Travel Essentials

Saying YES to Hello Fresh!

One thing we love about exploring the world is experiencing amazing cuisine. Having a tasty meal and a good glass of wine with the one you love, maybe with a great view in front of you, is pretty incomparable in our books! 

 

But talk about a reality check when we get home!! One of our biggest struggles is finding our rhythm in the kitchen. We don’t really feel like cooking, few meals compare to the recent feasts we replay in our heads, and dishes are the BANE of our existence. Maybe a little too dramatic, but guys, the struggle is SO real. All that to say, when we recently came across Hello Fresh, we figured  why not?! Worth a try. And we've been hooked ever since! While we still aren’t huge fans of washing dishes, we wanted to share a few reasons why Hello Fresh has been the perfect fit for our lifestyle and our bellies. 

 

Hello Fresh helps us return to the rhythm of being home

As we said above, extravagant meals away from home spoil us and make us lazy. Before Hello Fresh, we'd have great intentions for cooking dinner at home on a weeknight... but when it got time to cook, we'd find a way to negotiate ordering take out instead. We'd end up spending more money than we wanted to on unhealthy food, and we'd usually eat in a rush.  Contrast that with Hello Fresh deliveries, the meals are HEALTHY, delicious, easy to make, and surprisingly fun to do together! While our plan is only 3 meals a week, that gets us used to being in the kitchen, and we often cook at least 2 more nights on our own! Some of our favorite "date nights" recently have consisted of cooking a Hello Fresh together and drinking our favorite bottle of vino!

 

Hello Fresh Makes Us Feel Like You’re Getting Better in the Kitchen (and we probably are!)

This leads us to one of our favorite things about Hello Fresh. It forces us to cook! The recipes are extremely easy to follow and require minimal culinary skill, but all the chopping and mincing and stirring has definitely improved our skills in the kitchen. You get to use ingredients you maybe didn’t know about, and you start to understand things that go together that you wouldn’t have thought of before (Kiwi in salsaCranberry mayo on a turkey burger?)! We find ourselves exploring ingredients on our own when we aren’t eating Hello Fresh meals. While we aren’t quite on their level at culinary pairings, we’re making progress. 

Hello Fresh is weeknight menu GOALS

We’re hoping that one day we can be as creative as the chefs at Hello Fresh. One of the best parts of getting the boxes is opening it up and seeing what they’ve thought of for the week (you can look in advance if you can’t handle the suspense). Bobby hates admitting it, but you really can’t go wrong with the traditional OR the vegetarian menu! The recipes have so much variety and flavor, and consistently satisfy our taste buds. We're serious when we say that we've genuinely LOVED all of our Hello Fresh meals thus far. Can all of our weeknights taste like this? 

Hello Fresh is reliable and FRESH

This is pretty straight forward, but it’s also really important. The Hello Fresh boxes have arrived on time every week, and we’re big fans of that. Also, the produce and other ingredients have consistently been extremely fresh - and most of the time organic! Initially we questioned how good the quality could be when the food is mailed to you in a box. But friends, it’s fantastic. The boxes have re-useable ice packs (we love this) that keep all your goodies cool, safe, and fresh. When you’re ready to give Hello Fresh a try, your food will be on time and delicious!

 

So what are you waiting for?! Give it a try! Use the code TRAVELINGNEWLYWEDS and get a discount on your next box. And send us a message or an email to tell us about your experience! Or... simply invite us over for dinner. ;)

Start Saving Even Before You Leave the Airport

In a past article here on Traveling Newlyweds, we showed how you can enjoy luxurious travel without spending a lot of money. While it's good to plan and monitor your expenses with regards to your destination, the practice of saving should start early on in your trip.

After all, anyone who travels wants to save money, and we’re always looking for ways to save in everything we do. From the hotel and accommodations to the food we eat, travelers in general want to find the most affordable choices possible, but what we don’t always realize is that we can save money even before we leave the airport. 

Airports are notorious for being non-budget friendly places. The items, including food, are generally expensive, with Boarding Area reporting that it’s because even restaurants and retail stores have to pay fees to the airport for operating. “Airports as public entities make things more expensive too,” they write. “There are often monopoly suppliers of certain goods that all restaurants are restricted too.”

But of course, aside from restraining yourself from buying things at the airport, there are other ways to save as well, including:

1. Taking the Express Train

Whenever people travel to the airport, they either ask friends and family to take them, or take taxis, as they’re more convenient. However, many people forget that most airports now have their own express railways. For example, Singapore Changi Airport has a train station that’s accessible by foot from two of its terminals, with the first train arriving at 5:26am and the last departing at 11:18pm. Many people often forget this, but it’s a very convenient way to get to the airport.

2. Choosing Long Stay Parking

There are still many travelers who take their cars to the airport, especially those who are coming from somewhere relatively far from the air hub. If you’re driving yourself to the airport and staying away from home for a few days, airports also have options that allow you to stay frugal. As a point of reference, London’s Gatwick Airport has both short stay and long stay parking, according to the information on airport parking resource Parking4less. Gatwick also has a meet and greet option that can work for passengers in a hurry, and its parking lots also have shuttles that go straight to the airport. This is generally the same across all leading airports, especially in Europe so make sure you do your research well before you set off on your travels.

 

3. Only Exchanging a Small Amount of Money

Convenience tends to cost a lot, which is why, if at all possible, you should exchange your currency pre-departure. Foreign exchange booths at the airport charge two fees: a service charge on top of a high currency exchange rate. To avoid such hefty costs, travel expert Krystin Arneson suggests that you exchange just enough to get you into town so that you can search for reputable international services like Western Union. It also might be slightly cheaper to withdraw cash from a local ATM depending on your bank, as each financial institution has their own rates for foreign charges.

 

Traveling doesn't always have to be an expensive hobby, as you can find small ways to save on even the most trivial things. Follow these three tips, and you’ll find that traveling isn’t as expensive as you first thought.

Keeping it Simple in Bali with our Six Word Itinerary

As most of you probably know, we just got back from the trip of a lifetime to Bali, Indonesia. We were very quickly overwhelmed by the plethora (great word, huh?!) of picture-perfect resorts, world-class restaurants, and dream wanderlust destinations. In order to avoid extreme travel FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), we chose to partner with American Tourister and figure out a six-word itinerary to keep our trip focused. For Bali, it made most sense to have the following six-word itinerary…

 

SURF’S UP. RICE PADDIES. TROPICAL TREATS.  

 

Here we are going to share about how we lived it up with this simple, yet all-encompassing, itinerary. 

 

 

SURF’S UP

Being in Bali, it is not hard to find a spot where the surf’s up. Of the 10 days we were there, Bobby managed to surf EVERY day (even going out twice a few times)!! In Bobby's words, "the surf was big, the water was warm, and the froth level was high" (meaning Bobby never wanted to get out of the water). 

 

One of the best parts about surfing in Bali is that there are so many amazing spots with diverse scenery and waves. From surfing a reef while planes land over your head (Airport Rights), surfing a black sand beach in the jungle with nobody else in sight (Yeh Gangga), or surfing in front of the tiny Warung you slept in before (Balangan)... Bali surf can provide any backdrop. You can find world class barrels at Padang Padang on the Bukit Peninsula or slow rolling surf at Old Man's in Canggu. Bobby tried a little of everything, with his favorite spot being an incredible wave called Medewi. It's not as well-known as some of the other spots in Bali, so keep it hush-hush. Bobby was so excited when we got to our hotel that he was in his trunks with board-in-hand before he'd even taken his luggage to the room. Fortunately, he had the patience to settle into the room before heading out for a surf!

 

If you're thinking "Surf's Up", Bali may be your spot. If you want to explore all the island has to offer, the Z-Lite bag is compact (yet spacious) enough to toss in the car alongside your surf gear. You may find the perfect wave and want to stay awhile!

 

RICE PADDIES

Rice is one of the staples of the Balinese diet. So much so that in the 9th century, the Balinese found a way to fill their sloping landscapes with rice. The irrigation system of canals, tunnels, and temples allowed for all the rice terraces, or rice paddies, to flourish... and man, are they breathtaking! 

 

While there are rice fields everywhere you look in Bali, not all are created equal. The rice fields in Ubud are worth a day trip, as they are so picturesque and majestic (and there is a monkey forest nearby!). We spent hours wandering through the fields, meeting the local farmers, and even having a beer with them! The beauty of the rice terraces wowed us, it's unlike anything we've ever seen before!

 

TROPICAL TREATS

This may have been our favorite part of our itinerary. (And we're not talking just food... although the food BLEW us away!!) 

 

Speaking of which, we had some of the best food we've ever had while we were in Bali. If only we could have packed some of them up in our suitcases! ;) Everything we ate in Bali was so good, so healthy, and so cheap! One of our favorite spots was called Crate - and it was as visually stunning as it was delicious! They had everything from whimsical smoothies to savory egg dishes, and (Bobby's favorite) “The Barber” where they stack French toast, fried banana, scrambled egg, and bacon all together. AH!

Next up. Coconuts. We both had at least one EVERY day! Why not? When in paradise, and when they cost a dollar, why not rehydrate with some fresh coconut water with lime?! Definitely a rhythm we’d like to keep up at home!

 

A tropical treat that doesn’t feel like real life: Balinese massages. For less than $10 you can have an hour-long massage. We'll say it again in case that didn't sink in: For less than TEN dollars you can get an HOUR massage - on the beach!!! It sure is easy (and affordable!) to treat yourself when you're in Bali!

 

And our last tropical treat: the sun. For it’s tanning powers and the show it puts on at the end of each day. Both of us were able to bronze our bodies a few shades darker during our time under the Balinese sun. While we make sure to wear lots of sunscreen, we botha also appreciate a good tan. ;) And of course, the sunsets the sunsets in Bali are on a whole other level. The sun treated us well during our trip!

What made our six word itinerary unforgettable was that it was a solid guide, but also had some flexibility. We knew what we were looking for when it came to the surf and the rice paddies, but we had no idea what kinds of tropical treats we would discover. With such a perfect summer climate, we were able to pack our Z-Lite’s pretty light (who needs more than swimsuits, sandals, and a couple shirts) and have room for all our essentials (and some extra space for souvenirs!)

Thank you to American Tourister for sponsoring this post!

Why We Roll On (Four-Wheeled) Spinners

Luggage comes in all shapes and sizes, and most of us start with what we’re given. When we were younger, all we ever used was duffle bags. At some point, we matured and graduated to a two-wheeled carry-on. It seemed like the BEST thing ever compared to having your bag on your shoulder, and for about twenty years, both of us never thought to change things up. But then we came across Delsey Paris, and we realized we have been missing out on the 4-wheeled revolution. Over the past year, we’ve swapped out all our luggage for a fleet of Delsey bags, including the ChateletTitaniumShadow 3.0, and Bastille Lite (our current favorite). While we are huge fans of the style and durability of hardside luggage, that isn’t the purpose of this blog. Here we want to share with you why we are convinced that 4-wheeled spinner cases are the way to roll.

Disclaimer… Four wheels vs two wheels may seem like a super random blog post. And it is. But we can honestly say it makes all the difference! And we aren’t business travelers that travel weekly, so we don’t claim the following to be true for everyone… but this is what WE have found :)

 

Pulling with the wrist vs. pushing with your body. First off, it really just feels easier to push your suitcase by your side as you walk rather than pull it. Assuming you have good wheels (Delsey bags are SO ridiculously smooth), pushing the bag really feels effortless. If you have bad wrists/shoulders and a heavy bag, pulling it all around the airport will eventually cause a sore wrist/shoulder. Pushing a slick four-wheeler really is as effortless as it gets! 

The 360-degree maneuverability is a game-changer. It really is the main reason why we love these bags so much. These bags allow you to quickly bring it in front of you if you need to go through a narrow opening or turnstile. Think about how many times the line to deplane is held up by somebody who’s two-wheeler can’t fit down the aisle. Glide a four-wheeler sideways, and that will never be your problem. When you hop on the subway/train, the four-wheeler can efficiently move into small open spaces.

(We will say that there are times you do need two-wheels, like bumpy or uneven surfaces where gliding along side of you won’t be ideal. Not a problem, because you can lean it on to two-wheels and advance through the difficult terrain with ease.)

 

If you’ve never had the four-wheel experience, trust us and take one for a spin! Because why settle for two wheels... when you can have four? 

Last-Minute Packing Tips

We're pretty spontaneous when it comes to travel planning. Most of our "big" international trips are planned at least a month or two in advance, but when it comes to domestic travel and weekend trips, sometimes we book those the week of! For many travelers, packing last minute is cause for panic, stress, and an extra strong cocktail. Here's some of our tips for efficiently packing on a time crunch - with a cocktail in hand. ;)

 

1. WRITE A QUICK LIST

This point is probably pretty elementary, but making a list really does help us. Whether we're heading to the Bahamas or backpacking Africa, it's helpful to write down what you need. We start our list at least a week before we leave, giving us plenty of time to mull over it, buy what we need to, and make any last minute additions. If it's truly "last minute", then we start making a list as soon as we know we're going. We recommend sticking your list somewhere you'll see it regularly, like the fridge or the bathroom mirror. That way what you need to get/do beforehand will stay on your radar!

 

2. KNOW YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS

Camping? Cruising? Staying in the penthouse suite? Research where you'll be, what kind of accommodations they have, and what you'll need to bring. If it's somewhere international, chances are you'll need at least one converter. (We recommend bringing at least two - but we have a lot of equipment). If you're staying in a nice hotel, you probably won't need to pack a hair dryer. And if you're roughing it in the Sahara, you might want to pack extra face wipes... You get the picture. ;) We always ask our friends that have been to the destinations before us for packing advice, or even reach out to someone that's a local! You can never be too prepared!

 

3. LESS IS MORE

Let's be real... Bobby is definitely better at sticking to this motto than Alli, but it's something we both stand behind. Do your BEST not to overpack. Chances are, no matter what location you're adventuring to, you'll be able to buy what you need there. We've never been in a bind where we wished we would have brought something that we couldn't purchase later in that destination (knock on wood). Do yourself a favor and get a medium sized suitcase, not the biggest one you can find. If it's not huge, you can't overpack it (well you're at least less likely). Our current favorites are Delsey's Bastille Lite and Shadow 3.0

Delsey Bastille Lite

Delsey Titanium

4. USE A LUGGAGE SCALE

If you've never had one, you probably don't think you need one. We got one as a gift a couple years back and have used it on every trip since. Definitely gives you peace of mind as your packing. Something simple like this. It doesn't have to be digital and pricey. 

 

5. ALWAYS BRING A DECK OF CARDS

There will be times when a flight gets canceled, the power goes out at Hertz and you're stuck without a car (this happened to us in South Africa), or you're waiting in line for a museum to open. You always need a deck of cards. 

 

6. DO YOUR REALLY NEED 4 BATHING SUITS?

This is a HUGE struggle when packing, but we never regret it (so far). Lay out everything you want to take, and then try to start picking items to leave at home. For Bobby this mostly includes shirts. For Alli it's outfits. And shoes. And bathing suits. You are taking 7 t-shirts? How hard would it really be to take 4? Try to halve what your bringing and you'll never overpack.

 

7. DON'T CHECK IMPORTANT ITEMS

This may be obvious, but you should carry-on your passport, cash, credit cards, identification, jewelry, electronics, etc. Keep this stuff in your carry-on. It's not worth the hassle if/when an airline loses your luggage. 

 

8. BULK UP ON THE PLANE

If you have time to kill, scroll through our blog our Instagram and find any and all photos where we are at the airport. We'd bet you money that Bobby is wearing boots, jeans, and probably even a jacket. That's because we always where are bulky items to the airport so we don't have to pack them. We've literally been flying home from Italy in 100 degree heat wearing layers upon layers so we can get one extra bottle of wine home.  Wear your bulky items through security so you don't have to check them, and then peel off some layers once on the plane. Worth it!

 

Do you have any tips for us? We would love to hear!