Welcome to Grandma’s Shoppe, a new travel blog sharing experiences from people who have lived. This blog is the brainchild of Sandra Alcock, a 59-year-old-grandma of three from Montecito, California. In between raising a family and carving out a career as a hotel manager in Santa Barbara, Sandra has indulged her passion for travel by visiting some of the most exotic vacation destinations in the world. Here she shares her tips, and those of her friends, on how to make the most out of life through travel.
There is always that dream destination that you have been planning for years. Many people never get to realize their dream, and one of the most common reasons is not having the funds for it. What they do not understand is that by making a few lifestyle changes or taking creative steps to raise the money for it, they can finally set foot in the holiday destination they have always wanted.
Learn To Pamper Yourself
If you study your monthly expenses, there is a big chance that a lot of your money is going to expensive beauty services. Regular hair coloring, waxing or tanning can really add up. But why opt to pay a lot of money to the salon when you can do most of these basic activities yourself? Learn how to apply hair color yourself or just let the sun do the bleaching. While you are it, do your own manicure and save some dollars along the way.
Stop Social Spending
While going out to dinner with family or close friends is not bad, trying to keep up with others may be. There is no need to spend so much money competing with others. A perfect social media picture is definitely not worth it if you will have to spend all your money for the month.
Overlook the Brands
When it comes to some items, buying a well-known brand is an investment. However, when it comes to small things like a box of facial tissue, you can opt for a lesser-known brand to save a few cents. Over time, these cents will grow.
Earn Through Your Car
A good extra job or income is to find someone to share the expenses with you. While you can organize with colleagues to carpool, you can also earn some money on the side as an Uber driver. Even renting it out can give you additional cash.
Reduce Housing Costs
Even as simple as looking at your housing expenses, you can already end up with some savings. For example, disconnecting that cable service you barely use or doing your home improvements yourself. You can also rent out extra rooms in your home through sites like Airbnb.
Many people waste so much money on that yearly subscription to the gym and stop going after one month altogether. You can also do your exercise at home, looking for some free or cheap workout options or even watching through YouTube. In fact, you might find it even easier to work out at home and maybe you will be more enthusiastic about staying fit.
Be Paid To Travel
Some companies actually offer money to ordinary people to travel, especially if they have a good blog and an active social media presence. You can also join contests that offer vacation money as a prize. You might even find a “job” that requires you to travel like leading tour groups.
Determination is what sets apart those who reach their dream destination and those who do not. After all, saving for travel requires some discipline and sacrifice.
Michelin stars are often the indicator on whether a place serves the best food. However, it should be remembered that the best food venues are those most tried and eaten by the locals and tourists, such as those served in the streets.
Food stalls by the streets are probably the ones which can best introduce you to the local cuisine of a certain place. It is an essential travel experience. Aside from experiencing what it is like to eat along the roads, you will also be given the chance to eat delicacies not usually served in fine dining restaurants. Below is a list of the top 5 places in the world that offer the best of the best street food. Along with the location are the famous dishes in their area served of course in the streets.
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Meals in Brazil are undeniably expensive but travelers need not worry about this when they visit the country. There are a lot of food stalls on the streets which can come to the rescue of visitors. Rio de Janeiro’s thoroughfares are the home of much well-known street food. But it is mostly popular for its tapioca crepes, pão de queijo cheese balls, acai smoothies, fried savory pastries and kebabs. These foods along with other dishes featuring seafood are often located on the waterfront as the city is literally surrounded by the sea.
Paris is popular for being the home of fashion and fine dining. What many people often miss about it, however, is the wide range of street food it has been offering tourists and the locals. The most dominant street food here is, of course, the Parisian crêperie mostly partnered with Nutella. These are simple thinned pancakes served with a filling of the consumer’s choice. It may be filled fruit jams, ice cream, or plain chocolate. Other than the crepe, Paris also has its pastries to brag about. Food trucks are also becoming a thing in this city serving other food like American burgers and various sandwiches.
Aside from the famous vending machines, Tokyo is now known for its extensive outdoor eating amenities particularly in the streets. The most common food served here include Okonomiyaki pancakes and bento boxes. Tokyo streets offer anything through vending machines but the best food is served in the Tsukiji market. It is also known as the seafood haven. There you can buy and eat sashimi samples. Not to mention the delicious raw oysters and the yummy, massive nigiri rolls.
Hong Kong does not only have Disneyland to be proud about. It is also home to the best snake soup and egg tarts. The streets in Hong Kong serve a wide variety of dishes from favorites from the West to the classic Cantonese delicacies. The most visited places here for street food are the Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon City and the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street.
When talking about Canada and food, people always think of Vancouver and Toronto. But what they fail to notice is the rise of Ottawa in the food scene. There are more than 40 food trucks in the area which offer plenty of different food whether locally produced or derivatives from other places. The most popular ones serve the classic churros, frozen yogurt, sausages, hotdogs and much more.
While there is nothing wrong in going after popular fine dining restaurants, it also would not hurt to try out something new. Street foods, which are often disregarded, can sometimes give you a better food experience.
Who says traveling is only for the rich and famous? Backpacking these days has never been easy and exciting with the availability of options wherever in the world you may go. From east to west, Europe to Antartica, there are accommodations, restaurants, and adventures that fit your budget. Visit any of the amazing backpacking destinations this year. Here are the top 5 countries considered backpacker-friendly.
Nepal, the country that houses the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, is definitely a timeless backpacking destination for those who love mountain peaks and treks. If you love camping and believe in the idea of exercising while traveling, then this place is for you. Along the trails, there are available cabins and temples with wallet-friendly accommodations, offering guests with guides to beautiful sights and sumptuous meals.
While in Nepal, don’t miss out the city as there are many historical spots there. Among them are the Garden of Dreams, Durga Temple, Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, and many other temples. You would be surprised to know that exploring the country’s capital, Kathmandu, only costs you about $2 to $5 a night. The great thing about Nepal is that it borders on India and Tibet. This makes it perfect for backpackers to cross to another scintillating Asian country.
Do you love the Mediterranean atmosphere but can’t afford to travel to Italy or Greece? If so then Albania is your perfect alternative destination. You will enjoy the coastlines, the cool breeze coming from the Adriatic Sea, and of course, the beautiful Mediterranean architectural designs. The houses and castles reflect the rich history of the country, having been influenced by Romans and Turks (Ottoman Empire). The food is incredibly cheap, and so do the hotels. At around $10 to $16, you can now sleep in a comfortable room.
Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches and has been the classic backers’ destination since Day 1. But its neighboring country – the Philippines – is also equally tropical and fun to explore. It is home to the magnificent Puerto Princesa, Palawan, voted as one of the 7 Wonders of the World in 2012. Plus expect some of the best sunsets here. If you love surfing, then you go to Siargao. From north to south, the country boasts of beautiful falls, stately mountains, and crystal-clear waters – all waiting to be explored. For as low as $5 to $10, you can avail of a dormitory type room or no-frills private room for a night. The food also comes cheap, especially when sold at local shops.
Do you want a Spanish environment for your next trip? Visit Peru in South America, bordered by Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. The place is oozing with historical and archaeological sites that spell adventure for backpackers. The infamous Macchu Pichu and Inca Trail are found in Peru. These ruins still look stunning until today, including the Sacred Valley and Cusco’s Architectural Treasures. Try the hostels in Lima, there are those that offer at $10 a night.
Yes, Europe can be a backpacking destination, too. If you merely want a leisurely walk, sight-seeing baroque architecture, then visit Budapest, Hungary. You name it – Roman, Ottoman, or Renaissance – there are structures that you can feast on. The Fishermen’s Bastion and Castle Hill are among them. So far, Budapest ranks as the cheapest European country by backpackers. You only get to spend as low as $20 a night in a European land. Plus, you can easily travel by train to reach to another country.
There are many other budget-friendly countries that you can visit and explore without compromising the fun and adventure. The top five picks will enable you to fly all the way from Asia to South America to Europe.
Traveling to different places is such a relaxing, peaceful and exhilarating experience, especially if you are a sunset lover. One of the best things about watching sunsets is that you can be in an island and witness how nature puts a nightly display or be in desert and see the rocks turn to red because of the sunset’s illumination.
There is really something special about it that is life changing. Definitely, you must visit these different places to see the dazzling display of such a rare beauty. Here is the list of the most spectacular sunsets in the world to inspire you for a vacation.
Mindil Beach in Australia
Ever been to Australia? Then don’t miss the chance to visit Mindil Beach. If you are a sunset lover and a foodie like most of the travelers, then you will enjoy this place in Darwin, Australia. Local vendors normally come out by the afternoon as the sunset approaches. Apart from that, sky watchers can also appreciate the smell of barbeque from the nearby stalls. There are also craft stalls with goodies to sell. Aside from that, they have live music and beach lights. What a way to combine all these things setting the mood to make Mindil Beach as one of the well known sunset destinations.
Cairo Sunset in Egypt
Inside the large, old city of Cairo is a spot solely for watching the sun set over this bustling city in Egypt. The view makes you realize as if you traveled back in time to witness a glorious site. Each night, vendors and wait staff set the tables and chairs for the locals and foreigners to enjoy the view. Cairo has wonderful things to offer aside from the spectacular sunset. You can also enjoy a sip of their sweet juices and create a memory as you listen to some Arabic music. One of the amazing things being in the place is that it is as if the people really wait for the sunset and there is this vibrant feel in everyone.
Who wouldn’t want to visit and soak in the transparent waters in Maldives? It is such a dream destination for many people because of its exquisite beauty – white sand, coral reefs, foods, etc. Almost everything is a dream in Maldives especially the sunset. The place is quiet and you even see the whales cruising along the waters, making everything such a heavenly moment. The whole setting of Maldives is really for the golden sunset. It is such an elegant site that will change the way you see the world forever.
Missoula Sunset in Montana
This is one of the finest cities to live in America. It is a diverse city and also popularly known as the big sky country because of the amazing sunset you see in this place. Almost anywhere you look and in any direction, the sunset seems to be in three dimensions, painting the sky with colorful hues. It can inspire your soul as you also breathe the mountain air.
So go ahead and realize that there is really something to look forward to in life with the artistic glory of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.