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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Planning a trip? SHOP our travel notebooks now to simplify the travel planning process. Plan, organize and document important travel details. 

10 Easy Ways to Cut Expenses and 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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Planning that epic adventure? Grab an Adventure Assist Travel Notebook over on our SHOP page and make your life easier.

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!

Q&A with Jack McDermott - Photographer & Traveler

 
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Jack McDermott is a traveling adventure and lifestyle photographer based out of Seattle, Washington. On his recent travels to Indonesia, Jack took an Adventure Assist travel notebook along with him. Upon his return, we caught up with him to chat about his trip.
 
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What do you love about traveling?

Traveling brings me closer to the world, it makes me feel connected and part of places and cultures I’ve dreamt about. It’s through the people I meet and the relationships I form that really make me love traveling. The best memories I have so far in my life have been through the experiences I’ve had while traveling.

 

Tell us about your recent trip to Bali - is it as magical as everyone says it is?

Bali seems like a dream. It’s an incredibly diverse island with so many sections, beaches down south, jungles towards the middle, and mountains up north. Not only are its features incredible, but the people are some of the nicest and most genuine I’ve ever come across. Bali really is a little island paradise, it’s like a trap, once you get there you never want to leave.

 

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What was your experience like using the Adventure Assist Travel Notebook?

I’ve always been big into planning and journaling when I travel. As a photographer, I’m constantly planning locations and ideas of where to shoot, Adventure Assist helped me so much with the organization and schedule for my plans. I believe it is incredibly important to journal when you travel, looking back in a month, a year, or even 10 years at my writing from my trips will put me exactly back in the mindset and experiences I had while traveling, and Adventure Assist was perfect for keeping a journal as I traveled.

 

Do you feel like it helped you better prepare for your trip?

100% it helped. Normally I would be scratching down my plans, flights, and other important information randomly throughout my other journals. Adventure Assist provided me a concise and organized layout for planning my entire trip.

 

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How did you use the notebook during your trip?

I used it for so many different things. I would journal and write about what I had done that day or my thoughts about recent discoveries or ideas. I was able to write down what buses/trains I needed to take to travel across East Java. I even sketched when I had free time, drawing some of the things and places I had seen.

 

Would you recommend it to other travelers?

Yes, this notebook is a great way to stay organized and document your experiences while traveling. I am a big advocate for journaling and this notebook provided me the perfect place to write down my thoughts. I used this notebook before, during, and after my trip to Bali. Everyday I felt prepared for my travels, because I knew I had an organized place to keep my information.

 

You can learn more about Jack by checking out his website and Instagram.

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Tips For Traveling Solo

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Why Travel Alone

Your first time traveling alone can often feel like a spiritual experience. So many new sites, smells and encounters without secondhand influence can be powerful stuff. It's okay to indulge, traveling alone is worth it. 

Of course, traveling alone has its cons as well - like loneliness or safety concerns. But common sense and good planning should take care of those situations. We're of the mindset that everyone should travel alone at least once. Not only will you see your destination from a new light, but you'll also learn a ton about yourself in the process.

Meeting People

Traveling alone often makes meeting new people (locals or fellow travelers) even easier. Strike up a conversation with your waiter, make friends with likeminded travelers at your hostel, etc. Solo travelers will often make friends and travel together for parts of their trips which can be a good option if you're feeling lonely. Meeting new people is a great part of traveling by yourself but don't be afraid of staying solo, you might learn to love your own company.

Travel With Purpose

Want to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Travel to Brazil and train with the pros. Want to learn everything about wine? Book a stay in the Tuscan countryside of Italy. Want to learn to speak Spanish? Enroll in Spanish classes in Costa Rica. There are a million ways to travel with a purpose they will all help you make local connections, have amazing experiences and take some pressure off of traveling solo.

Eating Out

Don't miss out on an amazing meal because you are embarrassed about eating dinner alone. Most people won't even notice and if they do, who cares!? Some solo travelers prefer to sit at the bar but honestly, anywhere will do. You can always bring a book that you can read if you start feeling a little awkward.

Staying Safe

This is often the biggest deterrent for travelers thinking about a solo trip. But safety in numbers isn't always true as solo travelers can usually blend in better than a group. While traveling solo can be perfectly safe, always be aware of your surroundings, watch your drinks, be aware of local scams and use common sense. It is also a big help to learn at least some basic words and phrases in the local language. 


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Get your very own Adventure Assist travel notebook OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE and start planning your solo trip!

Must Do's in Marfa

Marfa, Texas - The middle of nowhere or the center of the universe? 

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Marfa is a mythical, art town in remote west Texas. We love it for its raw simplicity mixed with modern art and design, but can’t help get a kick out of the genuine quirkiness of the tiny desert town. When you finally arrive you’ll realize exactly how remote and small Marfa really is (wait, this is it?!). After all, that’s what drew the late American artist Donald Judd to the area in the first place. Judd put this place on the map when he purchased an old army base in the 70’s and literally filled it with art. The installations are still operated by the Chinati Foundation and are part of the inescapable art scene in Marfa. 

Chinati Foundation

Chinati Foundation

Some other Must Do's in Marfa:

Prada Marfa - This art installation, which is actually in Valentine, about 30 minutes outside of town, is definitely something to be seen. With no direct relation to the Prada fashion house, making it all the more bizarre, the installation is a tiny Prada store with windows where you can see a small sample of Prada's 2005 fall/winter collection inside, provided by Miuccia Prada herself.

Lunch at Food Shark - Quite possibly the most famous eatery in Marfa is the food truck Food Shark. The truck serves up some seriously delicious Mediterranean treats. One of our favorites - for it's name and the taste - is the "Marfalafel". 

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Stay at El Cosmico - The coolest trailer park on planet earth - you can choose to sleep in either a teepee, yurt or retro-style refurbished airstream trailer during your stay.  Don't forget to stop by the gift shop in the main lobby where you're sure to find the perfect souvenir! We guarantee you'll have a serene and relaxing time at this West Texas haven.

Marfa Mystery Lights - At night, head over to the designated Marfa Lights Viewing Site to witness mysterious "ghost" lights in the distance. The lights may seem mysterious but we're pretty sure they're just automobile lights passing by in the distance. Either way, it is a fun experience and worth the trip if you're with a good group.

Coffee at Do Your Thing - This hidden spot surprisingly has a very wide variety of different coffees and teas + a large selection of delicious toasts, sweet or savory (with the bread made in town), to choose from. A perfect breakfast spot or mid-morning snack break. 

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Dinner at Capri - This is a bold statement but Capri gives off sort of a Pujol (in Mexico City) vibe, which makes it a Marfa must in our book. With gorgeous decor throughout and even a beautiful garden where you can relax by a lit bonfire, dinner and drinks are delicious and well presented. Did we mention that they offer a new menu every night?

 

Star Party - McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis (45 min. drive) hosts nighttime constellation tours and views of celestial objects through telescopes every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. These tours have gained popularity recently so we suggest making reservations.

Pool at Hotel Saint George - The newest hotel edition to Marfa, Hotel Saint George has excellent rooms, a cocktail lounge with great happy hour, and a fine dining restaurant. But we especially love the pool area with a full service bar ($10 entry for non-guests). 


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GET AN ADVENTURE ASSIST TRAVEL NOTEBOOK TO HELP PLAN & ORGANIZE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE - HEAD ON OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE. 

How a Travel Notebook Better Connects You to Your Destination

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Here at Adventure Assist our mission is to better connect travelers to their destinations. How are we doing that you ask? Well for starters, we launched the best travel notebook ever made. Yes, a physical notebook. I promise that we like apps and computers as much as anyone, but there really is just something special about writing things down by hand.

In fact, science is on our side. Writing things down has been proven to help people achieve their goals, learn more, remember more, be more organized and be more productive. Google it if you don't believe us. You access more of your brain when you write things down.

That brings us to our travel notebook -- a hybrid between travel planner and travel journal. It was designed for travelers, by travelers, with only the most relevant and useful sections included. We want to make it easier for you to access all of the information that you need while traveling. Also, the whole back section is a journal to note your ambitions, the things you've learned on your journey, and everything else you want to remember once you're back home. 

We want to help travelers better connect to their destinations. Did you learn any useful Spanish words from your trip throughout South America? How about the ancient history you learned about during your stay in Rome? Can you remember the name of your favorite restaurant that you went to in Paris? On your dream trip to Japan, did you make friends that you'd like to stay connected to? The Adventure Assist Travel Notebook helps you do all of this and more.


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To get your own Adventure Assist Travel Notebook, head on over to our shop page.

Tips to Travel Like a Local

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What better way to connect with your destination than by pretending you really lived there? Here are our tips on how to travel like a local!

Stay with a local

 AirBnB, HomeAway, Couch Surfing, Home Stays - One of the best ways to travel like a local is to stay with one. Not only will this get you out of the tourist zones and into a neighborhood, but your host will usually have tons of information on their favorite places to eat, drink and hang out. They will often even take you themselves.

Travel to places where you know someone

Travel to places where you have a connection that will show you around or give you some tips. Meeting new people while traveling is a great way to gain friends from all over the world. Take advantage of those connections, to find the local hotspots!

Public transportation

If you want to travel like a local, you must actually travel like the locals. Use the bus system or take the subway!

Don't rely on tours

Tours can be a great way to experience a new site, learn about your destination and meet new people, but if you want a truly authentic experience you may want to look elsewhere. This is where trip planning can come in handy - sometimes it's better to create your own tour. 

Learn local customs and at least some phrases

Do yourself a favor and research the local culture and customs before you arrive at your travel destination. Also, try to pick up a few simple phrases that will likely come in handy on your trip. You will be less likely to look like the lost tourist and the locals will be appreciative. 

Eat local

Ask locals for their favorite restaurant recommendations or head into the packed lunch spot with no tourists. This is a great way to get a taste for living like a local.

Don't hang out with tourists

Obviously it's great to make friends and you can meet some very interesting travelers, but if you want to travel like a local, try to befriend some locals. 

Dress the part

Be aware of the local dress and act accordingly. This could mean getting a sense for the local customs, or just style. 

Get lost

Take some detours, go the long way back to your hotel, go for a run through town. Always be safe and aware of your surroundings, but don't be afraid to get off the beaten path when you feel like it.

Travel with Purpose

Want to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Travel to Brazil and train with the pros. Want to learn everything about wine? Book a stay in the Tuscan countryside of Italy. Want to learn to speak Spanish? Enroll in Spanish classes in Costa Rica. There are a million ways to travel with a purpose and it is one of the best ways to make an authentic connection with locals.

Travel Hacking for Beginners

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First off, what is travel hacking? Travel hacking entails utilizing incentives and other simple "hacks" to save money on traveling.  Leveraging existing rules of airlines, credit card companies and hotel chains, make earning free or cheap flights, lodging, and upgrades possible. A big part of travel hacking is earning frequent flier miles, reward points, and statuses, but there are additional ways to save money while traveling as well.

Since you're aren't living under a rock, you know that you should start your hunt for cheap airfare with a site that searches for multiple fares. Some of our favorites are Kayak, Skyscanner and Momondo. Being flexible has its perks too. If you can leave a day earlier, or avoid peak travel times, you can definitely save big.

But here are some things that you may not know: 

SIGN UP FOR REWARDS PROGRAMS

A good way to go about this is to pick an airline you like, that you tend to fly frequently, and sign up for their rewards program. You should fly this airline whenever possible, even if the ticket price is slightly higher than its competitors. If you need to fly another airline at any point due to price or availability, you should sign up for their rewards program as well. The same should be done with major hotel chains. This is the slow way of earning cheaper travel, but it works and is an important first step.

SIGN UP FOR CREDIT CARDS

Airline credit cards, and generic travel reward credit cards through a bank, are great for accelerating the rate at which you collect rewards points. When used properly, credit cards can be a powerful tool. Be aware that there is always a minimum spending requirement to reach the bonuses, so this requires a bit of research and smart spending. Make sure you're able to pay off your airline credit card each month, because these cards tend to have higher interest rates.

CHECK AIRLINE AVAILABILITY AS IF YOU WERE IN THAT COUNTRY

If you're flying an airline based in a foreign country, check availability as if you were there. For example, if you are going to be traveling to Colombia and want to fly domestically from one city to another after your arrival, you should update the landing page to "Colombia - English" instead of "United States - English". If you can wait until you are in that country to purchase the tickets, this sometimes works even better. This hack is best for domestic flights within your destination country. 

CHECK YOUR DESTINATION AIRPORT TO SEE WHAT OTHER AIRLINES FLY THERE

You can often get an international flight, with a domestic leg purchased separately, for considerably cheaper than an international flight, with a layover. The trick is to search the lower budget, local airlines for cheaper domestic flights.

These basic travel hacking tips will go a long way to help save you money while traveling!

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GET an ADVENTURE ASSIST TRAVEL NOTEBOOK To help Plan & ORGANIZE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE - HEAD ON OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE. 

How To Stay Organized While Traveling

Traveling can be the perfect time to "get away" and explore new cultures, go on epic adventures, or just relax for a few days. It should be a thoroughly enjoyable experience! These are our tips for how to stay organized while traveling so you can have the best time possible rather than feeling stressed out.

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Packing List

A great place to start your travel organization is with a packing list. Putting a packing list together insures that you don't leave any must have items behind and that you are properly prepared for your travels. (You can use ours!)

Pack Light

Packing light is the easiest way to stay organized while traveling because you don't have as much to keep up with. By packing light, you are more mobile, flexible, and you know where all of your travel gear is.

Packing Aids

Packing cubes and compression bags not only save space but they are also great for separating and organizing your items so that you know exactly where everything is when inside your bag.

Unpack Immediately

This is a hot topic but we have found that we are the most organized (and most sane) when we unpack immediately upon arrival to our travel destination. Living out of your suitcase or backpack is just no way to live. Put clothes in drawers or on hangers, take your gear out to put in a safe place, etc. You'll be more organized while at your destination and won't have to search for that missing item deep in your bag. Whether you plan on staying for a few days or a few months, we stand by unpacking immediately upon arrival. 

Keep Travel Details In One Place

Write down your most important travel details in one place. Recording flight numbers and times, hotel addresses and phone numbers, and anything else that you may have to reference, is a total hack for being efficient and organized while traveling. (Our Adventure Assist travel notebook is perfect for this!)

Itinerary/Calendar

Another hot topic -- Do you plan your travel itinerary ahead of your trip or just show up for a completely spontaneous adventure? Our proven plan of attack is to do our research, know our options, but decide for sure what we want to do as we go along. This way we feel better informed and connected to our destination but also maintain some spontaneity. We've found that making a list of all our options is extremely helpful and we also recommend maintaining a travel itinerary/calendar as you make decisions for tours, transportation, etc. (Adventure Assist travel notebooks come equipped with both a To-Do section as well as a full 12 month itinerary calendar!)

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TO GET YOUR OWN ADVENTURE ASSIST TRAVEL NOTEBOOK, AND STAY ORGANIZED ON YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE, HEAD ON OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE. 

11 Unforgettable Things To Do in Venice

There's nowhere in the world quite like Venice. The city offers what seems like an unlimited amount of sights to see and things to do. Here are just a few that aren't to be missed when you visit this magical city of canals.

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TRIP DOWN THE GRAND CANAL

The first thing that anyone should do on their visit to Venice is take a trip down the Grand Canal. Considered Venice's main "road", the S shaped waterway splits the city in half and features many beautiful and historic sites along the route. From the train station you can hop on a vaporetto (water bus) and tour the whole city as an incredible introduction to Venice.

GONDOLA RIDE

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It may be cheesy and it may be expensive but you should not pass up the opportunity to take a gondola ride in Venice. If you had any doubts, we are here to tell you that it is worth it. You can pick up a gondola almost anywhere in Venice and prices are standard and agreed upon beforehand. Our recommendation - hop on around the Rialto Market and ask to be taken into the back canals past Marco Polo's house. 

BASILICA DI SAN MARCO

Sitting within Piazza San Marco is the beautiful church of the same name. Its an elaborate work of art that was built to honor Saint Mark after Venetian merchants smuggled his remains out of Egypt to be housed at the church. It is Venice's official cathedral and a can't miss site at the city's most popular piazza.

PALAZZO DUCALE (DOGE'S PALACE)

At one time, Venice's political and administrative center, Palazzo Ducale has an impressive historical importance. Another must see in the busy Piazza San Marco, the palace was also once the residence of the Doges of Venice and features beautiful architecture and artwork. 

PONTE DI RIALTO

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The stone bridge, an impressive feat of engineering, took 3 years to complete in 1591 by Antonia da Ponte. Centuries ago, the Rialto bridge was the only way to cross over the Grand Canal but is now one of four bridges where you can cross. Present day, the bridge has shops for tourists and features beautiful views of the canal. 

RIALTO MARKET

Arrive in the morning to see the Rialto Market at its finest. You'll be rewarded with mounds of brightly colored produce and swarms of fishmongers with their fresh morning catches on display for purchase. 

CAFFÈ FLORIAN

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A favorite of Casanova, Caffè Florian is one of the oldest coffee shops in the world. Established in 1720, they have done a great job of maintaining the ambiance. Rooms are ornately decorated and waiters wear tuxedos as they serve cappuccinos on silver trays. Just be prepared for the hefty price tag.

 

 

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION

Arguably one of Europe's finest galleries of modern art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a refreshing break from the ever present Renaissance art in Europe. After her father died on the Titanic, heiress Peggy Guggenheim became dedicated to the collection of modern and contemporary art. An American expat who lived in Venice, the gallery is Peggy's personal collection and is housed in her former home. It features works from Ernst, Pollock, Picasso, Dalí and many others. 

CA' SAGREDO HOTEL

Ca' Sagredo is an elaborate 15th century palace turned hotel that overlooks the Grand Canal. Stay in one of the 42 rooms or just grab a cappuccino to enjoy along the water. Don't leave without going upstairs to explore the salons and dining areas equipped with ornate artwork of its time.

BURANO

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Take a day trip to experience Venice's best kept secret - Burano. Like Venice, Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon and is about a 40 minute boat ride from Piazza San Marco. The small island is known for its lace work and brightly colored homes. A photographers dream.

 

GET LOST

The city's passageways are extremely complicated and even with directions or a map it can be a challenge to get from point A to point B. In fact, you have not properly experienced Venice until you have gotten lost in its back alleys and canal ways. Good for us that, with dreamy Italian scenes around every corner, getting lost in Venice is so magical. 


 

TO GET YOUR OWN ADVENTURE ASSIST TRAVEL NOTEBOOK, TO KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING TO DO ON YOUR TRIP TO VENICE, HEAD ON OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE. 

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Pro Packing Tips

Let's start with the basics.

Packing is a skill that you get better at the more you travel but there is no denying that the way you pack can have a massive impact on your trip (positively or negatively). That being said, there tend to be two types of travelers -- those that pack light and those that wish they had.

So, how do you pack for a whole trip in just your suitcase or backpack? You may not want to hear this but the answer is actually pretty simple: pack very little. 

Don't think in terms of what could come in handy, think in terms of necessity. When in doubt, leave it out. 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. Although it may seem counterintuitive, you shouldn't pack for the worst case scenario. Pack for the best case scenario and handle any issues as they come up.

Furthermore, plan on doing laundry regularly during your travels. We promise, it is the better alternative to carrying more stuff. Whether you are traveling for a few weeks or a few months, you should pack the exact same amount. 

Now that we've covered the basics, Here are our tips for packing like a pro:

1. One bag, that's it

The importance of packing light can't be overstated. Carrying a lot of luggage identifies you as a typical tourist, moving around becomes a large-scale undertaking and pick pockets are drawn to your helplessness. By restricting yourself to only one bag, however, you are back in control. 

Sure, you can bring along a day pack or tote bag, but only one suitcase or backpack should be allowed. While we're at it, make sure it's within carry-on restrictions for the most economical and hassle free travel experience.  

2. Do some research

If you want to be comfortable, maximize your travel wardrobe, and/or blend in to your new destination, doing some research before packing is a must. Plan ahead for specific activities, expected weather, as well as any cultural norms that you should be conscious of. Most activities that impose a dress code will make sure that the dress code is clear, predictable weather conditions can easily be found by a quick Google search, and virtually any guidebook has important information on cultural norms to keep in mind. 

3. Make a packing list (you can use ours!)

When it comes to packing, start the process at least a few days before your departure so that you have enough time to put together a complete packing list and purchase any items that you still might need for your trip. Creating a packing list is the easiest way to ensure you're bringing everything you need (and nothing more!), and provides some nice peace of mind.

4. Packing aids

Packing cubes help keep items separate in your bag and make accessing a specific item easier and more efficient. Compression bags are great for saving space but keep in mind that they can make quickly accessing a specific item slightly more of a challenge.

5. Pack dual purpose clothing

Bring versatile clothing that you can wear in several different outfits or styles. Remember, if a clothing item can be worn in multiple ways, that is less that you'll need to pack. Bringing earth tones that can be worn together is usually a safe move and you can add style with accessories such as scarves or hats.

Packing for dual purposes is especially important with shoes. As the heaviest and bulkiest items to pack (typically), make sure you are maximizing the use of each pair you decide to bring. Bonus pro tip: rethink bringing bulky hiking boots in favor of running or cross training shoes that you may bring anyway.

6. Layer

Packing clothes that can be easily layered, adds versatility to your travel wardrobe and reduces the need to bring larger, bulkier items. By layering, it's easy to modify your outfit to match the style and comfort level that is fitting for a particular moment.

Packing for colder weather can present an even bigger challenge, but if you pack clothes that can be layered you will save tons of space and be better prepared for unexpected temperature changes. This is especially important for extended trips where you'll encounter varying climates and temperatures.

7. Roll, don't fold

To save space and protect against wrinkling, roll your clothes. This actually results in quite a bit of extra space and your clothes will be less prone to getting wrinkles and fold creases.

8. Fill out empty spaces

Pack smaller items in your shoes, a packed purse, or an unused pocket in your backpack. Rolling your clothes helps in this area too because those tightly rolled clothes can often fit in places where they couldn't if they were folded. The most important takeaway is to utilize the spaces that are often overlooked. 

 

TO GET YOUR OWN ADVENTURE ASSIST TRAVEL NOTEBOOK, EQUIPPED WITH a Packing section, HEAD ON OVER TO OUR SHOP PAGE. 

10 Reasons to Keep a Travel Journal

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1. You'll forget more than you might think

Let's face it, our memories aren't always great. In fact, sometimes we can forget some pretty amazing stuff. How old is the Colosseum in Rome? What was the name of that delicious sushi restaurant in Tokyo? What did you learn about yourself backpacking South America solo for 3 months? 

Considering all of the excitement around new experiences while traveling, it can often seem like a specific travel experience would be impossible to forget. However, we know that's not the case. You'll be so frustrated later when you're trying to remember those memories that you didn't write down.

2. It helps you better connect to your destination

Have you read any books about your destination? A travel journal is the perfect place to take notes. Heard a song you like by a famous musician from your destination? Write it down. Taken a tour of a monument and learned about its history? Take some time to write about your experience. 

Not only will you better remember this information, but you will feel more connected to your destination. We often travel because we like experiencing cultures different from our own to learn and grow. This is a great tool to do just that.

3. Store practical information

A travel journal is a great place to record all of the practical information that you want to remember -- the email address of that friendly backpacker at a hostel in India, the name of your favorite restaurant in Mexico City, or that artist that you discovered at the Louvre. 

You'll be glad you have all of this information to refer back to when you are returning to a travel destination or are giving advice out to fellow travelers.

4. Learn about yourself

Traveling can be a practice of self discovery. As you learn about your destination, you can now apply that perspective to your own life. What better medium to discover yourself than to write down your thoughts and emotions into a travel journal and get the most out of your new insights.

5. Creative Inspiration

Traveling often seems like a never-ending source of creative inspiration. Adding your own spin to your travel journal will not only make the practice more pleasurable, it will increase your connection to a location by adding your personal expressions. Drawings, lists, maps, recipes and even including postcards and ticket stubs are ways to liven up your entries for a dynamic view into your own unique travel experiences.

6. A place to call your own

Amid new places, people and cultures, its nice to have an outlet that is uniquely your own while traveling. By keeping a travel journal, you have a place to reflect on your very personal travel experiences and are able to express yourself within the comfortability of your own self expression. Often out of your comfort zone while traveling, its nice to have a place to call your very own. 

7. An outlet for travel stress

Sometimes travel is complex -- and stressful. On these occasions, your journal can be a lifeline of sorts. If feeling homesick, anxious or frustrated, writing about it in your travel journal can bring some relief and offers reflection into the situation. You will usually find that things aren't as bad as they had seemed and that you are just as brave and resilient as you have always been. 

8. It's a good use of time

Have a 4 hour layover? What about a 7 hour train ride? Eating lunch alone? A travel journal is a great use of time in these situations and more. Take advantage of the minor inconveniences that often accompany travel and use that time for creative expression, self-reflection or recording anything else that you'd like to remember.

9. Helping others when you get home

Ever had a friend ask for travel tips from a recent destination only to struggle to remember the specifics? Recording these practical details not only helps you get more out of your trip but it very well might help a friend get the most out of theirs.

10. It's a great keepsake

There's not much in life that can replace an old travel journal and its charming character from being worn out on the road. Your travel journal will serve as a tangible, and often beautiful, keepsake to look through and reminisce about your many adventures for years to come. 

 

To get Your Own Adventure Assist travel notebook, equipped with a large travel journal section, head on over to our SHOP page. 

Thank You!

 
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This past week was seriously awesome!! We're so happy to have YOU as part of our community as we work to achieve our goal of better connecting travelers to their destinations. Thank you for making our launch such a success!

We want to check out all of your adventures, so be sure to share photos of your Adventure Assist travel notebook in action and tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Here are some of our favorites so far: