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Casey

DestinationsEurope

7 BEST ESCAPE ROOMS IN BERLIN – 2020

Best Escape Rooms in Berlin Germany

Best Escape Rooms Berlin

Escape rooms and exit games are one of our favorite activities to do and especially if we’re traveling with friends. We have plenty of evenings spent grabbing drinks at a local Irish pub or sightseeing, but there’s nothing quite like a tense situation and puzzle solving for an eventful night!

Thankfully, Berlin has plenty of options for exit rooms with numerous themes of varying quality. Because there are so many options, we listed a few of the best to help you figure out the best escape room for you in Berlin!

What is an escape game?

What is an escape game?

If you want to skip ahead to the list, it’s just below. However, we wanted to give a quick preview of what to expect at an escape room in case you’re new to one or might be a little nervous. The essential idea of an escape room is right in the name, to escape the room.

Don’t fret though, you aren’t trapped in there eternally until you find a way out. All escape rooms are monitored in case you panic and want to exit immediately and most even provide hints if the observers notice you’re struggling. At the end of the day it’s meant to be fun, and it’s no fun being stuck in a room and getting nowhere.

The puzzles are usually multiple steps, so one of the steps may be difficult while the others may be right up your alley! So, don’t stress over not solving something either, Linn and I had to get quite a few hints during our numerous trips to escape games.

Best Escape Games in Berlin

Best Escape Games in Berlin!

On to our list of the best escape rooms in Berlin! The order is random, as sorting from best to worst is pretty subjective and based on personal interest. But I’m certain one on the list will meet what you’re looking for and be sure to check out each location’s other rooms as there are plenty of options!

NOTE ON PRICING:

All prices listed will start with the lowest. But be aware that the cheapest prices are listed for the largest groups (the more people the cheaper). So, the fewer the people, the more per person it will cost.

The Room – Beast of Berlin

Beast of Berlin

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Price: Starting at €25 

Players: 2-6

Time limit: 60 minutes

The year is 1924 and a serial killer, “The Beast of Berlin”, is on the loose! The inspector searching for the killer has the idea that maybe the murderer is someone on his own team. He enlists your help to search the suspects office for proof of his heinous crimes!

This is a great puzzle room with an entrancing story! The exit room doesn’t have any scare actors or full darkness, so if you’re a bit timid then there’s no need to worry. The Room does recommend not bringing in children under the age of 14 as it is still “creepy and bloody”

Escape Berlin – Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes Berlin Escape Room

Price: Starting at €19

Players: 2-8

Time limit: 60 minutes

Any fans of Sherlock Holmes out there? If you’re like me and have read all the books and visited 221b in London, then you’ll probably want to do this exit room! The mission here is that Sherlock Holmes nemesis Professor Moriarty, has returned and now Sherlock has gone missing! By permission of Scotland Yard, you’ve been given access to the freelance detective’s home and need to ascertain his fate.

The room is set in a Victorian era atmosphere and gives a true feeling of being inside the home of the famed Sherlock Holmes. The puzzles themselves follow with the theme of the room and are treat to try and solve.

Outopia – Vault 13

Price: Starting at €18 

Players: 2-5

Time limit: 60 minutes

Any Fallout fans in the audience? Vault 13 takes place in a fallout shelter after surviving a nuclear war by hiding underground. I don’t want to ruin to much of the story behind it, but the main goal is to escape the bunker after spending generations underground. There is an interesting twist that makes the puzzle pretty fun to solve that I’ll save for you to find out!

The Room – Lost Treasure

Lost Treasure Berlin

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Price: Starting at €25

Players: 2-5

Time limit: 75 minutes

Fan of Indiana Jones? Ever dream of being an archaeologist and making a grand discovery? Then this puzzle was made for you! Find your way through a passage to possible treasures and underground secrets. Not recommended for people who are afraid of dark places or anyone with knee or back pains (per the company running the room). It’s also not advised to wear shorts or skirts.

Mission Accepted – Space Escape

Space Escape Berlin

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Price: Starting at €21

Players: 2-6

Time limit: 60 minutes

As a lover of sci-fi and space adventures, this is a perfect puzzle to enjoy both! The plot of the puzzle is similar to Armageddon, an asteroid is racing towards Earth and it’s your job to blow it up. The puzzle consists of finding what the buttons and knobs do to operate the spaceship.

Illuminati Escape – Alien Grill

Alien Grill Illuminati Escape

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Price: low as €21.5 

Players: 2-6

Time limit:  60 minutes

Another puzzle for the sci-fi fan in you, Alien Grill is unsurprisingly about Area 51. Taking place in a small diner located in the Nevada desert, it’s your job to explain some of the strange occurrences happening in the area.

Labyrintoom – Leonardo Da Vincis Cabinet

Leondardo Da Vincis Cabin

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Price: Starting at €19

Players: 2-6

Time limit: 60 minutes

Who hasn’t heard of Leonardo Da Vinci? Well in this inspired escape game, he’s left behind clues to solve with a handsome reward at the end. The room is designed with his interests and experience in mind, setting you into the mind of the artist/inventor.

Overall

There is a plethora of history to see and fun things to do in Berlin. As much as I hope you try one of the escape rooms, please check out the rest of the city and what it has to offer! If there are any escape rooms you have reviews of, or better ones, please comment below! Also be sure to check out some outdoor things to do in Germany like going to the top of their largest mountain, Zugspitze!

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Exit Games Berlin

Best Escape Rooms in Berlin

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DestinationsUnited States

5 BEST Museums in Washington DC

Best Museums in Washington DC

There’s a long list of things to do in Washington DC. Honestly, there’s quite a list of museums to see in DC as well. But I wanted to narrow it down to my top 5 museums to make the decision for you easier. So, let’s get to it, the 5 best museums in Washington DC!

National Air and Space Museum

national air and space museum

Cost: FREE

Website: National Air and Space Museum

This is the first on the list for a very good reason. Any lover of space, aeronautics, or science in general will absolutely fall in love with this place. What makes the museum even better is that admission is free, just be sure to get there in the morning before a line builds up!

They offer numerous exhibitions and I would plan to be here for a few hours as it’s not a small place. The museum is also very interactive and has plenty of attractions for kids, making it the perfect museum for a family!

While there was so much to see and do, and I loved all of it, I must recommend going on their flight simulators! It’s a great activity for two and will be sure get some smiles out of the kids.

International Spy Museum

spy museum

Cost: $24.95 per Adult

Website: Spy Museum

The Spy Museum was an accidental visit for me, we just happen to be near it while we were searching for things to do. Thankfully we decided to go because the museum was a learning experience I’m glad I didn’t miss out on.

The Spy Museum takes you through a lot of the history of spies, showing the techniques and technology used throughout time. It also has exhibits that let you hear stories from former spies and let’s you test your spy knowledge through interactive exhibits.

This place is not like most museums and while it costs, I think it’s cheap for the value you get from going.

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

Cost: FREE

Website: National Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History is another great experience and has numerous exhibits about the natural world around us. Some of the exhibits include animal and sea life throughout history and their evolution, others (and one of my favorites) covers Egyptian history through artifacts.

Regardless of your interests, I have a feeling that this place will leave you in awe as it covers a variety of topics about the natural world.

National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History

Cost: FREE

Website: National Museum of American History

If you’re in Washington DC, then you’re in the nation’s capital where so much of the country’s history originates, why not learn about that history?

The history showcased in this museum isn’t just a lecture hall of items dedicated to one subject of history, it covers numerous areas. There are exhibits on art, military, and even domestic furnishings. That’s right, there’s an exhibit on furniture throughout American history. Don’t discount this place as a simple historical museum, there is so much to learn here and so much to experience.

American Art Museum

art history museum dc

Cost: FREE

Website: American Art Museum 

The American Art Museum is separated into two locations in Washinton DC, the SAAM and the Renwick Gallery. I recommend looking through the museums collections to decide which one you want to visit or plan to be able to visit both.

There are tons of exhibits to see at both locations and they will really be based on your personal preference of art. Having personal preferences, myself, I still like to check out all the options as there’s still a story behind every exhibit at both locations.

Overall

Those are the 5 best museums in Washington DC! While all of them are great, I listed them in the order that I would see them and hope that the list helps in deciding some things to do while you’re in DC. If not there are plenty of resources out there, even ones specifically for one day itineraries.

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5 Best museums in washington dc

DestinationsEurope

[GUIDE] Visiting St. Marks Square Venice Italy

st marks basilica venice

St Marks Square is the center of Venice and a must visit site during your trip. This post is going to be relatively short and just go over a few things related to St Marks Square, what’s there, and things to look out for.

  1. Getting there
  2. History
  3. What to see
    1. St Marks Basilica
    2. Doge Palace
    3. St Marks Campanile
    4. Procuratie Vecchie
    5. Museo Correr
    6. Venice National Archaeological Museum
    7. Bridge of Sighs
  4. What to look out for

Getting to Saint Marks Square

Getting to St Marks Square is fairly simple and will depend on preference. Looking from the overhead view, it’s clear that St. Marks Square is right by the Grand Canal. So if you aren’t looking to trek through Venice and want to get there quickly, a ferry or boat can be taken to get there faster.

St Marks Square Venice Italy

If you’re like us and enjoy adventuring through the city to get there, you can also just map out a route from your hotel, Airbnb, or wherever you decide to stay in Venice.

It’s also not a large un-walkable city, we made it to most of our destinations with plenty of time to spare, and that’s with getting sidetracked constantly.

St Marks Square History

Known as the Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s Square has been around since the 9th century when it was a bit smaller.

Eventually it was expanded and became used commonly for merchants to sell goods and a city center. It is has always been surrounded by important government and other central buildings due to it being a central meeting place for the city. A lot of the history of the square is within those buildings surrounding it, so let’s get into what there is to see while you’re there!

Sites in St Marks Square

I loved every moment of being in the square and we were also there during some light flooding of the square. Nothing dangerous, just enough to look REALLY COOL at shin height and wade through.

St Marks Basilica

st marks basilica venice

A great must see and if you don’t have time to explore all sites around the square, at least go here (and Doge’s Palace).

It’s a Roman Catholic Church with amazing architecture and historical significance. Also, entrance is free but a skip the line ticket can be bought to avoid long waiting lines to get in.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re visiting the Basilica, wear non-revealing attire since it’s a catholic church and if you’re a women and your shoulders are showing, they won’t let you in. There’s also way too much history and significance to cover in a short paragraph so I encourage you to read more about it here!

Doge Palace

doge palace venice

Once a palace for the Doge’s who controlled the city of Venice, it now acts as a museum that offers exhibitions about Venice’s history and even offers special tours!

It’s not free though, you do need to purchase a ticket to enter but it’s more than worth the cost. And while visiting the Doge Palace isn’t an all-day event, do plan to spend some time in there as it’s not the quickest walk-through.

St Marks Campanile

st marks campanile

Once a lighthouse for ships entering the city, St Marks Campanile is now a viewing tower roughly 100 meters high overlooking the city of Venice. The Campanile also has a rich history despite being what would appear to be a lonely tower in the square.

It was used throughout history for several purposes and was even used by Galileo as an observatory to study the skies. Today you can ascend the tower for only 8 euros per person, which in my opinion is well worth it!

Procuratie Vecchie

This is less of an attraction to enter like the Campanile, and more of a simple sight to behold while in the square. Linn and I spent some time getting multiple pictures of the Procuratie as it’s one of Venice’s most historically significant building (well collection of buildings).

It may not have significant events attached to it, but the Procuratie Vecchie housed many of Venice’s historically notable personnel and provided offices for them. These were the buildings where decisions were made and the everyday lives of Venice’s decision makers were carried out.

Museo Correr

museo correr

On the upper floors of the Procuratie, this museum houses some of Venice’s most breathtaking art and history.

While there is a bit to take in and enjoy, visiting the Museo Correr  is not an all day endeavor, making it a perfect addition for doing a quick tour through the square.

Venice National Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum is a great place if you’re a fan of history, but the museum itself is rather historic. Founded in 1523, the museum housed numerous sculptures and has since been expanded to numerous exhibits. It’s also conveniently located next to the Museo Correr, so if you wanted to make a it a back to back visit, then no problem!

Bridge of Sighs

bridge of sighs

What appears to be a simple bridge is world renowned and recognized by many and noted due to its history.

The bridge had a practical use in the 1600’s as it connected the buildings where prisoners would sleep and the building where they were given exams. Hence the name of the bridge, as prisoners would ‘sigh’ as they crossed it and caught glimpses of Venice. Truly a powerful experience to walk and explore the surrounding palace.

What to look out for in Venice

On top of the numerous sites to see and wonderful food to indulge in, there are some things to be on the lookout for while you’re walking through Venice.

To begin with, most cities with a heavy tourist focus mean plenty of foot traffic. A lot of people try to monetize on this by selling goods on the streets at discount prices or by performing. Try your best to not get pulled into anything and just walk past anyone that may seem a bit pushy. Simply be kind and decline any offers that don’t interest you.

Overall the city of Venice is very safe, and I highly encourage having a physical map of Venice to avoid possibly getting lost or turned around, as your phone service may be spotty. Aside from that, just enjoy the sites and let us know how your trip went!

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Visiting St. Marks Square

DestinationsUnited States

BEST Restaurants in Newport RI

Best Restaurants in Newport RI

The Northeast has more to offer than the stereotypical “Clam Chowduh”! So, if you’re looking for seafood places in Newport, you’ll find them here, but there are also plenty of options for steakhouses and vegan! Strap in and check out these best places to eat in Newport RI!

This list will separate the restaurants into four different categories to better fit what you might be looking for if you’re struggling with where to eat in Newport RI.

  1. Steakhouses
  2. Seafood
  3. Cafes
  4. Vegan/Vegetarian

Feel free to click one of the above options to skip to your preferred section!

Newport Steakhouses

So, you’re looking for steakhouses in Newport RI? Rhode Island in general has a load of options for good quality steak, and Newport is no exception! What’s first?

Bowens Wine Bar and Grill 

Newport Bowens

A top-notch Newport Grill, Bowens is a perfect place to fill your stomach with some of the best steak and wine! If you’re strictly looking for a thick juicy steak, then the Prime New York Sirloin is the way to go and having a side of Summer Succotash will accent it perfect! Add in one of their multiple choices for Ales or Lagers and you have a meal made in heaven!

The Grill at Forty 1 North 

Grill at 41 North Newport

A dockside delight and offering a slightly higher end meal, the Forty 1 North is another great option for top tier steak! Even better, enjoy your steak in open air seating that offers beautiful views of the harbor. So, take in dinner and a view here, but make sure to reserve a table in advance as it may be busy.

Jo’s America Bistro 

Jo's American Bistro

Jo’s has a very casual feel and welcoming atmosphere. They offer steak and seafood if that’s your preference, but I suggest trying their signature “Jo’s Burger”. A simple all-natural beef burger with just lettuce and tomato, and fries on the side. Obviously, you can customize it but the way it’s cooked is why you go to Jo’s.

Seafood Places in Newport

I think it goes without saying that seafood is probably the freshest in a place like Newport. Being directly by the sea, a lot of restaurants offer the freshest seafood you’ll probably ever have. That being said, if you’re a seafood junkie, this will be a great place for you!

Flo’s Clam Shack 

Flo's Clam Shack Newport

If the name didn’t give it away, this is a supreme seafood restaurant in the heart of Newport. It’s not a huge place so don’t expect a fine dining establishment. But don’t let the size affect your judgement, Flo’s Clam Shack is a perfect place for any seafood lover and has plenty of options!

The Black Pearl  

No this isn’t Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a tasty treat nestled away the Newport coast. This Newport restaurant has a full menu for sandwiches, grilled goods, and seafood. That variety makes this a go to place for a family dinner in Newport, as it can fit everyone’s diet and has phenomenal seafood for you!

The Red Parrot 

The Red Parrot Newport

Some of the freshest mussels and clams offered in Newport are going to come from here, the Red Parrot! Seafood lovers delight at the numerous options for lobster, oysters, shrimp, and essentially every other coastal dish. Also, while this restaurant isn’t incredibly expensive, it’s also not some fast food place. Because of their high quality be prepared to pay a little extra (and it’s worth it)!

Cafes in Newport RI

Maybe you’re not looking for a fancy place to eat and just want a calming place to relax. Newport offers many places to sit and enjoy some coffee or tea!

Belle’s Café 

Belle's Cafe Newport RI

A comfy dockside café in the near the Newport shipyard, Belle’s café offers a relaxing time inside or outside on their balcony. On top of their accommodations, Belle’s has a great selection of food and a perfect place to grab breakfast!

Salvation Café 

Salvation Cafe

The Salvation Café is the embodiment of what most people think of when they hear the word café. The aesthetics is where the familiarity ends though, as the food offered here is not the usual café treat. Having options for seafood and other coastal snacks, this café has some of the best tasting (and looking) food you’ll find.

The Corner Café 

This café has a more traditional feel and a decent sized menu for breakfast. I recommend grabbing your morning meal here and getting a nice coffee to start your day on the right foot.

Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Newport RI

Don’t fret if you’re looking for vegan or vegetarian options in Newport, as there are plenty of places! Some may be vegan or vegetarian, but I’ve noticed a few are both.

Diego’s 

Diego's Newport

Make sure that the Diego’s you look for is the restaurant on the shore of Newport Harbor, and not Diego’s Bodega further east. Diego’s has plenty of options for vegan and even some for Gluten Free. Offering vegan tacos, quesadillas, and others will fit just about any palate.

Root

This restaurant has a specialty in vegan food and juices! There isn’t an endless amount of options but the ones available and sublime. Plus, even if you aren’t hungry, Root offers plenty of juice mixes that make a perfect refreshment.

The Mooring

The Mooring Newport

If you’re vegetarian and out dining with friends or family, The Mooring is perfect as it has a menu for you and them. The restaurant even has an amazing view of the harbor and a mesmerizing interior atmosphere. Offering tofu, salads, and even a black bean burger, you’ll certainly leave this restaurant happy.

If you have any other ideas for some of the best restaurants in Newport RI, then please leave a comment on your recommendation!

Travel Tips

BEST Men’s Travel Pants [MULTI-PURPOSE] – 2020

Best Men's Travel Pants

You’ll see tons of reviews for the best men’s travel pants, saying things like they’ve tested multiple pants and have the best OVERALL! But seriously, how can you make a definite decision for all men? The best pants for travel depend on personal preference and what you’re doing.

So, it seems a bit ambitious and ridiculous to say that you’ve found the best of the best. I just wanted to point that out before I started this quick review, because the ones I list will be very general and categorized by what you plan on doing and might not be exactly what you’re looking for!

Regardless, they were the best for me and may be a good place to start looking for you.

The categories I’ll mention are:

  1. Pants For Relaxing travel
  2. Pants For Adventure
  3. Pants For Flying (Long Transportation)

Men’s Pants For Relaxing Travel

Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP Pants

Mountain Wear Pants

When I say relaxing travel, I mean you’re walking around a city sightseeing, maybe plan on taking a few pictures, and the most intense commute may be a short train ride. In this case you’ll want pants that are thin enough to stay cool, but flexible enough to accommodate wearing an under layer if it’s cold.

The first option is from Mountain Hardwear. Yes, the name suggests an outdoor brand, that’s part of what makes these a great option for relaxing travel pants. They are prepared to handle a lot of walking but still look nice and have a comfy fit.

Nonwe Men’s Outdoor Quick Dry Pants

Nonwe Travel Pants

Another option if you’re like me, is having one with a zip-able cargo pocket. Traveling means being in new places around new people. I like to make sure that my valuables (wallet, ID, etc.) are safe and I don’t have to focus on not losing them. A cargo pocket is a great way to help keep my stuff safe and know where it is when I need it.

The Nonwe pants shown below are a great choice for having a cargo pocket (just one) and still having sleek looking pants that are relaxing!

Best Adventure Travel Pants

This is where I recommend going with pants that have cargo pockets, as you’ll want to carry quick grab items. Trust me, it’s so refreshing to not have everything you’re carrying bulge in one pocket, and having multiple pockets means separating multiple must have items on hikes or other outdoor excursions.

Nonwe Men’s Outdoor Water-Resistant Cargo Pants

Nonwe Hiking Pants

Back to Nonwe! These are a similar pair but with two cargo pockets as it’s best to have more places to keep items. Also, since they’re mostly nylon and a little spandex, they are very flexible and easy to move in for long periods of time.

Best Travel Pants For Flying

It’s rare to be on a flight and think “I wish I could experience this longer”. Which means you probably want to be as comfortable as possible and having comfy pants is one way to make any flight better.

Outdoor Research Men’s Short Ferrosi Pants

Men's Outdoor Travel Pants

I want to point out that I recommend not carrying a lot in your pockets for flights as it makes going through security easier. Just keeping everything in a carry-on/backpack and your travel docs in your pocket is what I recommend. The following pair are picked not because they’re made for flying, but they just happen to be perfect for it.

They are loose fitting, comfy, and still have room for travel docs. Obviously, there is no “one size fits all” for comfortable traveling pants. The past examples are just suggestions that work for me and I’ve heard good feedback on. If there are some you think should be added, please comment below! 

DestinationsUnited States

One Day in Washington DC – TRAVEL GUIDE

US Capitol Building

One Day in Washington DC

How to Spend One Day in Washington D.C.

Washington DC, the capital of the United States, has far too much history to express in a single article. Honestly, a series of books would be needed to learn all the history associated with this iconic city. Thankfully this post isn’t going to be a series of books though, as we’re just trying to generate a one day itinerary for Washington DC. While that in itself is an endeavor, I’ve picked some of my (and others) favorites that can be fit into a one-day trip without too much rushing around.

Where to start in Washington DC

Before I go into the places to visit, I recommend renting a bicycle or getting accustomed to taking local transport unless you want to walk a lot (my preference) or plan on driving short distances multiple times. Also, for a general map of the area, see below!

Map of Washington DC

Map Legend:

Red – US Capitol Building

Green – National Air and Space Museum

Yellow – Washington Monument

Purple – The White House

Blue – Lincoln Memorial

United States Capitol Building

US Capitol Building

The place where so many great decisions are made is where we start our journey. Visitors can enter the capitol building through the visitor’s center to experience the inner workings of the United States. But if you don’t want to tour the inside you don’t have to, the buildings architecture alone is magnificent to see, and you can continue onto the next site!

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

A little over half a mile from the U.S. Capitol, the National Air and Space Museum is the next stop. There are plenty of sites to see along the national mall and some may be more your preference, but I can’t recommend this museum enough. There are so many interactive exhibits and fun things to do, including a flight simulator that the kids will enjoy if you’re traveling as a family!

As an added bonus, admission to the museum is free and will easily take up your morning with all there is to see.

Lunch Time!

By the time you finish up at the National Air and Space Museum, it’ll undoubtedly be time for some food. Just south of the museum (away from the national mall) are numerous eateries for local cuisine, or you can go with the easy and quick McDonalds trip.

Getting to the Washington Monument!

Washington Monument DC

In the center of the national mall, the Washington Monument stands tall and proud. If you’re having trouble navigating the center of the capital, then just look up and this well known landmark will help you get your bearing. As a memorial for George Washington, it’s a piece of Washington DC that every tourist ends up at. If you have the urge, you can also tour the inside of the monument! While I didn’t include it in this guide, the White House is directly north of the Washington Monument, so if it was a place you wanted to see then it’s only a short detour.

It won’t take long to thoroughly see the monument before heading to the next site!

Heading to the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial Washington DC

We’re nearing the end of our day trip and sightseeing. The Lincoln Memorial is unsurprisingly there to memorialize one of the nations presidents, known for numerous things such as his role in stopping slavery in America. A short tour of the grounds and if you’re like me, you’ll want to head home. It’s been a long day and it’s time to eat and relax.

Dinner in Washington DC

A short ride north to K Street will show the many restaurants available in Washington DC to eat at. The street and it’s connecting avenues will have just about any cuisine you could crave to end a successful day of sightseeing. Hopefully this helped you decide on to spend your one day in Washington DC. If there are any suggestions, please comment below!

Looking For More?

Check out some of our other articles on outdoor things to do in the United States!

How to Spend One Day in Washington DC

DestinationsSouth America

Travel Guide to Machu Picchu Peru

Top of Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu Peru

Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu! One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu easily lives up to the hype that it generates. Even after 600 years of it resting in the Andes, it’s still such an awe-inspiring site that it’s become one of my most recommended places to visit. Honestly, much of our trip to Peru was centered around getting to, and touring Machu Picchu.

So, what exactly does Machu Picchu entail and what makes it so great?

The site itself has been around for roughly six centuries and survived the Spanish conquest, mostly due to its well-hidden location. The small town, believed to be a place for Incan rulers to rest and get closer to their gods, is still very well preserved and maintained.

It consists of numerous stone houses, places of worship, and a very sophisticated water dispersion system. If it wasn’t obvious enough that the Incan’s were skilled engineers and builders, Machu Picchu stands as a monument to show just how innovative and genius of a people they were.

But enough of the history lesson, lets get into how to get there!

Hiking Machu Picchu

How to get to Machu Picchu

I’ll go into more specific detail below, but the overview of our trip was to:

  1. Fly int Lima, Peru
  2. Connecting flight to Cuzco, Peru
  3. Train to Agua Calientes (town at the base of Machu Picchu)

So, as far as the details go, the best way to get to Machu Picchu is by flying into Peru’s capital city, Lima, and then taking a connecting flight to Cuzco (Cusco).

The airport is small at Cusco so navigating it won’t be difficult, but I strongly encourage you to have some transportation setup in advance, or at least have an address of where to go next. If you don’t have a car coming to get you, no worries, there are usually plenty of taxi’s out-front offering rides.

We stayed in Cusco for a few nights just to experience the city, but it can be scheduled to land and immediately ride to one of the train stations to disembark for Aguas Calientes.

Top of Machu Picchu

Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu

There are 3 main ways to get from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.

  1. Hike the Inca Trail
  2. Car/Bus
  3. Train

Hiking to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail

Many people take up the option to hike the Inca Trail to Aguas Calientes from Cuzco. The Inca Trail consists of a few separate trails that have different scenery and altitudes, but all end up at Machu Picchu. There’s the Classic Trail, Mollepata Trail, and the One Day Trail, that make up what is know as the Inca Trail.

I have yet to hear negative reviews about taking the trail and everyone seems to report that it’s a phenomenal trip (I’ll still be taking the train). If the hike is something you’re interested in, be sure to book out far in advance, as there is a limit on how many tourists are allowed on the trail each day.

Taking a Car/Bus

This is obviously an option, but I don’t recommend it. Renting a car will cost more than a train ride, the bus will be inconvenient and eat up a good part of your day, and a taxi will be way to expensive. If this is the only option, then take it, but be aware there are better options.

Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Taking a train was the option we chose, and it was nice and relaxing. One warning though, we had an issue purchasing online where the payment was submitted twice, and it double charged us (we used Inca Rail). We did get a refund on the second charge, but just make sure if you purchase online, don’t hit submit again if it’s loading slow!

As far as options for trains, the two main competitors are Inca Rail and Peru Rail. Depending on what you want out of the train ride, each company offers a few different selections. Some packages are simple train rides while others seem to be luxury rides.

We went with the simplest and if you’re looking to budget, the most affordable options we found were with Inca Rail. Regardless of the company you choose, they all end up at Aguas Calientes and I encourage booking at least 1 to 2 nights in Aguas Calientes as it makes the traveling easier and walking around the town at night was relaxing.

Getting to Machu Picchu From Augas Calientes

Getting to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes

We stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes so we were able to get a good nights rest prior to ascending the mountain. Be prepared to see a lot of people while you’re up there too, Machu Picchu is a very popular destination. Our tickets into the ruins were for 0800, and it was fairly crowded that early.

So, the best time we figured to go was earlier if you’re able, or even around noon.

The options to get to the peak include almost constant bus departures or hiking up. If you take a bus it will only be around a 20-minute ride before you reach the entrance. We decided to hike as we wanted to stretch our legs and enjoy the mountain. We didn’t regret it either, as it only took about an hour and it was a great workout!

Also, if you’re like me and want to hike but might be concerned with the safety, don’t be. The hike was very safe and there wasn’t a single part of the ascent that looked sketchy or off putting. I do recommend taking a hiking bag for a few snacks as food at the top can be pricy.

Aguas Calientes

Where to stay in Machu Picchu

The closest lodge to Machu Picchu is the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, all other options are down the hill in Aguas Calientes. This was actually preferred for us as there were plenty of places to eat in Aguas Calientes and some nice nightlife.

We ended up staying in the Hotel Ferre since it was very affordable and comfortable. We like to find a middle ground between budget and still having hot water.

There are multiple other options in the town though, but I suggest going with a hotel as it’s not that expensive. If you are really looking for a budget option though, Airbnb does have some cheap offers. 

Where to eat in Machu Picchu

On the mountain itself, there are two main restaurants. I don’t need to show a map to them as you won’t miss them, they make up 2 of the 4 buildings at the entrance. That being said, TAKE SNACKS from Aguas Calientes for your trip up, as the food at the top will cost more (no surprise there).

You can eat while you’re up there, but I suggest having a decent breakfast and carrying small snacks for your time at Mach Picchu. Once you get back to Aguas Calientes, then you can hit the local restaurants and have a few pisco sours!

Machu Picchu Map

map of machu picchu

Don’t forget your map of Machu Picchu! You’ll be surprised how big the ruins are and how much walking there is to do, a map will come in handy!

Sites to See in Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu has a lot to offer once you get up there, as you probably guessed from the map. While I recommend walking through the entire site, including the terraces, below are some great options that pack some history.

The Watchmans Hut

You’ll see the Watchmans Hut not long after entering the ruins. It’s also a perfect place to get a view over Machu Picchu.

Funerary Stone

funerary stone machu picchu

Next to the Watchman’s Hut is the funerary stone. There are still multiple theories onto what the rock was used for, but some believe it was meant for sacrificial purposes.

Temple of the Sun

temple of the sun

The Temple of the Sun represents some of Machu Picchu’s best craftsmanship. The temple was most likely a place used for astronomical observations and gives a great view of the surrounding Andes.

Temple of Three Windows

Three Windows Machu Picchu

Located in the Royal Sector, the temple of three windows perfectly frame the 3 facing mountains. You’ll also notice that the stones are much larger than many of the surrounding building materials, another testament to the Incan’s ingenuity.

Sun Gate

Located off site of Machu Picchu, the sun gate offers an amazing view slightly above Machu Picchu and the surrounding Andes. It’s a somewhat steep climb up so it may be tiring, but the views are well worth it.

Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu or “Young Peak” is the mountain that sits directly behind Machu Picchu. This is a more difficult trek to get through due to the altitude, but the views give a perfect site of Machu Picchu from above.

Central Plaza

Central Plaza Machu Picchu

Undoubtedly, you’ll find yourself here as you walk around Machu Picchu. The central plaza is the main open area in the center of the ruins and is usually populated with a few alpacas grazing on the grass.

FAQ’s and Tips about Machu Picchu

  1. Best times to visit Machu Picchu – The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between June and August, which is also it’s peak travel season. Between June and August, Peru reaches its coolest and driest months, making it easier to climb and experience Machu Picchu.
  2. Adjusting to the altitude – Altitude sickness is common among Peru tourists. Many of the local shops offer coca-based medicine to help with the headaches and fatigue. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water as your body will be using more adjusting to the altitude.
  3. Currency – The Peruvian Sol is the currency used and it’s best to carry cash on you as not everywhere will take card.
  4. Language – The language used throughout Peru is Spanish and it’s very similar to what’s taught in most schools as formal Spanish.
DestinationsMiddle East

9 Things to do in Tel Aviv Israel

Tel Aviv Israel Sightseeing

Travel Guide To Tel Aviv, Israel

There is a plethora of things to do in Tel Aviv, from relaxing by the Mediterranean, seeing some of the rich history the city has to offer, and experiencing some amazing night life! Tel Aviv overall is a great place to start any adventure in Israel as it has a little taste of everything for anyone’s interests. Personally, I wasn’t too much for the nightlife but did enjoy an awesome escape room! Most of my time there was more focused on sightseeing and getting to see some of the historical sites in the city. Considering Israel has been a center point for many of the world’s greatest historical moments, it seemed silly to not see and touch a piece of that antiquity.

TIP: If this is your first time in Tel Aviv, try to brush up on your customs for the area and especially if you’re visiting religious sites.

We’ll get to that in a bit though, first let’s get started with some nice places to relax and take it easy in Tel Aviv.

Relaxing in Tel Aviv

Relaxing in Tel Aviv

Beaches in Tel Aviv

There are quite a few beaches to visit in Tel Aviv, but all are obviously connected as there is only one side of Tel Aviv that connects to the coast. So, the Tel Aviv beach will have multiple “sections” as you go down the beach and they will have separate names. The area we went to was between Bograshov Beach and Jerusalem Beach. Going early mornings and during the weekdays was the best times for low traffic and true relaxing! Like most beaches around the world, they also have numerous volleyball nets setup along the beach and other activities if you’re into “actively” relaxing. If you want more in depth information on the beaches of Tel Aviv, I recommend reading through this to get the best feel for what is there and when to go.

Tel Aviv Beach Map

Tel Aviv Spa!

If you’re really looking for some nice relaxation, then a spa can get rid of a lot of tension. The Shizen Hotel is one of the best in Tel Aviv with plenty to offer. They have packages for the ladies, couples, and even ones specifically for men! If you’re looking for something in particular, the variety offered goes further than that, including deep tissue, aromatherapy, and even pregnant massages.

Netanya, Israel

Netanya is just North of Tel Aviv and is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Israel. The city is decorated in rich green scenery and fountains, while having very relaxing beaches. In a sense, it’s similar to spending a day at a Tel Aviv beach, but there is much more to see inland, and the entire area is much more picturesque.

Tel Aviv Sightseeing & Tourism

Tel Aviv Israel Sightseeing

Museum of Art, Israel

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a huge museum fan and love to learn about other cultures! The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is a perfect place to do just that, with numerous collections and exhibitions happening all the time. While there is plenty to see on the topic of Israeli Art, there are also collections from the Old Masters and in all different forms of media.

Lod, Israel

Slightly south of Tel Aviv is the small city of Lod. A large attraction of the city is the Church of St George due to its history and role it’s played. Most of the attractions in Lod will be of some religious significance (big surprise as you’re in Israel), but even if you’re not religious, the sites are still powerful, and you can feel the history.

Old Jaffa!

Jaffa is a place that can’t be missed for tourists. Having the oldest seaport in the world and a former stop for people making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Jaffa has many interesting stories to tell. More specifically, we’re looking at the Old City, where the cobblestone streets lead to many archaeological sites and underground churches. Just being in the city feels like you’ve been teleported back in time.

Tel Aviv Nightlife & Fun

Tel Aviv Nightlife

Tel Aviv isn’t just a place to learn about history or spend time relaxing on a beach, it also has a vibrant nightlife and plenty of fun things to do. Also, if you’re looking to find a decent club or bar, expect them to be fairly dead until midnight, as most Israeli’s start the party later and continue until morning.

Rothschild 12

If you’re looking for a chill but still active night scene, the Rothschild 12 is a great place to start your evening. During the day it’s a peaceful café until nighttime when it turns into a bar to start your crawl. Enjoy a drink on their terrace or catch a live band playing around back!

The Block

Looking for a dancing scene and somewhere with more action? The Block is an exciting dance club with something always happening. From my experience, most of the music I’ve come across being played there is house, dance, EDM, and music along those genres. So, if you’re into bumpin’ music and great vibes, definitely try it out!

Questomania

I always recommend escape rooms as they are one of my favorite things to do in a new city with friends (plus I love puzzles). Questomania is a short walk from Rothschild Boulevard if you decided to grab a drink from the area first. They offer 5 separate rooms and are English friendly!

What Else?

There’s so much to do in Tel Aviv finding something to do can be overwhelming. Hopefully the options above helped and at least led you in the right direction. If you still want more ideas, I recommend checking out Culture Trips list!

 

 

DestinationsMiddle East

BEST Places to Visit in Jordan – 2020 TRAVEL GUIDE

Wadi Rum Jordan

Jordan is a beautiful country with so much history that it can be overwhelming to decide what to see. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 recommendations that should fit any travelers’ preferences. Partially to make it easier to see only the best sites, and because usually people don’t have loads of time to travel to every destination on those “top 15” lists. So, the top 5 are…

1. Petra

2. Wadi Rum

3. Dead Sea

4. Aqaba

5. Amman

These sites encompass much of the exciting destinations you could go to in Jordan and are also the most popular. While popularity means more tourists will be there, I notice it also makes it feel a little safer as there are plenty of people around. So overall, these sites are full of history, there’s tons of navigating information on them, and they are probably some of the safest places to visit.

Also, be sure to read the end of the article if you’re curious about miscellaneous travel information to Jordan, such as obtaining visa’s and the best time to travel there!

On to the list!

Petra, Jordan

What is Petra?

Believed to have been inhabited as early as 9,000 BC, Petra is near the cradle of civilization and holds plenty of history from that period. However, the site of Petra itself was built around the 4th century BC as the capital of the Nabatean civilization. The Nabateans were skilled craftsman and were well situated along trade routes which allowed them to prosper so well, despite being in the middle of nowhere.

All this good fortune mixed with talented sculptors, led to it being a must-see destination today for it’s awe-inspiring structures and rich architecture.

Things to see in Petra, Jordan

When most people think of Petra, they picture Al-Khazned. Al-Khaxned is the treasury that stands famously with unique pillars and very intricate designs. It’s also the “temple” that Indian Jones enters in the The Last Crusade, despite the inside not really looking like that.

Map of Petra

But Al-Khazned isn’t the only thing to see at Petra. In fact, Petra is an all-day excursion and there is so much to see that you may be too exhausted to experience it all if you don’t prepare. To show just how many sites there are, see the map below for the sites in Petra. It was after all an entire city, so of course there are plenty of things to see such as the A’Deir, the Nabatean Theatre, and even walking the Siq is an amazing experience.

What does it cost?

A one-day ticket into Petra costs 50 JD which is roughly $70. This also depends on if you purchase the Jordan Pass, which is sold by Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and allows access to most sites and saves money on purchasing a visa. I’ll mention that in the extra info at the end of this post.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum

What is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is the largest valley in Jordan and translated means “Valley of Sand”, not surprising as it’s a desert. It’s also the filming location for the movie The Martian and it’s easy to see why they chose it when you get there. It has a very foreign and an out of this world look to it that is just amazing!

Things to see in Wadi Rum

We started our trip glamping at a small camp in the desert. The camp in itself was a site to see and a wonderful experience.

Aside from just having a nice place to stay, there are also plenty of famous sites around the wadi that are great places to see. We went to Khazali Canyon and climbed through the rock scrambles, walked across the Burdah Rock Bridge, and stopped by Lawrence’s House! Also make sure you find your way to any small rock plateau to watch the sunset. A Wadi Rum sunset is something that I’ve only seen mentioned a few times, but it’s such an amazing site.

What does it cost?

So, lodging is obviously a cost of staying in Wadi Rum but that is something that should be arranged beforehand. As far as costs to get into the Wadi Rum protected area, it’s 5 JD for international visitors and free for children under 12.

Exploring the Dead Sea

Dead Sea Jordan

What is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is a salt lake that lies on the border of Jordan and Israel. The Dead Sea has a salinity of roughly 34%, making it impossible for plants and animals to live near it, hence its name. While the formation is still debated, it may have once been a part of the Red Sea until it was separated by a land mass in between.

Reasons to go

The Dead Sea is a unique destination and there’s no place like it. Swimming in the salt lake is essentially just floating around as it’s near impossible to sink.

The sea is also frequented because of its positive health effects on human skin and is used as a cleanser. If you wanted to take some home with you don’t worry, there are multiple vendors around the sea that sell package sand/mud that comes from it.

What does it cost?

Going to the Dead Sea is free like most beaches you’ll find. However, there are private areas around it that you may have to pay for access. But, if you’re looking for a free spot, they do exist and are public property.

Visiting Aqaba Jordan

What is Aqaba?

The only coastal city in Jordan, Aqaba is a popular vacation destination not just for tourists but other Jordanians as well. Even more convenient is that it’s placed near Petra and Wadi Rum, making it a great place to tack onto your trip if you’re visiting the other two.

Things to do in Aqaba

Aqaba is a great place to just relax and enjoy the scenery of the Red Sea. So, if you’re looking for a place to relax and spend some time not walking, hiking, or exploring, then sit by a beach as Aqaba has some great spots.

With such great beaches, Aqaba is also a great place to go snorkeling or diving. There are plenty of options for underwater excursions in the region. If you’re looking more for historical sites, there is the Mamluk castle and the archaeological museum as well.

Amman Jordan

Amman Jordan

What is Amman?

Amman is Jordan’s capital city that is situated in the northern part of the country. It has been occupied since 7,000 BC and because of that has plenty of history to offer in the architecture and outside of the city.

Things to do in Amman

If you’re a history buff, Jebel al-Qala’a is a must-see experience. There is also a plethora of restaurants such as Kan Zaman, Hashem, or the Jabri restaurant. Making it a great place to take in some historical sites, learn of Jordanian culture, and taste delectable Arab cuisine.

Extra Information on Jordan Travel

Visa Information For Jordan Travel

Jordan does require a visa to visit the country and the costs can be dependent on what you plan to do. A single entry visa will cost 40 JD if you only plan on getting a visa to get into the country. However, the Jordan Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities offers a “Jordan Pass” that gives access to many historical sites throughout Jordan and if you purchase the Jordan Pass, the cost of your visa is included in the pass. This is a perfect offer if you plan on visiting places like Petra or other historical sites while in Jordan and the costs of the Jordan Pass can be found here for you to compare.

It’s also recommended to get your visa stamped in your passport before entering the country. While they do offer visa’s on entry to Jordan (except the bridge crossing from Eilat, Israel), it’s better to get them in advance.

What is the Jordan Currency?

The currency for Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar. It’s more valuable than USD so don’t get worried when you get fewer JD for your USD. I also recommend getting plenty in advance and plan for the activities you have in mind.

Language

The official language of Jordan is Arabic. Thankfully, many of the people we came across could speak decent English, but it helps tremendously to learn the local customs and common phrases in Arabic.

Overall

I hope your trip to Jordan is as exciting and enjoyable as ours was, it was an experience I’ll never forget. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!

DestinationsUnited States

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park – 2020

Where to Stay in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is a gorgeous place to see and should be experienced at least once in a lifetime! Especially if you’re an outdoors person or love hiking. There’s nothing better than getting a few blisters from a long day of hiking. Ok, the blisters part isn’t fun… but hopefully you have good boots and that’s not a problem.

Regardless of blisters or not, after a day at Yosemite and all the outdoor adventure, it’s nice to have a comfy place to lay down and relax. That’s what this article is for! I’ll help you find the best lodging for you and give you and introduction to what’s accommodations are available in Yosemite Valley.

To start, what kind of lodging are you looking for? Luxury hotel? Budget Airbnb? Maybe a campsite? Lodging depends on what you prefer and thankfully Yosemite has plenty of diverse options on where to stay.

Hotels in Yosemite

Mammoth Mountain Inn

Mammoth Mountain Inn

This is a great option if you’re on a budget but can still afford a decent place. They have lower priced rooms and all the amenities are still there. Depending on your reason for being in Yosemite, Mammoth Mountain Inn also offers packages for weddings and events. It’s also conveniently located near a ski and snowboard area.

Tenaya Lodge Yosemite

Tenaya Lodge

A slightly more pricey option, the Tenaya Lodge is a beautiful place to stay if you can afford it. It’s also a good place if you’re looking for a one stop shop for exploring Yosemite, as they also offer tour packages and other outdoor activities!

AirBnb’s in Yosemite

There are TONS of options for AirBnb places in Yosemite, so I won’t go into any specific here. I just want to point out that the average seems to hover around $230/night for houses or cabin type lodging. The first hotel mentioned earlier is cheaper so if you’re trying to save money I recommend that and not going with AirBnb.

Cabin Rentals in Yosemite

Cabin Rentals in Yosemite National Park

Evergreen Lodge

A slightly more costly option, the Evergreen Lodge has a very comfortable setting and wonderful amenities. There are also plenty of cabins to rent so it should be easy to find an open time.

Evergreen Lodge is really the main place where there are a collection of cabins to rent. There are still more options than the one provided, so if you’re deadest on a cabin but want more options, you’ll need to use search engines for finding them such as Glamping Hub or going to Yosemites website.

Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite

Yosemite has a total of 13 possible campsites to choose from, these include tent camping and RV’s. Also depending on where you want to be in the valley, there are campsites north of the valley, south, and right in the valley.

If you want to make a reservation, the contact information and instructions are provided here. If you want to see the individual campgrounds in the valley, they’re listed here .

Recap

There are plenty of options for lodging in Yosemite for all budgets and preferences. Just make sure you make reservations in advance for whatever your preference and also be aware of the time of the year you’re going and pack accordingly! If you’re looking for hikes to do while you’re out there, check my list of Yosemites best hikes here!