Hong Kong and Macau Travel Guide

 

Hong Kong is the heart of international travel in Asia. It is cheap and easy to get to from most places and is one of the most dense and vertical cities in the world. Its neighbor to the south is Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia! Hong Kong and Macau are China’s two “special administrative regions,” which basically means that they operate as their own countries (they have their own currencies and governments and you need to show your passport to get in), even though they are very small in size and are technically part of China. (more…)

Isla Formosa – Exploring Taiwan

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Isla Formosa: What happens when you leave Taiwan’s “concrete jungle” for the real thing

Taiwan’s west coast is lined with seemingly inescapable, crammed, dirty city. But the country was not formerly called Isla Formosa (Beautiful Island) for nothing! Central and eastern Taiwan host a lush wonderland of mountainous beauty. A couple tourist favorites and Taiwan must-sees are Taroko National Park and Sun Moon Lake. They are fairly simple (but not necessarily quick!) to get to and definitely worth the trip. (more…)

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Taipei Travel Guide

Taipei claims to be the heart of Asia and truly is the heart of Taiwanese culture. It is a bustling, international city and a great place for foreigners to visit and explore. Planning to visit Taipei? It is by far the easiest city for getting around in Taiwan, thanks to the MRT subway system, and is quite accommodating to English-speakers. There is plenty of things to do in Taipei, but I’ll use this post to highlight some of the top destinations.
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Travel Accessories You Don’t Want to Go Without

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There isn’t anything comfortable or energizing about traveling long distances in planes, trains, or automobiles. Spending hours and days and crossing time zones in a cramped seat while your over-processed airline food or gas station candy settles at the bottom of your stomach is a recipe for restlessness. There are a few items that can relieve some of the nightmares of traveling, however, and believe me – they are worth the investment!

 

For any travel:

1.     E-reader  – If you are a reader of books or magazines, there is nothing worse than having to haul around a backpack full of heavy books that hogs valuable trunk or carry-on space. Reading material is a must for the hours upon hours spent doing nothing but sitting during travel, but there is a much easier, lighter, and smaller way to bring your library along with you. Up until my most recent trip from Michigan to Taiwan, I was that girl who had a carry-on full of heavy books. But this time, I just packed up my little iPad Mini, stocked with some books downloaded to the Kindle app, and found myself with a whole new world of extra room in my carry-on! It truly is a lifesaver. It is a bit of an investment, but I’ll doubt you’ll regret it. Many e-readers also allow web browsing and have thousands of apps to keep you entertained, as well. (more…)

Weekend Getaway in Sydney, Australia: My #happyplace

 

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There is no place in the world quite like Sydney, Australia. The combination of stunning natural beauty and the energy of one of the biggest cities in the world, boasting some of the planet’s most recognizable landmarks, is unparalleled. The place truly does have something for everyone – it’s paradise!

While spending a few months in Newcastle, a city just a couple hours north of Sydney, I had the privilege of meeting up with one of my best friends from home who was studying abroad in Queensland. We only had a couple days to spend together, but we made them count and made it into a weekend getaway in Sydney! It was one of my favorite memories of my time in Australia, and it was actually a pretty affordable weekend. It was fairly easy to hit all the major sites in just two days without feeling rushed.

We started at Central Station, since we both took the train in, which is a very affordable way to get around Australia. You can get an unlimited “MyMulti Day Pass” for $22 that will get you on any train, bus, or ferry in Sydney for a whole day. This is a must for visiting the sites that are a little further from the Sydney Harbour area. We only got this pass for the second day, as there is enough to see within walking distance of the Sydney Harbour to fill a day and enough in bus, train, or ferry distance to fill another. It ended up working out perfectly. (more…)

How I Saved Over $1500 on an iPhone + Plan

savemoneywithiphoneMost of us fall into one of two categories: those who desperately want a smartphone and those who have become dependent on the many wonderful features their smartphone has offered them. The bad news is that, while the wonders of smartphones are nearly undeniable, so is the high cost. Purchasing and maintaining a smartphone is not cheap! Fortunately, there are some ways to beat the system, and I managed to get myself a shiny new iPhone and unlimited talk, text, and data plan for a price that’s hard to believe! And I did it all without locking myself into a two-year contract, a.k.a. death trap. (more…)

What To Do When Pre-departure Panic Sets In

iStock_000000656811SmallSo you’re about to depart on a grand adventure – whether it’s studying abroad, working abroad, backpacking through Europe, moving to the far-off land in which you’ve always dreamed of living – and as the countdown shrivels away, your panic grows at a frighteningly rapid pace. You have been planning this trip for months, maybe even years, and the anticipation has brought nothing but sheer excitement. But now that your departure date is visible on the calendar and the reality is setting in, all you can think about is what creative ways you can come up with to get out of the trip altogether. How will you pack for months or years abroad in the humorously limited baggage allowance offered by your airline? How will you function in a culture that doesn’t speak your language? How will you survive without mommy and daddy and all of your childhood best friends by your side? And for God’s sake, what will you do without the Super Bowl, country music, and Thanksgiving!? (more…)