Our favorite time of the year to travel in Europe is during the winter. As the weather gets colder, the Christmas markets come to life, snow begins to fall, and it’s the perfect time to throw on cozy sweaters, puffy coats, and winter boots and wander through cobblestoned back alleys. It’s developed into a bit of a habit, actually: after just a few trips, the idea of Christmas without Christmas Markets just feels empty, meaningless, and devoid of calories. But it can overwhelming to try and come up with a Europe itinerary when there are so many amazing places to visit! So we’ve created not one, but TWO detailed 2-week itineraries so you can make the most of your winter holidays in Europe. Just call us Santa Blogs! … Get it? The 2-week Northwestern Europe itinerary takes you from Copenhagen to Bremen to Amsterdam to Bruges to Brussels, and The Central Europe itinerary takes you from Vienna to Hallstatt to Cesky Krumlov to Prague. From Christmas Markets to castles, these itineraries have your winter holidays covered.
You know when people who travel a lot say stuff like “each part of [country you’ve never been to] is SO different,” and you kind of roll your eyes because it just sounds like a way to brag about how many different parts of the country they’ve been to? Well … in Italy, it’s SUPER accurate. From the language to the food to the social norms, southern Italy is very different than the rest of Italy. Sure, there’s pizza and pasta everywhere in Italy, but in Sicily your pasta come served with anchovies and dusted with pistachios, and the pizza in Naples is leaps and bounds more delicious than anything you’ll get in Florence. (Important note: I did do some things other than eat on this trip, but not many.) In this post, I’m laying out all the things no one tells you about visiting Southern Italy. I can’t guarantee you that they’ll actually help you during your trip, but I thought they were interesting.
Jeremy and I have learned two things in all our years of experience backpacking through hot places: one, our hair NEVER looks good in the jungle; and two, there are several essential pieces of travel gear that help you enjoy your awesome trip instead of spending the whole time trying to figure out how to get sand un-stuck from your sweaty legs (spoiler alert: it’s impossible). This post isn’t meant to be a packing list, so we’re not going to tell you how many t-shirts or pairs of underwear to pack; we trust you to figure that out for yourself. But we are going to tell you EXACTLY what items have proven themselves to be indispensable, whether you’re hostel hopping in South or Central America or island hopping in Southeast Asia. Here’s what you’ll find in this post:
Living in California makes us antsy for winter. We crave snow and cold weather and yearn for hot mulled cider and a crackling fire, and we love frolicking in the snow just as much as some folks love laying on a beach. But since we have to travel to find real winter weather, we’ve learned to pack carefully to prepare our coastal, California bodies for the cold! In this post we’re laying out all of our favorite, field-tested essentials for winter travel, from gear to clothing.
What do you buy the coffee snob who has everything? You know – that person on your list who doesn’t just LOVE coffee but is really, really extra about it. I mean, chances are they already have an at-home coffee setup that rivals your favorite coffee shop. And if you’re NOT a coffee snob, some of that equipment might look like it belongs in a science lab more than someone’s kitchen – it’s all very confusing. But put down the coffee-scented lip balm and coffee-scented candle: you can do better! We’ve brewed up the perfect list of gifts for coffee snobs that they’ll actually use. These are the perfect items for your favorite coffee snob to take along when they travel, whether it’s a business trip, a camping excursion, or a weekend getaway. So pour yourself a cup and settle in while we help you cross this difficult gift off your holiday shopping list.
Buying gifts for hikers isn’t as easy as you might think. I mean, chances are they’ve already got the basics covered, and if you’re not an avid hiker yourself, it can be difficult to know what to actually buy them. Like, aren’t they just going outside and … walking a lot? How much stuff do they really need?! Well, as the representative for People Who Hike, let me be the first to say: WE LOVE GEAR. We love studying up on it and measuring it and weighing it and testing it and making weirdly specific decisions about it and then returning it and buying something else and then testing THAT. And on and on and on. Hiking gear is a hobby. It’s an addiction. So, there is LOTS of stuff you can buy the hiker in your life. We went on a little REI shopping spree, because REI is the much beloved mecca of outdoor enthusiasts everywhere, and picked out all of the things that we wish someone would buy US for Christmas this year (hint hint, fam). Here’s how to shower your friend/family member/loved one in hiking shwag without breaking the bank (because like … you love them, but you don’t $200 pair of hiking boots love them, yanno?).