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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Instagram: April 12 - April 25

The next time I will be doing one of these posts I will be back in New York... I can't believe it! My last few weeks traveling around Europe and living in Florence have been amazing and I'm looking forward to spending my last week with my best friend! 

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Budget Airlines... Are they worth it?

People often think that booking flights through budget airlines like RyanAir and Easy Jet, are the easiest and best way to save money when traveling. While this is true in some cases, there are often hidden costs that make your itinerary more expensive... Here are three things to consider when booking a flight with a budget airline:

1. Check to see where the airports you are flying out of and into are
The airports that budget airlines generally fly out of are smaller and therefore often further away from the city center. Make sure you do some research to find out how much buses or trains cost, and how far you'll be traveling. In some cases, the added travel time and cost just isn't worth the savings on the flight.

2. Do you need to check a bag? 
If you choose to check a bag, you will most likely be paying extra to do that. Some airlines like RyanAir offer two different sizes of checked bag. If your bag weighs more than the allowance, you will have to pay  huge fee (often 10 euro per kilo). If you want to bring a carry on, check the measurements and weight allowance on the website because you don't want to get to the airport and be forced to check your bag (for an additional cost) if it doesn't fit.

3. Do you want comfort?
If you're looking for comfort, DON'T book a budget airline. The seats don't recline, you have to pay extra for snacks and drinks and there is no in flight entertainment. If you're just looking for a way to get to your destination, no muss no fuss, then book the cheap flight. 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Visit to Krka National Park

I'm off to Croatia again this weekend and I couldn't be more excited! Hopefully the weather is a lot better this weekend. While we were there the last time, I visited Krka National Park

Krka is a National Park in Croatia filled with beautiful waterfalls. During the right conditions you can jump in and swim. If you're not into getting wet, you can always hike the beautiful trails that are around. 

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Secret Garden

Ashely stumbled into this garden that is right near her apartment! Its stunning and quiet and peaceful. Its filled with gorgeous flowers and cute little benches. 

I've been dressing for spring even though the Italians in Florence are still bundled up in their puffer jackets and their scarves tied tightly around their necks. 

I head home exactly two weeks from today! Its so insane. One of the things that I've been doing is sifting through my closet to get rid of some of my worn out shoes and clothing. 

Unfortunately my converse are going to have to head into the trashcan... 

I'm ready to head home and start the next chapter in my life. I will be home in New York for ten days before making my way down to Florida. 

My Mom will be flying up from Florida so that we can take a road trip down there together.

I can't wait!

Sunnies: RayBan. Necklace: JewelMint, Shirt: H&M, Jacket: Nordstrom, 
Bag: Galian (c/o), Shorts: American Eagle, Shoes: Converse

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Links I Love 10

If you've been following along for awhile then you know I'm a diehard Game of Thrones fan -- this is the ultimate GOT road trip through the UK.

Speaking of obsessions, a Harry Potter bucket list? Count me in. 

Bikini season is looming.... time to get healthy!

Friday, April 17, 2015

How To Plan Your Time Studying Abroad...

My plans—I was studying in Paris at the time and I was going to go from Ireland to London, come home for class for two days, go to Amsterdam, come back to Paris for a few days and then travel Italy. Little did I know this would drain my bank account and make me crazy. Sleeping on the floor in Ireland, London and Amsterdam was horrendous (I was kicked out of my hotel in Amsterdam for harboring my friends). I almost missed my flight to Italy. All I could think about was “if only I had planned those two and a half weeks more carefully.” So in order to avoid my mistakes, here is a list of traveling ideas for college students spending time abroad:

Figure it out
The whole point of being abroad is living in a foreign country. So you should actually LIVE there. You can get the touristy stuff out of the way in the first month and then you can really discover the city you are living in. I suggest traveling every other weekend and during your breaks at most.

You should make a list of the places you want to go, rank them by preference or by geography (this saves a lot of time if you have a long break!). Figure out how many of those countries you can actually go to and which cities you want to visit.

You should also keep in mind if there are any seasonal attributes to the city (I wouldn’t go to Switzerland in the summer—I would go in the winter to utilize the Swiss Alps just like I wouldn’t go to the South of France in the winter—some of the nicest beaches in the world are there).

Why travel alone?
Unless you are hoping that you will find a mysterious guy or girl and fall in love on a gondola in Venice, you are probably going to want to vacation with some friends.

Book it ASAP
I really cannot stress this enough. Flights and hostels are a lot cheaper when you book early. The prices go up and availability dwindles so once you decide where you want to go and when, book it! There are even some travel groups that leave from certain cities in Europe. My friends, who were in Florence, saved a lot of money by traveling with Florence for Fun.

Planes and Trains
Keep in mind that depending on where you are, taking a train could be cheaper (it probably will not be faster, but you are a student traveling on a budget). My favorite website for trains is RailEurope.com. It supplies you with timetables and prices and a student discount.

When traveling by plane be aware of the airports in the country. Some people think, “I’m going to travel by Ryan Air because it’s so much cheaper.” Fast forward to the day of travel—the airport that Ryan Air flies to is 3 hours from the city you want to be in and the bus you have to take to get from the airport to your hostel costs 30 euro. Educate yourself on these matters beforehand; it will save you a lot of time and money.

Another question that we encounter when travelling by plane is “how do I get from the airport to my hostel?” The simple answer is public transportation. Most hostels provide you with directions by public transportation when you make a reservation. If you are not into the idea of potentially getting on the wrong train in a foreign country, you can book shuttles from the airport to your hostel that are a lot cheaper than taking a cab.

Hostel or hotel?
Horrifying stories surround the idea of staying in hostels. Newsflash: most of these stories are from 25 years ago. Hostels today are incredible. I stayed in a hostel in Prague called the Mosaic House. It had room service, private bathrooms with a waterfall showerhead, two bars, a restaurant and 24 hour concierge.

Hostels are definitely the cheaper option in most cases. If you are traveling in a large group they are even better because the rates go down depending on how big the room you choose to stay in is.

The only time I recommend staying at a hotel is if you decide that you have one big trip and you want to splurge. Oktoberfest and a hotel went hand in hand, but we booked months in advance and ended up having eight people staying in the room so it was really cheap!

Some hotels have really strict rules about the number of people you have in your room. They will not let you in to someone’s room if you haven’t paid for it and if your name is not on the reservation. They WILL threaten to call the police (Ahem, hotel in Amsterdam).
Find out if you have friends in some of the places you want to stay. In most cases, if they are not in a home stay, you will be able to stay with them. Still, it may not be the most comfortable thing—think sleeping on concrete floors with little to no hot water left when its your turn to shower

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Beginnings

I'm leaving Florence in less than 3 weeks. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what direction I want to take Whiskey Ginger in as its obviously transitioned into travel tremendously over the last year. I was having a conversation with my friend Ashley, from History in High Heels about it on Tuesday and she said something that really stuck with me...she told me not to pigeon hole myself and stick myself into one category. 

To be a true travel blogger, you have to be traveling. And while, I would LOVE to call myself a travel blogger, and I do in some situations, I won't be making any huge trips for the next few months or so because I need to go home and save up for my next adventure. While I have a lot of great travel related posts scheduled in the upcoming months, I'm thinking about incorporating some more lifestyle aspects into the blog.

I will always love fashion, but as I said earlier in the week, I haven't been feeling very inspired on the style front. It probably has something to do with the fact that I haven't really shopped that much since arriving in Italy. I have worn the same clothes, and honestly, after all of the pasta, pizza, gelato and wine, a lot of them don't fit me anymore. Also, the lack of dryer has destroyed a lot of them! So, hopefully when I get home, get healthy and get shopping I will be excited about fashion again.

On that note, I've found myself on a health kick, so I am hoping to incorporate some fitness and some healthy food posts onto Whiskey Ginger once I head back to the states. I'm very interested in creating more lifestyle content for the blog. I think that its important to stay true to myself, and I'm twenty three and my interests are always evolving so I'm going to keep evolving the blog.

It's something that I have been thinking about for awhile so stay tuned :D

I'd love to get some feedback from you! Do you think I should stick with travel and fashion? Or should I just roll with it and see where life takes me?

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