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What Do Bulgarians Eat

what do bulgarians eat

Bulgaria is located in the southeastern part of the Balkans. With that location, comes a tradition of phenomenal food that makes even the biggest of foodies blush. At one point in time, this region of the world was occupied by the Romans, Greeks, and Turks making it a crazy melting pot of Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine. If you love food and are wondering what do Bulgarians eat, here are some of the dishes you can’t leave the country without trying.

Bulgarian Baked Goods

bulgarian baked goods and breadBulgarians love bread. If there is one thing you won’t have trouble finding at any point on your visit to Bulgaria it’s a delicious hunk of bread in many different forms and variations. I’ve personally seen grown men cry over some of these baked goods, so you shouldn’t be ashamed if you do the same after trying them.

Milinki

This is possibly the most dangerously addicting food you will try in Bulgaria. Milinki is essentially little balls of dough topped with lots of butter and brined cheese.

bulgarian eating milinki

Me in the wild enjoying Milinki heaven.

They are typically baked and sold together in sets of around 6. You may tell yourself that you’ll only eat one, but you’ll probably end up eating them all.

Banitsa

Banitsa is arguably the most Bulgarian of all the baked goods. Even though there are tons of different types of banitsa they are based on filo dough which is layered with a delicious Bulgarian feta and egg mixture. Varieties can differ based on the region, type of cheese, and even baking method. Incredibly addictive. Beware.

Kozunak

Kozunak is considered a dessert and traditionally made on Easter. It is usually made by taking three strands of dough and weaving them together. The Kozunak is then baked and topped with sugar and nuts. One of the things that make Kozunak unique, and even more delicious, is how flaky the dough is.

Bulgarian Salads

Bulgarians love their salad, and you can easily see that by opening up a menu at any restaurant. There are many different types that are both healthy (most of the time) and delicious, but here are some of the most famous ones.

Shopska

If there is one thing for certain, it’s that it’s never hard to find Shopska salad in Bulgaria. Easily found in every restaurant or on the tables of home-cooked meals, it’s made of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and topped with a healthy amount of Bulgarian feta cheese (which is many times shredded, creamy, and delightful). It doesn’t come with a “dressing” but all restaurants in Bulgaria have olive oil and vinegar on the tables so you can season your salad to your liking.

Snezhanka

This salad is pretty unique and made by finely chopping cucumber and dill then mixing it into strained yogurt. The resulting salad is tart, salty, and very refreshing. You can also add some finely chopped garlic and top it off with walnuts if you want.

A “winter” variation exists which replaces fresh cucumber with pickles.

Russian

Despite its name, this salad can be found all over Bulgaria and is traditionally made in the winter around the holidays. It’s made by chopping the following ingredients in cubes: pickles, cooked carrots, cooked potatoes, peas (not chopped obviously), and best of all hot dogs. Yes, hot dogs. This is then all mixed into mayonnaise! While this might sound like an odd mixture you’re guaranteed to love it. Unless you hate mayonnaise…then it might not be your thing.

Bulgarian Meats

bulgarian meatsBulgarians eat a lot of meat… like a lot. And there are tons of different types of meaty deliciousness waiting for you if you’re a true carnivore. Here’s what you need to try when you visit Bulgaria.

Kufte

Kufte is the Bulgarian meatball, but with a little something extra.

Unlike most meatballs that are just meat, kufteta (kufte in the plural form) have a mix of chopped onions, parsley, eggs, and wait for it… soaked bread. The resulting “meatball” is not just a spherical hunk of meat, but a delicious treat that is loved by all Bulgarians.

Another secret ingredient used in the making of kufteta, and most Bulgarian meat dishes, is chubritza. Chubritza is a special herb mix which you can get only in Bulgaria. It has a strong, very distinct smell that you will later dream about.

Kebapche

There’s no great cuisine in the world that does not have a recipe for meat in tube form, and Bulgaria definitely lives up to that.

The kebapche is usually made from ground meat that is 50% pork and 50% beef along with a healthy sprinkle of cumin and chubritza. The mixture is then rolled into a tube shape and grilled. For the most Bulgarian experience possible, it should be grilled outside with lots of beer close by.

You can find kebapcheta (plural form) at many pubs and restaurants as meze – a type of food that’s eaten as a side to alcohol. You never order one, and you should definitely try dipping it in some lutenitsa, a type of pepper and tomato based spread famous in Bulgaria.

Meshena Skara

When translated into English the name of this “dish” is mixed meat, and it lives up to the name. If you want to get a taste of the entire gamut of Bulgarian cooked meats this is what you should get. It’s essentially a large platter with everything I’ve mentioned in this section and several more types of cooked meats/sausages.

So you should probably get it. Go crazy!

 

Bulgarian soups and stews

Shkembe Chorba

The name of this soup directly translates into “Stomach Soup” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

This Bulgarian favorite is essentially beef tripe (stomach lining) that is chopped into cubes and then simmered in a paprika-infused milk broth. It’s then often times served with a healthy dose of garlic soaked in vinegar.

This may not sound like the most appealing dish in the world but it’s a must-try. It’s delicious and often times consumed in the early hours of the day when people are making their way home from the bars and need some strength to get them the rest of the way to their beds.

If the idea of eating tripe doesn’t appeal to you, don’t eat the chunks of tripe but just enjoy the broth. It’s one of the most flavourful and delicious things out there. Trust me!

Gyuvech

Gyuvech is named for the type of dish that the meal is cooked in. Essentially a Gyuvech is a clay pot (it can be both large and small) that is bulbous, with a clay top, and oftentimes decorated with classic Bulgarian designs. Gyuvech is a type of stew that combines meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, and other veggies. There are many different types of gyuvech depending on the area of Bulgaria you’re in and the season.

Tarator

Do you remember the Snezhanka salad from above? Well, this is essentially the soup version of the salad and beloved by all Bulgarians. It’s made by finely chopping cucumbers (never pickles), and dill, and combining it with a mixture of equal parts water and yogurt. The soup is then topped with olive oil, and sometimes garlic and walnuts.

This is possibly one of the most famous Bulgarian dishes and usually consumed during the summer since it’s served cold.

Whether its fluffy delicious bread in the morning or a shopska and Meshena Skara in the evening, Bulgaria has an endless array of yummy cuisine that is worth visiting and experiencing. When it comes to what do Bulgarians eat, I think it’s safe to say they eat well.

Crazy NYC Subway Stories

Crazy NYC Subway Stories


If you spend any amount of time in New York City you’re bound to take the MTA Subway a time or two. For those that live in the city, they can chew your ear off with all the crazy stories, people, and experiences they have had while underground on the subway. In this episode, we bring in our friends and colleagues to share some of their craziest subway encounters while living here.

Show Notes

Check out the Instagram account: @subwaycreatures

If you’re visiting the city be sure to check out our article about how to navigate the NYC transit system.

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Credits

Hosted by:

Special Guest Appearances:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Price: $29 / per person Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 01/17/2019

Where to Store Luggage in New York City

luggage storage in nyc

About to visit New York City, or already here and need to quickly find a place to put your luggage? In this article, we’ll cover options for luggage storage in NYC so you won’t need to fuss with bags. Get ready to have the time of your life in the best city on earth.

We have this exact problem all the time when we travel the globe.

We get into a new city and want to go explore, but we can’t. We have an awkward amount of time where we’re left with our bags to lug around the city before check-in. Well lucky for the world, awesome companies have developed solutions that will help luggage storage in NYC be a breeze for you.

Luggage Storage Apps

Luggage storage has finally caught up with the times and now it’s easier than ever to shed yourself of your heavy burdens to explore a new place. Here are a few of our favorites and recommendations.

Bounce – Luggage Storage on the Go Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

luggage storage in nycMy favorite solution of all the storage apps would be Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . I just heard about this luggage storage app on one of my favorite podcast’s The Pitch. Their model is pretty cool and it’s super easy to use.

Just download their app and then find a local small business to drop your bags off at. It’s pretty simple and only $6/per bag/per day. Not bad if you think about all the lugging you’d have to carry alternatively.

They also offer a transfer service if you’d like to drop your luggage off at one location and have it delivered to another (say an airport or train station like Grand Central or Penn Station). This service is newer and really interesting if you’re like me and hate luggage lugging. Prices start at about $15 and go up from there for transfer. They have a $5,000 Bounce Guarantee so you can rest assured they are going to take care of your bags.

I’m a sucker for a nicely designed mobile app and website and of all the solutions on this page, Bounce wins the prize for this.

Because you rock, they’re offering 10% OFF to Life Nomading readers Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. so just click the link and it will automagically be discounted upon purchase.

Nanny Bag

Also available in New York City, this luggage storage app is competitively priced at $6/per day and extra days are charged at $4/ per day. No size or weight limits and free cancellations make it a very appealing solution as well.

Luggage Hero

Priced a bit differently but still offering a similar service is Luggage Hero. You can utilize them hourly for $1/hour or by the day for $10/day. This is great if you decide that you only need storage in New York City for a few hours as you will save a few bucks.

Be warned they do have a one time $2 handling fee and if you are using them for all day use I would recommend Bounce instead.

Vertoe

We’re just getting a little petty about the price at this point. Vertoe scrapes just under most of the others at $5.95 per item per day. If you’re trying to save every single penny for one more meal at Tortaria then I understand. Security seals, $5,000 in insurance coverage and all that is included with Vertoe luggage storage so you can rest easy that your bags are going to be OK.

Free New York Luggage Storage Solutions

Early Check-In

If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a hotel there is a chance you could just give them a call or message and ask if you could get an early check-in. If your host isn’t able to do so, perhaps ask them if you could at least drop your bags off. Most times, if it’s a shared space with a live-in host, they will be more than happy to accommodate. It’s worth a try if getting to your lodging arrangements is just as easy as a bag drop-off location.

Hotel Bag Checks

This is terrible, but if you’re really on a budget and need to find storage for your luggage then hotel bag checks could be an easy solution for you. Even if I’m not staying at a hotel, often times I will just act like I am in a rush and ask if they could hold my bag for me. They will give you a tag and then when you come back, thank them graciously and woohoo you just saved money on luggage storage.

I do however advise that if you have some dollars to spare, tip the hotel staff.

If you’re anxious or worried they’ll call your bluff than this tactic isn’t for you. Instead, use an app storage solution like Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . Confidence is key.

Drop luggage off at a friend’s place

Think reaaaaaaaallllyyy hard. You must have at least one friend in the city that never sleeps. If so, give them a text and if you haven’t seen them in a while first inquire about their lives (eye roll). Then make the ask if you could drop your bag off for a bit while you explore the city. Who knows, maybe they’ll even show you around the city. If they don’t, no biggy, we have a tour for that! 😉

It’s no secret that with a city this big, you have plenty of luggage storage in NYC options at your fingertips. Don’t stress too much, you’re not alone and you’ll be okay. If I were you, I would suggest using an app service like Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or the hotel bag check hack, but at the end of the day be sure to choose an option that gives you more time exploring and less time stressing.

Have a great time in the city that never sleeps and best of luck getting rid of those heavy bags.

Ultimate Guide to Using a NYC Laundromat

wash and fold in nyc

Let’s get real, doing your laundry is a necessary evil whether you’re visiting NYC or living in this wonderful city longterm. What isn’t so wonderful is navigating the NYC laundromat. Which one to choose? Should you do it yourself or have them take care of it? What about just having someone pick it up at your door? Take a deep breath in, we’re going to answer all your dirty laundry qualms, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to have pine tree fresh laundry in no time.

The NYC Laundromat

For most normal humans, doing their own laundry is a common occurrence. If you’re living in New York City without a trust fund, then you’ll likely sling a bag of dirty underwear over your shoulder and venture to your preferred laundromat at some point in your life.

However, when it comes to picking your allegiance between the hundreds of laundromats that’d appreciate your quarter paying business, there are a few things to look for before committing.

First Check Your Basement

First, you must be thinking, “But Ian, I’ll have a washer and dryer in my apartment.”

Oh, how beautiful a sight that would be.

You walk into an apartment that is no larger than your midwest walk-in closet and 80% of the space is taken up by a washer and dryer. Keep dreaming, future Broadway star.

However, there is a small chance that your apartment building or wherever you’re staying has communal laundry in your building’s basement. I know what you’re thinking, the last place you want to go is your shady apartment building’s basement.

I get it, but dirty laundry isn’t going to clean itself.

The downfall of this option is that for the most part, you’ll have to pay these machines with quarters. Truthfully, this is one of my least favorite aspects of living in the city. The stress I have for making sure I keep $10-20 worth of quarters laying around at all times is incredible. Maybe I should see someone for that.

The pro-side is that you have a limited number of people using those machines, however, your maintenance guy will likely never fully clean the machines or maintain them so you’re guaranteed to at least have them break on you once…every week.

Might as well go to a New York laundromat, honestly.

Payment Method

Okay, so you have no laundry in your building. No big deal. You will join the ranks of almost every New Yorker to come before you. But how will you be prepared for the experience?

quarters for nyc laundromat

2 words: bring quarters.

Most laundromats in the city still operate on quarters. Like mentioned above, it’s a pain in the butt, but it’s out of your control.

If you don’t have quarters on hand, some of the laundromats will give change if you ask, but don’t expect them to be jolly and happy about doing it. Just make it a habit to go to your local bank and ask to withdraw all the quarters, but make sure it’s not a holiday or a Sunday. Hoard these things in a mason jar. You’ll look cool and feel old school like you’re saving for a trip when in reality its all going to cleaning beer spills and mustard stains.

Find a Laundromat that gives you a laundry card

nyc laundromat card

A gift from the laundry gods

It’s this magical feeling when you finally stumble upon a laundromat in New York that offers a prepaid re-usable laundry card. Gone will be the frustration of quarters and welcome in an easy swipe and start.

How to best spot these?

Well for one, most will advertise they use them and, heck, you may be able to save $5 if you load it with X amount. If not, peek inside and look at the machines. If you see what looks like a credit card swiper or a vending machine money slot then you are golden!

Just ask them for a card and they’ll direct you to where to load it. I think our card cost’s $1.00. Worth it!

How much does it cost to do laundry in an NYC Laundromat?

Pricing varies depending on where you live, how sketchy the laundromat is, and what machines you use. I will say from my experience a normal wash will run you anywhere from $2.75 – $5.00 a load. Drying is a bit less than that.

Hope those H&M clothes are worth the Prada level wash prices. :/  #irony

Quality Over Price Every Day

Your clothes are important and the last thing you want is for a crappy wash to ruin them. I know it’s pretty basic, but I judge NYC laundromats by first checking Google reviews and then giving it a good old-fashioned visual check. If it looks dirty and like its the local spot for the random drug deals… just move on, there are five more on the block.

If they are clean and take laundry cards, you can bet their management company takes pride and prioritizes keeping them a place for people to use.

When To Do Your Laundry in NYC

If you’re visiting or have a flexible job, it is so much less stressful to go to the laundromat in NYC anytime on the weekday between 10:00 AM and say 3:00 PM. Everyone is at work and you will likely have the place to yourself. Pop in an episode of our podcast and begin getting your clean on!

I avoid weekend laundry days like the plague unless you get up nice and early to beat everyone’s hangover sleep-ins.

Wash & Fold

wash and fold in nycFor those visiting the city or perhaps in a pinch on time, there is a service that many laundromats offer in the city called Wash & Fold.

It’s easy, you pack up a laundry bag and take it to the local laundromat. They will weigh the bag, give you a slip, and tell you to come to pick it up in a day or two. It’s very convenient, but will run you on average about double the price of doing it yourself.

When I was a visitor in the city I would do this because it was easy and also, at the time, it blew my mind that I could pay someone to do my laundry and not have to take out a loan for it.

Let’s call it about $20 for an average load. They’ll wash, dry and get this… they fold your laundry too! I’ve never seen people fold like that. So crisp. So perfect.

 

Pick Up & Delivered Laundry Services

Cleanly New York City Laundry delivery option

The boujiest of bouji, pick up/delivery laundry services are available to you right at the tap of a button on your phone.

Just like Wash & Fold, with pick up/delivery app’s like Cleanly you can request a person to come to your door and pick up your laundry. 24-hours later they will bring it back with perfect folds and in most cases the laundry is still warm.

Crisp and warm, like a perfectly toasted New York bagel.

Now let’s get real, this is most definitely the priciest of laundry options available to you in the city. We have to admit, we have succumbed to this temptation a time or two.

It’s honestly worth a try, and a good way to treat yourself every now and again especially on super busy NYC weeks. To the right, you will see what it cost us to get laundry done for a week’s worth of both Caroline and I’s clothes. This is after a $10 OFF coupon so in reality, you are looking at $35-45 for a week of laundry. If you’re like myself and hate laundry days, sometimes the money beats the two hours in a laundromat.

If you’d like to get $10 OFF your first two Cleanly washes use our offer code IANHO13 after downloading the Cleanly app.

 

Ready to take on the NYC Laundromat scene?

Do you feel ready to clean those clothes and get back to the hustle and bustle of the city? We believe in you, you’ve got this! We’d love to hear about your most crazy laundromat experiences in the city. Leave them in the comments below. Stay fresh fellow nomads. 🙂

New York for Single Travellers

New York for Single Travellers

Whether you’re here on business or just visiting to cross some city sights off your bucket list, New York is for single travellers: A place where you’re never alone, but can make decisions for yourself (and no one cares). New York bliss. NYC has something to offer everyone, but here are a few things to welcome you to the world of  New York for single travellers.

Transit

Don’t be scared. Take public transportation.

Not only will it save you money (and potentially a new pair of shoes), but it will give you a deeper appreciation of the people and the construction of this city. Get it? Deeper? As in tunnels?

I could go on and on about Subway tips for tourists, but I’m going to leave that to this in depth article. Read it. Memorize it. Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Where to Stay

Lodging can be daunting as it’s sometimes the most expensive piece of the travel puzzle, depending on the length of your trip. As a single traveller, you most likely won’t be wanting to drop $100+ a night for a hotel room. Other options?

Hostels

As we all know, hostels are a fun way to meet other travellers when you’re alone. If you’re looking for hostels directly in Manhattan, the prices are sometimes in line with hotels. Be sure to widen your zoom when looking at a map! There are some really awesome hostels in Queens and Brooklyn that offer way nicer amenities and are generally $25/night. Compare to the subway map, as long as it’s off a subway stop, you’ll be in the chaos of the city soon enough!

AirBnb

Game changer. Sometimes I think about how people traveled pre-AirBnb; It revolutionized how people experience the city!

Having a local at your fingertips for recommendations, a home-base to make coffee in the morning, and the ability of walking down your front steps to a neighborhood rather than Times Square – that’s what makes a New York City experience real. You can average about $30/night in a New York Airbnb, but don’t forget about the extra cleaning fee when you book. Same with hostels, zoom out to take a scan at rooms in all 5 boroughs. Staying in these areas will get you some better prices!

What to do

For a full list of things to do in New York, I could talk for days. The greatest part about the city is that just by going outside for a walk, you’re in for an adventure. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to wander. These are the things that I suggest doing on your own:

Walking ToursGrand Central Terminal Walking Tour

A built in friend group of travelers just like you!

If you want to get away from the family’s with fanny packs, take a tour of a less popular area Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (it’ll widen your horizons anyway). At the very least, you have the attention of a local for at least an hour or two. Ask for recommendations; I’ve sometimes planned an entire trip that way!

 

Museums

Great for a rainy or cold day, but also one of the top attractions in New York. You could spend a whole week touring NYC museums, so pick which one will appeal to you the most. You can wander around by yourself for hours, which I tend to do even if I come with a group!

Pro Tip: The Natural History Museum is actually “pay what you wish” when you buy your ticket in person! Don’t feel bad about skipping out on that hefty $23 recommended admission. There’s a family of five right behind you that will fall into it’s traps.

Jazz at Lincoln Center

If you’re a sucker for jazz, like me, but have no idea where to go, why not go to the center of it all? Located at Columbus Circle, you can find formal concerts here, but the best thing to do alone is Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club. Grab a glass of wine, sit in the back and take in the amazing talent. It’s a low lit, single traveller’s dream that will leave you feeling classy and fulfilled!

Top of the Rock

Because if you have to do one touristy activity, this should be it Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . For sweeping views of the New York Skyline and maybe a moment of silence overlooking the chaos, Top of the Rock provides you just that.

Ask a stranger to take your photo (they’ll probably ask for one back), and then just take it all in. It’s way better than the Empire State Building, just trust me on that.

AirBnb Experiences

If you’re staying in an AirBnb, you’ll probably get a marketing email or two leading up to your trip, but AirBnb Experiences are open to anyone! They’re an awesome way to get a unique experience that’s off the beaten path, and with a host that is passionate about a niche topic. Take a tour, make a souvenir, or try some food that you wouldn’t normally have encountered!

CitiBike through the Park

For someone new to New York, I wouldn’t recommend relying on CitiBike to get you from destination A to B (those cab drivers can be pretty scary on the road).

However, a nice ride through the park gives you a fun activity and a great way to see as much as possible. Central Park is a great one to bike through, but for a park a little less obvious, try out Riverside. There’s also a bike path closer to the Hudson which runs from 145th street all the way to the Battery. Get on it and go! …Just be sure to dock your bike every 30 minutes so you don’t get charged.

A day pass is $12 for unlimited 30-minute rides, or a single 30-minute ride is $3.

See a Show

Can’t come to New York and not see one, right? There are a lot of options for discount tickets on the fly. The easiest one being on your phone: Download TodayTix. Right now. Just do it and see what it is. Another option includes going to the theater’s box office as soon as it opens (do a little research and make sure they do same day rush tickets before going). If all else fails, line up at the TKTS Booth. They sell same day tickets that are 20-30% off: Worth a shot, right?

 

Where to eat

When friends and family visit, they probably think all I do during the day is eat… I’m just very passionate about food offerings in New York City. These are the places that I can recommend on a medium budget (no, not Michelin restaurants), but will get you out of the Times Square Applebee’s.

Tortaria (Union Square)

Tortaria restaurant new york city union squareI love a good taco/marg joint, but this is the perfect blend of quick tacos and a full-on restaurant. Perfectly placed between Union Square and West Village, stop in even if just for the chips and queso (And obviously some tequila, if you’re into that).

Top Secret Tip: They have this smoked barbecue sauce that sits on the tables. PUT IT ON EVERYTHING. Mix it into the queso, pour it down your throat, whatever it takes. If I could buy it by the gallon, I would.

Jacobs Pickle’s (Upper West Side)

#1 favorite place in the city. Don’t even think about going for Sunday Brunch since they don’t take reservations, but if you go on weekdays for any meal you’ll be able to walk in and snag a table (or bar spot). The cocktails are amazing, but the food is the winner. Southern with a twist, comforting, and large portions. Hello, leftovers! I’ve never left without complete satisfaction from the grub or the service.

Clearly, Ian loves Prince Street Pizza

Prince Street Pizza (NoLita)

The BEST pizza. It’s not what you imagine as typical NY style pizza, but it’s the style of pizza that I want while in New York (that counts, right?). You can usually see the line stretching down the sidewalk, but well worth the wait. Grab a square, take in those tiny peps, perfectly crafted sauce, and fluffy dough. I can smell it a mile away. The perfect end to an unsuccessful “shopping” day in SoHo.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Flatiron District)

You may have seen their name at some point in life. This place is a cheese-lover’s dream. Fun cafe on the ground level, but the magic is downstairs in the cellar. Amazing, affordable happy hour with a good selection of wines to pair with your mini cheese board, but you CANNOT leave without trying the Mac and Cheese. Mom’s mac is good and all, but woah. I have dreams of this pixie dust infused mac.

Playa Bettys (Upper West Side)

I was originally drawn into this place during my search for queso that could compare to my tex-mex loving roots. They did not disappoint. Neither did their drinks or burritos, which have french fries in them… casual. Playa Betty’s also broadened my food-loving horizons to include tachos (tater tot nachos, brilliant) and ice cream churro sandwiches (I mean, come on). If it’s nice outside, they open their windows and create a patio. Perfect for Upper West Side dog, people, and dog people watching.

Ippudo (Multiple Locations)

Amazing ramen. If you’ve had NY pizza, bagels, doughnuts, and cronuts, you may be looking for something a bit less alarming to your digestive system, and you can’t miss out on a classic Japanese soul food. Ippudo has several locations in New York, making it easy to take a break from tourist food.

Black Seed Bagels (East Village)

We all know NY bagels are good, but while there are several places that claim to have the best, I generally think they all taste the same. Black Seed definitely does not. I promise you will have a life-changing bagel experience here (All I’m saying is that one more than one occasion I have eaten multiple in one day). It’s the water in New York that makes our bagels special, but they add a touch of honey to that magic water to make it even more magical. Bliss.

Rosemary’s (West Village)

When you’re ready to sit down for a nicer meal, indulge in a bottle of wine, and have an experience of culinary arts, this is the place. It’s large, and always lively so you can enjoy your meal even if you’re dining alone. It’s reasonably priced for the quality of the food and well worth it if you’re treating yourself. Located in prime West Village, they feature produce from their rooftop farm in a magical setting that takes you from Greenwich to Tuscany upon entering through the doorway.Cuba Restaurant - Greenwich Village New York City

Cuba (Greenwich Village)

Mojitos and Empanadas. Considering getting this mantra tattooed on my forehead. Cuba gives you the real deal. It’s a small dining space with a lot of flavors. Brunch can get crazy, but go for a quiet weekday meal.

Desserts:

If you’re super into the sweets and find yourself on the Upper West Side, I dare you to make it through the Top 5 Desserts on the Upper West Side. It’s a challenge, so if you only choose one, I won’t judge.

Cafe Lalo (Upper West Side)

A cafe to sit and read a book… at least according to “ You’ve Got Mail. Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. ” I’ll take my latte with a side of Tom Hanks, please. Treat yourself to a little cheesecake and take in the quaintness of the Upper West Side.

Levain Bakery (Upper West Side)

Six. Ounces. Of warm, gooey, cookie that is. Levain’s perfectly baked cookies are a dessert that will be in your memory forever. Chocolate Chip Walnut is classic, but you cannot go wrong with any of the cookie flavors. Located at W 74th and Amsterdam, it would be easy for you to overlook the tiny basement bakery if it weren’t for the line stretching down the block. Well worth the wait though, and if you deem that it’s not, there’s a second storefront right around the corner. You’re welcome.

Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Price: $29 / per person Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 01/17/2019

Dough (Union Square)

Follow their instagram if you want serious FOMO before your trip. These decadent rings of bliss come with lots of napkins and a craving for more. Go in the morning for a fresh batch, or in the evening when you can normally get two for one (Although I highly suggest heating it up before eating for maximum satisfaction).

Milk Bar (Multiple Locations)

Cliche, I know, but you have to try it if you haven’t. It’s famous for its cereal ice cream, and for good reason. The first time I tried it, I audibly said OMG after every bite. I promise you’ll be able to find one within a reasonable distance, so take the time to go and enjoy. Your life will be changed, and ice cream will never be the same.

 

 

So if you’re coming the New York City by yourself, just remember that this city is made of 8.6 million people that are alone. Don’t be afraid to sit in a restaurant or go to the park and read a book. Always be aware and diligent, but soak in the bliss that is independently wandering through New York.

Loctote Review

I’m a walking tour guide, and quite honestly I hate taking my big backpack with me on every tour in New York City. In this Loctote review, I cover my thoughts on the simple yet powerful drawstring (or drawcord) rather bag that I take with me during my days adventuring around New York City.

At first glance, this can look like just another drawstring bag but upon closer inspection, you can quickly begin to see why this thing is advertised as such a resilient bag Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . When I first got my Loctote in the mail on initial opening I was so stunned by the sheer quality of the bag itself. I knew it was meant to withstand slashing, but I wasn’t expecting such a thick and quality material.

It’s hard to describe!

LOCTOTE Flak Sack SPORT - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Price: $119.00 LOCTOTE Flak Sack SPORT - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 02/19/2019

Thoughts upon opening the box:

“Woah, this isn’t your average light-as-air drawstring bag.”

That’s because it’s slash proof. The Loctote is made of a perfectly blended fabric that doesn’t rip when a knife slashes it. Get this, it’s actually being used for law enforcement clothing now! The straps also have a small cable in them that make it difficult to cut through. This is not your average, light as air, drawstring bag. This is something that you will buy and keep forever (unlike those drawstring bags that wouldn’t even make it through a week at summer camp).

“Woah, the inside is fancy.”

It’s lined, and there are pockets! There is nothing I love more than a pocket in a backpack. Quick access to your valuables and bonus, it’s RFID blocking, so not even electronic pickpockets will make it into your bag. Ask Ian, he’s fallen victim to this before. :/

“How does this work?”

I jumped right in pulling on this, tugging on that, spinning the combination lock, and quickly realized that maybe I should glance over that very detailed instruction sheet laying in the box. When I say detailed, I really mean detailed, and you may need that detail level to operate the custom Loctote lock. It allows you to program your own combination to something you’ll actually remember (thank goodness)!

In Use:

The coolest part about the Loctote is how you can lock it and leave it. Once the bag is tightened, a cable pulls out in the front that has a small silver loop attached. If the cable is pulled out far enough, there will be two silver brackets exposed. The custom lock wraps through the silver loop and the two silver brackets on the cable. Lock it around a park bench, a chain link fence, anything that’s stationary, and go live your life without a worry in the world. It’s that simple.

I, personally, use my bag every day in the city. It fits all of my things, is easy to throw over my shoulder, and gives me peace of mind that in whatever situation my bag will be safe. You may think that some of the features are drastic, but they come in handy when you lock up your bag to throw a frisbee with your friends in Central Park.

A lot of times, I pile all of my things into my boyfriends’ backpack because I don’t want to lug mine around. I don’t have any excuses anymore with this bag. It’s a great size that’s in between a purse and a normal backpack: Perfect for a wallet, camera, and water bottle (which is generally everything I need in life).

All in all, if you’re looking for that perfect hybrid between a backpack and an “adventure around the city” type bag this will be your best bet.

LOCTOTE Flak Sack SPORT - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Price: $119.00 LOCTOTE Flak Sack SPORT - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 02/19/2019

Vienna Travel Guide

vienna travel guide

When you walk the streets of Vienna, you’ll find yourself constantly asking, “why can’t all cities be this beautiful?” In a word, Magical doesn’t even begin to do this city justice. While this Vienna Travel Guide will lay out our experiences and must-dos, we left Vienna with a broken heart; We know there is so much more left to see.

Without further adieu, let’s dive into one of our favorite European cities.

Vienna Train Stations and Airports

We took the train from Budapest, Hungary into Vienna’s Wien Praterstern train station. Admittedly, this is the only train station we spent time in, but from our perspective, it was clean and well organized. Which, I mean, what more could you ask from a train station?

There are a few train stations on the way into Vienna, so be sure to keep in mind which stop your ticket says. Prepare to deboard when the train nears your station; Some stops are quicker than others!

Flying out of Austria’s Salzburg Airport

salzburg austria airportWe anticipated flying out of Vienna at the end of our trip to Austria, but realized during our week in the city that our tickets were actually departing out of Salzburg, Austria.

Sometimes fun surprises happen like that! 🙂

If you find yourself in the same predicament, or if ticket prices are cheaper out of Salzburg than Vienna, we highly recommend you take the Westbahn train into Salzburg for a fun day trip before your flight departs. We loved having a quick day trip in Salzburg before flying off to London!

The Salzburg airport is incredibly small so don’t stress about arriving too early. Like most European airports, an hour or so before your flight is typically just fine.

We took the bus from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof train station to the airport. Cheap and easy. You can purchase your ticket on the bus.

Bus ticket should cost around: €2.10

Transportation in Vienna, Austria

We’re huge fans of using public transportation if at all possible. Vienna was no different. We used their underground subway system called the Vienna U-Bahn the entire time we were there and had no real hang-ups.

As always, don’t be afraid to take an extra second or two to double check you are getting on the correct subway line. And ALWAYS ALWAYS pre-load Google Maps for the city you are traveling in. This way, even without cellphone reception you can still easily navigate on your phone like a champ.

With plenty of subway lines to get you anywhere around the greater Vienna metro area, the U-Bahn is the perfect solution for anyone on a budget.

If you’re a New Yorker like us, we feel most comfortable on public transport anyway. If you’re from farmlands or rural towns, have no fear we believe you will have an easy time using their public transit too.

Transport Cost and Passes

A weekly U-Bahn unlimited pass qualifies for the above ground tram’s and the underground subway and will be €17.10 euro. For reference, a single ride is €2.40 euro. So if you plan to make more than 3 round trips from your hostel/Airbnb to downtown, we recommend you just purchase the week unlimited pass so you don’t have to stress about it.

Visit here for up-to-date prices and policies.

How to Use Vienna U-Bahn Passes

Vienna’s U-Bahn passes work on a validation system. This means that if you have an unlimited pass you will NOT be putting your pass in the validator stands upon entrance. Just keep walking, but make sure your pass is available to you and is valid for your dates.

Vienna police will monitor riders at various stations during your week there. Be prepared to show your pass, but unless they ask you can just keep walking. You only need to validate for single days and single trip fares.

Vienna City Bikes

riding bikes in vienna austriaVienna is known for great access to bicycling and there are public access bikes throughout the city that you can sign up for. Registration is only €1.00 euro and the first hour of use on any of the Vienna (Wien) city bikes is free. What a deal! Traffic in Vienna compared to any US city is not bad at all. It’s a bike-friendly city, so cycling your way around is a great option for your transportation if weather permits.

Sign up ahead of time here: https://www.citybikewien.at/en/

Vienna Taxis

We did not take any taxi’s while in Vienna, so if you’re on a budget during your travels, we recommend you don’t either. For reference, a Vienna taxi will cost about €36.00 for 2 passengers from VIE airport to City Centre.

Vienna Cellular Data & SIM Cards

During our first day in the city, we ventured downtown to a few local cell phone shops and ended up purchasing a SIM card from T-Mobile. It was the best value that we could find.

We ended up purchasing a 10GB Data Only SIM: ~€15EUR

We recommend for a week trip to get a SIM that has at least 500KB to 1000KB (1/2GB – 1GB) depending on how heavy of a cell phone user you are.

Read more: How to use SIM Cards and International Data plans

If you’re on the road for longer than a week, perhaps look into an international data plan. T-Mobile has good flexibility for international travelers looking for an affordable way to have access to the internet at all times.

Free Vienna Walking Tours We Recommend

prime tours vienna walking tourTry to out tourist dad vibe me, I dare you!

While in Vienna we participated in one of our favorite walking tours to date, and trust us, we take a lot of free walking tours.

Like other popular countries and cities, Austria has an educational requirement for tour guides. They are expected to have degrees in history to be a guide in the city. Unlike some places where being a guide is a good side gig to pay the bills, they take their country’s deep history seriously – and it reflects in the quality of their guides!

Katharina hosted our Prime Tours free walking tour. We began downtown with a group of about 15. There was a diverse group of people from Australia, USA, the UK, and others. As expected, we had a few in the group that decided they wanted to put our knowledgeable guide to the test: She wasn’t kidding when she mentioned having several degrees to be a guide. I’ve never seen someone know so much about historical topics and people!

We were impressed.

Our walking tour lasted a little over two hours and it covered everything from the rich history of composers in the city to well-known architecture and some of Vienna’s darker history from WWII. We highly recommend them!

You can book a tour with Prime Tours here: www.primetours.at

We recommend you tip your guide: €10-20 euro/person and use the restroom before.

Coffee Shops in Vienna to Visit

vienna coffee shopsCoffee is an important aspect of most all European cultures, but it’s certainly not always the way Americans view their coffee. Same runs true in Vienna. If you’re looking for a “normal” American 16 oz drip coffee, it is certainly attainable, however espresso based coffee drinks (with cream) are Vienna’s specialty.

In fact, we learned on our walking tour that there is a deep coffee house culture and it plays an integral role in Vienna’s history and heritage. They view coffee houses as a place to relax, slow down, and connect with others. You can find the Viennese spending full days at coffee houses alone or with friends.

We recommend grabbing a coffee drink from some of our favorite spots:

Balthasar Kaffee Bar

It certainly is a coffee bar, don’t expect to find a seat there on a busy day. Their coffee is great so grab it on the go if you’re off for a day of adventuring instead of “coffee housing”.

Location: Praterstraße 38, 1020 Wien, Austria

Cafe EL.AN

This cafe is incredibly small and quaint. The coffee is amazing and the lady serving us was so kind and caring. Again, a great place to grab a coffee on your way to adventure for the day, or if you’re lucky to grab one of the 3-4 seats available like we did, sip on your cup as you discuss life’s deepest questions with a friend.

Location: Werdertorgasse 4, 1010 Wien, Austria

phil

Phil is a bookstore/meets coffee shop. This was one of the few locations we spent extended time in to work during the day. It has decent coffee, but plenty of fun nooks and tables to hide away and get some serious remote work done for the day. Lots of couches, lots of plugs, and personally, I thought their coffee shop playlist was one of the best I’ve ever heard! We loved this location for the atmosphere.

Location: Gumpendorfer Str. 10, 1060 Wien, Austria

CoffeePirates

One of my all time favorite cafes was CoffeePirates. It’s a fairly large shop where they also roast their own beans. Their coffee, fresh sandwiches, and pastry selections were all amazing. The only trouble we had here was with the WiFi. It was hit or miss. This was likely a product of being a busy work day with the entire coffee shop filled with laptop users. I would highly recommend coming here for a great morning or afternoon treat.

Location: Spitalgasse 17, 1090 Wien, Austria

 

Restaurants, Food, and Drinks in Viennafood and drinks in vienna austria

Any trip is not complete without trying local food, drinks, and produce. Vienna doesn’t fall short with its incredible traditional eats from cake, schnitzels, beer, and more.

Grocery Shopping

grocery shopping in vienna travel guideWe’re big fans of Aldi in Europe, and Vienna was no different. However, in Vienna, they call their Aldi, Hofer. I’m told that the name is different because the owners of Austria Aldi’s got in a fight so they decided to change the name. Not sure if this is true, but please correct me if I am wrong!

Our typical first day in any new city in Europe consists of finding the nearest Aldi to shop at. Why? Well, they always have fair prices, local cuisine, and yummy pastries. This makes for a budget-friendly alternative than trying to eat out at restaurants every day you’re visiting Vienna (and maybe a few fruits and veggies to offset all those decadent foods).

Vienna Grocery List for a Week:

  • 1 x batch of bananas
  • 1-2 x tub(s) of plain yogurt
  • 1 x small bag granola
  • 1 x jar of jam for yogurt
  • 5-10 x pastries
  • 1lb x chicken or beef
  • 1 x box of pasta
  • 1 x jar of pesto or red sauce
  • 2 x bottles of Austrian wine
  • 1 x bag of carrots, broccoli, or box of crackers
  • 1 x tub of hummus
  • 1-2 types of local cheeses
  • 1-2 types of prosciutto or similar meats

Try to do your shopping earlier in the day. In Vienna, grocery stores and shops close at the end of the work day. We often times would find ourselves struggling to find somewhere that was open past around 7 PM.

Sacher. Das Original Cake

hotel sacher original cake vienna travel guideVienna is known for having some great cake. And the Sacher Das Original is perhaps one of the most iconic pieces of cake in the world.

Considered by many as one of the best pieces of cake, we had to put this claim to the test for ourselves. The Das Original is a very dense cake with a ganache frosting on top. It’s no doubt a pinnacle of cake perfection, and I’d say it’s definitely worth trying. However, my mom’s cake is better any day of the week (But then again, I’m partial).

Our order for two:

  • 2 x Das Orginal Cakes (yum) / 7,10 € per slice

Definitely a touristy experience. Be warned, but we didn’t have to wait in any line which is always nice! The cafe is in an incredibly gorgeous hotel, which is half the experience to sit on those red velvet couches!

Brau Bar

Brau Bar Vienna AustriaOne of our favorite restaurants while in Vienna was Brau Bar on the north-west outskirts of the city. On our first attempt to walk in we found that it’s not the place to go without a reservation. Due to its amazing authentic Austrian food (and halfway corny decoration), it seems to be a popular stomping ground by locals and tourists. We grabbed a reservation for the following day and boy am I glad we decided to try this place.

Our order for two:

  • 4 x König Ludwig Dunkel beers (our favorites, must get)
  • 2 x Fresh pretzels (must get)
  • 1 x Spareribs with roasted potatoes and garlic sauce (can skip)
  • 1 x Spaetzle with cheese, fried onions and leaf lettuce (life-changing, must get!)
  • 1 x Chocolate souffle semi-liquid (can skip)

Get a reservation herehttp://www.brau-bar.at/reservierung/

For two we spent about: €50,00

Schöne Perle

Schöne Perle vienna austriaOn our first dinner, we insisted we must get a classic Vienna schnitzel and goulash. So what did we do? We Googled schnitzel and came upon Schöne Perle. We enjoyed the beer, schnitzel, and goulash but the service left a bit to be desired. We would still recommend it if you are in the area.

Our order for two:

  • 1 x Wiener Veal Schnitzel
  • 1 x Goulash (must get)
  • 2 x Beers

For two we spent about: €30,00

Tewa am Markt

As New-Yorkers, there is always a moment of craving some good falafel while we’re traveling abroad. We took refuge at Tewa am Markt when we literally wandered into their outdoor patio. Serendipity gave us just what we needed at that moment: A delicious homemade hummus, the best falafel I’ve ever had, warm pita, great service, and an outdoor patio. Heaven.

Our order for two:

  • 2 x Tewa’s falafel Main Course
  • 2 x Beers (Because you can’t have dinner without a beer in Vienna)

For two we spent about: €24,00

Sweet Hell

Another serendipitous find, but one we went back to an alarmingly high amount. Warning: You will want to go back every night. Coming from Budapest, we were already on a gelato kick but still adjusting to the Vienna costs. This place had great prices and really unique gelato flavors. The boy working there was also incredibly kind and let us try almost every flavor!

Our order for two:

  • 1 x Waffle cone with two flavors (to share)

We spent about: €2,60

Recommended Things to Do in Vienna, Austria

There are plenty of things to do in Vienna. You could spend years here and likely not scratch the surface of the deep history and the sights. While we spent a little over a week, these are some of the highlights we recommend you check out.

Spanish Riding School at The Hofburg

A horse ballet. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Dancing horses run deep in Vienna’s history and we bore witness to it. If you’re on a budget and trying to decide what attractions or touristy things to do, this may not be on the top of your list.

However, we were in Vienna long enough and this sounded just weird enough to be right up our alley.

While the Spanish Riding School performances are less frequent and cost anywhere from €50-160+ euro, they also offer access to watch daily morning practices typically from about 10 AM – 12 PM.

This will cost you €15 euro/person and you can come and stay for the full two hours or leave whenever you would like. We got there about 15 minutes before they opened the practice and got our tickets. Once the doors opened we filed in and found a seat above the “arena” to sit and watch quietly as the horses warmed up and trained. You’ll want to be amongst the first in line if you want to sit.

It was interesting to peek into Vienna’s past time through way of horse dancing. While we were sitting there, quite honestly we were waiting for the horses to do jumps and kicks like they do in their performance. However, they mostly just trotted around and did shuffles which were still fun to watch.

Also, if you’re wondering, the horses are literally treated like royalty. We learned that each horse has a dedicated dietitian and they receive messages and acupuncture regularly. What a life they must live!

If you ask us, this is one of those fun-to-do activities but not a must-do! If you like horses go for it, if not, then spend the euro on one of Vienna’s many awesome museums.

Schonbrunn Palace

vienna travel guideWoah. I feel like a broken record by this point, but did we mentioned how magical Vienna is? The Schonbrunn Palace is no different. Caroline and I decided that on a down day when it was raining and mucky out that we would kill time and head on over on the U-Bahn to the Schonbrunn Palace. More simply known as the summer home for the royal family.

Schonbrunn Palace gardensSchonbrunn palace Grand Tour in Vienna

It just so happened that the rain cleared up as we arrived at the palace and the weather cleared up the number of tourists while we were there.

We spent about three hours touring the Palace. First, we adventured around the gardens which, for any Wes Anderson fans out there, is definitely a site of symmetry worth exploring.

Then we decided to spend €17.50 euro/each and do the audio guided palace tour that takes you from room to room explaining more about its history and uses of the palace and the monarchy.

BUDGET TIP: We recommend that if you do the inside tour that you choose the “Imperial Tour.” It’s about half the length as the “Grand Tour” and about 3 euro less. Once you get about halfway through the tour you’re ready to see other things and move on. Save the extra euro and go get yourself a schnitzel instead.

 

Flakturm (flak tower)

flakturm in vienna austriaAs we strolled on an evening walk we watched how Viennese peeps spend their evenings in the summer. Off in the distance, we noticed a large cement building structure that seemed very out of place. It looked completely abandoned and we approached this eyesore in the middle of the beautiful park Augarten.

Upon further Googling, we realized it was an old flak tower built by the Nazis in World War II to fend off air attacks from enemy forces. To stand near something that is so obviously a tower of hatred and fear truly will leave you changed (amongst happy families, children playing soccer, and beautiful landscaping).

Wow. Highly recommend you go see it for yourself.

Location: Flak tower, Augarten, 1020, 1020 Wien, Austria

Running in Prater

Prater Vienna AustriaIt’s not every day you get to take your morning run through Vienna’s Prater. Prater is a carnival amusement park with varying vintages of amusement rides like Ferris wheels, carnival games, and roller-coasters. While we didn’t adventure through Prater during the day we did take an early morning run through the grounds before anything was open. It was a blast and quite a unique way to get your workout in while traveling abroad.

If you’re into spooky abandoned carnival vibes this is an absolute must-do! It was also raining during our run which made the amusement park even creepier.

If your Airbnb is near the Wien Praterstern area like our was, try this little adventure out during a jog.

Location: 1020 Vienna, Austria

Language & Speaking in Vienna

While the official language of Austria is German, we found that almost everywhere we visited had English translated signs and menus. Most of the people in Vienna speak both German and English so don’t stress too much.

Currency Information in Vienna

The euro is used in Austria. For reference, at the date of writing this €1 EUR equals about $1.14USD. Vienna is like any other major city and it accepts credit cards almost everywhere. We recommend that you withdraw just enough cash to cover your touring tips and other small food vendor purchases. Like gelato… eat plenty of gelato.

Charging Your Electronics in Vienna

In Austria, the power plugs are of type F and C. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. We travel with the below travel outlet and we love it because it covers most any outlet needs and also includes USB ports for your electronics. We recommend purchasing at least one if not two for your trip.

Universal Travel Adapter, All-in-one International Power Adapter 2.4A Dual USB, Wall Charger UK, EU, AU, Asia Price: $15.98 Universal Travel Adapter, All-in-one International Power Adapter 2.4A Dual USB, Wall Charger UK, EU, AU, Asia Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 02/19/2019

Vienna Instagram Accounts to Follow

If you’re planning to head to Vienna anytime soon, one thing that we catch ourselves doing time and time again in preparation for a trip is to follow some key Instagram accounts for inspiration on locations and things to do. Here are some that will provide you with a little additional inspiration for your adventures to Vienna:

Who Vienna is Perfect For

If you enjoy a city that seems to value taking a step back, slowing down a bit, and sipping on your coffee then this is the place for you.

While Vienna is far from the cheapest place in Europe to spend time in, you’re still spending less here than any comparable mid-size United States city.

Classical music lovers, architecture nerds, or anyone that enjoys the older style classic vibes and mountains of history. You best check this city out.

Our Thoughts on Vienna

In the end, Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities we have seen to date. Caroline and I both felt like we could see ourselves spending more time here in the future. If you’re looking for a truly inspirational city that will take your breathe away with the perfect amount of beauty and bustle, book your ticket!

Most Comfortable Way to Sleep in a Tent

most comfortable way to sleep in a tent

It’s no secret that the most comfortable way to sleep in a tent can be a hard task while out there adventuring in the world. Over the course of my tent adventuring days, I have found a few techniques and products that I have used to make sleeping in a tent as enjoyable an experience as humanly possible.

It’s also worth mentioning that cold and warm weather comfort are very different when it comes to staying comfortable in a tent.

How to Sleep in the Great Outdoors

When it comes to general knowledge about getting a great nights sleep in a tent I have a few pointers for you:

  1. Be sure to choose a safe and level campsite.
  2. If you’re unable to find a flat area to pitch your tent, be sure that your head is at least above your toes when sleeping. This ensures you don’t wake up in the middle of the night with headaches or worse.
  3. To avoid a late night soaking, don’t forget to put the rain fly Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. above your tent to prevent the morning dew or worse a night time storm from getting into your tent.

Most Comfortable Way to Sleep in a Tent in Cold Weather

comfortable sleep in a tent in cold weather

Being a midwest native I’m no stranger to a cold night.

That’s why I prefer to bundle up and prepare for a cold night over a warm one anytime. However, there are a few things to remember when preparing for the most comfortable way to sleep in a tent during the colder months.

Keep the base layer loose

Wear loose-fitting clothing for a base layer to allow blood to flow through your body during sleep.

Light Exercises

Do a few light exercises before bundling up in your sleeping bag Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . This allows for your body to generate more heat, especially on cold nights.

Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag, Regular, Paradise Blue/Twilight Price: $116.95 Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag, Regular, Paradise Blue/Twilight Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 02/19/2019

Invest in a good Sleeping Pad

Be sure to have a good sleeping pad Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. to keep you far enough away from the cold ground below.

Comfortable Ways to Sleep in Warm Weather

Admittedly, warm weather camping is the type of camping I find myself doing the most.

Whether it be in a campground or in the middle of a dessert, the mugginess of a warm weather camp day can really make sleeping in tents uncomfortable.

Hydrate

In almost any situation hydration is your friend. I’ve found that the difference between a miserably hot day and a bearable hot day can be directly attributed to how hydrated I’ve kept myself throughout the day. We’d also recommend you use a water filter if you’re grabbing water from local sources. Bad water could wreak havoc on your adventure. Keep it clean and run it through a filter.

Stay Cool

It’s no secret that a powered fan or an endless supply of ice cubes could help in the warm weather environment. Although we know this could be a luxury to have in some environments, a rechargeable fan could be just the added amenity needed to make the warm weather a bit more enjoyable.

OPOLAR 5000mAh Battery Operated Fan, Camping, Outdoor Price: $25.99 OPOLAR 5000mAh Battery Operated Fan, Camping, Outdoor Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 12/11/2018

Repell the Bugs

Warm weather, more often than not means bugs will definitely be bugging you during your trip.

Besides the obvious mosquito spray, we recommend you pick up some permethrin. Permethrin Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. is an insecticide that will kill many of your pests on contact. You can get the spray to use in covering your clothes and gear to protect a majority of your exposure.

Additionally, it’s recommended that you pick yourself up a portable mosquito repeller to give your sleeping radius some peace from those bugs.

Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repeller Price: $24.99 Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repeller Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 02/19/2019

 

Overall

getting comfortable sleep in a campgroundWhether you’re adventuring in a winter wonderland or a hot dessert we hope you find some peace and quiet as you slumber. It sounds obvious, but the most comfortable way to sleep in a tent is a product of how well you prepare for your camping trip.

Be sure to judge accordingly and don’t try to skimp out on the small things that could make your sleep ten times more enjoyable.

We hope you have some exciting new camping and sleeping adventures, and as always comment below with any additional tips you have for a more enjoyable sleep in a tent.

New York Subway Tips for Tourists

The New York underground can be pretty daunting, but here are our New York Subway tips for tourists. Deep breath, it’s going to be okay.

 

Take a look at your Google Maps to figure out the best route to your destination (and don’t be afraid to ask a friendly-looking New Yorker for help, we’re nicer than we look). It may be daunting, but worth the experience and the time saved! Subways can normally get you places in New York faster than cars.

*Google Maps Tip* You can download the New York City area locally to your phone so that your maps can work even if you lose reception while underground on the subway.

Subways
New York Subway

Cost

One ride on the train is a standard $2.75 no matter how far you go, and the card itself costs a dollar. This MetroCard will work on both subways and buses; No need for a separate New York Bus Pass!

Time Vs Value Card: 

  • Time can either be a 7 day or 30 day unlimited pass.
    • Unlimited Subway passes are activated on your first swipe, so if you’re here for two weeks and buy two 7 day passes only use one at a time (or wait to buy your second after your first card has expired). The days continue to be used whether or not you use the card (so you can’t save days and use it on your next visit).
  • Value is a dollar amount preloaded on the card ($2.75/ride). If you’re here for multiple days and really plan on exploring multiple areas of the city (And you should – there’s more to New York than just Times Square), I would recommend buying the 7 day unlimited pass. It’s $32, which means if you use it 12 times you’re saving money.
    • You can activate your subway card simply by swiping in the turnstiles on your first ride.

New York SubwayBuying your Card

How to order a Subway card online?

You don’t. Online purchases of metrocards are really for people who buy them monthly. But don’t worry, it’s incredibly easy to buy them once you arrive! Just go to any station and use one of the touch screen kiosks.

If you need to buy a metrocard at the airport: 

Head straight to the train or bus station you’re hopping on. You can purchase them at the station!

Does the subway take debit cards?

Yes! Most station kiosks take both credit card and cash, but the smaller kiosks only take card.

New York SubwayNavigating

Uptown/Downtown: 

One of the most important things to understand about our subway system is the concept of uptown/downtown. Before you head out for your excursions, take a look at a map. Is your destination further North than your current location? Take your subway line uptown. Destination further South? You guessed it, head downtown.

Take a look at the signs overhead on the platform. Generally, at express stops one side of the track will be express and the other local (same platform). At local stops, there will be one entrance for uptown, and one entrance for downtown.

*Some local stops won’t let you transfer sides without exiting the station and re-swiping. If you have a value card with money on it, you’ll be charged again. If you have an unlimited card, it won’t let you swipe again for 18 minutes.

New York SubwayExpress Vs Local:

  • Local: Stops at every station on a line. These stations are on maps as a black dot.
  • Express: Skips some stops to get you there faster! These stations are on maps as a white dot.

*Sometimes the conductor will announce that certain trains are running local/express. Pay attention if your destination is at a local stop. You may end up zooming right past it!

*Pay attention to the letter or number on the train! Colors will only help you so much! Lines of the same color sometimes split in opposite directions and can make you end up somewhere different than expected!

Transferring: 

If you need to transfer trains, and you’ve confirmed from the map that they both stop at the same station, you don’t need to exit and re-enter. Most staircases have clear arrows for you to make it to your next train.

 

Buses

People can live in New York for years and not take the bus once. When I first started using it, I was mad that I had missed out on the convenience for so long! Generally, buses save your tired little NYC legs from walking those extra 10 blocks. Or, if you don’t want to transfer trains and prefer to just sit for an extra couple of minutes, the bus is for you!

How to Swipe

There are two type of buses in New York:

  • Normal Bus: Hop on the bus when it pulls up. There’s a machine by the driver to insert your metrocard (it’s an aggressive pull – beware). It’ll spit back out, then have a seat!
  • Select Bus Services: Technically a premium ticket. Rather than swiping your card as you board the bus, these buses always have machines on the street to insert your metrocard before you board. It will spit out a receipt. HOLD ONTO THIS! You won’t need to do anything or show anyone your receipt, but NYPD does random checks on select bus services to make sure you’ve paid your fare. I’ve seen it happen, it’s not worth the $100 ticket from the police.

*The M60 is a select bus service from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan. WAY cheaper than an uber or taxi, so if you aren’t in a rush after landing or on your way back to the airport. Hop on the M60!

Navigating: Here’s where a good sense of direction comes in handy. Similar to navigating uptown/downtown, make sure you’re looking at a map for where your destination is. Google Maps will tell you which bus to take, but it’s up to you to make sure you board on the correct side of the street. If you board on the wrong side, you’ll be heading clear in the opposite direction.

*Find some mile markers to give you a general sense of direction: The grid system is super helpful (higher numbers mean North, etc), or a few recognizable buildings (Empire State, Chrysler, One World Trade).

Stop at your Stop: The bus doesn’t always stop. If the driver doesn’t see anyone waiting at the bus stop, they will keep on plugging away. To make sure the bus lets you off, press the “Stop Requested” button on the poles once you’re one stop away. This lets the driver know, “Hey, I’m getting off at the next stop!”

 

Etiquette

Etiquette is a very real thing on NYC Public Transit. Here are a few tips that will keep you from making New Yorkers grumpy on the train (trust me, if we’re happy you will be too):

Boarding: Like your mom taught you the first time you got on an elevator, step aside and let people off first. There will be more room for you once they’re on their merry way. There is nothing worse than trying to get off the train and having a wall of people standing in front of you getting mad because they can’t get on themselves.  

Whilst on Board: Things not to do…

  • Try to Subway surf and not hold on. You’ll look like an idiot and everyone will hate you.
  • Talk obnoxiously loud. You’ll sound like an idiot and everyone will hate you (or you could end up on @overheardnewyork).
  • Try to make friends with strangers. We know we’re standing inches apart, but eye contact just isn’t a thing. Talking DEFINITELY isn’t a thing (unless you really need help with directions). This is not the elevator in your Toledo apartment building. New Yorkers value our hard to find silence.
  • Manspread. Time to get cozy with your neighbors. Bucket seats monitor this a bit, but on bar seats slide over to make room for other passengers. No one hates a manspreader more than New Yorkers.
  • Eat. Seriously? No one’s immune system is strong enough for this. No one wants to smell your halal food on the train either.

Things You May See New York Subway

For nightmare worthy Subway sights, follow @subwaycreatures on insta. On a normal day, there may be a few alarming things, but nothing worth causing a scene over. If you truly feel uncomfortable, quietly remove yourself from the situation or notify nearby security.

Panhandlers: It’s no secret that you’ll bump into a few homeless in the tunnels, on your train car, or on the platform. They will hop on your car, tell a sad story, and ask for money. You’re the judge of what you do in those scenarios, but coming from a New Yorker, know that they are always there (sometimes with the same story, and sometimes different). I’m not a totally insensitive jerk though, I’ve given money to those I believe are being honest. As a fun fact, an average New York panhandler makes about 60k a year.

Showtime: Breakdancers, magicians, musicians, even comedians hop on the train and give a little performance. If you don’t plan on handing them money, don’t stare or record (I know, it’s hard not to sometimes). If you watch or video, they’ll be expecting you to pay for the performance.

Would you like to explore New York City with a local while you’re here? If you’re looking to cross off all the popular stops like Times Square, Grand Central, Radio City, and a view from the Top of Rockefeller than our Rise Above Midtown tour is calling your name.

Rise Above Midtown Walking Tour Price: $69.00 per person Rise Above Midtown Walking Tour Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 12/11/2018

Have questions about the New York City Subway? Leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them for you!

7 Awesome Places To Be A Digital Nomad Right Now

best places to live as digital nomads

Being a digital nomad gives you the freedom to work wherever you like: all you need is Wi-Fi access and a workspace. Once you’ve got these things sorted, you can just sit back and take full advantage of the beautiful scenery, history, and culture around you.   

Below I’ve looked at seven awesome digital nomad destinations that are trending right now. Whether you’re into adventure, community, or sight-seeing, you’ll find a destination perfect for you.

Recommended reading: 4 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Travel After a Breakup

Seoul, South Korea

Home to Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, Seoul is a digital hotbed. It’s one of the most advanced cities on the planet with a great quality of life. This makes it a perfect destination for nomads. Online accessibility is essential for digital nomads. Without it, you can’t move fluidly — which undermines the whole point of being a nomad.

Seoul South Korea digital nomad

Seoul is unrivaled for Wi-Fi speed. It has the quickest internet on the planet and it’s getting faster. Today it’s at 2.5 gigabits per second. Tomorrow? Who knows. And how quick is Wi-Fi in the US? 18.7 megabits per second.

What about co-working spaces? Seoul has plenty of them. Check out InstantOffices and you’ll see what the city has to offer. They’re spacious, energetic, and beautiful.

The nearby countryside is among the prettiest you’ll find anywhere in Asia. There are plenty of peaceful spots in the city too. While you’re never far from a temple. And if you want nightlife, you’ll get it: Seoul fizzes and throbs with energy.

Porto, Portugal

Porto is Portugal’s second largest city. It’s famous for a delightful river: the Douro, fine port, and cheap beer. If your nomad requirements are good drinks and great cruises, you’ll adore Porto.

That’s not all, though. While Porto is a city of 1.8 million people, it doesn’t have the hustle of bigger destinations. There’s a gentle vibe that lets you set your own pace, rather than having someone else force the tempo.

You’ll find a great digital nomad community there (unsurprisingly). It’s been growing in popularity in recent years and has great interaction between nomads. Have a look at Porto Digital Nomads Meetup before you head out. It’ll give you a chance to build connections before you head out.

Admire the Douro below:

Porto Portugal digital nomadCredit: Max Pixel

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Favored by gap year kids for generations, this Asian jewel is one of the places for nomads to be. And why not? It has cheap food and accommodation, and plenty of co-working spaces. It’s a picturesque bargain.

It’s a destination of choice for Americans, with over a million having visited in 2017 alone. Expect even more to have visited by the end of 2018. With such a strong community of nomads around you, there will be plenty of like-minded people to learn from.

This is perfect if you’re a nomad novice because you can always find someone with tips on the nomad lifestyle in your native tongue. If you’re aspiring to handle your income through on-the-go income streams (many nomads create affiliate sites or pick up businesses to run remotely), then you’ll benefit hugely from the tech-savvy community.

Whatever your status, there’ll be a nomad near who’s been there before can help you take the next step. And if you’re an experienced nomad with a taste for the party life, then there are few better places for you than Chiang Mai. It’s a city that barely sleeps and loves tourists.

Budapest, Hungary

One of Europe’s historic cities, Budapest is the place to go nomad if you love great architecture. Just have a look at the image below and you’ll see:

digital nomad in budapest hungaryCredit: Ian Hoyt

Told you. It’s wonderful.

But great sites aren’t the only reason it’s a great place for an unbound worker. There are few capital cities in Europe more affordable than this one. (You’ll pay a lot less to live here than Paris, that’s for sure). It’s also filled with co-working spaces, many of which are frequented by digital nomads.

Oh, and it’s got the Sziget Festival.

Prague, Czech Republic

If Budapest sounds great, you won’t need to be sold on Prague. The two cities are European capital cousins. And they mirror each other’s benefits.

So what didn’t I cover about Prague? The fine arts. Sure, it has the same great community nomad vibe. And it’s got a global festival. But Prague has the State Opera House, a plaything for Zemlinsky, Gigli, Caruso, Mahler, and R. Strauss.

prague czech republic digital nomadCredit: Unsplash

It has a history of producing genius artists. Adolf Born, Josef Manes, Josef Vaclav Myslbek, and Antonin Braun, all were Czech. Visit the National Gallery and you’ll be overloaded with art.

Berlin, Germany

I’ve visited Berlin more times than I have fingers and toes. I’ve drunk in its bars. I’ve cycled its streets. And I’ve soaked in the rich graffiti. If I had to pick one place to be a nomad it would be this city.

But I know that’s not enough for you. So here’s more.

berlin germany digital nomadIt’s got enough hostels and Airbnbs to house the Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice. It’s not just anumbers by beds game, though. These places are cheap and they’re clean – I can vouch for them. The wi-fi facilities are great too.  

That’s not why it’s the place to be. It’s the hip culture. It has a long history of artistic rebelliousness.

Punk music made a home here in the 70’s and it spat its spirit of independence across the city. But it did so without making a hostile environment. Then there’s the techno. Nowhere in the world loves techno more than Berlin. It’s why the hippest club you’ll ever visit is there. Which club? Go there and you’ll find out.

Medellin, Colombia

It’s almost unfair to tell you how great Medellin is now. But don’t be fooled. This Colombian city is a rare flower – it’s why people call it the City of Eternal Spring.

digital nomad in medellin colombia

Credit: Flickr

Like many of the other options, it’s got a great digital nomad community. And it’s growing. That’s not the reason you’ll love to go there. The scenery is worthy of a prolonged stay. You’re a stone’s throw from great hiking spots and there’s greenery everywhere.

There’s a reason for this. Medellin’s located in the Aburrá Valley in the Andes mountains. Now you’re sold. If you want to build your nomad empire surrounded by panoramic views, choose Medellin.  

Honestly, these seven awesome places are just the start. Add a zero to the end and you still won’t have a list of everywhere it’s great to be a nomad. It’s exciting, right? So go ahead and take the plunge. Become a nomad today!