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Travel Tips

A GPS-powered Travel Encyclopedia + Giveaway

GPS MYCITY

Most of us spend quite some time reading about our next destination. We have to read through tons of articles before we find the right information. Then you finally discover some great tips and exciting suggestions, only to end up totally blanking out when you reach your destination. Don’t you wish you had your favorite articles or blog posts along? You can, of course, bookmark them, but what if you can’t find even the faintest bar of wifi anywhere in range? What if your mobile connection comes with a pocket draining data plan or, worse yet, you have no roaming at all? Sometimes you can afford to spend hours or days doing your homework, printing out your articles or blog posts and maps. When you finally get there, you realize finding your way is still too hard and time-consuming. Don’t you wish there were a simple solution to your problem? Well, there is one! It’s called GPSmyCity.

What is GPSmyCity, you ask? It is a travel encyclopedia app that offers not just a huge amount of travel information, but also GPS navigation. The travel articles available through the GPSmyCity app have been transformed to include the coordinates of the attractions mentioned by the authors, offline digital maps, and GPS navigation. So, if you want to visit a hidden gem mentioned in a travel article, by simply tapping a button, you get the detailed travel route from where you are to the destination plotted on an offline map.GPS My City AppThe GPSmyCity app comes with thousands of articles written by travel writers and bloggers from all over the world. They cover just about any travel related topic you can imagine, plus some you never knew existed. Whether you’re a culture vulture looking for the best museums and theaters or a party animal on a prowl for the hottest nightlife spots in town, the broad range of GPSmyCity articles have got you covered. Businessmen, young parents, artists, hippies, foodies, and adventure junkies will all find something interesting. On top of that, one can find information about transportation, safety recommendations, money-saving tips, and other practical advice.

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Any of the thousands of articles available can be downloaded as a mobile app, so that you can read it offline – at the airport, during your flight or on a bus. For an extra small fee, you can get the premium version of the article, which comes with an offline map and a navigation system. It will help you identify your current location and the precise location of your chosen destination using your smartphone’s in-built GPS even when you are not connected to internet. A light touchscreen tap is all it takes to get your route plotted on the map. Go ahead and try it yourself! GPSmyCity offers a free upgrade for a travel article to all the readers of our blog until February 15th. Drop a message to cf@gpsmycity.com saying which article you’d like an upgrade for and mention that you’re coming from the Globetrottergirls blog!

GPSmyCity has just launched a crowdfunding campaign, so that it can double the destination coverage from 750 to 1500 cities and make the GPSmyCity app also available on Android. The crowdfunding campaign offers an exclusive reward to the backers. Purchasing all the city walks and articles available at GPSmyCity one by one would currently cost more than $6,000. However, by backing the crowdfunding campaign, you can get lifetime membership, which will grant full access to all that for only $60 (less than 1% of the current market price). Moreover, the value of your investment is bound to multiply, as new articles are added and the number of available cities grows every day. If you don’t want to miss this limited offer, please follow the link below:

www.gpsmycity.com/cfv/

 

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If social media apps were cities…

Welcome to Vegas

These days, it feels like most of what I think about is traveling and social media. The two are now so intrinsically entwined that it’s seemingly hard to have one without the other. It’s not just during and after my travels that I use social media, however, but researching places and finding recommendations beforehand is incredibly useful too.

Social media can sometimes feel like a never-ending sea to splash around in, but it’s also fascinating to see which apps sink or swim over the years (remember Myspace?). Even for my blog too, I’ve recently been discovering that social media apps can be beneficial to a website and increase its popularity. My Instagram following has grown drastically over the past 12 months, and I am addicted to Snapchat (follow me: mariposa2711).koh tao officeBut with all this in mind, I wanted to find a way to connect traveling and social media even more, by matching the most popular social media apps to a major city. Let me know in the comments which city you think is matched with each app, but here are my picks.

Instagram = London, England

London is packed with beautiful people, fantastic attractions, great cuisine, and a vibrant nightlife. And what do you find on Instagram? Gorgeous models, arty black and white shots of tourist attractions, pictures of scrumptious meals, and epic selfies at the clubs and bars. London is Instagram through and through.london portobello road buildings

Facebook = New York, USA

The busiest metropolis in the world is NYC: the city that never sleeps. This too is Facebook. The most popular app on the planet is an endless barrage of humorous observations, political rants, pictures of babies and puppies, links to interesting blog posts, and so much more. Like NYC, Facebook is full of opportunity, enjoyment and a place where you can never get bored.manhattan from top of the rock

Snapchat = Austin, USA

A city on the rise and a personal favorite of mine, Austin in Texas is one of America’s biggest areas for tech growth, as well as having an influx of young, talented people. Similarly, anyone who is anyone is on Snapchat. The social media app is new, exciting, and now has around 150 million daily active users. Like Austin, if you want to get on the bandwagon with Snapchat, then get on now.austin congress ave bridge

Pinterest = Paris, France

Pinterest is often said to be used by brides-to-be planning their wedding or honeymoon, so what better place to match it with than Paris? The city of love is so picturesque and has beauty at every turn. Likewise, Pinterest is full of the best of the best, a place to collate beauty and show off all sorts of pretty things. The two would make a great couple.paris louvre

Twitter = Las Vegas, USA

Last, but not least, is Twitter. A social media app that is about brief messages, a place to shout about things you love and hate, and where it looks fun for a little bit, but then you’re happy that you’re only here for a little while. Likewise, Las Vegas is an intense city where you might regret something you did, and if the amount of tweet-then-delete occurrences is anything to go by, then Twitter is the perfect match.The Strip, Las Vegas

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The Ultimate Road Trip Starter Pack

malta road trip

As you might be aware, I love a good road trip. I’ve been on quite a few (check out my Iceland story), so I’d like to think I know a thing or two when it comes to a successful journey on the open road. Lucky for you I’m going to share some of those tips. Sure, it might be tempting to jump in the car without a care and simply go where the road takes you, but a bit more planning is needed!

I don’t want to go into safety first territory or how to read a map, however, but I’d like to at least provide a fun starter pack for any newbies wanting to try out their initial road trip. This is an opportunity that doesn’t present itself so often, so you want to be sure that your road trip is the best it can be.

Other passengers (potentially)

A road trip on your own is perfectly acceptable; it’s not a given that you must have other passengers with you. But if you’re going with a friend, partner, your squad, or even family members, then choose wisely. These are people that you’re likely going to spend roughly 48 hours or more together, so you’ll only want those with good vibes and sunny dispositions. A sentence like: “Oh my friend Suzy wants to come too, she had a bad breakup last night,” could be a red flag, so at least be aware of how everyone is feeling before the trip.southern iceland dani car

Lots of space

Nothing better than feeling squished in a car for hours on end right? The drawback with road trips is of course the fact that there’s not much in the way of personal space or amenities. That’s why I feel like my next road adventure should be in an RV. I mean, I could take a trip to the bathroom, quick nap, and a cup of coffee all whilst someone else is in the driving seat. Sure, definitely a vehicle better suited to the more spacious and longer roads of the U.S. or Australia, but this would be heaven on wheels.

I got a bit inspired when browsing fellow travel bloggers Gone With The Wynn’s, who trek around the world in their massive and awesome RV – I like their style. Although as fun as that looks, it does mean you’re essentially shackled to that lifestyle. I think I’m more inclined to simply rent an RV or trailer, so then I can have my cake and eat it too, as it were. I’ve been reading nice things about Campanda, so give them a look if you’re also thinking of an RV road trip.southern iceland mountain road

Music

The days were you would put on a CD in your car and listen from start to finish are long gone. These days, it’s all about Spotify playlists and music from iPods and smartphones. If there a few of you, it’s only fair that everyone gets to pick some tunes. So choose a designated device to play the music, and have everyone pick 30 or so tracks. Then hit shuffle and hope that everyone has chosen great music…dani and rease road tripping

Food

Bring more than you think you need. I’d rather have too much food and drink than not enough! We’re talking some fruit and nuts mix, some apples and bananas, chocolate, sandwiches, bottles of water, and potato chips. Nothing too sticky, as that doesn’t make driving a whole lot of fun. Throw in a few Red Bull cans for emergency, as you never know when you might need an energy boost.malta strawberries

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Empty Rooms: The Latest Travel Resource You Didn’t Know About

the happiness of pursuit

Travelling the world has become the new universal dream, whether you’re quitting your job and committing to the life of a nomad or just planning a couple of weeks under the sun somewhere. Regardless of whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the first step to take before packing your bag is to do your research. Asking friends for tips and recommendations is an invaluable resource when it comes to planning travel, and with today’s social technology, it is easier than ever to share our thoughts, experiences, and even our guest rooms (AirBnB) and translation tips (Google Translate). The sharing economy, also known as the person-to-person marketplace, has created amazing improvements to the travel resources available and will undoubtedly continue to make changes to the travel industry.laptop acer aspireThe latest addition to available on-the-go resources is the newfound popularity of unique, rentable workshop spaces and event venues. Spacebase is one of the largest hosts of these new commodities and the site offers unique spaces for meetings, workshops, screenings, events, you name it. These available spaces aren’t your typical stuffy hotel meeting rooms; the site mainly hosts interesting and freshly designed workshop spaces and it’s easy to imagine tons of uses for them. If you’re one of the people on the list below, you’ll find that these rooms can be your new go-to travel resource.boracay office

1 Digital Nomads

By now, every young professional knows about co-working spaces. With options to grab a desk for as long (or as short) as you want, coworking is an amazing option for remote workers. However, most of the time, co-working spaces can only be accessed if you buy a pricey monthly membership, which doesn’t make sense if you’re only in town for a week or only have a day’s work to get done. At the same time, the other available options aren’t much better. Cafes are noisy and busy while public libraries don’t have wifi for those without a local library card.

Just when you think you’re out of options, by-the-hour meeting room rentals arise as the perfect solution to the work-while-you-travel dilemma. With these professional work rooms, you don’t have to pay a huge membership fee to enjoy the member perks, which vary by space and range from free coffee all the way to a free local wine and artisan cheese tasting. Many of the meeting spaces on the site listed above are privately owned and operated by individuals rather than huge office leasing companies, which provides the potential for tons of memorable experiences to add to your travel. If your heart is set on co-working, have no fear. Some co-working offices, such as The Farm Soho Coworking, also list their rooms on meeting room platforms, letting you have your cake and eat it too. The meeting spaces vary greatly in style, size and price, but check them out on the platform linked above to find the one that fits you and your work best.digital nomad office

2 Social Butterflies

Sites like MeetUp and EventBrite make it easy to attract people interested in every niche, hobby and industry, which is wonderful for social butterflies who like to meet and network with like-minded people. These events provide invaluable opportunities for travelers to find and network with people who share the same interests. The different meetup groups vary greatly and there’s no chance you won’t find something you’re interested in; there are groups for everyone from solo travelers to belly dance beginners to coffee lovers. Join as many meetup groups as you like and enjoy your travel that much more. However, what if your group doesn’t have a meetup planned while you’re in town? This can be especially frustrating if your hometown doesn’t have a group for people interested in Lord of the Rings fan fiction yet the town you’re visiting has the largest chapter. If there’s no party to speak of, how can you get invited?

The answer: throw your own party! While it may seem impossible to tackle hosting a meetup when you’re sleeping in a hostel bunk bed, the growing popularity of rentable workshop and event venues makes them a better solution than ever before. Renting these unique spaces by the hour can also be pretty easy on your pocket. You can ask attendees to bring a dollar or two each to help out as well as some snacks for passing. Set up the meetup page for the group you’d like to meet, book a low-cost event space in the city, then watch as your new friends walk through the door!new york east river state park view with empire state building

3 Anyone with a Skill

Have you ever been told that you’re amazing at nail art? Or perhaps that you have sick beatboxing skills? If you’ve ever been given a compliment on your hobbies, you could monetize them by hosting your own workshop. Perhaps you’ve thought of this before but realized that no one is interested in learning your rice cooking tips and origami skills in Japan, your home country. However, skills that may be ingrained in your culture back home become instantly more valuable and interesting when you travel elsewhere.

This idea can be used by anyone traveling who’d like to share their skill with a new community and make a little extra money. The steps are simple: find a space to fit your workshop, promote it across social media and meetup pages, and lastly, welcome your students as they walk through the door! However, hosting a workshop in a foreign city was next to impossible in the past due to the difficulty of finding a viable space and getting people to attend. With the progress of social media’s influence over events and affordable, easy-to-find workshop spaces now available by the hour, you can finally spread your skill around and give back to the communities you’re visiting.Artist Studio

4 You

There are countless ways that these unique spaces can be used. Need a space for a clothing swap with friends while you’re abroad? Or perhaps you’d like to host a pop-up in a new city to gauge the regional customer interest? Maybe you don’t live in your hometown anymore and want to host a dinner with friends! Once you’re browsing these spaces, you’ll quickly realize that there’s no limit to their potential uses. These rooms are affordable, diverse and ready around the world for you to stop by while you’re passing through. Your only limit now is your imagination. How might you use one of these unique spaces?brighton cafe

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Triply: Revolutionizing The Way You Search for Hotels

triply

It’s not often that a new hotel search engine comes along that actually offers something groundbreaking, something that stands out from the rest, or that I think is worthwhile trying out.

But every once in a while, exactly that happens: I hear about a new search engine that catches my attention. Triply is exactly that – a hotel search engine that aims to be different. How, you’re asking?triplyTriply is creating a very personalized search experience by focusing not only on a set of search criteria, but on determining the level of importance for each one.

So what does this mean? This means you as a user decide how much focus you want to put on criteria such as wifi, a gym, a pool, location, or a specific brand. For example: your preferred brand is Marriott? So you’ll want to make this a criteria you’re ‘very interested’ in. You don’t care much about a spa? Mark that as something you’re ‘moderately interested’ or ‘not interested’ in.

To get personalized results when searching for a hotel, you simply set your preferences by setting the sliders to ‘interested’ or ‘not interested’:triply-slider

With this method, you get search results that are much more personalized and tailored to your exact needs and desires.

And not only that, I can also rule out all the fabulous hotels I usually see in my hotel searches that are way out of my budget by setting a budget limit right at the beginning:triply-hotels

The search results will then show those hotels first that meet your requirements 100%, and further down in the results those hotels that still match them, but not 100%. You’ll be able to see how much a hotel matches your requirements.triply-search-resultsWant to give it a try? Start your personalized hotel search right here:

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Five Destinations You Should Visit In 2017

2017-travel

With 2017 just around the corner it is (finally!) time to make travel plans for the coming year! People ask me all the time which places I recommend for an unforgettable trip, and yes, I have plenty of favorite spots all over the globe.

To give you more specific recommendations for your dream vacation I put together a list of my favorite places in the following categories: adventure, beach, city, romantic getaway and cultural escape.

If you need travel inspiration for 2017, here are my five top recommendations in each category:2017 Travel

Beach getaway: Mexico

Mexico has been a favorite of mine for years, and revisiting the country two times this year only reaffirmed my love affair with the Mexican culture, the people, the food, and yes: the beaches. I still prefer the Caribbean side with its tranquil shallow turquoise water and powdery white beaches but now that I’ve visited the major vacation spots (Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita) on the Pacific, too, I can see the draw of those as well. For a relaxing beach vacation, my top two choices would be Akumal and Tulum, both on the Riviera Maya.Mexico

City break: New York

If you ask me, there is simply no better city break than New York – flights from Europe are cheap and short, and the city has so many things to offer to make for an action-packed weekend: Broadway shows, museums, the art mile in Chelsea, an unrivaled food scene, dozens of neighborhood to explore and enough iconic sights to keep you busy for days. My number one tip for anyone visiting New York is to go beyond Manhattan: check out some of Brooklyn’s awesome neighborhoods, such as Park Slope, Williamsburg or Brooklyn Heights, and if you already know Central Park, put Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on the agenda for your next visit to the Big Apple.New York City

Romantic Escape: Tirol, Austria

I could’ve picked the usual suspects, like Paris or Venice, but I wanted to introduce you to a location that might not pop up in your head immediately when thinking about a romantic getaway. What I love about Austria’s Tirol region is that it’s great for a getaway year-round and that there are plenty of spas and spa hotels here offering relaxing couples packages including massages and other treatments, but also saunas, steam rooms and pools. The restaurant scene here is amazing, and you can walk off all of the carbs you’ll inevitably consume on one of the many mountain hikes. You can rent a cottage – and they’re super affordable, or treat yourself to a romantic stay at a lodge on top of a mountain. In the winter, you can snuggle up by the fireplace while it’s snowing outside, go snowshoeing and warm up with glasses of mulled wine when you get back.austria tyrol

Adventure getaway: Iceland

I never expected to love Iceland as much as I did, but the little island in the Atlantic Ocean simply blew me away. Not only does it have one of the most remarkable sceneries I’ve ever seen with its many volcanoes, glaciers, fjords, countless waterfalls black sand beaches, geysers and otherworldly landscapes, but it also offers a number of activities for adventure-seeking travelers: volcano climbs, multi-day cross-country treks, glacier treks, whale watching and northern lights excursions, quad off-roading tours – to name just a few! Even in a short week you can pack in plenty of adventures here.Iceland

Cultural vacation: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is actually much more than a cultural getaway, but having eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in a very condensed space means cultural travelers can pack all of those in a 2-week trip around the country. You’ll get to see the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya which sits in spectacular mountaintop location, the sacred city of Anuradhapura, the Golden Temple of Dambulla and the remarkable Temple Of The Tooth in Kandy. Then there’s the old town of Galle and its forts, and nature lovers will appreciate the Central Highlands with its stunning tea plantations and the Sinharaja forest reserve.

In addition to world heritage sites, Sri Lanka is also great for wildlife spotting (I recommend Yala National Park for jaguars and Pinnawala for elephants) and beaches – Marissa or Unawatuna in the south are perfect spots to wind down after a whirlwind tour around the country.Sri Lanka

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Four Festivals You Can’t Miss In Sydney This Summer

KFOG Kaboom Fireworks

While the northern hemisphere is bundling up and enjoying the first snow of the season, Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere is gearing up for Christmas BBQs and beach days – summer is here! And there’s no better place to visit Sydney than during the summer months – not only can you enjoy the coast, the beaches, sidewalk cafes and al fresco dining, outdoor movies and markets, but there are also a number of extraordinary summer festivals that make a visit during the summer months even more memorable.

If you are visiting Sydney this summer, here are my top four recommendations for festivals you should try to experience – and for a more comprehensive list, check out this guide to Sydney Summer Events.

Sydney Festival 010

Sydney Festival (January)

For almost the entire month, Sydney is having a massive celebration of culture, arts and entertainment, transforming the city with grand performances: free concerts, burlesque, dances and theater. For the 2017 Sydney Festival (7-29 January), there is an Australian Cirque Du Soleil, the Symphony Under The Stars, loads of art installations, a ferrython, and so much more. The best thing: many of the events during the festival are free! Check out the complete list of events for the 2017 Sydney Festival here.

Vivid

Sydney Mardi Gras

Sydney Mardi Gras is the world’s biggest Pride Celebration: hundreds of thousands of people travel to Sydney to celebrate LGBTQ culture and diversity, and visitors hail not only from Australia, but also other parts of the world. Be prepared for a colorful parade with over 100 floats and over 8,000 (!) participants, over 300,000 spectators, dancing in the streets, Bondi Beach Drag Races, the big Harbor Party and many other post-parade parties. The 2017 Mardi Gras Parade takes place on 4 March.

Sydney Mardi gras

New Year’s Eve

Sydney is among the first cities in the world to ring in the New Year, and the city makes sure to start it with a bang! The spectacular fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge is world-famous. There are a number of vantage points to watch the fireworks from, such as Robertson Park, Waverton Park or North Head, to name just a few. Of course you can also join one of the many ticketed events or a New Year’s Eve cruise, granting you incredible views right from the water, and making sure you ring in the New Year in style.

New Year's Fireworks Sydney 2012

Chinese New Year

Yes, New Year’s Eve is a big deal in Sydney, but so is the Chinese New Year a few weeks later. More than 1 million visitors enjoy the celebrations, making it one of the biggest Lunar New Year festivals outside of Asia. In 2017, the Chinese New Year Festival takes place from 27 January to 12 February, celebrating the start of the Year Of The Rooster with music and nightly entertainment, dragon boat races and performances from over 1,000 participants. Those include martial arts, traditional dance and folklore dance, and from 27 to 29 January, Sydney’s most famous landmarks will be lit in red as part of the festivities.

Chinese New Year Sydney

Photo credit: All images used under Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) Sydney Festival by Distan Bach ; (2) Sydney  slr_the_quack  (3) Sydney Mardi Gras by KMJ Photography; (4) New Year’s Eve by Sacha Fernandez ; (5) Chinese New Year by Ashley Ringrose
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My Holiday Gift Guide For Globetrotters (+ 3 Awesome Christmas Giveaways!)

holiday-gift-guide-for-globetrotters

It’s December – and Christmas is just around the corner! For the third time, I’ve put together a gift guide for the travel lover in your life – 13 gift ideas that I put together with travelers in mind, but you might also find a couple of things in here that make great gifts for family members or friends who aren’t globe trotters. I am also aiming to keep my gift ideas affordable, so most of these gifts are under $30Airportag products.

I also recommend you check out my previous two gift guides, because many of the gifts I recommended in previous years are still products I use all the time and love, like the scarf with the secret pocket or my pickpocket-proof underwear, the scratchable world map and the cool airport merchandise from Airport Tag for frequent flyers.

To make your Holiday season a little sweeter, I am sprinkling in a few giveaways and special discounts – you’ll find information on how to enter the giveaways in each section.

1 A Cool Travel Book: Off Track Planet’s Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy, and Broke

Even though I cherish my Kindle, I still need to read a real book every now and again, feel the pages between my fingers, see the beautifully designed cover in front of me. This book is a bit different from your usual travel guide because it focuses on travel for younger people – 20somethings, college students and grads, hipsters and everyone who wants to experience a city beyond the typical tourist attractions. It features a number of trendy travel destinations (think Iceland, Peru, New York, Belfast, Thailand, Portugal, etc) and instead of the usual sights, things like where to see great street art, where to party, the best extreme sports in a destination, and even where to get a tattoo. As the title suggests, it aims at budget travelers and is divided into three sections: ‘Get Inspired’, ‘Get Your Shit Together’ and ‘Make Yourself Useful’. They collect ‘oddities, traditions, fascinating events, and happenings in various destinations around the world’ and also provide useful information on practical logistics as well as work, study and volunteer opportunities available abroad.

They have now also started to make full guide books for various destinations, including Brooklyn, San Francisco or ‘Murica.

Price: $11.55Off Track Planet

If you want to gift something that’s visual appealing, I recommend a coffee table book with stunning photographs. Some of my favorite travel photography themed coffee table books are:

Price: $10 (One Planet) – $40 (The National Parks)Travel books

not all those who wander are lost2 Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost Tote Bag

This tote bag was gifted to me this year and has since traveled everywhere with me. The JRR Tolkien quote might just be my favorite travel quote of all times. The Tolkien Tote Bags are made in the U.S., made from heavy canvas and two incredibly sturdy handles – mine has been through a lot (and carried a lot!) and is still in top shape.

Price: $25

3 Tinggly Gift Box (+ Giveaway!)

Tinggly is giving you the gift I always prefer: an experience rather than a material thing. If you know someone who has a trip coming up, they will love the Tinggly Gift Box, which includes a travel experience of their choice. This could be bungee jumping in Australia, a hot air balloon ride in Goa, diving in the Caribbean, a pizza making class in Italy or a wine tasting in Paris. There are hundreds of experiences to choose from, and Tinggly offers three different gift boxes: the Essential Collection ($79), the Premium Collection ($119) or the Ultimate Collection ($279). So you select which Tinggly Gift Box you’d like to give, but the recipient gets to decide which experience they want to do, and have 24 months to redeem their voucher.

Price: Starting at $79

Giveaway: I am giving away a Premium Tinggly Gift Box (value $119)! Click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to readers worldwide. Giveaway closes on 25 December 2016.

tinggly fancy gift box

4 I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded

I don’t carry a lot of actual books with me, but I’ve always got a travel journal in my bag. I love this one, A Travel Journal For The Curious Minded, because it lets you add all kinds of practical personal information (blood type, emergency contacts, allergies, etc) which comes in handy should you get injured on your trip. It lets you add pre-trip check lists and packing lists, tips for things to do and things to avoid, and then there’s of course a whole bunch of space for your notes, observations, memories, tickets and other things you might want to keep.

The Travel Stub Diary ($10.38) also looks great, and for more beautiful travel journals to gift I recommend Conde Nast Traveler’s list of 13 Travel Journals That Will Make You Put Your Smartphone Down.

Price: $15I Was Here A Travel Journal for the Curious MindedMinx NY

5 Minx Winter Apparel (+ Giveaway)

Minx apparel offers the perfect accessories to get you through the winter: they are cozy, soft, and warm. I love that they are based out of Brooklyn, and I love that they are focusing on practical yet cozy accessories. Check out their website for a full range of gift ideas including scarves (super cozy and some have a front pocket for your phone) and super comfy socks. I especially recommend the shea butter infused sweater slipper socks and the knit slouchy beanie.

Discount: If you’re doing any holiday shopping on the Minx website, use the code GLOBETROTTERGIRLS10 to get 10% off! (Valid until 12/25/2016)

Price: Starting at $24.99

Giveaway: I am giving away a pair of the amazingly soft and snug shea butter infused sweater slipper socks!

Click here to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway closes on 25 December 2016.

6 A Travel Duffel Bag

I personally prefer duffel bags over rolling carry-ons – it is just easier to carry a bag over your shoulder than to pull it behind you, especially on cobblestone streets or in places like London or New York where you find yourself running up and down stairs and escalators in subway stations frequently. This travel bag, made in South Korea, has the perfect size for a weekend getaway, matches carry-on requirements and has a gorgeous world map design that every travel addict will love. And at only $31.99, it’s a steal! (Standard shipping is $16, expedited shipping is $31).

Price: $31.99World Map Duffel Bag

7 PicTrip Destination Photoshoot (+ Giveaway)

What I find really hard about traveling is to get decent pictures of myself. No matter if I travel alone or as a couple, if you hand your camera over to someone you usually end up with mediocre photos – trust me, I’ve got dozens of those. To get some really good shots in a dream destination, you’d have to hire a photographer. Luckily this is something that’s easy to do these days – instead of having to deal with emailing local French photographers in Paris or Spanish speaking photographers in Mexico, PicTrip organizes the shoot for you. In short, PicTrip is a destination photography company that pairs travelers with photographers in destinations worldwide, ensuring you come home with memories of your trip to last a life time. This is a perfect gift for someone who is going on a trip or on their Honeymoon.

Price: PicTrip offers several packages, ranging from a 30-min shoot (GBP150) in one location to a 3-hour shoot (GBP420) in 3 to 4 locations.

Giveaway: I am giving away PicTrip photoshoot – click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to readers worldwide. Giveaway closes on 25 December 2016.

pictrip

8 Food Maps

Unique, hand-drawn maps inspired by food? Yes, please! I saw one of these travel maps in my friend Stephanie’s house in Seattle last month and obsessed over it immediately. The print shows an outline of a country, for example Mexico, surrounded by words that read, upon closer inspection, famous dishes of that country. What I love even more is that I know the person who created these gems, Jodi Ettenberg, whose work I’ve been admiring for years and who I am lucky enough to call my friend. If posters are not your thing, you can get the maps also printed on tote bags and T-shirts, and they are available for Japan, Mexico, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam and Portugal.

Price: $24Food Maps

9 Travel themed jewelry

While the silver world map necklace seems to be the absolute best seller this year when it comes to travel jewelry, I prefer the vintage look of this world map watch with a brown leather strap ($29.99) or this golden globe necklace.

For a larger selection of travel-themed jewelry, check out Etsy – there are plenty of them, and they all look fantastic. If you know someone who is obsessed with a certain country, you should check out these necklaces on Amazon which feature the map of a country/ continent.

Price: $21.90 – $31.50travel themed jewelry

10 Passport cover

Anyone who owns a passport will love this gift – a beautiful passport cover. That’s something everyone who travels frequently should own (which is something I learned the hard way when I had to replace my passport after not being allowed to enter Indonesia with my ‘too worn’ passport last year). Now I always have it in a cover.

This ‘Keep Calm and Travel On’ cover is available on Storenvy.com, but I’ve also seen beautiful designs on Amazon.com and on Etsy, like the one with the Susan Sonntag quote.

Price: $12.95passport holder

11 Anywhere Travel Guide: 75 Cards for Discovering the Unexpected, Wherever Your Journey Leads

This travel guide is a little different from your ordinary travel guide, which I love. The set contains 75 cards, each of which comes with a task you have to fulfil while you’re on your trip. This could be ‘Ask the next person you meet where his/her favorite street is. Go there’ or ‘Write down what you like about this city on a small piece of paper. Leave it where someone else will find it later’ and is not only a fun game to play on a trip, but will also get you out of your comfort zone and bring you to places you wouldn’t have found otherwise. I think it’s one of the funnest gifts you can give a travel lover, and it’s less than $10 on Amazon!

Price: $9.57anywhere travel guide

12 Heat Holders Gloves

Heat Holders clothes are all designed to retain warmth in extremely cold environments and activities in the snow. They are made from a specially developed thermal yarn provides high performance insulation against cold with superior moisture breathing abilities. If you know anyone who is planning a ski trip or about to head to Iceland, Lapland or another winter destination, they will love you for this gift. Heat Holder Socks for example are famous for their thermal powers, and the Heat Holder Microfleece Base Layer Tops and Bottoms are made from a lightweight micro-fleece construction which has a heat-retaining brushed surface that provides an amazingly powerful warmth. As someone who is constantly on their phone, I personally love their fingerless gloves with converter mitt, allowing me to quickly write a text message or look up directions and then slip the mitten caps back on immediately.

Price: Starting at $15.99heatholders

13 Chatbooks Photobook

I love personalized photo books and love gifting them, but have always found it frustrating how long it takes to make a photo book with the usual photo book websites. That’s why I was happy to discover Chatbooks, an app that lets you make a photo book in minutes. You can choose where you’d like to import pictures from, for example your camera roll or your Instagram. I chose my Instagram, where I have all my photos sorted by trip, and within less than a minute, I had a beautiful photo book. This is a great gift for a friend who you went on a trip with, or someone who could use a nice coffee table book for travel inspiration.

The best part? The books start at only $8, and for an additional $2, you get up to five extra square prints! You can download the free app here.

Price: Starting at $8

Chatbooks Photobook

Happy Holidays!

DISCLAIMER: SOME OF THESE LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS IF YOU PURCHASE A PRODUCT THROUGH THEM I’LL GET A SMALL COMMISSION FOR REFERRING YOU – AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU! THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING GLOBETROTTERGIRLS.
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The PostSnap App: Sending Postcards And Greeting Cards Made Easy

postsnap

writing postcardsI always used to very good about sending postcards. And I still am – I try to pick up a few postcards in each place I visit, but I have found it increasingly difficult to find postcards everywhere I go. I visited five towns in Mexico last month, and only one of them had a few souvenir shops with postcards. The other four didn’t have any! The other problem I’ve encountered quite a few times recently? Finding a post office. And if I find one, making sure that I get there on a day and time when it is open. That’s how I ended up carrying all my postcards from Italy to the U.S. instead of sending them from Rome.

Sending postcards ended up becoming more frustrating than it was fun. But a few weeks ago, that changed – that’s when I discovered the Postsnap app.

Postsnap is an app that specializes in personalized postcards and greeting cards and lets you send a postcard straight from your phone within minutes, without the stress of finding a decent postcard or a post office!Postsnap card options

I love that I can use my own photos to create a postcard, which makes sending a postcard so much more personal. And let’s be honest: who doesn’t like to see a photograph they took on the front of a postcard?

The app itself is very easy to use. You select what kind of card you’d like to send: a greeting card, a postcard, or a special card like an invitation or an announcement.

In the next step, you select the photos you’d like to put on the postcard, and choose a layout. On postcards for example, you can choose between different mosaic forms and select up to five or your photos, or simply choose one picture that covers the entire front. You can select photos from your camera roll, Facebook or Instagram, which I love, since my Instagram photos are edited and look a little better than the original version. However, you can also add a filter right in the PostSnap app.postsnap process

Then it is time to add text – if you want to. I love that the app lets me personalize the postcard with a font I can choose, where I place the text, and how big I want it to be. The selection of fonts is fantastic – ranging from playful ones to handwriting to print letters, all of which you have several options.

postsnap postcard22

When you’re done with the front, it is time to write your postcard. You simply ‘flip over’ the card with a tap on your screen, add your personal message, once again select a font, the font size and font color, sign the app, and you’re almost ready to send it.

Adding an address is made easy: you can choose to add an address straight from your phone contacts, or add it manually. Once you’ve sent a postcard to someone, that person’s address remains in your Postsnap account, making it even easier to send them a postcard again.

After adding the address, you simply upload it, choose a size for the postcard, and pay – which is also made very easy by giving you the option of buying prepaid credit, so that you don’t have to charge your credit card or Paypal account each time you use the app. You’ll receive a confirmation email shortly after placing your order.

Shipment is free to North America if you are using the US version of the app or to the UK if you download it from the UK apps store, but I’ve only paid $0.20 extra to send a postcard to Germany and $0.50 extra to send it to other parts of the world, which I find very reasonable.postsnap postcard mexico1Right now, I am using Postsnap to send all my Christmas greeting cards – I can simply do it while I’m on the subway or, as I did earlier today, while in transit at the airport. I don’t need anything other than my phone which simplifies the usually very time-consuming process of designing and writing greeting cards so much. If you are feeling super lazy, you can even duplicate your cards and send the same ones to various recipients.

Download Postsnap & Get A Discount

You can download Postsnap for both iOS and Android here

download-postsnap

If you use the promo code GLOBETROTTER, you’ll get 20% off your first card!
postsnap postcard

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10 Essential Things To Pack For A Day Hike

On top of the mountain

Since I am hiking in Northern California’s Redwoods these week, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my packing essentials. Here is my packing checklist with 10 essential items I always pack for a successful day hike:

1 Hiking clothes

This is clearly the most important thing to make a hike successful: you need appropriate gear. I recommend quick drying pants, made from a light, synthetic material. Avoid cotton, because it traps sweat. If you’re starting early in the morning, you might want to add an extra layer – fleece is perfect to keep you warm. Depending on where you’re hiking, you might also want to pack a lightweight rain jacket and a hat to protect you from the sun. If you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on new hiking gear, I recommend checking out BC25.com, a website where users can find deals and discount codes. You can look up coupon codes by category, for example gear coupons, or us the handy outdoor gear price checker which gets you instant price comparisons. These discount codes include major brands like The North Face, Cotopaxi or Patagonia and outdoor stores like REI.dani sabino canyon hike

2 Footwear

Just as important as comfortable hiking clothes are comfortable hiking shoes. It pays off to invest a little more in a good pair of hiking shoes. I recommend shoes with a waterproof, breathable membrane and sturdy, supportive high ankles. Brands I love include Merrell’s, Vasque and Hi-Tec. When it comes to shoes, expensive doesn’t always mean ‘the best’. What’s most important is that your feet are comfortable in them, that the soles will last for a while, the shoes are not too heavy and that your feet can breathe. When buying a pair of new hiking shoes, make sure to try them on. There needs to be wiggling room for your toes and the shoes shouldn’t feel tight anywhere.vasque velocity trail running shoes

3 A solid backpack

Just as important as comfortable footwear and clothes is the right backpack. It is important to find the right size – not too big, but also not too small, a pack that fits well, is light weight, is well designed (with practical pockets) and has an extra hip support belt. Key is not to fill up your pack all the way – make sure you only bring things you’ll really need.dani negev desert hike

4 Bug spray / Bear spray

DepMount Lemmon bear warningending on where you are hiking, you need to pack a can of bug repellent and/or bear spray. I’ve been on several hikes where I got eaten by mosquitoes and quite frankly, it can completely ruin a hike, because no matter how beautiful the scenery you’re walking through – if all you can think about is your itching bites, you won’t be able to enjoy it. As for bear spray – if you’re hiking in bear country, and you don’t take any precautions for a possible bear encounter, you’re stupid.

5 A Map or Compass

Knowing where you’re going is key on a hike. If you’re hiking in a State Park with clearly marked trails, this is less important, but it is still a good idea to download an offline map. If you’re doing a wilderness hike, a compass is absolutely essential.white sands new mexico

6 A Flashlight or Headlampmexico hike

I personally prefer a headlamp because it allows me to have both hands free, but a flashlight also works. If you’re thinking you’ll be back before dusk – still pack a flashlight. I’ve gone on several hikes now where I completely underestimated how long it would take me. Even my hike up to the Hollywood Sign in LA a couple of months ago had me scramble down the unlit dirt trail in the dark because I had enjoyed the views from up there for much longer than expected. Luckily I could use the flashlight on my smartphone, but if you decide to rely on your phone’s flashlight, make sure you have enough battery or pack a portable charger. I’d still preferred a headlamp in the uneven terrain that I was walking through so that I’d be able to hold onto things for a better balance.

7 Sufficient snacks and water

No matter how short the hike you’re going on, never leave without water. As for snacks, make sure you calculate an appropriate amount of snacks for your hike – nothing is worse than a long way down the mountain with a rumbling tummy. Good snacks include for example trail mix, nuts, nut-based bars, fruits and veggies, energy bars, sandwiches and granola bars. Staying hydrated is extremely important – carry at least 2 liters of water, but more when you are going on desert hikes.makhtesh katan hikers israel

8 First Aid Kit

Another absolute must: a first aid kit. The main items it should contain are band aids, sterile dressing pads to stop bleeding from an open wound, tweezers and safety pins, an antibiotic ointment, duct tape, ibuprofen and antihistamine. While it is easy to put together your own first aid kit, the most convenient thing to do is to invest in a pre-packed first aid kit for hikers.

9 Camera Gear

Obviously I am biased here, since I never leave the house without my camera, but when you’re on an epic hike, you’ll want to make these memories last forever. Most people are content with the quality of the photos their smartphone takes (again, make sure to bring a portable charger), but if you’re looking to enlarge some images later on to a canvas sized poster, you might want to look into some more expensive camera gear. For a hike, I highly recommend a lightweight and compact mirror-less camera. CNET has a fantastic overview of the best mirror-less cameras that are out there right now. dani with camera

10 Sun and/or rain cover

Depending on where you’re hiking, you’ll want to bring a rain cover for your backpack and for yourself. The cheap waterproof hiking pants I invested in when I hiked to Machu Picchu were some of the best hiking equipment I ever bought (and they were only $6). I’ve already mentioned a rain jacket under #1, and this can usually double as a wind breaker. For sunny hikes, sun screen, sun glasses and a hat are a must.dani redwoods

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