Category Archives for "Before You Go"

Why you're screwed if you lose your prescription eyeglasses in France

Why You’re Screwed If You Lose Your Prescription Eyeglasses In France

Why your totally screwed if you lose or break your prescription eyeglasses in France

If you rely heavily on your prescription eyeglasses to see the world than losing or breaking them is an annoyance which you can fix rather easily and quickly if you live near a prescription eyeglass retailer like Lenscrafters. Not so easy in France. Discover why you’re totally screwed if you lose your prescription eyeglasses in France, plus learn what you should do if you lose or break them followed by a few of my most useful tips for travelling with prescription glasses.

Although this article is written for people travelling to or living in France, most of the tips and advice can be used for any trip you take.

Murphy’s Law: Stuff Happens

Things don’t always work the same way abroad as they do at home. Most people forget or ignore this simple truth until doomsday is upon them. That’s why it’s important to fight procrastination and think ahead especially when it come to your vision and travelling.

Scenario: Imagine strolling along the Champs-Élysées and some clueless tourist bumps into you knocking your prescription eyeglasses off your face which fall to the ground, break and shatter beyond repair. Even if you’re not completely blind without your glasses, it’s still stressful to be sight-seeing someplace or driving with blurry vision.

What to do? Assuming you speak the local language good enough to get by (a must in most of France), you need to somehow make your way back to your hotel or flat all squinty eyed, call an eye doctor and set an appointment to get new eyeglass prescriptions.

Right about now, you’re regretting not bringing an extra pair of glasses with you but you think “what’s the worst that could happen?. I lose a few hours of my life during the the eye checkup but I’ll have my fancy new French eyeglasses in a week or less.”

WRONG, You’re totally screwed because time is not your friend mon ami.

Why your screwed if you don’t have a backup pair of prescription eyeglasses with you in France.

It can take 6 months to 1 full year to get an eye doctor appointment

I know it’s hard to believe but it can take three to six months to get an eye doctor appointment and in some areas of France it can take up to a year to get a rendez-vous.

We were living in the South of France when my son broke his last backup pair of prescription eyeglasses. No biggy, I thought. I’ll just call up an eye doctor and make an appointment.

I called over a dozen eye doctors (ophtalmologiste or ophtalmo is what they are called in French) in our area and every single one of them gave me the same depressing response.

Désolé madame, pas de rendez-vous avant 6 mois.
(I am sorry madam, no appointments available before six months).

One particular doctor blew my mind when she said some eye doctors had a years waiting list to get an appointment while others (presumably the ones with no receptionist), don’t even bother answering the phones everyday because they are too busy with their existing patient load. MIND BLOWN!!

**I have heard but can’t confirm that some areas of France like Paris have a shorter waiting list.**  

7 Things You Should Know If You Are Travelling To France With Prescription Eyeglasses

I felt so stupid not knowing in advance about how impossible it was to get an eye doctor appointment but in my defence, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know which is why I’m here to tell you how things work in France.

Here are 7 of my best precautionary tips and sound advice. Forewarned is forearmed.

1) Bring an extra pair of glasses with you just in case!

My absolute best advice and easiest thing you should do is simply bring an extra pair of eyeglasses with you. Even better, bring 2 extra pairs. I always order 4 pairs of glasses for my son who is pretty rough on his glasses.

He is blind as a bat without his prescription glasses so it’s important he always has back-up pairs on hand.

2) Bring your prescription with you and you can walk into an eyeglass retailer to get your prescription filled.

If you can’t or don’t want to bother bringing an extra pair of glasses with you then I recommend you bring your official eyeglass prescription which you can then use to get glasses at one of the thousands of retail optician stores across France who will gladly fill your eyeglass prescription.

If you don’t lose your glasses no harm no foul but if you do lose your glasses, you’ll be glad you had your prescription with you because you won’t have to go long without your glasses or wait months to get an eye doctor appointment.

Opticians (Called “les opticiens” in French ) are not eye doctors and are not optometrists and cannot perform eye exams or treat vision problems. They can only fit and sell eyeglasses using your existing eyeglass prescription.

Bring your eyeglasses prescription with you and buy glasses whle travellingThings to note about buying eyeglasses from an optician in France

  1. Make sure your prescription is less than 3 years old otherwise by law the optician cannot fill your eyeglass prescription.
  2. Glasses can be extremely expensive to buy at an optician. There are huge markups on glasses in France as much as 250 percent.  Lenses can run you anywhere from 50 to 250 euros depending on if you get progressives lenses or other upgrades like ant-reflective,  anti-scratch or other coatings. Frames can cost between 50 to 500 euros depending on the brand you get.
    You will most likely spend about 200 on the low-end to 600 on the high-end in total.

3) Know your prescription and save hundreds of dollars by buying your spectacles online

For those of you who don’t have an updated prescription (less than 3 years old) or don’t have a backup pair of glasses, but you know your prescription because you wrote it down or have a photocopy of it you are in luck. Although you won’t be able buy your glasses at an optician’s office, you can order your glasses online at HUGE COST SAVINGS!

Don’t worry, it’s totally safe. I’ve’ been buying my son’s eyeglasses online for over 8 years and I have never ever had a problem.

To give you an example of the cost savings, I usually buy 4 pairs of glasses for my son for under 100 dollars with shipping. Shipping usually takes about 7 to 14 days depending on where I am. I have no idea how they do it but the quality of the glasses seem to be just as good as glasses I buy from local retailers.

Here are the details you need to know about your prescription if you buy prescription glasses online

Measure your PD so you can order glasses onlineWhether you have your prescription in hand or you have it written somewhere here are the things you need to know in order to buy your glasses online.

a) Naturally you must know the strength of your prescription for your left and right eye.
b) You must also know your pupillary distance (abbreviated as “PD”). This measures the distance between the center of your pupils in millimetres.
  • Doctors sometimes do not include this information on your prescription so be sure you ask for it.
  • You could try to measure it yourself in which case you measure from the center of one pupil to the other to get the distance in millimetres.
  • PD is generally between 55 and 65 for adults.
c) You should also have a front facing photo which you will upload and use to try on your glasses virtually.

I love this feature. It’s the next best thing to being there and physically trying on glasses. If you are worried about them not looking great on your face, get several pairs just in case.

try your prescription eyeglasss online virtually before you buy them

Where to buy eyeglasses online?

Just Google “buy glasses online” to find hundreds of sites willing to sell you glasses. If you are a bargain hunter like me, take a look at Groupon coupons first. They usually have online coupons where you can get an additional 10 to 25 percent savings off your order or free shipping. These additional discounts can usually only be had by going through the Groupon website vs going directly to the eyeglasses website.

Here are a few eyeglass sites I found through Groupon :

Eye Buy Direct sells higher end brand name glasses at a discount. Brands like RayBan, Burberry, Carrera and more. They even have Dolce & Gabbana!!!!!!

Armed Forces Eyewear is interesting because they offer exclusive pricing for US military, veterans, law enforcement, firefighters & their families as much as 50% off retail.

4) Bring a pair of prescription sunglasses to use as backup and to get a new prescriptionBring an extra pair of glasses with you just in case you lose your glasses while travelling

Your prescription sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the suns strong UV rays while sightseeing during your travels but can also serve as a backup pair. You might look a little silly at night but it’s better than nothing right?

A little known fact is you can get new glasses made from any prescription glasses (in France). All you have to do is walk into an optician’s office who will measure your prescription using the lenses from your existing glasses and make a new pair. Voila!

I believe you have to be over 16 to do this though.

5) Bring a hard shell eyeglasses case to protect your glasses from getting crushed

Take precautionary measures with your extra back up pair of glasses or when you’re not using your glasses to prevent your glasses from getting crushed in your nah or luggage by bringing a hard shell case for your eyeglasses.

always bring a hardcase to hold your glasses when travelling

6) Bring a clean eyeglass cloth and cleaning solution

You’re not supposed to clean your glasses with the bottom of your t-shirt because it is most likely filled with tiny dust and dirt particles that can leave tiny scratches on your lenses.

Instead try to clean your lenses with warm water and soap. If you are out and about, bring a dedicated cloth like one of those microfiber cloths otherwise clean cotton works just as well. Just make sure you don’t wipe your glasses when the lenses are dry. If water is not an option, use a cleaning solution.

7) Bring a small eyeglass repair kid

The last thing you want is for a screw to come loose or worse fall out leaving you with only one working arm forcing you to use nerd tape to hold your glasses together.

I really like the repair kits that have a bunch of extra little screws just in case you actually do lose a screw.

Bring an eyeglass repair kit

Better safe than sorry

I still think the best solution is to bring an extra pair of glasses with you as back up. If you end up not needing them no big deal but if you do end up breaking or losing your glasses, you’ll feel so smart and relieved that you did because not being able to see clearly for any amount of time whether on vacation or not is just plain stressful and annoying.

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Go To France In May: French Holidays Explained!

Don't go to France in May! French holidays explained

True story: It’s some random day in May. You’re newly arrived to France and the sun is shining so you decide to take a leisurely stroll and find a café to sit and watch the world go by. Too bad everything is closed and you have no idea why. Dazed, confused and annoyed, we went home and did a little research only to discover we were in the middle of one of 6 possible holidays in France that occur during the month of May which wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that many things are closed. Here are the holidays and what to expect.

Why you may not want to come to France in May

Besides being the month of my birthday, May is also special because you can observe or celebrate up to 6 separate holidays. I don’t think any other month has as many separate holidays or celebrations as the month of May in France. If you have kids in school then you also get the extra special 2 week spring break where kids don’t go to school. 

I suppose all these holidays can be culturally interesting and great if you need a day off from work or school in France. However it can put the average tourist or unknowing and newly arrived French expat in a bit of a predicament.

What happens on French public holidays?

 Everything except crucial services come to a complete halt or have special modified hours. If you are in a big city like Paris, things may be open but you should always call or check websites for any tourist things you may want to do.

  • You might not be able to get around:

    • Buses and some trains run on a modified less frequent time schedule.
    • You can’t pick up or send packages: Post offices are closed.
  • You can’t go to the bank:

    • Banks are closed
  • You may not be able to eat out either:

    • Restaurants may be closed on a public holiday like labour day or be booked up on observed celebrations like mothers day.
  • You may starve:

    • Grocery stores are either closed or close at noon so if you are staying in a hotel, you may not be able to eat out. If you live in France, you may need to go into your reserve stock of food no one wants to eat.
  • Kids have no school:

    • If  your kids go to school while you live and work in France, you will need to book child care for the kids in advance. Otherwise you will have to keep the kids home with you. Not a problem for us, since we have home offices.


So what exactly are these days and what do you do?

I’ve written about every holiday in past posts but below is a brief over view of all the possible holidays you may come across in the month of May.

The first two public holidays in May actually fall on the same day — the 1st of May. They are May day and Labour day which used to be two separate holidays in France but have been combined into one.Don't go to France in May: French holidays Labour day and May day. 2 of 6 possible holidays

1- May 1st: Labour day / International Workers Day:

Called La Fête du travail ( 1st of May): Public holiday

On this day don’t expect anything to be open. It is however a good day to take advantage of acrobranching which is a combination of zip lining and climbing trees.

2-May 1st: May Day in English:

Called La Fête du Muguet:  Public holiday

On this day, make sure you buy your loved ones *read your wife, female friends and loved ones, a muguet flower, called Lily flower in English.

Click here to read what I wrote about this combined holiday.

3- 8th of May: Victory in Europe Day:

Called la Fête de la Victoire. Public holiday

Don't go to France in May: French holidays Victory in Europe Day: How its celebrated in France 3 of 6 possible holidays

The 8th of  May 1945 is an important holiday to many European countries because it marks the official end of the second World War and the end of Nazi Germany.  You can read more about it here.

4 – Ascension Day: 39 days after Easter Sunday

Called Ascension: Public Holiday

Don't go to France in May! Ascension Day 4 of 6 French holiday

Ascension day is on a  movable date, falling on a Thursday exactly 39 days after Easter. It usually occurs near the end of May but can occur as late as the 3rd of June.

Ascension is the day that Jesus ascended to heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection. Many French people attend a special church service but many people also just use this day to spend time with family and loved ones. Because this day falls on a Thursday, people often take an extra long weekend from work. You can read more about it on this post I wrote about Ascension.

5- Mothers Day: Last Sunday of May

Called Fête des Mères: Observed holiday

Don't go to France in May! Mothers day Day 5 of 6 French holiday

Technically mothers day is an observed holiday and not a public holiday. Restaurants and florist shops that would normally be closed are open for mothers day. If you do plan on eating out, make sure you check to see if you need a reservation at those restaurants and be aware that they might have a fixed menu at higher prices.

Like Mothers day in the US and Canada, mothers day is on a movable date-the last Sunday of May and not on the 2nd Sunday of May like in the US and Canada.

6- Pentecost Monday also known as Whit Monday: 50 days after Easter Sunday

Called Lundi de Pentecôte: Public Holiday

Don't go to France in May! Pentecost Monday aka whit Monday 6 of 6 French holiday

Pentecost Monday is the day after Pentecost which falls exactly 50 days after Easter Sunday. Like ascension day, Whit Monday is another religious based holiday which has a movable date and can occur in either May or June.

Many people spend Pentecost Monday quietly in the company of friends and family or enjoy a picnic in the park.  You can read more about Pentecost Monday on this post I wrote.


When I said don’t go to France in May, I was just being dramatic. By all means do go to France in May but be especially mindful that the days you have planned excursions and outing are not official holidays where services you need will be closed.  If ever in doubt, you can always check this wiki page to see what days each holiday is on.

downsizing before you move to france

How We Downsized, Sold And Got Rid Of Our Stuff Before We Moved To France For A Year

How to downsize your stuff before you move to france for a year

Unless you have no belongings whatsoever, you’re going to have to decide what to do with all your stuff. Do you sell it all and give the rest away? Do you get rid of  some stuff and keep the rest in storage? Do you keep it all and rent your home fully furnished?  Whatever you decide, you’re in for a painful experience because there is no “one size fits all” answer. You will have to decide based on your circumstances and situation. Sometimes it helps to know what someone else went through and learn from their successes and failures. Here is an inside look at how we downsized our belongings and life. I hope it helps and gives you a little perspective.

You have more stuff than you think

We were your typical silicon valley family of five living in a house with a lifetime worth of possessions that we had accumulated. Every inch of our 1,800 sq ft home AND our two car garage was filled with our things.

A funny thing happens when you move. Things that seemed necessary before now seem silly or unnecessary like those knick-knacks sitting on your bookshelf. That dress you never wore. Those toys you bought for your kids but they never played with.

You will ultimately come to the realization that you have a lot more things than you ever really needed.

Give yourself enough time

QUICK! You have 5 days left to pack when you realize the truck you rented won’t fit all your belongings. What do you do?

Packing started a month before our move date. When our things were spread out throughout the house it didn’t look like much.  Even boxed up it didn’t look like that much. Oh how wrong we were. We quickly began to panic because it became clear that we grossly underestimated how much we had.

  • we did not give ourselves enough time to pack.
  • We didn’t realize until the very end that the truck we rented was too small even though it was the largest one we could legally rent.

After 5 trips to the dump and several trips to Goodwill to get rid of broken bikes, a small dining room table, an old safe, bike racks, tons of toys, books, clothes and more.  Things we had in our house for years but never bothered to get rid of were now just weighing us down. Even after all that, we still had to rent a second 16 footer to put in the last minute stuff.

Let me tell you something: you have more stuff than you think and you don’t need it all.

Really! Do you need that dress that’s been hanging in your closet for 3 years untouched? Do you need those books you read 10 years ago and haven’t touched in years?  What about all those kitchen gadgets that you use once a year or the shoes you never wear anymore?  These things, although very important at one time, seem less important when you are trying to pack them into boxes on a truck and have 5 days left to do it.

The 3,000 mile drive to our storage unit

After we filled up our two trucks, my husband Blake drove one truck and his brother Keith, who thankfully flew down 3 days earlier to help with the packing, drove the other truck. Our eldest son Kieran went along for the ride. They drove 8 to 10 hours a day for five days only stopping to eat, sleep and use the restroom.  They arrived at the storage unit just outside of Boston and discovered the storage unit we had reserved was too small so we had to rent a second one.

UGH…  How did this happen? 

We greatly underestimated the quantity of things we owned and now we were paying with time and the cost of an extra storage unit and extra truck.

We swallowed our pride, and convinced ourselves that it was temporary. We needed all that stuff for our next house, wherever and whenever that would be.

At the time we did not know we were going to live in France for a couple of years. We planned on hanging out in Montreal with my family while we waited for Blake to find a job then rent a house near his work. Well the job never came.

We survived 11 months in Montreal at my aunts house with only our clothes and a few essentials. I was surprised that I did not miss our stuff. How could this be?

what do you get rid of when you downsize? tiara we bought in Scotland. do we keep it or get rid of it?

Some things are harder to let go of than other things

Rethinking what is essential and normal

When you are away from your possessions for any amount of time, they tend to become less and less important.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a minimalist in any way, but I really took a hard look at my life.  Blake and I re-examined our goals and we started coming up with alternative ideas to the 9 to 5 rat race we were once a part of.  We couldn’t live at my aunts house forever.  Our choices were to move somewhere and hope we get a job there?  Or stick it out by living with family until something happens.

That’s when we thought about taking a sabbatical for a few months, maybe even a year in France.  We were already living pretty lean, why not do it someplace that we want to be and enjoy ourselves instead of stressing out over not having full time jobs. It meant giving up some things and putting off our job search.  It meant thinking more mobile, cutting costs, and only keeping the essentials.   The choice was easy.  We decided to go for it.

Round 2 of Downsizing for France.

If we were going to live in France for a year we had to pare down our belongings even more and fit everything into one storage unit.

We drove about 5 hours  (from Montreal to Boston)  to our storage unit and stayed at a comfort in for 2 days. Re-packed some boxes that were inefficiently packed, took all our clothes out of storage and got rid of at least 200 hundred pounds of books.  We were left with  2 dressers and 3 beds. Some Persian rugs, kitchen stuff like dishes, pots and pans, and some coffee tables and furniture from Blake’s Mom that we kept for sentimental reasons.  We sold our couch, one of my industrial sewing machines and went through our shoes and clothes to get rid of anything we wouldn’t wear anymore.

We did it. We fit everything into one storage unit saving a couple hundred dollars per month.

The whole family got involved with the move

The whole family got involved with the move

Fear is in your head

I am not going to lie. I was scared at the thought of downsizing and yes it was very painful but the pain stops once you’re done.It’s actually been really nice to have the freedom to come and go as we please.

Once your downsized, you can move on to the fun stuff like planning your long trip to France or wherever it is you want to go.  Your belongings are no longer anchoring you down anymore.

we wore mittens too and sang the blues

we wore mittens and sang the blues

Catherine was excited

Catherine was excited

Update: 2014

I wrote this article 1 year after our move. Now after almost four years without our belongings I can still look back and honestly say I don’t miss MOST of our stuff but.

Yes there is a but there. One year without your belongings is not the same thing as four years without your belongings.

I am now starting to miss certain creature comforts. Silly things like my dishware and my teak furniture. We could buy those things while we are here in France but we don’t because we want to avoid that whole downsizing process when we return to North America. Instead we rent fully furnished homes which has worked out pretty well so far except like I said, I am starting to miss certain things.

I’ll get over it. Life isn’t perfect but it’s pretty damn good!

We ate and drank while we filled our storage unit

We ate and drank while we filled our storage unit

A year in France is great but is it really the best travel adventure for you? Here are over 15 different travel types and travel adventures you can go on instead!

Should You Spend A Year In France? 15 Travel Adventures To Go On Instead

A year in France is great but is it really the best travel adventure for you? Here are over 15 different travel types and travel adventures you can go on instead!

If you are considering taking a family gap year or sabbatical from life to live in France , congrats. Spending a year abroad can be life changing.

There is only one thing.

Are you sure it is the right thing to do? I am not talking about if France is the right place to spend your year abroad, or if it’s practical or financially feasible.

I want you to ask yourself if there isn’t another type of travel that might suit you better than spending a whole year in France.

Just because everyone on tripadvisor says a certain spicy Tom Yum soup at the new Thai restaurant in San Francisco is to die for doesn’t mean you will love it too. It’s nice to have choices when you order food.

Travel is just like that. 

And that is why you should pick a travel type like you would pick your main course on a food menu.

Look through the travel types below and see which one(S) align best with your soul, your travel goals, your pocketbook, your family and your style.

I guarantee you’ve probably never heard of half these terms. 

A year in France is great but is it really the best travel adventure for you? Here are over 15 different travel types and travel adventures you can go on instead!

I asked over 100 seasoned travellers how they travelled. Then I categorized and sorted their answers into a kind of travel menu with examples and explanations.

Below are the results of my survey.

Travel based on length of time you can travel

Are you a weekend traveller? Do you only have 2 weeks a year to travel?  Do you want to travel for longer than 3 months maybe a year or more?

The length of time you have to travel will determine the pace, the cost and even your activities you do while on your trip.

Here are a few terms to describe travellers based on the length and amount of time you have to travel. Which one best describes the way you can or would like to travel?

1- Short (ish) Trips:  

Most of us are very familiar with the annual vacation(er). Because of certain lifestyle restrictions like work, your children’s’ school schedule or just a tight budget, your trips are shorter; sometimes just a weekend.

It can be stressful during your short trips if you only get to do it once a year for 2 weeks or less because you try to pack as much into the vacation as possible.

Here are some terms to describe shorter term travellers.

Vacation Traveller, Holiday Traveller, Family Vacation Traveller

Take a cue from Amy and her family at Atlanta with kid or Debbie at  jersey kids

2- Long (ish) Trips: 2 months to 1 year or more!

Gap year, Sabbatical, Career Breaker
Career break travel

You have a career but you’re feeling a little burnt out from the 9 to 5 lifestyle. You want to travel and see the world for a few months to a year. Maybe longer.

Along the way you might even do something you’ve always wanted to do like learn a language, write a book or build clean wells in Africa. Whatever you do, you are determined to make this trip count.

Take a cue from this family of dropouts living in Vietnam: The drop out diaries


Sabbatical is a term that has been used to refer to tenured teachers who take a year off from teaching to further their education or do something worthwhile. Nowadays,  the term sabbatical is used by anyone who wants to take a break from work usually to travel.

Gap year

Family Sabbatical: Travel For extended periods with kidsGap year is a term that has traditionally been very popular in Europe and the UK but it’s gaining in popularity in other places like the US and Canada.  Originally, a gap year referred to a young person just out of high school who takes a year off to travel and maybe do some volunteer work or back pack around the world for a year before entering University.

As of late, many people have adopted this terminology to describe their travels; particularly adults, professionals, and even families.

All three of these terms (gap year, sabbatical year, career break travel) are very closely related and some would argue that they are the same. You be the judge.

Family Gap Year- Wander ( a site that no longer exists)

Take a cue from Suitcases & sippy cups on a Family Sabbatical – Suitcases and sippy cups

Go check out Sherry a career breake who travels at Otts World

Take a look at Dave and Deb over at Planet D who are strong advocates of a sabbatical year to travel.

3 -You Travel For Longer Than A Year

The world is your oyster and your backyard. You’ve ditched the daily grind and dropped out of a normal life so you can travel full-time for as long as you can. Forever if you can.

You are at home wherever you are and have no real permanent home-base.  You pretty much travel with what you own in your backpack and move frequently from location to location. Staying anywhere from a few days to a few months in one place. You’re probably a flash-packer or backpacker.

Long Term Traveller, Full-Time Traveller, Vagabond, Gypsy, Hobos, Nomads, perpetual traveller

Take a cue from: Wader lust and the girl

4 – You Want To Live Abroad In One Place For  3 months or more


As an expat or expatriate, you choose to live abroad in one place for an extended period of time.

It might be permanent or it might be for a year only. Either way your home-base is another country.

Maybe you have a job that transplanted you or you decided to take a life sabbatical or career break and foot the bill yourself.

Most likely you have applied for special visas which allow you to live in that country beyond the usual 30, 60 or 90 days allotted amount of time tourists are usually allowed to stay.

You are totally immersed in that culture.  If you have kids, they’re also immersed maybe even attending school with other kids.

expat travel lets move to France with Annie AndreTake a cue from us, we’re in France: AnnieAndre

Take a cue from Paz and family who spent a year in China but nos live in Holland: International cravings

5- Slow Traveller

Some like to travel fast, while others like to take it slow, really slooooow. You like to take your time spending as much as a few weeks to a few months in one place before moving on. You have a certain mindset and your goal is probably to explore each destination thoroughly and experience the local culture.

Take a cue from a couple who slow travels : Never Ending Story

6- The extent to which you circumvent the globe

(RTW )Round the World traveler

Maybe your goal is to travel for a year visiting 20 countries, maybe it’s for 4 months visiting 12 countries. No matter how long or where you go, you’re in for a trip of a lifetime.

This is a special breed of traveller. Many RTW travellers are backpackers or flashpackers. Their goal is not so much to visit every single country in the world, but to travel around the world and visit a set or unset number of countries before landing back home.

Take a cue from 5 discover the world

7- The traveller who never leaves the country

Local Travel

You prefer to stay close to home. Not too close but close enough so that you are driving distance from all your destination.

Take a cue from Laura who travels at  Cascadia kids almost exclusively in and around the Pacific North West (Oregon and Washington State) and British Columbia with her family.

8- What Kind Of Luggage Do You Travel With

As strange as it sounds, your luggage can define you as a traveller. Do you want to travel light with just backpacks or do you want suitcases with wheels and pack for almost any occasion?

You Carry A Backpack:

The Backpacker

Forget about the grungy backpacker who is hitch-hiking on the side of the road and smells like dirty socks. Backpacking has evolved and it’s a growing sector of the travel industry.

Typically you travel with all your possessions in a backpack or bag that can easily be carried for long distances or long periods of time.  You are on a tight budget and need to make your money last so you eat on the cheap and stay at inexpensive accommodations like hostels where you share rooms, bathrooms and a communal kitchen with other backpackers.

It’s not uncommon for you to wash all five pairs of your underwear in the sink and hang them on the portable laundry chord you carry in your backpack along with your portable sheets and your instant Ramen before moving on to your next city.

It sounds treacherous but you love it. Besides, your young and there’s something to be said travelling this way and meeting interesting people.

“it’s a more organic way to see the world and a better way to interact with the locals and get to know the local culture.” –Nomadic Matt

Just look at Alyson Long and her family at world travel family

The FlashPacker

The flashpacker is essentially a flashy + backpacker. Flashpacker is a fairly new term that is catching on and is being accepted into mainstream language.

You’re probably older than the average backpacker. You might even be married with kids.

Much like the backpacker, you love the mobility of having all your possessions in one bag so you can move freely and quickly from place to place staying as long or as short as you like. Also like the backpacker, you are price conscience; however if you felt like it, you could easily stay at swaynkier hotels, eat at higher end sit down restaurants and splurge for for the latest and greatest travel gear and electronics.

Checkout Bethaney. Her husband and son are a flashpacking family. Fash Packer Family

You have a suitcase with wheels

Self explanatory. You want to travel with a suitcase that has wheels. You probably stay longer in each place you visit and prefer to carry a litle more than just the bare necessities.

Take a cue from Travel by suitcases A community of travellers who share their travel experiences around the world with suitcases instead of backpacks.

9- How Much Money You Got?

Luxury Travel

Luxury Travel, who wouldnt love to travel like this?For you, luxury travel goes beyond staying in a four star hotel, or sipping champagne on a yacht in the Bahamas. It’s more about a unique experience. Those rare ones that have all the tiny details covered where you feel pampered and all your personal needs are met.

No work, no stressing, just relaxing and upon your return home you feel refreshed.

Take a cue from these luxury travellers: A luxury travel blog

Budget Traveller

You might be surprised to know that a large part of the traveller I know are budget travellers.

A budget traveller is someone who either does not have a lot of money to spend on Five star hotels or chooses to travel on a budget so that they can travel longer and make their money stretch as far as possible. Typically you try to keep your expenses down by eating on the cheap, staying in low-cost accommodations, hostels and take public transportation over more expensive modes of transportation.

10- Do you travel alone or with others

Who you travel with has as much to do with your style as where you go and what you do during your travels. That’s why I’ve broken out travel by the people you travel with or travel without.

Solo Traveller

You’re a guy or a girl and you are travelling alone. 

You’re probably young but you could just as easily be in your sixties or older. You love the challenge of travelling alone and meeting new people as well as befriending the locals. You can come and go as you please because you are not hindered by the opinions of a companion traveller. You are probably learning a lot about yourself along the way too. If you’re a female solo traveller, you take a little extra precaution over the solo male traveller for obvious reasons.

Take a cue from this solo female traveller = Girl About the Globe

Take a cue from this solo male traveller – Nomadic Samuel or Nomadic matt

11- Travel With Others

Couples Traveller

backpacking travel blog of a couple who travels

You’re married or dating and you both love to travel.

In any case, you might be a backpacker or flashpacker or on a vacation with your wheely suitcases.

Sometimes it’s tough travelling with your partner because you need to take into consideration the other persons travel interests and needs which don’t always align with yours but that’s ok because the rewards outweigh any sacrifices you make.

Together you’re creating memories, growing closer, sharing experiences and learning what makes each other tick along the way.

Take a cue from this backpacking couple  backpacking-travel-blog

Travelling Family With Kids

How the Barnes family plan to travel indefinitely with their kidsIt’s hard travelling with kids and you don’t always get to take the romantic trips you took before the kids came along but you enjoy letting your kids see the world and then seeing the world through their eyes.

Check out all these families who travels full time for years on end with kids in tow. Many of them work while on the road.

Gay and Lesbian Traveller
Globe trotter girls travel. Two girls in love who travel the world together

Technically you would or could fall under one of the other groups like solo traveller or couple traveller but because you’re gay or lesbian you might also like to find gay-lesbian friendly venues and activities once in a while just so you can meet with other like-minded individuals. No big deal if you don’t because it’s all about the travel experience.

Take a cue from a Lesbian couple travelling the world long-term:Globe trotter girls Travels

Take a cue from a solo gay guy who travelled the world but who now lives in Berlin: Travels of adam

12- You Want To Travel Based On A Theme

You Have a passion, an obsession, an affinity towards something? Why not use it to lead your travels like these people.

Adventure Traveller
family on bikes travelled with their 2 kids from North America to the furthest point in south america

You like the thrill of adventure and stepping outside of your comfort zone, doing and seeing things that the average person wouldn’t normally try or see.

You might like going on an African safari, or skydiving or biking across north and South America.

Take a cue from these adventure travellers

Bike touring family who cycled from north America to South America on their bikes. Family on bikes

Foodie Traveller

You love food. So much so that you even let your stomach be your compass guiding you wherever it may be as long as there is good food, you are happy.

Take a cue from

Quirky Traveller

You love side shows and anything that’s a little off beat..

If it’s big, tall or long, this family of four is going to go and see it.  Go big or go home

Sports Traveller

Sports are your compass; Travel the world visiting different sporting events. Budget travel adventures

Baby Boomer Traveller

Not really a theme but I didn’t know where else to put this type of traveller. In any case, you are a boomer. You’re independent and don’t care that others don’t see you as the typical traveller. You’re optimistic, positive, hard-working and goal oriented. Now that the children are gone and older you have more free time and more room in the budget for travel.

Take a cue from these boomers: My itchy travel feet

You’re A Responsible Traveler

You’re probably a volunteer Traveller or cultural Traveller. You want to change the world and do some good. You might volunteer to teach English or build a well in some remote part of Africa. Whatever it is, you are doing good by this planet and it’s people.

You would rather experience life in a foreign culture as a local rather than as an outsider or temporary visitor.  You left your home and brought with you a desire to become part of the new cultures you visit hoping to get transformed by your experience.

check out this family who travels the world with their kids. It’s full of cultural travel ideas. wandering educators

13- You define the way you travel by your mode of transportation.

You’re A Road Tripper

You’re a roadie and you love the sights, smells, sounds and culture of the open road. You believe that the journey is the destination that’s best enjoyed with an RV, a car or a trusty motorcycle?  If have kids, you’re most like in an RV touring and homeschooling and your probably connected in the road tripper community.

Check out Road Less Travelled

14- You Work While You Travel

Digital Nomads – Location Independent travellers

FYI, a good majority of the travellers on this page and many long-term travellers work while on the road. You might be surprised that many of them are not independently wealthy.

You love to travel but you need to make some cash along the way to help fund your travels. You might teach English here and there or you might have a job back home that you can do remotely. Still others are working to create a business using nothing but your computer, the Internet and an idea. An example are freelance writers, photographers, consultants, web & graphic designers and Internet marketers to name a few.

You’re pretty tech savvy and you’ve figured out a way to leverage technology and work wherever and even whenever you want – whether it be from home, a beach in the Bahamas, at your favourite coffee shop or on the other side of the world!   You’re basically a nomadic or location independent entrepreneur and you use your phones, tablets and laptop along with some useful web-applications to earn an income.

Earning your income this way allows you to travel freely because you are not tied down to a desk or office.

Take a cue from Erin Bender: Travel with Bender

15- Homeschooling and Educating While On The Road

Homeschooling- Homeschooler

You’re a family who travels full-time or long-term with school aged children and being the good parent you are, you want to give your kids the best education you can. Many people who travel long-term and choose to do a form of homeschooling.

Your kids don’t attend school in the traditional sense. You the parent are the teacher, using the world around you and material either online or you have purchased following a curriculum created by yourself but probably guided by some standard in your home country.

If you are unfamiliar with John Holt, he coined the term un-schooler which essentially is a system where parents help educate their children using the resources and guidance around them and inside of them. It is more of a “child driven learning” based on following your instincts, your child’s interests and not necessarily using any of the usual school resources.

Un-Schooler / WorldSchooler / Travel Schooler / Educational Traveller

The term un-schooler has some negative connotations to it mainly because it is a term that is used to describe what it isn’t. The term world schooler is a broader more descriptive and is often seen as a more positive term than un-schooler by some people.

Just like it sounds, “the whole world is your school, instead school being your whole world.”. It’s un-schooling beyond your neighbourhood without the support of your family and friends and learning and DOING what you’re meant to do in this world! In some ways, world schooling is when you grow up! Travelling is a great way to un-school because rather than seeing and reading about things in a text-book, you are there experiencing things first hand.

Single mom slow travelling the world with her son :

Single dad also slow travelling the world with his son:1 dad 1 kid

and finally World School Adventures


A lot of the travellers and traveller types I mention above could fit into multiple buckets. Knowing all your choices can sometimes shed light and open new doors to opportunities you didn’t know existed.

I truly believe that when you choose the right type of travel, it  will knock your socks off and leave you with unforgettable memories that you can’t stop talking about. 

If you have your sights set on living in France great. 

But don’t limit yourself into thinking there aren’t other just as amazing adventures and travel types that might be better suited to you.


If you are a traveller who travels in a unique way, and you have a website. Contact me and I will be more than happy to add you to this list.

travel with a tablet

Should You Bring Your Tablet On Vacation? 10 Reasons My Tablet Is Indispensable When I Travel.

should I travel with a tablet

Can a tablet be a useful travel device to bring on your next vacation or road trip?

YES! A tablet is not only a fun and entertaining gadget BUT it can also be a an extremely convenient and useful tool to use while travelling or while on the go.

10 things I use my tablet for the most when I’m travelling or when i’m on-the-go.

When we first decided to  live in France for a year, I was skeptical about the practical uses of a tablet, especially for travellers. That was then and this is now.

Now after two plus years of field testing my tablet for both travel and my daily on-the-go needs, I can honestly say I am no longer a skeptic. In fact, thanks to it’s versatility and portability, my tablet has turned into my go-to device that travels with me everywhere.

Find out the top 10 things I use my tablet for while travelling.

#1 – I never ever get lost anymore. 

use your tablet as a gps device when you travel

I turned my tablet into a voice enabled navigation device that gives me turn by turn directions. (Without an expensive roaming or international data plan). This feature alone makes my tablet indispensable because it has gotten me UN-LOST more times than I can count.

Application I use on my tablet:

There are quite a few navigation apps for tablets but the one that I use is called OsmAnd.  Like most Navigation apps, it takes  advantage of the embedded GPS chip in your tablet.

WARNING**Not all tablets have built-in GPS. Make sure the tablet you buy has GPS that works without a DATA and Without a WiFi internet connection.

Some of my favourite features of the OsmAnd navigation app are that it works online (fast) or offline (no roaming charges when you are abroad). It automatically re-routes whenever you deviate from the route. There are loads of useful options like the voice warning when I go over the speed limit and oh so much more.

OsmAnd is strictly for the Android.  If you have an Apple tablet than you can use an APP called Co-pilot.

#2 –I can carry as many books as I want without weighing down my luggage.

use your tablet as an ebook reader while you travel

Even though I prefer to read actual paper books, there are times when the convenience of having all your books at your disposal anytime you want comes in really handy. Like when you have an unexpected long wait or you forget to bring a book or cant’t find an English bookstore while travelling.

Even if you don’t read books, you can still use your tablet to carry travel guide books, language dictionaries and children’s books

Application I use on my tablet: 

You’ll need to download an e-book reader app. I use an app called MoonReader which costs less than 5 dollars. It can read multiple file formats such as  e-Pub books and books purchased on Amazon which are in Mobi format. It can also read PDF files. If you only plan on reading books from Amazon then you can download the kindle app for free. 

#3 – I can easily make video calls from any room in the house.

use your tablet to skype while you travel

Because a tablet is lightweight and small, it’s easy to hold and carry to places where a laptop might be less optimal such as on the couch,  in bed or for those times you want to give someone a virtual tour of your home or garden. For this reason, I actually prefer using my tablet over my laptop to make video calls

Application I use on my tablet:

I use Skype which is absolutely free to use but you will need a WIFI connection to use it.

#4 – I can quickly update my friends and family using social networking sites. (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)

use your tablet for social networking on sites like facebook

If you use social networking sites like Facebook or instagram then you are going to love using a tablet. No laptop or desk required. Just head over to a comfy couch or your favourite reading chair and hold your tablet like you would a magazine or book.

Application I use on my tablet:

I use the Facebook app and Facebook messenger app. Even though you can access any networking site via the browser on your tablet, I tend to use apps because they are optimized to work best on the smaller screen size and can notify you of new messages and updates with a soft sound or beep.

#5 – My tablet helps me in the kitchen with recipes and measurement conversions. use your tablet like a portable cookbook and cooking conversion tool while you travel

I like to cook a lot but I don’t use physical cookbooks mainly because we try to keep our possessions to a minimum while living abroad. (No sense in accumulating things that you can’t carry back home). Instead I use the internet for my source of inspiration. Thanks to my tablets small form factor I can easily use it in the kitchen because it doesn’t take up much counter space. Also I can hold it in my hands like a regular cookbook if need be.

My tablet also allows me to convert cooking ratios which is useful when I have to convert U.S.A. measurements to European such as how many grams are in a 16 ounces can of tomato or when I have to convert cooking temperatures between Fahrenheit and Celsius.

Lastly, let’s not forget all the great cooking apps from site like the food network an Epicurious which have loads of recipes or calorie counter apps which help you stay the course during your diet.

Application I use on my tablet:

I use a wide variety of apps in the kitchen. There are just too many cooking apps to list . I almost forgot to mention that I also use the Youtube app on my tablet to do searches for recipes. I really love watching how certain things are cook, especially something that involves more technique. And finally, for converting cooking ratios, I normally just use search google for how free online conversion tools but you could just as easily download an app to do this too. 

#6 – I can watch any TV show in any room on my tablet.

use your tablet to stream and watch American and British TV shows while you travel

There may come a time while you are travelling or living abroad when you will want to watch your favourite American or British TV show in “ENGLISH”.

How to watch TV on the internet using your tablet.

There are lots of ways to watch TV on your tablet. I however choose to download TV network apps. For instance if you want to watch the mentalist which is on CBS, just download the CBS App. If you want to watch Hulu or Netflix just download their app. Pretty simple if you are travelling within the U.S.A. however If you are travelling outside of the United States then you will be blocked from watching. BOO!

The good news is there is a way to get around geographic restriction like this but it involves fooling the TV NETWORK sites into thinking your tablet is actually in the U.S.A.. All you have to do is change your foreign IP address to a U.S.A. IP address.

I am sure there are many ways to do this but the way I change my IP address is by using a VPN service. (VPN stands for virtual private network.)  It took me about 30 minutes to set up my VPN and cost me 40 dollars per year which is still cheaper than cable TV. Everyone in the house can use my VPN to mask their IP address and watch any of the network shows.

Application I use on my tablet:

I use several apps including Hulu, CBS, BBC, Netflix etc.

To change my IP Address using VPN so that I won’t be blocked from watching TV network shows via the internet, I use Private Internet Access. You can try it for free before you buy it. 

There are more questionable ways of watching TV via the internet but I won’t get into that today.

#7 – My tablet keeps the kids entertained in the car and during long trips with movies, games and books.

use your tablet to keep the kids entertained in the car and on long trips while you travel

A tablet is perfect for keeping the kids occupied and happy in situations where you want them to sit quietly like on planes, on long road trips or even at boring dinner parties. Just load the tablet up with movies and games and be amazed at just how quietly your kids sit for long periods of time.

I think what I like most about tablet games over DS games is the affordability, choices and ease of purchasing new games and even movies via the internet. No need to carry cartridges or dvd’s.

#8 –I never miss a photo or video opportunity.

use your tablet to take photos and video while you travel

I used to get so annoyed when a good photo-op presented itself but my camera was nowhere to be found either because I did not want to lug it around or because I forgot it. That never happens anymore.

Thanks to my tablets slim and lightweight form factor, my tablet is ALWAYS IN MY PURSE WITH ME and ALWAYS EASILY ACCESSIBLE which means I can take a photo or video anytime I want.

For example check out the photo above of my husband Blake driving Catherine and I to the airport. I wanted one last shot of us in the car but my camera was in the boot. Rather than let the opportunity pass, I pulled out my tablet, plopped it on the dashboard, set the timer for 2 seconds and voila! I’ve captured a pretty funny moment. ahhh memories!

Application I use on my tablet :

All tablets are pre-loaded with the ability to take photos and video so there is nothing you need to download to have this feature work. You can download apps like instagram to edit your photos and post to social networking sites. 


Use your tablet to learn a language while you travel

A tablet is the perfect tool to help you learn a few key phrases and words for your next trip.  Many language learning apps even have audio so that you can hear how foreign words are actually pronounced. The language apps for children often seem more like games so even the kids will enjoy learning to speak a new language.

#10 – I can keep all my travel plans organized in one spot

synch my calendar with my travel itinerary

Our family of 5 does a lot of travelling and it sometimes gets hard to keep track of it all. I used to keep it all written down on paper but recently I have been putting all our important travel informationon on  Google calendar. This works find but this method has it’s flaws.

Then I learned about Tripit. Not to sound like a TV commercial but Tripit is like a master Itinerary and it’s pretty amazing.

In short, Tripit is a web based site where I put in all of our travel details from our trip including transportation details, hotel details, times, dates. It even has some other useful things like maps, local weather, restaurants and a ton of other things that any self respecting traveller would find handy.

That’s not all though. TripIt can synch to my google calendar which makes my life so much easier. I can see on my calendar when my son is arriving or when my husband is scheduled to fly out and all the detail concerning their trip.

Wait there’s more. I can even keep my friends, family and colleagues in the know about upcoming travel itineraries by clicking the “Share” button on my itinerary from within TripIt. Or you can post your travel plans on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with one click.

Application I use on my tablet:

Google calendar app and the TripIt app.

Don’t Forget To Protect Your Tablet

protect your tablet with a SNUGG tablet cover case

A tablet is never going to replace your laptop, after all it is a “content consumption device” which makes it more efficient and convenient to consume media (songs, movies, etc), participate in social networking, et directions etc . That’s okay though because much of what you will use it for while travelling are content consumption activities anyways.

If you do decide to buy a tablet, I can’t stress how important it is to buy a cover to protect your tablet especially if you plan to bring it along for travel. After all, it is going to be shoved in purses, crammed into bags, sat on, dropped by the kids and examined at airport security.

Which tablet case do I use?

I have tried several cases but my favourite to date is a case made by SNUGG.

What I like about the SNUGG tablet covers is that they are fairly thick compared to other tablet cases I have owned. It just feels like my tablet is better protected with this thicker exterior. My SNUGG tablet cover also has an Integrated hand strap which comes in handy when I want to read.  For those times where I want to watch the screen hands free, like on a train, or in the kitchen, there is a little kickstand in the back.  There is even an integrated stylus holder which I don’t actually use but it’s nice that it is there.

SNUGG makes tablet cases for Apple iPads and iPhones, Google Nexus, Motorola zoom, Amazon Kindle, Microsoft surface and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.


Do you use a tablet while you travel.

How to sleep in an airport comfortably and safely

Long Layover? How To Sleep At An Airport Like A Pro

How to sleep in an airport comfortably and safely

Whether you find yourself sleeping in an airport by choice or by some unfortunate stroke of bad luck, it is possible to sleep in an airport relatively comfortably and safely. Here are a few tips to help you make your overnight stay in an airport less stressful and almost fun.

6 Must Know Tips On How To Sleep In An Airport Like A Pro

If you’ve ever travelled by plane, you know sooner or later you’ll be caught in a layover between flights. No biggie if your layover is short-just read a book or grab a bite to eat and wait it out. If however your layover leaves you stranded in an airport overnight, that’s a different story. Here are some things you can do to make sure you sleep better, stay comfortable and safe. You’ll be glad you know this information.

1- Check in advance to see if you are allowed to sleep at an airport

Is it open? You won’t be able to sleep in an airport if it is not open 24 hours. Some places frown upon sleeping in airports like in Japan. If you know in advance you’ll have a long layover, research whether you can or can’t sleep in the airport overnight. If you can’t, try to make arrangements for somewhere to sleep or at least research it.

Is it disgusting? Not all airport sleeping areas are created the same and even though sleeping in the airport is possible, you may not actually want to. According to, London Heathrow airport is considered by many travellers to be one of the worst airports to sleep in overnight.

Heathrow has been labelled as too cold with very little comfortable seating to sleep on. Some travellers even complained that the carpets were dirty and flea infested. Others claimed they couldn’t sleep because it was too noisy or that the cleaning crew came around and asked them to move so they could clean.

Know before you go by using sites like which provides user-generated reviews about almost every airport you can think of. You’ll find all the information you need about a particular airport such as whether or not there is free wi-fi, or if an airport is clean, allows sleeping and so much more.

2-Pack A Survival Kit In Your Carry-On Luggage


In addition to wearing or packing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, you should consider packing a survival kit that will get you through a night or two in the airport. At minimum you should pack the following items plus anything else you think you might need.

  • Pack a change of clothing: My husband and I were stuck in an airport in Colorado when the airport was snowed in. Having a change of clothes was the pick-me-up we needed to feel a littler fresher. When my daughter spilled hot chocolate all over her dress in Switzerland, I broke out her spare clothes. Mommy to the rescue!
  • Pack a toiletry bag full of basic toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, contact solution, sanitary products, lotion, 3 oz./100ml bottle of shampoo or soap, deodorant, gel, hair brush, hair scrunchy. I sometimes pack vaseline because it’s so useful.
  • A subset of makeup: Use a clear see through makeup bag and put just the basics. A little BB cream, mascara, lip colour and face powder. The clear makeup bag makes it easy to see what you’ve got at a glance. You can pull it out easily and take it to the restroom rather than rooting around the bottom of your bag to find that lip gloss.
  • Something to cover your eyes: Bring an eye mask or simply lay a shirt on your head to block out the airport lights. I’ve seen some people wear a beenie pulled down over their eyes.
  • Earplugs: You’ll be glad you have some earplugs even if the airport is not super loud. Blocking out the sound really does help you sleep. Try the earplugs with strings attached. You’ll never lose them if they fall out.
  • A small travel pillow or roll up a sweatshirt for you head. Seen some people actually bring their bed pillows from home. I like to pack compact micro-beed filled pillow because it stuffs easily in my bag and when you lay on it, it forms perfectly around my head.
  • A small travel blanket,  sweatshirt, or a fashionable oversized scarf like a pashmina to cover yourself: It gets cold in airports. Oversized scarves look great too.
  • Wet wipes and or tissue paper: Wet wipes or travel wipes really come in handy for quick washing’s in the airport sink. I like to bring wet wipes which have moisturizer in it already just for my face.
  • Snacks: Bring something that won’t get crushed and can curb your hunger. Nuts, chocolate, granola bars? Snacks are expensive in the airport.
  • Entertainment: A book, iPhone for music, Kindle eReader
  • Spare battery for your electronics: If you can’t get a spot by a wall plug, having an external battery on hand to keep you electronics charged is a life saver. Make sure you choose an external batter pack that has enough juice to keep your phone or tablet charged up to 24 hours. The one I use is rated 10,400 mAH. The standard input voltage of smart devices is 5 volts so don’t buy an external battery that is less than this. I highly recommend the Ravpower external battery which I use almost everyday even when I am not travelling. It can charge 2 devices at the same time which means you won’t be fighting over who gets to charge their electronics.
  • Pack the kids stuff: If travelling with kids, pack their essentials too including clothes to sleep in, toys and some form of entertainment like crayons or books.

3- How to find the best spot to sleep at the airport


Sleeping in an airport is a bit of a science and not all airports are created equal when it comes to sleeping in them.  Some airports have sleeping facilities, lounges and even rooms where travellers can sleep. You should ask someone at the airport if this exists. If not, you will need to find the best spot to sleep in.

Take a walk around the airport and look for a good place to sleep. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a spot to sleep.

  • Safety: If possible try to sleep where other people are sleeping. Safety in numbers
  • Stay away from high traffic areas: Toilets, check in desks, next to stores or food vendors are all high traffic and noisy areas to sleep in which could make it difficult to sleep. However if you pack some earplugs and eye mask this might be less of an issue.
  • Look for a set of chairs with no arm rests: It will be easier to stretch out on and more comfortable and cleaner than the floor.
  • Look for clean carpeted areas: If there are no chairs, consider sleeping on the floor. I like to sleep close to a wall or window on one side of me with my luggage between me and the wall.
  • Look for outlets: If you have to charge your phone or laptop, you may want to stay near an outlet.

4-Protect your passport, purse, property and luggage


Here are a few tips to keep your luggage or valuables from being stolen while you sleep

  • Keep you passports, credit cards and cash near you or on you. Otherwise put your valuables in an INSIDE pocket of your bag NOT the outside pocket where it can easily be snatched.
  • Put larger expensive things like cameras, laptops and purses inside your luggage with a carry-on luggage lock.
  • Try to put your luggage between you and a wall like a sandwich.
  • Lay your head on your bag or take a strap and anchor your luggage to a chair near you or to you which will make it impossible for anyone to run off with your luggage. You can use locks especially made for this which are light or bring a bicycle lock with you.

5- Don’t miss your connecting flight


Confirm your flight details so you know when you need to wake up to catch your connecting flight and which gate you need to go to.

Take precautions so you wake up on time by any means necessary. I have seen people put stick-it notes on their head that say “wake me up at 8:30 in the morning so I don’t miss my flight”. You could just bring a travel clock or set the alarm on your phone too.

6- Prepare for bed

Just like you would at home, it helps to clean up before bed even if it is on some yucky airport floor. Change into something comfortable if you have to. Brush your teeth, wash your face and take off your shoes. I like to have a pair of socks on hand or small slippers. Then set your alarm, listen to some music or read a book if you have to, then try to relax and get some sleep.


Sleeping in airports can be fun or it can be total hell. My kids love sleeping in airports but it’s a different story the next morning when I try to wake them up after a night of sleepless excitement.

Use your best judgment on deciding whether or not to sleep in an airport for long layovers and be sure to check out

Bon Voyage

4 Rules to help you pack light and fashionable

How To Pack Light Without Sacrificing Style Or Comfort: A Guide For Women Infographic

If you’ve ever over-packed your suitcase or packed things you never wore during your trip because they were so badly mismatched, don’t feel bad. There’s actually a kind of science to packing light and fashionable and it’s not that difficult to do if you follow these 4 very basic rules.

infographic: 4 Rules to help you pack light and fashionable

4 Basic Rules To Help You Pack Light AND Fashionable

#1) Pick clothing items that match your travel location, it’s culture, the weather and activities.

Packing clothing items to match your location isn’t just about checking the weather. You have to consider your activities. Will you be going out on the town, working out, doing lots of walking or going to the beach?  If you are travelling someplace very different from your own culture you should do a little research to make sure you don’t dress inappropriate unless of course you want to draw a lot of attention to yourself.

For example, I have a friend who went to Egypt and wore a spaghetti strap top and shorts not realizing that this was a no-no in a land where women dress very conservatively and do not show skin for religious reasons. She was getting cat calls and getting stared at a lot until she finally figured out that she stood out like a sore thumb.

#2) Choose a simple colour palette and light weight layer-able clothing.

Choose a colour palette for your wardrobeChoose a simple colour palette and bring clothing that matches that palette. Like magic, the 5 shirts, 4 bottoms and 3 dresses you packed for your trip turns into over 23 different outfits because everything you brought can be worn together (thanks to colour palette). 2 weeks worth of clothing in one carry-on. Nothing will clash and you’ll look effortlessly stylish.

If you need help choosing a colour palette or want to learn more about this check out this link.

Another trick is to choose items that are light weight so you can layer them. This way you can just layer up for warmth if you need to.

#3) Choose Versatile comfortable shoes

Shoes weigh a lot and take up a lot of space so make sure you bring shoes that are versatile and can be worn with multiple outfits. Take ankle boots. They can be dressed up, down, worn with shorts, jeans and a dress.

To cut down on the amount of space shoes take in your luggage, try wearing your heaviest bulky shoes rather than packing them. Also, don’t let those nook and crannies of your shoes go to waste. Pack your undies and or socks in them to maximize every inch of space.

#4) Use accessories to add colour, bring to life and expand the looks of your outfits.

Scarves are an easy and light weight way to add punch to your outfits. Plus they can also do double duty as a sarong or a shoulder wrap for the evening. I use them on planes to cover up when it gets chilly. I often bring scarves in lieu of necklaces.I always have 2 pairs of earings.

One last thing

Try to plan your packing ahead. Don’t wait for the last-minute. It never ends well and you’ll end up with clothing items that just don’t go together.


51 Reasons To Pack Vaseline in your luggage on your next trip.

51 Reason Why You Need To Pack Vaseline In Your Bags on your next trip

Travellers don’t always agree on what you need to pack or where to go but 9 out of 10 will agree on one simple rule!

It’s best to try and pack as light as possible.

51 reasons you need to pack vaseline in your luggage for your next trip

Save Space: Pack Multi-Purpose Items

As a seasoned traveller, I have learned a few packing tricks that help me keep my luggage to a minimum.

One of these tricks is to pack as many things as I can that do double duty and have multiple uses.

  • A sarong can do double duty as a scarf, a belt, a head wrap even a towel in a pinch.
  • Bring one pair of shoes that you can wear with multiple outfits and dress up or down.
  • Bring a tablet which doubles as a computer, e-reader, mp3 player and child entertainment center.

You get the picture.

Vaseline was originally marketed to protect cuts, scrapes and burns

Enter VASELINE: *trumpets playing da-da-da-daaaaaaaaa*

Vaseline is one multi-purpose thing I never leave home without.

It’s like magic to me and literally replaces dozens of products I use and frees up tons of suitcase space too. 

I’ve only listed 51 uses but there are literally hundreds of uses for this miraculous gooey stuff which makes it the perfect item to pack in your luggage or even your purse for that matter.

51 reasons you need to pack Vaseline in your luggage on your next trip.

Beauty and Skin Care

Vaseline when used on the skin literally locks in moisture and prevents dryness which is what makes it such a great product to use on your skin.

Check these beautiful and famous woman who swear by it.

Tyra Banks, Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo, Halle Berry and probably hundreds more.

Tyra banks is crazy about vaseline and uses it on her face for multiple purposes

1-Apply a very light coating of Vaseline before flights and you won’t get that icky dry skin feeling. It actually prevents moisture loss.

2-Seal in moisture after a hot shower:

3-Put under eyes to keep wrinkles at bay.: Jennifer Aniston does this and she looks flawless.

4-Rub a little on fine lines like your crows feat area. It will reduce the appearance of fine lines.

5- Night time Hand and feet moisturizer: Make this a nightly ritual and put a pair of socks over your feet and you will have the most touchable, softest hands and feet in the world.

6- Night Cream: Just warm it up for a few seconds and apply a thin coat on your face.

7- Lip cream replacement: Halle Berry puts some on her lips and lets it set before putting on lipstick. I actually think it makes my lips look plumper but it feels great.

8- Cracked heels: Apply daily and nightly and watch your cracked heals turn to butter.

9- Dry elbows:

10-Stretch your favourite lotion by mixing with a little Vaseline each time: Great for when travelling with a small amount of your favourite lotion.

11- Body scrub: Mix a little sea salt in a bowl with some Vaseline and you have a pretty darn good body scrub. This keeps my hands caress-able.

12- Chapped Lips: Rub on lips and watch the magic happen. I think it is better than chapstick.

Make Up & Beauty Enhancers

13- Make-up remover: J-Lo aka Jennifer Lopez uses Vaseline as a make-up remover and so do I. Especially eye makeup.

14- Make your own lip gloss colours: I love this. Get a spoon full of Vaseline and melt it in the microwave. Add a sliver of lipstick and pour into a portable container and let it cool. It will harden and turn to lip gloss.

15- Blush: Use the lip gloss recipe above as a cream blusher. Or add a little powdered blush to Vaseline to make cream blusher.

16- All over body moisturiser: 

17- Eyelash s strengthener: Put some on your eyelashes before bed to make them longer and thicker. Some women swear by this.

18- Mix with eye shadow to make new creamy colours.

19-Harsh weather skin Protection: Put some on exposed skin before going out in harsh or windy weather. Example on your hands and cheeks.

20- Apply under eye shadow for a shiny effect:

21- Rub a little on your cheeks for a dewy radiant look

22- Perfume Enhancer: Apply some to pulse points before spraying perfume and your scent will last longer.

Hair Product

pack vaseline because when you use it as a perfume base it extends the scent of your perfume.

23- When dying your hair, put a little along your hairline to prevent your skin from touching the chemicals and dyes.

24- Hide Split Ends by rubbing some on your hands before applying to split ends. Great for when you can’t get to the salon.

25- Hair Gel: but only a little bit or you’ll will end up looking like greasy drowned rat.

26- Hair scrunched: rub a little on hands and scrunch hair to give tussled wavy look.

27- After Shave balm: apply to smooth and sooth your skin

28-Condition your scalp with a little before shampooing.

Health & Personal Care

Make extremely moisturising lip gloss on the fly for pennies.

29- Helps calm rashes like poison ivy.

30- Reduce scaling and itching from dandruff

31- Can improve and ease the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis by helping to get rid of dry patches.

32- Moisturiser for people with acne: No it does not clog pores.

33- Use as a diaper rash cream for babies.

34- Thermometer lubricant: Apply some to the thermometer when taking your baby’s temperature through the rectum.

35- Male genital rash: Yes, you heard me right. if it works on baby rashes why not male genital rash. (NON STD TYPE ONLY)

36- Helps alleviate toenail fungus. YUCK!

37- Can prevent chaffing: Runners sometimes put Vaseline on their nipples to prevent chafing caused by t-shirt friction.

38- When applied thick to the scalp, it eliminates lice by smothering them.

39- Minimize your allergies: Place a little under the nose and you’ll trap pollen before it enters the nostrils.

40- Nail and Cuticle Care: Rubbing a little on makes cuticles softer and better looking.  while keeping fingernails healthy.

41- Hemorrhoids: Yes applying a little Vaseline can help relieve the pain, itching, and burning associated with Hemorrhoids.

42- Protects and Hasten healing of burns, cuts and scrapes: put a little on affected area to seal the wound which prevents germs from getting in the wound.

43- To care for a reduce scarring after surgery:This apparently is standard post – surgical therapy. Who knew?

44- As um a personal lubricant. wink wink. But never with a condom because it will make the latex fall apart. YUP. I’m not lying.


45- Fuzzy Photo Effect: An old photography trick is to smear some Vaseline on a lens filter to give it that foggy effect.

46- Fix squeaky doors: There are squeaky doors everywhere.

47- Remove gum from hair: rub on gum and surrounding area. Take a comb and gently start to comb out.

48- Remove rings that are stuck on your finger.

49- Shine your shoes or leather bags with a dab of this and rub vigorously.

50- Remove lipstick / Make-up stains from clothing and napkins: just rub a little on stain before washing.

51- Lubricate suitcase wheels and skateboard wheels too.


I always keep Vaseline with me wherever I go. Even when I’m not travelling it is a staple in my medicine cabinet.

*NOTE:  Vaseline is sometimes hard to find in some countries or not readily available. Case and point France. It exists but it’s not in all pharmacies or at least not in the ones where I live. So don’t assume your destination country will have it. Bring a little three ounce container of it in your bag at minimum.

Here is a quick video of 50 uses for Vaseline in less than 2 minutes. Please share this post on faceook, it helps drive traffic to this site so i can keep providing you with unique content.

10 Common Travel Packing Mistakes To Avoid So You Can Pack Better

“What am I going to do? It’s below freezing and I didn’t pack a jacket, sweater or anything warm”……

Those were the words I muttered to myself when I realized I had forgotten to pack one single warm piece of clothing in my bags.

If you thought packing for a 2 weak vacation was tricky or daunting, try packing for a year long adventure for you and your family of five. Oh and you can only bring one 50 pound suitcase each for the entire year.

How will you get everything you need into your bags? What do you bring? What do you leave behind?

Today I’m going to share my top 10 list of common mistakes you should avoid like the plague which might help you pack just a little better for your next trip.

Read More!

Hire a property manager

Video: Should You Hire A Property Manager When You Move Abroad?

should you Hire a property manager

  • + Should you hire a property manager to rent your home and manage the details while you are out of the country?
  • + What does a property manager do?
  • + What is the alternative to hiring a property manager?
  • + How do you find a property manager?
  • + How much does a property manager cost?

Today I have a reader inspired question regarding what to do with your home when you move abroad temporarily.

If you own your home and you want to move abroad, you’re going to have to decide what to do with your home.

If you decide to keep it, do you hire a property manager to take care of the tenants or do you do it all yourself while you are abroad.

I can’t answer that question for you but I can give you enough information so that you can decide for yourself.

Stay tuned to find the answers to the above questions and watch me do a quick 3 second dance at the end where I look like a total moron.. (Adrienne, enjoy….… )


t-shirt Photo via Zazzle

Sarah’s Situation

Sarah is in her mid 50’s. She and her husband own their home and are thinking about spending a year abroad. They want to rent their home and possibly hire a property manager to handle the logistics of renting their property and handling the day to day needs of the tenants.


Check out Sarah’s site Called Hollistic Hot Sauce

So what do you think?  Should Sarah hire a property manager?

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