A Guide to Moving Across the Country

 Not sponsored by Uhaul.

Not sponsored by Uhaul.

Considering a road trip across the country? Or perhaps you are playing around with the idea of making the move from east to west. I moved from West Virginia to Southern California in 3 nights with 2 vehicles and a U haul trailer. This is a guide that includes how we packed, the route we took, the food we ate, the stops we made and how I did my best to stay healthy.

HOW IT HAPPENED

I visited Los Angeles the first week of July for a long weekend. It was my very first time “out West”. People have been telling me for years that I belong in California. I usually dismissed their opinions because I heard that California was expensive and housing was outrageous, and I assumed that I would never be able to afford it. During my visit, I ate amazing vegan food, I visited with friends that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet in person before, I watched Austin Powers in a cemetery, I drove through Topanga Canyon. I didn’t really do “touristy” things, and I think it is because of this that I became transfixed. I spent more time among Angelenos than with visitors and a thought started to bubble to the surface of my mind: I really do belong here. I mentioned to my friends that I would love to live here, and I guess the rest is history. It was just a few short weeks later that Danny and I were interviewing for jobs and looking at apartments. Do not be surprised at how quickly the Universe moves once you are ready.

WHAT WE PACKED

As many of my longtime readers know, I have been dabbling into minimalism here and there. Danny and I seriously considered tiny home life and do still intend to own a renovated Airstream at some point. Since we both already were preparing for a minimalist lifestyle, it wasn’t as difficult for us to get rid of our stuff. We had a yard sale and sold what we could, donated what we couldn’t. I gave away 6 trash bags filled with clothes and shoes. It disgusted me that I owned that many clothing items, most of which I rarely, if ever, wore. We have a Casper mattress, which comes shipped in a small box when you purchase it. Danny found a YouTube video that showed how to suck the air back out of it for easy transportation. It actually did work really well which was huge for us to be able to fit everything in the size of U Haul trailer that we could tow with Danny’s Jeep. We didn’t pack any furniture besides the bed, bed frame and a wooden chest that I had (which I ended up getting rid of upon arriving in California).

 The route we took, with the towns we stayed in marked!

The route we took, with the towns we stayed in marked!

WHAT ROUTE WE TOOK

We took the Southern route, as it is known, because it is less mountainous. The route through Colorado and Utah is beautiful, I have heard, but since we were towing a U Haul we didn’t want to take that route. We started in West Virginia and made our way through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before arriving in California. All of these states were new for me, except for Kentucky! It was mid-September when we were traveling and the weather was absolutely perfect. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. My only real complaint and headache was the Oklahoma Turnpike. If you take this route, remember to bring cash (and coins!). There is a little calculator here to compute exact totals. I came prepared with the cash, but wasn’t anticipating how steep the cost of traveling this stretch of road would be. At one point, it requires exact change, which I didn’t compute as coins. I ended up having to drive right through, oops. Other than that minor hiccup, everything was perfect.

 Kombucha tasting at the Confluence in St. Louis, Missouri

Kombucha tasting at the Confluence in St. Louis, Missouri

WHAT WE SAW

We weren’t doing this trip for the sightseeing, which was kind of a bummer. We were just trying to make good time so that we could get settled into our new apartment. There were so many cool things along the way that we wish we could have made time for, but we knew that we would be making weekend trips to do those things soon. That being said, we did stay in some pretty cool cities and made a few pit stops as well. We always utilize Happy Cow to scope out vegan options in whatever city or town we are traveling to. We made a stop in St. Louis at Confluence Kombucha to try their kombuchas on tap as well as to grab a little snack. Very fun flavors and cooking techniques and the staff was great! I saw the Gateway Arch from the interstate, even though I kept mentally calling it the Golden Arches (it is definitely not a McDonald’s).

 Annapurna's Cafe in Albuquerque features Ayurvedic Indian cooking

Annapurna's Cafe in Albuquerque features Ayurvedic Indian cooking

The next night, we stayed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Because the time change was working in our favor, we had some daylight left to explore the city. We went downtown and parked and wandered around looking at some murals, stopping in to El Guapo’s for a Corona and lime on the rooftop. On our way through Texas, I couldn’t stop marveling at the windmills. Texas is the largest purveyor of wind energy in the country! I had seen windmills before in Maryland, but never this many. We made it a point to stop at the Cadillac Ranch which is just off the highway in Amarillo. We went on from there to stay the night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We went to Annapurna's Cafe for dinner, which was absolutely delicious. We shared the South Indian Sampler and Mediterranean Plate, both pictured above. After dinner, we walked from our hotel over to Green Jeans Farmery. It’s like a shipping container plaza complete with a brewery, food vendors and more. The hot air balloons against the mountains in Albuquerque are so dreamy, I definitely want to go back. Driving through New Mexico and Arizona were my absolute favorite views. There is something that feels otherworldly and magical about the American Southwest. The trains snaking through the hills made me want to pull over and paint it all, photograph it all, savor each and every drop. I was so inspired.

Danny’s cousin lives in Flagstaff, Arizona and we made it a point to stop in and grab lunch with her. We ate at a little vegan place called WHYld Ass. Their food was amazing. This would have been the perfect opportunity to skip over to the Grand Canyon, and I would recommend it if you have a couple of hours to spare. We made the choice to drive through to Long Beach, and it was a long 15 hour drive day for us. For a while, there seems to be nothing and then you come over this hill and there are lights everywhere, cars everywhere. We had made it.

HOW I STAYED HEALTHY + SAVED MONEY

As I was packing the kitchen, I realized I had a lot of dry beans in my pantry. I made a quick and easy chili in the Instant Pot, because I also had a couple of chili seasoning packets laying around. I packed it in large Tupperware along with utensils for us to eat for lunches while road tripping. I measured out the last of the quick-cook oatmeal that I had, turmeric and the last of my protein powder. I added water to this and zapped it in the hotel microwave. At the last hotel, there was no microwave, so I used the hot water from the coffee pot to make it work. I also packed some apples, GoMacro bars and some peanut butter in the car. I brought along 2 reusable water bottles that I kept filled with cold water from the fountain at various gas stations. There is almost always a microwave that you can use to heat up food at gas stations, so you aren’t bound by cold-only foods while traveling! By using up some of these pantry items, it allowed me to save money, stay healthy and also not have to pack that stuff up. Additionally, we made it a point to book hotels that had a gym. We chose not to stay at Airbnb’s along the way because we weren’t sure which towns we would be staying in each night and didn’t want to be disruptive to the host/hostess with our late arrivals. With as much sitting as we were doing, it was really important to me to start the day with some activity. By no means will you become “unhealthy” or “unfit” if you take time off from your fitness or meal prep while traveling, but for me, it was more about mental health and easability than anything!

Hopefully this helps you plan your next road trip or inspires you to travel to new places and see new things. If you are a routine traveler, share some of your favorite travel or packing tips with me below!

Staying Healthy While Traveling: My Healthy Travel Tips

 My healthy travel tips

My healthy travel tips

No surprise to all of you, I love to travel. Day trips, weekend getaways, international travel -- I love it all! However, traveling can be detrimental to our health especially when you are traveling frequently and always on the go. So how can you stay healthy while traveling? 

Enter my insider intel, all my best tips for everything you need to do to stay healthy, no matter where your wanderlust may lead. 

Numbero uno most important tip that I can give you: determine what kind of healthy you mean. For some, they want a physically healthy trip and for others they need to take a vacation for mental health. This post is more for physical health and well-being and less about indulgent trips. However, I am aware of how crucial it is to let go and indulge yourself every now and again (especially while on a vacation!) 

Plan ahead - pre-trip | Research the options before you go. What are some healthy restaurants in the area, is there a free gym, does the Airbnb have a full kitchen, is the city walkable etc. I am a planner by nature, so this is one of my favorite parts of traveling, the pre-trip is just as fun for me as the trip itself!

Sleep | Catch those Z's like a pro. If you have trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places, I recommend trying Lush's sleepy lotion or a bedtime tea. Our bodies are already prone to sickness in new environments, don't put yourself at a higher risk by getting little to no sleep. 

Walk everywhere | If possible, opt for strolling around town to sight-see rather than hailing a Lyft. I get in more steps when I travel than I ever do at home. I usually don't visit the gym while traveling, so walking is my primary means of exercise. 

Utilize the free gym or try out a local studio | I love checking out local studios while traveling! I usually opt for yoga or cycle. This is a great way to feel out the vibe of a city as well as check out an area of town that you otherwise might not have. I just utilize Google to find websites for studios and then decide based on their location, schedules and overall vibe. If you are staying at a hotel that offers a free gym, go! 

Reusable water bottle | Don't forget to hydrate! It is much easier to become dehydrated while traveling, especially if you are flying or going to a warmer climate than what you're used to. Bring an empty reusable water bottle through airport security and fill it up once you are through TSA. If you are driving, you can bring more than one water bottle so that you always have a full one on hand. 

Cook your own meals | The easiest way for me to stay healthy while traveling is to book accommodations with a kitchen. This way, I can control what fruits and veggies that I am getting as well as how much sodium I am taking in. We definitely still like to go out to eat while we travel and it is often one of our favorite parts of traveling. However, it is more cost effective to cook your own meals and it is just healthier overall. Usually I will cook breakfasts, lunches and pack snacks and then go out to eat for dinner. I would suggest packing a few to-go containers for leftovers as well as reusable utensils. 

Be mindful of your immune system | Load up on good-for-you foods like fresh fruits and veggies. Go to your local health foods store and get some elderberry lozenges to pack in your bag. Wash your hands often while traveling, especially through airports and other crowded tourist spots. 

Limit your alcohol | By now, we know that alcohol takes its toll on our bodies. Limit your alcohol consumption while traveling. Ask yourself if it is really worth the headaches, hangovers and dehydration that will surely follow. 

Let go | Ultimately, worrying about staying healthy can cause you to be more unhealthy than just going with the flow would. Plan ahead as much as you can, but also be open to letting things flow naturally.

Don't worry, be happy, travel often. 

Winter is Coming: Tips for Traveling Iceland in the Winter

 Interested in traveling to Iceland in the low season? Use this to guide your planning!

Interested in traveling to Iceland in the low season? Use this to guide your planning!

Itinerary Suggestions

After doing my research prior to our winter trip to Iceland, I had narrowed down the areas of Iceland that are still easy to reach during the winter. I'm sure there are other areas of the country that you could find tours to, but this is based off of our 5 day trip in order to maximize what we were able to see and do. 

  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula - Steep mountains, endless beaches, moss covered lava fields, impressive craters and bizarre coastal cliffs. . . no I am not listing the set for a sci-fi movie, this is all present on the Peninsula. Our Troll guide, Maggie, told us many of the tales and legends of the Peninsula as well. If you know me, you know that I love folklore, so this was one of the attractions for me to come to this part of Iceland. It really did have a magical feeling and the strolls along the cliffs and beaches were breathtaking, to say the least. One of the most popular photographs you will see of all of Iceland is of the majestic volcano Snæfellsjökull which was immortalized in the book “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne.
  • Golden Circle - We actually didn't do this "touristy" route on our first trip to Iceland. We decided that it was a must-see this time around. The route features near the top of almost every list of things to do in the country and is listed as a sightseeing tour on nearly every tour provider's website. We opted for self-driving because it is such a popular route, the road conditions are usually well-kept. The Golden Circle consists of three equally stunning locations in southwest Iceland: Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall. The Golden Circle is not a far drive away from Reykjavik, and while it was still busy, I am sure it is overwhelmingly busy in the high season, so I would recommend this for your winter itinerary. We also made a pit stop at the geothermal area of Fludir to enjoy the Secret Lagoon, definitely would recommend! 
  • Reykjavik - Obviously spending time in the northernmost capital of the world while you are in Iceland is a must, any time of year. Here you will find a detailed guide on what I recommend for you to see, do and eat during your time in the city! 
  • South Coast - We started off from Reykjavik early in the morning, using Saga Travel as our tour company. They have a western South Coast tour that drops you off at glacier walking or you can opt to continue on to the popular black sand beach, Reynisfjara. This is also something that you could pretty easily self-drive as long as you are a confident winter weather driver and the weather forecast is looking good for the day. Skógafoss  is everything that you want in a waterfall; tall and wide, with straight lines and even flow of water, it looks like it was taken from the pages of a book. It’s surrounded by cliffs, covered in soft moss that’s often covered in icicles. I must say that I prefer this waterfall in the winter! 
  • Glacier Walking and Ice Climbing - This is obviously something very popular in the wintertime in Iceland. You can really only do ice caving in the winter season! This is something that you will need to budget for, as you cannot do it on your own and will need the proper guides and the proper equipment. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to walk on (and eat) a glacier, but it will be something that I remember for a lifetime. We climbed Sólheimajökull which is one of the more accessible glaciers. 
 Iceland in winter is truly magical and otherworldly, and totally different from how it is in the warmer months. 

Iceland in winter is truly magical and otherworldly, and totally different from how it is in the warmer months. 

To Drive or Not to Drive? 

Should you rent a car and drive yourself around Iceland in winter? Should you opt to book with tour companies that pick you up and drive you around? Should you do a little of both? 

While we were in Iceland during winter, we opted to do a little of both. We rented a car for the well-maintained city streets and the Golden Circle Route (after we checked the weather and road cameras) and opted for booking tours for the things we wanted to do and see that were further away from Reykjavik. We used Troll Expeditions for Snaefellsnes and we used Saga Travel for the South Coast Glacier Walk

  • Renting a Car
    • Pros - With renting a car, you are totally in control of your itinerary and how long you stay at each spot along your route. It is also nice to have a car if you are not staying in downtown Reykjavik. You can park downtown with ease and not have to worry about relying on public transportation. Renting a car is also critical if you plan on traveling the entire Ring Road, which I would not recommend in winter. I would recommend renting a car while you are in Iceland if you (or someone you are traveling with) are a confident driver and will be in the country for more than a couple of days. You can price compare, but this is potentially your cheaper and more budget friendly option if you are traveling outside of winter.
    • Cons - During winter, Iceland's weather is more unpredictable than ever. If you are not used to driving in these conditions, it can get very dangerous very quickly. We saw small rentals stranded on the side of the road multiple times. If you are not a confident driver, do not rent a car in a foreign country. They have different traffic patterns and road signs than what you may be used to so either do your research or just trust an Icelander to drive you around! If you are driving, you don't get to enjoy the scenery quite as much. I found that using the tour companies was much less stressful and more enjoyable for Danny (who otherwise would have been driving). In winter, you really need a 4x4 vehicle with winter tires. 
  • Booking Tours
    • Pros - You have the ability to do high adventure activities that you wouldn't otherwise get to do, like climbing a glacier or ice caving! Transportation from Reykjavik is usually included, so you don't have to worry about renting a car, buying gas, finding food stops etc. You can also find multi-day tours which could be an option for you. These tours are usually operated by an Icelander, so you are able to hear more about the history and culture of the country. 
    • Cons - You are on their time and their schedule. If there was something you wanted to see that was not on the itinerary, you can ask, but odds are, you will have to miss it. Tours can be pricey so if you are on a budget, compare the tours you want to book with renting a car and self-driving to the locations you want to see. 
 The majesty of Snaefellsnes beaches. 

The majesty of Snaefellsnes beaches. 

What to Pack? 

I go super in-depth about what to pack for your trip to Iceland here on my blog.

If you are traveling from October to March, you are basically traveling in the Icelandic winter. The Gulf Stream keeps temperatures pretty mild so while the wind chill can be below freezing, it is not as frigid as you might be imagining. It was above freezing during the day the whole time we were there. Layering is so majorly important, so pack base layers such as quick dry tops and bottoms, thermal or long johns, fleece jackets, sweaters, and of course the critical waterproof outer layer such as rain pants and a warm waterproof coat. Staying dry is one of the most important things about traveling in Iceland. I plan on packing some of those heat packs to put inside of my gloves and shoes to keep my extremities extra warm and toasty. I would suggest that you consider buying and bringing Crampons to fit onto your hiking boots so that you won't be sliding all over the ice, especially if you plan on self-driving. Don't forget your swimsuit! 

 Snæfellsjökull was immortalized in the book “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne

Snæfellsjökull was immortalized in the book “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne

City Guide: Reykjavík, Iceland

 All of the best things to do and see in Reykjavik, Iceland

All of the best things to do and see in Reykjavik, Iceland

As many of you may know, Iceland has quickly become one of my favorite travel destinations. There is something truly magical about Iceland. Its remoteness, its incredible landscapes, its culture, the people, and its food all make this small but fascinating country one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. For a good reason. I have now been to Iceland on two separate trips.

Reykjavik is the northernmost capital of the world but has surprisingly mild weather thanks to the Gulf Stream. Below you will find my recommendations for things to see, eat and do. This guide is great both if you have lots of time or limited time in the city. You will find that Reykjavik is relatively small and easy to navigate. Happy trails!


What to See

 Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja church - Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. This is a pretty hard one to miss, honestly. It is the tallest structure in the city and one of the best-known landmarks in Iceland. Leif Eriksson is situated outside of the church. You can go up to the top to overlook the city which I have yet to do. You can go inside for free which I would recommend as the architecture is quite different from traditional churches; the organ is quite impressive in and of itself. 

 Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center

Harpa Concert Hall - Harpa is quite beautiful to look at from both the outside and the inside. The geometric framework is stunning. You can walk around inside as there are gift shops and cafes but I would suggest going in just to see the windows. You can also check the schedule and see if the orchestra is playing while you are in town. 

 The Sun Voyager sculpture 

The Sun Voyager sculpture 

Solfar (The Sun Voyager) sculpture - Solfar is situated on the waterfront just down from Harpa. This waterfront is one of my favorite views in the city. The artist intended this sculpture to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.

 One of many street art installations in Reykjavik

One of many street art installations in Reykjavik

Graffiti Art - As visitors to Iceland are sure to have noticed, several large and elaborate murals adorn the walls of buildings in and around Reykjavík’s center. These pieces are intricate, beautiful and well worth taking the time to see. There are murals on every street, some small and some elaborate. Most of the street art you will see is commissioned art but there are also tags and bubble graffiti around as well. You could spend an entire day just strolling the city looking for street art! 


What to Eat

If you are a vegan that will be traveling Iceland soon, read my blog post about all of our favorite restaurants and tips to save money. It includes restaurants that we found while traveling Ring Road. 

 The only 100% vegan restaurant in Iceland. They spin vinyl on the weekends!

The only 100% vegan restaurant in Iceland. They spin vinyl on the weekends!

Kaffi Vínyl - We had their sandwiches last time we were in town which were amazing! This time, we opted for the soup of the day (sweet potato) as well as the nachos and the breads & spreads appetizer. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed in the nachos. They were good, but not great. The breads & spreads were pretty amazing though! As was the soup. I would also highly recommend their house kefir (kind of like kombucha). 

Gló - We visited this restaurant twice on our last trip to Iceland. It is a great choice for vegan options. They have at least two locations, one is centrally located downtown and the other is on the outskirts of the city. They have a great lunch special where you can get an option with 3 of their salad sides. The lasagna is amazing!

Passion Reykjavik - I don't have any photos from the inside of Passion, but take my word for it that it is worth stopping by if you have a sweet tooth. They have a small selection of vegan pastries but I would highly suggest that you stop in to sample one of each. It was quite busy with locals stopping in for their morning pastry and coffee, but the wait time was not bad. It is decorated quite elegantly and the pastries speak for themselves.  

 Quite possibly the best vegan cheese bread in the world. Yeah, I said it.

Quite possibly the best vegan cheese bread in the world. Yeah, I said it.

Íslenska Flatbakan - I dreamed of these cheesy bread sticks since the last time that I was in Iceland. This is a small chain pizza restaurant that serve up craft pizzas and beer. Danny and I both would absolutely recommend you stop in, especially if you are a pizza lover. They have a handful of vegan options to choose from, as well as the vegan cheese sticks. This last time I also got the spicy vegan pizza and unless you absolutely LOVE spicy things, avoid this one! My mouth was dying and I could barely taste the pizza itself. They have a pretty decent selection of Icelandic beer as well. 

 Reykjavik Roasters is a great centrally located coffee shop!

Reykjavik Roasters is a great centrally located coffee shop!

Reykjavik Roasters - This is a well-known coffee spot very centrally located in downtown Reykjavik. It seems that there are equal parts locals and tourists every time I have stopped in. All of Reykjavik has a very hipster vibe and Reykjavik Roasters is no exception. It feels more like a large living room than an establishment. It is quite cozy, eclectic and the staff are always warm and friendly. 


What to Do

 Erró, is without a doubt the best known contemporary artist of Iceland. His work is currently on exhibition at Reykjavik Art Musem

Erró, is without a doubt the best known contemporary artist of Iceland. His work is currently on exhibition at Reykjavik Art Musem

Visit Reykjavik's Museums - There are many museums throughout the city! Admittedly, I have spent more time wandering around searching for street art and setting out into the countryside than I have in the museums. Just another excuse to go back, right? This past trip we visited Reykjavik Art Museum. The cost of admission actually gets your entrance into two other art museums in the city, but we didn't have enough time to make it to those. If you do plan to visit museums while you are in the city, consider getting the City Card to save yourself some money. From Maritime museums, art museums to Icelandic history, you are sure to find at least one museum that suits your fancy. There is even a phallological museum, yep that means penis. Next on my list is the Reykjavik Museum of Photography

 One of the many murals in Reykjavik!

One of the many murals in Reykjavik!

Self-Guided Walking Tour - Truthfully, Reykjavík is a city that is best enjoyed by foot. You could pay someone to take you on a walking tour, or you could save yourself the money and and do it yourself. The parking for Reykjavik is split into 3 levels. P1 is the most centrally located parking and will cost you the most and is followed by P2 and P3 parking. Find a spot to park and start walking! You can't really get lost in this city and you are sure to find cultural and historically significant locations at every turn. 

 Kirkjufell mountain in west Iceland

Kirkjufell mountain in west Iceland

Opt for a Day Tour - There are many, many tour companies to choose from in Iceland. Most of these offer free pickup in Reykjavik. If you will be spending more than a day or two in the city, you might want to consider booking a day tour! We used Tröll Expeditions for a day tour to Snæfellsnes Peninsula. One of the stops is at Kirkjufell mountain which was the site of a couple of Game of Thrones episodes as well as the inspiration for Journey to the Center of the Earth. Troll picked us up near our Airbnb and we spent a full day exploring this beautiful western part of the country. We had Maggie as our tour guide and I could sing her praises all day. The Peninsula is not as "touristy" or as well-known as the Golden Circle or the South Coast of Iceland. Tröll has day tours to see those areas as well, and their South Coast tour is very well reviewed on Trip Advisor. I can't tell you which I would choose if I could only choose to see one. Iceland's landscapes are so different and vast that honestly you need to see them all. This is (one of the reasons) why I keep going back. 

 The Unknown Bureaucrat statue found near Tjornin Pond

The Unknown Bureaucrat statue found near Tjornin Pond

Relax by Tjörnin Pond - Tjörnin Pond is a tranquil area right near the City Hall. The lake is alive with swans, ducks and a variety of other birds and is great for people watching. This past time, we enjoyed watching teenagers try to make it across the ice to the little island in the middle of the pond. 

Enjoy the Nightlife - What makes partying in Iceland different to anywhere else in the world? I can't exactly tell you, but I can tell you that the nightlife in Reykjavik is not to be missed. The nightlife is all centered in one place, all within easy walking distance from another, and rarely require an entrance fee. You will want to leave your hiking boots at the hotel and opt instead for a nicer outfit. You will find that there isn't much of a dress code but Reykjavik is a metropolitan city and they dress as such. I have never felt scared or threatened while in Iceland so no worries about safety! There are many bars and events and I could probably do an entire blog post just about our favorite spots. (If you would be interested in that, drop a comment!) I would recommend checking Gaukurinn's page for events while you are in town, having a specialty cocktail at Slipbarinn and grabbing a flight or two of Icelandic beer at Micro Bar

City Guide: Columbus, Ohio

 Columbus Museum of Art: Wonder Room Gallery

Columbus Museum of Art: Wonder Room Gallery

As the capital of the state of Ohio, you can imagine there is plenty to do in the city of Columbus. Danny and I chose Columbus as our Christmas destination 2017. We made this decision because of its close proximity to where we are living and all of the fun things that seemed to be going on! Keep in mind, this Christmas season was unseasonably chilly, so we didn’t get to do a lot of the outdoor things that were happening around town. It says a lot that we were still able to fill our time with fun things to do so don’t count Columbus out for your next road trip or adventure.

Below you will find photos from our time there and my reviews of the things we did, ate and experienced.

We stayed in an Airbnb with Danny’s parents in the Brewery District of Columbus. You might think that this means there are breweries on every corner, but you will be disappointed. There are pubs in the area, but no real breweries. We were kind of sad about that, but it was a very central location while also being quiet. We really enjoyed the space and the yard was fenced in which was great for our dogs.

The Book Loft of German Village

 If you know me at all, you know I love to read. We had to check out this book store that is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country! When I say this place is huge, I really mean it. There are 30+ rooms filled with books. The rooms are kind of cramped and its pretty easy to get lost. Apparently they also have dining and drink options, but I guess we didn’t wander that far! I appreciated that they had the rooms sorted by genre and topic. The outside of the building is very fun, and German Village seems to be a very hip and historic part of town. I would recommend checking it out if you like quirky things!

Easton Town Center

Easton is a huge shopping complex just outside of downtown Columbus. They have an indoor mall as well as an outdoor center. There are lots of restaurants and shops. We only visited to go see Star Wars at their movie theater which has dine-in options. The entire plaza was lit up with Christmas lights and it was snowing. The theater was very large. This was the first time I had been to a dine-in theater so I had a great time sipping my beer while watching the movie. If you enjoy shopping, put Easton at the top of your list.

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival

This festival is held at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The festival starts in November, is open both on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day from 5 until 10 PM and it extends into the New Year as well. This is definitely a must see! You can walk the grounds and tour all of the lanterns at your own pace. They are so intricate and beautiful! There are a couple of show times throughout the evening that you will want to be sure to watch.  They have spiked apple cider available as well, which I would highly recommend.

 

 Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival

Balanced Yoga

Danny and I dropped into a fundamentals yoga course at Balanced Yoga's new location in the German Village. The space is beautiful and well worth a visit. They have yoga mats for rent or you can bring your own. They have a locker area to place your belongings into. The staff is super friendly. I wish I could remember the name of the instructor that we had, but she was awesome and really took the time to make sure we were moving our bodies in a safe way. I always love having instructors that help you find your form. 

North Market

We explored the North Market the day after Christmas, and since these are small business owners, most of them took the day off to enjoy time with their families. Thankfully for us, Destination Donuts was open. They carry two trays of vegan donut options daily. Honestly these are some of the best, most fluffy donuts I have ever had the pleasure of eating. We got the vanilla, chocolate sprinkle and their version of the cinnamon roll. My personal favorite was the vanilla followed closely by the cinnamon roll. You really cannot go wrong, though.

 Destination Donuts is worth the stop!

Destination Donuts is worth the stop!

 The Center for Creativity

The Center for Creativity

Columbus Museum of Art

Quite possibly one of the best museums I have ever been to. They have a newer building that they have named The Center for Creativity which is a huge space for galleries and more hands-on activities. While we were there, they had a huge LEGO display which Danny really enjoyed. Each step of the museum was an opportunity to stop and write, draw, explore, create. You don’t come here just to stare at a painting. Even in their classic galleries, they have tables with puzzles and options to connect on a deeper level with the art. Whoever has curated this museum has done a beautiful job. I feel like I could spend an entire day here, and would really recommend that you check it out at least for a few hours. They have student and teacher discounts available as well as free entry on Sundays.  

 Vegan version of the Parma, Italy at Melt

Vegan version of the Parma, Italy at Melt

Melt Bar and Grilled

Did someone say gourmet grilled cheese? I have been to the Melt in Columbus once before and have also visited their location in Cleveland. They have a multitude of vegan options from different cheese to different meat substitutes. I got the Parma, Italy with the tofu. All of their vegan-friendly options are clearly marked. They have vegan soup and salad options as well, and you can opt for a half serving of any sandwich as well. The staff is very accommodating if you have any questions or concerns on preparation! Delicious and fun.

16-Bit Bar+Arcade

This may be my favorite bar find of all time. The walls are lined with old school arcade games. The best part? As long as you are drinking you can play for FREE. Yep, that’s right. They have pinball in the back corner that is a little extra. They have drink specials every night. We were there on a Tuesday and it wasn’t too full but was definitely busy.

 

Affordable Airfare Tips

 Pin this photo to read the post later!

Pin this photo to read the post later!

Looking to increase your jet-setting but not sure how to make it work in your budget? Same, girl. I have decided to put together a series of Budget Travel tips and hacks that I have used. This will be a multi-part series. I want to let you in on all my best travel secrets while also trying out new things and reporting back.

First up in the series: my experience with budget airlines.

WHAT YOU NEED TO REMEMBER

This is a BUDGET airline. Do not expect free snacks, free carry-ons, free drinks, free entertainment. Basically, do not expect anything for free. What that means is that you just need to be prepared. Know too that they have less staff than traditional airlines. This usually means you need to be pretty self-sufficient when it comes to check in.

PRO TIPS

Choosing your seat: Be flex. Don’t pay to choose your seats and wait until the flight gets settled, if there are empty seats together, move there. If there don’t seem to be, ask your flight attendant or seat neighbor if they would mind trading with your partner.

Paying for baggage: Travel light. If you are traveling with a partner, split the cost of a checked bag and opt out of the carry-on. If you are traveling alone, fit your necessities in the carry-on. If you are traveling to a cold-weather destination, wear your heaviest items on your body while you travel to free up the amount of bag space you will need.

Won’t I get thirsty?: Travel Smart. Bring an EMPTY reusable water bottle with you through security. You know you can’t have the liquid. Once you are through security, find the nearest water fountain and fill up.

But, food: Plan ahead. Have TSA approved snacks and food packed. As long as your food is in a sealed container, you are fine. This also means sandwiches that are covered. Pack options so you will have plenty of choices.

SO bored: C’mon. Bring a book, laptop, music…take a nap. Is there really any excuse for being ‘bored’ in today’s techy world?

I don’t see these cheap prices: Play around. Again, this requires some research and some flexibility. You have to be flex with your travel dates. If you are deadest on a certain time frame you are bound by the prices of those days. If you can be flexible, you will see that flight prices vary greatly depending on time of year and days of the week. Once I find a low fare, I will also play around with departing cities. Get out your calculator and determine if the cost of driving to a nearby city is worth the price cut on the flight. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. This often can open up more destination options as well.

REVIEWING BUDGET AIRLINES

I have traveled 2 “budget airlines” in the recent past: Allegiant Air and WOW air.  

Allegiant is mostly a domestic airfare option. They provide low cost flights from most major cities. I have flown Allegiant countless times as they have very affordable flights to and from Florida. I have recently discovered that if I drive over to Cincinnati, Ohio that there are affordable flights to Austin, Phoenix and Denver. (Sign me up!) Allegiant has extra costs for things like opting to print your ticket and checking in at the desk. This typically is not a problem for younger people; it is something that we would be doing anyway. I canceled a flight with Allegiant and had no problem getting a credit to a future flight. They often turn and burn when it comes to flight, and I cannot speak to the safety of their planes but I will say that I haven’t experienced anything to make me question my safety. Because there is such a small window of time between flights, this can often cause delays. I have experienced only a couple of delays with Allegiant and they weren’t for very long. All in all, I would recommend checking into the options that Allegiant has at your home or neighboring airports. This is a great option for low cost travel to get you to new and exciting places without breaking the bank.

WOW is an Icelandic airline operating out of many cities worldwide. They provide very affordable flights from the US to Europe. They are easy to point out because of their purple planes! I honestly really love this airline (I might be clouded by my love of Iceland and their people). The staff is very fun and the airline has commitments to providing education and funding for a more sustainable tourism sector in their country. They also just got done with a holiday initiative where they literally dropped free airfare by drone in 5 cities. They have flights as low as $99 from the US to Iceland. They have flights from the US to the UK and Europe for as low as $129! They have self-service kiosks for luggage tags and check-in. It is very streamlined and there are plenty of staff standing around if you should struggle and need help. I am traveling again with WOW in a couple of weeks. 

I have been given no reason not to fly with budget airlines. No, they aren’t always luxurious. Yes, you can qualify them as “nickel and diming” their patrons. They opt to provide those “extras” at a cost in order to keep the cost of the actual airfare as low as possible. For me, it works. I don’t mind being flexible and these airlines have made it easier for me to see more of the world without causing me to stress out about money.

I am always trying new airlines as I hear of good deals. If there is a cheap airline that you have been hearing about but are afraid to book your tickets, comment on this post and let me know, I will try them out and report back.

*This post is not sponsored by either airline (but if you are reading this and are an airline representative...) and opinions are solely my own. 

 

Healthy Vegan Road Trip Tips & Hacks

Wondering what to pack to stay healthy for your next road trip? 

This post isn’t just for vegans! Are you a busy person always on the go or with a long commute? Are you a traveler or in college? Would you prefer not to spend all of your budget on food? Do you have limited access to a kitchen but still want healthy, whole food snacks and meals? Since I became vegan a couple of years ago, road trips (and travel in general) have required a bit more food packing and planning. I wanted to share some of my own hacks and tips for a healthy vegan-friendly road trip:

Place an order online. When I know I will be traveling and am low on pantry items, I go ahead and place an order from Vitacost carries all of my favorites at a lower price than if I were to buy them at the store. I usually stock up on meal bars, crackers, nuts and seeds.  

Happy Cow! I always scope out my destination on Happy Cow prior to leaving so I know what kinds of options there will be for eating out. This will dictate how much and what I need to pack. This is the best app for traveling vegans or vegetarians. Their website is free and you can enter in your destination and it will pull all of the vegan/vegetarian/veg-friendly restaurants in that area. This has been so useful for us when we travel.

Own a reliable compact cooler or insulated lunch bag. This way you can pack your own snacks or meals that need to be kept cold.

Bring reusable bags with insulation. This will allow you to shop at a grocery store so you can cook your meals once you reach your destination.

Stay hydrated – bring one or more reusable water bottles.

Pack snacks.

  • DIY trail mix (or store bought if you want)
  • Hummus, cut veggies and Mary’s crackers
  • Fruit! Apples are the most travel-friendly fruit, followed by grapes and oranges and then bananas. Bananas aren’t so great if you will be stuffing them into your backpack, they bruise and squish easily.
  • Homemade energy bites
  • Protein bars
  • Homemade muffins
  • PB, banana, tortilla roll ups
  • Pop Chips or Skinny Pop (especially if you will be driving, something crunchy is nice to help you stay alert!)

Choose an Airbnb with a kitchen. I always look for available Airbnb's with a kitchen. Haven't traveled with Airbnb yet? Read my blog post about why I don't use hotels anymore. 

Bring pre-prepared meals in Tupperware. Don’t forget utensils! If I know I am going to need meals on the road then I go ahead and prep something like Soba Noodle Salad or Mediterranean pasta salad that I can eat cold and will still be healthy, filling and delicious. Something easier than bringing a prepared meal is packing bagel sandwiches with vegan deli meats, avocado and your other favorite toppings!

Fast Food. Budget friendly and quick. Taco Bell is our go-to when we do need to opt for fast food. They have a surprisingly vegan-friendly menu. The magic words you are looking for are “fresco-style”. This will replace all dairy products with pico de gallo. Ask for avocado and you are set! Chipotle is a great option as well.

Whole Foods. Not always budget friendly (but it can be); however, it is always delicious and healthy. Check out the salad bar for on-the-go options!

Instant pot. Traveling for a long time without access to a kitchen? My friend over at Vegan Love Adventure traveled across the country staying in hotels without kitchens. The Instant Pot is heavy and bulky, but would allow you to be in control of what you are eating and also allow you to be very budget-friendly. Mary traveled with her Instant Pot and was able to make meals from cheap and easy to find grocery items like beans and veggies. I think this is a genius idea!

What to Pack for a Trip to Iceland

 I use a  Nikon D3300  camera and have a Columbia jacket.

I use a Nikon D3300 camera and have a Columbia jacket.

Wondering what to pack for Iceland?

One of the biggest questions I had before traveling to Iceland was, what do I even pack? I live in an area that gets pretty cold in the winters, so I am used to dressing for the cold, however, I was totally new to the idea of dressing in waterproof materials. I’m here to provide my own insight on how and what to pack for your visit to Iceland!

When are you traveling? This is very important as Iceland does have seasons, and they can vary quite greatly. The weather in Iceland changes rapidly and frequently. You may experience sunshine, rain, snow, and ice all on the same day. Layering and having the right gear is critical to enjoy Iceland to the fullest.

Layers are your best friend.

I have traveled in the Autumn and will be traveling again in the Winter. Regardless of when you will be visiting, there are essential items you will need:

  • Fleece jacket/ pullover

  • Waterproof/windproof jacket

  • Waterproof pants (I use these)

  • Sturdy and waterproof walking/hiking boots

  • Gloves

  • Scarves

  • Beanie (I really like this handmade one and this fleece lined one)

  • Swimsuit(s)!

  • Thermal underwear/ warm base layers (I love fleece leggings)

  • Warm socks like these

  • Quick-dry towel (to take with you when you visit hot springs)

  • Sunglasses (the sun reflects off the snow, too!)

  • Energy/Meal bars (linked my favorites down below)

  • Camera

  • Day Pack (carrying your traditional purse is not going to work, opt instead for a small backpack)

  • Reusable water bottle (you can fill it up in most of the running streams of water in Iceland)

  • Power adapter (they use the Europlug in Iceland)

If you are traveling in the summer, I hear it is quite pleasant and you will not need nearly as many layers. They do have the Midnight Sun in Iceland, so if you are light sensitive be sure to pack eye shades. You will still want to pack your waterproof gear, especially if you plan on seeing the waterfalls. Some are quite powerful and you WILL get wet.

 Awesome flat lay from  www.fromicetospice.com

Awesome flat lay from www.fromicetospice.com

If you are traveling from October to March, you are basically traveling in the Icelandic winter. The Gulf Stream keeps temperatures pretty mild so while the wind chill can be below freezing, it is not as frigid as you might be imagining. Layering will be important, so pack base layers such as quick dry tops and bottoms, thermal or long johns, fleece jacket1s, sweaters, and of course the critical waterproof outer layer such as rain pants and a warm waterproof coat. Staying dry is one of the most important things about traveling in Iceland. I plan on packing some of those heat packs to put inside of my gloves and shoes to keep my extremities extra warm and toasty. I am also considering buying and bringing Crampons to fit onto my hiking boots so that I won’t be slipping and sliding on the ice.

Are you mainly staying and exploring in Reykjavik? You won’t need as much ‘active gear’. It is a cosmopolitan city and they dress very fashionably. You will want to pack nice shoes and nice looking pants. Try not to look like you just came in from a 15-mile hike!

 Geothermal pools (or hot pots) are found all over Iceland, you definitely want to pack a swimsuit!

Geothermal pools (or hot pots) are found all over Iceland, you definitely want to pack a swimsuit!

Do not forget your swimwear! Hot pots (geothermal pools) are a major part of Icelandic culture, and one of my favorites. A swimsuit and a quick drying towel will be all you need. Trust me, you will regret it if you opt out of bringing one.

DO pack the right footwear. Don’t assume the tennis shoes you use to hike in at home are going to work for you in Iceland. Mountain rocks, black sand, ice: these are the terrains you’ll be walking on so you’d better have resistant and waterproof hiking shoes while exploring Iceland.

Do you plan on traveling Ring Road? I would highly recommend bringing one or two Tupperware containers and some travel utensils so that you can store leftovers or meals to eat along the way. This is more affordable and gives you more time to focus on exploring. Meal/protein bars are also great to have on hand as gas stations can be few and far between in the more rural parts of the country. I bought a case and packed into my checked bag. I personally love Square Bars and GoMacro

If you forget something? No worries. Reykjavik is a beautiful city full of Icelandic shops. Stores like 66 Degrees North and Icewear have all of your clothing needs. If you want to take home a piece of Icelandic culture, there are a variety of shops that sell hand-knitted wool sweaters aka a lopapeysa, socks, gloves, and hats.

Wondering if you need to bring cash? You really don’t. As long as you have a chip credit or debit card, you will find that you can buy anything that you may want or need.

Also, forget the umbrella. It’s way too windy in Iceland for an umbrella to work for long.

One last thing, ENJOY EVERY MOMENT.

Traveling as a Vegan in Iceland

 Íslenska Flatbakan

Íslenska Flatbakan

Do you feel like everyone you know is making a trip to Iceland? Iceland is definitely experiencing a boom in their tourism sector, and for good reason. When I first met Danny, he had a trip to Iceland planned. He invited me along in passing, and sent over his flight itinerary. WOW Air has SUCH amazing offers to fly directly into Reykjavik – how could I say no? I booked my flight. (And the rest is history)

Fast forward to September, and we were boarding the plane headed for Reykjavik. I had anticipated that eating vegan in Iceland would be tough, as I had read blogs and seen posts about the Icelandic diet which consists of dairy and meat. Icelandic climate was not really made for the ability to grow vegetables and fruit, and the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is steep. I had done my research and knew to shop at Budget, which is a comparable grocery chain to Aldi. I had anticipated the need for snacks so prior to the trip I had purchased 2 boxes of GoMacro bars, Go Green Nuzest bars and a large tub of PB2 that I had packed up in our checked bags.

I was grateful for the forethought to pack snacks because we rented a car and were traveling a lot on the highway in the countryside of Iceland, and there were few food options. Also, food in Iceland is fucking expensive. If you are on any kind of budget, food is where you will need to be the most frugal. Shopping at Budget is definitely my recommendation especially if you are staying at an Airbnb or a hostel that has access to a kitchen. My other suggestion would be to absolutely take advantage of your duty free allowance on alcohol. Other than that, though, there was really no reason at all for me to be concerned with food options as a vegan in Iceland. The Icelandic word for vegan is vegan – so just tell your wait staff that you need your option to be vegan. They will let you know if it is possible, or not.

Below, I am going to share restaurants that we visited and tips for traveling Iceland as a vegan.


 Pasta with red sauce and vegan crumbles, all found at a Bonus! 

Pasta with red sauce and vegan crumbles, all found at a Bonus! 

Bonus (grocery store) – Here you will find all of the usual food and pantry items as any other grocery chain. I would recommend pasta, red sauce sauce, the vegan beef crumbles, vegan jelly, oatmeal, frozen veggies and couscous. Be careful with the breads – I had to google Icelandic word for milk (mjólk). You can also find soy yogurt in the refrigerated section. 

icelandfood2.jpg
icelandfood1.jpg

Gló (restaurant) – Pictured above, this is an awesome spot for vegan options, we ate here twice at two different locations. They have a great lunch special where you can get an option with 3 of their salad sides. The lasagna is amazing!

icelandfood4.jpg

Nordic Restaurant in Seyðisfjordur in the Eastern fjords – a few restaurants had closed for the off-season in Seyðisfjordur already but thankfully Nordic had a delicious in-house beet veggie patty and some falafel with fresh greens. They even have vegan avocado mouse on their summer menu – we were sad we missed it!

icelandfood6.jpg

Havarí (restaurant and music venue) - Awesome spot off the beaten path. They started as an organic farm and quickly transformed one of the barns into an eatery and music venue. They host music festivals in the summertime, and have a friendly and adorable dog. They make their own vegan sausages which I would highly recommend trying and even buying to take with you on your journey. Very simple menu with lots of root vegetables, obviously, but very delicious. Great coffee, too!

icelandfood7.jpg

Vínyl Kaffi (restaurant) – the one and only 100% vegan restaurant in Iceland. Amazing atmosphere, very fun on a weekend. They have a DJ spinning vinyl and amazing food, beer and dessert options. We both got sandwiches, very delicious and really big portions. A bit on the expensive side, but so if every restaurant in Iceland.

icelandfood9.jpg

Gott (restaurant) – We took a day trip to the Westman Islands which I would highly recommend to make time for! We went to a restaurant and just asked for one of their menu options as “vegan”. They changed it up for us and it was healthy and delicious. A lot of breads in Iceland are not vegan, so most vegetarian options will have to lose the bun or bread. In this case, we got the veggie burgers and they did away with the bun but added steamed sweet potatoes and rice. 

icelandfood10.jpg

Íslenska Flatbakan (restaurant) – BEHOLD! The first time I have been able to have cheese bread sticks since I have gone vegan. This is a small chain pizza restaurant that serve up craft pizzas and beer. Danny and I both would absolutely recommend you stop in, especially if you are a pizza lover. They have 4 vegan options to choose from, as well as the vegan cheese sticks. They have a pretty decent selection of beer as well. We still dream about this place.

Passion Reykjavík (bakery and coffee shop) - I don't have any photos from the inside of Passion, but take my word for it that it is worth stopping by if you have a sweet tooth. They have a small selection of vegan pastries but I would highly suggest that you stop in to sample one of each. It was quite busy with locals stopping in for their morning pastry and coffee, but the wait time was not bad. It is decorated quite elegantly and the pastries speak for themselves.  


Tips:

  • There are cookies in the gas station that say “Veganesti” these are NOT vegan. I learned this from another traveling vegan who made the mistake of assuming.
  • A more expensive grocery chain, Nettó, is an excellent vegan resource. We found endless amounts of vegan options.
  • Really take advantage of Bonus, there are lots of frozen food options but plenty of staple pantry items that are simple and easy to cook up. They have a health section which even includes nutritional yeast. Don’t be afraid to look around and take time looking through ingredient lists.
  • If you will be cooking, pack a couple of Tupperware with you in your checked bag or carry on. We had to get really creative with our leftover food storage. 

The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.
— Stephen Markley

Travel with confidence knowing that there are plentiful amounts of options for you as a vegan in Iceland. Look for my next blog post about Iceland where I will discuss the sights we saw, the route we took and all of our itinerary suggestions for your next trip! 

 

Why I Don't Stay at Hotels Anymore...And Why You Shouldn't Either

 Tiny home on wheels in Marietta, OH

Tiny home on wheels in Marietta, OH

Greetings!

If you have ever had more than one conversation with me, you have most likely heard me talk about Airbnb. I am from West Virginia which is characteristically a very slow moving area; pop culture just takes longer to reach us here. I first used Airbnb in January of this year and have since stayed at least once per month for the last 8 months! I am in no way affiliated with Airbnb (although I wish I was) and just wanted to give an honest account of why I think Airbnb is the clear winner over traditional accommodations. I will include a link at the end that will prompt you to sign up with them if you haven’t already, it also works as a coupon and when you sign up and use your coupon, I also get my own coupon.

  1. You get to connect with real humans (not just the face of a company) I always feel like I am supporting small business when I book with Airbnb and that is super important to me. You are not just a customer or a number to these people, they genuinely want you to enjoy your stay and to enjoy the time you spend in their home. They are friendly and accommodating (or they wouldn’t list their property on the site!) and you definitely don’t have to worry about safety because it is all review based, just make sure you read through the reviews before you book and you cannot go wrong. AND you don’t have to stay in a home with the host, you have the option to rent the entire space for yourself. Some people list properties that they don’t live in full time, and those have a more hotel-like feel rather than a home feel.

  2. Which brings me to my next point: options! You have so many options of really cool places to stay. So far this year I have stayed in a tiny home, a tree house, a basement with a laser show shower, whole homes and a room inside an upscale home. Most recently I stayed (very affordable) in Arlington while visiting DC and we stayed in an apartment over a garage that was very modern. You get to decide what kind of place you want to stay in and the options are truly endless. There are lots of amenities to choose from like pet friendly, centrally located, free parking, and number of bedrooms. You almost always have access to a kitchen, and this is one of my favorite parts. As a vegan, I don’t always get to travel to veg-friendly locations and it is so comforting to know that I can bring along food or go to the grocery and be set for my trip.

  3. You get to live like a local (and have a local’s insider tips) The properties listed on Airbnb are immersed in the location of your choosing. You can stay along canals, downtown, uptown, in the suburbs. There is a certain local pride that comes from staying in someone’s home in a place that you are visiting. It becomes personal. You get to live like a local when you are there and it just becomes a more immersive cultural experience than it would be if I was staying in a sterile hotel room that looks identical to 5,000 other sterile hotel rooms. Host and hostesses are always very forthcoming with tips for their town as well. They will offer their suggestions for restaurants, coffee shops, bars, activities and they also will tell you what parts of town to steer clear of. They aren’t making any money off of their suggestions or opinions, they just want you to enjoy your time!

  4. Flexibility. Have you ever gotten into town earlier than check in and just wanted to drop off your bags and freshen up…but you couldn’t because the hotel has a strict check-in and check-out policy? Yeah, not usually the case with Airbnb. They are very accommodating. I have checked in early multiple times without issue. Each host or hostess sets their own cancellation policy, some of which can be cancelled right up until the day before without penalty.

  5. Cheaper. I save so much money. Now, there are plenty of costly Airbnb’s listed and there are plenty of affordable motels. I would prefer to stay in a very nice Airbnb for the cost of a motel. I know that it is clean and well-kept and in a great area. I don’t have to worry about what the room next to me may or may not be up to. I have never felt unsafe while staying at an Airbnb.

If you have never stayed at an Airbnb before, I hope I have inspired you to try it out. Or if you have an extra bedroom or living space, sign up to be a host! What a fun and simple way to make extra money, right? I would come stay! I am staying at 2 separate Airbnb’s in the month of August. A condo in Pittsburgh for my friend’s bachelorette weekend and a large home in Fayetteville, WV with a group of internet friends! In September, I am traveling to Iceland and booked exclusively through Airbnb. It saved us so much money and we get the opportunity to connect with locals who have already given us great suggestions on what to pack and what type of vehicle to rent. If you have never signed up and want to save some dollars, use this link: www.airbnb.com/c/kaitlynr312

Happy travels my friends!