Monthly Archive: June 2015

Packing List: 3 Weeks in Europe

clothes to be packed

Here is my packing list for Europe! The time leading up to a trip is usually filled with excitement and wistful anticipation, but nothing brings you crashing back down to reality faster than the panic that comes with figuring out what to pack. It seems a universal hatred, so I’ll be sharing how and what I pack and then passing along what I ended up using, and what I didn’t.   I think it’s safe to say that I’ve over-packed on every trip I’ve been on, while simultaneously feeling like I had nothing to wear. I think most people feel…
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June 2015 Recap


It’s hard to believe that a month ago, The Avid Wanderer was just an idea. We’ve both learned a lot over the last month, and are excited to start incorporating current travels into our posts as Grace heads over to Europe for a three-week trip in July. If you’ve just found us, check out our intro post and about us. We’ve begun adding resources for travelers, beginning with budget European air travel. More links and recommendations will be added under the “travel resources” section in the months to come. Next Month: Grace is heading to Ireland, Spain, and Portugal! Laine…
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Travel Checklist – What to do 10 days before you go!

Madrid's metro map

I’m just over a week out from my July trip to Europe. At this point we’ve already planned all of the essentials, so now’s the time to get your pre-trip checklist taken care of. Below are some of my recommendations for what to get done a little over a week before you travel!   Make Digital Copies of Documents – Upload copies of your passport, ID, travel documents, etc. to Google Docs or any other web based program that you can access anywhere you have internet.   Download Local Apps –  I’m fairly familiar with the Madrid metro, but I…
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Live Music & Late Night Tours in Nashville

Nashville may be the most underrated place I’ve been to.   My friend Kate traveled a lot for work and built up enough travel rewards to book 3 of us flights and a hotel for a girls’ weekend trip to Nashville. We are so lucky she was kind enough to gift her travel rewards to us!         Liking country music isn’t a prerequisite for a good time in Nashville, but liking music is. Every bar and restaurant is bursting with live music at nearly every hour of the day.  There’s a distinct energy from the musicians here…
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Montreal Botanical Garden

Flower at Montreal Botanical Gardens

The summer I spent in Canada was one of the busiest periods of my entire life. Between my internship, planned excursions, and preparing to move to France in the fall, the whole summer seems like such a blur in hindsight. During one of only free days we had, my friend and I decided to drive a few hours to Montreal. While Montreal is an exciting city, we really wanted to relax on our very short break, so we forwent exploring the underground mall or the old city in favor of wandering the Montreal Botanical Garden The gardens were beautiful and an incredibly peaceful place in…
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Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica

For the number of classes I’ve taken on the Spanish language, I should be much better than I am. I like to blame it on the fact that my very first Spanish class was taught by a woman who was allergic to chalk, and left our class halfway through the year so she could “get better” in Mexico. Every class that followed was based on the basics which I barely grasped, and I constantly felt in over my head.   The reality is that foreign language just doesn’t come easily to me. I’m a mixture of poor skills and nerves. In…
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Fast Track to Fluency – French

eiffel tower at night

The quality of my French is a source of embarrassment for me. I started taking French in school when I was fifteen. After taking courses all through high school and college, working for a Canadian Francophone for a summer, and being enrolled at a language school in France, I passed the DELF B1. Essentially, after 7 years, it was officially certified that my French was “Intermediate”. What followed was Graduate School and real life. While I’ve tried to maintain my language skills using French resources I’ve accumulated over the years, I had largely accepted the inevitability that without using the…
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Best Travel Backpack – Getting Geared up for your Trip

Travel backpack

Having a good backpack is essential. If you’re planning a trip to one destination and one hotel you can get away with a rolling case, but if you plan on traveling around at all you need everything off the ground with your hands free. Cobblestones weren’t meant for rolly-wheels, neither were train stairs, or running to catch the bus.   I compared backpacks before my trip last year, and my pick for the best travel backpack is the Osprey FlapJill Pack. This is the bag I used last year for two and a half weeks in Europe. It’s smaller than what I traveled…
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Budgeting for Travel

Vacationing around the world, especially to expensive countries in Western Europe, can often seem inaccessible for people just starting out in their careers. Conversely, when we’re just starting out also the time when we have the fewest responsibilities and obligations preventing us from indulging our whims. Many people with my salary and debt are living paycheck to paycheck and have very limited discretionary income. I have significant student loan debt and a car payment. With an annual gross income that is less than half of my total debt, my ability to travel is largely based on two factors: my willingness to diligently…
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