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.


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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.


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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.

 
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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!


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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.


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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.


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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!  


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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


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Top 5 Small Towns in the U.S. for the Holidays

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Some towns in the U.S. go all out for the holidays, from ornately decorated town squares to Christmas carolers reveling in holiday cheer and much more. We searched for the best small towns to spend the holidays, coast to coast. Here are our top five picks.

Leavenworth, Washington

Always making the rankings of small towns with lots of Christmas spirit, Leavenworth   is a great place to spend the holidays. This cheerful Bavarian town offers an assortment of festivities including the Christmas Lighting Festival, a sledding hill and sleigh rides through the woods. Throw in majestic mountain views and you'll feel like your in your very own winter wonderland for the holidays.

Pacific Grove, California

This costal town in Northern California gets plenty of attention over the holidays. With an old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony and a parade of lights, the town sure looks the part. Add on the "Christmas at the Inns" event where several of the town's bed and breakfasts put out their best holiday adornments and open their doors with holiday music and treats. Finally, you won't want to miss the famous "Candy Cane Lane" for some of the best neighborhood Christmas decorations.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Named Bethlehem on Christmas Eve in 1741, this Pennsylvania town is also appropriately referred to as "Christmas City" and is the perfect holiday travel destination. Take a carriage ride around town or check out the ginger bread house competition and exhibit, or even go on walking tour of historic sites on the Christmas City Stroll. Lastly, don't miss the Christkindlmarkt, one of the top holiday markets in the U.S. featuring vendors offering fine art and other unique items.

Crested Butte, Colorado

There's no place to spend the holidays quite like Crested Butte. For one thing, you're sure to have a white christmas in this laid back ski resort town. After a day on the slopes, catch the lighting of the Christmas tree at Light Up Night and stick around to take pictures with Santa. On Christmas Eve, its tradition for Santa to ride down the mountain in a sleigh pulled by a snowcat at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Santa's sledding is followed by the famous torchlight parade performed by the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School. 

Fredericksburg, Texas

A special combination of German Christmas traditions and Texas hospitality, Fredericksburg is a fantastic choice for a holiday getaway. Explore the many boutiques, shops and art galleries on the festive Main Street, attend the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and be sure to catch the annual Christmas parade. But this year, instead of milk and cookies for Christmas, opt for wine and cheese on a tour of the many local wineries that make Fredericksburg a such a magical place to visit any time of the year.


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Just in Time for Christmas

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Last minute Holiday shoppers- still shopping for the traveler in your life? Well, we've got the rest of your Christmas list covered. Our travel notebooks make the perfect gift for him or for her, or really for anyone who wants to get the most out of their travels. Order yours today to receive it in time to go under the tree.

Our beautiful and practical travel notebooks help to plan and organize the most important details of any adventure. A hybrid between a travel planner and travel journal, they were created based on hundreds of travel experiences and include only the most relevant sections. These durable and travel-friendly notebooks are flexible enough for any journey, include a large journal section and even have pockets on the inside covers. 

 

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Our Go-To Travel Planning Resources

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Travel planning can be hard work. We want to help out. So, we consolidated a list of our favorite travel resources to take some pressure off of your seemingly endless search for epic travel experiences. Here is our list of go-to travel planning resources:

Travel Blogs

There are tons of great travel blogs out there. A simple Google search generally does a good job of bringing up relevant blogs for your inquiry. Here are a few (out of many!) of our favorites to get you started: Nomadic MattThe Blonde AbroadLegal NomadsThe Points GuyExpert VagabondView from the Wing

Social Media

We use social media in all sorts of ways to help us plan travel and better connect to our destinations. Facebook has made staying in contact with friends, family, and fellow travelers incredibly simple. It is also a great way to get relevant news and inspiration from your favorite travel publications. Instagram is great for visuals, inspiration and to see where your favorite travel influencers are at the moment. Twitter is great for quick info and relevant media from travel publications as well. Join the adventure and follow along on our FacebookInstagram & Twitter.

Guidebooks

Guidebooks are great! We think they are a huge help when planning an epic adventure. They give you quick information about budgeting, must see sites, must do activities and much more. But keep in mind, if you're looking for truly unique and authentic travel experiences, don't live and die by your guidebook. There are a ton of options out there and it largely depends on your style but here are some to consider: Lonely PlanetMoonRough GuidesFrommer’sWallpaper City GuidesWildsam

Pro Tip: Always look at the release date to make sure you are getting the most up to date version of your guide book.

Transportation

There are a lot of places to get good transportation info for traveling to and around your destination. Here are some of our go-to travel resources to give you a head start.

Accommodations

There are a million websites to book your stay while traveling and again, sometimes a quick Google search is your best bet. Here are our favorite places to turn to when looking for accommodations while traveling:

To Do

Again, there are a lot of places to search for the best things to do while traveling. Here are some popular places to start your search:

  • Travel Blogs (see section above)
  • Viator (to book tours, group activities)
  • General: Google, Your favorite guidebook (see section above), Social Media

Take peer rated sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp with a grain of salt. For many reasons, they are generally not the best places to begin your search but may come in handy to reaffirm a hunch.


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10 Easy Ways to Cut Expenses & Save for Travel

Want to start setting money aside to reach your travel goals?

The first thing you should do is make a list of your current expenses and start brainstorming ways that you can cut back. A lot of daily costs are in small purchases that definitely add up. These items are easy to cut or replace, which means savings will now add up instead!

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Here are some easy ways to take action today and start saving for an epic adventure:

No more coffee shop runs

Make coffee at home or cut it out altogether. Those cups of coffee add up quick!

Cook for yourself instead of going out

Bring your lunch into work, cook for yourself at home. Sure, sometimes its convenient to eat out but this is a great way to save some cash.

Cut your cable service

In the age of live streaming it's easier than ever to cut your cable service. Movies are always good, you can always live stream your favorite shows, or lose the TV altogether and pick up a good book you've got lying around.

Reduce your utilities

Wear a sweater or turn on a fan. Take shorter showers. Turn lights off in rooms you aren't in. It all adds up!

Compare prices when shopping

Compare prices of similar items when making purchases. Coupons are another good idea.

Quit the gym and workout at home

You can always run, hike, or exercise at home or outside!

Don't buy bottled water

Drink tap water or filtered water instead of buying plastic water bottles. Not only is it better for your wallet but it's also better for the environment.

Lose the car if you can

We spend a crazy amount of money on our cars. Gas and maintenance really add up. If you're able to become less reliant on your own vehicle, you'll be able to save a lot. Alternatives could be the subway, bus, biking or walking.

Ditch your landline

If you still pay for a landline, stop it. Now.

Stop drinking/smoking

For some people this will be the biggest opportunity for saving. Drinking and smoking are both bad for your health and cost a lot of money. If you cut back or stop entirely, you'll have a lot more money to spend on your upcoming epic adventure.

Saving money doesn't have to be overly difficult. Implement these ten ways to cut your expenses and you'll see the savings add up. You'll be on that epic adventure in no time.


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Tips for the First Time Traveler

So, you're setting off to travel the world for the first time. Are you excited? Anxious? Nervous? Traveling for the first time can be a whirlwind of emotions. You don't know what to expect, heck, you don't even know anyone that knows what to expect. You'll probably make some rookie travel mistakes (we all have) but if we could sit down and give first time travelers some advice, this would be it.

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Pack Light

The way you pack can have a massive influence on your trip. That being said, there tend to be two types of travelers -- those that pack light and those that wish they had. Do your best to stick to one suitcase or backpack. Remember, if you forget something or realize that you need an item during your trip, you can buy basic necessities at virtually any travel destination.

Be Prepared

Do the research. Have a plan. This doesn't mean you need to have an detailed itinerary (we are all about flexibility) but you should research your destination, things you might like to do, any problems or difficulties you might encounter, and try to become familiar with basic customs and some simple phrases.

The Boring Stuff

Notify your bank that you will be traveling abroad and call your cell service provider to understand your restrictions and fees for using your phone abroad. Always have travel insurance. Lastly, make sure you have a cushion on your travel budget for expenses or emergencies you didn't account for.

Don't live & die by your guidebook

Guidebooks are great! We think they are a huge help when planning an epic adventure. They give you quick information around budgeting, must see sites, must do activities and way more. But if you're looking for truly unique and authentic travel experiences, don't live and die by your guidebook. Be open, take recommendations,  get off the beaten path, discover your destination for yourself.

Make an effort

Make an effort to learn a few words or phrases in the host language. Make an effort to pick up on the cultural norms. Make an effort to meet new people and be open minded. You will learn more and feel a stronger sense of connection to your destination.

Slow Down

Our instinct while traveling is to maximize our time. More destinations, more adventures, more hotels, more pictures. BUT, if you step back for a second, you may realize how much more you can get out of traveling by slowing down. Slow travel is all about taking more time in each travel destination, in order to experience a truer rhythm of life.

Go with the flow

It's easy to over-plan and get overwhelmed when traveling. Be flexible with your itinerary and take the stress out of your travels. Plan the most important parts of your trip, know your options on other things that you might like to do, and go with the flow.

Be Adventurous

Travel is all about new experiences. Even if you aren't really the adventurous type you will benefit by putting yourself out there a little bit while traveling. Go on that sunrise hike, eat all the street food, talk to the locals, challenge yourself. Practice feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is a valuable skill to have outside of travel as well.

Don't be so shy

We get it, it takes courage to strike up conversation with strangers and its easier to just keep to yourself. Don't let that stop you from meeting a new friend or getting some good travel advice. Take the first step and say hello - sometimes, its as simple as that. You really don't have anything to lose.

You Can Go Home Any Time

If, for whatever reason, you are truly hating traveling and are not having a good time, stop and rest for a while - maybe in a big city or wherever feels most comfortable to you. If you are still hating it when you get back on the road, it is totally fine to head home early. There is no shame in admitting to yourself that travel, or that travel experience, wasn't for you.


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Head over to our SHOP page to get your very own Adventure Assist travel notebook and plan out your DREAM trip.

Eyes on Edinburgh: My Experience Using the Adventure Assist Travel Notebook

Circus Lane, an Instagram favorite in Edinburgh.

Circus Lane, an Instagram favorite in Edinburgh.

I love to write. I love to write in cursive on paper, in captions for Instagram, and in words for blogs. Therefore, when I found Adventure Assist on Instagram through the lovely Rachel of Rachel Lately, I was hooked. This would be the perfect accompaniment for my fall excursion to Edinburgh, Scotland, and Cambridge, England.

 
Ready to go!

Ready to go!

 

My typical trip planning includes research, serendipity, and reflection, and the Adventure Assist travel notebook encompasses the whole range of activities. From packing to processing, its design and functionality is unsurpassed. Whether you plan every minute or go with the flow, you can use the Adventure Assist travel notebook to your advantage. Here’s my journey to the U.K., divided into Before, During, and After.

 
Adventure Assist at Edinburgh Castle

Adventure Assist at Edinburgh Castle

 

BEFORE: RESEARCH

Before I go on any trip, Instagram is my favorite tool for research. From local bloggers to restaurant openings to featured events, the aesthetic social media app has a whole host of possibilities. I studied abroad in Edinburgh for four months last year and also took a trip for spring break this year, so I love finding new and exciting people, places, and pop ups every time I go.

My favorite pen couldn’t write fast enough in the To-Do section of my Adventure Assist travel notebook. I even made two separate entries for Edinburgh and one for Cambridge, a new city I had yet to explore. I neatly noted my Transportation and Accommodations information in their respective locations also.

Here’s a sneak peek at my Edinburgh destination list. From Attractions to Activities to Food and Drink, I thoroughly enjoyed detailing this trip from the beginning steps.

 
Edinburgh in the To-Do section

Edinburgh in the To-Do section

 

DURING: SERENDIPITY

My blog, Strikes of Luck, is dedicated to the exploration of serendipity in everyday life. Expecting the unexpected is one of the most exciting parts of any travel experience, and my serendipity usually includes coffee shop creativity, photo shoots, and Instagram meet ups. This is where my Adventure Assist travel notebook entered the picture: I avidly noted my journeys in the Journal part of the planner. I used one page per day and listed my adventures to accompany my photos.

In order to record the serendipitous encounters, I carried my travel notebook everywhere I went with my phone and my camera. The pocket in the back cover was perfect for tickets, flyers, and other assorted memorabilia that I collected along the way.
 

 
The Balmoral on Princes Street, Edinburgh

The Balmoral on Princes Street, Edinburgh

 

AFTER: REFLECTION

The two week trip flew by, and I was back home in Greenville, South Carolina, eager to tell my family and friends about my trip. Obviously, I turned to my Adventure Assist travel notebook for every tiny detail, from the South Carolina couple I met in my favorite coffee shop, to the Instagram dogs I interacted with, to The Cambridge Satchel Company store.

 
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As a traveler, blogger, and all-around lover of words, I appreciated my travel planner/journal for its ease of access, captivating design, and creations “for travelers, by travelers.” Head to my Instagram or blog, Strikes of Luck, to follow my creative community and smiling serendipity.

Guest post by Sarah Cooke


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Head on over to our SHOP page and get your very own Adventure Assist travel notebook. Where will it take you?

Travel Journal Inspiration: What to Write About

There are all sorts of reasons why you should keep a travel journal. You'll remember more of what made your trip special, you'll learn more about your destination and yourself, and it is a great opportunity to reflect. But if you're finding it challenging to come up with writing inspiration, here are some travel journal topics to get your creative juices flowing.

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Why are you going?

You don't necessarily have to have a reason to go travel but if you are going for a specific reason, that is a great topic to write about. You could touch on your goals or anything your hoping to take away from the experience.

What are your expectations?

Expectations are usually pretty different from reality but it is a great idea to write about what you think your destination might be like. 

What is the reality?

There will surely be some differences between your expectations and reality. Write about how they differ and how that has changed your perspective.

Sights, sounds, smells

New experiences that appealed to your senses are always a great topic to journal about. Local markets are usually a hotspot for new sights, sounds and smells.

Food you eat

What is the local food like? Do you like it? How is it different from what you're used to?

People you meet

Journal about an encounter that you had with a local or another travel. If you've made new friends on your trip you could write about how they have affected your experience. 

An activity you did

If you did something that you've never done before, that is a great topic to write about. Did you enjoy yourself? Did it live up to expectations? Would you do it again?

How do you feel?

There can be many ups and downs while traveling. At any given moment, write about how you feel. Are you having the best time of your life? Do you miss home? Are you looking forward to something?

What have you learned?

Journaling about what you've learned during your trip is a great way to reflect on your experience. What can you learn from the local culture? What have you learned about yourself? What has your travel experience taught you?

How can you apply what you learned back home?

List some actionable things that you can do when you're back home to apply what you've learned during your travels.


Check out our travel notebooks, equipped with a large journal section, to get the most out of your travels.

The Perfect Travel Gift - A Better Travel Journal

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Need a holiday, birthday or any day gift for the special traveler in your life? (It's okay if you're the special traveler in your life.) Well, we've got you covered! Our travel notebooks make the perfect gift for him or for her, or really for anyone who wants to get the most out of their travels. 

The beautiful and practical travel notebooks help to plan and organize the most important details of any adventure. A hybrid between a travel planner and travel journal, they were created based on hundreds of travel experiences and include only the most relevant sections. The durable and travel-friendly notebooks are flexible enough for any journey, include a large journal section and even have pockets on the inside covers. 

 

Adventure Assist Travel Notebooks

A NOTEBOOK FOR TRAVELERS WITH A PURPOSE, DESIGNED TO EFFICIENTLY ASSIST YOU THROUGHOUT LIFE'S BIGGEST ADVENTURES.

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THE BEST GIFT FOR ANY TRAVELER WHO WOULD LOVE:

7 TRAVEL SECTIONS THEY'LL ACTUALLY USE

NEVER SEARCHING FOR TRAVEL INFO AGAIN

Streamlining TRAVEL PLANNING

Staying ORGANIZED DURING ANY LENGTH OF TRIP

RELIVING THEIR ADVENTURE WITH A BEAUTIFUL JOURNAL

Adventure Assist Travel Notebook

For Travelers, By Travelers

Get Yours Today! 34.95

 

100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE:

IF YOU ARE NOTE COMPLETELY SATISFIED WITH OUR PRODUCT, WE WILL HAPPILY GIVE YOU YOUR MONEY BACK. JUST SEND BACK YOUR TRAVEL NOTEBOOK WITHIN 30 DAYS OF PURCHASE AND LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN MAKE IT BETTER AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A FULL REFUND.

5 Reasons to Visit George Town in Penang, Malaysia

A charming, multi-cultural, World Heritage Site that some argue is the food capital of Southeast Asia? If you haven't heard of George Town yet, we are here to tell you that it should be on your bucket list. Here's why:

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The Culture

With sizable populations of Chinese, Malay, Indian and British, George Town is an extremely diverse city. Four languages are spoken widely - Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. Several religions are practiced - Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Taoism. With so much diversity, a traveler could spend a lifetime engulfed in the culture and constantly be learning. The best part? The multi-culturalism spills out in every way imaginable leaving its mark on everything from the architecture to the food. 

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The History

George Town has a long and complex history. It was one of the first British settlements in Southeast Asia by the British East India Company. There was mass immigration of Chinese settlers in search of work during the 19th centurty. The city was subjugated by the Japanese during World War II and later recaptured by the British at the end of the war. There is a lot to learn about and a lot to see. Thankfully, the historical core of the city is a protected World Heritage Site and there are many historical museums and buildings in the city to visit.  

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The Architecture

Most of George Town's historical buildings are located within the UNESCO World Heritage zone. The architecture found here represents a fascinating mix of cultural heritage, mostly of European and Chinese style (as well as Indian influence in the Little India area). The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Pinang Peranakan Mansion are two of the most famous and beautiful examples of the unique style. 

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The Street Art

In 2012, as part of the annual George Town Festival, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic created a street art series around the city depicting local culture and lifestyle. These works often incorporate objects like bicycles, motorcycles and chairs and have become celebrated cultural landmarks. Since then, the street art scene in George Town has continued to develop, with local and international artists making their marks.

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The Food

Is George Town Southeast Asia's best food city? We'll let you decide for yourselves but we wouldn't argue with anyone claiming it. Expertly blended flavors of Malaysia, China, India and Thailand make it the place to be for foodies everywhere. From perfectly curated shophouse cafes to delicious luxury hotel eats, George Town has something for everyone. But the real treasure is in the inexpensive hawker stall street food stands where you will get amazing food and a truly unforgettable experience. If you're unsure what to try, you can't go wrong with local favorites like asam laksa, char kway teow, or rojak.


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Planning a trip to Malaysia? Get an Adventure Assist travel notebook over on our SHOP page to help you plan and stay organized on your travels! 

Benefits of Slow Travel

 
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Our instinct when traveling is to maximize our time. More countries, more cities, more hotels, more adventures, more highlights. For some people, travel has become more about a badge of honor or an Instagram pic than an experience. Its even fairly common to hear the phrase "I've done France". Slow travel is the opposite of all of that.

Slow travel is picking a destination, maybe a cottage in the English countryside or an apartment in the heart of Tokyo, and staying for an extended period of time. You take the time to experience the rhythms of life in your new destination, go to the market, cook your food, read, maybe even do nothing on occasion.

Not to say that traveling slow is always better. This depends of course on the traveler, how much time in a destination and what you want to get out of your travel experience. But one thing is certain, more people should give traveling slow a shot. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of slow travel:

Better connect to your destination

If you've been here before then you know that we exist solely to help travelers better connect to their destinations. Traveling slow is a great way to do that. It enables you to meet more locals, have authentic experiences more often, and learn more about the history and culture of your destination. 

More eco-friendly

Consider the environmental cost of your trip. The fewer the travel destinations, the less your carbon footprint is. Additionally, a plane is more harmful to the environment than a train, a train is more harmful to the environment than a bike, etc. 

Cheaper

Transportation is often the most expensive part of traveling. Less travel means spending less money. You'll also often receive discounts for longer term stays on accommodation. 

Less stress

With slow travel comes more time, more relaxation, the opportunity for more of a routine and, without a doubt, less stress.

Spontaneity

Traveling slow will guarantee a very personalized and unique travel experience. Without the rush to notch off all the top sites, you will have more time to seek out other types of experiences. It allows you to veer away from your plan if you want, or simply let a unique experience play itself out without rushing to the next place.


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Document your next travel experience with your very own Adventure Assist travel notebook! You can get yours on our SHOP page today.

Top 5 Reasons to Travel Plan

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We certainly recommend spontaneity while traveling, after all this is often where the best travel stories originate. However, we believe in being informed travelers which means becoming familiar with your destination's history and culture, and having an idea of what you want to get out of your travel experience. With this in mind, we can't understate the value that we place on trip planning. For us, this doesn't mean to plan out every waking hour or even necessarily your hotel for next week. But it does mean, at the very least, knowing your options. Here are our top 5 reasons to travel plan:

Better Connect to Your Destination

Everything we do at Adventure Assist centers around better connecting travelers to their destinations. Having found that knowledge enhances experiences, we encourage everyone to take the steps to learn about their destination's culture, history and language before travel.

Prioritize

Becoming familiar with the available sites to explore and activities to do during your travels allows you to prioritize the things you want see and do most.

Availability

Planning and booking hotels, transportation and tours in advance typically gives travelers more options and less to worry about. Some specific transportation and tour options must be booked in advanced or you will miss out. If you want to be a bit more spontaneous, we dig it, but we also recommend at least knowing what options are out there.

Save Money

Planning ahead allows you to better budget your money. As an extra bonus, sometimes you're able to qualify for early booking discounts for travel services.

Save Time

Travel planning ahead of time, allows you to take unforeseen circumstances into account and make sure that things run smoothly. It gives you more free time and actually allows you to be a more flexible traveler.


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Start planning your next adventure today, get an Adventure Assist travel notebook over on our SHOP page!