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Neighborhoods to Know and Go / Food Travel / Drinking Travel / Art Travel / Brooklyn Travel / New York Travel / Travel Tips / → All Tags
Someone told us the other day that the word 'Brooklyn' has entered the French lexicon—as an adjective, used to describe something that's super trendy. While we think that's going overboard, nobody can deny how fashionable the borough has become over the past 10 years, and that popularity isn't about to dwindle anytime soon.
Most tourists tend to migrate towards northern Brooklyn when they visit, and while we love us some Williamsburg and Bushwick, there's another new 'hood that's emerging as a ground zero for art, culture and lip-smackin' good eats: Gowanus.
For better or worse, the neighborhood is best known as the home of the Gowanus Canal—a.k.a. one of the most toxic bodies of water in the country—though that's all about to change, as city officials recently announced a multi-million dollar project to clean up the gunky waterway and make Gowanus a little easier on the eyes (and the nose).
This is all great news for visitors, though locals have been tuned into this spot—with its growing artillery of cool performance venues, cozy coffeeshops, and (yes) clam shacks—for quite some time.
Oklahoma's huge tornado hit this week is a painful reminder that the sun isn't always shining when you plan to travel. Luckily for the United States' tornado alley, 2013 has been relatively quiet. USA Today reports that "as of Sunday, 304 tornadoes had been reported across the nation, far below the typical average of 714." Still, the threat isn't quite over for the summer.
Some kids grow up with earthquake preparation classes, or even tsunami alert prep. We were the ones who had to duck under our school desks twice a month for tornado drills and we've seen trees ripped from the ground and waterspouts chasing boat traffic off of lakes. Tornadoes are not fun like a good rainstorm; the less you have to do with one, the better.
Sometimes even the best laid travel plans are foiled by manic weather, and so we've compiled a few tips to help stay clear of trouble when a tornado is in town:
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We were robbed. It may have happened just over a year ago, but we still live with the effects (like a fear that comes while biking and we hear a moped motor approaching). Read the full story, but also take away whatever knowledge you can from our horrible experience in order to prevent it happening to you while away from home.
Only a few days ago, Lifehacker posted a brilliant list of tips for travelers toting nice cameras, including how to deter would-be thieves. In this vein, we're revisiting our own 8 safety tips to avoid being mugged abroad:
South Korea Travel / Travel Tips / Seoul Travel / ICN / GMP / Travel Safety / → All Tags
At Seoul's Gyeongbokgung Palace
Forget "Gangnam Style" for a moment and consider what influence the tiny country of South Korea has on the planet. Own anything by Samsung or LG? Ever tried Taekwondo or tasted Red Mango yogurt? These are all Korean contributions to the world. Finally more airlines are figuring out that Seoul is awesome enough to warrant nonstop flightslike American Airlines' nonstop from Dallas-Ft. Worth starting tomorrow (May 9).
If you're not scared off by North Korea's threatsand you shouldn't be because everything is progressing normal as pie in South Koreaand you're hopping a flight to ICN soon, then there are a few steps you can take to prepare for a trip to Seoul:
· Register with the State Department's STEP Program
STEP, or "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program," used to by the less jazzy title of "State Department Travel Registration," but its function is still the sameto make the US embassies to which you're traveling aware of your presence. Should there be a weather disaster, civil unrest, or other emergency occurrence, the embassy will have your contact information and know that you're likely in need of assistance along with other American in the country. In times of peace and sunny weather, the program occasionally sends an email with the latest travel alert news on the destination.
We actually register with STEP for any trip we take lasting over one week, or to any country with even the least bit of weirdness.
Who doesn't love opening up the mailbox to see a postcard in the mix of bills and Bed, Bath & Beyond flyers? The exotic postmark and some lovely snippet of scenery is good for at least a few minutes of travel daydreaming, and it's like"hey, I have cool world-traveling friends who care enough about me to send a postcard!"
Return the favor and send postcards when you travel. Be that cool friend. Just make sure to do it correctly or risk your awesome postcard arriving weeks late or not at all.
We probably mail 50 postcards total every year from 15-ish countries, but our father worked with the US Post Office for over 35 years, so we grew up with his griping about mis-addressed mail. Suffice it to say that the proper way of addressing mail is drilled into our brain.
Without further ado, our top tips for mailing postcards:
Have you packed your phone charger? Check. Phrasebook? Check. Deodorant? Check. Epi pen or other allergy medications Umm, better not forget that!
Spring has totally sprung and, with the change of season, comes a new onslaught of potential allergic reactions. It's wise to remember these may happen anywhere, so preparation is needed before embarking on a trip, no matter how near or far.
CNN's Health section has a whole focus on "Living with Allergies," including a brilliant piece on tips for travel. Here, a few of our favorite ideas of theirs:
Cambodia Travel / Phnom Penh Travel / Travel Tips / PNH / Lists / What Not To Do In / Tourism / → All Tags
This whole week we're highlighting our time in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, complete with recommendations on what to do. Today, however, the focus is on what not to do, as we spied some big tourist no-nos while in town, ones to avoid while on a trip to Cambodia's capital.
Here's our top 5 tips on what not to do while exploring Phnom Penh:
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Sort out the food in your fridge
When you're about to leave for a big trip but find it hard to gobble down all the perishable food in your fridge and pantry, donate it to a local organization who'll feed it to people who aren't fortunate enough to be off on a big trip.
In big cities, Food Banks will happily accept individual donations while, in small cities, you'll have to give your local soup kitchen a call. In New York City, where residents are constantly impulse-buying yummies at Duane Reade without remembering that they're jetting off on a business trip the next day, the Food Bank of NYC has clearly outlined rules for such donations:
Spring it springing and your mind is likely on summer vacation..or even heading out far sooner than that, let's hope! Thus, it's once again time to think about keeping your passport nice. These things are valid for ten years. Ten years. That means that at no point in ten years can you spill coffee or especially Kool-Aid all over it.
Our three tips for passport care:
· Don't underestimate the power of a passport cover
Maybe this is common sense, but you'd be surprised how often we see travelers carrying their passports willy-nilly while walking through the airport. Get a passport cover...for several reasons. The "duh" reason is that it helps prolong the life of your passport, saving it from minor spills and whatnot. Other reasons for getting a cover include easy spotting it in your bag, keeping entry documents together, and not being obvious about your nationality. Just do know that you will have to remove your passport from the cover for inspection at immigration, customs, etc.
We have several passport cases, from basic and clear to leather and filled with pockets. Still, we've never found anything more easy to use than a larger wallet, where we stick the passport in the slot once used for a checkbook.
Sounds kind of like a given to ensure your travel documents are in order before handing over your boarding pass, but take it from us that you should always have another look on that tourist visa or itinerary. It's easy to overlook little misspellings or transcribed numbers, so it is even more important to have someone else look it over to give it the thumbs up.
Here is our story; any American traveler wanting to enter Vietnam needs to obtain a visa. This is not an e-visa that can be purchased online and electronically attached to your passport number. This is one of those old-fashioned, visit-a-consulate or mail-away-your-passport to the nearest embassy situations. While it's a bit of a hassle, a side perk is that you do get a pretty colorful sticker in your passport to show all your friends.
Thailand Travel / Chiang Mai Travel / Festival Travel / Songkran / New Year's Travel / Travel Tips / → All Tags
Our travel plans will soon bring us to Thailand and not just to sample various noodle recipes or tour some temples. While all that's on the plan, the real focus for travel to Thailand during this time of the year is the celebration of one of the most festive times of year in Thailand: Songkran, Thai New Year.
Chiang Mai is on our itinerary since we've heard it's the epicenter for all things Songkran. Traditionally, throwing water on friends, family and passers-by is considered the best part of the festivities. Originally done to cleanse Buddha statues, the drenchings during the holiday require some advance preparation for travelers.
Everybody does it. There's no need to be ashamed to talk about it. After all, it's an important part of adulthood.
We're speaking, of course, about renewing a passport, which can often be quite the stressful occasion if you travel with any regularity.
When renewing your US passport (assuming you already have oneif not get one now), there's a few steps to be completed, whether you opt for a regular or expedited turnaround time. You take a passport photo, you pay the $110 passport fee and you submit the completed forms with your previous passport. But wait just a second!