Tag Archives: europe

Photo Gallery: Symmetry and sunburns in Seville

After nearly three weeks in the United Kingdom, I continued my journey to Spain, where I’ll be staying for about a month. My first stop? Hot, hot Seville. The temperature was pushing 100 degrees the first few days I was there, making me feel like I was right back in the South.

Even better, I kept recognizing familiar faces of other travelers in the city’s quaint streets where everyone strolls at a slower pace. I wish the same could be said about the way Sevillianos talk, but alas, my ears were given a major workout trying to understand the Spanish spoken by quick Andalusian tongues.

Despite some messy miscommunications, I loved it all. Pay a visit. But first, check out my favorite pictures from the trip:

Your best night’s sleep in a hostel (Yes, really!)

Between the bunkmate who’s snoring so loudly it sounds like she’s trying to pass an elephant through her nostril to the drunken bunch celebrating a World Cup win outside your window, it can be hard to feel rested while staying in hostels. Follow these tips, and learn how getting a good night’s sleep is actually quite eas—zzzzz.

Knock yourself out. Pack your days full of activities and walking. Make yourself so tired that by the time your head hits the pillow, you feel as if you can’t keep your eyes open any longer. By the time your noisy roommate returns, you’ll already be a couple sleep cycles in to not even notice.

Invest in a quality eye mask and ear plugs. No, not the ones from the plane. Cheap foam earplugs can fall out easily, and you don’t want an eye mask that’s so thin you can still tell there’s light shining through it. I suggest REI’s cushioned eye mask and ear plug set. The mask has an adjustable strap and feels like a cloud is snuggling the heck out of your face. The ear buds are a dream, too.

Opt for a smaller room. Fewer roommates mean fewer interruptions. But when your wallet just can’t swing for a smaller, more expensive room at every hostel, designate just a few nights here and there when you treat yourself to a smaller room to catch up on sleep.

Create your own privacy curtain. Privacy curtains are a luxury in the hostel world, but if they don’t come standard at your place, no worries. Go for a bottom bunk, and drape your bath towel overhead of your bed. Voilà! Instant darkness and a chance for your perpetually damp towel to finally dry.

Traveling on a budget: Tips for the frugal foodie

With exotic destinations comes incredible food — but also exorbitant prices. Europe is notorious for its expensive restaurants, and to the cost-conscious traveler, that currency exchange rate doesn’t help much. Only having $20 a day to spend on meals has been a challenge for this self-professed foodie, but I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are some of my tips:

Drink your own water. Many restaurants only offer bottled water even if the local tap is safe to drink. Sure, a water bottle is just a dollar or two, but that money could be better spent on another round of gelato. Fill up an eco-friendly bottle at the hotel before taking on the day.

Opt for food with a view. Take advantage of Europe’s gorgeous parks and riverside views by packing as many picnics as possible. Don’t have a way to prepare food of your own? Many cafés offer their sandwiches and pastries at lower prices if you’re getting carry-out instead of dining in.

Eat lunch out and dinner in. Lunch is always more affordable than dinner. If you have a kitchenette in your hotel or hostel, pick a few nights to make your own meals.

Check out the market at closing time. When it comes to cheap eats, open-air markets are a no-brainer. If you’re looking to get a real steal, head to the market around closing time as vendors drop their prices. Bonus: They can sometimes offer up the tastiest, most authentic food around.

Do your research. When you’re petered out and starving after a long day of sightseeing, the last thing you want to do is sacrifice taste and affordability for an overpriced eatery teeming with tourists just because it’s what’s nearby. Check out reviews online ahead of time for no unpleasant surprises. Know when to splurge and when to save.