My Thoughts On Travel & Vacations

Everyone has their own ideal vacation. I don’t necessarily have a temperature or geographical region preference (probably because I want to go everywhere), but what I do look for in a trip is culture.

For example, I never understand Americans who travel overseas only to have coffee at Starbucks (unless as a last resort, which I’ve done). The beauty of going somewhere different, in my opinion, is trying new things and doing as the locals do! That’s why I don’t normally like staying at resorts. There’s something so commercial and closed off about the whole experience. I do think there’s a time and place for them, but generally speaking they’re not my top pick. That’s part of why I love staying in Airbnb’s. It’s like a peek into what it’s actually like to live where you’re visiting. Here’s a look at some from my time studying abroad:

Paris, France

Berlin, Germany

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Thoughtful welcome gifts from our host

Dublin, Ireland

A cozy corner of the house

Madrid, Spain

The view from the apartment

I wish I had taken more photos of each home, but it didn’t cross my mind at the time.

Recently my family and I were planning a trip, and a few different destinations were suggested. My only requests were that we go somewhere we haven’t been before, and somewhere we could really experience the culture. My all time favorite thing is finding hidden gems of the places I travel to — those spots off the beaten path that add a little something extra in the same way staying at an Airbnb does. So, where’d we pick? You’ll have to wait and see! I will say we’re going somewhere with a lot of exploration opportunities!

We’re staying in a bit of a touristy area from what I can tell, but hey I don’t have anything against a few good tourist attractions mixed in. I feel like often times you HAVE to go to/see/do that touristy thing because of how iconic it is. For example, Westminster Abbey would definitely be considered one of London’s tourist attractions, but it also gives you a look at British culture through its place in history, its architecture, and its role in current society. I also appreciate places like Pike Place Market in Seattle where it’s both a stop for tourists and somewhere locals frequent. On the other end of the spectrum, you won’t find many locals in Time Square, but you can’t go to NYC without seeing it. Then of course there are also those touristic spots that are truly subpar, yet sometimes you have to see them for yourself to realize their subpar-ness. Just my two cents on the topic.

But to each their own! I know a woman who as long as she has a bathtub in her hotel room, she’s happy anywhere. The most important thing is being on the same page as the people you’re traveling with. Not only in terms of destination or type of housing, but also what you’d like to do once you’re there. And if you all have different expectations for a trip, at least you’ll know beforehand and can coordinate/compromise accordingly so everyone will have a nice time. It’ll save you from a lot of potential miscommunication!

What do you look for in a vacation? What’s your favorite part of travel?

With love,


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