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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: $16.95 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: 04/30/2019

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: 04/30/2019

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: $19.89 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: 04/30/2019

 

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!

Survival Filter vs LifeStraw

survival filter vs lifestraw

Once upon a time, there were very few options for fresh drinking water when adventuring in far-off lands. You’d have to make a fire, boil the water in a clean pot in hopes you rid it of all the nasty microbes, then hope for the best.  Everything has changed! That’s right, we’re talking about on-the-go water filters. When it comes to choosing the right water filtration for your outdoor adventures or for your doomsday preparation, there are plenty of options, but it really boils down to the Survival Filter vs LifeStraw.

LifeStraw

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, 3 Piece Price: $43.35 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, 3 Piece Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

LifeStraw has been a leading charge in the water filtration movement and offers many different water bottle and drinking solutions for a variety of different needs while you are on the go.

When you begin to compare the benefits of the LifeStraw versus the Survivor Filter, their variety of water bottles is one of the largest benefits to choosing a LifeStraw solution. When it comes to microbial filtration, however, the Survivor Filter does advertise that is filters down to .05 microns when the Lifestraw is a mere .2 microns. In a seriously dirty water scenario this could mean something, however, they both filter out an incredible amount of microns.

As you can see the LifeStraw does a pretty incredible job even in the most, dare I say, disgusting scenarios. From dark murky dirty water to clear and delicious the LifeStraw is able to transform your water instantly.

If the instant straw isn’t your on-the-go desire, they also sell an amazing amount of different water bottles as well that have the same technology as their classic LifeStraw does. Personally, my favorite looking one would be the LifeStraw Go water bottle solution.

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw for Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel, Purple Price: $41.61 LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw for Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel, Purple Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

A single LifeStraw is very affordable Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. and makes it a tough item to not pick up in your just-in-case scenarios. If you’re looking for something a little more professional I would say look onward to the Survival Filter below.

Survival Filter

If fashion statements are what you’re going, look elsewhere. If clean water and reusable features are your focus than the Survivor Filter vs the Life Straw is your best bet.

Survivor Filter - Virus Tested 0.05 Micron Portable Water Filter Price: $30.00 Survivor Filter - Virus Tested 0.05 Micron Portable Water Filter Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

With a threaded end to screw into any standard bottle of water, it makes this survivor filter straw extremely useful and forgoes the need to purchase a dedicated water bottle which saves you time and money!

Additionally, the Survivor Filter has three filters that can all be easily replaced so you won’t need to purchase a new straw once you have gone through its 264 (1000 liters) gallons of filtrations that it is rated for.

The only real downside of this straw, in my opinion, is the dark green color. When adventuring in wooded and natural landscapes I could see myself losing the Survivor filter straw pretty easily with its green color blending into its surroundings. This is where the LifeStraw outshines the Survivor Filter. With the blue color that the LifeStraw has, it stands out. Since fresh drinking water is kind of important for survival I’d say color can matter!

Survival Filter vs LifeStraw, Which One Should You Get?

While both of these filters are great and will help in times of crises, adventure, or just general outdoor activities it depends on if you are looking to utilize it on a more regular basis and if you are going to be in an area where the water may be especially “dirty”. If that is the case, I’d recommend going with the Survival Filter however the LifeStraw is an extremely affordable and useable option as well if you are looking for something to add to your go-bag.

Since both options are affordable and do a great job of filtering you’re hard press to go wrong choosing either. And if you’re like me and just drink water straight from Icelandic ice caves than either is better than none.

Tickets to Top of the Rock New York

Why should you get tickets to Top of the Rock in New York? There are several observation decks in New York, but here are my reasons why that beautiful skyline is best seen from Top of the Rock.

The Area

You’re in the heart of midtown New York! If you have time to kill before or after, take a stroll past Radio City Music Hall, the ice skating rink, Magnolia Bakery, or Saks to see their infamous holiday windows. There certainly isn’t a lack of things to do around this area where the charm is always present. If you’re really intrigued with what midtown has to offer beyond Top of the Rock (and the history behind it all), consider a New York Midtown Walking Tour that includes your Top of the Rock ticket; It will help you learn about that concrete jungle you’ll be viewing from above.

The View

From 70 stories above the city and only a glass panel between you and the horizon, you’re sure to get crystal clear pictures without those metal grates that the Empire State Building offers you. Speaking of, you’ll probably want to get the most iconic building in NYC in your photo (which means being on it may not be the best strategy). Skip the Empire State Building and take a gander at it from an angle you can appreciate.

Timed Entry

This one is a biggie. Pretty much the equivalent to a Fast Pass at Disney World. Your ticket to Top of the Rock has a time for entry, come back from exploring New York at that time and take the next elevator up. It’s that easy. No lines, which is somewhat unheard of for general ticketed attractions in New York. You’re also able to stay on the deck for as long as you like although the typical stay is around 45 minutes. This is built into our Midtown Walking Tour, with entry time lining up right when the tour ends. Let us take care of the timing!

Ticket Info

The going rate for a non sunset Top of the Rock ticket is $39.20 ($36 + tax). For sunset hours marked on their ticketing page, the total is $50.08 ($46 + tax). There is also an option to upgrade to “sun & stars” which allows you to visit once during the day and return after sunset. With this option, the ticket is roughly $59.


Pro tip:

Sunset hours are clearly and more expensive, but worth it! Our midtown tours that end during sunset hours include a normal ticket price to Top of the Rock, so travel with one of our evening groups for a deal on your sunset ticket and a tour of the area!

New York is full of options for similar experiences, but for a view of the skyline you’ll want to get the absolute best. Be sure to pack your camera and your walking shoes if you’ll be joining us on a tour. Top of the Rock and Midtown are not to be missed when you visit New York!

Heart & Soul of Greenwich Village Food Tour Review

Heart and Soul Food Tour Greenwich Village-10

If you’re looking for a food tour to explore some of Greenwich Village’s best eats, sit down and prepare to feast.

Living in the city these days means Caroline and I spend most of our time either working on our walking tours or eating at home to save money. We only treat ourselves to the delights of New York City eats every now and again. When the opportunity came up to take a food tour and explore the Big Apple through it’s Greenwich Village restaurants, we jumped at the chance.

Foods of NY Tours is an incredible local food tour business here in the city. They’ve been around since 1999, which means I was barely feeding myself when they began sharing the best food in New York City with the world. So they know a thing or two about food!

While they offer many different food tours around Manhattan and Brooklyn, we chose to join their Greenwich Village “Heart & Soul” tour because it’s one of their most popular experiences.

So What Was It Like?

Our day began with meeting our group at a classic Italian family-style restaurant in the heart of Greenwich Village’s bustling Macdougal St. Joanna, our guide greeted us and instantly made us all feel welcomed. She prepared us for what we were about to experience in the next three hours of our day.

PS… Joanna was a rock star guide who really made us feel like old friends!

Joanna Russell - Foods of NY

After introductions, we headed to our very first stop, Cafe Dante. In an effort to not ruin the allure and surprise of the stops for you, this will be one of the few restaurants I will name in the review. You will have to join them on a future tour if you want to know all the fun stops first-hand!

We kicked off the many tastings with my personal favorite on the tour: Cafe Dante’s Burrata cheese Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. with Sea Salt on honeycomb, cranberry, and pecan sourdough flatbread. If that doesn’t get your taste buds salivating then the photo below may.

Cafe Dante - New York City Greenwich Village

One slice of this stuff was not enough for me, but I quickly learned to pace myself as we had seven more tastings to go. The burrata cheese was so soft and flavorful that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to traditional mozzarella ever again.

Once we finished with our first tasting, our guide Joanna took us around Greenwich Village. She shared not only the history about the food we were tasting, but also the surrounding areas such as Washington Square Park and the like.

From exploring the Village’s fast-casual Indian cuisine…

Masala Times Greenwich Village New York CityMasala Times Greenwich Village New York City

 

Exploring where to get the best coffee beans…

 

Porto Rico Importing Co. Tea and Coffee - New York CityPorto Rico Importing Co. Tea and Coffee - New York City

 

Finding a hidden gem to grab fresh spices, tea, and honey…

 

Sullivan Street Tea and Spice Company - New York City

 

To all kinds of desserts and cookies…

 

Oat Meals New York City CookieHeart and Soul Food Tour Greenwich Village-48

 

Every fifteen minutes we were trying or exploring something new. It made the tour so endlessly exciting!

And last but certainly not least, we need to mention the empanadas. Those sweet, sweet Empanadas.

 

Cuba Restaurant - Greenwich Village New York CityCuba Restaurant - Greenwich Village New York City

Caroline’s favorite and a close second fav for me were the empanadas from a place called Cuba.

There, we had a variety of traditional Cuban foods. The crust on the empanadas was perfectly crunchy and thick, while the fillings of spinach, cheese, and beef made for an almost out of body experience.

I wanted to eat more of these but at the tail end of the tour, my stomach was telling me that wouldn’t be wise.

Final thoughts

After sampling more than ten different foods, I left this food tour stuffed and extremely satisfied.

Being a New Yorker, I often find myself getting stuck in a routine and forget that there are hundreds, no thousands, of new restaurants and activities I have yet to explore. This food tour was no different. Now Caroline and I have a list of Greenwich Village spots that we must return to for full meals.

At a price of $54 per person, this food tour doesn’t disappoint!

In fact, I am stunned at how affordable it was for just how much food you get during the tour. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the price, so be sure to bring an extra $10-$20 if you’d like to enjoy some wine or mojitos along the journey.

If a good blend of food, local businesses, and history is what you’re looking for in a New York City tour, I’d recommend giving the Foods of NY Heart & Soul Greenwich Village tour a try!

Okay, time to go find that cheese again…

Full disclosure: Opinions are our own and we have not received compensations for this review. 

Winter New York Packing List

You’ve done it. You’ve booked your ticket to a winter wonderland, where the city never sleeps and pizza is always acceptable to eat. But how to create a New York Packing List for Winter? Your picturesque NYC Rom Com is just one packing item away from being totally disastrous (and cold).

Whether you’re not used to the frigid temperature or you have general packing anxiety, here’s a packing list that will keep your Frozen experience in a Broadway theater and not on the New York City streets.

New York Packing List Item 1: Comfy Walking Shoes

On average New Yorkers walk about 6 miles a day, and that’s without going on one of our NYC walking tour to make sure they don’t miss any of the essential city sights.

If you refuse to dress like a mom at Disney World (no shame in it!), leave your sneakers at home and start your winter New York packing list with some cute boots that will look good in all the photos. The secret is to make sure they give you arch support and a non-painful heel strike when you’re pounding the pavement.

My go-to boots are my Clarks Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.  – They’re cute with a dress/tights or jeans and I can wander for hours in them!

If you don’t want to buy new boots, consider an insole Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.  that reduces your risk for shin splints. One hour on the concrete in your flat riding boots, and you’ll be quite a bit slower for your second day here!

CLARKS Women's Nevella Bell Boot, Dark Taupe Suede, 9.5 M US Price: CLARKS Women's Nevella Bell Boot, Dark Taupe Suede, 9.5 M US Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

New York Packing List Item 2: Waterproof Shoes

Check the weather right before you head to the Big Apple. Even if there is a small chance of rain, DO NOT forget waterproof shoes! In New York, there is no escaping the rain (or snow) if you’re caught in transit. Trust me, there is nothing worse than knowing you have a day full of walking in front of you + wet shoes. A space hog, but an essential packing list item!

To save room in your suitcase, and a bit of effort when walking around, you’ll want to have ankle rain boots as opposed to full ones. Asgard boots Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.  are amazing, and you’ll fit right in with other New Yorkers wearing them! Don’t forget your umbrella Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.  either!

Outdew Compact Travel Umbrella Windproof - Unbreakable Double Canopy Construction With Teflon Coating Auto Open Close Button umbrellas Price: $16.99 Outdew Compact Travel Umbrella Windproof - Unbreakable Double Canopy Construction With Teflon Coating Auto Open Close Button umbrellas Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

New York Packing List Item 3: Oversized Scarf + Hat

I know that not everyone is a scarf and hat person.

But in New York, you will be out of necessity. These two items are crucial for keeping you nice and toasty to stay outside and get your NYC bucket list accomplished. Here’s my strategy:

Hat

Choose a hat that’s a neutral color and can go with multiple outfits in your go-to Winter packing list. This way you can wear the hat all day with any of your outfits (because, beanie hair is real). The right beanie will keep you warm even if you’re wearing a tee shirt in the snow. Ear coverage is a game changer. My favorite is Eddie Bauer.

Eddie Bauer Womens Fairview Beanie, Lt Khaki Regular ONESZE Price: $19.99 Eddie Bauer Womens Fairview Beanie, Lt Khaki Regular ONESZE Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Scarf

Two words – Blanket. Scarf. Go crazy with the colors here. To spruce up your Winter New York packing list, I prefer a nice plaid with some fall tones mixed in. The bigger the better, you’ll be thanking me long after your trip to New York.

If you have a rough Saturday night, just throw on this puppy with a plain long sleeve (or literally anything), some big sunglasses, and a top knot – Boom. You look like a movie star with no hangover whatsoever.

Life Hack – they’re warm too. Who said you have to be cold to look cute in those outdoor Central Park pictures? 

Bess Bridal Women's Plaid Blanket Winter Scarf Warm Cozy Tartan Wrap Oversized Shawl Cape (One Size, Camel) Price: $14.89 Bess Bridal Women's Plaid Blanket Winter Scarf Warm Cozy Tartan Wrap Oversized Shawl Cape (One Size, Camel) Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

New York Packing List Item 4: A Mary Poppins Bag (with pocket on outside)

No, not a literal carpet bag (well maybe). You need a bag that you can tote whatever you need without being uncomfortable.

  • When the sun comes out and that blanket scarf may be a bit much, stuff it in the bag.
  • Carrying a water bottle Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. ? Stuff it in the bag.
  • Cliff bars so you don’t get hangry and start acting like Betty White pre-Snickers? (Also essential to your Winter New York Packing List) Stuff it in the bag.
  • Band-Aids Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. needed from ignoring my hint about comfy shoes? Stuff it in the bag.

 

Tip: Maybe bring a bag that has an easily accessible zipper pocket on the outside. You don’t have to go digging just to grab and swipe your subway metro card.

My suggestion is either a cross body bag or small backpack Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.  so you can swing those arms and keep pace with New Yorkers’ walking speed.

New vintage Women Real Genuine Leather Backpack Purse SchoolBag by Coolcy (Brown) Price: $69.98 New vintage Women Real Genuine Leather Backpack Purse SchoolBag by Coolcy (Brown) Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 10/22/2018

New York Packing List Item 5: A Winter coat that you won’t hate outdoor pictures in

It’s going to be cold, but you don’t want to look like this:

You can’t go wrong with a classic peacoat Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.  to pair with your hat and scarf. You’ll feel like a quintessential New Yorker in Winter. Get something that will dress up your park play-clothes, and only enhance your nicer dress for those Broadway shows.

Note: Be sure it’s actually warm, and you can fit a comfy sweater underneath. Things your mom always told you, but are actually useful!

BGSD Women's 'Elizabeth' Wool Blend Walking Coat Price: 109.99 BGSD Women's 'Elizabeth' Wool Blend Walking Coat Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 10/22/2018

Those are the bare essentials in our Winter New York Packing List. Now I won’t tell you what clothes to wear under all of these recommended items; That’s entirely up to you and the activities you’ve planned. My overall New York aesthetic tends to be functionally cute. You can never go wrong with leggings and an oversized sweater! Be sure to go on as many walking tours as you can, take a ton of pictures, and live in the moment. Check out some of our other guides (Read: How to navigate the NYC Subway) to see what to do when you get here!

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

The Best 5 Desserts on the Upper West Side, New York

best desserts on upper west side

Whether you’ve accidentally wandered too far north in Central Park, or live in the city and are just looking for new places to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Upper West Side (UWS) is a land of cute bakeries, shops, and adventures.

There are plenty of incredible options to get your sugar fix on the UWS, but we visited our top five favorite dessert locations even though we’ve been multiple times (just to be sure, you know?). Here were our thoughts on places you must visit:

Magnolia Bakery

magnolia bakery frosting cupcakes

Located at 69th and Columbus, this is only one of Magnolia’s locations (their original location is in West Village).

But don’t worry, it still holds it’s yummy quality and quaintness! Per their standard, you can always see their buttercream being made behind the counter and you are greeted by lovely, friendly bakers!

magnolia bakery banana bread pudding

Although their cupcakes have been featured on Sex and the City and other TV Shows/movies, their most popular dessert is the banana pudding. Amidst a whole bakery full of the most beautiful cakes, cookies, and cheesecakes, we had to take the recommendation of the public and went with the classic banana pudding.

Let’s just say there is a reason it’s the most popular.

If you’re looking for a dessert that still feels somewhat light, but has a complete richness equal to your grandmother’s pudding (and grandma was a top-notch baker), this is your dessert. And it’s banana based, how bad can it be for you?

 

Levain Bakery

Levain. Le sigh. I have dreams about these cookies at night.

best desserts on upper west sideWeighing in at 6 ounces each, Levain’s perfectly gooey cookies are a dessert that will be in your memory forever. To give a little context, the two owners of Levain Bakery perfected their recipe while training for a triathlon, so be sure to exercise a whole lot after eating one (OR just don’t google how many calories are in one). Chocolate Chip Walnut is classic, but you cannot go wrong with any of the cookie flavors.

Spoiler alert: We make a stop here on our Upper West Side Walking Tours Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Buy a few, send some to your friends (they ship), shout it from the rooftops – they’re amazing!

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.

 

Cafe Lalo

If you visit with a crimson rose and copy of Pride & Prejudice, you may just find love with other fans of 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. .

Aside from being famous for the scene where Kathleen Kelly tells Joe Fox he’s similar to the generation of cocktail waitresses with only first names, their desserts are as high quality as this movie.

Located at W 83rd and Amsterdam, their twinkle lights, large french windows, and adorable cafe atmosphere will entice you to sit and stay a while. Grab a slice of their cheesecake (or anything from their full cabinet of goodies), and you won’t be disappointed. They do a full brunch, have a full bar with boozy milkshakes, and even live jazz on certain evenings.

Sit. Snack. Sip. This is what every cafe experience should be.

 

Milk Bar (UWS)

This place is every little kid’s sugar heaven. If you visit, make sure you watch the Chef’s table episode on Christina Tosi (and have some crack pie nearby in case of a dessert craving emergency).

We popped into the W 87th and Columbus location of Milk Bar for the necessary cereal milk ice cream (add the crunchy toppings, worth it). Seriously, I could eat endless amounts of this stuff. The flavor keeps every bite interesting and you don’t feel sick after eating too much – dangerous.

This location is close to Central Park West, so if you’re visiting the park and want some quality ice cream on a hot day, do yourself a favor, and walk a little further than the normal ice cream stands.

(Also try everything on the menu, because it’s a dream)

 

Silver Moon Bakery

This is not your run of the mill bakery. They are a small space with a lot of passion poured into their goodies. Their chocolate ganache cake will melt in your mouth, the loaves of bread are fresh, and the less likely goddess of their menu is the hot chocolate.

Located at W 105th and Broadway, you’ll be able to smell the loaves of bread at least three blocks away. If you’re grabbing something on the go before you start your walk in Riverside Park on a fall day, this will satisfy your sweet tooth and warm your belly. Pair with a cinnamon roll and heaven isn’t too far away.

If you’ve read this far, you can imagine how much pain we were in at this point. The things we do for you, active readers…

We know this isn’t every amazing dessert spot on the UWS, but we chose according to our palettes. Feel free to comment with your favorite! Happy sugar binging, and keep up that NYC walking speed to burn off the extra calories!

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

The Shitty Side of Traveling

how_to_poop_while_traveling

You see all these travel bloggers; Their beautiful adventures, perfectly angled, perfectly colored. They’re thin, beautiful, digging into some large exotic street food, enjoying a large brunch spread full of cheese, pastries, and lattes. WOWZA, you want that.

But I want to talk about what really happens on these trips, post-brunch. If you’ve been anywhere, even on vacation, you know what I’m talking about. Shitting… or lack thereof. How are there so many travel blogs out there without even the mention of it? Because for me, the inconsistency of pooping is the only consistent thing while traveling.

where to poop while travelingI embarked on my first long-term travel adventure last month, knowing full and well that even domestic travel put my sensitive digestive system at risk for constipation. Throw in a little jetlag and a whole world of new foods and I was set for complete catastrophe no matter how much water (or coffee) I drank.

drinking beer at ruin bars in budapestWhen you’re sightseeing, hiking, beaching, enjoying a beer in an authentic pub, or in no man’s land looking at the glories of the world, you don’t want to be thinking about the last time you spent a solid amount of time in the bathroom (or the last time it was solid). Wondering “how long can I go without shitting before I die” isn’t exactly what I want running through my head when I’m trying to look cute in travel pics. But it’s somewhat unavoidable, so let’s chat about it, shall we?

First of all, this is a completely natural occurrence.

In fact, it’s an evolutionary trait dating back to our hunter/gatherer days. When you’re a real nomad (not the cute, insta-famous ones), hunting for animals, you probably don’t want a predator tracking your scent during your journey. So as soon as your body recognizes that you’re in a new location, it shuts down all colon activity.

Cool, right?

Yeah, not so much when the bloating sets in after that lovely brunch spread.

Traveling is also stressful, and your tummy knows it.

Did you know that you have 100 million neurons in your gut? That’s more than in your spinal cord. So if you’re in a gross bathroom, stressed about missing your connecting flight, or overly exhausted from being in airports for 36 hours straight, your second brain in the gut is going to just say no.

Obviously, there are ways that you can keep on your merry loo schedule while you’re exploring.

A few tips (and reasons I failed – lesson learned):

Pre-Trip Prep

A few days before the trip, I normally start packing my diet with fiber. Kale salads for dinner, spinach smoothies for breakfast. Being on a super consistent schedule leading up to your trip gives your body routine, which will be easier to follow.

I failed at this. Packing up your apartment, quitting your job, and leaving for two months led me to some serious stress eating. Constipation – 1, Caroline – 0

 

Water, Water, Water

As soon as you head to the airport, drink a bottle. Through security? Drink a bottle. Just chug them as often as possible.

8-hour flight? Doomsday. They offer free wine on the plane, and I just couldn’t resist. Then I landed in Europe where water fountains are not a thing, and who wants to spend money on water bottles? Constipation – 2, Caroline – 0

 

Keep it Moving

Exercise. And this is where it gets tricky. Unless you’re able to maintain the same type of exercise as you’re used to, your body has to adjust. Yes, you may be walking 10+ miles a day when you’re exploring, but if you’re adapted to doing yoga every day, that’s a very different type of movement.

No, I’m not going to do yoga every day after wakeboarding and walking a marathon. Sorry. Constipation – 3, Caroline – 0

 

Diet

Fruits and veggies! And preferably fruits that have not been cooked into a jam, resting in the middle of strudel.

breakfast in bulgaria

avoid eating the whole plate of pastries

Ha. Ha. Ha. You think I’m not going to try every pastry on this side of the world? In my defense, the salad culture that I’m accustomed to isn’t quite as popular outside of NY. Sure, we’ll go with that. Constipation – 4, Caroline – 0

Fast forward to our second stop on the trip and I’m getting desperate. Panic poop mode, if you will. After chugging about 6 bottles of water, I start pulling out all the stops for things that are my go-to’s:

  1. Coffee: Ended up dehydrating me even more. Next.
  2. Soft Serve Ice Cream: Flickering memories of my childhood, but still nothing.
  3. Activia: If it works for Jamie Lee Curtis, why not me?
  4. Kale: Okay, you know it’s bad when Kale doesn’t work.

And right when I was about to order some Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bears, I realized that I was past the point of no return and it was time to fold. My boyfriend and I started a 3-hour long venture to buy laxatives. Let me tell you, you know it’s love when a man asks the convenient store worker for laxatives in Hungarian after using google translate on every box in the store.

Travel Tip: Most laxatives can only be purchased in proper pharmacies, not your average Walgreens. But have no fear, either buy them and pack ahead of time or purchase there, you won’t need a prescription!

So here are my recommendations (to pack & and to buy in emergencies):

Metamucil (To pack)

A gift from the heavens! For those with potential to reach a desperate situation, but able to catch it early enough. The equivalent of 5 kale smoothies ready to hit your digestive system in the form of fiber pixie dust.

Pro Tip: Since it’s orange flavored, mix it with some Emergen-C to get the total travel package.

Metamucil Multi-Health Psyllium Fiber Supplement Sugar-Free Powder, Orange Flavored, 180 Servings Price: $25.44 Metamucil Multi-Health Psyllium Fiber Supplement Sugar-Free Powder, Orange Flavored, 180 Servings Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Colace (To pack)

This baby is technically a “stool-softener” but the sound of that title sends shivers to the insides of my colon. Let’s just say it loosens things up in a nice way without completely dehydrating you into a prune.

Pro-Pro Tip: Colace + Metamucil + Emergen-C Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . You. Will. Be. Invincible. Go climb Mt Everest.

Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener, 100 mg Capsules, 60 Count, Docusate Sodium Stool Softener for Gentle, Dependable Relief Price: $15.97 Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener, 100 mg Capsules, 60 Count, Docusate Sodium Stool Softener for Gentle, Dependable Relief Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Suppositories, Fleet or Equate (To buy or pack)

In short, these are not fun to talk about since they go in the opposite direction of how you want most bodily items to flow. But they work. I’ll let you decide how you feel about them. They aren’t for everyone.

Pro Tip:  I say that you can pack these, but I could easily see them not being the best to travel with. Google it. Proceed at your own risk.

Dulcolax (To buy, available in lots of countries)

For those of you with the desperation level of wishing a solid dose of food poisoning on yourself. The normal version says to take it before you go to bed and things will start rattling about 6-12 hours after you take it. Convenient. Have your morning coffee and take a seat, my friend. This puppy works.

Pro Tip: Drink SO SO SO much water after. Lax attacks pull all the water in your body to aid the process and leave you feeling like a raisin. So if you get a headache a few hours later, just chug.

Dulcolax Laxative Tablets, 100 Count, Gentle, Reliable Overnight Relief from Constipation, Hard, Dry, Painful Stools, and Irregular Bowel Movements, Stimulates Bowel to Encourage Movement Price: $16.31 Dulcolax Laxative Tablets, 100 Count, Gentle, Reliable Overnight Relief from Constipation, Hard, Dry, Painful Stools, and Irregular Bowel Movements, Stimulates Bowel to Encourage Movement Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

To Sum It Up

That’s the shitty side of traveling. The moral of the story is that it’s bound to happen, so let’s not pretend that it doesn’t (even to those pretty little #wanderlustgirls). Here’s to many more trips where laxatives aren’t the necessary option for you, but if so, pack in preparation and cheers to flushing!