One of my favorite pastimes is traveling. I do like domestic travel since the U.S. has so many beautiful places to see, but what I really enjoy is visiting different countries. I love to immerse myself in different cultures and see how people in different parts of the world live. Since I am never in one place for too long, I need to make the most of the time I have. I also like to mix traveling to nature with traveling to cities.
One place I found fascinating was Longyearbyen, Norway. It is the world’s northernmost city. With only a little over 2,000 residents, it seems like it has more polar bears than people. Since this city is located north of the arctic circle it experiences the midnight sun in the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter. Needless to say, I went in the summer and had 24 hours of light. My favorite excursion we took was on a snowmobile. On the tour, we saw tons of wildlife in their natural habitat. We saw polar bears, walruses, and artic foxes. Truly an unforgettable experience!
From nature to the city, one of my favorite cities to visit is Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona is a very cosmopolitan city with so much history. Since I was there in late Spring, the weather was beautiful and we decided a great way to see the city is with a bike tour. We saw the La Catedral and Placa del Rei, which is a medieval public square. We also saw other magnificent monuments. With so many architectural wonders it was hard to take it all in during a half day bike tour. Our guide told us fascinating history and we could stop quite often to get fabulous photographs. After that, we ended the afternoon having coffee at a café in the historic Gothic Quarter. What a great way to end the day just people watching and soaking up the Spanish culture.
Below are some travel tips that I would recommend if traveling internationally.
- Make sure your passport is current. Some countries will deny travelers entry if the passport expires in less than 6 months. This is to ensure that you will be able to travel back in the event that you get stuck in that country.
- Check with your credit card to make sure they do not add a foreign transaction fee for each purchase. Some cards may charge as high as 3%.
- Contact your credit card company and let them know which countries you will be visiting. This is to ensure the credit card company does not think there is fraud when they see foreign transactions and cancels your card.
- Before leaving for a trip, check travel alerts and warnings. Also, make sure you have the contact information of the local embassy.
- Always bring some over the counter medication with you. Advil, Nyquil, tums, ect.. may be a life saver if you are in a remote area with no drugstore close by.
One thing I always do on vacation now is send my friends and family Penless Postcards. I bring a handful with me on my trips. The Penless Postcard has a unique QR code already on it. I just upload a picture or video from my trip onto the QR code and mail the postcard. It is fun to do and even more fun to receive. When receiving a Penless Postcard in the mail, it is always a surprise what is on the QR code. Penless sure makes sending and receiving postcards more fun!