Honeymooning in Mexico | How I Found Out My Travel Type

What is your travel type?

What is your travel type?

When I think of honeymooning, I always think of Sandals or some kind of typical all-inclusive beach resort with thousands of other newlyweds. For Danny and I, this isn’t exactly our type of travel. When we were planning our honeymoon, we originally thought that we wanted to visit Spain and train around the country. We quickly realized, however, that we wanted a respite from the busy-ness of life and a simple week spent together. Ultimately, we ended up finding a small, adults-only resort in the heart of the Oaxaca region of Mexico via a Reddit post that Danny stumbled upon during his scrolling. We purposefully chose our flights to include layovers for us to explore Mexico City (you can read all about that here!) I hope you enjoy reading about our week in Mexico. If you’re familiar with traveling in Mexico, please drop your favorite places in the comments as I already want to go back!

Check out this view of the Oaxacan coast!

Check out this view of the Oaxacan coast!

GETTING THERE

We flew Interjet from Mexico City to Huatulco airport in the Oaxaca region. This is a great budget airline if you plan to travel to Mexico, they even provide free snacks and drinks. Remember when airlines did that in the US? I digress, the Huatulco airport is small but very clean and surprisingly trendy. There were multiple angel wing murals on various walls, many food options to choose from, and the airport even has traditional thatched roofs. We had arranged a taxi to take us from this airport to the resort, and this was arranged through the resort itself. There seemed to be plenty of transportation options at the airport, but definitely do your research prior to traveling for safety and cost.

Danny hanging out under the palapa

Danny hanging out under the palapa

THE RESORT

Tucked away in a remote corner of one of the poorest regions of Mexico was our honeymoon destination. Complete with only 4 villas, a palapa, a few hammocks, a pool, and private beach access we had reached our destination. We had selected the honeymoon package (duh) which basically meant that we would receive 2 drinks per day and an excursion of our choice included in the booking price. Mexico is a very affordable country because the dollar is so strong against the peso. Danny had never traveled to a developing country prior to this trip, and he could NOT get over how cheap things were. For a honeymoon experience, this resort was a steal. After living in LA County, we were amazed at the pure and complete quiet all around us. I kept saying, “shh, listen.” It was a sublime experience, just that.

Pool vibes!

Pool vibes!

When I say this was in a remote location, it was more so in the “country”. The power went out 3 or 4 times during our stay in the evenings. We ate our dinner in the mostly dark, and swayed in the hammock. They had the telescope pulled out one evening, and after the power went out, the owner’s got busy making calls, and Danny dialed in the telescope so that I could view the almost-full moon. It is moments like that, that make me feel such immense gratitude that tears well up in my eyes.

We essentially had the beach to ourselves day after day, we rarely saw anyone else besides a few divers looking for oysters. We climbed rocks, found tide pools and acquainted ourselves with all the local crabs. There was nothing to do besides explore the beach, walk 15 minutes down the beach to the little fishing village for a snack and a beer, read by the pool or nap in the hammock. This was wonderful, but it is for a very specific travel type.

The freshness of the food and drink…unbelievable

The freshness of the food and drink…unbelievable

THE FOOD

We had already sent our dietary preferences ahead of our arrival, and without a doubt, the highlight of our time here was the food. Honestly, we could go on and on about it. As a vegan, you just come to appreciate things that mainstream meat-eaters take for granted. All-inclusive experiences are one of them. Vegans typically get shafted in these scenarios, very often there will be a few token vegan meals available but very rarely are they anything to write home about. Not so, at this place. Every meal is cooked by one of the owners, and she very clearly puts her soul into her food. Each morning, we were greeted with delicious local coffee (when I say local coffee, I don’t mean it was brewed locally, I mean the straight up beans are grown organically and nearby) along with a fresh plate of fruits. There were Asian, Mexican and even American inspired dishes throughout the week. One night, for dinner, we were served the most amazing sushi I have ever had in my life, bar none. And after? Warm almond cookies with hot Oaxacan chocolate. Okay, I will stop here as I’m sure you get the point. THE FOOD WAS GREAT. And if you want to see more of the food, you can watch this quick little video that I put together about eating while traveling.

REALIZING OUR TRAVEL TYPE

We chose to go on a whale and dolphin tour for our excursion, and we made a day of it. The owners took us into the town of Puerto Escondido. The town is very well known among surfers. The boat tour itself was wonderful, we saw more sea turtles than I can remember and ended up finding a pod of spotted dolphin. (Please spend your money to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Please do not spend money to view animals in captivity.) After the tour, we went to a local coffee shop and tried their homemade jams and nut butters, and of course their coffee. Danny and I stopped into Hotel Sante Fe for lunch, which was a little on the pricey side (for Mexico) but was very delicious and had plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. This part of the city along the beach felt very touristy, but still somehow very quaint and charming.

When we returned back to the resort, we were lounging by the pool discussing what our favorite part of the trip so far had been. While we were loving taking things slow, disconnecting and unwinding, we realized that we were getting a little restless by this point of the week. Our travel type is definitely adventurous. We are explorers. I am sure we will have laid back vacations in the future, but expect our next few to be a bit more on the daring side.

In today’s world, it can be pretty invaluable to be offered an opportunity to fully disconnect from the hustle and bustle and just be where you are. We are so glad that we chose this as our honeymoon; our minds, bodies and souls felt so rejuvenated and reconnected to one another.


Do you know your travel type? Are you more of an explorer or do you prefer to have a totally chilled out trip? Let me know!

9 Ways to Spend Your Time That Don't Cost a Dime

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Pin this image to save this post to read for later!

Okay maybe that title is a little click baity because you will need to spend money on things like gas or food for a couple of these. But, for the most part, they are FREE. So, hopefully you will forgive me and keep reading. Our culture continually tells us that we must spend money in order to have fun, treat ourselves or see new things. I am here to call bullshit and to offer some (mostly) free suggestions on ways to spend your time without spending your money.

  1. Be a tourist in your own town - I have been guilty before of whining about wanting to go or do something new. When I started pushing myself to try new activities, restaurants, and see places I hadn’t before I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I didn’t need to spend money on travel to scratch that itch. Imagine seeing your town through the eyes of a tourist, what things would you do and how would you do them?

  2. Explore Nature - The best thing about Nature is that it’s always changing. You can visit the same park throughout the year and it will look different depending on the season and the weather. Take a hike, literally. Go to the beach. Borrow a hammock and tie it between the trees and read your book, draw, color. Take your workout outdoors. The options are endless!

  3. Pleasure yourself (or be pleasured by your partner) - This is one of humanity’s favorite pastimes. Get reacquainted with your body, your pleasure or that of your partner. It seems that we often forget that sex and pleasure doesn’t have to be quick, take your time, stay a while.

  4. Travel to a new country (without leaving your home) - This is something that Danny and I really enjoy for date night in. We choose a country and then we select a recipe, music, movie and a drink that are a part of their culture. It’s a fun way to to learn about a new place and experience parts of it without the cost of actually going.

  5. Take a cooking class - Speaking of cooking at home, there are lots of cooking demos on YouTube! Choose a type of food and do a quick search, run to the store for what you need and get cooking! There may also be cooking classes offered by a local culinary school or senior center. Check your local news or search Facebook events.

  6. Constellations - Download an app, visit an observatory. Or just go outside with a blanket and look up. No prior knowledge needed, all you need is a clear night and some time.

  7. Create: write, draw, sing or dance - Ah, the joy of creating. When was the last time you made time to create? There are so many cheap options. You can draw with a pencil or pen on paper (even napkins or scrap paper). You can get a cheap paint-by-number from your local art supply store. Coloring books are still a thing. Singing is free, and fun, especially in the car. Dance alone or with a friend. Choreograph your favorite song. You don’t need to be perfect or a professional to make something. Stop opting out of doing things you enjoy just because there is someone, somewhere that might do it better than you.

  8. Movie night - YouTube binging, something new on Netflix.. feeling really fancy? Project your flick onto the wall or a projector screen. You can theme your movie nights or just select at random. We live in a time where entertainment is literally at our fingertips. Depending upon where you live and the time of year, check around to see if there are any free movies playing. Lots of times there will be free movies playing in the park or at the beach.

  9. Free exercise class - You can easily find free yoga classes on YouTube without having to leave home. This is a great option if you want to try something new but don’t have the budget, or maybe you like to try things out privately before trying in front of a group. There are often free classes being offered around your city; this is a great way to try new things and meet new people.

K8CanRelate's 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!

K8CanRelate's Guide to 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.

 

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.

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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. 

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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!