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Travel Gear Review: Peak Design Capture Pro Camera Clip
Check out our review of the
Peak Design Capture Pro Camera Clip!
20 Oct 2015
Guide to Fraser Island
Here's how to see Fraser Island on a budget!
12 May 2016
Road Trip New Zealand: South Island
The beauty of New Zealand's South Island
can't be missed. Hop in a campervan and get to it!
18 Apr 2016
2016 Gift Guide for Travelers
14 Dec 2015

Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Cheap Vegan Restaurants in New York City

Alisha McDarris
A view of Manhattan from Brooklyn

I love travel. I love food. Big cities I could take or leave. Unfortunately, big cities are often where not only the best food is located, but the best vegan food. And I will travel for vegan food. Always. And as one of the largest cities in the U.S., New York City has some excellent vegan food on offer. Hungry? Check out five vegan restaurants in NYC (that won't break the bank).

1. The Organic Grill: This vegetarian restaurant is at the higher end of the budget price spectrum, but while we usually like to stick to inexpensive vegan restaurants when traveling, we often "splurge" on one meal per trip. Keep in mind that "splurging" for us is basically normal spending for your average Joe and everything is more expensive in NYC. But in any case, The Organic Grill is a fantastically delicious option. Be prepared to spend $12-$18 dollars per (potentially shareable) meal on average. There are cheaper options, but their veggie burgers are totally worth it. And those jackfruit enchiladas! Killer.

A Vegan Philly Cheese Steak in NYC
I can't pass up a vegan Philly cheese steak. And Blossom Du Jour serves up a tasty one.

2. Blossom Du Jour: There are several restaurants in the Blossom family, but if it's quick and dirty you're looking for, Blossom Du Jour has you covered at multiple locations. I nearly shed tears of joy the first time I had their vegan Philly cheeze steak. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that because of our camp jobs I hadn't eaten anything but overcooked vegetables and mushy pasta for three months. It's about $10 for a sandwich, wrap or salad and nothing I've had has been disappointing.

Vegan soft serve gelato at Rice Cream in NYC. Yum.
Vegan soft serve gelato at Rice Cream in NYC. Yum.

3. Rice Cream Shoppe: Have a sweet tooth? I haven't met a vegan that doesn't! But when in roam we don't often get to indulge. There's plenty of vegan dessert in NYC to go around, though! But one thing I rarely see in a vegan variety is rice pudding. And I can eat some rice pudding. This joint has multiple flavors of vegan and non vegan rice pudding in addition to soft serve vegan gelato. chocolatey.

4. Erin McKenna's Bakery: More of the same in the sweets department, but I simply can't pass up a sugary treat, especially if I won't get the chance again any time soon. This bakery has several flavors of vegan cupcakes and other baked goods like squares and scones. So stock up for when you get the munchies in Central Park later.

5. Beyond Sushi: Sushi makes me smile. Even more so when I can have all the sushi on the menu! But this cozy spot doesn't just serve vegan sushi, but ramen, kimchi, and wraps, too. And you won't be stuck with your basic vegetable roll, either. Sushi rolls like the Mighty Mushroom and Spicy Mang start at under $7 and soup, desserts and sides are even less. Perfect for grabbing before a respite in the park.

What are your favorite vegan restaurants in NYC? Share them with us!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

One Day in Philadelphia

Alisha McDarris
The Liberty Bell

Maybe you're passing through on your way to New York, maybe you're heading east to West for an adventure in middle America, maybe you're enjoying a mountain respite in the nearby Poconos. But whatever brings you to or through Pennsylvania, don't miss the opportunity to visit Philadelphia. The city of Brotherly Love is a happening and historic place that is not only easily walkable, but great for visitors who aren't keen to drop a hundred on day out activities. And while you could easily spend a week strutting around the city, seeing the sights, sometimes all you have is a day. And you know what? That's OK. So put on your walking shoes and check out this itinerary for Philadelphia in a day.

Above: The Liberty Bell

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The cheapest way to get into New York City

Alisha McDarris
NYC from the Brooklyn Bridge

New York City is expensive. Period. The food is expensive, the lodging is expensive, the attractions are expensive. Everything is expensive. So naturally, you'll probably want to save a few bucks everywhere you can. And since even getting into the city is expensive, you'll probably want to start there. So if you're heading to NYC for a visit, here's how to save money on transportation into the city.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Closet of a Traveler

Alisha McDarris
messy closet

I recently returned from nine months traveling around Australia and when I descended into my parent's basement to sort through the handful of boxes of things we had left there a few years ago when we began our transient lifestyle, I nearly had a panic attack.

Pictured above: "Yikes! Let's get rid of some of those clothes shall we?"

Thursday, August 18, 2016

25 Free things to do in San Diego, California

Alisha McDarris
Fireworks over the bay in San Diego. Photo: Hornblower Cruises and Events
Fireworks over the bay in San Diego. Photo: Hornblower Cruises and Events

There's so much to do in San Diego this summer it would take months to uncover it all! Fortunately, our friends at the San Diego Tourism Authority compiled an awesome list to keep you busy this summer! So grab your flips and get to it! Here are 25 things to do in San Diego that won't cost you a dime.

1. Get active: Bike, walk or jog along Mission Bay Aquatic Park's many trails. Outdoor exercise enthusiasts share more than 20 miles of scenic paths winding through sunlight and shade near the shoreline with workout courses at planned stations along the route.

2. Enjoy the arts: Experience all the Liberty Station ARTS DISTRICT has to offer by attending a free Friday Night Liberty art walk on the first Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m. Meet working artists, enjoy dance, theatre and music performances, visit museums and galleries and explore the growing historic district. 

3. Have a pint: Check out the local craft beer scene during free tours and events at many of San Diego's breweries. Beer lovers can download a free brewery guide map of San Diego's more than 120 breweries to discover.

Take a dip in the beaches at La Jolla. Photo:
Take a dip in the beaches at La Jolla. Photo:

4. Get wet: Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego's shores to see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove offer some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserve to explore. 

5. Get historical: Witness the living legacy of California's birthplace in Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego's first “downtown.” The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, museums and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings. Free “Living History” tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.

6. Wonder at the Ocean: Take a free public tour of the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the seaside neighborhood of La Jolla. Outdoor walking tours, including historic buildings along the Pacific coast, are offered monthly and are free, but registration is required.

San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter beckons. Photo:
San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter beckons. Photo:
7. Take a walk: Stroll through the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. Once the stomping grounds of the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, the Gaslamp Quarter is now home to unique stores and numerous restaurants, nightclubs and bars, many of which are set in turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture.

8. Go swimming: Put on your bathing suit, grab your towel and head to one of San Diego's 30-plus beaches, all open to the public, and perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, building sandcastles, collecting seashells and basking in the sun.

9. Have a wander: Visit Seaport Village and the new Headquarters at Seaport on weekends for free entertainment, hours of leisurely strolling and window shopping, and a small free police museum including vintage jail cells open to the public at the site of San Diego's former police headquarters.

10. Market it up: Sample some of the more than 200 varieties of fresh produce grown in San Diego at one of the region's many Farmer's Markets, held daily at locations throughout the county.

The farmers market in Little Italy abounds with all manner of food and wares. Photo: Annie Pearson
The farmers market in Little Italy abounds with all manner of food and wares. Photo: Annie Pearson
Spreckels Organ Society is a great place to catch a free concert in San Diego. Photo: Robert Lang
Spreckels Organ Society is a great place to catch a free concert in San Diego. Photo: Robert Lang
11. Listen in: Enjoy free outdoor organ concerts on the world's largest outdoor pipe organ at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park every Sunday at 2 p.m. The Summer International Organ Festival occurs Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 29. Beginning June 14, Twilight in the Park free concerts are held at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

12. Roll with it: Rollerblade, skateboard, bicycle or people watch along the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach Boardwalk, a scenic three-mile esplanade running along the coastline of these lively neighborhoods. 

The busy Boardwalk at Mission Beach. Photo: Brett Shoaf
The busy Boardwalk at Mission Beach. Photo: Brett Shoaf
13. Marvel at the stars: Stargaze on the first Wednesday of every month at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park hosted by the San Diego Astronomy Association. During Stars in the Park, SDAA members set up huge telescopes and offer guests a great view of the moon, planets and brighter stars.

14. Lace up your boots: Hike the trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla and see the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, a number of wild flower and animal species, and miles of unspoiled beaches below.

15. Get outside: Visit Mission Trails Regional Park featuring a state-of-the-art Visitors Center where guests explore and learn about the wonders of nature and the native people who once lived on the land. The park also offers more than 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.

16. Find Nemo: Explore the clear, shallow tidepools of La Jolla Cove and Point Loma when the tide is low and the pools are teeming with aquatic life.

17. Play away: Walk along downtown's beautiful new Embarcadero, featuring new parks, promenades and an 830-foot-long water fountain to splash and play. Visitors can view impressive public art sculptures and memorials celebrating San Diego's international ties, cultural diversity and military and maritime heritage. 

One of San Diego's many art installation at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Pablo Mason
One of San Diego's many art installation at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Pablo Mason

18. See a nature in action: Join San Diegans in a local natural phenomenon, the grunion run, on warm summer nights when the tide is high and the moon is full. Guests can witness thousands of small grunion fish swimming ashore to mate and bury their eggs in the sand before riding the waves back out to sea.

19. Bring the dog: Watch tail-waggin', Frisbee-catchin' and stick-fetchin' dogs splash in the surf. Man's best friend is permitted to roam leash-free at all hours of the day on designated “dog beaches” in Ocean Beach, Mission Bay, Coronado and Del Mar.

20. Take a walk: Stroll through Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the United States, and discover its beautiful Spanish Colonial-Revival architecture and remarkable gardens. Visitors can take advantage of the park's free ranger-led walking tours at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Sundays.

21. Light the night: Gather friends, family and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of San Diego County's bonfire-friendly beaches located in Coronado, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Oceanside.

22. Guess that sculpture: Go on a self-guided walking tour of The Stuart Collection, a display of contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla. Tour maps are available at the Gilman Drive campus entrance. 

23. View the stories: Experience the history of the local Hispanic community's struggles and triumphs with a visit to the Chicano Park Murals, established by activists in 1970. This cultural park has received international recognition as a major public art site for its commanding mural paintings set beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Some of the murals narrate the history of Barrio Logan, where the park is located. 

Pack a picnic and attend a free summer concert in Spreckels Park. Photo:
Pack a picnic and attend a free summer concert in Spreckels Park. Photo:
24. Feel the music: Take advantage of San Diego's warm summer nights and wonderful public parks, and enjoy a number of free summer outdoor concerts held throughout the county.

25. Be entertained: Check out the monthly Ray at Night art walk in San Diego's North Park neighborhood, featuring gallery exhibitions, artisan crafts, live music showcasing local bands, and fresh local food. The event is held 6-10 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month along Ray Street.

For more information and even more free things to do during your San Diego visit, check out the San Diego Tourism Authority's website at

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Free Things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Alisha McDarris

The View from the top of Diamond Head on the island of Oahu.

Hawaii is a dream destination for many. The turquoise waters, volcanic mountains, surfing, luaus, beaches, not to mention the laid back atmosphere. No wonder everyone dreams of a vacation on the Hawaiian Islands. Unfortunately, most people think you have to scrimp and save for decades, or that Hawaii is no more than a tropical pipe dream. Not true! You can absolutely visit Hawaii on a budget! So grab your snorkel gear and sun hat and find out how to enjoy a relaxing holiday on O'ahu for less!

Above: The View from the top of Diamond Head on the island of Oahu.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Things to do in Fremantle

Alisha McDarris
The Tourist Wheel at the Esplanade Park in Fremantle, WA, Australia

Just south of Perth in Western Australia is the little seaside town of Fremantle (lovingly referred to as Freo by the locals). It's hip, it's creative, it's crunch granola. And while it's only a 30 minute drive from Perth, there's so much going on in this beloved village that we thought it was deserving of its own post. So slip on your Birkenstocks and tie back your dreads and read about all the free and cheap things to do in Fremantle.

Above: You know you've found Esplanade Park when you spot the ferris wheel.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Guide to Perth, Australia

Alisha McDarris

Perth may be one of the most expensive cities in which to live in the entire world, but it's not all bad. There's plenty to do for free or very little in and around the city (including Fremantle, post coming soon!) so don't cross the Western Australia city off your list if traveling around Australia. It may be out of the way, but it has a completely different feel from many other Australian cities and is a great jumping off point for some good day and weekend trips.

Above: The view of Perth from King's Park can't be beat.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Guide to Darwin, Australia

Alisha McDarris

Darwin, much like Cairns, isn’t a bustling metropolis like Sydney or even Brisbane and it's one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live. However, for those who find themselves in the Top End backpacker city, there’s still a few things to keep you occupied, especially where Crocodiles, outdoor adventure, and Aboriginal culture are concerned. So get ready to sweat and start exploring!

Above: Sunsets in Darwin rarely disappoint. A popular sunset viewing spot for locals and visitors is Mindil Beach.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Guide to Uluru

Alisha McDarris

Way out there in the middle of the Australian Outback is Uluru, the iconic red rock that’s basically the symbol of the whole of Australia’s Red Center. And whe I say it’s out there I mean it’s way out there. Like over 400 km from the nearest town out there. Needless to say, a visit to Ayers Rock, or Uluru as the Aboriginal people have always known it, isn’t cheap. But since it’s practically the USA’s equivalent of New York City for those traveling to the country (if you’re going to be in the country you better have stopped to visit), Uluru is on most people’s travel list. Fortunately, we are here to help you save on your visit and see Uluru on a budget.

Above: No trip to Australia is complete without paying a visit to iconic Uluru (Ayers Rock).

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