iPodlicious Songs for the Well-Traveled

My traveling cohort Kevin sent me his iPod must-have list. These are only songs, as notes in his email to me, "I didn't inlude any show-tunes...that's a whole other thing!"
702 - Where My Girls At
98 Degrees - Give Me One More Night (Una Noche)
Alicia Keys - Karma
All American Rejects - Happy Endings
American Hi-Fi - The Art of Losing
Anberlin - Never Take Friendship Personal
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Backstreet Boys - The Call
Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business
Black Eyed Peas - Elephunk
Blu Cantrell - Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)
Bon Jovi - You Give Love A Bad Name
Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer
Cake - Short Skirt, Long Jacket
Cameo - Word Up!
Carrie Underwood - Before He Cheats
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise
Dean Martin - Hey Mambo
Destiny's Child - Bootylicious
Destiny's Child - Survivor
Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills
Destiny's Child - Jumpin' Jumpin'
Eve 6 - Here's to the Night
Fall Out Boy - From Under the Cork Tree
Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
Gavin DeGraw - Chariot
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children
Hot Action Cop - Fever For The Flava
Ima Robot - Monument to the Masses
Jason Mraz - Mr. A-Z
Jet - Get Born
Khia - Kwang
LeAnn Rimes - Life Goes On
Lynard Skynard - Sweet Home Alabama
Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane
Michael Jackson - Number Ones
Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion
Missy Elliott - Lose Control
Missy Elliott - Gossip Folks (Remix)
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Next - Too Close
OK Go - Get Over It
OK Go - Here It Goes Again
Rascal Flats - What Hurts the Most
Rockapella - Carmen Sandiego
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
Sir Mix-A-Lot - Baby Got Back
The Veronicas - 4ever
Timbaland - Give It To Me
TLC - No Scrubs
TLC - Unpretty
Toya - I Do!
Unwritten Law - Rest of My Life
Will Smith - Gettin' Jiggy With It
Having a swingin' soundtrack is essential to the perfect trip. Think about it this way, in the soundtrack of your life, or rather, during this 5 minute vacation montage of your life, what songs do you want expressing the fun you're having? I know when I went to Chicago, I made sure to download some awesome stuff so I could feel amazing strutting down the Magnificent Mile. My list is shorter, but it's a lot more swing and oldies, and Christmas music...

I also love to download LadyRaptastic podcasts and ThisAmericanLife podcasts, both of which are available on iTunes.

Sun/wind burns, Chafing, Sore Feet and Stiff Neck Fixes

There's nothing worse than having a trip ruined by something as preventable as the aforementioned items. Incase you skipped the title, for whatever reason, I will list them again:
  • Sun/wind Burns
  • Chafing
  • Sore Feet
  • Stiff Neck
These are all easily treatable, and even more easily prevented! Whether you're visiting a sun drenched spot or dry, blistering freeze blast of a city, your skin is going to take a beating. Two things: sunblock and moisturizer. I've found the best source of two-in-one is Oil of Olay's basic face moisturizer has an SPF of 20 and the little travel tubes work great.

Chafing. Well, this one's a bother. If you've already chafed, that sucks. Here's what you do, wash. Then powder up with Arm and Hammer's - it's in a green bottle and it does the trick. It took us YEARS to figure that out, but Kevin is a huge proponent of anti-chafing so he set everyone straight. Also, I hear that for guys, boxer-briefs instigate less friction.
Tip: Don't do a theme park where you WILL get wet and then walk around in your jeans for 2 hours. Bring an extra pair of shorts or something.

My feet hurt all the time. So do Kevin's. I have falling arches and Kevin has completely flat feet. Kind of like a duck, really. Anyway, the only way to combat achy feet is to buy sturdy insoles for your shoes. I like Dr. Scholls, personally. The ones that provide extra heel support as well as arch support. I also make sure to wear the comfiest in shoes. Especially when I know I need to do a lot of walking.

As far as the stiff neck goes, I have found that it happens because I don't have my usual pillow with me. Maybe Kevin has it right, maybe I should just pull a pillow off of my bed and bring it, but I don't. I do, however, use that squishy black travel pillow a LOT! It's completely moldable and it helps me neck out a ton. Get yourself a nice squishy travel pillow, for reals.

Travel Ease: Buzz Kayak Sunday Top Ten Getaways

I checked out Kayak this morning to see where the cheapest flights are going to...sort of like a virtual turn the globe and place your finger on a random spot. So, it looks like for less than $150 you get fly from Orlando to some pretty spectacular spots!

1 and 2. $117 Orlando to Washington or Philly!

Awesome, download 'Eye of the Tiger' or the Rocky Theme song by Bill Conti into your iPod and go the distance! Then find the Rocky statue and take many a photo of yourself jumping in the air! Don't forget to visit the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin's first public library or take a train/car ride down to Gettysburg for some Civil War reenactments-or better yet, visit Pennsylvania's Amish country.

Washington DC is pretty basic, lots of walking! Visit all the places I listed in my last post: Holocaust Museum, Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, the Washington Monument, the museums of Modern Art and Natural History, etc.

3. $121 Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Honestly, I hate Florida. I would hate to fly out of Orlando and still be in Florida, so this one, while cheap, not worth it for me. The only thing relevant about Fort Lauderdale is that's where the kid was from in that movie, Flight of the Navigator. Compliance!

4. $126 Orlando to Charlotte, North Carolina

Now this is what I'm talking about! From sand blowing in your eyes to the smell of mountain pine trees! You can white water raft, go tubing on the lazier rivers, find a ski lodge with a nice hot tub in the snow, etc. Charlotte is a beautiful city with sprawling landscapes, majestic oak trees, brick campuses, and diverse multi-cultural center.

5, 6, 7, and 8. $137 Orlando to Baltimore, Chicago, Indianapolis and New York!

Are you serious? Ok, let's to Baltimore first. The port is beautiful and their aquarium is phenomenal. Lots of museums and history packed into this little town. A quaint place for shopping and uppity dining. If you're feeling fancy, slap on a dress, some shiny heels, and splurge on dinner in one of the seaside restaurants.

Chicago! The Second City, named so due to the extensive rebuilding that took place after the great fire. Read my previous posts on Chicago. Definitely a city worth visiting. Try to get tickets to Jerry Springer, eat Chicago deep dish at a Giordano's, visit MoSI and the Museum of Modern Art. Go to Navy Pier and drool over the sailors. Seriously.

I've never been to Indianapolis, but I think I'd definitely go. Placing 'visit Indianapolis' in Google popped up their symphony, a motorway, and the official site of the Colts. Those three things are a trip in themselves! I'd LOVE to go here, wander the city in the day time, have a fancy dinner and then the symphony one night; spend a day at the motorway cheering on cars that drive in circles, and then a Sunday football game!? An ideal vacation, I know. I've also just read that Indianapolis has the world's largest children's museum and North America's largest water clock, whatever that is! Sounds awesome, though! What do you say, Kevin...Indianapolis, yay or nay? Remember that show Eerie Indiana...nobody remembers that show!

New York is pretty simple. Go. I'm there right now. Flying back to Orlando in no less than...4 hours. I love it here, but I'm a Boston girl. You should still go, though!

9. $139 Orlando to Nashville

Mmmmmm country music... I'm not a huge fan, that's true, but! I'm sure you can walk into any night club or bar and run into some serious music talent! Looking at the official site for tourisn, I'm a little thrown by the girl, photographed in mid-writh...she reminds me of the red-headed Oracle in the movie '300.' I feel like any moment now, one of her nips is going to pop-out, then sure, I'll visit Nashville. I do love the layout and design of the site, though! They are very music oriented, so I would be prepared to leave extra room in your suitcase for people handing out their demos. Looks like June is the best time to visit, a plethora of music festivals await you!

10. $140 Orlando to Norfolk, Virginia

Honestly, I love Virginia, so I'm biased, but Norfolk looks amazing. The water, the city, the museums. Norfolk looks like you could just wander around the town and satisfied. I would, anyway. There are a ton of museums, mainly because the city is nearly 400 years old! My favorite thing, I think, is this theatre: Granaby Theatre. Built in 1915, it served as a Vaudeville theatre and has been restored to its 'original splendor!' It would definitely be worth a visit.

You go, Kayak!

Travel Tips and How To's: The Best Souvenirs

People always want you to bring them back something. I don't like buying shirts that say 'I <3 NY' or 'BOSTON' on them...ok, I like the Boston one, but you get the point. I've found that the best souvenirs are personal things that you can actually relate to a person. Something that can 'only be found' in the place you're visiting.

Case in point: NYC Condoms, with the package design like the metro signs. Priceless and free, handed out by street peeps. Probably not the safest condoms; so I wouldn't recommend using them! Pictures are also good!

Things To Do: Go See a Movie!

I'm not quite sure why, but it just so happens I've gone to see movies while I'm traveling and they've all been exceptional experiences. I think going to see a movie is great! For one, you get to see a movie: w00t! Secondly, it's cool to see a movie because it's relaxing, it's only a couple of hours, and it's something your whole group can do- it's also relatively cheap [unless you're in England...]. Thirdly, saying, 'I saw that film in Paris,' is just as awesome as 'I bought that in Paris.' So, why not?

Flashback: Nov 2005
Kevin and I land in Chicago, exhausted but excited, we set out to explore. It's already late and most things are closed, so we grab some food and decide to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It's opening night and we've actually planned ahead for this, we buy our tickets and wait the 3 hours before the film. Kevin buys this electronic game, 20Q and time is passed in hilarity. The movie is phenomenal and I cried. We walk back to our hotel thoroughly satisfied!

Flashback: June 2006
Andrew, Kevin and I head to North Carolina, where none of us get phone reception and my car is trusted to take us there and bring us back! Well, we made it, and while we were there we stepped out one night to see the newest Adam Sandler movie, Click. From the previews, it appeared that Adam's character gets his wish in a remote 'to control [his] universe,' and hilarity would ensue. Well, while there were some very very funny parts, the movie left me sobbing. It was such a downer, but it was sooo good! Loved it. Loved it.

Flashback: Dec 2006
After a loonnnggg day of packing in as much French history and culture [read: crepes in the park outside of the Louvre, a full day of riding the Metro and ducking gypsies, an Eiffel Tower visit at 7:30AM, marching down the Champs Elyssees to the Arc de Triomphe, etc.] we were beat. We'd toyed with the idea of seeing a movie, but Grant was skeptical and Kevin and I were really pulling for this weird 'Arthur et les Minimoys' film we kept seeing posters of. Picture an animated kid with spiky hair surrounded by weird pixie things. Yeah. We won out, however, and the movie turned out to be awesome! It was just the picker-upper we needed and the Paris theatre was actually really neat! The layout and seating is totally unique. We clambered outside in the cold to try and snag a picture with the movie poster and our excited 'thumbs up!' faces. It took about 9 tries, since the poster was on a rotation and it was hard to time! We had an awesome time recognizing the voices, too [..Is that ...Madonna?! Oh my god, Snoop Dog!?...is that ROBERT DeNIRO!? SHUT UP!!!]

Flashback: March 2007
I'm in New York and last night I decided to go see a movie with my friend, Ryan. I guess we're not late-night city folk, so this was perfect. The movie, was also damn funny. We went to see Wild Hogs and I was surprised at how amusing and entertaining the film actually was! The AMC was cramped and on 3 stories, but it was clean and full of kids. We got there early so we watched the first few minutes to Premonition, which I really want to see now. Anyway, it was really fun and I can't stress how fun movies are when you're traveling! Seeing this with my old friend was like hanging out in old times- we joked and laughed and enjoyed the simplicity of just seeing a movie together.

Check out the Paris theatre in all it's glory, via slideshow, of course!
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Travel Tips and How To's: Packing Light

There is no need to travel with nine 'luggages,' as I say in my video. That's the weirdest spoken typos...but oh well. I've learned that the best way to pack is to roll up your clothes. It also helps keep them wrinkle-free and it's easier to roll entire outfits together, if need be. I tend to pack a lot of black stuff, it goes with everything, it's slimming, and if absorbs heat [good for cold places]. Follow my standard rule of packing thin tshirts and shirts, that way you can layer if you need to.

Note: I did not buy that green hat, it's Kevin's. I think I said I 'bought' it in my video, I meant 'brought.' Thank you, Kevin!

Wearing Scarves
There are three scarves that I like to bring, and I roll them up all together. They are a beige fancy one, a looonngg black and purply one, and a short fleece black one. You can wear all three in very specific, different ways.

The beige scarf is kind of short, so the only cute way to wear it is to fold it in half, and bring the two ends through the loop. It stays in a nice fluffed circle around your neck. This is good for wearing bigger jackets, or jackets that have a high collar.

I really like this scarf, the neutral color doesn't wash-out my face, it's delicate enough to wear with a nice dress, and it looks great with a simple long-sleeved black shirt.

The black scarf is also short, but it doesn't have all the holes that the beige scarf does; it's just a simple rectangle of black fleece. I love this scarf because it keeps my neck REALLY warm.

The only way I like to wear this scarf is to place the scarf like a blanket across my back, and then fold over each end over my shooulders. It acts as a removeable turtle-neck pretty much. The black makes it sleek enough to wear out with a dress, but just like the beige scarf, it's classic with a sweater or long-sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans.

The other cool thing about this scarf is that I can leave it as is, and then wear a sweater over it, so that the ends are tucked into the sweater. I think in England I was able to wrap my hands up in this baby and use it as a make-shift muff. Ha ha ha! Ingenius!

...and the last one...

This is my favorite scarf. It's reaaallllyyy long. It's made kind of neat, as you can see, with all the holes in it, but it's still super warm because the length allows you to literally wrap yourself in it.

This scarf is cool because if I wear it just placed around my neck, the ends hang down just around mid-thigh, creating a very elongated look. Which is great because I'm short and round! I also like to wear it with dresses or shirts that are a little low-cut, because it acts as a nice cleaveage-hider. No joke! The wrap dress I have is kind of deep and this scarf is amazing for it. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with flaunting what you have, but at a conference for women, the last thing I want to do is portray myself as an object.

Anyway, everybody should have these three scarves. Black and beige are my style since they go with everything, very nice!

I brought 3 accessories with me. A silk scarf, black; a long necklace made of three strands of black beads, and a green 'cool kid' hat that belongs to kevin.

The scarf is awesome, I can fold it up and use it as a headband, if I want to go to a church I can wear it as a head scarf, I can wear it as a fancy neck scarf, or I can even fold it up and wind it around my wrist to make a trendy, wide bracelet-type deal.

The necklace is cool because it goes with everything. It's also kind of long so I can double it over and wear it as a shorter, chunkier piece. It works great with a regular tshirt, or a simple wrap dress.

The hat is pretty self explanatory. You put it on your head. :)

When it comes to underwear, please pack what you love. I don't care if there's a hole it in. I don't care if there are bleach stains! Comfort is key! For bras, for example, I don't know about anybody else, but there is one particular one that I LOVE, so I brought that one. As far as underwear and socks, I bring a handful of the most comfortable and I WASH them. That's right! In the morning, when you're taking your shower, wash your skivvies from the day before, and your socks, if they're dirty and smelly! I hate going back home with dirty clothes, if I can help it.

Travel Info: Planning for Japan 2007

I want to go to Japan, simple as that. So I've started researching. I've looked up yearly festivals and I'm going to plan my trip around the Tokyo Game Show, which is in September.

I shouldn't say 'my' trip, as I will be traveling with my current beau, Pete. Actually, his name is James. He's not big on traveling, there are other things he'd rather spend his money on, but visiting Japan would actually interest him so I'm psyched he's going. I'm really looking forward to shopping and have already begun to learn some key phrases, through a free podcast I subscribed to on iTunes. I've started alerts on Kayak and Farecast, to keep me informed for any dips in the fare of my tickets. I've already decided I want to spend no more than $800 on them, we'll see how that goes!

Pete bought me a travel book on Japan and the culture is simply fascinating. Maybe I should contact a few people via myspace or something that would be willing to meet up and show us around Tokyo. I definitely want to go see the indoor pool with the synthetic sand!

Stuff to do:
Research tickets to the game show
Research hotels, hostels
Get some info from the Embassy

Stuff I've Found:
Kasai Rinkai Seaside Park, a piece of reclaimed land on the way to Tokyo Disneyland. You take the JR Keiyo Line towards Chiba (or the Yurakucho or Rinkai Lines) to Shin-Kiba station, and it's about a 7-10 minute walk towards the sea.
Another one:
a small amusement park in the asakusa area of tokyo (i believe it's called HANAYASHIKI)

Capsule death coffin ones: http://www.yesicanusechopsticks.com/thesequel/capsule/index.htm
One guy's story: http://www.links.net/vita/trip/japan/lodging/capsulefontaine/
Note- NO GIRLS allowed in the capsule hotels! All men.

Tokyo Green Hotel: Ochanomizu
Business Hotel
8400 / night

Kimi Ryokan
4800 / night

Love Hotels!!
Japan's Indoor Man-Made Beach: Ocean Dome, $50
Entrance costs US$50, which seems especially expensive given that there is a free, natural beach only 300 metres away.
DisneyJapan: WOO HOOOO $48
DisneySea: Tokyo, $48<----- I don't know what that is..but yay! Universal Studios, Japan: still cheap! $48 Tokyo Summer Land Water park in Hachioji, Tokyo prefecture-

It's also good to research transportation:
Tokyo Subway: http://www.tokyometro.jp/e/index.html
Rates: Most rides across Tokyo cost no more than 180 yen. A Tokyo Combination Ticket, an all day "Open Ticket" that can be used on all lines, is 710 yen (adult) and 360 yen (child). These tickets can be bought up to six months in advance and can be used up to six months after the date of purchase. Hours: Trains run daily from 5 a.m. to midnight.

Flashback Trip: Road Trip 2006 Part 1

On this road trip, Adrian, Adam, Kevin and I met up with our friend Dane, who attends Washington and Lee University in Virginia. We drove up I-95 and then headed West. We played the celebrity game to pass the time. Anyway, we got so wrapped-up in the game we overshot our exit by nearly 2 hours.

We finally made it to our destination in Virginia. Dane took us back to Natural Bridge and a quaint little ice cream parlor off campus. The town itself is beautiful and the school is so old! I like the story about Robert E. Lee's horse, Traveller, which is buried in the town church.

We also drove to Washington DC and went to the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Holocaust Museum, the Smithsonian, the museums of modern art and natural history. We also had a hook-up in the Capitol and were able to walk inside the congress building, we had a great tour it was really interesting. Thanks Tom Feeney!

We visited the White House, of course, there were no protestors. Kevin and I went to the Library of Congress, where I was able to find documents and manuscripts of my great-grandfather, Julius Conus's, music- as well as other Conus family members [George, Leon]! We also visited Arlington Cemetary and watched the changing of the guard, there were also a lot of Amish vacationing.

Note: We found a dead rat outside the subway, which smelled like pee for about a 3,435 ft sq radius. Our hotel was gross and the matress was nasty. I found a mobile pupusa stand!


Adam managed to pee in a cup, while sitting in the car!
Kevin spotting the rat that stayed plastered to the sidewalk for 2 days.
Me finding the pupusa-mobile!
My 'I farted on...' campaign, which included the Library of Congress, Hitler, Adam,etc.

Slideshow the first:
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Slideshow the second:
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How to Play the Travel Celebrity Game
wherein one person names a famous person and then the next player names another person whose name starts with the same letter of the last person's last name. [Ex: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Duchovni, Dolly Parton, Pierce Brosnan, etc.]

Travel Buyables: Travel Pillows!

Whenever we roadtrip, Kevin brings his pillow. An actual pillow, off of his bed. I tend to bring one of three things: a large Homer Simpson plush doll, a black squishy square pillow or a soft black neck pillow in the shape of a little bear.

Comfort is a must! I like the Homer doll because I like to hug something when I sleep, it's also foldable, but then it becomes kind of bulky. The squishy pillow is great, it's filled with a zillion tiny microscopic styrofoam balls so it molds to anything [I think!] and the material is a slick, polyester, which holds warmth. The great thing about this one is that it has a zippered pocket in the back, which I can fit my iPod, spare headphones, my electronic Sudoku game, an extra battery AND a pen! The last one is great, it's neck-shaped, and I turn it around so that the 'C' is around one side of my neck, since I tilt my head to the side when I sleep.

Note on My iPod
It broke, it just won't play and Apple has terrible customer service :(

A Short Occurrence from a Recent Flight
This week, my co-worker Ashley [a guy] and I traveled to NY for a blogging conference, Blogher. I fell asleep on the flight, of course, hugging my squisky black square. I woke, up, however, because my head was extremely hot. It felt like somebody left a straightening iron on my scalp for 30 minutes- also, it smelled like burning hair. Apparently, the sun had heated the thin, plastic shade so much that it had ACTUALLY burned my scalp and hair! Ouch! Stupid sun!

Flashback Trip: Chicago 2005

As I mentioned in a previous post, Kevin and I decided to fly to Chicago. Why? Well, why not? Kevin is as big a travel freak as I am and any chance we can leave, we do. Florida sucks anyway. All of those who want to travel to Florida? There are better places to go! Trust me!

Anyway, we decided we'd go to Chicago. We'd decided this in mid September, by the 21st, we'd purchased our tickets. This was easy because I happened to be on buzz.kayak and Chicago was the cheapest flight, one way for $67.50- EACH! This was clearly, a no-brainer. The flight had on a company called Independence Airlines.

Independence was a nice flight! Clean and very friendly! Unfortunately, right before our trip, Independence sent us an email, thanking us for our patronage, but apologizing becuause the company was bankrupt. No wonder it was so cheap..!

We bought our flight back from Continental, direct through their site [cheaper!] for $77.70 each. So, roundtrip, our flight was $145 each- super duper cheap!

Kevin went home and immediately called both Oprah and the Jerry Springer show. Oprah was booked, Jerry's peeps said if they had tickets, they'd call in a few weeks. Our flight was from Orlando to Chicago with a stop in Washington DC's Dulles airport. While on the flight, Kevin and I engaged in this very famous conversation:

Kevin: Hmmm....[scanning the map of the US] I can't see where Chicago is...how many hours behind are they, like 5? [Kevin continues to scan the MidWest...FAR west...in fact, he's tracing his finger over Nevada/California].

Me: What? No it's like an hour, if that- I'm not really sure...Chicago is over here, Kevin [I point to the Great Lakes].

Kevin: [very confused, I can't stop laughing]..Yeah but what about all those pictures of the water? and the Pier?

Me: Lake Michigan? [I can't stop laughing]

Kevin: Oh. I'm not good at geography. [he closes the map] I was wondering why our flight was so short, I thought it'd take 5 hours!
Kevin's a LOT of fun and there is really nobody I'd rather travel with. Even though he yelled at me in Paris for picking a place that was too expensive to eat. It wasn't. :)

So we get to Chicago late, but we had plans! There was an AMC up the street, we bought tickets to go see Harry Potter, opening night! We waited in line for 3 hours, but Kevin bought this toy called 20Q and it was well-worth it. We visited a LOT of museums for free, we ended up in the first row of Jerry Springer, we sat next to Brian Setzer in Giordano's pizza, and we even ran into Jerry Springer [note: Security guards CANNOT take good pictures!] All in all, it was one of the most memorable trips we've taken. Below is a small slideshow, with only a handful of pictures we took in Chicago- enjoy!

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Travel Tools: Search Engines and Research

I get really excited about trips. I mean, reallyyyyyy excited. I start planning and researching right away.

To plan a good trip, you need a LOT of research. Domestic trips, here in the states, are easy- you can email or write to visitors' bureaus, visit the official city websites, or do a general search for events and festivities through Google.

Finding a Flight
This is tough. I have found that the best flights can be found through rigorous searches, combining a plethora of useful keywords and phrases. Ex: student, student flights, cheap airfare, seasonal flights, discount tickets, etc. You will find that a lot of inexpensive flights occur during 'last minute' windows. This is about 2 weeks-1 month prior to your departure date.

So that's one side of researching flights, the other side? Use Kayak. I can't tell you how awesome kayak.com is! They scour ALL flight sites for the best possible deals and you can then sift through them by date, time, airline, even by airport. This saves you ALL the trouble of seeing if a flight would be cheaper from an airport a little farther out. You'll be surprised!

The other thing I love about kayak is what I call the randomtriporizer. Visit buzz.kayak.com, the map will show you the cheapest flights across the globe. Back in 2005, Kevin and I chose the cheapest one on the list, Chicago, and went there the day after Thanksgiving. It was phenomenal! A GREAT time to visit the city, I'll have to post about that later.

Another great site is Farecast. Farecast.com is a site that lets you watch the pricing trends of flights, so see when the best time to buy is. As soon as you see your flight on the rise, buy! This is really useful and has helped me determine just the right time to purchase tickets for international flights.

Finding a Hotel
This one is harder. You have to rely on the testimonials of people who have been to these places to trust that they're worth staying in. I think the best site for finding a hotel is Hotels Combined. Their layout is pretty much like Kayak, but for hotels! Phenomenal!

Finding Fun Stuff To Do
I've found that the best thing to do when looking for stuff to do is read people's blogs. Do a search in a blog hosting site for the city you're looking for, plus something that interests you [ex: Boston, Museum or Dallas, festival]. Then you can find first-hand accounts, sometimes pictures, of cool and local things to do, without being stuck to the normal touristy stuff. Visiting the museums and checking for 'free' days or 'discount' days is also great, you can plan an entire trip around free stuff, which is what Kevin and I did for Chicago.

What to Wear
This list applies to ANYWHERE, I swear. This is the list I keep, no matter where I go.
-2 pair of jeans
-one comfy skirt
-flip flops
-2 thin tshirts, 2 thin long sleeved shirts
-one sweater/hoodie
-one thin jacket
-handful of socks, underwear, one pair of tights
Here's why this works, if you go to a cold place, LAYER. I can't stress this enough! If you need to, wear your longsleeved shirt, then your tshirt, then your hoodie, then your jacket- if you don't, stick with the tshirt and jeans. If you're visiting a church, sport the skirt and cute flipflops and a clean, simple tshirt. All this stuff will fit in ONE bag you can carryon, I don't quite believe in checking bags. Frankly, it scares me. When you're away, buy a cheap suitcase that you can fill with all the souvenirs you bought or extra clothes and check that when you fly back.

Taking Care of Business
Before you travel ANYWHERE, make copies of ID. Take your license, your debit card, your school ID and place them together on the glass of a copy machine, if you must, add your travel partner's too. You'd be surprised how often this comes in handy! I'm terrified of losing my debit card or my license, so in a place that I can have the register manually input the numbers, I go for it. I also take a copy of my birth certificate. The less you carry around, the better- so try to keep with cash [less than $50] and some ID. If you're traveling internationally, use a prepaid credit card, I got one from my bank, SunTrust. Be sure to call your bank and let them know that you will be abroad, so that they don't freeze your account due to international usage.
I really love to travel and I think the best way to do it is to plan ahead and follow through with all your financial planning and event planning. Research Research Research!

Travel Info: Me, Intro!

I like airports. I like luggage. I like peanuts in little packages. I like the clean uniforms of the flight crew. I like the tiny windows on planes and the open space of trains. I love walking where those who have made history have walked. Mostly, I love coming home. There's nothing like sleeping in your own home after a long trip.

For those reasons and many more, I am creating a travel blog. I will recount some past adventures before moving onto more current ones!