Slight North was started to chronicle my travels around the world. Slight North is a resource for anyone who wants to quit the nine-to-five and see the world. Travels as a digital nomad through South America and beyond.
Day trips from Istanbul to the Prince Islands are super easy. I just visited and had an awesome time escaping from Istanbul’s constant crowds and recharging in nature for a day.
If you want to slow down and enjoy some time in the great outdoors, this guide will cover absolutely everything you need to know to visit the Prince Islands!
If you know this first it’ll help the planning process go smoothly.
First, the Prince Islands are also called the Adalar Islands. There are nine Prince Islands but most people only visit the four largest. The biggest, Büyükada, is also the most popular and the furthest away. The second largest, Heybeliada, is the second most popular stop. The third and fourth islands are called Burgaz and Kinaliada.
Also, if you want to visit the Prince Islands in the winter and Google “Visit the Prince Islands in Winter” (like I did) you’ll see an article saying that the ferry doesn’t run in the winter anymore. That’s only talking about one specific line though – you can still take the two below any time of year.
We visited in February and had a fantastic time. You’ll spend a lot of time outdoors, though, so just make sure you plan your trip on a sunny day.
Ferry Ride to Prince Islands - YouTube
How to Get to the Prince Islands
Obviously this is the most important information that you need to know. You can take two different ferries to get to the Prince Islands. We ended up trying them both, so I’ll share all the details below.
Sehir Hatlari Ferry
The first option is the ferry line run by Sehir Hatlari. On the plus side, you can pay for this with your IstanbulKart (metro card) and the ride only costs 5.20 lira / 1 usd. If you don’t have the card the price goes up just a bit to 7 lira / 1.30 usd per person.
The most frequent route runs from Eminönü (near Sultanahmet) to Kadikoy (on the Asian side of the city) to the Islands. It stops at each of the four main islands so you can get off at whichever one you please. The largest and most popular island, Büyükada, is last (although a few ferries go even further to a port called Bostanci).
The second option is the the Dentur Avrasya Ferry. We actually went out on this ferry and returned with Sehir Hatlari.
The Dentur Avrasya ferry runs less often than the Sehir Hatlari ferry, but it’s also faster and only takes an hour and ten minutes instead of 1:45. Th trip costs 10 lira / 2 usd each way.
Keep in mind that this ferry only stops at the two largest islands – Heybeliada and Büyükada – so if you want to go to the smaller ones instead the other ferry will probably be more convenient.
The Dentur Avrasya ferry leaves from the Kabataş port and the Beşiktaş port (both on the European side of Istanbul) and you can see the full timetable here.
How much does a day trip to the Prince Islands cost?
Honestly, this is a pretty damn budget-friendly day.
The transport cost to and from the islands is crazy low. If you take the Sehir Hatlari ferry, you’ll only pay 10.40 lira / 2 usd for the round trip.
Once you’re on Büyükada the best activity – hiking to the view point – is free. So, if you’re on a super budget, pack a lunch for this and you can honestly enjoy your day for practically nothing.
What to Do in the Prince Islands
Eat and hike.
We grabbed some borek from a bakery when we got off the boat and wandered through the small downtown area. It was quite cute and lively even in February.
Then, we took a super long walk up to the view point at the Aya Yorgi Church. You can walk around the island or up over the top of it through the large park. In the park, there’s a massive abandoned orphanage that’s kind of creepy and interesting to visit as well. If you opt for this route, it’ll take about 45 minutes to walk 3.5 km from the ferry port to the view point.
Although there are tons of bike rentals on Büyükada I really advise against it. The island is super hilly and every one who I saw riding the bikes looked like they definitely had some regrets.
After you walk about halfway to the church you’ll come to a parking lot with some shops and market stalls and the Lunapark restaurant. Here, the hill gets super steep and you have a 30ish minute climb to the top. It’s definitely too steep for a bike and even the horse and carriages refuse to take customers to the top. If you want to enjoy the view, you have to work for it.
It’s tough, but it’s worth the effort.
The tiny church on top of the hill is nice but it’s the view that is truly spectacular. The main view point looks out over the right side of the island but I actually prefer the view to the left. There’s a bunch of trees and paths so you can find a private rock and spread out a picnic in the shade.
In the summer there are some beach clubs scattered across the islands as well. If you’re a museum person, check out the Adalar museum on Büyükada to learn more about the culture and history of the islands. Whatever you do, it’s honestly just nice to breath the fresh air and spend some time in nature for a day!
I thought the food on the Prince Islands would be expensive ’cause it’s a tourist hotspot but it definitely wasn’t. We had a meatball platter, gilled sea bass, hummus, bread, and two waters and the whole meal only set us back 70 lira / 13 usd. Plus, it was all flavorful and fresh – so perfect after our exhausting walk across the island and back.
Where to Stay
Like I said the Prince Islands are so close to Istanbul that you can definitely explore them on a day trip. But, there were some really cute hotels there so in the summer I think it would make for a great weekend escape.
I picture walking around the island, eating ice cream, floating in the hotel pools and then watching the sun set on a private balcony. Pretty romantic, right?
Visiting the Other Islands & Returning to Istanbul
Dan and I only visited Büyükada but all the islands are very close to each other the ferry ride between them is only 10 to 20 minutes each.
Use the two timetables linked above to plan your visits to the other and your return trip to Istanbul. The Dentur Avrasya ferry only stops at Heybeliada on the way back to Istanbul but the Sehir Hatlari ferry stops at Burgaz and Kinaliada as well.
The ferry schedules change based on the day and season so double and triple check that you’re looking at the right one and know when the last ferry is departing!
Enjoy your day trip to the Prince Islands
I hope this guide helps you plan the perfect day or weekend trip to the Prince Islands.
If the weather is nice they’re definitely worth visiting, even in the winter. It’s just so nice to escape the crowds and stretch your legs and breath some fresh sea air on Büyükada Island. If you’re feeling extra energetic, visit Heybeliada as well or all four of the main islands!
The ferry is super cheap and easy to navigate and all the food we had in Büyükada was fantastic – honestly, there are no downsides to this day trip. Check out the Prince Islands while you’re in Istanbul for a low-key and relaxing experience and I’m sure you will enjoy it.
To say Istanbul is massive would be an understatement.
The city is spread across two continents and has more than 15 million people. There are tons of unique neighborhoods to explore, but it can be hard to decide exactly which neighborhoods to visit in Istanbul during your stay.
This brief guide will cover some of my favorite neighborhoods to visit in Istanbul and share some tips on what to do, eat, and drink when you go!
Taksim is located in the larger neighborhood of Beyoğlu. This area is most well known for Istiklal Street, a 1.4 km long (mostly) pedestrian avenue lined with shops and restaurants. There are also plenty of bars and clubs around it for anyone looking for a late night.
Istiklal Street is always, always, always, crowded. While it’s worth seeing, I prefer to escape to the cozier side streets that wind around it. When you visit Taksim, don’t miss the rice, beans, and meat at the simple yet oh-so-delicious Tarihi Kalkanoglu Pilavcisi restaurant.
Galata is also located within Beyoğlu, so combine this neighborhood with Taksim when you visit. If you keep following Istiklal Street away from Taksim Square, it will turn to cobblestones and start winding downhill. Congrats, you’re in the Galata neighborhood!
Galata is much more artsy and hip than Taksim and more photogenic as well. It’s the best place to buy souvenirs not because of the prices, but because of all the unique, pretty, things here that you just won’t find anywhere else. I also recommend climbing the Galata Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city and satisfying your sweet tooth with the phenomenal desserts at Sirin Firin Bakery.
Keep walking downhill through the Galata neighborhood and you will find yourself in Karaköy. This up-and-coming neighborhood branches out to the left of the Galata Bridge and is known for its hipster vibe and nightlife.
The best time to come is after dark for a drink at the lively bars. Personally, I like smoking the shisha at Insta and grabbing a 15 lira / 3 usd fish wrap at Balık Dürüm, a tiny shop with limited seating. Karakoy Gulluoglu also has some of the most famous baklava in Istanbul (the chocolate is a personal fav), so make sure you stop in to grab some before heading home for the night!
My tip: Karaköy in Beyoğlu as well, so you can easily combine it with Taksim and Galata to visit all three in one evening.
Beşiktaş is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Istanbul. It’s a bit upscale but still affordable. The pretty streets are lined with restaurants and cafes and its the kind of place where you’ll find craft beer and trivia and board game bars.
Though the craft beer scene isn’t quite established yet in Istanbul, you can find one or two Turkish brews at the rowdy BeerHall or in a more relaxed setting at the year-round beer garden in Craft Beer Lab.
This waterfront neighborhood is best seen in the sun. There’s not a ton to actually do here but eat, drink, and walk along the water. It’s really pleasant though and has beautiful views of the Bosporus and the bridge that crosses it.
I also ate a phenomenal breakfast at a restaurant that Anthony Bourdain visited on No Reservations. Simply sit down at Rumeli Kale Cafe and Restaurant – Merkez and they’ll bring you everything you need. There’s also a massive fortress you can visit for 15 lira / 3 usd but… really, the food and views are highlights here.
Daniel and I walked the 3.6 miles from from Bebek to Ortaköy because it’s mostly along the water. Combining the two neighborhoods into one Sunday day trip is pleasant if you don’t mind getting some exercise.
Ortaköy is super lively and has a whole street dedicated to selling kumpir – massive baked potatoes with every topping you can imagine. Grab one, browse the market stalls on the crowded streets, and then stop in to see the pretty Ortaköy Mosque before continuing on your way.
Kadıköy is on the Asian side of the city and definitely worth visiting for a few hours. First of all, the ferry ride is gorgeous, especially if you take it at sunset. Even better, the ferry is part of the metro system so only costs 3 lira / .50 usd!
Once you arrive in Kadıköy you’ll see a much less touristy (but still super crowded) side of Istanbul. Walk up from the pier to the Moda neighborhood and eat dinner at Ciya Sofrasi. The restaurant was featured on Chef’s Table and the traditional Turkish food absolutely lives up to the hype.
Sultanahmet is the most popular neighborhood to visit in Istanbul. It’s the center of tourism with the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cisterns, Topkapi Palace and all the other must-see historical sites of the city. Plan to spend about two days here because there is a lot to do.
Last but not least on my list of neighborhoods to visit in Istanbul is Eminönü. It’s near Sultanahmet so you can walk here (if you still have the energy).
In Eminönü the major sites are definitely the Süleymaniye Mosque and the Spice Bazaar. Afterward, walk down to the Galata Bridge for pretty views across the water and famous fish sandwiches that you can buy directly from the boats – just follow the crowds and they’ll lead you to the right place.
There are so many unique neighborhoods to visit in Istanbul!
This article covers some of my favorites, but the city has plenty of amazing spots to uncover. Use this list to get started and discover all that Istanbul has to offer during your stay.
Standard Luggage Co. gifted me this bag in return for a review, but all opinions are my own.
Honestly, I thought I was done updating my travel gear.
I had a set up I loved and wasn’t looking for anything new when Ryan reached out to me about the Standard Luggage Co. carry on backpack. However, it looked so different from everything else out there I agreed to try it – and I’m so glad I did.
I liked this carry on backpack so much that I’m now permanently adding it to my travel gear set.
I live on the road and travel full-time so that’s a truly rare occurrence, but this bag really impressed me. Watch the video below for a on overview of the bag and then keep reading to see why I love it!
Standard Luggage Co. Carry On Backpack Review - YouTube
Color: Black Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches when zipped and 21.5 x 13.5 x 9.5 inches when expanded Volume: 35L zipped and 45L when expanded Cost: $179 Carry with: two handles, backpack straps, or shoulder strap Extras: luggage tag, two sets of accent colors, shoulder strap, hip support straps, and a rain cover.
What I Loved
Where to begin? There’s a lot to like about this travel bag but I’m going to break down my favorites below.
First things first, I was impressed by how quickly the bag arrived.
Ryan put in my order on December 18th and it arrived at my house on the 22nd. During the holiday rush, things usually take forever to arrive so I was very surprised to find it on my doorstep so quickly.
Lots of Pockets
This bag has pockets for days. Most people only think about clothes when packing but there are so many other necessities to bring (and a lot of them are small and easy to lose). With this carry on I can put the essentials – passport, wallet, phone, headphones – in the front outer pocket for easy access while traveling.
In the lower outer pocket, I stash stuff I might want to grab while in transit, like my portable charger and my kindle. In the inner pockets, I packed toiletries and medicine in one and jewelry in the other. There’s also a small flat compartment that was the perfect fit to tuck away my empty day pack.
By the time I was ready to actually fill my bag, I felt like I almost had nothing left! Still, I threw in my coat, a complete change of clothes, my makeup bag, a book, lots of snacks, my Panda Planner, and more, and I still had room to spare.
Unpacking is so much easier when everything is already neatly organized. Anyone who travels often knows that pockets are everything, and this bag gets two thumbs up in that department.
Separate Computer Bag
There’s yet another separate pocket on the back that has a heavily padded computer bag.
When I went through security at the airport it was so convenient to pull my laptop out of its separate space instead of digging through my whole bag. Plus, the computer bag is removable so you can use it in your day to day life as well.
The computer bag also a pocket for your charger and I found two more in the back compartment. Like I said, pockets. for. days.
The Backpack Straps
I would never, ever, ever even consider a bag without backpack straps. I traveled with a duffel bag one time and I swore I would never do it again. With the Standard Luggage Co. carry on backpack straps, I can throw that bad boy on my back where it belongs.
The Thoughtful Extras
I kind of covered this elsewhere but I just want to put it all in one place. When you buy the Standard Luggage Co. carry on backpack you also get:
Accent colors (orange and teal) for the handles and zippers
Hip support straps
I mean… what’s not to like about that?!
The Water Bottle Holder
I’ve never actually seen a water bottle holder like this but it’s a genius idea. Basically, the outer water bottle pocket zips open and closed to accommodate small or large bottles. If you’re one of those people who likes to carry around a massive bottle, you’ll finally have a bag that can fit it.
Everything in the world has its pros and cons and this bag is no exception. While there’s plenty of things to like about it I always keep my reviews honest. Here are some things you should know before you buy it.
The lifetime warranty isn’t what it sounds like.
On their website, Standard Luggage Co. advertises that the bag is covered by a lifetime warranty. When I clicked “read more” I found that it’s not really as great as it sounds.
The company states that “We offer a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee against any defects in materials or worksmanship. Our warranty does not cover damage caused by negligence, extreme use, improper care, accidents, or the natural breakdown of materials over time.”
I guess this limited warranty is better than none at all, but it’s important to have realistic expectations about what they cover and what they don’t. Though two of my zipper accents did come off, the bag seems pretty sturdy so hopefully I’ll never have to use it!
It’s too big for budget airlines.
The Standard Luggage Co. carry on backpack is great but it’s too big for a budget airline. Because of that, I still brought along a small daypack for weekend trips from our base cities. I’m also not about to climb a mountain or go on a hike with this carry on bag on my back – it’s just not built for that purpose – so the extra daypack is necessary for my outdoor activities as well.
Final Thoughts on the Standard Luggage Co. Carry On Backpack
I just started my third year of full-time travel. As time passes, I find my packing list and travel gear ever evolving as I search for perfection.
This year, I’m so happy that Ryan reached out about the Standard Luggage Co. carry on backpack because I love it.
It has so many pockets, is easy to carry on my back, shoulder, or by hand, and comes with thoughtful extras like a computer bag and rain cover.
Staying organized is essential for remote work. You don’t have an office anymore and you may not even have a desk!
I stay organized by doing and writing everything in Google Docs. It’s instantly saved so I never lose anything and I can go back and access it at anytime. I also have two email addresses – a personal address and a work address – to keep the two lives separate.
In addition, I can’t recommend the Panda Planner enough. This notebook has calendar pages so you can plan out the big picture, weekly pages to layout your short-term schedule and to-do list, and daily pages with space to write your priorities and break them down into daily tasks.
When everything is online it can be easy to lose track of messages, docs, and goals, so I really love having an old-fashioned planner that I can write in again.
One of my biggest tips for remote work is to stay ultra-organized at all times and the Panda Planner will definitely help you do that!
Working from home is nice but it can get a bit old. Luckily there are tons of places you can go to get out of the house for a bit.
Although most remote workers go to cafes, don’t forget that there are often beautiful public libraries that you can use free of charge as well.
Then, of course, there are coworking spaces.
I love them but sometimes they can be quite expensive. If you have the budget for one, though, I really recommend it for the social aspect alone. ImpactHub and WeWork are two major chains you can start with because they probably have a location near you no matter where in the world you are.
By the way, most coworking spaces offer free trials. Search for free day passes to coworking spaces in your city and try out a few without spending any money.
4. Keep a Routine
Another one of my most common tips for remote work is to set a routine and stick to it.
People are literally always shocked when Daniel and I tell them we have to work ’cause they think our life is an endless vacation, but we do the 9 to 5 just like everyone else. I work at least 40 hours every week, the only difference is that sometimes I’m on the couch in my pajamas when I do.
Staying productive when you work from home is all about staying in routine. I wake up at the same time every day, go to the gym at the same time every day, and only take weekends and pre-planned vacation days off. If you start telling yourself you’ll go out during the day and work in the evening or just skip a few hours here and there, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
Working remote requires much more discipline than working in an office because only you will hold yourself accountable. Set a routine, stick to it, and build productive habits from the very start.
5. Manage Your Work/Life Balance
In an office job, work (usually) ends when you walk out the door and drive home. With remote work, that’s not the case. People have constant access to you online and it can be really hard to detach from that.
I definitely learned this lesson the hard way. When I first started I was a social media manager and was answering client emails on nights and weekends, taking calls at crazy times, and checking my ads and post performance constantly.
Now, I know better.
Yes, I can take that client call at 9pm, but it’s ok to say no and schedule it around my work hours instead. I can constantly access my emails on my phone, but it’s fine to turn off notifications after 5pm and answer them tomorrow.
You will burn out fast if you never step back from your work, so my advice is to just be mindful of cultivating a healthy work/life balance from the start.
6. Check Internet Speeds
Last but not least on my list of tips for remote work is to always, always, always check internet speeds before you go somewhere new!
When Daniel and I first started freelancing we moved to South America and eventually ended up in Peru. The country is truly amazing and we had an awesome experience, but the internet was excruciatingly slow.
It was brutal trying to work through regular internet blackouts and almost impossible to upload photos and videos. Daniel even had to do an interview in the Mariott hotel when the internet wasn’t working in our apartment! Unsurprisingly, he didn’t get the job.
Now I always research internet speeds before we plan our next move and even ask the Airbnb host to do a speed test before we book. Without the internet you’re not getting a paycheck, so always check it before you move on to your next digital nomad destination.
Daniel and I are always on the lookout for small two player games we can travel with. It was much harder than I originally anticipated to build up a solid collection, but we’re slowly getting there.
If you’re traveling and want something to play that won’t take up your entire bag, this list is for you.
Small Two Player Games You Can Travel With
First up on the list are these six unique games. Most of them are card based or just a small bag with special pieces, so they’re all super compact and easy to tuck in your luggage when you hit the road.
I grew up playing a lot of Set, so I invariably destroy Daniel every time we play.
In this game you basically lay out 12 cards and must combine them into sets of three based on their colors, shapes, shading, and number. You continuously replenish the 12 cards on the table and race to get more sets than your partner. The game ends when the deck is out. My family calls it “Set, No” because you have to say “Set!” before you pick each grouping up – and we often shout it before realizing that we’re actually wrong.
Set comes in a box but you can just pull out and pack the cards alone. The game is really simple to play and each round is played in only around 10 or 15 minutes.
If you like Scrabble or Words With Friends you’ll definitely like Bananagrams.
It comes in a small banana shaped sack full lettered tiles. The point of the game is to race your partner to build a crossword puzzle and run out of your letters first.
Bananagrams is pretty flexible and the tiles lend themselves well to single player games too – if you’re bored you can challenge yourself to build your own crossword puzzle or just make up new games and rules with the letters.
Dan and I played the Lost Cities game online but you can also buy the physical version. The box is kinda big but you can leave the board at home and play without it. With only a set of cards required, this two player game is easy to travel with.
The point of Lost City is to pick up and discard the cards in your hand to strategically build up “expeditions” aka numbered stacks of cards. It’s a quick play just like the others and I like it because it requires a bit of strategy – building out your own expeditions while also keeping an eye on your partner’s attempts.
Just be aware that there is also Lost Cities: The Board Game which much bigger (and completely different) so make sure you’re buying the card game version.
This is billed as a three player game but it can be played by two with minor adaptations so I’m adding it to the list.
Five Second Rule comes with cards and a timer, but you can leave the timer behind when you travel and track rounds on your phone instead. Read the card’s category to your partner and they must name three things in it before five seconds are up. If they fail, you get a chance, but you can’t rename anything that’s already been listed.
The Five Second Rule is light, fun, and makes for a great drinking game. I guarantee it’ll be much harder than you think to answer the questions under pressure.
If you’re looking for something a little more intense than these small travel games, chess fits the bill. This travel set is interesting because the pieces are magnetic and the board is soft, so it folds to the size of a checkbook. Personally, I will never let Daniel see this because he’ll buy it and make me play with him, but I still thought the rest of you might like to know.
These are both solid two person card games that Daniel and I play together from time to time. Knowing these will definitely come in handy when you travel because you can find a deck of cards pretty much anywhere in the world.
7. Gin Rummy
I’ve played gin rummy more than every other game in my life combined. This was the only two person game Daniel and I knew for years and we played way, way, way too much.
It is really fun though. The main difference between playing as a group and playing as a couple is that you start with 12 cards each instead of seven. Hands take a little longer as well, but otherwise it pretty much goes down exactly the same way.
I’ve never heard of this card game before until Daniel and I stumbled onto a tutorial in the deep reaches of YouTube.
It’s part memory game, part luck, and very different from every other card game I’ve played. Here’s a link to the rules because there’s no way I can adequately explain it all here.
Two Player Games You Can Play Online
If you haven’t bought any games and you don’t have a deck of cards, you can still play this final two player game online.
9. Jackbox Party Packs
Jackbox party packs are the best. They’re online games that you can buy in a million different ways, but I recommend the Steam option. Through Steam you can download it to your laptop and play through there even if you don’t have an Xbox or Playstation or even a TV. All you need is a smartphone to connect.
There are five party packs out now but my personal favorite is the Jackbox Party Pack 3. It comes with five games and two of them only require two players (one can even be played solo).
In “Guesspionage” one person answers a question with a percentage and the other has to guess if it’s higher or lower. Then, points are given based on how close both answers are. Trivia Murder Party is a trivia game with a little luck and extra twists involved as well.
We almost always end up breaking out the Jackbox games to play with my family when we’re home for the holidays and I really recommend them.
At $37 for the Panda Planner Pro, it’s understandable that you may be on the fence about buying – especially because it only covers six months!
Now, my Panda Planner Pro review is here to help you decide. I’m breaking down my personal experience with the planner, showing you exactly what you’ll find inside, and sharing my honest opinion on whether or not they’re really worth their steep price tag.
What comes with the Panda Planner Pro?
If you’re reading a Panda Planner Pro review, you probable have at least a vague idea of what’s inside. However, I want to give you a more detailed look. The planner measures in at 8.5 by 11 – so it’s pretty damn sturdy – and is divided into three sections, each of which has a ribbon bookmark to make it easy to flip between them.
The Monthly Section
The front pages are six calendar months with large squares to fill in dates and activities. It also has space to make notes, plan your goals, and review the month after it’s finished. This is useful not only for work but for making travel plans, scheduling appointments, and staying organized in all aspects of my life.
The Weekly Section
After the six calendar pages there are 26 weekly pages. These start with a review of last week, writing what went well and what I can improve. Then I fill out personal, work, family/friend, and relationship goals and list what I’m looking forward to, habits I’m focused on developing, something new I’d like to learn, and a passion project.
It’s only after all of this that I get to the meat of the planning and the weekly section finishes with four large boxes to plan four projects and a final prompt list of my top five goals for the week.
I like to refer to the weekly section every morning when I plan my daily tasks to ensure I’m still on the right track to meet my goals.
The Daily Section
Third, and most important, are the daily pages. These have space to write:
A daily habit
What I’m grateful for
What I’m excited about
My focus for the day
My exercise plan for the day
My priorities in five large boxes
My tasks in 10 checkboxes
My schedule with slots from 6 am to 9 pm
And an end of day review with my wins and what I can improve
What Else Is Included?
In the back of the Panda Planner Pro there are also five blank pages for notes and a folder pocket. I was surprised but super happy to see the pocket – it’s great for storing little papers that I often lose, like notes and travel documents.
If you enter your email address on the site after you buy the Panda Planner Pro you can also access a free video courses on and six free ebooks, but I haven’t taken the time to check those out yet.
The aim of this Panda Planner Pro review is not only to tell you what you can expect, but also to share my personal experience with it.
Reviewing each day, week, and month
So far, I really like that the Panda Planner focuses on looking back as well as forward. By reviewing each day I’m learning to find patterns in my habits (both good and bad) and get a better sense of accomplishment for my work.
Keeping a gratitude journal
Did you know that practicing gratitude can increase happiness and reduce depression? Each day the Panda Planner Pro prompts me to write three things I’m grateful for. I’ve been meaning to keep a gratitude journal for years and this planner has finally helped me start.
Improving my work life balance
I was surprised that the Panda Planner includes family and relationship goals in the weekly section along with work ones. Now I see that brainstorming these really makes me think about the big picture instead of being so hyper-focused on building only my freelance career and my blog.
For example, if I set goals to cook two new recipes this week or read a book, I can feel productive and happy when I stop work to do things like this that I enjoy. Essentially, the Panda Planner Pro is training me to remember that it’s good and healthy to have balance in my life.
Along with my many work tasks, I also get to cross off small things list like meditating or video calling with my nephew. This helps me manage anxious feelings and be present in the moment, instead of constantly thinking about my to-do list and what I “should” be doing.
Breaking projects down into reasonable tasks
Perhaps the biggest strength of the Panda Planner Pro is its ability to break projects down into bite-sized tasks.
Instead having “Write travel article for Cincinnati Refined” on my to-do list for four days, I can spread it across my planner and write the first draft on day one, edit it and source photos on day two, caption the photos and re-edit the article on day three, and submit it with an invoice on day four.
Each step gets its own checkbox and once I finish it for the day I’m free to focus on other things because I know the article will get finished on time.
Are Panda Planners Worth the Price?
I asked for and received the Panda Planner Pro for Christmas (thanks Mom!) but if I hadn’t discovered it over the holidays I definitely would have bought it myself. Once this six-month book is up, I’m certain Daniel and I will order new ones.
I work remote and move regularly, so staying organized is tough. Everything is online and it’s easy for messages, tasks, and especially goals to get lost in the shuffle or forgotten. The Panda Planner Pro helps so much with that.
Think about it like this – if you read this Panda Planner Pro review and decide to buy one, it’s a small investment. But if it helps you finally crack down on your job search and land your dream position, pitch a new project and get a raise, or do a million other things that seemed a bit too overwhelming to tackle before – it’ll pay for itself 100 times over.
The Panda Planner Pro helps me stay organized, reach my goals, create a better work-life balance, and achieve that elusive peace of mind that so many of us seek. If you’re thinking about buying one, I wholeheartedly recommend it!
It can be tough to find affiliate marketing opportunities if you don’t know where to start. When I decided it was time to start monetizing Slight North, I honestly had no idea where to begin.
After some research, I quickly learned that you can work as an affiliate for almost any product or service under the sun.
The easiest way to find affiliate marketing opportunities is through affiliate platforms. These are basically just websites that simplify the affiliate process for bloggers and companies alike. Once you sign up on the site and set up your profile you can apply to multiple companies, generate affiliate links, track your sales, and get paid all in one place.
Ready to get started?
These are four great places for beginner bloggers to find affiliate marketing opportunities!
CJ bills itself as “the world’s largest and most established affiliate marketing network.” It was founded in 1998, so it’s been around for awhile and has proven itself as a trustworthy name in the affiliate industry.
Major brands like CNN, Time, and BuzzFeed work with CJ Affiliate and you can find products and services to sell in pretty much any niche.
After the initial set up, applying to companies on CJ usually takes only one click. If they think you’re a good fit and approve your application, you can start linking to their products on your site and earning a percentage of sales. Companies that I’m an affiliate for through CJ include big names like Skyscanner, Booking.com, and more.
This is probably the most popular and well-known affiliate site. They don’t pay out a ton (usually less than 10% of sales) but so many people use Amazon that it still should be an essential part of your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Signing up with Amazon Associates is easy and you can start using it right away. The only catch is that you have to make a few “qualified sales” in the first six months or your account will be closed. That’s not too big of a deal though, because if you don’t meet this benchmark you can open a new account and try again.
Usually I use Amazon links to sell gear like hiking boots and backpacks or to make gift guides for the holidays. If someone goes to Amazon through my affiliate link buys any product – even if it’s not the one I advertised on my site – I still get a percentage of the sales.
Rakuten works like CJ. Fill out your website profile once and you can apply to companies on the platform with only one click.
My favorite company that I work with on Rakuten is Udemy because they have online courses for just about anything, which means the links are easy to fit into lots of different articles. Beyond that, though, Rakuten has advertisers in 21 different niches so you’ll probably find a good fit no matter what your blog is about.
I’m not going to lie, I had so much trouble getting my site verified on Awin that I eventually gave up on it. But I’m still listing it here because it’s the affiliate site for Etsy and when I have time I really am going to troubleshoot my issue and get approved. Awin also has 13,000 other advertisers on the site, so if you’re looking for more companies beyond CJ, Amazon, and Rakuten, this is the place.
More Place to Find Affiliate Marketing Opportunities
These platforms offer a wide variety of affiliate marketing opportunities but there’s still more to discover. Many brands manage their affiliate marketing partnerships on their own websites, so don’t be afraid to branch out.
Think about the services, website, gear, and products you use, make a list of your favorites, and then research their affiliate programs. Usually, a simple Google search will put you on the right track.
Some Final Tips
When it comes to affiliate marketing, staying organized is key. When you keep all your affiliate marketing opportunities in one place you can easily browse and grab links for articles as you write them.
To do so, I recommend making an easy-to-access list in Google Docs of all your affiliate platforms. In mine I put the direct link to each site along with bullet points of each advertiser that I work with through the platform.
Now, I have one handy affiliate marketing resource to keep track of every site I use.
I put off affiliate marketing for a long time because getting started was just too overwhelming. If you feel the same way, I hope this article will help you out. Check out these sites, set up your profiles, and begin affiliate marketing on your blog today!
Don’t want to pay out the a** for your Verizon or AT&T data when you travel?
That’s why I ditched the big names for something newer, better, and most importantly: cheaper.
Google Fi is now available for iPhones and Androids, officially making it the best phone plan for international travel. It simply blows away the competition, and here’s why.
How much does It Cost to Use Google Fi for international travel?
The Google Fi phone plan has a base cost of $20 that you’re going to pay no matter where in the world you are. That covers the cost of your line – basically your phone number – and unlimited calls and texting in the US. When you’re abroad texting is still free, but calls cost 20 cents per minute.
Next, add in your data usage. Google Fi does it better than anyone else because you only pay for exactly what you use.
No matter where you are – at home or abroad – each gigabyte of data costs $10 and your usage never gets rounded up.
So, if you use 1.8 GB you’ll pay $18, if you use 2.3 GB it will cost $23. Even better, your data bill is capped at $60, so after 6 GB you may as well go crazy – you can use as much as you want that month with no extra costs.
But Wait, There’s More
If those prices aren’t enough, Google Fi has two more features to make it the best phone plan for international travel.
You can turn your plan on and off whenever you want.
Heading into the mountains for a backpacking trip and don’t want to pay for your phone while it’s basically unusable? Log in to your account and simply turn it off. It’ll be waiting for you when you get back.
You can share data plans and accounts.
If your parent, partner, or friend has a Google Fi plan, they can order an extra SIM card completely free. Pop it into your phone and use their data at the same rate – $10 per GB – no matter where in the world you’re traveling.
Google Fi even makes it easy to pay them back by tracking each phone’s data usage separately in the account.
Why Google Fi is the Best Phone Plan for International Travel
I don’t need a phone number when I travel (in fact, I haven’t had one in 8 months) but I do want data. Now, I can get it for $10 per GB through my husband’s Google Fi plan without dealing with international SIM cards, wireless wifi devices, or super expensive American companies. That’s a serious win both in the convenience and money saving departments.
For once, there’s no shady sh*t with a phone plan. Google Fi is straightforward and easy to use with no extra fees or BS and because of that, I really can’t recommend it enough.
Sign up with my referral link before January 8th and you’ll even get a $20 credit added to your account. After January 8th, you should still sign up because Google Fi is the best international phone plan for travelers and I don’t need any incentive to share it.