BIG NEWS: Travel Far, Eat Well is Moving!

If you saw my last post highlighting some of my adventures from the past year and what’s coming up next year, then this should be no surprise to you. For the past couple months, I’ve been researching and thinking about moving Travel Far, Eat Well to a self hosted website (travelfareatwell.com instead of travelfareatwell.wordpress.com). Well, I decided to take the leap and I’ve been working diligently this past week to get the new site up and running.

From now on, all new posts will appear on travelfareatwell.com instead of the site you’re currently reading this on. All of my WordPress and email subscribers will be moving to the new site with me. Although there’s one major change: WordPress subscribers (those with a WordPress account) will no longer receive email updates of new posts, the new posts will only appear in the WordPress reader. So, click here and fill in your email address and click ‘submit’ on the right side of the page to receive email updates of new posts.

BIG NEWS: Travel Far, Eat Well is Moving!

Now that I’m self hosting, I’ll be able to customize the new site to fit my vision for Travel Far, Eat Well. I’m excited to continue sharing my adventures and travel tips with you while also being able to personalize and improve Travel Far, Eat Well as it grows and evolves.

Whether you’re a longtime reader or this is your first time on my site, I hope you’ll choose to continue following my adventures. Check out the new look of Travel Far, Eat Well and don’t forget to sign up to receive posts by email – it only takes a few seconds!

I’m sure I’ll be working out some issues with the site move for the next several weeks. So, if you see any issues or have any questions or concerns, please shoot me an email at kate@travelfareatwell.com.

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My First Year – Travel Far, Eat Well

My First Year - Travel Far, Eat Well

Travel Far, Eat Well is officially one year old today! I can’t believe how far this site has come in the past year – 60 posts and over 300 subscribers. I started Travel Far, Eat Well because of my insatiable wanderlust and my desire to share my travel experiences with other aspiring adventurers. Maintaining Travel Far, Eat Well has been tiresome at times, but overall incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. One of the things I love the most is the diverse and supportive blogging community. I’ve gained so many friends across the globe that I otherwise would have never gotten to know and have immensely expanded my travel bucket list. The past year has skyrocketed my wanderlust to unimaginable levels – I’m constantly thinking and planning for my next adventure.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge thank you to all my readers for the support, feedback, likes, and comments over the past year. Let’s take a look back at this past year and what’s in store for the next year.

Most Popular Posts

Craving Chipotle in Madrid? I Have the Answer!

Craving Chipotle in Madrid? I Have the Answer! || Travel Far, Eat Well

This is by far my most viewed post. People must really want Chipolte in Madrid, but I mean, who doesn’t?! In all seriousness, Tierra is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat if you’re craving Chipotle in Madrid.

An Inside Look at Dachau – Germany’s First Nazi Concentration Camp

An Inside Look at Dachau - Germany's First Nazi Concentration Camp

This is my second most popular post and also one of my favorites. Many writers shy away from difficult topics such as the holocaust, but I think it’s so important to continue to tell the stories of the victims and survivors so they will never be forgotten.

First Impressions of the Netherlands

[Photo Essay] Canals of Amsterdam

I love that my post about the Netherlands is one of my most popular because I love the Netherlands! From the endless canals to the colorful Dutch houses to the vibrant tulip fields, what’s not to love?

My Favorite Posts

The Best Views of Bruges from the Top of the Belfry

The Best Views in Bruges from the Top of the Belfry

This will forever be one of my favorite posts because I absolutely fell in love with Bruges during our time there. Seeing a city from a bird’s-eye view is another one of my favorite things so I’m sure it’s no surprise that this is one of my favorite posts!

Best of the Midwest: Natural Falls State Park

Best of the Midwest: Natural Falls State Park

I love exploring the Midwest because it’s my home and Natural Falls is one of my favorite state parks. Combine great hiking with breathtaking waterfalls and you have the perfect afternoon!

[Photo Essay] Austrian Countryside

[Photo Essay] Austrian Countryside

Austria continues to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The amount of natural beauty is indescribable so, of course, a collection of photos is the best way to communicate the beauty.

What’s Coming Up Next Year

As of right now, my travel plans for the next year are pretty vague. I have several trip ideas floating around in my head, but I’m not quite sure which ones will become a possibility. I know I will definitely be making a trip to Colorado to go snowboarding this winter (maybe even two trips). I’m hoping to take a trip to Hawaii during Fall 2016 to watch my brother compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona (fingers crossed!). Other than that, I will be enjoying my time exploring my own backyard – Kansas City. There’s so much to experience in this beautiful city so I’m excited to share more of it with you.

My First Year - Travel Far, Eat Well

Kansas City Skyline

Another exciting milestone that is in the works is moving Travel Far, Eat Well to a self hosted website (travelfareatwell.com instead of travelfareatwell.wordpress.com). I’ve been thinking about making the switch for a while and am finally ready to take the leap. Stay tuned for more updates on this!

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Thank you again to all my readers and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail on the right sidebar to continue following the adventures that await during the next year!

Hostel Review: Smart Place Paris

Looking for an affordable, friendly, and safe hostel for your stay in the City of Love?

Look no further! Check out Smart Place Paris – my friends and I stayed here on a previous trip to Paris and we really enjoyed the friendly staff and great location. They offer free Wi-Fi in the common areas, a fully-equipped kitchen, computers for guest access, and offer great advice on which sites to see and which restaurants to try out. Smart Place also stored our luggage for free after our check-out time so we were able to continue exploring Paris without the added pressure of looking after our bags. The common area has a super chill, friendly atmosphere and is the perfect place to relax after a long day sightseeing. Spend your evening lounging around in comfy chairs and forming friendships with fellow travelers over a plate of spaghetti and past travel stories.

Hostel Review: Smart Place Paris || Travel Far, Eat Well

On top of the relaxed atmosphere, Smart Place Paris is conveniently located minutes from Gare du Nord, a major train and metro hub that can transport you to any point of interest in Paris. The metro system in Paris is pretty easy to navigate and buy tickets, but always be aware of pickpockets and people trying to scam you (this can be said for any city in Europe, not just Paris).

Hostel Review: Smart Place Paris || Travel Far, Eat Well

One thing I really loved about this hostel was the location, even though we were a little outside the typical “tourist” area we were really well connected to the whole city through the Gare du Nord station (which is huge). Another perk of being away from the touristy areas was the restaurants around our hostel weren’t as expensive since they aren’t catering to the tourist crowds. I definitely recommend Smart Place Paris if you are looking for an affordable and safe hostel for your stay in Paris.

Hostel Review: Smart Place Paris || Travel Far, Eat Well

Gare du Nord

Headed to Paris and looking for fun things to do? Check out the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries!

6 Tips for Successful Shopping at a Local Market

6 Tips for Successful Shopping at a Local Market

Markets pop up all around the world and are a popular shopping spot for locals. Now, I’m not just talking about food markets, but also clothing markets, flea markets, art markets, and everything in between. No matter what part of the world you are in, chances are there is a local market in a city near you. Markets are the perfect spot to grab the freshest ingredients for tonight’s meal, handmade clothing, or even decorations for your home. Keep these 6 tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to successful shopping regardless of the type of market you are setting out to explore.

6 Tips for Successful Shopping at a Local Market

1. Observe the Locals

The first thing I do when entering a market is take a lap around to see all the different stalls and products, but also to observe the locals! The locals will give you an idea of proper etiquette since this will vary greatly in different regions around the world (just think, what is acceptable and normal at an American market might be considered rude at an Asian market). Another great reason to observe the locals is to find out which are the most popular stalls. These are often the most crowded and it must be for a good reason.

2. Don’t Touch the Food

It might be acceptable to touch the fresh produce in an American market, but it’s often considered extremely rude in many other parts of the world. Wait for assistance from the vendor, point to what you want, and they will handle the food. You can determine what’s acceptable by referring to #1 – observe the locals – or by simply asking the vendor.

3. Haggle

This is also heavily dependent on the part of the world you are in. In America, there is normally a fixed price for goods, but in many parts of the world, such as Asian countries, it’s expected to haggle. Do a little research on the region you are in to know what is appropriate.

6 Tips for Successful Shopping at a Local Market

4. Bring Cash

It’s a necessity to have cash at a local market. Most of the time, the market consists of a bunch of pop-up stalls, so vendors likely won’t have any way to accept credit/debit cards. Come prepared with cash!

5. Compare Prices

You would hate to buy a carton of strawberries for $2 just to find out the vendor a few stalls down was selling them for $1. It’s important to take a lap around the market to see what’s offered and at what prices. This also helps to be successful and more confident with #3 – haggling.

6. Bring Your Own Bag

Again, this is dependent on the part of the world you’re in, but it’s a good practice regardless. Some vendors will provide bags for merchandise that you buy and others won’t, so you’ll want to have your own bag to carry your goodies just in case.

6 Tips for Successful Shopping at a Local Market

Visiting local markets is the perfect way to experience the culture and lifestyle of the country you are in. Markets are a great, affordable way to find authentic souvenirs to take home with you. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, it’s fun to wander around and see the different products for sale and watch the locals going about their daily lives. Remember these 6 simple tips and you’ll be a successful shopper at any market around the world!

What additional tips do you have for shopping at a local market? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Adventure Countdown: 1 Day

One day…. say what?!

The last 11 days since I wrote an “adventure countdown” post have completely flown by! I turned in my last undergraduate assignments, walked across the stage and received my diploma! I can’t believe I’m finally a college graduate. It feels a little weird to be able to say that. All the graduation craziness and moving out of my apartment has kept me super busy and now I’m only one day away from embarking on our European backpacking trip. What?! Departure day has really snuck up on me and now I find my to-do list slowing increasing as the hours before we leave quickly decreasing. Nonetheless, it will all get done because, well, it has to!

Adventure Countdown: 1 Day

If you’re just now joining me on this adventure I’ll fill you in on some of our trip details. We will be traveling through the Netherlands, Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp), France (Paris, Lyon), Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, Seville, Córdoba), and the lovely London. If you have suggestions on things we can’t miss in any of the cities we’re traveling to, leave a comment below! We (and by we I mean my boyfriend and I) will be traveling with nothing more than a 45 liter backpack strapped to our backs. There’s really no other option than to pack light but that’s kind of the point!

I will be blogging along the way, but I’m not taking a laptop or tablet so everything will be through my phone. I’ve never solely blogged through my phone (writing posts) so it’ll be interesting but I’ll make it work. For tons of photos and more frequent updates during our adventure follow me on Instagram and TwitterTo receive e-mail updates for new posts, you can subscribe to Travel Far, Eat Well on the right sidebar.

Do you have any last minute tips before we embark on our adventure? Any suggestions for must-see places in the countries we’re visiting? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Adventure Countdown: 12 Days

15 cities. 5 countries. 5 weeks.

I can’t believe my boyfriend and I will be leaving for our 5 week backpacking trip through Europe in LESS. THAN. TWO. WEEKS! I can hardly contain my excitement. I get more and more eager each day I cross off my calendar. I know it’ll be a very fast paced 5 weeks but I’m ready for a new adventure. We’ll be traveling through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and ending in London.

Adventure Countdown: 12 Days

These next 12 days until we leave will be extremely hectic. I’ll be finishing my last semester as an undergraduate and walking across that stage to receive my diploma. After graduation, I’ll have just 3 days to pack and get everything together for our big adventure. Being the engineer that I am, I love the planning phase of a trip almost as much as I love the actual trip, but of course the trip is always better. We’ve been anticipating and planning this trip for months and it’s finally just days away. It felt like our departure day would never arrive and I’m so excited for all the adventures, misadventures and funny stories that I’m sure will come out of our trip.

Do you have any tips for the few days before leaving on a trip? Do you have any upcoming trips planned? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

First Steps for Planning a Europe Trip

So you want to go to Europe, now what?

First Steps for Planning a Europe Trip

It’s really easy to wrap your head around the idea of backpacking through Europe but not so easy to wrap your head around all the logistics that have to go into that very lovely European adventure. Logistics, you say? Yes, the who, what when, where, why, and how. This task can seem overwhelming or tedious, but the more prepared you are, the greater your chances of a successful trip. Therefore, it’s crucial to have certain things figured out before leaving on that big adventure.

Travel Far, Eat Well

First things first, get the proper documentation! Passports, drivers licenses, visas (no, not the credit card). You won’t be going anywhere without the proper documentation for the countries you are visiting and this documentation could take several months so start early!

For more information on obtaining a U.S. passport click here.

Budget

Next, establish a budget. It’s important to factor in your budget even before choosing your destinations. Some countries are cheaper than others and your budget may influence which countries you can visit and how long you stay. Two weeks in Paris during the summer sounds amazing until you realize the cost involved in staying that long. Eastern European countries are far cheaper on average than Western European countries and out of the way destinations are often much cheaper than major tourist attractions.

Travel Far, Eat Well

After determining a budget, pick a destination. Is there a particular attraction or city on your must-see travel list? This step depends greatly on your preferred travel style– some prefer to visit as many cities as possible and others prefer to spend several weeks fully immersed in a country or region. If your travel style is to visit as many cities as you can (and you have the budget for it since this style can be expensive) then make a list of all your must-see places and try to determine a feasible route that can incorporate as many of these attractions and cities as desired. On the other hand, if your travel style is slower and you prefer to immerse yourself in the culture of a region then you will want to narrow down a specific country or area to visit that can accommodate your budget.

Looking for additional travel tips? Don’t miss the 5 W’s (+H) which helps streamline the planning process and of course the ever important money management while traveling.

What are the first steps you take to plan a trip? Leave a comment below with any additional tips you have for the planning stages of a trip!