{Four Budget Travel Tips}

As the weather gets colder and colder and colder, I find myself dreaming more and more about our next European adventure this summer (I’ll talk about the possible locations in another post!). But with planning a trip comes budgeting for a trip— a topic that frightens a lot of people (and for good reason… traveling is expensive!).
Throughout the years, I’ve become kind of a pro at the whole budgeting while traveling thing (not to brag or anything…well maybe a little). I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite budget travel tips- I hope they can help you when planning for your next trip.
1. Walk as much as you can-
We travel to see and experience, right? Well, how can we do that if we are always inside a bus, car, or train? Walking allows you to see more of the city that you are visiting and stumble upon places that you might have never seen if you had used public transportation. Walking allows you to find some really great places or hidden gems… my favorite church in Valencia, the location where Julius Caesar was killed in Rome, the most gorgeous viewpoint in Salzburg– each was found randomly on a walk through the city. Plus, if you walk everywhere, you can eat as much as you want and still fit into that bikini that you worked so hard for before your trip!

2. Do your research-
So there’s this saying that goes “nothing in life is free”- well, if you do your research before you travel, you can prove this saying wrong! There are so many activities and things to see that don’t cost any money- you just have to clue yourself in. When we were researching about Madrid, we found that the famous Museo Del Prado has free admission during certain times and as a result, we got to see world famous artwork without spending a dime. You can do this all over the world, you just have to research it beforehand!

3. Look into neighboring cities for cheaper nightly rates-
What do Paris, London, New York City, Cinque Terre, Amsterdam, Annecy and Dublin have in common? Hotels in these cities are expensive! A huge way to save money is to stay outside of these major cities- just make sure that there is easy and cheap access to the city center either by bus, train or foot. When we visited Cinque Terre, we stayed in a nearby town called Levanto (and by nearby, I mean like 5 minutes by train nearby). Not only was the commute to Cinque Terre easy and cheap, but we got to stay in a gorgeous area for the fraction of the price that it would have cost in Cinque Terre…and as an added bonus, we got to explore another city that had amazing scenery and delicious food!

4. Eat from supermarkets-
As a traveler, supermarkets are a super great way to save money (see what I did there?). We don’t eat out every meal at home because it would cost too much… so why do it while traveling? You can get an entire meal at a grocery store for a fraction of what it would cost at a restaurant. And not only will you be saving money, but shopping at the local grocery store will allow you to buy what the locals buy and eat what they eat. How better to experience another culture than eating what they do! Supermarkets often sell pre-made salads or sandwiches, but my favorite thing to do is buy some bread, a local cheese and some wine- the perfect dinner and the perfect money saver. Also, as an added bonus, when you buy your meals from supermarkets, the whole city becomes your restaurant, so have fun and choose an amazing location to eat!

Anyone have other money saving tips to share? Let us know!


(2014 Recap}

I realize I’m a little bit late with this post, but I figure that 2014 was way too memorable to let it go that easily…

…and what an incredible year it was! 2014 was a year full of travel. We traveled to Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, England and Canada. Not to mention, Adam and I moved to the northeast! 2014 reignited my love for travel and culture and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!
Here is a look back at some highlights from last year. You can click each image for a further look into that experience!
Oh, and Adam made this awesome video of our entire trip through Europe if you want to take a look (its under 90 seconds!)

{Cinnamon Sugar Sticky Buns}

Breakfast in our household usually consists of bagels or cereals (or in my case, sometimes just a cup of tea), but this weekend Adam and I decided to treat ourselves to some sticky buns. I didn’t grow up eating breakfast pastries of this sort, but they are one of Adam’s favorites, and I don’t blame him! They are sweet, sticky, flaky on the outside, soft on the inside and a perfect treat for a lazy morning in front of the TV in your pajamas.

*Recipe courtesy of Queen Ina Garten

{Holidays Markets/ New York City}

I often talk about things that I was excited to experience when I found out that I was moving to the northeast, and today I am talking about Christmas markets. I had always heard about the famous New York City Christmas Markets; their warm drinks and tasty treats, the red and white tents, the Christmas decorations, gifts for purchase and the scores of people celebrating the holiday season.
This year I spent quite a bit of time exploring the markets at Union Square, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. We tried amazing hot chocolate (so rich and sweet that we felt sick afterwards, but that’s the fun of it, right?) and did a ton of people watching while sipping some coffee in front of the ice skating rink at Bryant Park. It was so much fun to celebrate the holiday season just like the movies!
… and for those of you celebrating, Merry Christmas!

{Christmas Decorations/ New York City}

It’s no secret that Christmas is right around the corner and here in the NYC area, the celebration has already started. From the Christmas windows, to festive decorations and of course, the tree in Rockefeller Center, New York City has not lost its love for the holidays. Every street is full of wreaths, lights, Christmas trees and extravagance!
Checking out the holiday windows has become one of my favorite activities lately. Of course, the Saks Fifth Avenue windows are gorgeous, decorated to depict various fairy-tales as if they occurred in the city. Imagine Snow White as if it occurred on Broadway during an interaction with a street vendor, or Cinderella’s lost slipper actually being designer… New York City whimsy at its finest! Macy’s in Herald Square created their windows to show what Christmas on each of the planets in our solar system looks like. They are so cute, amazing and sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
But the holiday decorations don’t stop with NYC’s iconic window displays. Many stores have decorated the outside or the inside of their buildings- my favorite being Ferragamo with their incredible light display. Some streets are dotted with Christmas trees big and small, and many parks are also donning their own trees complete with lights!
And of course, how can anyone forget… Rockefeller Center definitely does not disappoint. The giant, magnificent tree towers over the square full of children skating in the center’s ice rink, tall nutcracker statues and beautiful white angels that line the pavement.
New York City during the holidays is certainly a magnificent place to be. If you haven’t been before, I definitely suggest it! It completely captures the magic of the holidays. For those of you who have been to NYC during the holidays, what has been your favorite memory or holiday site?

{Cranberry Blaze Cocktail// Holiday Drink Perfection}

Ok guys, have no fear… I have come to the rescue with the perfect drink for your holiday party! I mentioned earlier this week that I went to an event for The Brave Collection. What I didn’t mention was the amazing cocktails that were served there courtesy of Cuca Fresca- and when I say amazing, I mean AMAZING!
These Cranberry Blaze Cocktails are absolutely delicious, totally festive and look beautiful. What more do you need in a holiday drink? Try them for yourself and let me know what you think!
Check out the recipe on the bottom of this post or click here to be taken directly to the Cuca Fresca website.

*Some photos courtesy of The Brave Collection and Cuca Fresca

{The Brave Collection Event}

Wow, things have been busy around here! All good things (aside from a 14.5 hour long delay in Newark Airport last Thursday, which I will get into another day!).
Last week, Adam and I attended an event for The Brave Collection in SoHo. I love this company because it combines two of my favorite things- jewelry and charity! The company was created with the goal of providing underprivileged or disabled Cambodian women a way to earn their own money and help counter the hardships that they face in everyday life. The jewelry is handmade by these women and in return they are paid above average wages and receive benefits such as health insurance and stipends for their children’s education. The company even goes a step further and donates a portion of its profits to help fight human trafficking in Cambodia.
The pieces are beautiful and the perfect gift for the holidays- I just love giving people something they will love that will benefit others as well!

*Some photos courtesy of The Brave Collection