Ever since our first experiment with AirBnB (where we snagged a New York City...
Any hopes we had of drying out after we left rainy Hoi An were quickly dashed. Our next destination has a reputation for notoriously bad weather, and in that regard Hue, Vietnam, more than exceeded our expectations.
In addition to the unrelenting cold and rain, the city also greeted us with a dose of unexpected irony. We had literally just pushed the print button on an article calling false every bad thing we had heard about Vietnam. Instead of the unfriendly and unscrupulous people we had been told to expect, everyone we actually met was exceedingly warm and helpful.
I guess we should have known that bad things happen when you tempt the Fates because it was the very next day that we boarded a bus to Hue.
With New Year’s celebrations now over it’s time for the hard work of resolution honoring to begin in earnest. Many of us will start the year resolving to spend less money and save more. If you’re like Shannon and me, the objective may be to accumulate enough to travel the world; or maybe you’re trying to build a college fund or pad a retirement nest egg. All worthy goals.
Unfortunately our good intentions are typically doomed to failure right from the start. By mid-year most of us will have fallen back into the same bad habits we resolve each year to end. We do that not because we lack the necessary willpower, but because we lack the correct perspective. To change our financial behavior we need to fundamentally change the way we think about money. We need to find a way to turn human nature, which constantly tempts us away from our long-term goals, to our advantage. Fortunately that is easier to do than you may think.
Hoi An, as I mentioned earlier, was somewhat unkind to us. But it wasn’t just the rain. In addition to dodging drops we also had a terrible time finding good places to eat, let alone great ones.
Partly, I think we just got spoiled in Hanoi. It was so easy to find delicious meals in Hanoi that almost anywhere else would seem a disappointment by comparison. And so it was initially with Hoi An.
Don’t get us wrong, Hoi An is a lovely city. But it really is a tourist town. Unfortunately, many of its eateries reflect that. Too many cater to what they think westerners want and serve up mediocre food at inflated prices as a result.
In the past we’ve been able to side-step tourist cuisine by avoiding the places where tourists eat. But in Hoi An, that strategy didn’t always work. We had bad experiences at upscale places as well as downscale ones and everywhere in between.
Through sheer persistence, and a week of trying, we did eventually uncover these handful of standouts.
There’s something vaguely exciting about the blank visa pages contained within my passport. As much as I love the stamps documenting where I’ve been, it’s those empty visa spaces where all the possibilities reside; each one bursting with promises of travel stories as yet untold but yearning to be written.
Recently, though, we’ve been burning through our blank visa pages like rolling papers at a Colorado ski resort. The truth is that we’re traveling more these days than our passports were designed to accommodate. It’s a high class problem for sure. But it is a problem nonetheless. And one that we suddenly realized we’d need to deal with before we can board the flight we already booked to Greece this spring.
The good news is that the U.S. government allows its citizens to add up to 72 blank pages to their passports. The bad news is that they make doing so an unnecessarily ridiculous ass-ache.
Of all the digital ink devoted to budget travel advice this one topic is strangely overlooked: How to avoid getting screwed when exchanging your money into a foreign currency.
Traveling overseas almost always means paying for things in a currency other than your own. And while today’s travelers have more options than ever for obtaining local currencies, almost all of those options have costs.
Make a mistake converting your money and you can easily add 10-20% to the price of everything you buy. Here’s how to avoid doing that.