6 Travel Tips

Since I’ve kicked my travel game up a notch over the past couple years, there are a few travel tips that I’ve embraced along the way.

  1. Do get Global Entry.Global Entry The best present I’ve given myself in recent years is Global Entry. It allows you to breeze through US customs, includes TSA Pre✓® and lasts for 5 years. AND it’s only $100. Definitely a worthwhile investment.
  2. Do let the deal guide you.airfarewatchdog I’ve gotten the chance to experience some great destinations, for cheap, by simply paying attention to flight deals. I never gave thought to going to Dubai, but when I got an alert about flights for under $300, it was a no-brainer. Some of my favorite sites to follow are airfarewatchdog and The Flight Deal. Get hip!
  3. Do get travel insurance. Travel insurance works like any other insurance. You may think, “I don’t want to pay another $20-$40”. Well, you never know what may happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Everyone knows how much of a pain change and cancellation fees can be. Save yourself the potential headache and just get the insurance,
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack.via GIPHY

    I used to be a last minute packer. I also used to be the traveler that sat snuggled on the plane, all ready for my next adventure, only to be struck by panic when I realized I left an important item at home. Packing 2-3 days out makes such a difference. Not only do you have time to go through your checklist several times, but you also have time to edit. No, you probably don’t need 5 pairs of shoes for a weekend jaunt.

  5. Don’t travel with people you don’t like. I’ve heard horror stories of people’s trips being ruined because they decided to go on a trip with people that they didn’t really like in the first place. When traveling, especially outside of the country, it’s super important that you not only get along with your fellow travelers but that you actually like them. No need to ruin a perfectly good trip with bad company.
  6. Do be open minded. “I don’t eat that.” “I don’t like that.” “I’d never do that.” Don’t be that type of traveler. You never know what magical things you can discover if you’re open to trying new things. For example, I’m very anti outdoor activities; however, when in Rio de Janeiro I went on a 5 hour hike through Tijuca Forest. From sitting on the bank of a waterfall, listening to the sounds of nature to sitting inside a centuries old tree with bats flying over my head; it was hands down one of the best experiencing I’ve ever had.Tijuca Forest**Honorable mention: Do know your rights as a flyer. Did you know that you’re entitled to monetary compensation for lost baggage? Or that in lieu of a voucher you can ask for cash? This article from Jet Setter lays out 7 secret passenger rights that you should know.

What are your travel do’s & don’ts?


Eating Cape Town

I decided to devote an entire post to the food in Cape Town because honestly, the food is truly that good. Where are some of the best places to eat for cheap in Cape town? Especially if you are on a budget? Glad you asked.

Bo-Kaap Kombuis: You can admire the colorful beauty that is Bo-Kaap, take in city views, and have the best roti of your life. Great spot for sampling Cape-Malay cuisine.

Eastern Food Bazaar: This open-air food stall establishment is great for groups. Vendors are selling Indian and Middle-Eastern style curries, shwarmas, and even bunny chow. Bunny chow is a South African dish that’s basically a meat stew served in half a loaf of bread.

The Neighbourgoods Market: It’s only held on Saturdays so it’s perfect for lunch or simply snacking on everything from sautéed mushrooms, dim sum, and stuffed macaroni and cheese balls to paella made on the spot. Also make sure you stop by the bar for the most beautiful Moscow mule you’ll ever have.

aMododa: I sang the praises of this spot in my post about things you must do when in Cape Town. Come prepared to EAT. It’s essentially South Africa’s version of BBQ so there is no shortage of grilled meats, accompanied by house made bread to enjoy. It’s great for an early dinner and the DJ playing local tunes turns this braai into a party. 

Tasha’s: Okay. So Tasha’s is located inside the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. Yes, a mall. Yes, it is a chain. But I don’t care about any of that. I had the best chicken salad sandwich ever here from brunch. Just go. If you’ve got fickle eaters with you, this is the perfect spot. 

Arnolds Restaurant: Kloof Street is lined with cute eateries, but if you’re in the mood to get a little adventurous, try out Arnolds. What do I mean by adventurous? How does warthog, crocodile, and springbok sound? I went for the ostrich and it was delicious.

Cod Father: I waxed poetic about the seafood at Cod Father in my previous post about Cape Town. Just visit and make sure you make a reservations. This spot can be difficult to get to but offers beautiful dinner views.

Been to Cape Town? What were your favorite cheap eats?

Five Things To Do in Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa is one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever visited. There are mountains and vineyards and beaches and… penguins. Cape Town is like if Miami mashed up with Cape Cod; beautiful coastal city, a little sleepy but with intermittent bursts of energy.

Although there are more than five things you should do if you visit Cape Town, here are the five you definitely should not miss.

  1. Experience a traditional braai: In South Africa there is a cooking style called braai. The closest thing in America would be BBQ, but this some how manages to be SO much  better.  We went for dinner at aMododa in the Woodstock area and the food was so flavorful and so cheap it simply cannot be missed. There was also music and beer.. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
  2. Tour Robben Island: You simply cannot go to South Africa without learning more about its intricate and some times dark history. The influence of Apartheid continues to permeate throughout the country. Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years as a political prisoner. The tours of prison itself are all lead by former Robben Island prisoners and include a visit to Mandela’s cell.

Tickets are sold daily from the tourism office at the V&A Waterfront. You can also buy them in advance online, which is actually what I recommend because they sell out quickly.

3  Eat, drink and delight your way through the Neighbourgoods Market: Every Saturday, the Neighbourgoods Market comes alive in Woodstock. I literally ate my way through the market while enjoying the live jazz being played, and sipping on the most beautiful Moscow Mule I’ve ever had. There were tons of people out enjoying the weather and the company of friends. In addition to being able to buy things to eat, there are also clothing, accessories and other product vendors.

4  Visit a vineyard: South Africa is known for its wines, and there is no shortage of vineyards in close proximity to Cape Town for you to visit. I chose Fairview Wine & Cheese in Paarl because it’s only a 40 minute drive away AND more importantly because they have goats. I’ve got a thing for goats. This vineyard may not be as scenic as others in Stellenbosch and but’s great place to experience the wines of SA. For 80 rand, the equivalent of $6USD and some change, you get a guided tasting in the private room with 8 wine & cheese pairings. All of that for SIX dollars! Who in their right mind would pass that up??

5   Have dinner at the Cod Father:Are you all noticing a theme yet? Cape Town has some great food, I can’t help but share it! The Cod Father is an awesome dining experience. Diners are able to select their seafood, fish market style and then it is cooked right then and there. Your selections are charged by the pound and served in a  style perfect for sharing. Do not pass up on the butter fish, prawns or the grilled calamari. I have never had calamari so tender and flavorful. Also note, reservations are a must. You should honestly plan to make dinner reservations no matter where you are planning to go.

Honorable mention: Journey to the top of Table Mountain. This recommendation is a no-brainer. Whether you hike up or take the cable car, the top of Table Mountain offers some of the most spectacular views of this beautiful city. The header on this site is actually a shot I took from up there.

This list is simply a taste of what Cape Town has to offer. Have you ever been? What are your must see, do and eat recommendations for Cape Town?