The Travel Women - Empowering stories for women who love to travel
The Travel Women is a community for women by women to empower women to travel outside their comfort zone. We believe as travelers we have a responsibility to not take but give back to the environment and locals we visit.
Travel podcasts are one of the best mediums to consume while traveling and before and after trips to help you plan and process new travel experiences. As a podcaster I may be biased, but I love listening to podcasts by women, especially while on the go. All you need are your headphones to listen for inspiration and entertainment.
If you’re looking for new inspiration to tune into, here are the 11 best travel podcasts by women who have made it their mission to experience the world in an unconventional way. Subscribe to these podcasts to intensify your wanderlust.
I may be biased since this is my own podcast, but this is perfect for people looking to become digital nomads. I speak with inspiring individuals who ditched conventional lifestyles to become location independent. From early retirement, to backpacking single moms, my subjects share their passions and struggles to live and work anywhere.
She-Explores podcast shares stories of women who are inspired by the time they have spent in the great outdoors. They cover topics from solo hiking, camping, entrepreneurship, diversity and feminism as they intersect with the great outdoors.
Ever wondered how you can travel the world full-time on a budget? Listen to The Budget-Minded Traveler to get the best tips from host Jackie Nourse. This award-winning podcast is a great resource for planning your next budget friendly trip.
This podcast is created by Conde Nast Traveler and shares stories of over 100 women’s adventures. The hosts of the show are editors Lale Arikoglu and Meredith Carey are both well-traveled and share the realities of traveling as a woman today.
Hosted by Willow Belden, this award-winning podcast shares how we can heal and be inspired when we spend time outdoors. It’s a breath of fresh air and will help you get clarity as you navigate your way in the world.
Unmapped is a wonderful podcast hosted by Angelina Zeppieri, who takes her listeners on her journey around the globe. Angelina can relay her journey in an imaginative way that takes you out of your comfort zone and features a roster of guests – many are also well traveled women.
Interested in hiking and backpacking or just curious about unconventional travel? Then this podcast is perfect for you. Hosts Josh and Heather share their tips and tricks from packing to advice while you’re on the trail.
Listening to Laura Hughes will inspired to travel in new ways. Laura interviews women who share their experiences on what it’s like when the road becomes your home, while she herself lives in a Ford transit van.
The Lonely hour is hosted by Julia Bainbridge who leads discussions on loneliness, especially as a solo traveler. Julia has compiled amazing guests who talk about their experiences and how loneliness can affect different aspects of our relationships.
The most successful edits transport your viewer into a scene or a story, they are not noticeable or overly flashy. If you are new to editing, simple edits and quick cuts are best. The biggest video editing mistake beginner editors make is overediting, which can draw attention to the edits and pull your audience out of the story. Editing takes practice, so the best way to learn is by doing. It took me a year and editing over 100 videos to feel confident in my skills.
First, I need to say a few words about organizing your footage because this has been the biggest time-saver in my editing process. You must of course back up your footage in multiple places, but in addition to that you should have a system that makes it easy to find the footage you’re looking to edit later. Each year I make a recap video summarizing everything I shot that year into a few minutes. A year later when I want to find footage from a specific trip or date or location, my file naming system makes a huge difference. On my external hard drive I create a folder for every year, for example “2019” and then a folder for every month by number, for example “1 January” for January, “2 February” for February, and so on. Then, each day or collection of days is captured in the video name along with key words, for example “January_1_3_Washington_DC_arboredum_bonsai_tacos.” This way I can search a friend’s name or keyword and find the exact folder. You will learn that finding footage can take a long time without a labeling system.
Depending on what you shoot, you can further divide a folder into a subfolder for each camera, for drone shots, or to separate photos and videos. Labeling footage both chronologically and with tags that you will remember, such as the location, a friend you were shooting with, and what you shot, goes a long way. Now that you have the footage packaged and ready, let’s start editing, but not overediting.
1. Too many transitions: Beginner travel videos are often edited in free software that comes packed with cheesy transitions that look like an old version of PowerPoint. Unless you are in a library shooting a book, there is no reason to use the “page turn” transition. Beginners should avoid dramatic transitions as quick cuts can make up for inexperienced editing.
2. Fades: Too many amateur editors transition between scenes by using long fades in and out. I prefer quick cuts between clips and usually use fades only at the start and end of a video. There are a few times when a fade works in between clips, for example when you’re trying to evoke a memory or flashback. Over-using fades, especially long fades, can be a sign of an inexperienced editor.
3. Zoom Transitions used incorrectly: Do not use the zoom transition between two scenes that you wouldn’t normally zoom into. It makes sense if you go from a zoomed-out landscape shot or drone shot into a specific place seen in the center of that shot. It does not make sense when it is used to zoom between your face or a macro shot into a larger landscape. This can be great for establishing shots but should not be overdone. Zoom transitions should pretend to be an in-camera effect that are subtle and not flashy.
4. Music Volume: Many travel videos have a subject or host that you cannot clearly hear talking because the music is too loud. Beginner editors often get excited about music choice and are worried people won’t hear it. When someone is speaking it is important to lower the music volume so that it doesn’t overpower the scene and prevent your audience from hearing more important speaking or audio parts.
5. Editing to the Music: When a song has a very distinct beat and your footage does not correlate to the beat, it can feel jarring to the audience. If music is a dominant part of the video and there is no talking or voiceover, try to edit to the beat whenever you can and move at the pace of the music. If there is a dramatic base drop or crescendo make sure your footage matches the tone.
6. Color: Be aware of changes in light that might make the same subject appear to be different colors, especially if it is shot without being properly white-balanced. Overediting or color grading too much orange and blue can be very noticeable. A great way to color grade entire chunks of video at the same time is to add a LUT or Look up table, which is similar to a Lightroom photo preset. If you use a LUT on top of footage keep it at a low 25% opacity to avoid orange skin and unrealistically blue skies.
7. Time-lapse and Slow Motion: There is a rule to editing slow motion that beginner editors often do not know. For example, for video recorded at 60 fps you can only change the speed to 40% slower (command r). Additionally time-lapses work best with videos that are five minutes or longer, and that have a lot of movement, such as people walking or boats sailing.
8. Sensitive information: I need to say this because I’ve seen many YouTubers share too much personal information, such as the exact hotel room they’re staying in at the beginning of a long trip or opening mail with the address clearly visible. Think ahead when shooting and if you accidentally include personal information or an address in a shot, don’t forget to blur it out in editing.
9. Jump cuts: In editing we might cut out a section of a larger clip without realizing the subject or background jumps into a new position. Watch for continuity and have a second pair of eyes watch your video. If you must make a jump cut like this insert a cutaway of another angle or B-roll that can distract the audience from seeing the change caused by the jump cut.
10. Text: If you know nothing about fonts go with a simple san serif font like Calibri or Helvetica. In addition to picking the right fonts, you need to be cautious about text placement. For example, white text on yellow or light backgrounds can be hard to read. If I am shooting something that I know will have a lot of text on top, I purposefully include a dark area on the top or bottom so that I can overlay white text onto it.
11. Ending: Often editors start at the beginning and if you are on a deadline or tired by the time you get to the end, often the end drops off or doesn’t have a proper closing. This is even more noticeable if music ends abruptly in the middle of a song. To avoid this, I will add the end of a song to the end of a video and edit during a less noticeable place in the song, such as in the middle. Avoid bad endings by editing the beginning first, the end second, and then the middle or by preparing a YouTube end screen which can say subscribe and have a spot for two videos.
You’re now a few steps closer to editing like a pro, but keep in mind the most successful editors shoot video with editing in mind, so read my top 11 video shooting mistakes now. Which video mistakes surprised you most? Comment below!
Every beginner travel videographer makes a lot of video shooting mistakes their first year, from over-shooting, to not establishing a story and a shot list. Let me save you some time and money with these top 11 travel video shooting mistakes so you can get the right shot the first time and don’t have to reshoot.
Before I begin, I must state the obvious mistakes, starting with leaving your house unprepared. Always buy more than one battery and make sure that batteries are fully charged. Don’t leave for a trip thinking you will delete photos on the way; it is much easier to backup photos and clear your camera cards or SD chips before you get on a plane. Finally, don’t forget to pack your camera backpack with a light travel tripod and external mic. Ok, now that your gear is packed, let’s get into the real shooting mistakes:
1. Story: In the beginning you need a shot list. When I first started I was too obsessed with getting pretty, cinematic b-roll and I sometimes let that dominate instead of a story. To avoid this, you should plan your story and shot list ahead of time. If you know the purpose of why you are filming before you start and think through your story, it will go a long way. You need a beginning, middle (or arch or problem) and end (or solution). Once you have a general idea of your story, you can start planning a shot list, which is subject to change on the road, but knowing ahead of time you need 3 b-roll shots and 1 time-lapse at a specific location and an introduction talking to the camera scene will mean you won’t waste time getting the wrong shots and will make it easier to get the right shots to tell your story.
2. Moving too fast: Photographers are accustomed to shutter speeds compensating for quick got-to-get-the-shot movements, but video is less forgiving. It is hard to get used to shooting video, so you need to move slowly, like a sloth, especially when you first start. If you pan the camera handheld from one subject to another you need to do it a few times, focus on breathing and move slowly.
3. Always moving: To avoid motion blur and making a viewer sick due to the camera moving too quickly, try not moving at all. When you first start recording videos, just hold the camera steady for ten seconds for each shot. This will make your life easier when it comes to editing. The beginning and end of each video often has shake from pressing record, so if you hold for ten full seconds you’re almost guaranteed to have a few good seconds.
4. Time-lapse: One exciting way to capture a scene is through time-lapse. The most successful beginner time-lapses are done on a tripod. Once you’ve mastered the best framing and recording for longer periods – at least 5 minutes at a time on your tripod – you can graduate to walking time-lapses, but ONLY if you have a gimbal. One of the biggest mistakes I see new filmmakers make is holding a camera or a phone “steady” for a long time thinking they can speed it up for a cool time-lapse without a tripod, or even worse, some try to walk with a camera to record a time-lapse, but these walking time-lapses or hyper-lapses are most successful with a gimbal.
5. Sound: Avoid ambient noise and spend money on a good mic. It would also benefit you to listen to what you record with headphones to avoid reshooting. Do this to make sure it sounds good and that the mic is plugged in, turned on and working properly. I have recorded many talking segments only to realize later that the mic wasn’t on, didn’t work, or added a hum noise. Listen to your audio with headphones while you’re shooting in the field to avoid reshooting. If there is background noise or people talking behind you, angle yourself and your external mic away from people or noise that could be picked up easily by the mic.
6. Lighting: Soft lighting is key, avoid harsh light and harsh shadows when the sun is at its peak around noon. Do not shoot into the sun when a subject is backlit unless you are looking to capture a silhouette.
7. Angles: Cheap travel tripods are often not the right height. Make sure you fully extend tripod legs or put your tripod on something that gets it to eye-level. Avoid weird angles, such as shooting up someone’s nose or shooting from too high where you are looking down on a subject. This perspective should only be used when it helps tell a story about the subject’s importance or lack of importance, so make sure you are thoughtful about your camera and tripod angles.
8. Framing: Just like with photography, composition can completely transform an OK shot into a beautiful image. Frame your shot wisely to avoid busy backgrounds or boring white walls. When you are starting out, the easiest framing is to put your subject in the center of a symmetrical background. Once framing is mastered, you can experiment with putting people or subjects on the thirds.
9. Zoom: Some cameras or phones have digital zooms which make the shot look less crisp than an optical zoom. If your camera has a separate lens that goes from 12-60, for example, then you can zoom in 60mm without a problem. If you have a small point-and-shoot camera without an interchangeable lens, be careful with zoom buttons that go past an optical zoom into a digital zoom. Keep in mind, when you zoom into a scene handheld your already shaky footage gets shakier, so try to zoom on a tripod to steady your shot.
10. Timing: Starting a video too late and ending recording too early was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started, for example, cutting off the first word of a sentence or missing a big moment. Some cameras have a delayed reaction of a few seconds, so it is always better to add 5 seconds extra at the beginning and end of each clip, which you can edit out later.
11. Dirty lens or sensor: This might sound silly, but I have had so many great shots with specs of dust that ruined the entire clip for me. I cannot stress how important it is to buy a cheap microfiber lens cloth and keep it with you always. Now every time before I shoot, I make sure to wipe the lens clean with my lens cloth.
Which tips and mistakes do you think are the most important for beginner videographers?
NYC’s next coffee and dessert craze is here just in time for Valentine’s day and we’re obsessed with their 24K Gold and Pink glitter Lattes. This Valentine’s Day you can buy your flowers and a special treat at the same place! This is LROOM’s 24K gold latte, which consists of coffee, whole milk and edible glitter. There are a variety of glitter colors and a seasonal bling bling rose latte just in time for you to get for your Valentine.
Valentine’s Day NYC 24K Gold Lattes - YouTube
It is about $8 but the entire space is worth the experience. It can get crowded so get here early. Sue Ling started LROOM as an online flower boutique. For their first storefront, she wanted to expand into botanically-inspired pastries and beverages. Try the lavender Peach Ade filled with fruit and flowers.
Order the Honey Toast with fruit and ice cream covered in cotton candy or order the Wonderland Egg Waffle (pictured above).
Ask for the lemon dessert for a fun surprise. It might look like a lemon, but it is actually a white chocolate covered cake with a zesty core.
The Rose is also not a rose, but instead a four-layer mousse cake.
Each elaborate dessert takes 72 hours to make, so get here early. It can get crowded so if you don’t want to wait you can order select items to go.
Grand Central’s Campbell Apartment bar in NYC used to be a secret speakeasy that was much harder to find but now after renovations in 2017 they’ve added a new entrance and split the bar into three new bars. It is one of my favorite NYC institutions and fittingly has been named one of the “Best bars in America.” Next time you’re waiting for a train in Grand Central grab a drink at this historic NYC jewel. Fun fact: the bar was prominently featured in the Gossip Girl pilot episode!
Campbell Apartment, Grand Central: NYC Travel Guide - YouTube
This used to be the private office of the railroad executive and millionaire John Williams Campbell in 1923. In the world’s largest train terminal, this was the largest ground floor office at the time. Campbell hired Augustus N. Allen to design the space as a replica of a Florentine Palazzo, complete with a fireplace, piano, pipe organ and Roman Renaissance style ceiling. You can even see Campbell’s personal steel safe in the grand fireplace. The 25-foot tall hand-painted ceiling steals the show. Some believe the spacious apartment’s design, including the lotus flowers on the ceiling, was also inspired by Campbell’s Tomb or Chamber in Egypt.
John Campbell was born in Brooklyn, he never attended college but instead at 18 worked at his father’s firm until he worked his way up to be the president of the company. He was an important shareholder of New York Central Railroad stock. As a financier he should have had his office down on wall street, but rumor has it he was talking to his realtor saying he wanted something special in midtown and his realtor jokingly asked, “in Grand Central” and he said yes. As a friend of the Vanderbilts who built the Terminal, he was given this “apartment” as his office. He never lived in the apartment, but he and his wife used it to entertain parties.
After his death in 1957, the famous Persian carpet which would have been worth $3.5 million today and his other furnishings disappeared from his office. Rumor has it that the spirit of Campbell still haunts the space. Paranormal Investigations have noted paranormal sightings in the venue and some staff have mentioned weird incidents like cold air, taps from behind with no one there and organ sounds and doors shutting.
Paris DuRante, the famous bartender who has worked here for a few decades, you know the guy with the beautiful mustache – told me he doesn’t believe in ghosts and says he often works here late at night and has never seen the ghost.
Before the space became a bar in 1999, it was a Police office with cubicles for the MTA police department. The space even served as a jail, the wine cellar was a cell for prisoners! Prisoners took their mugshots at the fireplace. They even stored their guns in this beautiful curio cabinet.
The latest renovations have transformed the Campbell Apartment now into a complex of bars called simply the Campbell. The three bars are the Campbell bar, the Campbell Palm Court and the Campbell Terrace, an outdoor covered veranda and bar. Now there will be no more dress code. It now opens earlier at noon and offers lunch of salads or sandwiches and even lobster avocado toast. You can now make reservations not just for large groups but also for two or more. I highly recommend making reservations a few weeks ahead of time as the space get booked up quickly.
Come here at 12 noon when it first opens for the best light and least crowds. Late at night it can get packed. Cocktails can be pricey at about $20 but they are worth it! Cocktails include classics like the Negroni, Manhattan and the old-fashioned as well as newer variations. I love the Stackhouse Sour with bourbon, egg whites and lemon juice.
Winter is full of fun things to do especially around the holidays, so what do you do in February in NYC, the second coldest month of the year after January? Instead of hibernating all 28 days of this short month, why not celebrate one of the many fun holidays, go to one of these unique events or get discounted Broadway Show tickets? If you’re visiting NYC in February or looking for an excuse to get out of your apartment in February, look no further than this list and video overview of the best 11 things to do in February:
February NYC Guide: 11 Best Things To Do - YouTube
1. National Pizza Day: There is no better holiday to celebrate most New Yorker’s favorite meal than National Pizza Day. Wherever you decide to celebrate, uptown or downtown, with a classic Neapolitan or a dollar slice, you will not regret this warm slice of heaven on a cold February day.
2. Chinese Lunar New Year Parade and Festival: There are a number of ways to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year from ordering Chinese food to setting off firecrackers! New York City has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia, according to NYC.gov. February 5, 2019 kicks off the Chinese New Year on the lunar calendar. The noisy Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival is a day full of performances in Manhattan’s Chinatown at Roosevelt Park. The fireworks are set off to ward evil spirits. Get there at least an hour early and wear layers. On February 17, 2019 Chinatown will celebrate the year of the pig with vibrant dragons, dancers and music during their annual parade. If you decide for a quieter celebration by enjoying Chinese food, call ahead because many Chinatown restaurants are closed on New Year’s Day. More here.
3. Black History Month: The Apollo is celebrating their 85th Anniversary and Black History Month with their annual Open House on February 2, artists and thought leaders will explore the venue’s cultural legacy through dance, music, storytelling and film.
Tour: Take a tour of a NYC park like Seneca Village in the UWS, which was an important community of property owners or Flushing Freedom Mile home to a passageway of the Underground Railroad.
Brooklyn Historical Museum: See an exhibit or talk at the Brooklyn Historical Society like the exhibit “Brooklyn Abolitionists / In Pursuit of Freedom” or listen to “Black-Owned Businesses: A History of Enterprise and Community in Brooklyn.”
Brooklyn Museum: See “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the Brooklyn Museum which focuses on art from black artists in response to the time in history between 1963 and 1983.
Studio Museum: The Studio Museum in Harlem focuses on artists of African descent who are local, national and internationally inspired by black culture. They have over 2,600 permanent works of art and have an amazing Artist-in-Residence program to serve three emerging artists of African and Latin American descent.
History: In 1926, Dr. Carter G Woodson founded a week celebration of the often-neglected accomplishments of African Americans in history books. In 1976, the week was extended to the full month of February, including the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States and issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring all slaves within the Confederacy would be permanently free. Frederick Douglass escaped slavery at age 21 to become an influential writer, civil activist and later the Minister of Haiti.
4. Super bowl: NYC is full of sports bars, parties and tailgating foodie fantasies perfect to celebrate game day. Whether you’re watching for the sports or for the commercials, get ready to eat and party on February 3, 2019. Four top spots to eat – I mean – watch the game are:
1. Treadwell Park’s three locations have special menu deals.
2. Empellón al Pastor for their hour and a half $45-per-person unlimited tacos, margaritas and beers.
3. Industry Kitchen downtown where you can order a two-foot Touchdown Pizza complete with pigs in a blanket crust and topped with guacamole and chips and buffalo fried chicken.
4. Nitehawk Cinema where you can see it on the big screen including commercials.
5. NYFW: With or without show tickets, here are a few ways to feel fabulous during this week of fashion! From February 8 to February 16, you can enjoy fun people watching outside Lincoln Center or Spring Studios. There are even some shows open to the public for as low as $10 here.
6. Valentine’s Day: Celebrate Galentines Day on February 13th with friends or on Valentines Day, February 14th, have a romantic night out at a restaurant. You can even watch couples surprise proposals or marriage vow renewals on the red steps at Duffy Square at the event that is known as “Love in Times Square.”
7. Hot Chocolate Festival: One of my favorite ways to stay warm in the winter months is with a rich hot chocolate and City Bakery’s Hot Chocolate Festival! Every February they spice things up with a new flavor daily in February complete with some specialty homemade marshmallows.
8. Restaurant week: This semiannual Restaurant Week is your ticket to dine in style at New York’s best restaurants for not just one, but three weeks. About 400 restaurants participate offering $26 two-course lunches or $42 three-course dinners. Make reservations early as the schedule opens about a month ahead of time
9. Broadway Discount Week 2 for 1 deals: While foodies can enjoy Restaurant Week, show lovers can buy two tickets for the price of one to many of the best Broadway shows during the semiannual Broadway Week. During this low season in January/February cheap Broadway tickets can be purchased about two weeks ahead of time, but book your tickets early to see your top choices.
10. Off-Broadway Week Deals: If Broadway Week’s tickets are sold out or too expensive, only a few weeks later you can try to snag a ticket to an Off-Broadway Week special.
11. Orchid Show: The 17th annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens opens on Feb 23rd exhibiting thousands of different orchid species through April. 2019’s theme is inspired by Singapore, the “City in a Garden” and takes cues from Singapore’s Supertrees and Arches.
February might be one of the coolest months of the year, but it can still be a COOL and affordable time to see a show, grab a slice of pizza or see some historic exhibits. For more top things to do year-round read our NYC guide here. Comment below your favorite activity in February and if you want to see more guides like this!
Times Square is known for its tourist traps and overpriced chain restaurants, but before you dismiss it, try one of these delicious places to eat first! From the best Italian to Mexican to Filipino this list includes options for every budget, here are the best seven restaurants in Times Square with a custom video tour:
Best Places to Eat in Times Square From a Local - YouTube
1. Carmines: This family-style restaurant serving Southern Italian cuisine is well worth the wait. Carmine’s saying is, “like a Sunday afternoon at Grandma’s” and it feels that way! Order platters of antipasto, pasta, seafood or meat dishes topped off with a dessert.
Best Tacos in NYC and Secret Menu - YouTube
2. Los Tacos No. 1: For truly amazing tacos look no further than Los Tacos No. 1. Many Mexican or Californian visitors are doubtful they will find “real” tacos in this big city, but this is the absolute closest it gets in NYC. Three Mexican and Southern Californian friends founded this restaurant to bring authentic tacos to the East Coast. It feels like a roadside stand with no seating, only counters to eat your food. The Times Square location is their second outpost; the first location was a slightly smaller counter in Chelsea Market. My favorite tacos are carne asada (beef) and adobada (pork with pineapple) tacos. There are also pollo (chicken) and nopal (cactus -vegetarian) tacos. When they ask if you want corn or flour tortillas, the answer is always corn. They flatten these tortillas right in front of you. The guacamole sauce comes on every single taco, without charging you extra! These tacos are very affordable for a New York City meal ranging from $3.25 to $3.75 per taco. There’s even a secret menu with a taco shell made entirely out of cheese. To drink you can enjoy a Mexican soda, which is sweeter, or fresh jugos (juice) like the horchata, jamaica or tamarindo.
NEW Jollibee Times Square NYC: First Time Trying Local Filipino Fast Food - YouTube
3. Jollibee: Jollibee is a Filipino fast food chain with a cult-like following. It all started in 1975 in Cubao as a Magnolia Ice Cream Parlor. The first Jollibee store in the USA was opened in 1998 in Daly City California to serve Filipino and Filipino-American families in the area. It is well-loved because it embodies a familiar feeling of home. There are now 34 locations in the USA, mostly in California. The first Jollibee on the East Coast was opened in Woodside, AKA Little Manilla, Queens. This Times Square opening is the first open in Manhattan.
Little Manila New York Best Desserts and Halo Halo with a Local Filipino - YouTube
What should you order? Jollibee is well known for its Chickenjoy and gravy, which is fried chicken that’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. You can order a Chickenjoy drumstick with the Jolly Spaghetti, soft pasta with uniquely sweet Filipino style tomato sauce and cut up red hotdogs, topped with cheddar cheese! One of their most popular sweet desserts, which is like a Filipino milkshake, not yet available on the limited menu at the new Times Square location is the halo halo. For dessert you must order their famous fried Peach Mango Pie, which is all the right amount of flakey and sweet.
Jollibee’s new Times Square location opened on October 27, 2018 at 609 Eight Ave between West 39th and 40th streets. When it first opened the first 40 customers received free Chickenjoy for a year!
4. Ellen’s Stardust Diner: Before you dismiss this “Home of the Singing Waitstaff” diner as too touristy, just try to not sing along! This is a family-friendly #onlyinNewYork kind of diner. Get there early to beat the line but be rewarded once inside you can enjoy food and show by the singing staff. A few steps from Broadway, future stars practice here before they make it to the Broadway stage. They also collect donations (separate from the tip) to only to be used for acting or singing lessons.
5. Bibble and Sip: Great coffee is hard to find in Times Square so look no further than this family run business. Sip a gourmet coffee, espresso or specialty lattes include matcha jasmine and lavender. Baked in house favorites include cream puffs and the alpaca bar, which includes apple, caramel, golden raisins, chocolate chunks and strusel.
6. Junior’s Cheesecake: If you still have room after the delicious reuben sandwich, you must try their specialty, the best New York style cheesecake. Junior’s started in 1950 in Brooklyn and now has expanded to include this new large location in Times Square. You can even get a slice of cheesecake on top of a milkshake!
Lidia's Kitchen: Unlimited Pasta Behind the Scenes at Becco with Brett Conti NYC Vlog - YouTube
7. Becco: Located just steps away from some of the top Broadway theaters, Becco is a Lidia Bastianich restaurant. Becco means “to nibble or savor something” in Italian. You must come here hungry and you must order the unique unlimited pasta deal. Unlimited pasta means you can continuously add pasta to your plate from the waiters’ hot skillets. There are three different specialty pastas daily, including a vegetarian pasta. This is the best way to try different pastas!
Which restaurant are you most excited to try in Times Square? Comment below!
If you dream about travel as much as I do and want constant wanderlust inspiration all around you, then read on for the ultimate travel themed bedroom décor you didn’t know you needed. In addition to your souvenir postcards you will most likely want a scratch off map for planning, a suitcase-style shelf, travel-friendly laundry bag and fairy lights for your constantly growing photograph collection! The most important bedroom centerpiece of course that I like to come home to is a comfortable mattress, like this soft and supportive hybrid memory foam and coil mattress, save $150 off the Yaasa mattress with the code TheTravelWomen, thank you to YAASA for sponsoring this blog post. Here are my top 11 travel-themed bedroom décor must-haves:
1. Scratch-Off Map: If you love checking off countries on your bucket list, you’ll love this colorful inspirational map for your bedroom wall. The more you travel, the more you can scratch off and reveal a colorful world under this classy white and gold map. SEE PRICE
2. Stars Bed Set: Get your head out of the clouds and into the stars by laying down on this dreamy duvet zipper cover for your comforter and two pillow case sheet set. SEE PRICE
3. Mova Globe: This globe is not electric but magically it still turns on its axis powered by any light around it. It comes in a variety of colors and styles like this vintage map design. It’s a fun accessory for any desk, table or nightstand. SEE PRICE
4. Trunk Nightstand: Travel back in time to an era of trunk travels with this chic trunk end table or bedroom nightstand in a natural fir wood with decorative metal accents and storage inside. SEE PRICE
5. Vintage Suitcase Shelves: Not sure where to put those cute souvenirs or chotskies from your latest trip abroad? Now you can put them on your travel-themed floating shelves. Whether you purchase one or the set of three, these shelves are made to look like vintage suitcases with cute brass style buckles and handles. SEE PRICE
6. Map Laundry Bag: This is a great laundry bag for home or abroad. This travel-friendly laundry bag folds up into its built-in pouch for easy on-the-go convenience. SEE PRICE
7. Map Shade: For the same old lamp with the broken lamp shade, add a new subtle travel shade like this one with planes whirling around in navy blue. SEE PRICE
8. Compass Clock: Make a statement with this oversized 32” metal wall clock with a compass rose star in the center. SEE PRICE
9. Dresser Knobs: Replace simple dresser knobs with this set of 6 or 8 vintage old world map patterned cabinet knobs. SEE PRICE
11. Photo Clip String Light Set: For the photographer who takes more photos than they can frame, print out small photos or instant polaroids from your travels and hang them in your bedroom with this convenient wall decoration set of 50 LED lights string complete with clear clothes hanger style clips. SEE PRICE
Which one is your favorite or what travel-themed décor is missing from this list? Comment below!
When I first started traveling, I was annoyed by all the ATM fees. My bank would charge me a fee, and the ATM I used would also charge me a fee. Nowadays, ATMs that don’t charge fees are a rare and extinct breed like the saber-tooth tiger. (The banks in Argentina currently charge you $10 per transaction!)
An expat friend in Singapore told me about Charles Schwab’s free High Yield Investor Checking Account, which has unlimited refunds for all ATM fees charged by other banks! The account also doesn’t have any minimum balance or direct deposit requirements. There’s also no foreign transaction fees. (This is a one to three percent fee charged by many banks and credit cards to convert the currency for purchases made overseas.) Last month, they refunded $37 in ATM fees!
Only use credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, which includes all Capital One cards, most airline cards and Chase Sapphire cards. I also pay off my credit cards monthly so I never pay interest. For more on travel banking, read my Travel Banking 101 post.
Monument Valley, USA
2. Rail Passes
England, mainland Europe, Australia and Japan have great rail pass options for travelers and students. Check prices of individual tickets to see if it’s worth it for your planned route. Plan in advance because many rail passes have to be purchased before you leave your home country. Students receive a significant discount on passes so take advantage! For example, the seven-day Japan Rail Pass costs roughly $342 USD for unlimited train travel while a one-way ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto on a bullet train will cost you over $100 USD, read more about Japan Rail Pass here.
Khardung La, India
3. Pay in Local Currency
Many shops and restaurants will give you the option to pay by credit card in the local currency or your home currency (or USD), but the rate is at least five percent higher! (Trust me, I did the math!) Always pay in local currency in places that give you the option to do both. Download the free XE currency exchange app first to check current rates. Make sure you are using a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees like I mentioned above.
Booking.com will give you a $25 credit on your credit card for each friend you refer to the website that makes a $50 or higher booking. Your friend gets the same bonus. I’ve referred several of my friends on my current trip! Airbnb has a similar program that gives new users a $40 credit off their first booking and gives you a $20 credit. Rewards programs like Marriott’s will give you up to 50,000 bonus points for referring friends. Most apps and many websites will give you this option so make the post of referrals.
5. Night Buses and Trains
Night buses and trains are my favorite form of transport. For long journeys, both help save time and accommodation costs. Most overnight trains include options for beds. The sleeper trains in Thailand, Spain, and India are pretty comfy and affordable. Plus, you don’t waste a day traveling. Aside from specific areas of Central and South America, night transportation is extremely safe. Even in those locations, it’s safe and cost effective if you travel with private, reputable companies.
A long exposure of Havasu Falls at sunrise, Havasupai, Arizona
6. Stay with Friends or Friends of Friends
The more you travel, the more your traveling network expands. Your friends also have friends. Ask around before your trip or put a post on Facebook to see if anyone is in your destination.
I am eternally grateful for all the people who have let me crash on their couches. They’ve been an essential part of my traveling experience. I recently took a two-week Amtrak trip through the East Coast and stayed with friends the entire trip except one night in Vermont. When I moved to Australia, I emailed a lady I met at a wedding about grabbing lunch after I got to Sydney. Without me even asking, she offered to let me stay with her family until I found a place to live. The kindness of others is astounding.
Most people will offer you a place to stay instantly. If I ask, I always make a point to say, “If that’s not a convenient time, then I completely understand.” That gives them the option to be honest if the timing is not good, and there are no hard feelings. I always make a point of leaving handmade cards for people who let me crash at their place. Or I buy them beer/wine and add them to my postcard list.
KLOOK is my new favorite app! It lets you buy discount tickets to attractions in advance. The process is seamless. You buy online and pick up at the designated KLOOK counter at the venue. I saved $10 for my Gardens by the Bay entrance fee in Singapore and $30 for a roundtrip ticket in Hong Kong for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride to the Tian Tan Buddha. The app covers attractions across the world in many major cities.
White Sands New Mexico
8. House Sit
I am the official house/pet sitter for Austin, Texas. Handsome chatty parrots that say “What’s for breakfast?”, fluffy cats named Adam, and overly energetic dogs are my specialty. My roommate’s lease ended a few months before I left for my 2014 Latin America trip. Conveniently, several friends needed house/pet sitters while I was homeless. It was a win-win situation for everyone.
It’s a good way to save on rent before your travels and find free accommodation on the road. One of my friends spent several months house sitting when she moved to Australia. Make sure you leave the house better than you found it!
Look for accommodation that includes free breakfast. Be sure to inquire about the type of free breakfast. I just emailed two accommodation options in Medellin, Colombia, asking what they offer for breakfast. The one with the best breakfast gets my business. Check reviews—if the breakfast is bad, it will be noted
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
10. Loyalty Programs
For every 10 nights you book on Hotels.com, you get one free. Sign up for hotel specific loyalty programs as well that offer free upgrades, Wi-Fi, and other deals. Hotels.com and Hotwire.com both give you discounts for signing up for their free loyalty program. Booking.com offers a discount of 10 percent on select properties if you book five stays in less than two years. (I used this a lot in South America for all types of accommodation.)
Bon Mai village, Thailand
11. Take Advantage of Work Travel
If your job is sending you to a conference in NYC, tack on a few extra days in the city for vacation or take the train up to Boston. I ran photo trips in Asia every summer for five years, and my flights were covered by my job. Each summer, I would have them fly me into different cities so I could visit friends. I did the same thing for work trips to California for another job. Find a way to sneak in a short vacation into all your work travel to save on transport costs. Always collect frequent flyer miles and hotel points for any work travel. If you travel frequently, this can really add up. I have friends who pay for all of their hotel nights for their family vacations with Hilton points they earned through work travel!
For more travel tips and ways to save for travel, check out Anna’s Mazurek new book, Good With Money, which is available on Amazon and follow her travels at TravelLikeAnna.com.