May 23, 2016

10 Commandments of Traveling


1. Thou shalt always be planning the next grand adventure.
Whether it's tomorrow, in a few months, or a few years, always be dreaming of your next trip.

2. Thou shalt always take lots of pictures on your trips.
Cheap trinkets may break or be lost, but your pictures make for priceless souvenirs. Sometimes even hilarious, borderline blackmail ones.

3. Thou shalt never participate in the "traveler" versus "tourist" smack talk.
Can we just grow up? Whether you like visiting the main attractions, seeking out the most off-the-beaten track locales, or a mixture of both, there is no shame in either, and trash-talking one or the other is ridiculous.

If seeing structures like this only makes me a "lowly tourist," then that's just fine with me!
4. Remember the jet lag, but remind yourself that you can sleep another day.
Jet lag? Schmet lag! Never waste a vacation day sleeping. Get yourself on the local timezone as quickly as possible by staying awake until a normal bedtime and not oversleeping in the mornings.

5. Honor the dress codes of the culture.
Don't be that person that attempts to visit the Vatican while wearing a profane t-shirt or thinks it's perfectly acceptable to promenade around the Middle East in a mini-skirt and a tank top. Not only will you be denied entry to various attractions, but you'll attract unwanted attention and be offensive to the cultures you're visiting.

6. Thou shalt not deface natural wonders or man-made monuments.
This really should be a "no, duh" commandment, but you still see headlines about tourists carving their initials onto the Colosseum or snapping fingers off 600 year old statues (allegedly by accident). Don't be stupid, people!

This is the end result of #TouristsBehavingBadly (Photo circa 2010 in Germany)
7. Thou shalt not eat from American fast food franchises when overseas.
Why in the world would you travel all the way to Rome and just order a Big Mac at a McDonald's?! Don't do it! Go for the local cuisine in order to have an authentic gastrointestinal experience.. Your taste buds will thank you.

8. Thou shalt not waste time standing in lines.
Go early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or buy your tickets in advance so you don't spend precious vacation time standing in lines at popular attractions. We Americans have precious little vacation time compared to the rest of the first world, so be good stewards of it by planning ahead and avoiding long lines with good time management and itinerary planning.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against the places you've visited.
If you hated a place, don't say you loved it just because that's the popular viewpoint. I failed to fall under the charm of Paris, and I was honest about it. But I was forthright in my hopes that future visits will change my mind!

A photo posted by Thrifty Gypsy's Travels (@thriftygypsytravels) on

Irony is when your Instagram pictures of Paris are among the most popular on your feed even though it wasn't your favorite city to visit!

10. Thou shalt not covet the travels of thy neighbor.
Find yourself overcome with jealousy when you see the traveling exploits of your friends all over Facebook? Stop pouting and start planning! Get your finances in order so that you can make some memories of your own!


What commandments would you add to this list? Join the convo on Twitter with the #TravelCommandments hashtag!

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Last Week's #TravelTuesday Faves:
Tropical Islands Near Berlin by Joanna at Me and my itchy feet
Exploring Chichen Itza and The Ik Kil Cenote by Setarra, A Life Happening Blog


#TravelTuesday May 2016 Theme Post:
The Best of #TravelTuesday

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately that time has come for this #TravelTuesday link-up. Due to Bonnie’s departure and the real-life demands of the current co-hosts, next week will be the last #TravelTuesday as it presently exists. 

But before the #TravelTuesday link-up is disbanded, we would like to celebrate all that has been accomplished and shared over the last few years of its existence! We are inviting all past participants and former co-hosts to join together for one last link-up next week (May 31st) with a theme highlighting the Best of #TravelTuesday! Share your favorite memories from the link-up or provide a personal montage of the blogger-friends you’ve made through #TravelTuesday. Feel free to share up to three posts, whether yours or a favorite from another blogger, so that this last link-up features the best of what #TravelTuesday provided!

Next week we will be sharing a list of travel link-ups that will enable you to collaborate with even more people in the travel blogging community!


Theme Prompts:
What are your favorite memories or posts from #TravelTuesday? 
Did you become friends with any of the bloggers you met through the link-up? Provide a personal montage of the friends you've made through the link up!
If you could spend the day with any of the co-hosts (past or present), who would it be and where would you go?

We look forward to linking up with all you wonderful people one last time next week for the best #TravelTuesday link-up yet!

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Travel Tuesday Link up and new Host search




May 16, 2016

Hey, Americans! Get Traveling!


"Even if their employers offered unlimited vacation days, most [Americans] wouldn't take any more time off than they do now."



As a self-described travel addict enthusiast, reading those words is nigh unto blasphemy to me. I've never had a problem using all the paid time off my employer has given and have even taken unpaid leave for travel plans on occasion. But the fact that so many Americans leave their precious paid time off sitting on the table is unfathomable to me. Compared to counterparts in other first world countries, we Americans actually operate under a severe deficit of paid days off. In Germany employers are required to give 20 paid days off to their employees (in addition to holidays), but even that's not as generous a policy as found in Andorra, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, and Panama, where 30 days is the mandated minimum time off.

Now this post isn't intended to champion a political stance of forcing employers to give more PTO. Although I would love for employers to offer more generous vacation benefits, I would not advocate government intervention to accomplish this. No, this post is meant as a wake up call to those of you who haven't been cashing in on your paid time off!

Hey, Americans! It's time to start traveling! Let's debunk your excuses for not going.


Excuse #1: I don't have the money.
Many of you may say that your financial situation is the primary reason you don't use your vacation days. You can't afford to take big trips abroad, so why bother even taking the time off? You'd rather save the PTO for a "rainy day" or for that big trip you've been planning for ages but never quite seem to actually book. If this is your situation, you need to get your financial house in order. Right now your money (or lack thereof) is dictating your life instead of you telling your money where you want it to go. Buckle down and get your finances straight; eliminate frivolous spending and pay off your debts so you can start traveling! And who says traveling is only about international trips? As Americans, we are fortunate to be living in a very diverse country in terms of culture, nature, and attractions. Beat feet in your own backyard!

Psst! If you missed my Turning Pennies Into Memories series, check it out!



Westminster Cathedral selfie when touring alone
Excuse #2: I don't have anyone to travel with me.
Who says you can't travel alone? Many of the bloggers I follow are young, single females who almost always travel alone and have a blast doing so! You don't have to be an extrovert to make a few acquaintances while on the road, and you shouldn't let a lack of a significant other or bestie be the reason to miss out on making your travel dreams a reality. Lately it's become almost a travel fashion statement to have at least one solo travel experience under your belt! While I dearly enjoy the travel memories I have with my husband, I've also enjoyed my solo excursions both for regional trips and solo sightseeing in London (twice) while my husband was busy with his business trip duties.

Fodor's has a cool list of 10 Reasons to Travel Alone that's worth reading! 



Living the good life in Oia, Santorini, Greece
Excuse #3: Even though my work gives me time off, I feel like I can't really be away from my job long enough for a real trip.
Bottom line is that if your employer gives paid time-off, use it. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and if you don't take advantage of vacation days to actually take a vacation, there's a good chance you'll get burned out and be a less valuable employee. On top of that, who said you have to take weeks off at a time in order to travel? Take extended weekends as a tourist in your own backyard! Or take a long weekend to just one city in western Europe or visit an island in the Caribbean. Normally I would recommend a minimum of 10 days in Europe just to justify the cost of plane tickets, but if you catch a good deal on airfare, you could pick one city in the UK and tour many of the sites in just a few days. In my first trip to London I was able to tour Westminster Abbey, hear Big Ben chime across the Thames, see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, eat a (overpriced, but delicious) hot dog in St. James Park, pose with the lions at Trafalgar Square, pop into the British Museum to gawk at the Rosetta Stone, climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral for breathtaking views of London, and explore the Tower of London - all in only 48 hours! Where there's a will, there's a way!

WOWAir and Norwegian Air offer some great airfare from the East Coast to select destinations in Europe!



So have I convinced you yet? Where are your 2016 travels going to take you?


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We’re looking for the next travel crazy, social media savvy, bigger-than-life personality to become the new host and new face of the #TravelTuesday link-up! Nominations for yourself or others are still being accepted prior to a vote which will be open for all to participate in selecting a new host!

Minimum #TravelTuesday Host Requirements:
1. Love TRAVEL and have had an active blog for at least six months.
2. Be awesome (goes without saying, right?).
3. Able to commit to at least a year of being the anchor host. General responsibilities include: the generation of the link-up, promoting the link-up and participants on social media, and in all respects being the face and personality of the #TravelTuesday link-up.
4. Facilitate the nomination and rotation of co-hosts every three months as in the past.
5. If at the end of the year you are unable or unwilling to continue being the anchor host, you will be required to reopen the nomination and voting process of a new anchor host.

Please send your nominations along with a brief explanation as to why you would be a great #TravelTuesday anchor host to any of the three co-hosts listed below:

Diana: dianadegzz (at) gmail.com
Rachel: anestingnomad (at) gmail.com
Katrina: thriftygypsytravels (at) gmail.com

Please send your nominations along with a brief explanation as to why you would be a great #TravelTuesday anchor host to any of the three co-hosts listed below:

Diana: dianadegzz (at) gmail.com
Rachel: anestingnomad (at) gmail.com
Katrina: thriftygypsytravels (at) gmail.com

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Travel Tuesday Link up and new Host search


My #TravelTuesday Faves:
I loved Kids Travel Books' post about how to get up close and personal with STONEHENGE. I've not yet been, but as we travel lovers like to say, it's on the list!
If you missed Christy Swags' post on Prague, check it out asap! If those pictures don't convince you to book a trip to Prague, then I guess you're just a hopeless case. ;)

Link Up With Us!
1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favourite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about travelling somewhere! 
2. GRAB the temporary button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention one of your co-hosts in a link! 
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. 
4. FOLLOW your co-hosts on Bloglovin'.
5. CONNECT with your fellow travel loving bloggers! Be sure to leave a comment, and share your favourite posts on social media.

TIPS: 
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups! 
2. The last Tuesday of every month is a themed prompt, if you want to join in. 
3. Include a​ (vertical 735px x 1102px)​ pinnable image in your blog post; as at least one of the co-hosts will be going around pinning your posts. 
4. Don't forget to use the #TravelTuesday hashtag on your social media platforms!


May 09, 2016

Footloose & Rabies Free


Hi, my name is Katrina. I'm a little bit crazy and 100% weird, but I promise I don't have rabies.* 

No, really. I don't.

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My favorite city
If I haven't scared you away yet, welcome! As a new co-host of the #TravelTuesday link-up, I thought it the perfect opportunity to (re)introduce myself to the travel blogging community and showcase a little bit of what you'll find scribbled here at the Villainous Viking's Vacations The Thrifty Gypsy's Travels (TGT). I've been writing about our backyard adventures and international travels for over two years now. Buried in these archives, you'll find everything from tips on how to find (and not spill) the best gelato in Europe, excited accounts of bumping into celebs at random historic sites, and some self-deprecating "uh-oh" moments like when I threw pizza on the floor or elbowed an unsuspecting waiter in the groin in Italy. Yeah, that happened.

In addition to those amusing tall tales, you'll find more serious and grown-up discussions regarding the nuts and bolts of traveling: how to budget, how to find a hotel, how to plan the "perfect" itinerary, etc. As the name of the blog suggests, you don't have to have a Godzilla-sized budget in order to travel. I'm living proof that you can travel even when working a low paying job and/or your husband is going through a period of unemployment.

Cookin' up trouble in Pompeii
And speaking of husbands... throughout this whole traveling-and-blogging-about-it experience, I have been accompanied by my hunky and ever patient hubby, Danny, who has witnessed and preserved my most embarrassing travel moments with some of the best photographs money couldn't buy. We've been married for nearly six years, and just within the past few months, we began the biggest adventure of all: becoming the proud parents of a baby girl. Forgive my bias, but she's pretty much the most beautiful tiny human in the world. I'd post pictures of her, but she'd break the internet with her adorable little face.

The four-legged member of our motley crew, Dixie Doodle Darlin', joins our adventures close to home, shedding her hair across the U.S. (and all over my car) and risking emergency visits to the veterinarian with every crab she attempts to lick.

A photo posted by Thrifty Gypsy's Travels (@thriftygypsytravels) on

So thanks for stopping by! I look forward to rubbing elbows with you and swapping some good travel stories over these next few months with #TravelTuesday.

Let's break the ice! What famous person (dead or alive) would you want to travel the world with for a year and why?

Want more Thrifty Gypsy? Follow me!


*Funny story, but I actually have gone through the series of rabies shots thanks to an unfortunate encounter with a winged fiend in my college apartment shortly before my 21st birthday. That makes me the closest thing to Batman in my circle of friends. #NowYouKnow

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After years of hosting the #TravelTuesday link-up, Bonnie has decided to step away from her position as host. Please join us in thanking her for her contributions over the years and wishing her all the best in her endeavors!

With Bonnie’s departure, the current co-hosts of #TravelTuesday - Diana, Rachel, and Katrina – have just one question for you…

Do YOU Want To Be The Next #TravelTuesday Host?!
We’re looking for the next travel crazy, social media savvy, bigger-than-life personality to become the new host and new face of the #TravelTuesday link-up! Nominations for yourself or others will be accepted today, May 3rd, through Sunday, May 15th. A shortlist of nominees will be announced on Tuesday, May 17th, and a vote will open for all to participate in selecting a new host!

Minimum #TravelTuesday Host Requirements:
1. Love TRAVEL and have had an active blog for at least six months.
2. Be awesome (goes without saying, right?).
3. Able to commit to at least a year of being the anchor host. General responsibilities include: the generation of the link-up, promoting the link-up and participants on social media, and in all respects being the face and personality of the #TravelTuesday link-up.
4. Facilitate the nomination and rotation of co-hosts every three months as in the past.
5. If at the end of the year you are unable or unwilling to continue being the anchor host, you will be required to reopen the nomination and voting process of a new anchor host.

Please send your nominations along with a brief explanation as to why you would be a great #TravelTuesday anchor host to any of the three co-hosts listed below before Sunday, May 15th:

Diana: dianadegzz (at) gmail.com
Rachel: anestingnomad (at) gmail.com
Katrina: thriftygypsytravels (at) gmail.com

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Travel Tuesday Link up and new Host search


Last Week #TravelTuesday Highlights:
Finding Donut Heaven in New Orleans - Because who doesn't love donuts?!
Day Trip Diaries: Rockport, MA - Because no matter how long I live in the South, I do love reminiscing on my New England roots.

1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favourite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about travelling somewhere! 
2. GRAB the temporary button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention one of your co-hosts in a link! 
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. 
4. FOLLOW your co-hosts on Bloglovin'.
5. CONNECT with your fellow travel loving bloggers! Be sure to leave a comment, and share your favourite posts on social media.

TIPS: 
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups! 
2. The last Tuesday of every month is a themed prompt, if you want to join in. 
3. Include a​ (vertical 735px x 1102px)​ pinnable image in your blog post; as at least one of the co-hosts will be going around pinning your posts. 
4. Don't forget to use the #TravelTuesday hashtag on your social media platforms!