all seem very accessible. This book is definitely worth $10.[/item] [item title=”Travel Movies”]
I hadn't read the book before going to see Liz Gilbert's story played out on the big screen by Julia Roberts. I had simply seen the colorful, frenetic previews that used a song by one of my favorite bands. I wanted to love this movie, but istead came away feeling rather… ambivalent about it. Something is missing, though I'm not sure if I can put my finger on what.
Movies — with their exotic backdrops and intriguing characters — can act as a pull to a specific destination or region of the world. Here are some movies that, over the years, have inspired me — in different ways and for different reasons — to travel. From “Amelie” to “Lord of the Rings,” these movies have given me a sense of wanderlust that makes me want to see all different parts of the world.[/item] [item title=”Travel Sites/Apps”]
Skyscanner is my go-to site for flight searches in Europe – but you can actually use the comparison site to plan an entire trip! Here's a look at how I used Skyscanner to plan a weeklong trip to Latvia and Lithuania.
When it comes to travel booking sites, Yonderbound is a little different. On the surface, it’s not a whole lot different from other booking sites — you do searches based on a location and dates, and then are shown all the results (either in a grid-list form, or on a map). But the difference is Yonderboxes. Read on to find out what they are and why they're so cool!
This travel start-up is really promising — low prices with no hidden fees that focuses on the social aspect of today's digital world. The site is streamlined and easy to use, and will probably give the big booking sites a run for their money once it gets off the ground.
Trover is a social app halfway between Instagram and Pinterest. It's JUST for travel inspiration, and is a great place to go when you're planning a trip and looking for cool things to do/see.[/item] [item title=”Misc.”]
If you're headed to London anytime soon and plan to play tourist for a few days, considering picking up a London Pass. This pass will save you quite a bit of money if you use it to visit multiple attractions (read the post to find out how, and to get suggestions for itineraries!).[/item] [item title=”Smackdowns”]
Having trouble deciding which of New Zealand's islands is best for you? Can't decide between the North and the South? Then check out this “smackdown” review, which details the strengths and weaknesses of each island, from the cities to the landscapes to the wildlife and everything in between. Of course, if you ask my opinion, you should make time to visit both!
You can’t go to Chicago without trying some of its famous deep dish pizza. It would be like a slight to the city. Like making rude gestures at it. Like a sin. In short, it would just be really bad. So, when I first decided I was going to visit the Windy City, “eating pizza” immediately was put on my list of must-do things. I decided to try out two of the places that seemed to come up the most in recommendations: Gino’s East and Giordano’s. Read this comparison review to find out which one I liked best!
The Willis Tower’s “Skydeck Chicago” on the 103rd floor is easily Chicago’s most popular tourist attraction, drawing more than 1.3 million visitors per year to its 360-degree views. But, while the Skydeck is wildly popular, it actually has some competition a mile and a half away in the John Hancock Observatory. The 100-story John Hancock building boasts an Observatory similar to the Skydeck on its 94th floor, with views out over Lake Michigan and the city of Chicago. So which is better? Find out what I thought here.
The Grand Canyon is one of the top tourist attractions in the United States — and rightly so. But many people only associate a visit to this natural wonder with large tourist crowds. However, it doesn't have to be that way! There is more to the Grand Canyon that just the popular South Rim. In this comparison post, find out how the well-known South Rim compares to the lesser-visited North Rim. It may help you decide which side of the Grand Canyon is right for you![/item] [/accordion]