Jeremy

Finding A Place To Stay When You’re Abroad

The task of finding a place to stay when you’re traveling can be extremely daunting. Not only are you visiting somewhere that you’ve never been, but in many cases your native language won’t be the norm in your destination. Don’t let this turn you away! Here are some tips to make it easier on you.

Plan Ahead

Make every effort to get your ducks in a row well before your intended travel dates. Six months or more is preferable. This not only allows you to get the most affordable prices, but it also puts your mind at ease knowing that you have a plan in place and will not be left on the streets. Without a doubt, when making reservations choose the refundable option. Plans change – just take my word for it. You’ll end up kicking yourself when the day comes that your flight gets rescheduled, you get sick, or you simply have a change of heart while you’re on vacation.

Talk To People

This may seem obvious, but if you have friends or family that have been to the area, let them know that you’re going and see what they have to say. They may be able to recommend a particular hotel, or even tell you to stay away from one, which can be just as helpful. In the best of cases, you can even have friends that live in your destination. This can be enormously helpful for many reasons. They can show you around the town, point out places to visit and places to avoid, and generally act as a tour guide (for free!). Plus it’s nice to have a friend to enjoy your stay with.

Most relevant to this post however is that they may even offer to put you up in their guest bedroom, which can save you a fortune and get you off of the beaten tourist path. As you get older, this advantage gets better and better. On my recent trip to Spain I stayed in my friend’s beautiful guest bedroom for a few nights, and I slept on the most comfortable futon I’ve ever used. Just remember, if your friends were traveling to your home town, wouldn’t you be happy to put them up and show them around the city?

Pay Attention to Detail

The last piece of advice is to think of the little things. You’d be surprised what items a hotel may or may not include, especially when you are paying quite a bit of money. Here are a few things you should check to see if they are included:

  • Internet Access (WiFi)
  • Air conditioning
  • Breakfast
  • Refrigerator
  • Beach towels

Make sure you know what you are getting into. Maybe you can’t afford hotels that have all of these amenities, and maybe it’s not important to you if they do. The most important thing is that you don’t want to get surprised when you show up to your destination and be left without a key accommodation that you were depending on.

Spain – A Bounty of Seaside Travel Destinations

Spain is a fantastic place to visit. Delicious food, fantastic wine, and beautiful coastlines are just a few of the attractions the country has to offer, and in general it is quite affordable. In particular, from the Straight of Gibraltar to the Costa Brava there are countless coastal towns that have plenty to offer.

When you get to Spain, you should waste no time getting to the infamous Jamón. If you can afford it, the best you can find is Jamón Iberico de Belota. This is a product from a highly controlled region, where the pigs are raised eating only acorns, and only the finest acorn at that. It is available all throughout the country, but can even be found quite plentifully in the airport.

If your trip to Spain consists of nothing more than a layover in Madrid or Barcelona international airports, you’d be foolish to pass up on the opportunity. With no preservatives other than the salt used to cure, the finest of this dark meat will melt in your mouth. It certainly pairs well with a glass of cava, or a staple beer such as Estrella – if, of course, this is up your alley.

There are many towns along the coast worth seeing. The major places of interest are Seville, Valencia, and Barcelona, each offering a unique subculture. There are also smaller sea towns interspersed between these major cities, such as Cordoba, Javea, and Alicante, or the island destinations such as Ibiza, Formentura, and Palma. It is hard to go wrong with any of these options.

The island of Ibiza in particular, while prominently known for parties and late night DJ concerts in the numerous nightclubs, is also a wonderful place for swimming, relaxing, and enjoying life. In Ibiza Puebla, the downtown area, there is a marvelous castle and medieval area. If you are indeed in search of eternal nightlife, the place to be is Playa d’en Bossa, which is like Las Vegas for nightclubs, without any rules (and there are very few rules in Las Vegas, if this helps to put the scene in perspective. Between these two towns is the beautiful town of Figueridos. Here you will find nice sand beaches, beautifully calm and warm seas, and if you look in the right places you will also find some excellent food. Worth noting is the French restaurant Soleada, which offers not only a gorgeous view of the sea, but also some of the best cuisine on the island. If you are in the are you will not want to miss it, but make sure to secure a reservation if you are going during the busy times as it can be quite popular.

If you are seeking a taste of Spanish culture, but you also want to relax and enjoy beaches in style then the Spanish Mediterranean coast is an excellent choice. With a wide variety of options you really cannot go wrong. Start making plans for your next vacation today!

5 Essential Home Upgrades for the Frequent Traveler

Living life on the road (yes, this is indeed a nod to the classic book by Jack Kerouac) lends itself to a lifestyle with minimal belongings. However, there are some things that you absolutely need and others that you don’t necessarily need, but make your life much more convenient or comfortable. Here are a few of my favorite recent purchases:

Safe

This is truly a must. Having your home broken into and your valuables stolen will really hit you hard, especially if you lose a family heirloom. A safe can keep your valuables such as jewelry, cash, and expensive electronics from being stolen while you are away. Just make sure that you get a quality product, and that you properly mount it upon installation.

Firebox

Along similar lines, a firebox is a great place to store important documents and other heat-sensitive materials while you are away. God forbid anything happens, but even a safe wouldn’t save your birth certificate from perishing if a fire were to break out while you are out of the country. There are plenty of models to buy, just make sure you get something that is big enough for all of your sensitive belongings, has sufficient insulation, and is capable of locking. You wouldn’t want the firebox to tumble over and spill its contents in the worst case scenario.

Vacuum Robot

The next couple of items are definitely not required, but are certainly a luxury. 

Since I’m on the road so often, I don’t have a lot of time to spare. One way to free up some extra time is to outsource your daily tasks to others capable of doing the job. Luckily, these days you can buy robots that do some of your household chores for you. Notably, a vacuum robot has really been a huge time saver. While it doesn’t get all the nooks and crannies in the room, I’d say it gets 80-90% of the floor cleaning done, meaning my work in that particular area is cut down by to at most 20% of what I normally have to do to keep my home looking presentable. Popular brands include the iRobot, or my choice the Eufy Robovac.

Electric Fireplace

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that this one is a bit extreme. However, I’ve been so thrilled with my recent upgrade that I have to share. Growing up I always loved spending time by the fireplace reading with my parents to wind the day down. Obviously, it’s downright impractical to have a fireplace when you’re renting, but fortunately these days there are sleek and hip alternatives in electric fireplaces. While they aren’t quite the same as the real thing, they do have a number of benefits that you don’t come across with a real fireplace – namely there is no mess, the air doesn’t get heavy from the smoke, and you don’t need to buy wood. They are also arguably a lot safer than real fireplaces to boot. I find that they look really cool, and can make your home look very modern. If you’re in the market for an electric fireplace head on over to bestelectricfireplace.review, they have some helpful resources in making your next purchase. If you’re looking to impress your guests, this is one simple addition that can really up your wow factor

Web Security Camera

Nothing puts you at ease when you’re on the road more than knowing your life back home is secure. These days you can buy web cameras for seemingly pennies compared to prices of earlier years. Better yet, most come with apps that you can use to log in and check on your house from the comfort of your mobile phone. Just make sure to have the camera pointed at the most important parts of your home and you’ll be good to go. You don’t have to worry about logging in all the time either, as many web security cameras keep archives hour by hour, at least for some period of time. Make sure to get a wide angle lens for the most coverage for each camera purchased.

Well, there you have it. I’m about to head out on my trip to Spain, and I’m sure I’ll have some fun stuff along the way. Stay tuned and as always, thank you for reading!

Spain On The Horizon

It’s getting to be that time again. Soon enough I’ll be off and on my way to Spain to see a number of new cities in such a beautiful country. I’ve only been once before, and did a quick stint in Barcelona and a longer stay in a more remote town in the Costa Brava. This time I’ll be seeing a much larger variety of cities, and I’m eager like a child on his first vacation. In addition to sorting out last-minute logistics and planning my packing, I sat down for one of my favorite pre-travel rituals – watching some informational footage by Rick Steves.

Rick does an excellent job on his travel shows, and they served as formational videos for my childhood. I even crossed paths with him once in Athens – I didn’t have the opportunity to introduce myself unfortunately, but just being in his presence made my spine tingle and filled me with joy. It brought me back to my early childhood.

I particularly like this video, as it is a bit of a shift from the normal travel videos and, I find, a bit more candid. It’s pretty cool to think about the history of the country, and how much influence the Moors had in forming the country. Naturally, they have a bit of a bad reputation in terms of the history books, but their impression on the country’s culture brought a unique flare. This comes through particularly in the architecture of the south of the country, and hopefully I’ll be seeing some of that along the way.

I will be spending some time along the south eastern coast, seeing a few of spots that are high on my list for relaxation purposes. However, I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the other cities – Madrid in particular. I have only been to the Catalonian region of Spain before, yet I don’t speak any Catalan. My background, like most people who learn Spanish language in high school in the US, is in the Castilian language. Castilian is spoken in Madrid, and basically anywhere that more to the north and/or west of the country. I always enjoy a city more when I am able to immerse myself at a deeper level so I’m quite excited.

So, what’s on the schedule for me?

Well, I’ll be staying a nights in Valencia, just to get a quick feel for the place. Then I’ll be off to Alicante, which is a beautiful seacoast town. I’ll be there for a while so perhaps I’ll be making some day trips when I have a chance. Then I’ll be off to Seville, passing through Madrid as the train system necessitates. This has been on my bucket list since learning about it over a decade ago, and I am very excited to see what this quaint and romantic village has in store. Finally, I’ll post up in Madrid for a while before my trip comes to a close – it will be a sad day indeed, but unfortunately it is inevitable.

Well, back to travel prep for me. I’ll make sure to stay up to date!

Welcome! (and some photos!)

Welcome to Adventure Sauce! My name is Jeremy and I will be using this site to document my travels – past and future – so that I can share my favorite experiences with the world.

I want to thank my friends and family for encouraging me to take this step, your support (and sometime relentless nagging – you know who you are :)) has made it happen. Normally I’m not much of a writer, but hopefully this is a helpful way to get my foot in the door.

In the interest of getting started, here are a few pictures of my trip to Paris back in 2014.

First and foremost is the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. This was my first stop in the trip, and as my first impression it is certainly one of my stronger memories. It was built in the medieval times, and (as you can clearly see) is considered a prime example of gothic architecture. Bejeweled with gargoyles and pointed structures, it was not only quite impressive but also invoked a strange, eery feeling just being in it’s presence. If it weren’t in the middle of the city and thoroughly populated with people, I’m sure it would be actually quite creepy. Pretty cool though, and definitely some of the more complex architecture I have come across.

Next up is the Louvre, which obviously speaks for itself. I really liked this night photo capturing the reflection off the water, but it doesn’t quite capture the sheer impressive size of the structure that you see in the daytime photos. Standing in the building’s presence it was hard to imagine how humans could have possibly built something so huge without all of the construction technology available today. How did they even get that many huge rocks to the center of France, let alone make such beautiful buildings out of them? I’m sure historians know how it all worked, but being there and trying to imagine it was simply stunning. I didn’t make it inside during my short stay, but I’m told there are tons of museums and artifacts that may be worth a trip.

Then, of course, there is the Arc de Triomph, with the hectic rotary circling it. In order to actually get up to the arc you have to go into an underground tunnel and come up through the stairs. Also a very impressive structure, as with seemingly all things Paris.

The last two photos for today are of the opera house, called the Palais Garnier. What’s really cool about this photo is that the green hue reflecting off the the face of the building is not from a photo filter, but it was actually happening as the sun was starting to set. I was so proud that I could actually capture it, because it was truly an amazing site.

We actually went in and saw an opera showing. While I don’t speak French very well, I’m pretty sure the show was terrible. We left after the first act. It was a nice experience nonetheless, the opera house was pretty impressive. Plus, it was my first time in an opera house.

Well, that’s enough for today. I didn’t get to the point of talking about the wonderful food, or the time spent at the notorious cafes, but perhaps that’s for another day. Thanks for stopping by, and please come back soon!