Travel thread

Discussion in 'Free Range' started by nym711, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    The husband and I can finally afford to go on decent vacations. I want to know where you've been, what you did, and if you recommend it.

    I've never left the US before so I'm ready to start exploring.
     
  2. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    I went to Korea for work once. It's a beautiful country and the people are super friendly and everyone in Seoul speaks English. But after being there for a week I gag at the taste of kimchi - just... no, no more Korean food, ever.
    We went to Europe for our honeymoon for almost 3 weeks and I want to move. Amsterdam is super fun and also awesome with the canals and everything. And the weed and hookers - if you're into that. We had fun smoking and looking at hookers in the windows in the rld.
    We stayed in a super cute little city in Belgium - Durbury - which I would totally go back to. They have their own beer which is SO GOOD and I can't find here anywhere. :sad: Durboise. We were there for the Spa F1 Grand Prix which was amazing if you're into motorsports. So organized and clean and even good parking in the middle of the forest.
    Italy - heaven. We stayed mostly in northern/central Italy. Tuscany is heaven on earth if you like art and old shit and food. We took a cooking class from a woman in Florence and bought some wine from her friend who has a vineyard. I told hubs I want a case of it for Christmas. Pisa is as cool as it looks. There's a swank outlet mall in Florence, too - I got some Prada sunglasses that look redic but my husband picked them out, so.
    Milan was the most modern city - you could live there no problem. The metro and all public transportation was SO easy to use. We parked the car for 3 days and walked or took the M everywhere. We went to a race there, too, and fuck, Italians are assholes. Monza was dirty and gross and people were rude and tried to steal our seats, but the race was awesome. Milan is the place I don't have to go back to.
    Venice - I thought was really cool. It's weirdly peaceful and super busy at the same time. No cars or scooters, but everyone is running around. I loved it - there's tons of art, etc, and the castle thing. But stuff is redic expensive. We just went for a couple days.
    Monaco - if you want to feel out of place, that's the place to go. I loved it though, everything is gorgeous and people aren't super pretentious, they're just filthy fucking rich. I want to be them and vacation there in the harbor in my yacht. Breakfast on the roof of the Fairmont watching them come and go - yeah - my kind of life. Sadly at $700/night it was just a once in a lifetime kind of thing.
    Germany is so... German. So organized. LOVE the Autobahn, even in a shitty Opel. Stuttgart was more fun than Frankfurt - Frankfurt seemed kind of ghetto. Stuttgart has Porsche and Daimler and all kinds of museums and pretty public spaces. We missed Oktoberfest by a week so we didn't go to Munich.
    We only drove through Austria and Switzerland and stopped for lunch but my impression was Austrians are like friendlier Germans and Swiss are assholes. But they make damn good cheese and chocolate, so...

    We're going to China next - I can't wait. I imagine lots of food poisoning, but I've always wanted to see the great wall and terra cotta soldiers.

    I do not recommend traveling like my husband. We do way too much in too little time. Pick a couple places and don't try to visit, like, a whole continent in one trip or you'll just want to go back.
     
  3. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    Thanks!

    We thought about going to Hong Kong because they speak English there but the cost and the days traveling is keeping us from going. Maybe one day when S has more vacation days.
     
  4. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    Husband says Hong Kong was the most frustrating place he ever visited. He thought "no problem here - I speak English and Chinese!" Wrong. They speak a little English, but mostly Cantonese, he speaks Mandarin. He could read most of the signs and menus (though apparently ended up with fish heads once without knowing what he ordered), but couldn't really communicate with hardly anyone.

    There weren't as many English-speakers in Germany and Italy as we were led to believe, but it was fun traveling together. Us against the world - we figured it out. Italy was easier since we know a little Spanish and it's so similar to Italian.
     
  5. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    Nice to know. We're headed to Costa Rica in February and neither one of us speak Spanish. We have most of our transportation figured out so at least we won't get lost.
     
  6. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    Costa Rica? I'm jelly. I'm working on getting my husband to take a relaxing tropical vacation.
     
  7. virgo

    virgo Chicken

    I was just talking to R last night about vacations. When we pay off our debt, we're going to go to Ireland and then later on, Tahiti. Those are the 2 trips that I really want to take. Since we won't be having kids or buying a house, we should be able to save up for both of those.
    nym711- I took a 2 week trip to Europe back in 2005 (2006? I don't remember). We went at the end of April/beginning of May. My friend and I went to London, Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid and Ibiza. It was way too much for only 2 weeks. I loved Dublin and Madrid. London was ok but I have no desire to go back. I'd go back to Barcelona even though my experience wasn't the best. It started out on the wrong foot. We flew into a smaller airport and had to take a bus that dropped us off Jeff Goldblum knows where. It was getting dark and we had to figure out how to get to our hostel. Then we couldn't find it. It was the first city we went to in Spain so the language change plus all the other crap sort of ruined it for me. When I look back though, it really was a nice city. The architecture was amazing. BUT if I had to choose, I'd pick Madrid over Barcelona. I LOVED it there. Everyone was so nice and it was a laid back vibe. The weather was gorgeous.
    That's really the only exciting vacation I've been on. R and I have been to Hawaii a few times. We'd love to take a train vacation. Amtrak has so many awesome looking routes. We want to take them all!
     
  8. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    If anyone is interested in U.S. travel, I love Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Both are very beautiful Southern cities with lots of charm and good food. I bet some of the houses even of basements.

    We went to one of the Hearst Estates in Northern California for a family vacation in June. It was amazing. Celebrities and rich people stay there. I even got a "like" from a minor celebrity (on some Disney channel or something, I had to google her because her pictures looked very good) on one of my Instagram photos where I tagged Wyntoon. Not trying to menzies us in any way. After all, I'm wearing my $15 New York and Company Outlet dress and my $15 take 50% off of the marked down price, and take another 20% of that shoes. If you ever get a chance to stay at any of the Hearst properties, do not hesitate. Just go.
     
  9. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3

    We just went to Costa Rica back in June. LOVED IT. We were only there for 5 days, and we stayed in Bajos del Toro, which is a teeny tiny town in the mountains. But we stayed at this amazing resort (El Silencio - http://www.elsilenciolodge.com/). They were really tucked away and had a ton of hiking trails right on the property with 3 waterfalls. They had a great spa too. We basically got up early every day, had breakfast, did some activity in the morning - hiking, horseback riding, went to a different waterfall off property one day, walked to town for cheap costa rican lunch, and then came back before it would start raining in the afternoon. Read books and took naps in the afternoon then had fancy dinner at the resort at night. Highly recommend it and would love to go back. 5 days was long enough at that resort since it was so tucked away, but I'd love to go to other parts of the country, see the volcanoes, maybe go to the beachy part. Edit: Oh yeah, and we don't speak spanish but we did okay. We had transportation arranged with the resort and everyone there spoke English. We only had trouble when we went to town. I'm certain we paid a gringo tax, but stuff was so cheap there, it really wasn't a huge deal. I just assume it's my punishment for not paying enough attention in Spanish class. :)

    We were originally planning for Peru (Machu Picchu/Inca Trail) in 2014, but there's some uncertainty with my husbands job so I think we are haivng to push that back. :sad: I think we are going to do Sedona, AZ instead since it's cheaper.
     
  10. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    Awesome! We're going to the Arenal Volcano area to enjoy the hot springs and relaxation mostly. We're only going for four nights because that's all the vacation time husband can allot for it right now since he has 10 days total for the year. I don't have anything planned two of the evenings but we want to explore a bit of the town and enjoy some Costa Rican food.
     
  11. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3

    YES! We wanted to stay at the Arenal Volcano area but then the resort I wanted was sold out by the time we got to booking it. Our resort had a day trip to Arenal Volcano, but it was like $200pp, so we were like, uhhh we'll just come back to CR some other time and stay closer to that area.
     
  12. Apples&Oranges

    Apples&Oranges Chicken

    We took a train from Chicago to NOLA. It was fun at first, but got old relatively quick. I also took a train from Chicago to NYC when I was moving to NYC. Nice scenery , but again, it gets old. And they weren't very timely. Lots of delays that stretched it out longer. If you did a train trip, I would be sure it's only one way and either fly or drive back.

    We haven't done a ton of traveling because all our vacation time and money ends up going towards visiting my family in another state, which is actually quite expensive. We went to New Orleans for our honeymoon and loved it! We can't wait to go back one day. Last year, we said screw my family and we went on a vacation to Canada instead. Not super exciting, but that's my only non USA vacation lol We went to Montreal, which was a tad boring but everyone spoke English and French pretty much so it was good practice. Then we went to Quebec City. It was gorgeous! But not so much English lol We stayed at the Ice Hotel for a night as well and it was super, super fun. Overall, we found there wasn't a lot to do though as so many places were closed and walking around outside was just too cold. We would have had better luck in the summer, but of course then we couldn't have stayed at the Ice Hotel.

    I would love to go to Costa Rica. It sounds like such an adventure. I'd love to go zip lining, or tubing down a river. Unfortunately, my husband isn't into that type of thing so I'm not sure if we'd ever go. I would definitely prefer that over Europe. I also want to go to Iceland. The ads in the subway make it look nice! I don't even like the cold very much. Once the baby is bigger and I'm back to work, I plan on looking into cruises a bit more. There's a port where we live so we could probably save a bunch of money not having to book a flight or stay in a hotel for a night.
     
  13. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    The resort we wanted was also sold out. We're saving $100/night on our second choice though. I guess that should make me feel better but I wanted the private hot tub and hammock. Oh well, other time maybe.
     
  14. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3

    haha, we had the private hot tub at ours and it was so cold at night that we only used it once. Damn mountain weather.
     
  15. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    Chicago is my favorite US city because its close enough to drive but still cool. Husband hates the aquarium but I make him go.

    I really liked San Antonio and the river walk there too. Stay on the river walk but definitely explore everything over by the Alamo and downtown.

    It's been forever since I've vacationed in Cali, I've just been there for work, but I remember loving San Diego.
     
  16. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    I'm going on a cruise with my girlfriends in late October 2014. It's a five night Carnival cruise but it is only $400 per person. Once I made my deposit, I had until August 2014 to pay off the balance. Cruises are so cheap and you get so much for the money. One of the guys I work with is a frequent Carnival cruiser so I asked a ton of questions before booking.
     
  17. android

    android Founding Messiah

    I love cruises although I haven't taken one in a while, if you go off-season (say October as opposed to June) you can get such good deals. Plus one of R's aunts works for Carnival so I have access to mad discounts in the future :)
     
  18. sweatermuffins

    sweatermuffins Chicken

    I'm going to go ahead and give my vote for Argentina!

    I went a few years ago with some girlfriends for a week, and we loved it! None of us speaks Spanish, and we managed to get around fairly well. It's pretty cheap (especially compared to Europe) and soooooo delicious. Steak, pasta, dulce de leche....seriously, I am drooling thinking about it. We stayed in Buenos Aires for a few days, then jetted up to the Iguazu Falls. We were pretty unlucky in that our day at the falls was freezing and raining, but even then, I still thought the falls were breathtaking.
     
  19. nym711

    nym711 THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

    An addition to US travel - Cape Cod if you want a relaxing vacation and seafood. I've been twice. Once was a week trip to husband's extended family's house that has been in magazines and another time for a wedding during labor day weekend.

    I liked San Diego but did not enjoy the company and traffic.

    Going to Ireland because we're not paying for it. It's not on our places to go list but free is free.
     
  20. kthom

    kthom Cute Food <3


    I went to college in SA. I loved the Riverwalk, but agree that it's very touristy. I wouldn't eat at the restaurants there because they are just kinda overpriced and not that great, but it is pretty to walk around, there's always someone playing music, just a nice place. I don't mind doing dorky tourist things like the boat tour though. But yeah, the hill country is awesome, agree that Alamo is a must see. Having live in Texas after college, we really only went to SA for Schlitterbahn and Tubing the river (which is not even really in SA, more outside the metro area) and good mexican food. Ahhhhh would love to be back at Mi Tierra. NOM NOM NOM.
     
  21. Lh718

    Lh718 Chicken

    I love that place! I went to school in Austin, and SA was a fun day trip.

    Our next trip is to New Orleans. P lived there for a couple of years, and I've been a few times. We love the area for the history and the amazing food. Hopefully, if we don't have any expensive surprises, we'll be able to save enough to go in June. Yeah, it's hot, but that's the only time we are both free of school.

    As for outside of the US, might I suggest Peru? I went there for a botany class in grad school, and it was phenomenal. We mostly stayed in the rainforest, but we did get one day/night in Lima, which was really fun. There are companies that have resorts out in the rainforest. They cook all the meals, and they have guides to show you around. It's NOT luxurious by normal definitions, but it's more than just roughing it for sure.
     
  22. Apples&Oranges

    Apples&Oranges Chicken

    Longhorn, we went to NOLA at the end of May and the weather wasn't bad at all! Maybe it wasnt humid or something, but we were never uncomfortable from the heat even though we walked around in the sun all day. It was sunny and mid 80s when we were there.
     
  23. gimmeoatmeal

    gimmeoatmeal Chicken

    We're saving up for the South of France for our fifth anniversary. I'm so excited! We were supposed to honeymoon in Belize, but I was still really sick around that time, so we banked the costs for baby expenses, and minimooned, instead.
     
  24. IKLP

    IKLP Chicken

    Scotland is next on our list. Castles. Scotch. Big sweaters. Fuck yes.
     
  25. virgo

    virgo Chicken

    That’s what I’m afraid of. We’re both huge train enthusiasts (so much so that we took a road trip to the middle of nowhere, CA just to see trains) but I worry being on a train for that long would get boring and uncomfortable. It’s also really expensive!