Posts Tagged ‘Travel Advice’

Featured Traveler | Melanie Renzulli: Miss Adventures

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Today’s Featured Traveler is Freelance Writer, Melanie Renzulli. This world traveling mom is obsessed with Rome and dancing at live concerts. Want to know more about Miss Adventures? Read on to find out more about her misadventures and what the “Melanie Variety Plate” is!

Name: Melanie Renzulli

Tell us a little about yourself: I am a freelance travel writer currently writing for as the USA Travel Guide; as a travel blogger; and, my blog about Italy travel. I’m kind of all over the place with my interests - but that’s kind of the prerequisite for being a writer, in general. It’s nice to have little passions to pull inspiration from.

Favorite city you’ve been to: An impossible question, but my heart says Rome. When I’m not there, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling about that city, as if it’s an unrequited crush. When I visit, on the other hand, it keeps me on my toes. A love for the ancient and the modern tugs at me, so Rome lets me explore both curiosities.

Favorite restaurant: I really have no answer for that. I think some of my favorite meals, both home and abroad, have been at holes-in-the-wall or mid-range restaurants. My favorite way to eat when I’m on the road is to graze here and there, sample a little bit of everything. So, I guess my favorite *type* of restaurant would have to be a wine bar with lots of mini plates, a tapas bar, or at a Turkish restaurant that offers lots of mezes. Among my family, this type of dining is called the “Melanie Variety Plate.”

Best place to relax: On a massage table. I’m no luxury traveler, but I do love to pamper myself once in a while and travel is a great time to do it. I have enjoyed ayurvedic massages in Kerala, India, and sudsy rub-downs at hammams in Turkey. Those experiences were a little more profound than just going to a spa, as I felt I was exploring a bit of the local culture at the same time.

Best place to have fun:
I love having the opportunity to get out and see live music or dance when I’m traveling. (Though, sadly, that’s not as possible now that I am usually traveling with two toddlers.) I have such fond memories of a few trips that involved music, such as going to a bouzouki bar in Corfu, Greece and a reggae beach party in Negril, Jamaica.

Best trip you’ve ever taken: The best trip I ever took was my first trip - as an exchange student to Germany. It’s not that the memories from there trump all others, but the fact that it was my first taste of adventure and set me on this path as a lifetime lover of travel.

What one piece of advice do you have for travelers? If you can’t go carry-on only, pack at least a change of underwear in your carry-on. Seriously, it’s a lifesaver if your bags get lost or delayed.

Where else can we find you on the web? You can find me everywhere, but most easily on Twitter @melanierenzulli. I also blog for Gadling, am the USA Travel guide for, and occasionally write on my own blogs at Italofile and Miss Adventures . Links to all of these are on my profile. Got all that?


gtrot’s Guide to Chicago

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Are you headed to Chicago soon? Do you live in Chicago? If so, you’re in for a treat! A while back we shared a post with Tripping covering our favorite eats, shops and sights in the Windy City. Check out the places where you might catch the gtrot crew hanging out!


Chicago Q – This is one of our gtrotter’s favorite restaurants in Chicago. It’s located in the heart of downtown and serves up tasty gourmet barbecue.

DMK Burger Bar- Looking for a burger? This is you place! They have great burgers and specialty fries! We recommend the Truffle Parmesan!

Purple Pig- Known for it’s ‘Wine, Swine and Cheese’ this tapas bar has a great outdoor patio and a long wine list. Great tapas that change with the season are great for sharing!

Yolk- Breakfast anyone? Red velvet French toast or Nutella crepes? Have your choice at this local favorite.

Terzo Piano- This Italian restaurant has a great view of the city (Millennium Park) and amazing cuisine, which is all local and organic.


Akira- The boutique chain is affordable, trendy and there are numerous locations throughout the city.

Block 37- Located in the downtown area, this new shopping center is on State Street with stores like Zara, Puma, Sephora and more!

Michigan Avenue – Welcome to the Magnificent Mile. If you don’t mind shopping with a lot of people and love the rush, this is your spot. So many flagship stores and restaurants for you to visit.


Barleycorn – Located in Wrigleyville, walk past the Wrigley stadium straight into a lower level restaurant and bar and upper level dance party. Fridays are pretty cray cray!

Big Star- Whew, the margaritas are very strong!

Kingston Mines- At this famous blues bar you can enjoy live music every night.


For more Chicago attractions, check out the full list on the Tripping Blog.

Featured Traveler | The Best Of: Travel Advice

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

We’ve been doing the Featured Traveler posts for some time now and wanted to highlight the “one piece of advice given to travelers” from a few of our Featured Travelers. If you’re traveling soon, you may want to take their advice for the best travel experience!

Kevin Bluer: Go out of your way to be humble and respect absolutely everyone. Regardless of what you might occasionally think, every single person on this planet has near identical wants and needs: health, sustenance, shelter, etc. In addition, make a concerted effort to “connect” with local people. Without doubt, the most memorable aspects of any trip I have ever taken have come from doing this, although I definitely have a long way to go in terms of perfecting the art.

Annemarie Dooling: Never plan anything. You know the old adage, “If you wanna make God laugh, tell him your plans”? It’s never more true than in travel. Prepare for emergencies with guidebooks or apps or cell service or the number of friends or consulate members, but don’t plan anything. You’ll be really disappointed when the plans fall through.

Andy Ellwood: GO. If you have the chance to see, experience, or try something new, do it. Look for advice from locals and make time for the things that aren’t in the guide books or on ‘Top 10′ lists. And most of all, roll with the punches and hang loose. Things will change and not go according to plan.  Be okay with that and bounce back immediately and find the joy in the journey.

Chris Guillebeau: Don’t listen to anyone who says you’re doing it wrong. You don’t have to travel (or do anything else) according to someone else’s vision of your experience.

Peter Shankman: Smiling gets your incredibly far.

Gwen Taylor: Be non-judgmental.  Yes, the preverbal “they” do things differently but act like you are Margaret Mead who said, “Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. “ Seek to understand like an anthropologist not a xenophobic.

Candice Walsh: Bring napkins. Trust me on that one.

Happy Travels!

Lessons Learned Through Traveling

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

We see lots of posts from travel bloggers about the lessons they’ve learned from traveling around the world. One list that stood out to us, was from Benny Lewis the creator of Fluent In 3 Months. His list, “29 life lessons learned in traveling the world for 8 years straight” came about the day after his 29th birthday and during the week of his 8 year travel anniversary. It’s always rewarding to look back on the things you’ve learned throughout life. Take a look at Benny’s list and share with us some of the lessons you’ve learned through traveling!

Guest Post | Her Campus Shares Tips To Stay Safe While Studying Abroad

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The collegiates™ were kind enough to share one of their posts with us. Annie Wazer created a list of tips to keep you safe while studying abroad!

One of the perks of studying abroad, aside from having the opportunity to live in a foreign country, is having the freedom to be able to travel.  Some of my favorite memories from my past semester in London have been of exploring new cities—from Copenhagen, to Prague, to Dublin, to Amsterdam, to Paris, I’ve fallen in love with each of the cities that I’ve visited.  As exciting as traveling may be, though, you can only truly appreciate a new environment if you feel safe in it.

Preparation for travel is crucial to ensuring a safe and stress-free (or, at least, stress-reduced) trip.  Before you go anywhere, follow these steps and take note of these suggestions to make sure that you’re fully informed about your destination and prepared for whatever circumstances may arise:

What to Consider When Booking a Hostel

Read reviews of your accommodation before booking: If you’re a student, then chances are that you’ll be staying in a hostel.  Don’t underestimate this timeless rule:  you get what you pay for.  When it comes to hostels, this rule couldn’t be more accurate.  I’m a huge proponent of Hostel World; its rating system is reliable and the comments are invaluable.  A couple months ago, I didn’t take the comments about a hostel in Copenhagen seriously enough, and ended up on the same street as several prostitutes and drug dealers—this is a safety DON’T.

Head over to Her Campus for more tips on staying safe while studying abroad! Be sure to share any additional tips with us and Her Campus!

Travel Advice | NYFW: How To Get There

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

February and September of every year pass and tons of people flock to New York to participate in the Fall and Spring/Summer Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Even if you don’t have an invite to the shows, you might want to be in the middle of it all: the flashing lights, fancy clothes and celebrity sightings. One of the best and more recent attractions for NYFW is Fashion’s Night Out. The City of New York, VOGUE and the CFDA have created an amazing evening dedicated to shopping throughout the city. There will be different shopping events, deals and even performances. Retailers stay open late “for the single largest shopping event of the year” reads the Fashion’s Night Out Twitter account. From what I hear, it’s a great event to be a part of. The streets of the city come alive and fashion lovers and New Yorkers alike meet up to take it all in.

No matter how many times I drool at the sight of pictures from the events and the coverage by both my friends and idols, I haven’t managed to make it to NYFW yet. Why? Poor planning. I’ll talk about it and talk about it, but never write down a concrete plan, which I’m sure some of my fellow fashionista(o)s have encountered. The flights can be expensive and if you don’t have family or friends in the city, finding somewhere to lodge for a couple days can be a daunting task. It’s not easy, but if you’re serious, there are ways to plan ahead and actually make it to NYFW without digging too deep into your pockets!

Tips for making it to NYFW for the young and the restless:

1. Check flights everyday! You’ll be surprised by what deals you can find last minute or early in advance. I just checked Southwest Airlines (because I love that I can travel heavy without any fees) and found a round-trip for barely $200. In two weeks, that fare might be a little more, or a lot more. If you’re 22 or younger, you should try to take advantage of AirTran U! It’s cheap standby flights for anyone 18-22. Here’s the thing, it’s very convenient for last minute trips, but you must be patient and willing to sit in an airport for hours at a time. Oh yeah, you can only have your carryon items. No checking-in baggage, so some of those clothes and extra pairs of shoes will have to stay behind. Another catch is that there aren’t many direct flights. You’ll have to fly to a connecting city like Atlanta. So for me, from Chicago I would fly to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to New York and you’d have to check-in and go through the same standby process again. If you really want to go, you’ll find a way! It’s always good to check the flights ahead of time to see if they’re still being sold, that way you know that there are seats still available.

2. Hostels? I’m pretty lucky. I have family in New York, so if I decide to randomly go for a weekend I don’t have to find somewhere to stay. I know most people don’t have this luxury. We all want to be luxurious and stay at the Gansevoort for a few days, but that is not always practical or feasible. Try hostels or homestays. Sounds scary, right? A little. Student Universe has special flight, hostel and hotel deals. There are hostels for as low as $20 a night, granted, you may be in a room of 4 or 8. There are also single rooms, which may cost a little more. The upside of lodging at a hostel is the location. There are many hostels located in the heart of Manhattan. Hostels are iffy. I have friends who’ve tried them and their rooms weren’t ready, or the pictures online didn’t match what they saw upon arrival. Do your research! If you really want to go to NYFW and you need a place to sleep AND are willing to make a little sacrifice, look into all of your options and be open-minded.

3. Volunteer or Intern! Chances are you won’t make it into your favorite designer’s show by luck. Contact those designers and even editors at your most read magazines to inquire about Fashion Week internship opportunities. You’ll have to be persistent and not afraid of rejection. Make sure you have your dates solidified so that there isn’t any confusion. Also, look into volunteering with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week directly by emailing them at [email protected]. You’re practically telling them you’re willing to work for free and at a time like this, who doesn’t like free labor?

4. Google is your friend! Check out blogs to see what events will be happening and RSVP in advance! Nothing’s worse than being dressed up and standing in line, only to find out your name isn’t on the list. A lot of fashion and beauty bloggers have meetups during this time, and it’s a great time to network with others in the field you’re interested in!

Now, have fun! I’m currently planning a trip, so we’ll see how it goes. Be sure to plan your trip on gtrot and let us know how it goes! Comment your questions and more tips!

Kamaria Gboro is the newest member to the gtrot community team. She loves fashion, cupcakes and technology. Connect with her on gtrot’s Facebook or Twitter. Follow her @kamariagboro.