Reasons Everyone Should Take a Summer Vacation

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We get it. You're busy. You work a lot, have hobbies, strive for a social life, spend time with family, etc. This doesn't always leave time for travel. But we're here to tell you that there is always time for travel if you commit to making it a priority. Furthermore, is there a better time to travel than a summer vacation? Summer is reminiscent of fun in the sun. Plus, students are out of school and professionals are halfway through their year (definitely in need of a few days off). Here are some reasons everyone should take a summer vacation:

Releive Stress

Everyone needs short breaks from our responsibilities at work or school. Summer is the perfect time of the year to take a relaxing vacation and reset your batteries. Whether you're eyeing a beach getaway or your favorite national park, a summer vacation is a great reason to read a good book, relax your mind, and take a well deserved break.

Boost Creativity

New settings and new experiences often lead to new perspectives. So, it's no surprise that we often come up with our best ideas away from the office. Summer vacations are the perfect way to inject some creative thinking in your life at a time when you may be feeling stretched thin.

Be More Productive

After resetting during your summer vacation, you are more likely to feel ready to tackle your work day. Short vacations often lead to increased productivity when you get back to school or your workplace because of lower stress levels, increased creativity, new perspectives, etc.

Spend Time with Family

Students are out of school, parents are ready for a break, the weather is begging you to spend time together outdoors - summer vacations are the perfect time for family bonding. Spending time with your friends and family is a huge reason why you should be taking a summer vacation.

Get Outdoors

Summer time is a time for fun in the sun. Whether you prefer relaxing on a beach, hiking in the wilderness, or any other outdoor activity, summer vacations are the perfect time of the year to enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer.

So take time out of your busy schedule and go on that summer vacation. You most certainly deserve it!


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How to Save Money While Traveling

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We all like a little extra cash in our pockets but it's not always easy to balance a big trip while balancing your bank account. That's why we are offering up some of our best tips on how to save money while traveling.

 

 

Be Flexible with Flights

Unfortunately, we can't always be flexible with our travel plans.. But if you're able to have flexibility with your travel dates and times, you can set yourself up to find the best possible deal around the time you'd like to travel. Furthermore, it often pays to be flexible with your destination as well. Keep your eyes peeled for flight deals and error fares, and maximize the opportunity to save some money.

Book Using Points and Miles

This is travel hacking 101. Join rewards programs for airlines or hotels you frequent. Sign up for that credit card that gives you a ton of upfront points. We advise to do a little research on this one, and be careful to only use credit cards responsibly, but this is a way to save big with travel.

Travel in the Offseason or Shoulder Seasons

By traveling in the offseason or shoulder seasons means less demand and lower prices. This is true for travel expenses, accommodations, food, tours and more. Sometimes traveling in the offseason has disadvantages too but we like to target shoulder seasons to maximize the best of both worlds.

Get Creative with Accommodations

If you're trying to save money on your next trip, you may want to get creative with your accommodations. This could be as simple as staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel or, to take it a step further, try couchsurfing or a house swap.

Book Accommodations in Convenient Locations

A common mistake travelers make is seeking out cheap accommodations that are far away from the attractions they are wanting to visit. There is know set rule but it helps to understand the price of general transportation in your travel destination and taking that into account when booking your accommodations.

Shop at Local Markets and Grocery Stores

An easy and fun way to save money while traveling is to shop at local markets and grocery stores. Not only will you save money, but you will get a cultural experience as well.

Cook for Yourself

After picking out your food at the local market, save some cash and cook it for yourself! Eating out for every meal adds up quickly, so even making just a few meals for yourself can really help you save some money while traveling.

Carry Snacks and Water

Next time your on a tour or even just exploring, plan ahead and bring your own snacks and water. If you don't, these expenses will add up, especially if your in a touristy location or on a tour.

Travel Where You Have Friends

Traveling where you have friends is always a great experience. Not only do you get the inside scoop on the travel destination but you also may be able to save money by staying with your friends and not getting stuck in tourist traps.

It's not always easy to save money while traveling but hopefully these tips will keep you one step ahead and put some extra money back in your pocket!


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Weekend Getaway Tips

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Need a weekend getaway? If you're like most of us and swamped with life in general, sometimes a weekend getaway is all it takes to relax, reset and rejuvenate. A change of pace and a change of scenery can be an incredible break even if just for a short weekend. But taking off for a quick weekend getaway doesn't have to be overwhelming or poorly planned. Here are our tips for taking an easy but memorable weekend getaway.

Choose a destination close by

Choosing from a short drive or short flight for your weekend getaways serves a few purposes. Perhaps most importantly, you will spend less time actually traveling so that you can maximize the time you have in your travel destination. Additionally, traveling close to home can mean less packing, less planning, less expenses and zero jet lag.

Have a Focus

Pick something you want to focus on for the weekend. Do you want to relax on the beach, eat until you explode or hike a mountain? By having a central focus, it gives you exciting reason for your trip but allows for plenty of free time to explore during a short trip. 

Plan around holidays

Planning weekend getaways around holidays is a best practice for any corporate weekend warrior. Getting the extra vacation day for your trip is extremely valuable in the grand scheme of things.

Keep it simple

Maybe the biggest tip of all for a weekend getaway - keep it simple. Don't try to do too much. Have fun, memorable plans but leave yourself some room to breathe. After all this is your chance to relax and reset, right!? 

Stick to these tips and you'll be well on your way to having an amazing weekend getaway!


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Travel Journal Tips: Easy Ways to Get Started

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Want to travel journal to remember an upcoming trip but are a little intimidated, or think it may require too much time or effort? We are here to help. Here are a few quick techniques to get the ball rolling. These don't take much time or skill but will help you hold on to your travel memories.

One Line Per Day

Start simple. Maybe for you that means, one line per day that embodies your experiences for that day. Some days you'll have much more to include but if you don't there is no pressure to write a long entry.

Get Creative

Just because you are keeping a travel journal doesn't mean you have to treat it like a diary. Maybe you can draw really well and would rather fill your journal with sketches. Or perhaps you want to include a local recipe, or song lyrics. You could even stick to pictures, ticket stubs or postcards.

Fill Down Time

Chances are you will have some down time while traveling and journaling is a productive way to fill some of that time. Take advantage of your layover or a long train ride to get some writing in and maybe you won't feel so much pressure to write at other points during your trip.

Make Lists

A straightforward way to travel journal is to include lists or bullet points. This could be as simple as listing the things you did that day, food that you've tried, or activities that you are most excited about. This typically requires less creativity and gets the writing process started.

Gratitude

At the end of every day, write something that you were grateful to experience on your trip. This is a great way connect with your travel destination, and afterward, allows you to remember exactly how you felt during your trip.

There are a lot of reasons to keep a travel journal, but hopefully these suggestions help if you aren't sure where to start. 


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Travel Planning Tips: Research and Organization

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So you've picked your next travel destination and are about to dive into the exciting, but sometimes overwhelming, world of planning your trip. Don't worry, we're here for you. We've laid out our process of researching and organizing our travel information as well as some general things to consider as you go through the travel planning process. 

For reference as you go through this post, here is a link to our favorite travel resources.

To Do

Make a list of all of the things you would most like to do (or better yet, simply the things that you might like to do) in your travel destination. We like to break them down into three general sections - Activities, Attractions, Food/Drink.

Activities - Things to do, Tours, etc.

Attractions - Sights to see

Food/Drink - Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Bars & Nightlife

So, what’s the best balance between being completely spontaneous and having your trip planned out to the minute? We’ve found that you’re always better off knowing your options but the point at which you schedule activities is largely a personal decision based on how structured you would like your trip to be. Some people may prefer to decide the day of an activity, for some the night before, for others it could be weeks or months before your trip. Be aware that certain activities and attractions can require booking in advance.

Once you do have your schedule set, it is a great idea to add those items to a planner or calendar to help you connect your to do list with your schedule.

Transportation

The three biggest things to consider with transportation are - cost, comfort and time (in no particular order). Unless you are traveling to remote locations, you will typically have options for a range of the three factors. You will need to do some research to see what makes the most sense for your particular situation. For example, a budget backpacker, who places a high value on cost, may stick to cheaper bus routes that take longer to reach their destination while a midrange traveler may opt for a short flight instead.

Once booked, it is a good idea to write down your transportation details, such as booking numbers and departure times, so that you can reference them easily and efficiently.

Accommodations

For some travelers, finding the right accommodations can make or break a trip. Usually the three biggest factors when deciding on the right accommodations are - cost, location and value (in no particular order). Again, you will need to do some research to find the best place(s) to stay for your particular situation.

Once you’ve found your perfect home away from home, we recommend recording the address and all of the booking and contact information so that you will be able to easily access it while traveling.


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Reasons to Study Abroad in College

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Are you thinking about studying abroad? If you need help convincing yourself that it is the right thing to do, you've come to the right place! Here are some of the best reasons why you should study abroad in college.

Learn a Foreign Language

Being immersed in a culture that speaks the language you would like to speak is by far the best way to learn it. Becoming fluent in a foreign language is a lot of work, but it is becoming more and more important with the globalization of the world. 

Personal Development

Studying abroad and travel in general are great ways to foster personal development. It teaches you to be more independent, self-reliant and to step out of your comfort zone. Being in a new country long term can be overwhelming at times but you will come out of it better prepared to handle life after college. 

Experience Different cultures

Being immersed in a new culture is a powerful experience. Studying abroad opens the door to your host culture's food, language, history and traditions. While some may be extremely foreign and others might be strangely familiar, they will all contribute to your experience abroad.

Make Lasting Memories

While studying abroad you'll have the opportunity to meet lifelong friends from different parts of the globe and likely share many new and exciting life experiences together. Your time studying abroad just might be your favorite part of college.

Impress Potential Employers

Improve your employment opportunities after you graduate by studying abroad in college. Companies are investing in the global market and want employees who are comfortable in a global setting. Not to mention the skills learned while studying abroad, like self-reliance, are highly sought after. 

It is Possible to Do Inexpensively

There are a lot of great places to study abroad where the living expenses are far less than they are in the United States, especially if you are interested in studying somewhere outside of Europe. Tuition may be less expensive as well.

See the World Differently

Your previously held beliefs about the outside world will undoubtedly change after your study abroad experience. You may even gain a new perspective of your own country! 

So go ahead, study abroad! Step out of your comfort zone a little bit and gain valuable life experiences, new skills and personal growth.


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5 Reasons to Travel Solo

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Traveling with a group or a travel partner can be extremely rewarding. After all, you have someone to share all of the incredible moments with. But there is nothing quite like setting off alone on a solo travel experience. There are plenty of reasons that you should set off to travel solo, here are 5.

You Meet More People

It is often easier to meet locals or fellow travelers if you are traveling solo because we tend to put ourselves in situations to meet people more when we are alone. Additionally, when you travel solo, you forfeit sharing responsibilities with other travel partners. Even if you're shy, this forces you to interact more with people and opens up more opportunities to strike up conversations or meet people along your travels.

You Have Financial Control

Do you have an a strict budget of for your next trip? It will be much easier to stick to if you travel solo. This is because you don't have to balance your budget with the budgets of fellow travelers. One of the hardest parts about traveling with groups or other individuals is that you usually all have different budgets that you can spend on the trip. When you travel solo, you won't get talked into splurging on that super expensive meal or the tour group that you could have done by yourself. Vice-versa, if you'd like to pamper yourself at a nice hotel, you don't have to feel bad about it.

You Control the Plans

One of the best parts about traveling solo is that you have complete control over your plans. This allows you to be more spontaneous or just go with the flow. If you want to take the day off completely and just relax at your hostel, you can do that too. You don't have to make sacrifices and do something just because your travel partner would like to. This allows you to maximize your travel time doing exactly what you would like to do.

It Builds Confidence

Traveling solo is a great way to build self-confidence which will carry over into other areas of your life. Knowing that you can successfully navigate the world by yourself is a powerful understanding to have.

You Learn More about Yourself

When you travel alone, you will inevitably be faced with a number of challenges that you'll have to overcome. This could be coming to terms with what you care about, how to spend your time or even whether to face your fears. Traveling solo gives you time for indepth thought, it allows you to pursue what is important to you and you will learn a lot about how you will react with no one else to rely on.


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12 Incredible Things To Do in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua has a special place in my heart. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Nicaragua, the country was my home for over 2 years. On a recent trip back to relive my time there, I was reminded of how great of a travel destination it is. Nicaragua has beautiful nature, great surf, is inexpensive and safe. The people that live there are extremely hospitable and accommodating. Even though Nicaragua is no longer a well kept secret in the travel community, there are still plenty of places to get off the beaten path. If you're looking for a new adventure, we can't recommend this Central American country enough. Here are 12 incredible things to do in Nicaragua.

Explore Granada

The colonial city of Granada offers some incredibly preserved architecture and is one of the most popular places to visit in Nicaragua. Walk the streets and explore the Spanish colonial buildings and churches, most of which are painted vibrant colors and feature beautiful doors that are no less incredible. Besides wandering around the city, you can take a boat ride or kayak around the islets in the lake nearby. Granada also has the best assortment of restaurants and bars in Nicaragua.

Zip Line on a Volcano

Take a short day trip from Granada to Mombacho Volcano to zip line through the treetops in a jungle setting on the side of one of Nicaragua's many volcanoes. Mombacho Volcano offers some great hikes as well but if you're short on time, we highly recommend the zip line experience.

Visit Ometepe Island

One of the most unique places in the world, Ometepe Island, is a small island located in the biggest lake in Central America and is made up mostly of two large volcanoes. Outdoor activities are a big draw to Ometepe, and you can expect great experiences whether you're cycling, kayaking or hiking. If you're up for the challenge, hike one (or both) of the island's volcanoes. It truly is a challenge to hike either volcano and you'll need to start early to beat the heat. Make sure you use a guide for your hike.

See Lava at the Masaya Volcano

Nothing will make you respect mother nature more than staring into the bubbling lava of an active volcano. This is exactly what you can do on Masaya Volcano. You can look into the volcano from a safe distance that you can reach by tour, hiking or driving straight to the top. Be aware that you should not stay longer than a few minutes at the volcanoes peak because of the strong fumes.

Visit the Craft Market in Masaya

The craft market in Masaya is another great day trip from Granada. It is by far the largest craft market in Nicaragua and offers beautiful textiles, paintings and other crafts. There is a separate "locals" market in Masaya that is equally interesting to explore but features less souvenir items and isn't curated for tourists. There is very limited accommodations in Masaya so we recommend visiting on a day trip.

Swim in Laguna de Apoyo

A relaxing spot nearby Granada and the capital city of Managua, visit Laguna de Apoyo to relax for the day or spend a few days at a guest house or hostel on the lagoon. Laguna de Apoyo was formed in the crater of an extinct volcano and offers beautiful views and incredible nature. Sail, fish, swim or hike around the lagoon or just take some time to relax. 

Surf along the Pacific Coast

The beaches on the pacific coast of Nicaragua are beautiful and most offer excellent surfing opportunites. Nicaraguan surf beaches are a less crowded alternative to it's neighbor in Costa Rica but offer similar swells. The sunsets aren't bad either!

Explore Leon

Another colonial city, Leon is less colorful than Granada but still has some amazingly preserved architecture, including the largest cathedral in Central America. You can climb to the roof of the cathedral for some great views of the city. Leon is the former capital of Nicaragua and remains the country's "intellectual capital" boasting one of the main universities and several museums. Make sure you visit the Revolution Museum, especially if you are interested in learning about the Sandanista movement and U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. Additionally, many murals marking the political impact of the war between the Somoza regime and the Sandanistas can be spotted around the city. 

Go Volcano Boarding

A day trip from Leon, visit Cerro Negro (the youngest volcano in Central America) where you can hike up and actually sled down the active volcano. Organized tours leave Leon in the mornings and are one of the most popular activities in Nicaragua. While there are ways to slow down or speed up, be advised that you can be seriously injured while volcano boarding.

Swim through Somoto Canyon

Somoto Canyon is still a fairly under the radar tourist activity in Nicaragua. A day trip from the city of Esteli, you can jump off the canyon cliffs and swim in the turquoise water below. There are several tour companies that will take you to explore the canyons or you can do self guided tours. Please use extreme caution if not on a tour and you want to jump from cliffs. We have had close friends severely injure themselves. 

Escape to the Corn Islands

One of the best getaways in all of Nicaragua are the Corn Islands located off the Caribbean coast. There are two islands - Little Corn Island and Big Corn Island. Big Corn is slightly more expensive and offers more resort style accommodations. Little Corn Island is quieter, cheaper and extremely laid back. It is the perfect place to snorkel, dive, or just read a book on the beach. Little Corn Island is also one of the cheapest places in the world to get scuba certified.

Relax in Pearl Lagoon

Another Caribbean destination where you can really slow down and experience other cultures that Nicaragua has to offer is Pearl Lagoon. Most of the towns population is Creole but there are also indigenous groups like the Miskito and Garifuna that make up the towns inhabitants and the main language spoken here is English. Not a major tourist destination, Pearl Lagoon is hard to get to but it is truly a special place in Nicaragua and well worth the trip. The Pearl Cays off the coast of Pearl Lagoon are especially worth the visit, where you can rent a boat guide and have a whole Caribbean island to yourself for the day.


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Tips for Traveling When You Don't Speak the Language

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Is not speaking the language keeping you from an incredible travel opportunity? We get it, travel is fun and exciting but for some people it also can be nerve-racking if you don't speak the language. That's why we've put together our tips for traveling when you don't speak the language.

Learn the Basics

You don't have to become fluent for your two week trip abroad, but, if you don't speak the language, put in the time to learn basic words and phrases that will be helpful during your trip. Knowing how to say "hello", "please", "thank you", "Do you speak English?", etc, will get you pretty far and likely make you feel more comfortable. Not only will it help you navigate your new environment, but it shows locals that you've made an effort.

Use Hand Gestures

If you're at a loss for how to explain what you're trying to say, hand gestures are often the solution. It is often said that hand gestures make up a higher percentage of language than spoken words so it isn't surprising that using them when you don't know the language is so helpful. When you're stuck, try miming or charades. One word of caution though, be sure to do some research to make sure specific gestures are not offensive in your host country.

Translation Apps

Another great solution, although not always the most practical, are the use of translation apps. They are usually far from perfect but if you're in a bind or simply want a guide for the basic words and phrases that you're trying to learn, they can be extremely helpful.

Point

There is power in pointing. For example, pointing to items on the menu as you butcher the pronunciation is usually a good way to make sure you're ordering what you actually want. Point at places on maps, point at your phone, point at the address you're looking for. It is a great way to get your "point" across (sorry, I couldn't help the pun).

Carry Around the Address Where You Are Staying

It is always advisable to carry around the address of where you are staying while wondering around your travel destination. Taking a business card from your hotel or having the address handy in your Adventure Assist travel notebook are easy ways to do this. This will ensure that you can always find your way back by showing your taxi driver the address or asking directions.

Be Nice

Possibly the most helpful thing to consider when traveling to a destination where you don't speak the language is to always be nice. It can be frustrating at times to not be able to communicate effectively, and let's face it you'll probably mess up at some point when you try (everyone does). When you are nice, people instinctively want to help you and they will often go out of their way to make sure that you have everything that you need.

Often travel is about putting ourselves out there and finding comfort in the uncomfortable. So, if not speaking the language is keeping you from an amazing travel experience, consider these tips to make sure that you don't let anything hold you back.


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How to Plan a Group Trip (and Stay Sane)

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There is a lot to consider when planning a group trip and it can be extremely stressful. So, we put together some tips on how to plan a group trip (and stay sane). Follow these tips to take some pressure off next time you're planning an epic group trip.

Have a Leader

It is important to be democratic when planning a group trip so that everyone has input and shares their opinions but don't be afraid to take charge. The group needs a leader who is willing to make some decisions, including planning and booking the trip.

Who, Where, When

Decide who is going, the destination and when the best time to go would be. Consider which friends align best with your travel style and what everyone ultimately wants to get out of the trip. Keep in mind that the more travelers in the group, the more opinions, personalities and budgets you'll have to juggle. We suggest not to start planning until you get a commitment from everyone involved, including a definite location and timeframe that everyone is available.

Decide on a Budget & Payments

Before booking anything, it is extremely important to make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as budget. Agreeing on a maximum budget is a good way to eliminate any possible surprises that your group members might not be expecting. Additionally, it is important to decide how payments from group members should be handled. It is often easier for the leader to pay any deposits, etc., for the group and be reimbursed.

Book Transportation First

Book flights or other modes of transportation first to officially lock in the group and timeframe of the trip. Additionally, booking early typically gives you the best prices and will ensure that everyone in the group is able to travel together. Don't forget to ask about group rates.

Decide on Accommodations

When planning a group trip, the traditional hotels or hostels may not always make the most sense. It is often better to stay in a home or apartment through a service like Airbnb so that everyone can hang out without being crammed into a hotel room.

Plan Activities

Communication is key when planning activities for a group trip. It is important to get an idea of what the group members are interested in doing before booking anything ahead of time. Sometimes it may be better to have an idea of what you all might want to do but wait until arrival to book the activities so that the group can feel it all out together. We recommend to not be overly ambitious and to plan a lot of downtime on group trips because people will inevitably want some alone time throughout the day.

Go on Your Trip!

Your planning will pay off once you land in your dream destination. Relax and make the most out of a group trip with your friends!


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What Not to Pack

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In our view, packing is a personal challenge to ourselves to not be miserable keeping track of and lugging around too much stuff. There are many tips to pack like a pro but what it ultimately comes down to is deciding what not to pack. Easier said than done, what not to pack is often some of our favorite things or even something that we think might come in handy during our trip. We all have various needs, so this is far from a concrete list of things not to pack, but if you're feeling a little overstuffed on your next trip consider leaving these things at home.

Don't Pack IMpractical Shoes

Packing too many shoes is the quickest way to fill up coveted luggage space. Packing impractical shoes is the best way to ruin your trip. Aim for one pair of comfortable walking or running shoes, and another pair of comfortable shoes that can be dressed up or down. Think twice about bringing boots, high heels or any other shoes that are not comfortable or you're unlikely to wear more than once or twice.

Don't Pack UNNECESSARY Gadgets or Devices

If you brought a portable DVD player on your last trip, we're looking at you. Bulky gadgets or just too many devices can be a pain to keep track of. Even over the ear headphones are a nuisance to pack. You're phone is probably the only device you really need except for those of you that might need a computer for work reasons. Likewise, there are rational reasons to bring a kindle or small portable speaker but definitely leave your book light, mini iron and toothbrush sanitizer at home.

Don't Pack your whole Beauty REGIMEN

Try restricting your toiletry bag to the basics (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant) and any medication you may need on your trip. If you're opting to bring your makeup bag, the same principals apply - the basics will probably do just fine. Your accommodations will likely have soap and shampoo, and if they don't you can just as easily purchase them at your destination. Definitely think twice before packing your 8 step skin care routine or your elaborate regimen to tame your hair.

Don't Pack Valuables

Expensive jewelry, fancy electronics and designer clothes are probably best left at home. Bags are often lost in transport, tourists are more likely targets for theft, and it is easy to forget or misplace items at your hotel. As a general rule - If you wouldn't be okay with losing it, don't bring it.

Don't Pack Towels

Towels are bulky and take up a lot of space in a suitcase. They can also take a long time to dry and stuffing a wet towel into your bag is not fun. Your accommodations should have towels that you can use during your stay. An exception would be the light, quick-drying towels which are a solid all purpose solution for a beach towel, yoga mat or if your hostel is stingy.

Don't Pack Bulky Clothes

If you're traveling to a cold climate, it is a far better strategy to layer than to bring bulky items. You can probably get away with one heavier coat if you wear it while traveling but beyond that, stick to lighter items that you can layer together to stay warm.

Don't Pack Unique Outfits for Different Days

We all love options but the truth is you have to make some sacrifices. Instead of packing a full new outfit for each day of your trip, bring versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched to maximize your suitcase space. Wearing an item in various ways creates more room for you to pack other things. Earth tones are usually a safe bet because they can usually be worn together and you can always add some style with a unique scarf or hat.


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8 Things to do in Singapore

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A futuristic city that combines lush greenery with modern urban landscapes, Singapore is leading the charge into "green" cities around the world. But beyond the parks and gardens which have earned Singapore the nickname, the Garden City, there is still a lot to do and see. From shopping to street food, here 8 of our favorite things to do in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands

An iconic feature of Singapore's skyline, Marina Bay Sands is a giant hotel complex that features a hotel, shopping center, several restaurants, and observation deck. The rooftop bar overlooks the Gardens by the Bay and provides an incredible view of the city. It's also the perfect place to catch a sunset while drinking a Singapore sling.

Gardens by the Bay

Perhaps the most well known attraction in the city, Gardens by the Bay, is a fascinating and futuristic ecosystem of botanical gardens that will help you understand why they call Singapore "The Garden City". Gardens by the Bay features enormous biodomes with exotic plants, man-made supertrees, and beautiful park areas all connected by various pathways and suspension bridges. Go at night to see the supertrees lit up and stick around for the light shows set to music.

Chinatown

Take a stroll around Chinatown and explore Singapore's Chinese heritage. Navigate the tacky souvenir stands and explore the colorful shophouses and delicious restaurants. Don't miss the Chinatown Heritage Centre for an in depth view into Chinatown's past.

Orchard Road

If you're a shopper in Singapore, chances are you will find your way to Orchard Road. If you're in Singapore but aren't much of a shopper, chances are you will still find your way to Orchard Road. Busy malls, upscale designer stores and surprisingly good restaurants make up this popular shopping street. You may be surprised to find that it is actually very much a place of interest for locals and tourists alike.

National Gallery Singapore

Located in the recently renovated Supreme Court building in downtown Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore features a large collection of modern art from in and around Singapore. The gallery aims to reflect Singapore's unique culture and heritage as well as it's relationship with other Asian countries and the world as a whole. If you like modern art, this is a must visit.

Haji Lane

Lined with shophouses, Haji Lane, has become the go to street for independent shops, boutique designers and hip bars. Take some pictures exploring the colorful streets, visit quirky vintage shops or stop for a beer and some people watching.

Little India

Featuring some extremely well preserved shophouses from the colonial era, Little India is one of the most vibrant areas of Singapore. Roam the incense infused streets, enjoy amazing Indian food and visit colorful Hindu temples. A great place to get lost for a few hours.

Hawker Stands

One of the best reasons to visit Singapore is the food. With an incredible mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors, there is no shortage of good food in the city. But what really makes Singapore's food scene special are the hawker stands. Visit any of several hawker centers around town for incredible and affordable dining. We're talking food courts with Michelin-starred street food.


Planning a trip to Singapore? Make the most of your adventure with an Adventure Assist travel notebook!

Traveling with a Purpose

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We often talk about traveling with a purpose... but what do we mean by that?

Consider this - could travel be leading you nowhere? A few "awesome" experiences under your belt, checking countries off your bucket list, wandering the world without really taking the time to get to know your destinations or yourself? As an outsider it may seem like this is the dream life, but we know from experience that constantly traveling in vacation mode, especially during extended trips, can be pretty damaging to your attitude and your wallet.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua (hi, this is Jake!) I saw this constantly. Travelers that set off on a life changing trip through Central America only to get caught in tourist traps, party all day and night, and spend the majority of their trip asleep in their hostel bed. After I left the Peace Corps I headed down through Central and South America and noticed much of the same. Travelers who were undoubtedly seeking something but appeared instead to be running away. And hey, I've been there, I'm not one to judge and I like a good time as much as anyone, but I decided somewhere along the way that I didn't want to travel like that. In fact, I made it a mission of sorts to travel with purpose and share that idea with others. It's a big reason why we started Adventure Assist. Our travel notebooks have become a way to give people intention while traveling and as we evolve it will continue to be our main focus.

So, how can you apply traveling with a purpose in your own life? Once you understand the concept, there are a million ways to do it. For example, I traveled to Cuba to run the Havana marathon, in Tuscany I set out to learn everything I could about wine, I went to Guatemala to study Spanish, in Singapore I was fascinated by the history and architecture of shophouses. Maybe you'd like to volunteer in India, learn to surf in Costa Rica, attend a baseball game in every stadium in the US, or head to the English countryside to write a book. Maybe you simply want to relax or to see an old friend or to learn about the history and culture of a new place.

We believe that if you plan on traveling for an extended period of time, having goals throughout your adventure is extremely important. We aren't saying that you should make an intense list of things to accomplish in every city you plan on visiting but that being conscious of what you want to get from your travels will likely lead to a more fulfilling experience. Traveling with a sense of purpose helps you learn and grow and it better connects you to your travel destination. Without a doubt, you will leave with new skills, knowledge, and likely some experiences you would not have had otherwise.


Traveling with a purpose? Get an Adventure Assist travel notebook to relive the adventure for years to come.

Why We Started Adventure Assist

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We get asked often about why we started Adventure Assist. Well, it actually came to be for a few reasons... A need for a product that didn't exist. A desire to connect with like minded travelers. A passion for helping people have more authentic and purposeful travel experiences...

We sell a product that helps travelers plan, organize and journal their latest adventures, but we hope to be so much more than that. It's really about creating new experiences and connecting with people all over the world. For us, travel has been life changing. It has opened our eyes and our minds, given us amazing stories and even better friendships, and encouraged us to chase our dream. Our mission is to pass on even a tiny portion of that through Adventure Assist.

We designed our travel notebooks to be as flexible as possible. We didn't want to include specific lists or information that most people will never use. We didn't want to limit travelers to specific destinations or length of trips. We wanted a minimal design that maximizes space and gives you the freedom to include the most important travel details. So, we created a space to store all of your travel information but not one that forces your hand. Get creative, be spontaneous. Your life should be an adventure, and we want to help.

For travelers, by travelers.

- April & Jake (Adventure Assist)


Travel Planning Tips: Choosing the Perfect Destination

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The first step in any travel planning process is choosing the perfect destination for your trip! There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a travel destination (and travel planning in general), so we're here to share some tips that we use to decide where we will be heading next.

What do you want to get out of your trip?

The very first thing to think about when choosing the perfect destination, is what you want to get out of your travel experience. We are big believers in giving your trip purpose because it will inspire you throughout the travel planning process (and while on your trip) and give you something incredible to look forward to. Do you want to discover a new culture? Do you want to become more knowledgeable on a specific subject (European history, wine, Kung Fu)? Or, do you just want to relax and reset? Giving your trip purpose by setting expectations or goals is a great way to get you in the mindset for your trip and help you narrow down destinations that make sense.

Since you now understand what you want to get out of your trip, you’ve probably narrowed your search down quite a bit. What’s next? How do you actually decide? 

Seasons & Weather

When planning your next travel destination, it is always important to consider the time of the year, seasons, and weather in any potential destinations. Is it the busy tourist season or slow season? Is it warm and sunny or does it rain most of the day? Are there any events or festivals that you should be aware of?

Must Do Activities

Another consideration while deciding on your next travel destination is any activities that you've always wanted to do! What are your bucket list items that you can check off on this trip? Do you have recommendations from friends and family? Are there any life changing activities that you can do?

Expenses

For most of us, the biggest factor in determining a travel destination is the cost. Does the expense match what you are expecting to pay for the trip? Often the biggest expense of a trip is the price of flights and other transportation. Remember to also take into account day to day expenses like the price of accommodations and food. Additionally, you'll want to account for any activities that you will want to do while in your destination.

Still stuck in your travel planning process? If you're still undecided on where your next travel destination should be, we recommend searching the internet for the best places to accomplish your travel goals, scouring travel blogs for the perfect spot, or checking out social media to see where might be a good fit.

 

Travel planning can be overwhelming. If you're planning a trip, simplify your travel planning process with the Adventure Assist travel notebook.

A Traveler's Guide to Cultural Immersion

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One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is experiencing new cultures. In our experience, this is one of the biggest areas for personal growth that traveling can bring. Experiencing new cultures not only gives you a practical understanding about the world and its history, it will even teach you some things about yourself.

When we say "cultural immersion", we mean the act of integrating oneself into an unfamiliar culture, interacting with people within that culture, and attempting to understand their way of life from that perspective. If you are seeking cultural immersion on your next trip, here are some of our tips.

Stay with a Host Family

One of the simplest ways to experience cultural immersion while traveling is to stay with a host family during your trip. Staying with a host family offers an intimate view of another culture that you just can't experience any other way. Engaging in normal activities together, such as eating dinner or playing a card game, can really make you feel like an extension of the family. Not to mention this is a great way to keep up with your foreign language skills.

Learn the Language

Learning a foreign language is hard work, but it can be especially fulfilling to use your language skills to navigate a new culture. Being able to speak a foreign language (or sometimes even just a few words and phrases) can offer a dramatically different travel experience. If you're looking for an authentic experience off of the tourist circuit, speaking the language is a huge advantage.

It's important to note that cultural immersion is also the easiest way to learn a foreign language. If you are surrounded by people speaking the language, you don't really have a choice except to learn and improve!

Take Public Transportation

Public transportation can be a great way to experience a new place. You learn to navigate your new surroundings from the perspective of the locals. It will help you to understand people's daily routines and maybe you will strike up a conversation or two. It's a big bonus that it's usually the cheapest mode of transportation.

Learn How to Make Local Cuisine

If you love to cook, a great path to cultural immersion is learning to make local cuisine! Most travel destinations have classes, taught by a local chef, that teach you how to make different types of local dishes. Additionally, if you are staying with a host family or if you've made local friends, you could always offer to help make dinner. This is not only an opportunity to learn about various cuisines around the world and how they are prepared, but also a chance to spend time with locals and develop friendships.

Participate in Sports or Group Activities

Participating in group activities, joining a club or playing sports are all amazing opportunities for cultural immersion. You will spend time with members of your host community, learn more about traditions and customs, and people will know a little bit more about you based on what activities you choose. If you're going to be somewhere for an extended trip, seek out some local activities to get involved with while you're there, and even if you'll be there for a shorter while you could always join that pickup soccer game!


Heading out on an extended vacation? Remember every last detail with an Adventure Assist travel notebook.

7 Ways to Become a More Responsible Traveler

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As travelers, we are so fortunate to experience everything that the world has to offer. Amazing landscapes, interesting cultures, delicious food and intricate histories all shape our experiences in any travel destination. It is our responsibility then, as travelers, to be conscious of how our actions might affect the environment, culture and economy of any travel destination. Not only does responsible travel improve the communities you travel to but it also makes for a more authentic and rewarding travel experience. For many people though, "responsible travel" is a new idea that they've never thought much about. With that in mind, here are some simple ways that you can become a more responsible traveler.

Shop Locally

Choosing where you spend your money while traveling can have a tremendous impact on the local community. By choosing local businesses instead of large brands or chains, you're supporting the people who have the most to benefit from your purchases. Next time you're deciding where to eat, where to stay, or even where to buy souvenirs, consider how your choice can positively impact the local economy.

Side Note: In many countries bargaining is part of the culture and you'll be expected to take part in it. Throughout the process however, keep in mind what $1 means to you versus what it might mean for the vendor.

Respect the Local Culture

As a responsible traveler, go out of your way to learn about the local culture. Pick up a few basic words of the host language and become familiar with the country's history. Learn what is appropriate in terms of behavior, dress and body language. These simple gestures will go a long way with how you are perceived as a traveler and they will also help to better connect you to your travel destination.

Educate Yourself Before Wildlife Activities

Wildlife tourism is a giant industry. Unfortunately, more often than not, these businesses care more about making money than the wellbeing of the animals. Make sure you do your research before taking part in any activities featuring wildlife. Any reputable business that interacts with wild animals should be happy to answer all of your questions to reassure you that the activities are safe and mutually beneficial to both tourists and the animals. If they are not, consider choosing a more responsible organization or forgoing the activity altogether.

Volunteer

A big opportunity for responsible travel is volunteering, and there are now more ways than ever to do so while traveling abroad. From environmental conservation, culture and community projects, to teaching English, volunteering can be a rewarding and inexpensive way to travel responsibly. Again, it is really important to do your research as, unfortunately, many volunteer organizations are known to do more harm than good. Make sure you are considering volunteering for the right reasons, and that you choose reputable organizations that are offering volunteer services that align directly with your skill set and morals.

Minimize waste

Waste management is an issue worldwide. This is especially so in developing countries where environmental education and waste management infrastructure might not be at the same level that you are used to back home. Keep in mind that your travel destination may not have a formal recycling program or even a proper waste management system in place. As a responsible traveler, you could bring a reusable water bottle to fill up instead of constantly buying new plastic water bottles. When making any purchases you could always decline a plastic bag and put the item in your backpack instead.

Choose Responsible Tour Operators

Often the most memorable activities of any trip are booked and operated by tour companies. Sometimes there are literally hundreds to choose from that all claim to offer the best services at the best rates. We recommend seeking out responsible and sustainable businesses that contribute directly to the local community. Ideally, these agencies would be locally owned and choose to help protect the local environment, to only hire local employees, or to donate money to local charities.

Lower Your Carbon Footprint

There are many ways to lower your carbon footprint while traveling. When planning your route, try to choose the most direct path to lessen your carbon emissions. Choose public transportation instead of taking a taxi. Or better yet, walk or ride a bike! The world and your bank account will thank you.

As traveling continues to become more accessible, it's more important than ever for us to be responsible travelers. Not only will these simple practices improve the wellbeing of the communities that you travel to but they also make for a more sustainable and rewarding travel experience.


Travel with a purpose and get an Adventure Assist travel notebook to help you plan, organize and document the most important details of your next trip.

11 Bad Travel Habits to Kick

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Even the most frequent of fliers fall victim to bad travel habits sometimes. Let's face it, its easy to get caught up in the excitement of travel. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming. Either way, do you really want to be that traveler? Don't let these bad travel habits get in the way of your travel experience.

Over Packing

Its not a stretch to say that packing too much for your trip is the cardinal sin of travel. Having a lot of luggage quickly identifies you as a tourist, transportation becomes a logistical nightmare, and your much more likely to be targeted by a pickpocket or scammer. Take our advice and ditch this bad travel habit forever - pack light and you're in control.

Over Booking

Traveling to Europe for two weeks and planning on visiting ten cities? Bad idea. We understand you want to get the most out of your epic trip but try narrowing your itinerary by focusing on what you most want to get out of your travels. You will be less stressed and have more time to get to know your travel destinations.

Not Having a Plan

There is something especially liberating about the idea of traveling on a whim and not having a plan at all. We advise against it. It's important to be spontaneous but you should, at the very least, do your research even if you don't want to book anything yet. You will know your options and overall have a stronger connection to your travel destination. 

Planning out every second

On the opposite end of this bad travel habit, don't be the itinerary police and have every second of your trip planned out. It is good to have direction but leave some room for spontaneity, gut impulses and chance encounters.

Not Having a Budget

You definitely don't want to finish your travels and be in a ton of debt. Sticking within your means is especially important during travel. Don't get caught up in this bad travel habit - make a budget and have a plan.

Being too Frugal

On the other hand, don't be so frugal that you miss out on the attractions and activities that you traveled across the world to see and do. Make sure your budget includes must do activities and leaves room for spontaneous decisions. Know what is important to you - if you care about eating at an expensive restaurant but are willing to stay in a cheaper hostel, that is great information to plan around. 

Falling into Tourist Traps

Unnecessarily expensive restaurants, overly aggressive hawkers, taxi drivers that triple the fare - We've all been there. But there are some things that you can do to avoid falling into tourist traps. We recommend to research possible scams and common tourist traps in your guidebook and on the internet, get off the beaten path (don't live or die by your guidebook's recommendations), and book activities in advance when it makes sense.

Complaining about the small stuff

You may be in a new place where things are different than you're used to, but that doesn't mean that you should complain about it. In fact, sweating the small stuff might be the worst of all bad travel habits. Travel delays, restaurant mishaps, not having the amenities that you're used to - while it can be frustrating, try to be positive and see it all from a new perspective. You (and your travel companions) will have a much better time.

Partying too hard

Traveling is all about having a great time, meeting new people and having once in a lifetime experiences. So, by all means, do some partying if you'd like - but keep a few things in mind. Spending most of your trip hungover in bed is probably not the best way to experience your travel destination. Having a good time should not come at the expense of your host countries cultural norms. Most importantly, make responsible decisions to ensure that you and your friends stay safe.

Being Unwilling to Try Something New

Maybe our favorite thing about travel is trying new things. New food, new experiences, learning something new, the list goes on. It opens our minds, helps us learn about our travel destinations, and makes for the best travel stories. We get it - you're a creature of habit - but trust us, you will get more out of your travel experience if you break this bad travel habit and are willing to try something new.

Not Respecting the Culture

The world is a fascinating and diverse place with many different languages, religions and cultural norms. While traveling, you will likely encounter some things that are new to you, or even things that you don't fully understand. In these situations, keep in mind that you are a guest in your travel destination and it is important to respect the local customs. There may be an opportunity for you to learn from the situation and take home a larger understanding.


Planning an epic trip? Head over to our SHOP page to get your Adventure Assist travel notebook to plan, organize and document your travels.

How to Achieve Your New Year's Travel Goals

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Goal setting is a huge part of the new year. We don't think that you should have to wait until the new year to make positive changes in your life, but it is such a great opportunity to start fresh and reassess your priorities. If you're anything like us, you've set some new year's travel goals that you're determined to accomplish in 2018. We're here to help you stay on track.

In order to achieve your new year's travel goals (like achieving any goal) you'll need a plan. We make plans so that we can break down one big goal into several smaller goals, effectively compartmentalizing in order to remove the stress, make clear progress and ultimately accomplish what we set out to. Achieving your travel goals this new year will be no different. Here is how you can take action to make sure you reach your dream destinations in 2018.

Determine Your Priorities

This is probably the most important step. If you really want to travel more, travel further or travel for longer in the new year, you must make travel a high priority in your life. If you fail to do this, you won't make it much further than your couch.

If there is anything holding you back, now is the time to confront those challenges. Don't think you have enough money? Have time restrictions? Not sure how to travel with kids? Unsure about traveling solo? Your situation probably isn't as dire as you think. In fact, there are tons of travelers out there in the exact same situation as you making it work. The difference is they place a high priority on travel.

Decide on a Destination & Timeline

You're determined to turn your day dreaming into concrete action! Well, the next step in accomplishing your new year's travel goals is deciding on a destination and timeline. Some things to consider while deciding - travel expenses, time of year, weather, accessibility, bucket list destinations and recommendations.

Set a Budget and Start Saving

Now that you've chosen a destination and timeline, you should have a general idea of how much the trip will cost. But it's now time to take a deeper dive. You'll want to take into account the price of transportation, accommodation, food and give yourself a buffer for entrance fees, tours and other experiences.

With your budget in mind, set a plan and save for your trip. This is where prioritizing travel really comes in handy because you will likely have to make some sacrifices in order to cut expenses and save for your trip. You'll be on your way to achieving your new year's travel goals in no time!

Travel Plan

Travel planning is clearly our favorite step towards achieving travel goals. You probably have an idea of what your travel destination has to offer but this is where you put it all together. Purchase flights and other transportation, look into accommodations and make reservations if necessary, and do research on all of the things you might like to do on your trip. How prepared you will want to be is mostly a personal preference but we highly recommend at least knowing your options. 

Stay Inspired

Want to know a travel hack to stay inspired leading up to a trip? Research! It's easy to accomplish your travel goals when you are constantly looking up the amazing things you can do on your trip. Find something you're excited about that your destination offers and buy a book or start listening to a podcast about it. Learn at least some general words and phrases if you don't speak the language. Research the political climate, history and anything else you might be interested in. This will serve you well as you lead up to your trip and better prepare you for your travel experience overall.

Set Off

Alright, the time has come! Pack your bags and get ready to achieve your new year's travel goals. You can finally relax on that beach, explore that city or climb that mountain that you've always dreamt of. And remember, have fun!  


Ready to achieve your new year's travel goals? Check out our travel notebooks over on our SHOP page to maximize your trip. Plan, organize and journal the most important travel details.

Our Top Blog Posts of 2017

As 2017 comes to an end, we are taking a look back at our top blog posts from the year. We are so happy to have been a resource for so many of you, no matter what stage of travel planning you were in, and can't wait to assist you on more adventures in 2018. Here is a look back at our top blog posts of 2017:

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10 Reasons to Keep a Travel Journal

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Pro Packing Tips

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Travel Hacking for Beginners

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10 Easy Ways to Cut Expenses & Save for Travel

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Our Go-To Travel Planning Resources


Planning your 2018 travels? Check out our travel notebooks over on our SHOP page to help you make the most of your trips.