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What We Learned at New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show 2019-2Caroline and I had our first glimpse into what the travel industry is like when you pile everyone into a travel show and begin to see how one riverboat cruise can look just like the other across the aisle. While we learned a lot about what not to do in travel while at the show, we learned a lot of incredibly valuable bits from various speakers and panels about what we should do. We share that and more in this podcast episode.

Show Notes

  • New York Times Travel Show – this is hosted every year in New York City so we figured it made a ton of sense to make a weekend out of it.
  • Seth Kugel – a former Frugal Traveler for the New York Times. He shared a ton of valuable and interesting insights into this world of travel.

Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious Price: $17.67 Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious 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

Interested in the Bulgaria trip we discussed? Visit: www.www.lifenomading.com/bulgaria

Caroline Lloyd: @caromanifesto
Ian Hoyt: @IanHoyt

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Show Transcript

Ian Hoyt: You should see the visual I see right now of you like, huddling under the blanket because it’s so cold in our apartment and we’re on the floor in our room, and she’s holding the book under the blanket.

Caroline Lloyd: This is not “on a shoe string travel” it’s “on a shoe string lifestyle.”

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. This is Ian.

Caroline Lloyd: And Caroline.

Ian Hoyt: And this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Welcome back, fellow nomads. It’s Ian again.

Caroline Lloyd: And Caroline.

Ian Hoyt: And it’s another episode. I’m pretty pumped that we are able to keep this going.

Caroline Lloyd: Every Monday, we’re here.

Ian Hoyt: Every single Monday. And in this episode we’re going to recap a little bit about our previous weekend at the New York Times travel show. Now, I don’t know about you, Caroline, but it’s the first time I’ve ever been to a travel show or a travel conference. So we had a lot of interesting things we took away from that and I just want the listener to know, right off the bat, this is kind of an open forum. A fireside chat, if you will, recapping some of the stuff we learned. We realize that we’ve been in the travel world for the last few years, but we’ve never really known any of these industry terms or the people in the industry or the companies and in a lot of ways (and we’ll get to it more later) I think that’s actually a good thing, but we’ll get more into that later. So initially I kind of want to start the conversation with you, Caroline. What were some of the things, or at least two takeaways, or just how do you feel going into the travel show?

Caroline Lloyd: Well I didn’t really have any expectations, you know, just as a consumer basically the travel industry seems, you know, just as an open playing field, but as soon as you walked in to that big hall with lots of vendors lined up, you started to step back and realize, okay, this is pretty much an industry just like any other that capitalizes on these consumers.

Ian Hoyt: Which is so weird. It’s so weird to me because I’ve always envisioned travel as being this like open road, free playground to like craft whatever like thing or idea you have.

Caroline Lloyd: Honestly, just the fact that there is an industry around travel seems very odd like yes, travel should exist in modes of transportation, but now I was just looking down these rows of countries being represented by tourism boards and, quite honestly, a lot of businesses that I would talk to the people and walk away and still not understand what they did.

Ian Hoyt: For context, I mean, if anyone listening has been in a sales role or just in business in general. You know how when you go to a conference, you see the inner workings of how an industry works. I.E. Just how, for lack of a better word, kind of incestuous it can get, You know, this person is subbing out this with this person and that person is subbing it out for this person, and so on paper a consumer is taking some type of trip, but in reality, who knows who is actually operating it.

Caroline Lloyd: Those nice little ads that you get on instagram for trips; There’s a lot more business going into that then what you think.

Ian Hoyt: And then there’s this other silo, of like – I don’t want to say adventure travel, but I want to say the solo traveler or the person that is looking for the opportunity for coincidence and for the unknown and for what travel, typically, in my brain, affords you. And it’s not about money, it’s about what it affords you when you’re there, and your time, and your ability to kind of just be.

Caroline Lloyd: So overall, I think some things that we noticed were that the world is pretty cool. I learned about some places that I didn’t know existed. The world is also pretty small. I felt like there was a good representation of a lot of places, geographically speaking. I think we also learned that, like you said, everyone is kind of intermingled with each other in business practices. And I also really want to emphasize this, that there are many different ways that people travel.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And from that standpoint of, you know, a lot of people travel in a lot of different ways and in a lot of different spectrums. On the extreme side, the side that we’re definitely not familiar with is kind of a super luxury travel. Whether you’re with a group or not, this is just Bougie for Bougie sake and it’s not so much about experiencing maybe the local culture or really digging deep into like how a local lives or just like what it’s like to live in the place you’re going. I think the super luxury really kind of taps into the like, okay, we’re going to do this awesome thing. We’re going to stay at these awesome places and that’s where it ends.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re gonna eat and drink a lot and not really interact with anything that’s going on in the geographical area. So then there’s like medium luxury. So this is not just throwing money at the wall for an all inclusive resort, but a little bit more budget friendly. And this is kind of where I think group trips start coming into play. There were definitely some luxury group travel arrangements that were available to people, but it was still somewhat removed from the people and the place that you’re traveling to. And then from there we get into traveling pretty much on your own, not with a group. And from there, you know, there’s a medium tier and then there’s literally the shoestring budget which gets into backpacking and hostels and things like that. And that really was not represented at the show, which makes a lot of sense, right? Because it’s travel industry and the travel industry doesn’t want to talk about the thing called Airbnb or doesn’t want to talk about hostels as much as they do about hotels.

Caroline Lloyd: It was like a weird thing. I felt like no one wanted to say the word Airbnb. They were talking about Tripadvisor and like all of these other tools, but I felt a little bit of hostility towards Airbnb, actually.

Ian Hoyt: You know, I’ve seen this in different industries that I’ve worked in as well. And the same thing is true. I don’t want this to be an outcry for the industry, but I’m just saying they have this, known naivety like shield in front of their eyes.

Caroline Lloyd: I don’t think they were naive to it. I think they literally chose to ignore it. Moral of the story is things are changing and we’re going to see a big alteration in the travel industry as we know it. It already is changing, I feel like.

Ian Hoyt: People want choice. People want to explore on their own. They want the opportunity to discover, and I’m not trying to put words in every single person’s mouth because everyone has a different scenario, but when we walked in there, I definitely felt like we were kind of outsiders and I felt okay with it. I felt like, okay, I don’t know some of these industry terms. I don’t know these people. And while it’s great to meet all of them and know what exists, I’m really excited about kind of where we have positioned what we offer because it’s not knowing any of that. I like being naive to that.

Caroline Lloyd: I think we should also point out that of the people that were in attendance of this conference, a lot of the people were over the age of 45.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Right? So there’s so many different levels of travel and I think the biggest takeaway that we got was actually going to talks and panels at the conference themselves, because then we were able to see some other opinions and learn more from people. And what I learned was there are no right ways to travel. You can have your opinions on what are wrong ways to travel, but everyone in different age groups with different missions in mind, they deserve to do what they want to do. And so just to hit home that fact, the 60 year old that wants to go on a river cruise is going to be much different than someone like ourselves that are, you know, mid twenties that want to maybe have a grittier, more exploratory mission in mind. And that’s okay.

Caroline Lloyd: Let me ask you something, because I don’t know your opinion on this. Do you think it has always been this way? Like do you think there are certain trends towards age eras in a person’s life? So like when we turn 60, yeah, a riverboat cruise sounds pretty nice. Is there a reason that everyone at that show is over the age of 45 because that’s what was represented in the vendors and that is what you naturally want when you reach that age?

Ian Hoyt: That’s a good question. I don’t even know. I mean, I know that historically I feel like we get a lot of stories and a lot of people that are in their twenties that want to do this quote-unquote backpacking or all that stuff.

Caroline Lloyd: That’s a new concept.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. It’s not a new concept. Like you said, when you’re a much older you don’t hear about people backpacking through Europe.

Caroline Lloyd: Well, I mean, I hope that I will still be doing that when I’m that age. We met a couple when they were in Vienna from Australia, I think, and they were on a cycling tour. They literally had cycled some stupid amount of miles on their own just traveling the world and they were like 70, 60 years old? Awesome people that we met.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. So I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. I feel like definitely like physical capabilities change. You know, if, if you have the quote-unquote travel bug, you’re always probably going to want to travel. And so I think just finding the mode of travel that allows you to do so.

Caroline Lloyd: But like at a certain point we’ll tap out of hostels.

Ian Hoyt: I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s fair for us to make that opinion because I think we’re also maybe a little skewed outside of the normal traveler.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re also naive because we were still in our twenties, so who knows? Anyone else outside of that age range, please comment, tell us young ones how it’s going to be.

Ian Hoyt: And then we’ll say it probably isn’t going to be that way.

Caroline Lloyd: So walking up and down the aisles of this show, we picked up a lot of brochures, a lot of stickers, a lot of business cards. So much paper. It’s very sad, but when you open up all these brochures, they pretty much say the same thing. I mean reading the copy from booth to booth, it was just… You are so flooded with the words just rearranged in different ways. So a couple of these examples, we have a lot of brochures over here to look through: “Go beyond. Experience, authentic, unscripted and unforgettable moments that will resonate for a lifetime.”

Ian Hoyt: “Making the world a better place.”

Caroline Lloyd: “A once in a lifetime experience.”

Ian Hoyt: “Have an authentic experience.” “Explore culture.” These are all things that we read booth to booth. And while some of that could be true, it was just frustrating because we knew, for the most part, these companies were just using it from a marketing standpoint and that’s okay.

Caroline Lloyd: But it also, at one point in time, came from an honest sentence. And we don’t disagree with that.

Ian Hoyt: We don’t disagree with the premise. And I think the big takeaway that we’re trying to say is we checked ourselves at the door there. We realize that, you know, if we’re going to use some of this copy, some of the things that they say. You know, we use some of the words in our Life Nomading advertising, but we’ve got to really believe it and we’ve got to really own it and make sure that it’s a part of every trip. Every person that were to come on a group trip of ours and anything that we do, we just were like, whoa. Like we can’t take these words lightly. These other people are using them and you see right through it. So if we’re going to use these words, if we’re going to use these statements, we have to make sure they’re genuine always.

Caroline Lloyd: So we went to a couple of talks during the show and some of them were really great. And one that we happened upon was the New York Times Frugal Traveler panel. And for reference, this is a column by the New York Times where they give a columnist a budget that’s fairly low for that region and they go and have to write about their travels while only staying on this budget.

Ian Hoyt: For example, I think the one they mentioned while on the talk was like, what $100 in Oslo for a weekend or something?

Caroline Lloyd: And the comment that was said on the panel was, that’s the price of a beer there. So they have to be kind of creative, but quite honestly that’s how a lot of people our age, students, backpackers are seeing the world. And I think there are a lot of benefits to traveling that way. You get into a lot of situations that you wouldn’t normally get yourself into. But kind of comparing that back to, you know, this kind of travel industry shtick that people were revolving around right now,. One of the panelists was Seth Kugel who we ended up buying his new book that just came out called “Rediscovering Travel.” And pretty early on, honestly, I’m not through the book yet. I am enjoying it slowly.

Ian Hoyt: We’re both very, very slow readers.

Caroline Lloyd: I just really want to take it all in and sit on it for a little bit, because it’s a new philosophical way of traveling that I think is true to our core, but when you say it out loud, it makes you take an outside perspective. But one of the really poignant moments in the first portion of his book is talking about how expectations are pretty high and after reading all of the copy on these advertisements for group trips and travel industry people, obviously, with those words, the expectations are set at a very, very high level. You’re going in wanting to have a life changing moment, and he says, “Anything short of a life changing epiphany would have been a disappointment and it’s pretty hard to have a life changing epiphany while surrounded by crowds, pretending to have life changing epiphanies.” And this goes really deep into instagram culture and like Tripadvisor reviews and how we set the bar so high on travel and how it’s contradictory in and of itself.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, it was pretty powerful. He had his own talk after that talk, which we ended up going to because we just really appreciated what he had to say. And he really hit home a lot of the points he made in the book and we will definitely link to the book in the show notes if you’re interested. But anyway, going back to the point that you just made about that, I think that was really the biggest takeaway from his talk was a similar theme.

Caroline Lloyd: So basically the conclusion that we came to was travel started as this life changing capable experience and then the travel brand took hold of that and regurgitated it everywhere. And now people’s expectations are so high that either they’re pretending to have life changing epiphanies everywhere that they go or are just disappointed.

Ian Hoyt: And to that point, another aside would be Sarah, one of our members at Life Nomading. She actually had a conversation and there’s an article coming out that she wrote about that very topic when she was in Bali, and all these expectations that people put around Bali and how her and Mitko were just so kind of like disappointed, kind of stressed out, and just the expectations were so high. But the realizations were so low like there was such a gap.

Caroline Lloyd: And we could get so far into this, you know, and that that goes into reading articles before you visit a place, and visiting that place because other people have gone and you know, trying to plan out your trip and all of this stuff that goes into what you expect travel to be. And quite honestly, we’ve talked about this before, the best memories of travel are the serendipitous moments that sometimes in a moment feel miserable and then end up being the story that you tell all your friends when you return.

Ian Hoyt: In a very contradictory way, I really like to approach travel by setting the bar really low. Not having expectations, not having a bar of, oh, I need to see this, oh, I need to feel this way, and when you shed yourself of that. For example, we have a group trip to Bulgaria, no one knows about Bulgaria. We don’t set any expectations for you, but if you can go into it with an open mind with low expectations, I guarantee you’re going to be more open to experiencing whatever it is. We can’t control what you’re going to experience. We can’t control your feelings, but you can’t have those feelings or those opportunities to do things if you’re so focused on the stuff that you’ve got to see, the things you’ve got to go to, and the vibes you get, and the instagrams. You really have to set a low bar for travel, and that’s the only way you’re going to find a way to experience.

Caroline Lloyd: I mean, just a way to look at this: If you talk to anyone who has traveled within the past year and you ask them about their trip, sure, they’ll list off all the things that they saw, but the story that they will tell, and you kind of have to listen with an analytical ear, I guess, but the stories that they tell are normally the things that weren’t on their itinerary to begin with.

Ian Hoyt: I mean, for example, when I was in Quito, Ecuador, and we were doing a back country motorcycle, two day trip to Mindo. My friend and I were trying to find this waterfall. This waterfall that was on the map, on the guided map for the motorcycle thing. And we couldn’t find it and all sudden we just stopped with our motorcycles on the side of a road. At this gate we thought it was the waterfall, right? But instead it was this very old and very kind lady that did not speak a single word of English. And we just tried to ask her where the waterfall was. Right?

Ian Hoyt: And she was very confused and we pulled up Google translator and we tried to communicate and through very, very broken Spanish, we were able to gain entry into her property. And we thought we were going to this waterfall that was on the map, and instead we under the impression that we only had about 30 minutes to follow her down the side of this mountain to this, what we thought was the waterfall, right? We’re walking down and finally we get down this really steep side of a mountain. She’s running down it. She’s like 70. And we can’t keep pace because you’re at like 9,000 feet or whatever. Long Story Short, we get to that waterfall. And while it isn’t the waterfall that we thought we were going to the journey and meeting that person that was a local there in Ecuador that we would have never met and we would have never been able to see if we weren’t open to those opportunities. And that has been one of the highlight stories of my life. And we met her. We got to look at this waterfall, we thought we were under pressure and so we had to run back up the mountain because she left us down there and then when we got back she was like, oh yeah, you got like a couple of hours. And so long story short, what I mean by that is exactly that, like you have to be open to seeing and doing things outside of the plan.

Caroline Lloyd: So yeah, I like to think that real travel happens when your travel plans go wrong. To sum it up.

Ian Hoyt: And not to get so weird but like wrong is relative, right? Because wrong, is assuming you have a plan.

Ian Hoyt: So going off of that, I think the biggest takeaway is we really appreciate our time at the New York Times travel show. We were enlightened, we met some awesome people and we took a lot of information away from that on how we can make what we’re offering in trips better.

Caroline Lloyd: I think we should also just say we really did meet some really wonderful people, but mission driven organizations and really great places of the world that I hope that we can visit one day. And I think there’s a lot of good things happening in the travel industry right now, but the main takeaway is what we just talked about.

Ian Hoyt: And with that being said, now, we have put a lot of these things in place before we even approached thIS show for our trips.

Caroline Lloyd: On a personal level. We kind of travel with this mindset already.

Ian Hoyt: And we just realized that although we’re offering these trips and we’ve done trips in the past with small groups, we really want to take away a lot of the things we mentioned that we really believe in and integrate those into our trips even more. I.E. really hunker down and focus on the ability to have experiences on your own, and have more freedom and ability to be open to the culture and the world around you when you’re in a new place.

Caroline Lloyd: So whether that means you know, a lot of free or just allowing people accessibility into places so they aren’t traveling alone, because not everyone feels safe or comfortable traveling by themselves. We’re offering a group of like-minded people that are wanting to experience it as if it’s the first time they’re together.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. So for example, we have an upcoming trip to Bulgaria that is available and it’s 10 days. And initially, quite honestly, we were going to include everything we thought you should do, but we’re going to actually pull that back.

Caroline Lloyd: Because why is it our decision to choose what you do while you’re in a new destination?

Ian Hoyt: And while, although we’ve always said, you know, if you want to stray away from the pack, go for it, you should do that. We’re integrating that even more into our quote-unquote non itinerary. So while though it’s a 10 day trip, we cover your lodging and your transportation. Everything else is kind of ad hoc. You do what you want. We’re going to be around there. We’re going to be doing our thing. Come along for the ride and experience what we experience, but maybe you want to go off the beaten path and that’s okay. We’re here to help facilitate, but mainly we’re here to cover some of those really basic details. Get you in a new place, give you some other people that maybe connect with or maybe not and let’s take it from there. We have a lot of different things and ideas planned and we’re going to do them ourselves and you have the option to participate or not at your choice.

Caroline Lloyd: Group travel for the single traveler.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. Or the couple.

Caroline Lloyd: I really think, and we learned this from our trip last summer, we had so much fun with a group when we went with Mitko and Sarah, and honestly, wanted to share that experience and this is how we’re doing it.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And so if you want more details on that, you can obviously check out our website. You can find the Bulgaria trip more specifically at LifeNomading.com/Bulgaria. And you’ll see what we’re talking about there. We’ve dramatically cut the price to just cover the lodging and the transportation and some, a couple of dinners here and there for like the opening night and stuff, but dramatically cut the price so anyone can really get involved. And we’re only taking like eight people. So we’re going to keep it small and we’re going to have just a fun, fun time.

Caroline Lloyd: Super great shout out to everyone that we met at the travel show. Shout out to Seth for this awesome book. You should definitely read it if you’re into traveling or just, honestly, exploring anywhere in the world that you currently are. I think it gives a great view on how to be a constant explorer.

Ian Hoyt: Quite honestly, he’s an inspiration to both of us. I mean we learned so much in that you know one or two hours of just listening to him and reading the book and we’re excited to dig deeper into some of his philosophies.

Caroline Lloyd: If you could subscribe, we are on Itunes, Overcast, and Spotify. Leave us a review on itunes. That would mean a lot to us.

Ian Hoyt: And we love connecting with everyone. So please, if you’re listening to this, send us a DM on instagram @LifeNomading and we can kind of learn what your deal is with travel.

Caroline Lloyd: So that’s it. Until next time, we will see you here again. I’m Caroline.

Ian Hoyt: And I’m Ian. And go explore something.

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 II - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Price: $129.00 LOCTOTE Flak Sack II - 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: 04/30/2019

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 II - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Price: $129.00 LOCTOTE Flak Sack II - 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: 04/30/2019

Introducing Life Nomading Podcast 2.0

Life Nomading Podcast Artwork

Kicking off 2019 with a bang, we’d like to introduce the new and improved Life Nomading podcast! No longer a dormant trove of audio files, instead we’re back and we’re excited to be bringing you fresh travel episodes every single Monday morning. So tune in and spend some time every week with Caroline and me as we explore the world and share it with you.

In this episode, we give a rundown of what all has happened and what is currently going on at Life Nomading since the last episode 3 years ago. Buckle up, because we have plenty of exciting news to share.

Show Notes

Mentioned in this episode:

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Show Transcript

Ian Hoyt: And she’s not kidding, we’re literally sitting on the floor. We have two microphones, different microphone, cardboard boxes, cardboard boxes. We have one glass of whiskey to offset the frustration of setting up technology. Just so we can record semi decent audio. So wherever you’re at, you can hear us

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. This is Ian and Caroline, and this is the Life Nomading podcast,

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow listeners. Welcome back to the Life Nomading podcast. It’s been awhile. It’s been about three years, two years since the last substantial episode has hit your podcast feed, so I’m pumped if you’re listening from the past life, but I’m even more excited if you’re a new listener. Excited to go in this 2019 journey with us as we reboot Life Nomading and bring some travel content and I’m not alone this time. I have a cohost and her name is Caroline. Caroline, how’s it going?

Caroline Lloyd: It’s going well. I’m excited to be here.

Ian Hoyt: Is it weird having microphones in your face?

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah, I’ve pretty much tried to avoid that at all costs in my life. Um, There’s a reason that I’m not a singer like everyone else in my family, so this is a step of bravery for me.

Ian Hoyt: And we are sitting on the floor of our New York apartment in Harlem because we can’t afford anything else

Caroline Lloyd: with mics propped up by cardboard boxes.

Ian Hoyt: Literally cardboard boxes. We had to throw the cat out because it was pawing at all the chords. But anyway, we’re here. Uh, we’re happy to have you. Thanks for listening. Uh, we’re going to make this quick. This is a quick little intro episode. Life Nomading podcast has existed before, but we’re new. We’re improved and we’re ready.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re going to be consistent.

Ian Hoyt: Consistency is key. Anyone that has gotten anywhere has been consistent in life. So we are going to be doing this podcast every single week.

Caroline Lloyd: New episodes dropping on Mondays for your morning commute to make them a little bit less miserable and you can dream about traveling the world on your way to work.

Ian Hoyt: And to that point Life Nomading has been in an evolution the last two or three years since I last graced you with a podcast episode.

Caroline Lloyd: Graced you with that lovely voice.

Ian Hoyt: It was still deep back then. I was still old enough to have a deep voice.

Caroline Lloyd: I feel like you were up playing it a little bit more like you’re. You’re not like going full radio host right now,

Ian Hoyt: Which is good. I hope not. I’m not. I’m trying to be authentic Yo, but here we are so we have this podcast, but Life Nomading is so much more than a podcast now. So Life Nomading started in like 2014 for context for me to write about my feelings about travel and life in general and people actually started to read it. People actually started to connect over it, not just with me but with other readers. We created a facebook group and then all of a sudden this community started to form out of thin air and I was pretty excited. People were connecting over this travel thing, this, you know, doing something different than the regular normal thing and so from 2014 to now it has evolved from being just a blog and a podcast to now we’re doing so much more and for example, this year actually, or sorry last year in 2018, we launched our first group trip to Iceland, a Life Nomading group trip is where we take about 10 people and we just, we plan it all and people arrive into this awesome foreign country they’ve never been to before and we do incredible things that are authentic to the culture in the country,

Caroline Lloyd: but it’s not your typical group travel, right? So it’s not just everyone piling onto a coach bus and you sit there all day and look out the window. You’re really truly experiencing things. You’re getting to know your fellow travelers. You are exploring on your own and you are testing the boundaries of who you are in this new area. This new country, so it’s really different than, you know, walking around with a tour guide with the flag on. So we want the group trip to be really authentic.

Ian Hoyt: Absolutely. And uh, I’m not going to ruin the itinerary or like what do we do in Iceland? You’re either going to have to go on that trip or b. Listen to future episodes to learn more about that. Uh, but what I can say is of all the people on that trip, uh, we got so many responses, hey, this actually changed my life, like this made me want to travel more or made me want to do x, y, z after this trip we can’t stop talking about this trip. And that was exciting to us because our whole mission at Life Nomading is to make group travel authentic. And so group trips have been great and we’re expanding those trips and we’ll talk a little bit more about that in a second. Actually, maybe we should backtrack even more. Let’s Caroline, who are you?

Caroline Lloyd: I have always wanted to travel. Um, but I’ve also been a very tight planner in life in my day to day activities. I walk around with a paper planner is still, I know that most people don’t even know this existed anymore. Um, but I had very clear cut timelines for my life and traveling, unfortunately, did not fit into that timeline. So, you know, I was following my life timeline pretty perfectly if I do say so myself. Um, and I found myself in a job that I had pretty much dreamed of my entire life. Um, and then I realized that I had accomplished it pretty quickly. I was pretty curious to travel again. So I quit my job in summer 2018 to take a two month trip with Ian.

Ian Hoyt: So also for context, we gotta we gotta set the stage for this pinnacle change that happened. Do you remember the night vividly?

Caroline Lloyd: We’re cooking dinner in your apartment.

Ian Hoyt: My sublet apartment watching Netflix and we’re watching some random.

Caroline Lloyd: You know, one of those like, like millennial generation, quit your job, travel the world, live in a bus, take your dog, live your best life, really inspirational indie music.

Ian Hoyt: Mogli, right? Yeah. Awesome music. We Love Mogli. If, if, if you’re listening, can we use your music in our podcast anyway…

Caroline Lloyd: So like I still, I can’t take off without playing that album because it just reminds me that I am off to a new adventure and that is just a pinnacle moment. Anyway.

Ian Hoyt: Music has so much deployed with adventure for some reason it’s Cliche, but we’re sitting there watching this documentary now mind you, obviously I have context, I’ve traveled, blah, blah, blah, blah. You on the other hand, you know you’ve stayed domestic. You haven’t really gone many places.

Caroline Lloyd: For context. I was looking for other jobs at the time, so I got to this crossroads where I could either continue applying and I think I was on like a second interview for a new job

Ian Hoyt: And you’re just hating it. You’re just not into it.

Caroline Lloyd: I didn’t realize it that I knew I wanted out of my job, but I didn’t realize that I was applying for jobs that would put me back in that exact situation two years down the road. And I think when I realized that that gave me the courage to, you know, make a drastic change in my life.

Ian Hoyt: And so we were watching that thing and did we book the tickets that day? Was it that day?

Caroline Lloyd: No, we were going to go to South America first and then we’re looking at South America for a really long time and we had grand plans of going for a full year.

Ian Hoyt: So we sat on the concept of dropping the grand vision was dropped everything and travel indefinitely, like a true, true, true, true, true nomad.

Caroline Lloyd: And I’m like there’s absolutely no way that we’re going to be able to do this. And I’m the type that’s just like, it works itself out, which we need to get back to you. We met in the middle, we met in the middle and things worked out a lot easier that way anyways, so we’re trying to figure out where to go, how to do this. And so Ian pulls in his expertise, friends Mitko and Sarah.

Ian Hoyt: Shout out to them. They’re also on the team.

Caroline Lloyd: So originally we were just asking them for advice or like, you know what, what to do, how to get started.

Ian Hoyt: Sarah was and they travel extensively together, which traveling as a couple, as much different than traveling solo. We sat on the idea and we realized that they were going to be in eastern Europe in the summer like they always are because Mitko, he is originally from Bulgaria and we’re like, why don’t we just go hang out with them? I think that’s Kinda just how I happened.

Caroline Lloyd: Well we didn’t ask. We politely were invited first and then we weighed our options and we accepted.

Ian Hoyt: So she drops her job. We have a logistical nightmare of finding like four sublets.

Ian Hoyt: We should do a whole episode of sub-leasing in New York. We don’t want to get sidetracked too much, but long story short, my biggest phrase in life is it’ll all just work out, which is cliche and really simplistic. But what happened?

Caroline Lloyd: So three subleasers later. We put our stuff in storage and we left for Europe for two months.

Ian Hoyt: We found three subletters at all different levels of subletting.

Caroline Lloyd: I had attempted to find a job that I could work remotely during the trip and ended up applying for jobs while I was on the trip, which still works out.

Ian Hoyt: It’s going to be another episode for sure on how to work and travel and just all that crazy stuff. But long story short is we spent the summer in eastern Europe, um, a majority of it in Bulgaria. And um, that’s actually where our next group trip is going to be for 2019. Uh, so that’s a long-winded way of explaining how we got from a blog, podcast to Iceland to Bulgaria to a new podcast and welcome. We’re excited to be here.

Caroline Lloyd: So we spent the summer in Europe and it was great and we’ll have episodes about that later. But one of the things that kind of came to us in a miraculous moment of realization was when we get to a new destination, new city or new country, the first thing that we would do on the morning that we woke up we went on a walking tour.

Caroline Lloyd: Now in Europe, a lot of the walking tours are free. They happen every day and there are just crowds of people that come to them and it gives so much context for the rest of your stay in whatever destination that you’re in, you know, the landscape where things are, you know, best areas for restaurants, history, culture. It was just so informative and changed the way that we interpreted what that city had to offer that we had to take a step back and realize that we live in a city that is, you know, a pinnacle city of the US. So after going on all of these walking tours in Europe, we wanted to start our own in New York. Now New York is not short of any tours or tourist attractions.

Ian Hoyt: I think they have like five, I think.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah, I mean you can like to cover your basis. Uh, but we wanted to offer something different.

Caroline Lloyd: You know, we wanted to offer your things from a local’s perspective with the history and the context that you need, but really giving a true, authentic experience which aligns with what we do on our group trips. Yeah. So one of the ways that we made it really stand out and be authentic is that we started doing tours in our favorite area of the city, which is the Upper West Side. And after doing a little bit of research we realized that there weren’t any tours of this area, which is a shame because it’s very historical and it’s beautiful in a lot of people. Never even make it outside of Times Square. Right. So we launched our upper west side tour and then we also launched a midtown tour, which does cover a lot of the touristy sites, but from an experiential standpoint that is a little bit more authentic.

Caroline Lloyd: So we have two tours going on in New York right now and it’s really been eyeopening. I’m kind of relating back to where Life Nomading started with the blog. We’ve really started to see a community start to build. So within this community, we’re starting to, you know, make connections all over the world and it feels really great to share our city with international travelers just as we learn about their city when we’re traveling. Um, so it’s kind of reciprocal feedback there.

Ian Hoyt: We just want to be the vessel to be able to meet other travelers and we’re hoping that we can do that with this podcast, with the blog and with our trips and tours, we’re extremely excited to be back at it podcasting and above all else consistently every single week. On what day?

Caroline Lloyd: Mondays.

Ian Hoyt: Every single Monday we’re going to be here with new travel content, whether it’s interviews with industry experts, uh, whether it’s a new travel guide or hacking guide of some sort or other, or whether it’s just kind of a chronicle of our experiences in different countries and cities. We’re going to be bringing something new to you every week for your commute or for your walking the dog time and we hope that maybe it helps you push over the ledge that we pushed over ourselves and begin traveling more.

Ian Hoyt: So if you’re down for some travel content, you’re down for learning a little bit more about how to travel more in your life. Maybe this is the podcast to subscribe to. We’d love to have you. So until next time I’m Ian.

Caroline Lloyd: I’m Caroline

Ian Hoyt: And if you have any suggestions for us for future episodes, please email us at podcast[@]www.lifenomading.com. That’s podcast[@]www.lifenomading.com.

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.

Best Slacklines For 2019

Leio Mclaren | Slackline | Group Trips | Life Nomading | Best Slacklines 2017

If you’ve never done slacklining before, then let me tell you that it is a stimulating activity and has several health benefits associated with it. It is a fun sport that is portable, easy to set up, and a ton of fun. Buying a slackline can get tricky though due to all the different types of slacklining styles and rigs available. We have broken down the best slacklines for 2019 by all the different styles, to save you the hassle.

If you are a beginner slackliner, we covered that in a previous article which is a good starting point.

What are the different styles of slacklining?

As mentioned before, there are many types of slacklining with new styles popping up every day. Here is a quick snapshot of the styles.

Walklining

Walklining is your standard slacklining. It just involves the basic act of walking across. While some may apply style and small moves into this type of slacklining it is nothing like trick lining, which is more active and involves more bouncing.

Tricklining

Tricklining is about busting out sick moves. It includes all sorts of tricks from spin moves to jumps and even flips. Thanks to the elasticity of the band, trickliners will alternate many times from landing on their stomach, knees, and feet. Tricklines are usually bouncier and made of a more elastic lining.

Waterlining

Any style of slacklining over water is considered waterlining. Any type of slackline can be used for slacklining, but there are specific waterlines. A waterline is specifically designed to resist the wear and tear that can happen to the line due to water.

Longlining

Longlining is the act of slacklining with a very long slackline. Most slacklines are 25-50ft, while longlines are around 100 feet or 30 meters. It can involve all other types or styles of slacklining, as long the line itself is long. Due to the length, longlines usually have less tension and sag a little more as you walk on them. Due to this, fewer tricks are done on long lines but a popular move is swaying back and forth which is called surfing. The one downside to a

The one downside to a longline is that a ratchet rigging system typically cannot work, so you will have to manually rig it using a pulley system. This pulley system is more difficult to set up and not recommended for beginners

Highlining (Airlining)

Highlining can be done with any type of slackline. Due to the height, it is typically done with a pulley rigged longline. This is for daredevils and thrill seekers. With a high line, it is always recommended to have a leash and harness in case you fall.

Closer Look at the Best Slacklines for 2019

Below we have a more in-depth look at each product.

Best Trickline – Slackline Industries Trickline

Has a high amount of reviews and is extremely easy to set up, taking no more than 10 minutes. Moreover, it is universal and can be used by kids and beginners – basically anyone interested in walk lining. If you are a beginner looking for a quality baseline that takes the least amount of time to set up, Baseline is the right choice for you.

Slackline Industries Trick Line Trampoline Style Slackline Kit with Backup Line, Tree Protectors, Black - Zero Waste, 50-Feet Price: $39.99 Slackline Industries Trick Line Trampoline Style Slackline Kit with Backup Line, Tree Protectors, Black - Zero Waste, 50-Feet 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

Best Waterline – Gibbon Slacklines Surfer

Gibbons Slacklines are the highest quality slacklines available in the market and are known to be the most-bought slacklines in the world. The Gibbons Slacklines Surfer, for water lining, is fairly easy to set up and has high durability. Their customer support is quite responsive and they also have a slackline app for your mobile. Though it is quite expensive, it will provide great value for money in the long run. If slacklining is more than just your passion, go ahead and make the investment! Surfers would especially love this slackline!

Gibbon Slacklines - Surfline, Purple, 98-Feet Price: $125.95 Gibbon Slacklines - Surfline, Purple, 98-Feet 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

Best Walkline – Slackling Industries

The Slacklines Baseline has a high amount of reviews and is extremely easy to set up, taking no more than 10 minutes. Moreover, it is universal and can be used by kids and beginners – basically anyone interested in walk lining. If you are a beginner looking for a quality baseline that takes the least amount of time to set up, Baseline is the right choice for you.

Slackline Industries Baseline Slackline, 50FT, Red SI00050 Price: $39.99 Slackline Industries Baseline Slackline, 50FT, Red SI00050 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

Best Longline – BC Primitive Slackline Kit

The BC Primitive slackline is a good beginner primitive rig slackline that comes at a reasonable price. While rigging will take more time, and may be more difficult the result is more versatility. If you want to run your line shorter or longer it’s easier. It is a more manual approach that works best for longlining. It is the most expensive of all the slacklines we mentioned, but one of the best primitive slackline setups on the market for the price.
Buy Now!

 

Summary

Now that you know all the basic types of slacklines available in the market, it will be easier for you to make your decision. If you are new to the field of slacklining, you should opt for the Baseline, as it caters to the needs of the beginners. However, if you’re tired of simply walking on the rope and are looking to perform some new tricks, the Trickline will be your best bet! So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and defy the laws of gravity!

Image sources: Featured image by Leio Mclaren – Unsplash.

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