Questions To Ask Before Picking Your Travel Partner

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Recently, I went on a weekend getaway with my boyfriend, and although we’ve been together for 6 months, COVID-19 and quarantine put traveling on a hold for us for awhile. Finally, we wanted to take the precautions necessary, but still continue making memories and fulfilling our adventurous hearts. Traveling allows you to explore a new avenue of your relationship, whether that’s with a significant other, a family member, or a new friend. So traveling with a new partner had me thinking about tips and preliminary questions to ask and talk about before planning a trip together. 

Very first question, how do you like to travel? 

That’s very important question to ask yourself and to ask the person you are going to be traveling with. Are you a fly by the seat of your pants type of person or do you like to plan out an entire itinerary? Are you a deal traveler or do you like to splurge on fancy dinners and things to do when you’re out? Are you someone who likes to stay in the center of the action or are you more inclined to choose a quieter place? 

These are important to know about yourself and about your travel partner, so you can COLLABORATE to make the most of our trip. 

I can become anxious at times, if I leave too much room for spontaneity. I like to have a rough idea of the things I want to do, the places I want to see, different food places I want to try, and I like to stay in the center of the action so transportation is minimal. I know these things about me, but it can vary from place to place, which leads into the next question. 

Where are we going and WHY? 

When my friend, Sofia, and I were becoming close, we chose to take a trip together and we covered these questions. We planned to go to New Orleans and then drive over to a quaint town in Fairhope. We chose NOLA for two nights, so we could let loose, drink, explore, and have very late nights. I also communicated that 2 nights was my max there because my body can not handle three days of a non-stop party. So we did the party scene, and then spent the rest of our trip in a cute town in Alabama. That part of the trip was to relax, bike around town, visit antique shops, and try out local cafes. We did that for a couple days, and then we were on our way. By communicating what our whys for each location, we understood what we were both expected to get out of the travels and what we needed. 

What do you like to do when you travel? 

I’m not a night owl at all, and I promptly wake up at 7am every morning. So it’s important who I’m traveling with is either on the same page as me or we have a larger group to be able to disperse and do what we want to do. I would ask about sleeping and eating schedules and preferences. Are you traveling with someone who snores? (Maybe get an Airbnb with two rooms instead) Are you traveling with a vegetarian or someone with a restrictive diet? Food matters when you are out and about, so talk about it before hand to avoid pinch points. 

Ask about INTERESTS

I am a history junkie and can spend hours at museums. My mom and best friend, Samantha, have left me to wander through museums by myself before, so that wasn’t exactly their cup of tea. So do things that peak your interest, but also do things that you can do together. Do you like finding random things on Groupon? Are you a more outdoorsy person who likes zoos and boats and luaus? Are you into pub crawls and hole in the wall bars? Are you into shows and entertainment? Are you a beach or mountain person? Do you hike? Don’t assume they’ll like what you’re doing because after a few days of traveling together, the nicety can ware off. 

My advice is to communicate openly, don’t take things too seriously, and enjoy every moment of the newness of traveling. Traveling with someone makes your heart grow fonder, and reminds you how special creating memories is. 

For more travel related content, follow Traveling with Ash on IG & Listen to our Podcast!

Ironically, I Co-Created a Travel Podcast Right Before A Global Pandemic

For so long, I had wanted to create a podcast to pursue two of my greatest passions— travel and human connection. That’s why almost 4 years ago, I created Thoughtful Blonde as a platform to share, connect, collaborate, grow, and build community. When I got home from my time in Grenada, I knew it was time to take the leap and build a travel podcast that could serve as a new avenue to explore, create, and connect with more people than ever before, and let me tell you, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

So, I started to talking with one of my very best friends, Sofia, about the possibilities and opportunities of building something together because we all know two minds is greater than one. I again knew this would be the push I needed to put the plan into action, and so we did. We spent hours coming up with our goals, our mission, our vision, our name, new ideas, and who we’d want to have on our show. We both loved traveling and wanted that to be our sole purpose, to create a podcast that was informative, entertaining, and inspired others to travel further and wider. We wanted to talk in a way that was inclusive, and invites others to join in on the adventurous conversation. 

Bam, then came, the Who Wear There Podcast. 

We planned, and began learning all the Podcasting things we could before recording our first episode. So, we reached out to our network and had great support from our friends and peers, which was so immensely appreciated to get where we are now.

We recorded our very first episode on Valentines Day 2020 and a month later when we were only 4 episodes in, a global pandemic took over our everyday. We couldn’t leave our houses, let alone travel like we had planned, but we improvised and created something more beautiful and rewarding than we could have imagined. 

This travel podcast, although traveling this past 6 months has been minuscule, has reminded us why we love to explore, why we love to travel, and why we thrive off of human connection. Since then, we have published 30 episodes, hosted 20 guests, and created useful resources to connect the lovers of travel. We had to get creative because we no longer had a recording studio or the symplicity of gatherings, so we used Facetimes to plan, our phones to record, and got innovative to still feel the rush of the newness even from inside our own homes. 

If you are truly passionate about something, nothing stands in the way of creating and building, and we look forward to continuing to expand and explore. If you have traveled somewhere exciting or interesting or just want to chat about your travel insights or know someone who would be an excellent guest on our show, reach out to whowearthere@gmail.com or find us at: https://www.instagram.com/thetravelbrats/

Listen to our Podcast on Apple!

All Things Brews, Bayshore, and Tampa Bay with Hannah

In Episode 19, The Travel Brats interview Tampa Bay native, Hannah, abou hot spots in the neighborhoods, brewing companies, outdoorsy activities, sport events, and hidden gems that are a must. Hannah shares her insights on making the most out of a Friday night on the Bayshore to spending the day at a local park!

Tampa is made up of several parts and neighborhoods.

Some of the best places to visit are: 

-Downtown Tampa https://www.tampasdowntown.com/

-South Tampa/ Bayshore https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34678-d147138-Reviews-Bayshore_Boulevard-Tampa_Florida.html

-Ybor City https://yborcityonline.com/

-Citrus Park https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/citrus-park-hillsborough-fl/

Exciting Places to Hang Out

BREWERIES

-Tampa Bay Brewing Co. (Ybor and Westchase) https://www.tbbc.beer/home

-Coppertail Brewing Co. (Ybor, right across the street from IKEA) https://coppertailbrewing.com/

-Brew Bus Brewing (they have busses that take you all over Tampa to different breweries) https://brewbususa.com/

-Cigar City Brewing Co. (South Tampa) https://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/

-Six/Ten Brewing (Central Tampa by the airport) https://www.sixtenbrewing.com/

Fun Parks and things to do outside

-Hillsborough River State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/hillsborough-river-state-park

-Busch Gardens https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/theme-park-tickets/?utm_source=google&utm_id=go_cmp-1488418546_adg-57107059186_ad-441700882502_kwd-92805455_dev-c_ext-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrrLyvqaU6gIVB0WGCh2zGgF7EAAYASAAEgI4V_D_BwE

-Adventure Island https://adventureisland.com/?utm_source=google&utm_id=go_cmp-1736156326_adg-77120006152_ad-374911442314_kwd-301868999751_dev-c_ext-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrtGkyKaU6gIVDE2GCh0oaADPEAAYASAAEgIrRPD_BwE

-Bayshore Blvd trails https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/florida/bayshore-boulevard#:~:text=Bayshore%20Boulevard%20is%20a%208.8,must%20be%20kept%20on%20leash.

-Water Works https://www.tampagov.net/parks-and-recreation/featured-parks/waterworks

-Hyde Park https://hydeparkvillage.com/

-Armature Works https://armatureworks.com/

-Lowry Park Zoo https://zootampa.org/visitor-info/?utm_source=madden&utm_medium=googlegrantcpc&utm_campaign=dmflzoot&utm_content=visitorinfo&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIloPu8qaU6gIVE2KGCh0M9gMJEAAYASAAEgLjQfD_BwE

-Centro Ybor (Historic District)  https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/american_latino_heritage/ybor_city_historic_district.html

-Sparkman’s Warff https://sparkmanwharf.com/

-Channelside https://www.813area.com/tampa/channelside/

Sporting Events

-Amalie Arena–hockey games, students who show up in Lightning apparel and present ID can get into the “student rush” where they will place you in empty seats. You could be sitting right behind the glass. https://www.amaliearena.com/

-Raymond James Stadium– football games, should be a lot more popular now because of Brady and Gronk http://raymondjamesstadium.com/

Hidden Gems:

-Bru– a 16 tap taproom that sells beers from only Florida Breweries. They have games and trivia. They are dog friendly, kid friendly and have a kombucha and cold brew for non-alcoholic options https://www.brufl.com/

-Maloney’s Irish Pub–Wednesdays are $7 burgers…THE BEST BURGERS and they have trivia that night as well https://www.maloneyslocalirishpub.com/

-The Floridian– the best Cbuan sandwich around (we make the Cuban sandwich with pork, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and SALAMI) https://floridanpalace.com/

-Burger Culture– a food truck that serves fresh burgers to order. They have a great fries too https://tampaharley.com/en/check-out-our-burger-culture-menu

-Breakout Games Escape Room- the best escape room I have been to ever https://breakoutgames.com/tampa

-Loli’s Tacos– authentic tacos that are served in a little shack, I always take it to go and eat it in the brewery down the road https://www.lolismexicancravings.com/

-Eddie and Sam N.Y. Pizza https://www.eddieandsamspizza.com/

-Mott and Hester’s Deli–best cheese ziti and meaty sandwiches https://www.mottandhesterdeli.com/

– Front Porch and Bart’s Tavern– located in a two story Victorian house on Florida Ave. they have string lights and awesome live music https://frontporchgrill.com/

Places to Eat

-Ulele- the best macaroni and cheese in Tampa (won several awards) https://www.ulele.com/

-Datz- a deli that serves really eclectic food from sandwiches to bacon stuffed meatloaf. They also have a chocolate shop that makes awesome little truffles and a bakery called Datz Dough (two locations one Downtown Tampa and the other in St. Pete) https://datztampa.com/

-Columbia Restaurant- famous for their 1905 salad and amazing traditional cuban food (Ybor) https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

-Oxford Exchange- https://oxfordexchange.com/

-Daily Eats- super fancy but diner-like food serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34678-d794024-Reviews-Daily_Eats-Tampa_Florida.html

-Green Lemon https://www.opentable.com/green-lemon

-Bern’s Steakhouse and Dessert Room you can just do dessert if you want https://bernssteakhouse.com/harry-waugh-dessert-room/

-King of the Coop- Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant https://www.kingofthecoop.com/

-Bahama Bucks- shaved ice https://www.bahamabucks.com/

-Jeremiah’s – Italian ice https://jeremiahsice.com/locations/south-tampa

– Michael’s Grill– really great authentic italian food https://michaelsgrill.com/

Thanks for tuning in everyone, we appreciate Hannah for sharing her insights about the best places to visit in Tampa!

The Travel Brats Present: All Things Sand, Songs, & San Diego with Jayson Savich

In Episode 18, The Travel Brats interview travel and music enthusiast, Jayson Savich, where he shares all his insight into making the most out of your San Diego adventures. He highlights the hot spots you can’t miss, shouts out the best music venues, paints a picture of the nightlife, and shares the best ways to stay safe in a new, chill environment. It’s an episode all about Southern California.

Jayson is Ashley’s life long friend from her hometown in Lowell, IN. Ashley moved to FL almost 7 years ago and Jayson ventured out West almost 4 years ago to attend school. He now lives in Scripts Ranch in San Diego, California and really living out his musical dreams.

He gave us some background about San Diego by saying, “It’s a unique, different vibe. You can go 15 minutes in either direction and be at the beach or in the mountains. It’s crazy how just 30 minutes away and you can be in snow. It’s also pretty big, and the traffic can be a hassle and unpredictable. It’s not normal rush hour traffic like we think of.”

We asked about Renting A Car and he said, “If you are staying out far from the center of San Diego, you may want a car, but it’s really easy to get around and there is Uber and Lyft that you can use.”

We asked, “When is the best time to visit San Diego?”

He said, “The worst time to come is during the summer months!!!!” Listen to the podcast to find out why.

We asked, “What are your favorite things to do there? Do you have any local hacks for things to do? Any festivals? Things people wouldn’t know to check out?”

He said, “CONCERTS EVERYWHERE! There are like 17-18 venues and here are some of his favorites:

Okay we love talking about hidden gems — what can’t we miss there? ^^^

For the hot spots at night, here are Jay’s top picks!

The Travel Brats love to find out the best places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so we have options. Here are Jay’s must haves: 

Breakfast: Lahaina Pacific Beach https://www.yelp.com/biz/lahaina-beach-house-san-diego

Great Maple https://thegreatmaple.com/

Morning Glory https://morningglorybreakfast.com/

Lunchy: 

Gringas — Taco Food Truck https://www.yelp.com/biz/gringas-tacos-and-catering-san-diego

Rocky’s Crowne Pub — http://rockyburgers.com/

Good Onya — organic place https://goodonyaorganic.com/

Din din:

Ballast Point Beer IPA https://ballastpoint.com/

Tajima — Eatery https://tajimasandiego.com/home-4/tajima-convoy/

Island Prime — good ass steak right on the harbour https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/islandprime

When staying in San Diego, he recommended finding a cool Airbnb to stay at:

https://www.airbnb.com/san-diego-ca/stays

Now go adventure, be safe, and have fun!!!!! A huge thank you to Jayson for sharing his insights with us all.

All Things Budapest, Hungary with Reka: The All Inclusive Guide to History, Travel, and Adventure

In Episode 15, The Travel Brats interview Reka, our wonderful friend from Budapest, Hungary. She shares some background about Budapest, best times to visit, tips on crossing borders in Europe, things to do, people to see, and places to eat. She’s a Budapest local who has all the hacks to make the most out of your Europe endeavors.

Reka was born and raised in Budapest before moving to Tampa for school. She speaks multiple languages and gave us a lot of insight about how the younger generations are speaking more languages, whereas the older generations are more commonly Hungarian speakers. While in school, she was learning at least three languages at a time, English being one of them. 

Travel Brats: Can you describe Budapest? What’s it like there?

Reka said: It’s a combo of history and great architecture. There are a lot of things to do for going out and there’s an active night life. It’s also a good mix between touristy and a local environment. 

Travel Brats: Is it Hungary a big country?

Reka said: It’s a Fairly smaller country, about 10 million people live, but Reka grew up in Budapest 

So it’s Budapest, and then there’s the rest of the country. Budapest is the largest city in Hungary, 2 million people. 

Travel Brats asked: What are your favorite places around Hungary?

Reka: There are smaller towns with tons of history about Budapest, bordering Austria and Slovakia so it’s great for day and weekend trips. 

Travel Brats: What’s it like crossing the borders in Europe?

Reka: It’s very, very easy to do, just checking passports and you’re on your way.

Travel Brats: What kind of currency does Budapest use? 

Reka: It’s surprisingly not the Euro, it’s called the Hungarian Forint. The cost of living is cheaper than in the US.

Travel Brats: What’s the best way to get around the country?

  • Reka: Don’t need a car to get around, traffic, parking is difficult 
  • Public Transportations or taxis if you need to
  • Trains (3 big train stations, double check where you are leaving from, buy ticket online)
  • Backpacking — buy train ticket and it’s valid for a week, 2 weeks, a month

Travel Brats: When is the best time to visit Budapest?

Reka: Summertime is more popular for tourists, it’s a dry heat, and awesome festivals. Winter — it’s very pretty, christmas market, below freezing temperatures 

Travel Brats: What are must do’s when you are in Budapest?

Reka: Some Sightseeing activities are: 

  • Touristy things — 
  • Parliament
  • Chain Bridge
  • Budacastle (Sofia)
  • Seasonal vs. permanent
  • Fisherman’s Architecture Place: very cool church
  • Hero’s Square 3 museums
  • Zoo, lake, arch museum (during the winter, they turn the lakes into an ice skating rink)
  • Ferris Wheel, during the summer 
  • Downtown Budapest
  • Festivals + Artsy + Historical
    • Statue of Liberty

Travel Brats: Best places to Eat?

Reka: Everyone eats at home, not so much fast food, and my family cooks a ton for me when I’m home. There are tons of little pastries places that I love. Some restaurants are:

Signature Liquor:  Palinka and Spicy Wine

Travel Brats: Where should we stay in Budapest? 

Reka: The Hotels downtown are nice and breakfast included or if you are traveling on a budget, there are really cute and fun airbnbs, close to downtown. https://www.airbnb.com/budapest-hungary/stays

Travel Brats: What are your tips to stay safe?

Reka: 

  • Common sense, still pretty busy at night, don’t walk around by yourself at night, call a cab (no Ubers) 
  • During the day, don’t leave your purse or backpack open, for pickpocketing 
  • PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN THE TRAIN CLOSES, wouldn’t recommend taking the night buses — it’s longer, and can be sketchy 
  • Keep cash on you 

A huge thank you to Reka for being our guest and sharing her insight about Budapest and Hungary. Thank you for tuning in. Be sure to follow along our journeys on IG!

The Best Road Trip Cars at Mint Motors

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Many of you know that since February, I have been working as a Marketing Director for Mint Motors in Fort Myers, FL, where I have been learning so much about the car industry, sales, and customer relations. It’s been a lot of fun, and challenging to learn all the ins and outs, but every couple of weeks, I am going to be creating blogs about my favorite cars currently for Road Trips and traveling endeavors. Life’s been very different since quarantine and COVID-19 and many traveling plans have been put on hold, especially when it comes to flying.

So I’ve got you covered with deals and insights for the best cars to fit a traveling and adventurous lifestyle.


2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit


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jeep grand cherokee info


2014 Lexus RX 350


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lexus information


2014 Hyundai Sonata GLS


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hyunadi information


2012 Kia Sportage EX


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kia sportage information


We have more on the lot and in our inventory, so give us a call or search on Mint Motors!

Read our COVID-19 business update

THANKS PALS!

For more updates,

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Episode 13: All Things Abacos Island, Bahamas with Andrew Morgan

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In Episode 13, The Travel Brats interviewed close friend, Andrew Morgan, to uncover the hidden gems, food recommendations, and fishing hot spots in Abacos Island, Bahamas. He shares his tips on how to make the most of out your Bahamian trip, best time to go, and how to stay safe!

Listen at Apple Podcast!

When in the Abacos Islands, he loves to visit and explore Elbow Caye and Hope Town. He recommends going in the summertime because that’s when it’s pretty busy and there are tons of activities to do; he also suggests going with family or friends, basically anyone who likes doing the same things as you so you can book fun day trips. The Bahamas are known for having a warm and welcoming culture, and the cays are a great places to delve into it. 

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Best place to stay: 

Rent a house and go to the local grocery stories; live like the locals

So you can check out places to rent: 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g147424-Reviews-Great_Abaco_Island_Abaco_Islands_Out_Islands_Bahamas-Vacation_Rentals.html

https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/caribbean/bahamas/abaco

Things to Do: 

Festivities and Activities:

Junkaknoo — a smaller version of mardi gras at Nassau https://www.bahamas.com/event/new-year’s-day-junkanoo-parade-abacos

Every island has its own band and they practice all year, drums trumpets, tubas, sticks, custom made costumes.

Jimmy Buffet Event: Margaritaville, free burgers and beers and everything with tons of boats and Mr. Buffet will fly in with his boat, every year, stage in the middle of the water

https://strandednaked.com

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Best Food To Eat:

  • Crab Conch or Conch Fritters
  • Conch Salad Raw conch, pounded down, a shot of rum and beer, with chips and salsa

Restaurants: 

Nippers, north end of guana cay. Crazy colors, right on the beach, pool you can hang at, it’s very beachy vibe and on Sundays, there is a pig roast, 25 pigs 500+ people, 9am until the parties go on late (frozen nipper: best drink rum, cranberry juice, gumbay punch: illegal in the US bc too much sugar. https://www.nippersbar.com

Pete’s Pub — get there by noon for food http://www.petespub.com

Firefly — Hotel/ Restaurant owned by the people who own Firefly vodka https://fireflysunsetresort.com

Local Drinks: 

Sea Spray

Gumbay Smash

Kalik Beer

Rum Runnas

Mud Slide

Hidden Gems Fishing Editions:

Kalamora Caye– https://www.kamalame.com

Crashed plane from the 80’ so it’s a sunken plane off the coast and you can dive into it, it’s only in 10 feet of water (try to find it)

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Tips to make the most out of a Bahamas trip:

Don’t take too many lobsters (no no, trouble)

Staying safe advice:

Traveling on boat, make sure to follow the GPS, don’t want to hit a reef, so pay attention to the navigation system

When diving, be aware of your surroundings and know where the boat is at all time

Don’t get too far from the boat, there are a lot of sharks and you may have to get back to the boat quickly 

If a shark swims towards you, don’t get so frantic and swim away, you are a friend, not food 

Follow Us!

Travel Brats Episode 12: All Things Asheville

Listen on Apple Podcast!

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In Episode 12, The Travel Brats interviewed actress, Natalie Brouwer, about all things Asheville (the little sister city to San Franscico). In this episode, Natalie shares her recommendations and hidden gems on where to go, what to see, and how to make the most out of your time in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. She even shares her favorite Breweries with beer recs, so tune in before you head to NC!

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There’s so much to do in Asheville and there’s a lot of opportunities to travel there on a budget because there are a ton of free things to do, like hiking/parks/walk around downtown

Best times to go to Asheville: Recommended times to go— spring and fall for different reasons

Things to do:

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Fall time recommendations:

Winter Recommendations:

Skiing at Beech and Sugar Mountain https://www.beechmountainresort.com
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ARTSY + Cultural Activities To Attend:

River Arts District https://www.riverartsdistrict.com

Biltmore House (late 1800’s) https://www.biltmore.com

Grove Park Inn (1913) https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park

Best Places to Eat

Breakfast –

Sunny Point Cafe https://sunnypointcafe.com

Louise’s (Black Mountain) https://louisesblackmtn.com

Over Easy Cafe http://www.overeasyasheville.com

 

Lunch/Dinner –

WHITE DUCK TACO http://whiteducktacoshop.com

Chestnut https://www.chestnutasheville.com

Chai Pani http://www.chaipaniasheville.com/

Nine Mile https://ninemileasheville.com

Farm Burger https://farmburger.com/asheville-nc/

Easy Girl Eatery https://earlygirleatery.com

Tupelo Honey Cafe https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location/downtown-asheville/

My Father’s Pizza (BM) http://www.myfatherspizza.com

Fresh (BM) https://freshwoodfiredpizza.net

 

Where are the best places to stay? 

Air bnb! Or you can rent houses/cabins. Or stay at one of the nicer/fancier places connected to Biltmore/Grove Park

https://www.airbnb.com/s/Asheville–NC

 

Best Places to Explore/“hidden” gems:

Visit Black Mountain: https://www.exploreblackmountain.comThe town of Black Mountain

Sliding Rock a little farther away in Brevard and LAKE LURE: http://www.townoflakelure.com

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Top Breweries!!!!

-Beer (Brewing companies)

*Sierra Nevada  https://sierranevada.com/visit/north-carolina/

*Wicked Weed https://www.wickedweedbrewing.com/

*New Belgium https://www.newbelgium.com/brewery/asheville/

*Highland Brewing https://highlandbrewing.com/

*Green Man http://www.greenmanbrewery.com/

*Catawba https://catawbabrewing.com/

-favorite beers – Octoberfest (SN), White Zombie (Catawba), Pernicious IPA (WW)

 

Safety Tips

Asheville is a very safe town

When Hiking, make sure you dress appropriately for the season. Bug spray, water, snacks. Bears (black bears) you will likely not see. They are nocturnal animals and are more scared of you then you are of them. With a snake, if it’s a black snake you are fine. You will likely not see them either, but perhaps look up what to do if you see a copperhead, rattlesnake, or water moccasin. Make sure to lock your car! In general, just be aware of your surroundings. Our hikes are VERY user friendly!

Stay connected with Natalie by following her on IG: https://www.instagram.com/nataliejuneb/

Travel Guide for All Things Punta Cana, DR: Episode 9 with Connor Firmender

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Whether it’s a family trip, going out with the guys, or taking a wild spring break trip, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (often referred to as DR)  may be the place for you to go explore for fun nights, gambling, cave diving, drink tasting, and dune buggies.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!!!

Where to Stay:

Connor stayed at The Grande Bahia Principe

His cost was $1,100 bundled with 3 people which included a roundtrip flight, 5 days and 4 nights.

A connection from RSW to Miami to Punta Cana int. Flew Southwest.

https://www.bahia-principe.com/en/resorts-in-dominican-republic/resort-punta-cana/

expedia deals:

https://www.expedia.com/Punta-Cana-Hotels-Grand-Bahia-Principe-Punta-Cana-All-Inclusive.h1091208.Hotel-Information

Ashley stayed at Majestic Mirage:

https://www.majestic-resorts.com/en/our-resorts/majestic-mirage-punta-cana

Day time Activities and Recommendations:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g147293-d12467586-Punta_Cana_Discovery_Package_Dune_Buggy_Adventure_and_Catamaran_Cruise-Punta_Cana_.html

Nighttime Activities:

Drinks Recommendations

  • Coconut drinks
  • Pineapple drinks
  • Shots of the sig liquor: Mama Juana (rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs)

Tips to Stay Safe while in DR

  • Stay with a friend the entire time, let friends know ahead of time where you are going. Share your locations with friends
  • Look at your data plan. Call provider for $10 a day for unlimited data. Unless you have an unlimited international plan.
  • Ask resort people where to eat, where is safe and unsafe etc.

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Episode 6 – All Things Chicago: Hot Spots with Ryan Valdez

Listen to Travel Brats on Apple Podcast

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Last summer, mine and Sofia’s friend, Ryan, moved to the Windy City. Back in April 2019, I helped Ryan go apartment shopping in downtown and we got to explore to some really awesome places before he moved here. Since then, Sofia has visited Chicago and Ryan got to show her around to some of the best night life and bars. We were happy to hop on a call with Ry to ask him about his experiences, reminisce, and get his insight on how to survive Chicago on a budget. Here are so of his top places to go:

Restaurants 

Casual Dining

Portillos: 

https://www.portillos.com

Imperial Lamian:

https://imperial-lamian.com

Ramen Takeya fulton market:

http://www.ramentakeya.com/menu

Cafe Ba-ba Reeba:

https://www.cafebabareeba.com

Au Cheval:

auchevaldiner.com/

Best Day Time Activities

Depends on season:

Options: 

https://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/

Summer:

(cubs games, “beaches”, shops, Divvy bike, parks, rooftop bars) 

Fall/Winter (weather is brutal so limited options – Bulls game, second city, ice skating at McCormick or Maggie Daley) 

Best Night Time Activities:

Concerts and Bars (Lincoln Park, Old Town, West Loop, River North)

Coolest buildings in Chicago: Hancock, Water Tower for shopping, Willis Tower

Bars

Wrigleyville:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-wrigley-bars-each-and-every-one-htmlstory.html

Sluggers:

http://www.sluggersbar.com

Point and Feather:

https://www.pointandfeatherchicago.com

Three Dots and a Dash (basement bar):

https://www.threedotschicago.com

What to Wear in Each Season

Fall: 

Light Jacket

Winter: Layer up, puffy coats, gloves, hats, be creative

Summer: Shorts, tees, tanks, anything goes 

  

When is the best time to visit Chicago? 

Ryan said: Summertime CHI is the best! – everyone is out & about, perfect weather, most things to do during this time 

 

Best places for Music and Theatre: 

CIBC Theatre:

CIBC Theatre

House of Blues 

https://www.houseofblues.com/chicago

 

How To Stay Safe in the City

Ryan said: not as scary as one might think – just be aware of you surroundings and try to have a buddy when you go out/walk through neighborhoods.

Thanks so much to our guest, Ryan, for letting us interview him! If you have more questions, reach out.

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