Safety While Traveling: Has It Changed?

by Alex Schnee
( July 29th, 2014 )

Plane Flying Traveling

With more and more news coming out about the Malaysia flight that was shot down over the Ukraine and Russia’s supposed responsibility in it, we might be wondering about our safety as travelers and how safe it might be to head over to Europe in the near future. It’s a fair concern—the passengers of that flight would have had no idea that they were in any danger.

Recent news has been flooding the web about how pilots and executives are working to find safe flight patterns for their passengers and how we can continue to reach our destinations without worry. Still, the fact that the last incident with Malaysia Airlines was so completely out-of-the-blue might have us fretting about flying around that area.

I have recently had to change my own travel plans for when I return to Europe (as a member of Generation Y, I still have to factor in the concern of my parents before I head off anywhere). The plan was to fly from Iceland to Estonia and backpack my way down to Italy from there, but with safety issues continually cropping up, I have chosen to fly into Prague instead, where it looks as though I will meet a friend and we will travel together.

It’s not my dream trip—I had been resolved on traveling alone and I would have loved to claim that I had been to countries that I had never even imagined I would like Latvia and Estonia. But safety does, in fact, sometimes need to come first, and I am sure I will have more fun with a travel buddy and I will be a lot safer.

Which isn’t to say that I do not think you shouldn’t be able to travel solo on a trip like this, or that you shouldn’t make the trip at all because of fear.  Life and being able to travel is an opportunity to begin with, and if you constantly live in fear, you might find yourself never really living the life that you want. I think finding a balance between being smart and making good decisions and taking some well-calculated risks can help you decide whether or not you want to make the particular journey you have planned. It might not be exactly what you want, but it can still be worth your time and you can still find yourself on a great adventure—even if it’s not what you had written down on the original itinerary.

Have you ever had to change travel plans for safety reasons?

Image courtesy of Elliot Brown.

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Travel Tips and Tricks for Barcelona

by Alex Schnee
( July 24th, 2014 )

Barcelona Travel Tips

Though it has been a few months since I was in Barcelona last, I thought I would write about some tips and tricks I have found while traveling to this city—you might find that it’s unlike any other major city that you will really visit in Western Europe, and one of the best parts? It’s relatively cheap for what you can get.

Beware of Pickpockets

There’s a rule I learned that the deeper you delve into the Latin countries, the more you have to worry about pickpockets and gypsies, especially on the metro. Purchasing a wallet or a money carrier that you can wear close to your body can help a lot when you are worried about whether or not someone will steal your hard-earned cash. Try not to hold out any of your money or make it obvious that you have some, otherwise you might find yourself a victim of theft.

Take a Tour

I’m always a little hesitant about tours because you never really know whether or not they are feeding you the correct information or what they want you to hear! However, Barcelona has some interesting history and little bits of Gaudi’s architecture that are hidden throughout the city and can be hard to find on your own. By having someone take you around, you are more likely to discover these little quirks and works of art that make the city its own.

Tapas Barcelona Food

Tapas!

Let’s be real—one of the reasons you wanted to go to Barcelona in the first places was for the food. As a Generation Y traveler, it’s also one of the places where you will get some of the best deals in Europe. Think about ordering several plates of tapas, or appetizers. Not only will you get a great variety for about 5 euro each, but they are also manageable portions so you won’t leave a whole bunch leftover on your plate that you can’t take with you.

Lost in Translation

One thing you will immediately notice when you arrive is that many of the residents of Barcelona don’t speak “Spanish” per se. Barcelona has always been a harbor of many different languages and cultures, and so they have created their own dialect. Though you can definitely get by on your high school Spanish, reading signs and anything of length might be difficult because it is printed in Catalan. You’ll see influences from French, Italian, and even some Arabic. The good news is that even if you are confused, many Barcelonans speak English, so you should be able to find someone to translate.

There’s a lot more than these tips cover when traveling to Barcelona. Do you have any tips?

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How Should I Wear My Hair on the Road?

by Alex Schnee
( July 22nd, 2014 )

Hair Waterfall Travel

It may seem like a superficial thing, but you would be surprised how often the topic of hairstyles comes up while traveling. Thinking about some of my own future trips coming up soon, I recently had the urge to chop my hair off to a much more manageable shoulder-length style that I absolutely love. Here are some questions I have found online that women have asked when they are on the road and a simple ponytail will not suffice.

What Kind of Traveling Do You Do?

I think this is one of the most important aspects of traveling in general—identifying what your traveling style is and how much work you want to put into appearances can change how you approach each journey you take. A luxury traveler probably would want a much different look than a backpacker. As a Generation Y traveler who might or might not have access to shampoo at the youth hostel, having an easy hairstyle can make the whole process much quicker and simpler.

What Do You Want When You Get Home?

However, if I were going to entirely go the “easy and quick” route, I would probably go for a full-blown pixie cut—and I am very aware how bad this would look on me (senior photos in high school were not my best). Finding that middle ground of knowing what I can pull off and what I will feel comfortable with when I am home helps me feel good about myself both when I am on the road and when I have a night out with my friends back in the States.

Pull it Back or No?

When you are backpacking or doing some other kind of adventure traveling and you feel the need to have hair away from your face, being able to pull it back is essential. I like to go hiking up in the mountains, and it would be very frustrating to have my hair a length that gets in the way. It’s up to you whether you want it long enough that you can tie it up or short enough that you don’t have to worry about it at all.

Final Verdict?

It’s your hair, and knowing the way you like to travel and whether you want to spend a ton of time on it can help you to decide what you think can work for you. If you know you are the kind of girl who will immediately regret taking the scissors to your locks, then you might want to look up some fun ways to keep it out of the way instead. If you don’t care, maybe think about doing something daring. I personally love that I won’t have to think about combing my hair when I’m on the road and whether or not I need to blow dry it.

What do you think? Have a favorite hairstyle when you are traveling?

Image courtesy of rplzzz.

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