Budget Travel Expert, Author, Solo Traveler, Wanderstay Hotels Owner

Passports & Pizzazz


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Milwaukee: 4th WITS in a row

I had the pleasure of speaking at my 4th annual WITS (Women In Travel Summit) and I couldn’t be happier!

It’s also my first time in Milwaukee!


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Before you book: Check if you need a Visa

There is nothing worse than booking a trip, packing to go, and arriving to the airport only to find out you needed a travel visa to enter the country! Believe it or not, this happens quite a a lot.I recently had a friend call me super excited about a trip to Brazil only for me to ask her about her visa and her appear dumbfounded. Not only did she not know she needed a visa, but she was due to leave out the next day- there was no way that was going to happen. Sadly, she lost out on the money she used for the flight and she took vacation days from work only to stay home and not use them for vacation.

I don’t want the same thing to happen to YOU ! When you find a flight deal, please check first to see if you need a visa, the costs of the visa, and how long it will take before you receive the visa!

Here are some of the most popular countries where USA passport holders NEED  a travel visa! For a larger list, visit http://cibtvisas.com/visa-quick-check

  1. Brazil
  2. China
  3. Cuba
  4. Egypt
  5. Ethiopia
  6. Ghana
  7. India


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Philippines: A little of this and a little of that

Last month, I traveled to the Philippines and what an amazing time I had! My first stop was Manila, which is a huge, busy, noisy yet amazing city!

I stayed at the Pink Manila hostel which was run by amazing, friendly staff who were very knowledgeable about excursions and great places to eat and party!

During my short 3 day stint in the capital city, I visited the Blacaran Market, rode a Jeepney (ALONE!), and participated in the Carlos Walking Tour which is an amazing guided tour of the Ft. Santiago area of downtown Manila. I ate local food at Rufus, which is a local chain restaurant there and enjoyed every bit of the Filipino flavors!

Random facts:

*Call Center jobs are the highest growing number of jobs available in the Philippines.

*Philippines is the 3rd largest English speaking countries

*Traffic is horrible in Manila!!!! It can often take over an hour to drive just a couple of miles. Always plan ahead!

 

After a few days in the city, I figured it was time for me to explore the beach so I took off on a short 2 hour flight to Boracay, Philippines, which in one word is AMAZING! In Boracay I helmet dived, partied at a hip hop club, went on an all-day snorkeling excursion, and ate amazing Thai food and shopped until I dropped! I would recommend anyone who loves the beach to visit Boracay, it’s much too amazing to pass up!

After Boracay, it was time to travel to Cebu! Cebu is home to about 3 million people and is also a big city, but nowhere as large as Manila! In Cebu I visited the largest mall in the Philippines, the SM Megamall. It was huge! I mean HUGE! Just to walk around it took me about 3 hours and I didn’t even shop or walk into stores! The mall has everything you could want in it! Definitely a shopper’s paradise. I also visited the Blue Water Maribago Beach resort, which had a beautiful man made beach. There, I snorkeled, feasted at an amazing buffet, and relaxed in a hammock. Hanging out here definitely gave me a break from all the big city hustle and bustle!

The next day in Cebu, I took a 2 hour ferry to visit Bohol, home of the Chocolate Mountains! Bohol was such an amazing place full of beautiful greenery and amazing history! You must definitely visit Bohol while in Cebu!

I had such an amazing vacation in the Philippines and I didn’t need tons of money to enjoy myself! The average taxi ride cost me about $5USD, average hostel, about $20USD, average meal about $7USD.uw


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Hong Kong Explosion!!!

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As I am writing this entry, I am sitting in the airport in Hong Kong headed to Shanghai and it is really hard to leave this place. I landed in HK four days ago and literally hit the ground running. During my stay here I did everything from Disneyland, to the Star Ferry, Victoria’s Peak, Temple Street Night Market, and partied in Macau.

The top SIX things I learned about Hong Kong during my 4 day stay:

1. Hong Kong is a very international city. I saw almost every type of nationality and there are tons of expats who live here.

2. There are about 7 million people who live in Hong Kong and there are tons of buildings (housing) to prove it. There are so many tall skyscrapers here. (Very Tall Buildings)

3. Taxis are pretty cheap but the subway is SUPER cheap. The first two days I took a taxi everywhere I traveled and it wasn’t too expensive but the last two days, I took the MTR and that was super cheap!

4. Disneyland is super small. As a person who was born and raised two hours away from Disney World in Orlando, Florida, I was suprised to see how small Disneyland was, It is literlly probably half the size of one park in Orlando! It was still a great experience though and if you are in HK and have a few hours to spare, it is only HK $499 (about $59 USD) to visit compared ti the over $100USD tickets in the USA.

5. Even though 269 stairs up and 269 stairs sounds like ALOT it is worth it to visit the BIG BUDDHA. Just look at it like a two for one: free exercise and an opportunity to see the GIGANTIC BIG BUDDHA in person.

6. Hong Kong is pretty foggy in the spring.. My visit is in April and a lot of the time there was so much fog in the air!

Hong Kong is such an amazing place and I highly recommend it to anyone! If you have any questions, feel free to email me! deidre@wanderlustybp.com!DSC_2002