The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail – A Weekend We Will Never Forget

 

Brittnay on her bike enjoying Tour de Vines with the mountains in the background

Brittnay on her bike enjoying Tour de Vines with the mountains in the background

They say ‘it’s not about the destination, its all about the journey’ – I have never really understood this quote. Isn’t the whole point of going somewhere to enjoy being there?  It took me 28 years but now I finally understand exactly what this quote is all about.

How did I figure this out I hear you ask?

It all happened about 300 km north of Melbourne. It was over a weekend full of wine, food, new friends, and cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Although this sounds like a combination that might end in disaster, what we experienced with Tour De Vines was nothing short of outstanding.

Day 1:

 

Brittnay enjoying the early morning views over Lake Sambell

Brittnay on an early morning walk around Lake Sambell before breakfast

After a quick 3-hour drive from Melbourne. We meet our lovely guide at the Armour Motor Inn. It was Octoberfest weekend and the town of Beechworth was buzzing. We quickly checked in and headed off to our room where we received our welcoming packages with information about the weekend ahead.

We quickly freshened up and headed into town to meet the rest of our tour group, that was already at the Bridge Road Brewery enjoying the great selection of in-house craft beers.

We introduced ourselves and got talking about our past cycling experiences, shared our love of food & wine and got to know each other.

Our local guide gave us an in-depth rundown of our itinerary for the next 2 days before we indulged in the fantastic gourmet pizza. After a couple more drinks we headed back for a good nights rest before our cycling adventure along the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail.

Day 2:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by project_49 (@project_49) on

We were too excited to sleep, so we woke early Saturday morning. Our guide had mentioned there was a great short walk around Lake Sambell which was just over the road from our accommodation. We were up early enough to watch the sunrise over the lake and mountain in the distance.

We met the rest of the group for breakfast at Project 49 around 8:30 am. Project 49 is a cafe/deli/wine bar offering a mouth-watering selection of handcrafted goods from small-scale producers around the area. We loaded up on a healthy dose of carbs & caffeine. I would highly recommend the granola bowl, its an Instagrammers dream and the perfect way to get fueled up for the day.

We then headed down to the old Beechworth jail where we got fitted with our bikes and helmets. After one final brief of the day’s route & activities, we were off to our first winery.

 

Our Tour De Vines tour group all geared up and ready to go

The tour group all geared up and ready to head to the first winery of the trip

We headed off down the Beechworth – Everton Rail Trail. The first cellar door was a short 15-minute downhill ride into the trail.

We arrived at the Pennyweight Winery door just on opening. We were all eager to sample their wine and learn about their range of certified bio-dynamic wines. It was very interesting to learn all about how Stephen and Elizabeth produce their wine without any irrigation or chemicals. They even hand-pick all the grapes at harvest time!

We are usually hand-to-heart red wine drinkers, however, the Pennyweight Riesling was one of the early highlights.

The line up of sample wines at Pennyweight Winery

The line up of sample wines at Pennyweight Winery

It was a beautiful spring morning and the whole group was in good spirits after the first stop. As we rode off down the trail we were delighted to learn that of the 43kms we had in front of us, 20km was downhill, 16km was flat and only 7km was uphill (this was welcome news to Brittnay, as she hadn’t ridden much before).

The second stop of the day was at Gapstead Winery. This was a spot that I was very excited about. I am a big fan of the Tobacco Road 2017 Sangiovese and wanted to learn more about the range of wines Gapstead is famous for.

 

A Glass of Petit Manseng being poured

A glass of delicious Petit Manseng being poured at Gapstead Winery

When we arrived at Gapstead we were met by gorgeous views over the vines and surrounding mountains. It was the perfect spot to relax and take in the views while waiting for our lunch.

We started off by having a group tasting of Tobacco Road NV Processco, Gapstead Saperavi and the Gapsted 2017 Petit Manseng. Our second wine highlight of the trip was the Processco. It might have been the 30 odd km that we had just ridden in the sun, or it might have been the combination of great views, great weather and bubbles that made the first sip of the stop so amazing!

Shortly after the tasting our lunch platters where bought out. The impressive platters were filled with local cheese, olives, a selection of charcuterie, warm garlic focaccia and salad. We enjoyed the wonderful food & basked in the sun, before heading in for one last wine tasting. Following that, we jumped back on our bikes and headed towards Myrtleford.

Brittnay enjoying the views over the vines at Gapstead Winery

Brittnay taking the views over the vines at Gapstead Winery

 

The Ride from Gapstead into Myrtleford was flat and easy-going. Our guide pointed out local points of interest and facts about the area. I was surprised to learn the crops we were cycling past were actually hops that was used in the beer at Bridge Road Brewers Brewery.

Upon arriving in Myrtleford we where all in good spirits. We checked into our hotel and found our bags were already placed in the rooms by the Tour De Vines team. Our guide advised us that the evening would be a free evening to explore the town and check out the local shops, bars and restaurants.

Day 3: 

We all met at the Alpine Gate Cafe to once again fuel up for the day of riding ahead. I would highly recommend the eggs benedict! The Alpine Gate Cafe is apart of the tourist information building. It is a great place to soak up some information about the area and talk to the locals.

We set off on the days 30km ride, this stretch is a nice flat ride and provides stunning views over the wineries, hop farms and surrounding mountains. Our first stop of the day was at the Australian Pumpkin Seed Factory at Pepo Farms. We were not quite sure what to expect from this stop, however, we were very impressed. The owners are extremely passionate about what they do.

We learnt all about the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, different nut oils and their wide selection of all natural, gluten-free, vegetarian & vegan-friendly products. We left Pepo Farms feeling like everyone should come here and learn about the health benefits of these underrated nuts and seeds.

 

Pepo Farms is a must stop along the Murray to Mountains rail trail

Lunch was booked in at Ringer Reef Winery, this is another winery that we were very excited to visit. We had heard about this place from friends and were dying to learn more.

On the way to Ringer Reef, we came across another winery that looked too good to pass up –  Feathertop Winery. This winery was beautiful. It had great views, great wine and a build it yourself platter menu!

As a group, we made a decision that we had time to check out this winery. We tasted more wine and studied the menu. We will be coming back to try out the restaurant for sure! After a few cheeky purchases, we were off for our last winery of the trip.

 

Throughout Ringer Reef Winery there are photos of the family and the property. This is Marks parents Annie & Bruce – the original planters of the grapes at Ringer Reef.

 

We arrived at the Ringer Reef and were met with spectacular views and beautiful blue skies. We met the owner Mark Holm, and he was quick to get into telling us about the history of the winery, and the wines that he produces.

Ringer Reef is a small winery ran by Mark & his wife Julie. Mark took over the operation from his parents Annie & Bruce who originally planted the vines & produced the wine.

The wines are all handmade and bottled on site by Mark and his family. A lot of love goes into these bottles and when talking to Mark you can get a real feel for the passion he has for making wine and continuing his family’s traditions. The winery doesn’t sell commercially, only from the cellar door and to a few select restaurants in the area.

We got to tasting and we were very impressed by the love and passion Mark had for each wine. He could even sense we were all a little hungry and offered us sourdough bread his wife had baked that morning (it was absolutely delicious!)

It was at this point where I had my favourite wine of the trip. The Ringer Reef 2018 Petit Manseng. I have never been a white wine drinker, however, this wine has changed that. It was a very refreshing, well balanced citric white wine. You couldn’t ask for a better drop to sip away on a Sunday afternoon.

Ringer Reefs Petit Manseng. This wine is seriously good. (Jays new favourite)

After the tasting Mark got to making our lunch. He presented us with four platters full of homemade dips, chutneys, sourdough, local cheeses, olives and meat.

Ringer Reef was more than a perfect spot to sit and soak up some amazing views with our new good friends. We could even see the only snow-capped peak of Feathertop.

 

 

After lunch, we slowly rode off the remaining 10km into Bright where the tour came to an end. Before we got picked up, we had a ride around Bright and checked out the famous Bright Ice Creamery. We all grabbed a delicious cone and ate it on the banks of the Ovens River.

Our new group of friends exchanged numbers and photos and reminisced over the past 2 days. We had all had an amazing time riding the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. It was an experience full of scenic views, great wine, amazing food.

Over the weekend we clocked up just shy of 100kms. Since most of the trail is downhill or flat it is a very easy and enjoyable ride. It’s amazing how quickly you can cover such long distances.

When we got to our destination of Bright, it hit me. It’s really not about your destination, but all about the journey.

Thank you to Tour De Vines for sending us on Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Tour. We highly recommend checking out one of their many amazing cycling tours.

 

The Tour De Vines group at the Bright sign

Our Tour De Vines group at the end of the rail trail in Bright, Victora, Australia.

Our Favourite House Sitting Websites: Reviewed

Our Favourite House Sitting Websites: Reviewed (Updated DEC. 2018)

Over the past few months, we have had an increasing number of people ask us how we get our house sits or how to find a house sitter . So we have put together a list of house sitting websites we use & recommend.

There are several ways that we get in touch with homeowners or vice versa.

Firstly,  we are often contacted is through our website contact form or social media accounts. We are very active on Instagram and are gaining a strong following on our newly formed Facebook community group. 

Secondly, 95% of our house sits are through house sitting websites that we have signed up to, see our favourites below!

Over the past couple of years, we have trialled many and have slowly started to figure out what one work best for us in different countries. So let's get started on your house sitting journey!

Brittnay & Jay 🙂

How to become a house sitter

Not Sure Where To Stay Between House Sits? 

We always use Airbnb! 
We give a big discount if you sign up here. That also means  you have more money for the good things in life, like  cheese , wine & travel


The best house sitting websites (We have Discovered)!

1. Trusted House Sitters Review

Countries: International.
Membership Fee: $129.00 USD for both homeowners and house sitters. 
Website: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com​​​

Trusted Housesitters is one of the most well known platforms out there. They have got a huge range of sits all over the world. We have used Trusted Housesitters for sits in Australia, Ireland, The United Kingdom and New Zealand.

This platform is increasingly getting more and more popular which is great because there are lots more homes on offer, however for every new home on the platform, there seem to be 5 more house sitters applying. 

Trusted House Sitters also provide extensive resources on how to become a pet sitter! They have everything from how to land your first sits to information regarding house sitting agreements. 

Trusted House Sitters Pros

  • Well established and well-known platform
  • Very easy to use platform and functions
  • Big team and profession feel
  • check
    24/7 customer services and vet advice line
  • check
    Wide variety of homes worldwide

Trusted House Sitters Cons

  • $129 USD membership fee
  • High competition on house sitting assignments
Overall Paw Rating 5/5

2. Kiwi House Sitters

Countries: New Zealand only.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $84 NZD for house sitters.
Website: www.kiwihousesitters.co.nz

Kiwi House Sitters is a sister website of Aussie House Sitters. This is the website that we mainly use when in New Zealand. In New Zealand people seems to stay away from the bigger websites and stay local. 

The platform and functionality is basically the same as Aussie House Sitters. They have great options for filtering house sits and you can really customise what you are looking for. 

Kiwi House Sitters Pros

  • Lots of house sits - We often get contacted by homeowners
  • Reasonable membership fee
  • check
    Easy to use and good looking platform

Kiwi House Sitters Pros

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 
Overall Paw Rating 4/5 

3. Mindahome

Countries: Australian
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $59 AUD for house sitters.
Website: https://mindahome.com.au

We find that Mindahome always has a lot of options within Australia! It a similar sign up fee to other in the Aussie market. 

The platform has a really nice clean design which isn't a pain in the backside to use like some others. We also have found that the team is super responsive which we really like!

Mindahome Pros

  • A very cheap membership fee for house sitters
  • Huge array of sits to apply for 
  • check
    Easy to use and good looking platform
  • check
    Really helpful staff

Mindahome Cons

  • Like some other sites, the homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 
Overall Paw Rating 4/5

4. House Carers 

Countries: International.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners. $55USD for house sitters. 
Website: https://www.housecarers.com/

House Carers is a website that we have also used to lock in house sits in Australia, Ireland, The United Kingdom and New Zealand. They where the first platform set up to bring homeowners and house sitters together back in 2000. So they know a thing or two about what both house sitters and homeowners want in terms of website features.

However, the platform does have an old school - outdated feel to it compared to some other platforms out there.One feature that we really love is the house sit notifcations. You can set up custom notifications for certin areas so you never miss applying for a sit. 

The video feature on House Carers is a fantastic way to show homeowners your real self. Other platforms only offer a write-up and photos, which to be honest don’t always portray you how you would really like to be portrayed. 

House Carers Pros

  • Lots of options to upload a review, photos, videos, references, and safety checks
  • Very reasonible membership price
  • House Carers have a great Facebook community to share ideas with other house sitters
  • check
    A brilliant house sit notification function
  • check
    Very well trusted and one of the first platforms on the internet

House Carers Cons

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage
  • The platform is quite outdated and can be difficult to navigate for first timers
Overall Paw Rating 4/5

5. Aussie House Sitters

Countries: Australia only.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $84 AUD for house sitters.
Website: https://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au

Aussie House Sitters is our go-to website for house sits in Australia. They have the best range of all platforms for house sits in Australia. They offer an easy to use and simple platform which to be honest we have not really found any real fautlts with.

They also have a great community page on Facebook where they share house sits and information. 

Aussie House Sitters Pros

  • Lots of house sits - We often get contacted by homeowners on this platform
  • Reasonable membership fee

Aussie House Sitters Cons

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 
Overall Paw Rating 5/5

6. Happy House Sitters

Countries: Australia only.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $65 AUD yearly for house sitters Australia wide.
Website: https://www.happyhousesitters.com.au/

Happy House Sitters is another platform we use here in Australia. It also has a good range of house sits. However, because it is free for home owners we find that there are lots of the same house sits between the other free Australian based websites.  However, they are one of the oldest, they where online way back in 1999! 

One of the great perks of Happy House Sitters is you can save yourself some money by only buying a membership for specific states of Australia. Because lets face it, Australia is huge and not everyone is going to be house sitting around the whole country! 

The platform is easy to use and has plenty of filters so you can find your perfect house sit easily. 

Happy House Sitters Pros

  • Money back guarantee for house sitters
  • Cheap membership fee
  • check
    Different membership options for different states

Happy House Sitters Cons

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 
Overall Paw Rating

7. Mind My House

Countries: International House Sitting Platofrm
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $20 USD for house sitters.
Website: https://www.mindmyhouse.com/

Mind My House is one of the original house sitting websites. It has been around since the start. Because of their cheap membership fees, they have a lot of house sitters on the platform so competition can be tough. (as of right now there is 230 availible house sits and 4,000 availible house sitters!) 

The platform has a great user experience and from their email updates are currently mid way through upgrading the whole platform - so watch this space on an update. They also have a strong community which is great for sharing experiences, tips and pictures! Mind My House also has an alerts option, so you can never miss a listing in your favourite locations.

They are an international website, however, most listings are in the United States or Europe. 

Mind My House Pros

  • They are a well-established platform who have been around since the very start
  • A very cheap membership fee for house sitters
  • Free for homeowners which means more house sits are listed
  • check
    Easy to use and good looking platform
  • check
    Alert system

Mind My House Cons

  • The number of house sitters outweighs homeowners, so there is a lot of competition
  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 
Overall Paw Rating 4/5

8. Nomador

Countries: International.
Membership Fee: $89 USD for both homeowners and house sitters.
Website: https://www.nomador.com/

Nomador is the second most expensive platform following Trusted House Sitters. It is a fairly young site, only being online for 4 years. However, in those 4 years they have gained over 100,000 users!

The feature that we love the most about this platform is their ‘stopovers’ community. This is a place where homeowners can put up their homes on offer to house sitters when house sitters have some downtime. It is a fantastic way to meet new friends, catch up with old ones or have somewhere to stay when you land in a new country. Even though you may have never met its great to have something in common straight off the bat!

Nomador is an international website, however, since they are a fairly new site does not have the biggest number of sits outside of Europe or the United States.

Nomador has the best user experience out of all the house sitting platforms. On the results page, they have lots of essential information about the sit so you don’t have to click on the listing. Something that saves lots of time and disappointment in some cases! 

Normador Pros

  • The best home previews
  • Easy to use (and good looking) platform
  • 3 free contacts (try before you by option)
  • check
    Stopovers community

Normador Cons

  • A fairly pricey membership fee
  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 
Overall Paw Rating 4/5

Need More House Sitting Info? Get In Touch With Us!

Check Out Our Other House Sitting Information

Syrah Vs Shiraz: When Is It Appropriate To Say What?

Syrah VS Shiraz: When Is It Appropriate To Say What?

Ok, so I’ll admit, when I heard that Jay and Britt lived in Australia, I wanted to write about Syrah.  Or Shiraz as they’d call it - Mark Aselstine of Uncorked Ventures

Honestly, it might be the most misunderstood varietal out there today.  I mean, we can’t even agree on the name and while that’s not entirely unheard of in the world of wine, no other grape really gets split quite as evenly.  

I mean, does it really bother you if someone makes a Carignan or a Carignane? Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc might be the same, but how often do you really see Fume Blanc being used on a label?

The general naming convention in terms of Syrah and Shiraz is pretty simple.  Some time ago, Australian vintners started using Shiraz to help differentiate their style of the grape, from those being made in France.  They were bigger, more extracted and generally grown in a much warmer growing region.

Of course, things have changed and the caricature of Australian wine that was told to the press for so long isn’t nearly true any longer, in much the same way that the same tale was told about California wine for so long.

But, thinking about the Australian vs international spelling of the varietal got me thinking, what’s the deal with Syrah in America’s west coast wine regions?

To help decipher where the grape is going, I decided to look at Syrah being produced in five spots in three states

Heading Away to Wine Country?

If your planning on a weekend away or maybe an international trip you might want to think about getting house and pet sitters! We have put together all our top sites for finding the perfect match, so check out our trusted house sitters review now! For those of you maybe heading to Australia, I would also recommend having a look at house sitting australia!

Ballard Canyon Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara is way, way more than Pinot Noir.  But, after the success of Sideways, Santa Barbara is having trouble convincing people of that.

Paso Robles California

In many ways, Paso Robles is the home of Syrah in America.  Some time ago, the grape had gone almost extinct in the state.  In fact, so had all the Rhone varietals (which also include Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussane, Marsanne and another 20 or grapes).

Then the Rhone Rangers were founded and they quickly became an effective trade group.  Over the years, Syrah has continued to grow, from only 200 or so planted acres back in the 1980’s to well over 15,000 acres now.  In fact, more Syrah is planted in almost every calendar year currently than existed in then state when the Rhone Rangers were founded, according to the California Department of Agriculture.

Paso’s grown along with their favorite varietals and a region unknown to basically everyone that sits about 3 hours from both San Francisco and Los Angeles without any natural market of its own, now has been called “The Next Napa” by Wine Spectator.

One small tip for Paso, eliminate everything east of the 101 freeway and stay somewhere close to town which boasts a HUGE central European style square with a park, library, restaurants and shops.

Napa Valley California

In one of the first meetings I had after opening my online wine club, I had a winemaker who made $125 a bottle Cabernet (which was like 95% of his production) tell me that the $40 bottle of Syrah he was selling me was the most important grape on his property.  It was shocking on a few levels. Part of the reason of course was that he was looking for a way to differentiate himself and to grow sales in a spot that wasn’t quite so competitive.

Fast forward a few years later, I asked him via email how the Syrah was doing and he said quite succinctly, that they had grafted it over to Cabernet. That about sums up Napa Valley’s experience with Syrah.  The wine is good, but it’s financially impossible for it to work.

One small tip for visiting Napa:
Stay on one end, finish on the other. If you stay in downtown Napa, make the slow winding trip up the 29 and finish in Calistoga. Or vice versa. Spending too much time in the car happens to plenty of people, Napa traffic, especially on weekends is rough. 

Skip the long tourist lunch. Eat something quick, like a burger, or taco shop.  Save your time since most wineries are only open 11am-5pm.

Rogue Valley Oregon

What do you picture when you think of Oregon wine?  Pinot Noir, right? So does everyone else.

What you’re thinking of though, happens in the Willamette Valley just south of Portland.  The Rogue Valley is named for a river and sits right about where the California-Oregon border does. It’s also a heck of a lot warmer than the rest of the state, based on being both inland and more southern.  

This is almost the exact same climate as the Rhone Valley in France, making it a natural home to Syrah. One small tip for the Rogue Valley: There’s only about 30 working wineries. Reach out via social media, you’ll find a higher percentage of owners and winemakers available than anywhere else in the country.

Walla Walla Washington

Washington’s had a funny process with grapes.  First, they were thought of as the best spot in America to grow Merlot.  Then they went to Syrah. 

Now, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon in some spots, whereas Syrah still reigns in the southeastern most part of the state, Walla Walla. Walla Walla is interesting on so many levels.

First, it’s a world class wine destination that’s only now realizing it in such a way as to build tourist facilities. It’s also not especially close to tourist traffic, so the consumers finding their way to Walla Walla are among the most ardent wine drinkers on the planet.

Photo: The airport wine district in Walla Walla is in a state of transition, as you can tell by the businesses on their signposts

So Why Syrah In Eastern Washington?

Their climate is pretty unique in wine. They receive about the same amount of precipitation that does Bordeaux, but half of it comes in terms of snow.  That’s actually pretty good for grape vines, keeps the top soil healthy, but if the snow comes after bud break, you can lose an entire crop like they did about a decade ago.

A tip for visiting Walla Walla:
There are basically 4 parts of Walla x2. Downtown is highly walkable, but you’ll need a car for the rest. Rent one, but stay downtown because the restaurants are great, the Marriott is brand new and you the tasting rooms in the center of it all stay open later than the wineries which require a car.

Ok, so that’s a quick review of a handful of wine regions that are focused, rightly or wrongly on Syrah. While worldwide consumption of Rhone varietals is on the upswing, that hasn’t held true in more expensive regions.

 For some time that hurt Australian exports, but the country and it’s vintners have found a logical way to combat that: simply planting their favorite grape in regions more appropriate for international tastes.

About The Author

Mark Aselstine is a husband, dad to a couple of loud, active boys and the owner of Uncorked Ventures a wine of the month club and gift basket business located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Politically interested, an avid sports fan you can find Mark chatting on Twitter, usually about anything other than wine.

Thirsty For More?


Want to keep up with our location?

Join Our House Sitting Community For More House Sitting Information 

 
The Travelling House Sitters Group
Facebook Group · 844 members
Join Our Community

Come and Get Social With Us

Essential Italian 101: 20 Italian Words & Phrases (That Will Have You Sounding Like a Local)

You’re planning a trip to Italy, but you don’t know a single Italian word. You’d like to have some basic greetings and vocabulary for your visit, but you don’t know where to start.

Well, you’re in the right place to learn some essential Italian words and phrases (so you can order all the geleto and vino your heart desires)

Functional Italian 101

Below is a list of  the most useful Italian phrases to get you through your Italian holiday or move. Bear in mind, if you’re travelling to touristy areas, it is highly likely people will speak English. However, this is not always the case, and Italians appreciate it very much if you simply try to speak their language. They are very friendly and willing to help you, even if they don’t understand you.

The below phrases, paired with smiles and gestures, are sure to benefit you during your stay in Italy!

Hello/Goodbye – Ciao (Chow)
Good day (appropriate any time before 5 PM) – Buongiorno (Bwahn jore-noh)
Good evening (use after 5 PM) – Buonasera (Bwahn-uh-Sarah)
Thank you – Grazie (Grat-see-eh)
You’re welcome/go ahead – Prego (just how it sounds)
*Can I have ....? – Posso avere…? (Posso uh-vare-eh)
*Questo – This (Kwes-toe)
How much (in reference to cost)? – Quanto costa? (kwan-toe cose-tuh)
**One coffee, please. – Un caffe, per favore. (Oon kaff-eh, pea- fuh-vore-eh)
Where is the bathroom? – Dov'è il bagno? (Dove-eh eel banyo?)
What is your name? – Come ti chiami? (comb-eh tee kee-ahm-ee?)
My name is _____. – Il mio nome è _______. (Eel mee-oh nome-eh eh ______)
Nice to meet you – Piacere (pee-uh-chair-eh)
Excuse me (formal) – Scusi (Skoo-zee)
I’m sorry – Mi dispiace (Mee dee-spee-ach-eh)
Have a good day! – Buona giornata! (Bwahn-uh jore-not-uh)
Have a good evening! – Buona Serata! (Bwahn-uh sare-awe-tuh)
I don’t understand – Non capisco (Non kuh-pee-skoh)
I don’t speak Italian – Non parlo Italiano (Just like it sounds)
Do you speak English? – Parla Inglese? (Parla Een-gleh-zay?)

*Pair these two phrases together to make a full sentence: Can I have this? I typically use this phrase to order food at a restaurant if I can’t pronounce the name of the dish. “Posso avere questo?” paired with pointing can get you many things!

**Remember, a “caffe” in Italy refers to a shot of espresso. If you want a long coffee, asked for “un caffe Americano”. If you want a cappuccino, asked for “un cappuccino”. If you want an espresso with some milk, as for “un caffe macchiato”.

Well, there you have it! These 20 phrases will have you sounding like an Italian in no time.  Remember, Italians are very friendly and they appreciate the simple gesture of attempting to speak Italian. 


This post was from expat Cammy Romanuck Murphy, a Canadian blogger living in Italy. She came to Italy with virtually no Italian language skills. To begin with her Italian could be  described as “slightly painful” but “absolutely functional”.  

Learning a new language can be a very rewarding experience and can help to immerse you in a country’s culture. Also important when travelling? THE FOOD (especially in Italy)! Our favourite Italian dishes are Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina, Tuscan Porcini and White Truffle Risotto, and Tiramisu (click the links for authentic recipes and the history of each dish). For more travel tips, “locals-only” city guides, and delicious European recipes, head over to Cammy's blog, The Traveling Cook Abroad or on Instagram @thetravelingcookabroad

Our Journey on The Spirit of Queensland (Cairns to Brisbane in Complete Comfort)

We have always loved travelling by rail. There is something so tranquil and comforting about the whole experience. From the relaxing nature of the check-in & boarding  to the peaceful hum of the carriages as you take in the ever-changing views.

In Australia, we feel that travelling by rail is something that is overlooked. However, driving from city to city or state to state can take an exorbitant amount of time. Let's face it, with Australia's endless highways you really don’t get to take much in.

We decided to take a journey from Cairns to Brisbane on the Spirit of Queensland. This allowed us to experience Queensland in a light that we have never seen before. From the tropical rainforest, banana plantations and small town gems scattered in between, we were in awe. It is a beautiful way to see the countryside in complete comfort and style.  

The journey was just shy of 1700 km and took us slightly over 24 hours. However, the time past quickly and before we knew it, we were watching the sun set on another perfect Queensland day. We aim to share our experience on board The Spirit of Queensland and hope to change the perspective on rail travel in Australia.

The Spirit of Queensland

Arriving & Departing with Absolute Ease (This Is No Airport Line Up)

We started off our journey at Cairns Central Station. We were met by the station staff who kindly advised us that our carriage was at the front of the train. You can check in luggage however with the baggage we had, we were able to fit in the overhead compartments.

We were seated in the Railbed carriage, these seats are a little more luxurious than the premium economy and offer a real business class feel. At our seats, we were greeted with a welcoming pack. This includes a bag with complimentary toiletries and a menu full of lovely food. To be honest this Railbed carriage put a lot of aeroplane business classes to shame.

Let Me Entertain You

The entertainment options were endless on the Spirit of Queensland. You know that feeling when you scroll the list of movies, then end up with 10 quality ones you want to watch straight away? It was just like that. They also had a great selection of audio books, music, TV shows.

Oh The Glorious Food

With our Railbed seats, we were treated to three meals on board. We were impressed to see that there was an array of options for each meal, and even vegetarians were catered too. With each meal we were offered a complimentary wine, beer or juice. 

The Spirit of Queensland Dessert

Our meals were prepared freshly on board, this was something that we were not expecting and they tasted delicious. We went for a chicken curry and a spinach & pumpkin filo pastry. The curry was fragrant & spicy and the filo wrap was bursting with flavour and beautiful flaky pastry.   

Sitting & Sleeping in Top Notch Comfort

We were pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the seats. We even discussed how they rivalled some lazy-boyz we had owned in the past. The seat console included two drink holders, a reading light, 240-volt power point, and tv controller. 

When it came to getting work done the fold out table was more than enough room for our laptops. A great makeshift office for the afternoon.

The Spirit of Queensland

When You're Ready to Be Rocked to Sleep

Come night time the crew turned our seats into a completely lay flat bed. The bed felt like home, we had soft pillows, sheets, and a cozy doona. Considering we are both over six foot, we easily fitted in the bed, we were genuinely impressed! This was more than enough room for a good night's sleep.

The Morning of Dreams

There is nothing like waking up and seeing the Queensland countryside flying by from the comfort of bed.

We were advised that breakfast would be served within the hour. This allowed us time to have a lovely long shower and have our beds turned back into a reclinable seat.

Within minutes of sitting back down, we were delivered fresh coffee, orange juice and breakfast. There is nothing quite like freshly prepared sausages, eggs and bacon served with a hot muffin.

The Spirit of Queensland

An Arrival Fit For A Queen

When it comes to travelling one of our pet peeves is waiting in line to get on and off transport. However, when travelling by train it is always a pleasure boarding and alighting. The Spirit of Queensland was no exception, as the train gently rolled into the station the offloading process was quick, simple and easy. 

We have never left long distance transport feeling so revived and ready to face the day.

Included in our ticket was a full day of travel within Brisbane. So there was no need to mess around with any other tickets or maps. We were pointed in the right direction to our connecting train onto our next adventure. It was as easy as that.

All in all the journey was a lovely experience. We got the chance to see Queensland  in such a relaxing environment. When you fly or drive, you just simply can’t see as much or get as much enjoyment out of the journey. Everything from the station staff to the driver updates was exceptional onboard the Spirit of Queensland.

The Spirit Of Queensland

The Travel Couples You Need On Instagram In 2018 (No Relationship Goals Hashtags Guaranteed)

Best Travel Instagram
Best Travel Instagram

Looking for some super intriguing  traveling couples to scroll and stalk? We have gone deep into Instagram and found the some of the best travel Instragrams which The Gram might not show you in the search feature.  These are couples traveling the world, and doing it bloody right. 

We apologise upfront, after this you may end up spending every waking minute on Skyscanner, or with a bloody angry boss when you throw in the towel & quit your job to get amongst it. But is that really a bad thing? 

We guarantee there will be no #couplegoals, #relationshipgoals or inspirational quotes here. Only real travel couples who are out there doing it. These couples are the ones that inspire us and keep us striving to keep travelling. In our eyes, these couples are living the way every couple should be.

Want to Travel Year Round?

We have been house sitting around the world for the past 18 months.


 We have got to care for some amazing animals in places such as London, Melbourne, Chiang Mai & Dublin, for free! 


We have put together the all the best house sitting sites that we have discovered. So if you want to get started head over to how to become a house sitter now!


Adventure in You 

Anna and Tom are the duo behind Adventure in You.

In 2015, Anna & Tom quit their 9-5’s with the goal to complete the top 50 adventure holidays in the world. The highlights so far have been traversing through Amazon rainforest, driving a tuk-tuk across Sri Lanka and traveling across Vietnam on a motorbike. Next up on their list is their upcoming trek to Everest Basecamp.

Adventurefaktory

Mitch & Thuymi are an Australian and Canadian Duo behind AdventureFaktory, currently based in Dubai

They have just had their biggest travel year yet, visiting 24 different countries and taking over 80 flights. Adventure Faktory ended the year by setting a Guinness World Record by trekking to Mt Everest Base Camp and performing the world's highest altitude fitness class.

In 2018 AdventureFaktory plan to compete in the Mongol Rally, one of the biggest car races in the world. It will be a journey from London to Mongolia, over 17000km of flat tyres, border patrols, river crossings; all with the smallest and banged up car you can find, all in the name of charity of course. 

Not Sure Where To Stay Between House Sits? 

We always use Airbnb! 
We give a big discount if you sign up here. That also means  you have more money for the good things in life, like  cheese , wine & travel


A Greek Adventure

Chris and Mary of AGreekAdventure manage to get our tummies rumbling with their delicious foodie posts. They have traveled to more than 30 countries so far, though they do have a “tender tooth” for Greece (their post on Greek food is incredible).

Outdoors, adventure activities and some types of extreme sports are what they like most when in nature. In cities, they try to absorb as many things as possible for local culture, food and people.

Chris is a Digital Marketer by profession, while Mary holds a PhD in Chemistry. In many cases this comes very handy as they can do their work from any remote location in the world, as long as there is good Wi-Fi and great coffee.

Almortravel

Together Alexe & Lucas are Almortravel, currently living in Belgium. During the week they work full-time in khaki camouflage (the army). In weekends they love to discover new places all over the world.

Together they have been to over 10 destinations and they are planning more in the very near future. Their ultimate dream is to become Master Divers and go work abroad in search of some infinite sunshine. Lucas has lived in Brazil and the Dominican Republic. Alexe had already traveled to the Philippines, Morocco, Egypt, Tunis and numerous places in Europe.

Just recently they started their Instagram account to meet other travel couples and to keep an online photo album of their best pictures. 

Together Alexe & Lucas are Almortravel, currently living in Belgium. During the week they work full-time in khaki camouflage (the army). In weekends they love to discover new places all over the world.

Always Around The World

Kelly and Nanet, just two ordinary girls that left everything behind to fulfill their dream: Travel  the world!

Since May 2017 they are on the road. The travel bug caught them and they never want to stop traveling anymore. They avoid South America as long as possible, because they are afraid they can’t leave from there anymore once they arrive.

In the beginning they had a very tight budget, which limited them in their explorations, but since they work online they really live their ultimate life in freedom and traveling has become even more fun!

Their best destination so far was Iceland, where they cycled 3000km during 3 months. The adventure was there and the nature is stunning!

And their best experience was during the winter of 2017 in Scandinavia, where they worked with huskies and saw incredible Northern Light shows!

Apenoni Traveller

Rocio & Julian are the founders of  Apenoni. They are a Mexican/German couple traveling the world and documenting their adventures.

After leaving their 9-5 job-life behind back in 2015 they decided to go on a long-term, half-year backpack-travel across Southeast Asia.

They spent their last 2 years building up their business as well as exploring new destinations including  with the city-life of L.A, the chocolate-lover's heaven of Brussels, the remote-island life of Madeira and the majestic cities and deserts of Rajasthan.

In 2018 they are planning to visit Russia during the World Cup, explore the islands of Indonesia as well as road-trip around eastern Europe.

Clayton and Janelle began their “Let’s Get Wild” journey after having a Texas wedding in April 2018. They bought one-way plane tickets to Costa Rica and brought their two cats along.

Bonnie & Clyde

Applying Clayton’s knowledge in advertising and marketing and Janelle’s in biology and foreign languages, they created Bonnie Clyde Worldwide to document their wild experiences around the world and show people how to afford travel.

Together Clayton and Janelle have hiked the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, lived as locals in Costa Rica for three months, and explored bat caves in Mexico.

Currently, Clayton and Janelle are living in Mexico, discovering epic nature destinations and mouth-watering food in the country. They are determined to inspire your travel dreams.

Dang Travelers

David and Angela are a married couple from the United States who share their budget-savvy secrets to affording a life of travel on their blog the Dang Travelers.

Their most recent adventures include gallivanting around Portugal for two months, surviving a 500-mile hike on the El Camino de Santiago in Spain, and a three-month road trip across the United States via Route 66.

For the  2018 they will be road tripping in their campervan turn minivan searching for off-the-beaten-path places while also visiting some of the post popular cities in America like Savannah and Charleston.

Double Occupancy

"Carla and Guil began dating in Miami after college, and a few months into their relationship they convinced each other that traveling around the world was the best next step…. casual.

After a year of planning the couple quit their jobs in 2017 and began a journey that would take them to three different continents and over 20 countries. They spent 10 months traveling between Europe, South America and Southeast, living out of backpacks and off of their savings.

They have created a blog and Instagram account to inspire and help others wanting to do the same.

Now that they're back home, they've chosen NYC as their base. They plan to explore everything the city has to offer in 2019, and of course, there's plenty more traveling to come."

For Two, Please

Cat and Kev are an adventure-loving duo based out of Calgary, Canada. The young couple met in Taiwan in 2013 and started traveling together ever since – that’s how their account name, For Two, Please, came into existence!

As food lovers, adventure enthusiasts and luxury-seekers, they are inspired to discover one-of-a-kind experiences around the world. 

In 2018, they are planning to visit many more beautiful places, including Quebec City and Cook Islands. You can follow their daring adventures and fun-filled travel stories on Instagram.

Not To Sure Where to Stay on The Road?


Ready to travel like some of your favourite Instagram couples? Its can be tiring moving every few days, not to mention expensive!


Why not try house sitting, you get to look after some beautiful animals, live in awesome places (villa or Bali or apartment in Bondi, everyone?)


 If you want to get started find out how to become a house sitter. From there you will want to sign up to a house sitting platform. There are tons out there! Some awesome, and some not so good at all!


 We have reviewed some popular ones to make it easy for you! So here is the best house sitting websites of all time!

HoneyTrek

Together Anne & Mike began their honeymoon in January 2012 and have been on the road ever since. Which has now turned into “The World’s Longest Honeymoon.”  

Using Anne’s background as a national magazine editor and Mike’s as an entrepreneur and photographer, they created HoneyTrek to chronicle their journey to over 50 countries and show more people how to mobilize their travel dreams. Being advocates for the travel life they have written a National Geographic book Ultimate Journeys for Two

Together Anne & Mike have taught English in tribal Vietnam, housesat in Costa Rica, and ridden local mini-buses across East Africa, they know variety is the spice of life and travel.

Currently, Anne & Mike are on a road trip around North America in "Buddy", the 1985 Toyota camper, and are working on a new book about the best glamping destinations in North America. Having epic experiences for under $25/day/person, they are proof that travel doesn't have to be expensive.

Hobo With a Laptop

Mike and Oshin met through online work, later met in person, ended up getting married, and started some online businesses together.

Recently, they’ve been working on Hobo with a Laptop — an online resource that helps people make money online and dig themselves out of traditional work.

Their goals for 2018 are to build out several more affiliate sites and grow their existing passive income, while helping others find their own ‘make money money online' mojo.

Independant Travel Cats

Jessica Norah and Laurence Norah are the couple travel bloggers behind the two popular travel blogs, Independent Travel Cats and Finding the Universe.

Jessica is a cat-loving psychologist from the United States and Laurence is a whisky-loving landscape photographer from the UK. Jessica and Laurence met in Italy in 2014, got engaged in California, got married on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, and currently live in Scotland.

Together they both run their travel blogs full time, Laurence also runs an online travel photography course.

The couples travel plans this year include Scotland, Catalonia, Iceland, the Seychelles, and the United States. They are currently traveling in the Scottish Highlands and their next big trip is to the Seychelles in April.

Life Is Meant For Exploring

Meet Alli & TJ of Life Is Meant For Exploring, a dynamic duo, who have been together for over a decade. They are two down-to-earth Oregonians with a desire to explore, who are  highschool sweethearts.

It was there first trip traveling through Chile together that we knew a life of travel  – exploring culture, food, and the outdoors – was for them.

During Their time in SE Asia they have looped around Malaysia, stopped off in Singapore, toured Thailand, lost themsevles in Laos, ate their way through Vietnam, wandered the perfect beaches of the Philippines, and celebrated Chinese New Year in Taiwan.

Looking ahead in 2018 they plan to hike the Annapurna circuit of Nepal in March before heading off to Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Then maybe settling down in South America.

Our Sweet Adventure

Christina and Adam of Our Sweet Adventures are a married, hospitality power couple traveling around the world with a sweet tooth. Christina is a pastry chef while Adam is a front desk manager at a luxury hotel in the Washington D.C. area.

When they are not working, they are traveling. Whether it is a weekend getaway in the United States or traveling to new countries, they are always eager to find their next "sweet adventure".

Every year they celebrate what they call their "annual honeymoon". In the past four years they have celebrated in St. Lucia, Italy, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Bermuda. In addition, they have taken a summer hiatus to backpack around Europe (mostly Italy) for three months, hiked to Machu Picchu and took a week-long road trip to Ireland. They truly love to travel and find adventures along the way

The Adventures of Panda Bear

Constance Panda and her boyfriend, Jimmy Bear share their adventures around the world in food, travel, and architecture. They are based in the San Francisco  and spent 2017 visiting UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Croatia.

If you love fun facts about the world, you’ll enjoy their feed. They love researching anything and everything about their destinations, so you’re bound to learn something new just by reading their captions. Almost every photo is accompanied by a related fun fact!

Check out their blog, The Adventures of Panda Bear, for more fun facts served alongside travel itineraries, tips, and experiences.

The Nomadic Pear

A nomadic couple from the UK. Christie, an ex-legal secretary, and Lewis, a jack of all trades. They met on the infamous mobile app named Tinder in September 2014. They sold everything they owned and headed to Bangkok in November 2015

They then went on to spend four months in South East Asia before embarking on a working holiday visa in New Zealand. Following New Zealand, it was time for a return to Asia, their all-time favourite continent and cultural paradise.

Lewis and Christie have been travelling for over two years without a return ticket, although they do have a visit back to the UK planned next month.

Be sure to keep up to date with The Nomadic Pear's exciting travels around Asia and beyond on their blog "The Nomadic Pear'.

Travel For Settle

Matilde and Miguel launched into their big adventure in November 2017. They bought a one-way ticket trip to India and stayed in Asia for 8 months! They built TravelB4Settle and now they spend their time traveling the world and working on their laptops.

They claim not to fit in society's expectations, as they always knew there is more to life than the regular 40h work week with a 2 week break in the sun per year.

They are passionate about traveling... Nature, culture, food, people! They always dreamed to travel the world so they managed to do it before actually settle to build family and so on.

Their plans in 2019 is to continue exploring this world while inspiring and helping everyone that has the same dream!

Trip Gourmets

Sarah (British) and Thomas (Swiss) are the Trip Gourmets a travel blogging couple who met six years ago and discovered a mutual love of travel and food.

From October 2017, they have taken the plunge to become full-time travellers and digital nomads!

In January 2018 they headed to India. They explored the magnificent forts of Rajasthan, to the legendary Taj Mahal in Agra to the beaches of Goa and on to the cozy Backwaters of Kerala.

In 2018 they have based themselves in Chiang Mai,  they plan to travel to Laos, a second visit to the foodie paradise of Vietnam, a brief return to Europe to take in Switzerland, Italy and the UK. To cap it off they will be visiting North America for the first time.

Trippin Turpins

In May 2014 Trippin Turpins began their journey aboard SV Thorfinn, their 45 foot sailing yacht. They sold most of their belongings with the intention of living aboard their boat for many years to come. Currently, their plan is to sail around the world.

Their sailing so far has taken them along the south, east and north coasts of Australia, into Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. They have also taken planes and automobiles to visit Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2018 they plan to visit Langkawi in Malaysia and Pulau Weh in Indonesia. Then they are planning to sail the south coast of Sumatra, and visit islands such as Pulau Pasumpahan and explore inland places such as Kerinci Seblat National Park. Then they will sail to the beautiful Indonesian Anambas Islands.

Two Drifters

Amy & Nathan, aka the Two Drifters. first met in 2011 at a  hostel in Edinburgh. They traveled together since then and embarked on our greatest adventure in 2016, getting married.

From campervanning across Australia to horseback riding in British Columbia & swimming with whale sharks, they have done some amazing things. Along the way they have managed to capture some beautiful images.

 In 2018 they are moving  Burlington, Vermont, so there's going to be lots more New England and Canada adventures on the blog in the months to come.


Two Wandering Soles

In 2014, Katie and Ben quit their full-time jobs and set off on a 3-month adventure in South America that never really ended.

They then moved to South Korea to teach English. They spent the next year traveling starting in Southeast Asia, India and Nepal where they trekked to Everest Base Camp, from there it was off to Eastern Europe.

For the summer of 2017, they converted campervan, named him "Vinny", and toured the Western United States.Afterwards they moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand to focus on full time on their adventurous and sustainable travel blog, Two Wandering Soles.

Katie and Ben are always up for adventure and a good cup of coffee (or wine!).)

 For the remainder of 2018, Katie and Ben are planning to hit the road again traveling around the southern islands of Thailand and Central America.

We Did It Our Way

Carine and Derek are from Montreal, like typical Canadians, they met during a hockey party in 2010. Their beloved Habs (the Montreal Canadians) had finally made it to the playoffs. Although the Canadians run didn’t last, Carine and Derek’s relationship did!

After 5 years of dating, they got married in September 2015. They were set to follow the typical routine of life, but one day, Carine had a “crazy” thought. She asked: “What if we take our savings, and go travel for a year?” Knowing Derek, she never expected his answer to be “Hell yeah! Let’s do it!” And the rest is history!

What was set to be only a year turned into a 15-month trip. Without a set plan, they went where the wind (and the cheapest flights) took them. They ended up traveling to 28 different countries in Asia, Oceania, the Caucasus, and Europe. They learned to scuba dive in Thailand, and swam with a whale shark. They drove a campervan through New Zealand, covering over 4,500 km in 21 days.

2019 is still a mystery for them. They don’t have much planned. One thing is clear, their travels have only just begun. There is so much more of the world they want to see. 

We Travel Together

Monica and Jon whoy started their adventure and travel blog We Travel Together in 2011, now close to hitting the big 50, not in age but in how many countries they have visited together. 

They love road tripping. One trip in their visited Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Another big road trip includes driving over 20000km around Australia in a campervan.

Together they have been to Africa twice visiting in total 9 countries and having some awesome wildlife experience; spent time with mountain gorillas in Uganda, been chased by a hippo in Botswana, and in Tanzania they were that close to a wild lioness that they could have touched her.

In 2018 they started off the year on one of the northernmost settlements in the world on an island called Spitsbergen, which belongs to Norway, and they got to experience Polar Nights. In February they started their three week long journey through SE Asia.

1000 Fights

We all know that couple travel is not always the picture perfect scene of a couple walking hand in hand on a white sandy beach, or staring lovingly at the sea atop Santorini.

We want you to meet the Fighting Couple of 1000Fights. They share the ups as well as the downs of couple travel, and add in a dash of helpful relationship advice.

They are one of the most "real" couples out there. The Fighting Couple met in 1st grade and have been fighting ever since. Together they have been to nearly 50 countries on six continents.

Whats next for them? Antarctica in 2019! Give their Instagram a follow to track all of their zany adventures.


Done some serious lurking of these accounts? Don't worry us too! Hopefully this inspires you to get bloody amongst it and see the world. 

Don't Forget To Share!

SaveThe Travelling House SittersCopyright issue3The Travelling HousesittersVan Life | Van Life Interior | Van Life Ideas | Van Life DIY |
SaveThe Travelling House SittersCopyright issue3The Travelling HousesittersVan Life | Van Life Interior | Van Life Ideas | Van Life DIY |

Got The Travel Bug Now?

The Cheapest Airports To Fly Into In The United States (Number One Will Surprise You)

The Cheapest Airports To Fly Into In The United States (Number One Will Surprise You)

cheapest airports to fly into in the USA

To me travelling is one of the best things in the world. Nothing beats exploring new streets, watching the sunset from a new looking, meandering a local market and who could forget stuffing your face with new & exciting food finds.

The one part of travelling I don't like, is the price of plane tickets. Sure there are great sites like Skyscanner & Secret Flying that help you find the cheapest flight to some of your favourite destinations. But they do not always find a great deal for every place you want to go.

The United States has just over 370 commercial airports, this is a huge number of destinations. Some of these airports like Honolulu International are (not surprisingly) very expensive to fly into, however, the good old United States of America has some tricks up it sleeve and is home to some of the cheapest airports to fly into anywhere in the world.

Let's break down the cheapest airports to fly into in the United States.

1. Portland International Airport (PDX)

Airport Location: Portland, Oregon
Average Domestic Fare: $324

Portland International is not only a fantastic destination for those trying to save a little bit of cash, its also holds the title of 'America's Best Airport' by Travel + Leisure magazine. Not just in 2017 but dating all the way back to 2013. That's impressive.

The airport has great links to downtown Portland with a light rail which connects passengers to 97 stations in the city. They also have a movie theater, live performers, art exhibitions and lots of other great activities if you have some time to kill before a flight. They also have free WIFI throughout their terminals.

2. Denver International Airport (DEN)

Airport Location: Denver, Colorado
Average domestic fare: $312

Denver International Airport is the largest airport in the United States by total land area, it also claims the title of the longest public use runway in the United States. There is just over 370 daily departures to around 140 destinations worldwide, that results in a massive 58 million passengers per year.

Denver International Airport has lots of artwork that has been the centre of lots of conspiracy theories. Definitely an interesting way to spend a few hours on a layover.

Dog lovers will have a great time at Denver International Airport, they have a pet resort that includes a world class boarding facility, pet massage facilities and even an outdoor area where your little fury friend can have a run or do their business before the flight.

3. Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Airport Location: Tampa, Florida.
Average Domestic Fare: $312

Tampa international Airport is not the biggest airport in the world, however, it does rank the highest in the J.D Power Airport Satisfaction Rankings for large airports in 2017. Impressive.

Not only is Tampa International one of the cheapest in the USA, its home to a sleeping/ quiet area, a well stocked library, all the travel services you could ever need and big well kept amenities to keep you looking and feeling your best.

4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

Airport Location: Phoenix, Arizona.
Average domestic fare: $327

Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport or 'The Farm' is one of the Untied States largest airports, serving a massive 43 million passengers per year. The airport also claims one of the top 4 spots in the North American Airport Satisfaction Study 2017.

The really cool thing about this airport is the amount of artwork that is housed in its terminals. The terminals house 900 works of art ranging from metal and ceramic sculptures to oil and acrylic paintings. These works are a portion of the Phoenix Museum and house works by some of Arizona's most renowned artists.

5. McCarran International Airport (LAS)

Airport Location: Las Vegas, Nevada.
Average Domestic Fare: $227

Believe it or not Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport sees the footsteps of around 47 million passengers per year. Those people are brought to the terminal via 31 major airlines from within the US and abroad.

For those who can't quite wait to get to the casino floors (or that still have money left over when they leave) McCarran International has just over 1300 slot machines, what better way to see the time go by than possibly getting money back for a free flight??

McCarran International's also got a good secret up their sleeve, its not counting cards, but it is quite a tricky move. When you check your baggage in, instead of using bar codes they use small copper radio frequency microchips. Since they have implemented this technology luggage accuracy has risen from 80 percent to over 99 percent. What is even cooler is that only a handful of airports throughout the world have this technology. Hopefully that technology gets adopted by lots more airports throughout the world.

6. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Airport Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Average Domestic Fare: $241

For those of you who like to get to the airport early and check out the planes taking off, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is the one for you. With three great viewing platforms situated throughout the airport. My favourite is the Hibiscus Garage Viewing Area. This is a fantastic platform where you get a birds eye view over the whole airport and don't just witness the planes taking off.

FLL is also one of the only airports anywhere (that I am aware of) that offers a luggage storage service. Perfect for going to watch the planes take off, or checking out the rest of the airports activities.

They also offer a baggage wrapping service which is second to none. For the small price of $15 they will wrap your bag. This is not like a normal wrapping service. This wrap comes with a guarantee that your luggage will not get damaged or lost. That's a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Want More Travel Tips?

The Coolest New Co Working Space in Chiang Mai (Rooftop Bar Included)

With an ever-increasing number of digital nomads, remote workers, location independent workers or whatever the newest term they are using these days is, there is always hot demand for working and meeting space.

Personally, I don’t like working in a café or a restaurant. I often find myself getting distracted by all the different smells, noises and that always avoidable loudmouth on the phone. Working at home is really good but unless I am living in a suite apartment I find it very difficult to make the transition from bed to the ‘office’ and back to bed again.

There has been a decent influx of co-working spaces and alternative areas around Chiang Mai. I am a huge fan of working in a co-working space. I find it’s a great way to meet like-minded people, get more productive and get that real office feel that some of us need.

If you are anything like me, you like to spend your days working in the morning, then lurking the neighbourhoods of a city trying to find new and exciting food & places to hang out. This is where we managed to stumble across one of Chiang Mai’s newest and in my opinion coolest hotels / co-working spaces.

Nestled halfway down an unassuming street near to Chiang Mai’s Boxing Stadium and beloved Myeongdong hot pot restaurant is a space called Isty Hotel.

This hotel opened recently in the last week of January 2018. We were lucky enough to spend the day hanging out at this hotel at the end of January, just before this brand new hotel opened for business. This is what we thought.

The Lobby

When you first walk in the first thing you will notice is the giant communal driftwood table. This thing is amazing, located in the main lobby it is an inviting open area. Perfect for eating breakfast, having a meeting or getting some work done. The rest of the lobby is a modern combination of concrete, brick, wood and metal. Which to be honest is actually really warm and welcoming.

The Co Working Space

The co-working space is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. They offer their own brand water for free, lots & lots of fresh fruit on platters. This is paired very well with a selection of plants and other greenery around the space. They have comfortable chairs, a tonne of desk space/power points and I could not forget the amazing view of the pool. They also have a bookshelf with a decent selection of biographies, inspirational books and other knick-knacks in case you are looking for some inspiration mid work session.

The Kitchen

Next to the co-working space, they have a communal kitchen for the guests who are staying. This is a super clean brand new kitchen. A very well stocked kitchen with all the essentials, every appliance you can think of and gorgeous wood bench tops.

Throughout the whole place, they have some really rad inspirational quotes made out of metal on the walls. This flows right through from the entrance way, to the pool, co-working space, lobby, hallways and rooftop. A really nice touch!

The Rooftop

Their rooftop is one of the coolest in Chiang Mai. It has comfortable astroturf, amazing views of the mountains, and the amazing Myeongdong & Lakjum Moomtuk hotpot restaurants. Thanks to the owners also owning a furniture store they have an endless supply of the worlds most comfortable and quirky furniture throughout the hotel. The roof has a fantastic selection of bean bags, human cat beds and bar seats.

The Rooms

The rooms are super modern, comfortable rooms. Compared to other rooms we have seen at a similar price point we have seen these are very spacious, comfortable and liveable.

Our favourite part of the whole place (aside from the roof) was the nets that hang from the second floor above the check-in desk. I can only describe them as the trampolines on a catamaran. These are a cool addition and something that I have never seen inside a hotel before.

The Verdict

All & all we had an awesome time hanging out at the Isty Hotel. Its now one of our favourite rooftop gardens & co-working spaces in Chiang Mai. We love the unique furniture and feel of the place.  We plan on heading back to Chiang Mai in late 2018, we can’t wait to hang out here and get some work done!

(Just kidding we want to hang out on the roof and swing around in the net!)

1 2 3 4
Email Us Meow!
close slider