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2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers: Under $100

I created a similar gift guide last year, and was excited to post a bit earlier this season so there’s still time to shop for family and friends! This gift guide is geared toward the people in your life who love travel. Much of my year involved travel, so I had quite a few gift ideas! The items featured in this travel-themed holiday gift guide include items / accessories that I own and use, or items on my personal wishlist! Best of all, the gifts I’ve linked are under $100 (and most are less than $50!). And there’s still time to catch the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts and sales.

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Travel

Away Carry-On Luggage: Follow-Up Review

I purchased a piece of carry-on luggage from the Away brand just before I left for London. A few months into my trip, I wrote a review summarizing my thoughts about the luggage and the brand. At that point, I’d taken the suitcase on my international flight to London, as well as two weekend trips. It was enough to form an initial opinion, but now I have more to say after 6+ months of European adventures with my Away bag at my side.

If you’re interested in why I purchased the carry-on, be sure to read my original review. I wrote in depth about the multiple options (in size and color) offered by the brand, the features of an Away bag, and the price.

My Away carry-on is also featured in my post “What to Pack in Your Carry-On.” I wrote…

I love the matte finish and the square shape. It’s extremely durable. And I’m a fan of the two-sided interior – I was able to fit quite a bit in this bag.

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Travel

Ultimate Guide to Planning a Trip to Europe

So you’re planning a trip to Europe – you’re touring Italy or vacationing in Greece, and you’ve got an entire Pinterest board dedicated to the trip. That’s awesome! I’ve been there, and the conceptualization stage is a fun place to be, because the possibilities are endless and the world is your oyster. But when it comes to the nitty gritty of trip planning, things can be a bit more difficult and overwhelming.

Sure, there’s plenty of information about booking your flight or what to pack for your week in Spain, but how do you actually go about planning your trip from start to finish? Where are you supposed to begin?

Having studied abroad as a student and then lived in London for 6 months, I have some experience in this area. My roommates and I planned trips to Copenhagen, France, and Italy while we studied abroad. And when my time as a Program Assistant was up, I traveled with my parents to Germany and Austria and then met a friend in Ireland.

Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about planning European travel! I’ve worked with my family and friends to plan the logistics of multiple trips abroad. That’s why I’d love to share what I’ve learned in this ultimate guide. There are several ways to go about planning a trip, and I’ll walk you step-by-step through each stage of the process so that you can make all the necessary decisions with confidence.

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Travel

How to Shop for Authentic, Thoughtful Souvenirs: Best British Gifts for Family and Friends

Whether you’ve lived in the UK for a while or are merely visiting, chances are you’ll want to bring back goodies for your family and friends at home. There is so much for Americans to love about British culture: afternoon tea, the royal family, the English accents. So why is shopping for souvenirs so challenging? There’s no way to know what your mom/dad/sister/uncle/cousin might want, so you purchase the typical t-shirt or keychain and call it quits.

Look, I don’t blame you! There’s nothing wrong with t-shirts and keychains (I have both). When I lived in London as a student, it was really important to me to find gifts that were local and authentic. At the time, I’m not even sure I knew what that meant, much less where to find gifts meeting that description. I was totally guilty of purchasing last-minute trinkets at the tourist shop down the street.

In this post, I’ll go over 1) how to select appropriate gifts for family and friends, 2) how to select the best souvenirs for yourself, and 3) the best British brands to purchase from, including a list of gift/souvenir suggestions.

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Travel

“Up at the O2” in London

So this was an especially fun, out-of-the-box activity. The O2 Arena is a well-known indoor arena in London, hosting sporting events and concerts. I’d visited the arena multiple times before, once on my way out to Greenwich and twice for concerts (5 Seconds of Summer and Demi Lovato). What you might NOT know about the O2 is that you can pay to scale / climb to the top for a panoramic view of the river and the city.

“Up at The O2” is a bit touristy, for sure, but probably not something first-timers would consider or even know much about. This is why I’ve put it on my list for seasoned Londoners, because it’s something to do with family or friends in an area of town you probably haven’t yet explored.

Unlike other sightseeing / touristy activities, this is more physical. Keep this in mind for the rare dry and sunny day (or evening!). We went mid-morning on a day in early August, and it was quite sunny and hot. We were drenched in sweat by the end!

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